Different Ways to Sanitize Your Hot Tub

Choices As Clear as your Hot Tub Water

Life can be difficult, which is why you wanted a hot tub or inflatable hot tub – to soak away the problems of the day and iron out all the kinks from work. You don’t want your hot tub to add another kink to your neck, which is why we present you this helpful article on hot tub sanitizers. With all the information laid out in front of you, your choices will become clear and your hot tub will once again be a source of relaxation for you and your guests, instead of one more problem you have to solve.

Essentially, when it comes down to hot tub sanitizers you have three possible solutions – two that are well-used and well-liked by hot tub users and supplier, and one that seems to crop up now and again, but that most hot tub professionals just wish would die off for good. We hope you go with on of the first two. If you don’t have time to read an article on the difference, perhaps a infographic would be more your speed. Check out the hot tub saltwater vs chlorine/bromine infographic we’ve put together.

For those of you still with us, or back from taking a gander at the infographic, it covers: traditional bromine/chlorine, mineral chlorine/bromine, and the bane of most hot tub professional’s existence, salt water. Why three choices you ask? Well, traditional bromine and chlorine has done a great job of keeping water clean for most of the history of hot tubs and swimming pools, but it hasn’t done such a hot job of keeping our skin or hair healthy. And it’s done a downright poor job of keeping us smelling fresh and clean – not many like to smell like a public pool.

Despite the drawbacks, we’ve continued to love our hot tubs. But behind the scenes professionals have been working on ways to get around the traditional chlorine/bromine smell. First it was salt water hot tubs, and that is largely regarded as a failure now. But, now there’s also mineral bromine/chlorine, not to mention chlorine tablets.

So let’s go through the differences, and pros and cons of each of the sanitation types and try to help you figure out which one is for you (pro tip: it’s not salt water).

Traditional Bromine/Chlorine

We begin with the tried and true because it was the first to make it to the market and for a lot of people it meets their criteria – that is to keep the hot tub from turning into a green sludge despite kid’s dirty feet, grandpa’s weird toe fungus, uncle Joe’s distrust of hygiene, or the million of other, germy problems life throws at it. Traditional Chlorine/Bromine is manually added to the tub in tablets, or granules placed in the tub and floater, which is pretty easy, all things considered.

The ease of use and germ killing power of these tablets and granules make it the method of choice for big families and heavy users. This method requires users control their pH levels though bromine is much more lenient when it comes to that. It’s very easy to test pH levels if you have a great digital pool water tester, which can provide accurate results in less than a minute.

Your main advantages when it come to the tried and true are:

  • Cheaper
  • More control over the water chemistry
  • Still a great system to use

But it’s not all sunshine and roses (most especially not roses) when it comes to the traditional. Disadvantages include:

  • Harder to balance
  • Harsh chemical smells
  • Can be hard on skin and hair
  • Needs to be measured out

Mineral Chlorine/Bromine

Next, the new kid on the block, and I’m not talking nineties boy bands. Mineral Chlorine/Bromine came on the scene to give hot tub users a gentler, more skin-friendly option for their hot tub sanitization needs. The mineral system is actually the easiest of all the systems – you take your pre-measured package, whether that’s tablets, cubes or granules, and place them in your tub floater or in one of the corners on the floor of your tub. Then you, no wait, that’s it.

Just throw it in there and then live your life knowing full well your hot tub is clean and clear. Good times. And, get this, it’s pretty darn good at it’s job, so you got that going for you as well. Ain’t life swell? The bromine half of the mineral mix has the least scent of the (good) options, and is less dependent on pH levels. Why does anyone use anything different (don’t worry we’ll get there).

Things are sounding pretty good, so here’s a list of all the advantages of the mineral system:

  • Easy on skin and hair
  • Healthy
  • Easy on equipment
  • Less use of sanitizer
  • Keeps tub and plumbing clean
  • Prepackaged

Like Ponyboy says: ‘nothing gold can stay’ so here’s a heartbreaker of a list if you had your heart set on mineral chlorine/bromine (but it is a pretty short list, which is good).

  • Can cause some foam when there is too much mineral in the water
  • More expensive than the traditional systems

Be sure to keep your hot tub cover on so that the chlorine is not affected and it keeps the water clean and free of debris.

Saltwater System

Here comes the unloved step-child of the sanitizing options – the saltwater system. The best saltwater systems or salt water chlorinators aren’t just ocean water poured into your tub, it’s actually chlorine/bromine salt. You dump a load of that into your tub, and it’s slowly converted into a usable sanitizer by an electric salt generator. Clear as mud. Then , the tub needs to be ‘shocked’ with more chlorine to make sure things don’t get a little green around the gills. As well as this might work for a swimming pool, which has a lot of water and few germ-carrying people, the system falls behind in hot tubs. It’s is very neutral and pleasing on your skin, however, which bring us to our (few) advantages:

  • Maintains chlorine automatically
  • Produces a neutral pH

And a huge, long list of disadvantages:

  • Not effective in tubs because it can’t always keep up with demand
  • Corrodes equipment
  • Expensive
  • More maintenance required
  • Bad for environment
  • Can damage surroundings when the salty water isn’t diluted

Adding water at least won’t change the pH too much. Having the best hose, a great hose reel, and a hose nozzle  won’t remove salt, only diluting it. Salt water systems tend to require a little bit of love and constant water replenishing.

Everything clarified

So there you have it folks, your options laid out in black and white. Your next step on your journey should be to Beachcomber Hot Tubs Lethbridge, which we’ve linked for you just to make your life that much easier.

Laurie S.

As a multi home owner for 15 years I've tried out a ton of pool products and methods and have found out the best ones that work for me. I love helping out other people with real, honest advice and spending time with my family. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me in the about or through a comment.

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