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The Truth about Saltwater
The internal and external components can be damaged by abrasive chemical effects of both salt and chlorine
The Rest Of The Story
Here’s the rest of the story about using salt water systems for sanitizing your hot tub. Salt water systems are being promoted as the better way to keep hot tub water clean because allegedly:
1. They require less work because it’s automated and “hands free”.
2. They don’t depend on harsh chemicals like chlorine, bromine or spa shock
3. They use an inexpensive salt like table salt instead of
expensive hot tub chemicals
4. They leave your skin feeling better because they don’t have harsh, traditional sanitizers
5. They are environmentally friendly because they use less chemicals
6. They use diamonds in the system to create powerful cleaners
Now, don’t get me wrong. Salt water hot tub sanitization can be beneficial if you are willing to understand the reality of the system. So, lets peel back the “hype” and look at the reality by examining each of the above claims.
Claim 1, less work: They require less work because it’s automated and hands free. The simplest answer to this claim is to look at one major hot tub manufacturer’s salt water sanitization manual.
The manual has 16 pages and includes 167 separate warnings, procedures and descriptions. This means that there is a huge amount of work required to operate and maintain this system. That manual is also full of dozens of required actions, making it much less “hands free” than traditional sanitizing. This includes fun things to do in maintaining a salt water system like removing the “cell” and cleaning it in an acid solution every three months, then reinstalling it.
Claim 2, no harsh chemicals: They don’t depend on harsh chemicals like chlorine. Well, they use salt and water to constantly produce five harsh chemicals in your hot tub water as you use the tub. Their main “powerful cleaner” is in fact good old chlorine. Salt water system manufacturers also recommend that you use normal spa chlorine and spa water shock any time that the tested chlorine level gets low…which can be frequently. So much for not using “harsh chemicals”.
Claim 3, inexpensive to use: It’s true that special hot tub salt is a little less expensive than hot tub chlorine ($7 a month for hot tub salt vs. $15 a month for hot tub chlorine). But, the salt is a very small factor in the overall salt water system cost. Here are the real costs:
1. Stand alone salt water systems: $500 to $700 to purchase and only a one year warranty.
2. Built in salt water systems: Up to $1500 and only a one year warranty. Sometimes the salt system is thrown in for “free” with the purchase price of the hot tub. Nothing is “free”. Wouldn’t you prefer a $1500 cash discount instead?
3. Cells have a 1.6 year average life and cost from $300 to $500 each time one is replaced.
4. Salt water system users also have to purchase:
• Hot tub chlorine
• Hot tub shock
• Special calcium remover
• PH up and PH down
• Stain and scale defense
• 5 way test strips
So, over five to ten years, the salt water system users will save a little on the salt, but overall they will spend thousands of dollars more on water sanitization than traditional hot tub chlorine or bromine users.
Claim 4, skin feels better: It’s true that a little salt in the water will not affect your skin. However, the salt water system uses a special “cell” to generate elemental oxygen, chlorine and several other “powerful” cleaners and oxidizers. Your skin reacts to these powerful cleaners and oxidizers just like it will react to hot tub chlorine. Whether its salt water generated oxidizers or hot tub chlorine, having too much of either will not be beneficial to your skin.
Claim 5, they’re environmentally beneficial because of less chemicals: It’s true that when the 167 cautions and procedures for salt water sanitization are regularly and carefully followed, less harsh chemicals will be used . Similarly, if the simple procedures for using regular hot tub sanitizers are followed, much less harsh chemicals will be used. Oh by the way, the salt water system constantly uses electricity and requires the manufacturing of non environmentally friendly components that have to be thrown out on a regular basis.
Claim 6, diamonds are used in the “cell”: Not really. Just a diamond vapor is deposited in the “cell”. And, after the “cells” fail, they’re thrown in the trash. Not much diamond value after all. Apparently, diamonds are referred to as a way to make the salt water systems appear more valuable.
The bottom line: Sadly, salt water sanitization systems for hot tubs are over ”hyped”, making consumers confused. They are in fact, complicated to operate properly, expensive to purchase and maintain, create harsh oxidizers and have no special environmental advantages. With all these problems brought about by Salt Water, why wouldn’t you consider a natural alternative, like ozone purification. This is a much better alternative to keep your hot tub chemical free. Ozone is a very natural oxidation process, that is much more convenient and reliable than salt systems. It is also much healthier for both you and the environment.
How do Ozonators Work?
Ozone gas is produced when oxygen is exposed to ultraviolet light or by "corona-discharge" ozonators. It is the same gas that provides the protective layer around the earth's atmosphere. When ozone gas is injected into your spa water, it acts as a powerful sanitizer that destroys most of the bacteria and viruses present in the spa water. Ozone also breaks down body oils so your water will remain clear and fresh for a longer period than spa water that is only sanitized by bromine or chlorine. Additionally, customers using ozone report they only have to change their spa water every 6-8 months, versus every 3 months without an ozonator.
Ozone water purification is 3000 times more powerful than ordinary water sanitizers and it allows you to eliminate bromine or chlorine residuals in your spa. Your spa will only require a small dose of shock when you exit, because the ozone will kill the majority of the bacteria. This will also eliminate the chemical odor from your hot tub and you won't experience skin, nasal and eye irritation like salt water systems.
How much will it cost per day to heat and keep it clean?
Our spas are very efficient and the cost is normally between .50 - $1 a day depending on the type of spa you purchase. That includes the water keeping up to a temperature of 102 degrees F and the chemicals you require.
Are Spas good for me?
Yes, If kept at under 105 degrees F, the hot water can reduce your blood pressure and improve blood circulation by expands blood vessels. It also restores nutrients and cleanses our muscles of carbon dioxide. Using the spa up to 3 times a week will help reduce stress levels and give you a healthier outlook on life. They are also an excellent way to have time out and to catch up.
What is Hydrotherapy?
It is the use of hot water and massage jets to relieve muscular problems. It is often used in hospitals to help people recover after injuring their muscles or joints.
Hydrotherapy spas are also ideal for people with arthritis and muscle problems. See our Hydrotherapy page for more details.
Is it easy to install a Spa?
Yes, A Spa can be delivered and set up in your back garden within a few minutes, depending on the your site accessibility. Most things are possible we can even use a crane over your house if you have no side or back access. The spa can be moved on their side to fit down side entrances. Once the spa is in position all it need is to be connected to your electricity supply and have a water supply nearby.
What do I need to have a Spa in my garden?
You need a level area, most people use decking, a patio or a plain concrete base. A garden hose and an out door tap, and electricity.
How often do you need to change the water?
Only every 6 months -as we recommend spas with ozonators fitted, which naturally kill about 90% of bacteria with Corona Discharge technology. You need to use chemicals as well as an ozonator to maintain the clarity of the water for longer periods.
I am allergic to chlorine. What chemicals can I use to keep it clean?
We use Oxysure, a chlorine free chemical, which is a very high quality spa sanitiser that has no taste, smell and is ideal for sensitive skin. You can even grow your plants in the same room with no adverse affects on the plants.
Is there any other maintenance?
Generally not, all our spas are high quality products that have excellent warranties.
3 year on the electronics and plumbing
5 years on the acrylic shell
We also have useful technical advise and support should any thing go wrong.
Can we take the Spa with us if we move?
Yes, if you have a portable spa, you can move the spa with you easily all you need is a level spot with electricity available.
Can we cover our Spa?
Yes, it is very easy to cover your spa. There are three main alternatives; put the spa indoors, in a Solardome - glass dome building, or in a wooden gazebo. Make sure there is ample ventilation in the room, as the spa will produce condensation when it is cold outside.
How soon can we use our hot tub after we fill it with water?
It will probably take about 10-14 hours to heat the spa to temperature after you fill it with the garden hose.
How long can we stay in?
The average time to stay in is about 20-40mins, although as long as it is under 104 degree F you can stay in as long as you feel comfortable.
How do we know if there is enough water in the Spa?
Fill the spa so that the water comes to the top of the filter. You can fill it higher than this but never lower. A low water level can cause problems to your pump and motor due to air getting in the system.
What do we do if we go on holidays?
It is a good idea to get a neighbor or friend to add some chemicals to your spa at least once a week. Or add a large amount of chemicals before you leave, to shock the water, and then turn the temperature right down which will reduce the algae build up. Remember to shock the water before you use the spa again.