Salt Water Hot Tubs vs. Chlorine – Which is Right for Your Family?
So, you’ve decided to buy a hot tub—congratulations! You’re about to enter a whole new world of enjoyment with health benefits. Daily relaxation and rejuvenation, improved relationship connections, and a keener, more focused mind are just a few of the things you can look forward to. But knowing you want a new hot tub is still a few short steps from knowing which hot tub model is perfect for you. You have decisions to make, including choosing a water care system.
Spa water purification plays a vital role in your relationship with your new home spa because whether you choose a saltwater hot tub system or a chlorine system it’s an ongoing process that you sustain. To help you decide which system is best for you, here’s an overview of the top two purification choices: the traditional chlorine purification system and the saltwater system.
TRADITIONAL CHLORINE WATER CARE
When you think of pure spa water, you probably think of chlorination. Hot tub owners and pool owners have been using chlorine to keep their water clean for decades. Chlorine, which is even added in small amounts to our drinking water, is a proven method of eliminating harmful (or simply gross) bacteria and other contaminants from spa water.
How Chlorine Eliminates Harmful Bacteria
Typically, chlorine is added to spa water in liquid or dissolvable solid forms. An element that is naturally gaseous at room temperature, chlorine combines with oxygen and hydrogen in water to form hypochlorous acid. This compound is highly effective at killing bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, as well as the influenza virus. As common sense would indicate, the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria is to keep anyone infected out of the hot tub until the infection has passed.
Side Effects of Chlorination
When hypochlorous acid attacks contaminants in water, it creates byproducts called chloramines. These byproducts are, frankly, smelly. If you’ve been to a public pool, you’re probably familiar with the odor. While hypochlorous acid is a weak acid, it is an acid nonetheless. It’s entirely safe—you have more powerful acids in your own stomach—but it can irritate sensitive areas, such as the eyes and skin. Hypochlorous acid is why your eyes hurt more when you swim without goggles in a chlorinated pool than when you swim in a pristine mountain lake.
Proper Chlorine System Maintenance
To keep your spa water clean using chlorine, you’ll need to maintain a few conditions, including the proper concentration of chlorine in your water. Typically, the concentration level is tested using strips of treated paper. If the level is too low, add more chlorine; if it’s too high, dilute the water by draining some chlorinated water from the spa and then adding untreated water. The exact amount of chlorine you’ll need to add, or water you’ll need to remove, depends on the size of your hot tub and the level of concentration you need to achieve. Don’t worry—the chlorine packaging should include instructions to guide you through the process. Test your chlorine level at least once a week—more if you use your hot tub frequently.
In addition to chlorine testing, you’ll also have to test the pH level of your spa water. Hypochlorous acid functions most effectively when your spa water has a pH range of 7.2-7.8, which is slightly above the neutral value of 7. If your spa water has a pH value outside of this range, hypochlorous acid will not form as readily. To keep your water in the appropriate range, test the pH each time you test your chlorine concentration. Your local hot tub dealer sells pH test strips and the chemicals used to adjust the acidity or alkalinity of your water. Most new hot tubs come with a water care starter kit to help you get your hot tub ready as soon as it’s delivered.
It takes a little time and effort to use chlorine to keep your spa water levels where they ought to be, but the method is effective. If, however, you want to maintain your spa water with less effort, new and improved systems, including the FreshWater® Salt Water System, make maintenance even easier and include the benefit of fewer side effects.
BENEFITS OF THE FRESHWATER® SALT WATER SYSTEM
If you’re like most people, when you think of a saltwater hot tub system, you probably assume that the process will make your spa water as salty as seawater. But that’s not the case. There is much less salt in a hot tub with a saltwater system than there is in seawater. Seawater has a salt concentration of around 35,000 parts per million (ppm). A saltwater hot tub has a concentration of just 1,750 ppm. To put this in perspective, it’s estimated that humans taste salt in water at concentrations of 3,000-4,000 ppm.
Now available on all Highlife® Collection and Limelight® Collection spas, the easy-to-use FreshWater Salt System eliminates the worry of keeping spa water clean, clear and sanitized for a full year.* With just a little salt in your spa water, the system generates chlorine automatically so you can spend less time measuring and adding chemicals. This unique system makes spa ownership easier than ever by removing the guesswork and hassle of water care maintenance.
- More natural-feeling water with no itchy, dry skin or eyes
- Fewer chemicals added and no harsh odors
- Simple water care means more time enjoying your spa
- Conserve water by reducing spa drain and refills to once a year*
Chlorine and Salt Water Systems Time and Cost Comparison
With the FreshWater® Salt System, you’ll replace the cartridge three times per year, instead of adding chlorine daily or weekly. Also with the system, you only need to drain and refill your hot tub once a year*, instead of once every 3-4 months with traditional chlorine. The disposable and maintenance-free titanium cartridge, hidden away in the spa, is easy to replace in just a few seconds, without tools.
Plus, if you choose to finance your new hot tub, the cost of the system will be included in the plan and spread over many months. Your local dealer will answer any questions you have about water system options and pricing.
Whether you choose a chlorine or saltwater system for your new hot tub, as long as you maintain your spa properly, you’ll always enjoy clean and beneficial soaks whenever the mood hits. That’s a win-win.