May 2012

Hot Tub and Spa Water Chemestry

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Spa Water Chemistry

Hot tubbing is great and if you’ve owned a spa or hot tub for very long, you also know how relaxing it can be. But in spite of all the natural health benefits there are some potential health risks you need to be aware of.

A hot tub or spa is full of hot water that does not get changed with each use like your bathtub. Hot water over time can become a breeding ground for all sorts of microorganisms. The health risks can include, but are not limited to septicemia, skin rash and infection, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and legionellosis – a potentially fatal infectious disease.

These risks can be can be eliminated and controlled with proper spa and hot tub water maintenance.

Today, we have many fantastic ways to treat and sanitize hot tub water, so lets discuss a few things you need to know about treating your hot tub or spa water.

Shock Treatments

One of the first things to discuss when it comes to spa and hot tub maintenance is shock treatment. Shocking you spa or hot tub water is a way to breakdown dirt, soaps, body oils, lotions and other impurities that cannot be removed by your hot tub’s filter. It is recommended to shock treat you spa or hot tub water from time to time to keep these impurities from building up and becoming food for bacteria and algae.

Most manufacturers recommend a non-chlorine shock treatment, but there are several treatments available. Please see your owner’s manual for your manufacturer’s recommendations.


Chlorine is not used as often because of the odor and because it breaks down so quickly in the hot water. Bromine Tablets or Granules are a more popular method of sanitizing hot water today. They have a relatively low odor, but they are not odor free. While bromine is very effective, some people have a low tolerance for it and it can cause skin dryness.

There are other sanitizers that use copper ionization to kill bacteria and algae and they are very effective. They also have the advantage of being truly odorless which is important to many spa and hot tub users. The levels of copper also remain very low so the water is still safe for people and pets.

One thing to keep in mind with copper ionization is it is not compatible with other chemicals used to treat stains and inhibit metals. You need to use only those chemicals that are specifically designed to work with the copper.

Balanced Water

What do we mean by balanced water? Well, simply put, balanced water is neither too alkaline nor too acidic.

Water that is too alkaline has a very high pH and can cause scale to build up and create problems with the hot tub or spa equipment. Water that is very acidic has a low pH and can erode and damage plumbing and seals.

Balanced water is right in the middle and also helps sanitizers work a lot better. You can easily test the pH of your water by using simple test strips.

Total Alkalinity

Total Alkalinity is important because it really indicates how well the water will maintain a change in pH levels. Chemicals that raise or lower the pH of your water can adjust total alkalinity. See your user manual for specific recommendations.

Staining and Scale Buildup

Unsightly stains and scale not only make your hot tub look old and uninviting, they can become very difficult to remove over time. We recommend using a stain and scale preventer to keep your tub looking nice.

Water Hardness

In some areas of the country, water hardness is not a problem and in fact may require adding a chemical to increase the amount of dissolved calcium in the water. Here in Arizona, we have extremely hard water and that needs to be considered when adjusting your water chemistry. You typically cannot remove dissolved calcium from your water. Please see your user manual for specific recommendations.

Other Water Chemicals

There are various other water chemicals that will solve most any problem you have with your spa or hot tub water. There are de-foamers to reduce foam, and even scents to make your spa or hot tub water smell nice adding to the overall experience. In all cases it is important to check your user manual or speak to your manufacturer before trying something new in your spa water.

Leisure Time Chemicals

One of the best ways to start off right each time you drain and refill your spa or hot tub is to use a hose filter that will filter a lot of the initial impurities from your water making it easier to find balance and create a safe hot tubbing environment.

Maintaining your spa or hot tub water will allow you to safely enjoy your hot tub or spa for years to come.

Hot Tub and Spa Safety Tips

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There is nothing like having your own spa or hot tub to soak away life’s daily stresses and provide a gateway for total relaxation. Using a hot tub can be part of your healthy and active lifestyle. As wonderful and healthy as reaching this point of relaxation can be, there are a few safety tips you need to keep in mind anytime you use your spa or hot tub.

Water Temperature

The first danger to keep in mind is the temperature of the water. The National Spa and Pool Institute has set a safe maximum temperature of 104 degrees for hot tubs and spas and most hot tubs and spas today are not able to exceed that maximum temperature.

Healthy adults should not spend more then about 15 minutes in water of that temperature because soaking longer then that can raise the body’s core temperature to dangerous levels. Not only do we recommend lowering your spa’s water temperature a few degrees to save money, lowering the water temperature is recommended by many healthcare professionals.

While 104 degrees is the maximum temperature for healthy adults, children and infants should not bathe or soak on water above about 95 degrees. Adults who have a history health problems including but not limited to high blood pressure, heart disease or circulatory problems or any other serious illness or disease should consult a doctor before ever using a hot tub or a spa. Again, please ask your doctor for his or her specific recommendations.

Don’t go it alone

Just like swimming, when using a hot tub or spa, never do it alone. In the event of a problem, there is someone there to get help or be of assistance. Soaking in hot water can also have the effect of draining your energy to the point of immobility. It is possible that after sitting in a hot tub too long and you would not be able to climb out.

Of course, always watch children around water of any kind and NEVER leave children unattended in any spa or hot tub or swimming or wading pool.

Drugs and/or Alcohol

Hot water has the ability to increase the absorption of many prescription drugs and especially alcohol into your system. Talk to your doctor about the prescription drugs you are taking before spending time in your hot tub. Adding alcohol to your hot tubing can be risky because of the more rapid absorption into your blood stream. We suggest hot tub users refrain from alcoholic beverages while hot tubing.


Hot tubs and spas have the ability to raise the body’s core temperature to levels that can be extremely dangerous to an unborn baby. If you are pregnant, never use a spa or hot tub without speaking to your doctor about it first.

Water pH and Sanitizers

Always check the levels of sanitizers and know the pH of your water before entering your hot tub. Improper balance in your water’s pH may allow for harmful bacteria growth that may prove a serious health risk. Use test strips to verify and monitor the Total Alkalinity and pH.

Spa cover for safetySpa Cover

Spa and hot tub covers serve a dual purpose. They help retain heat to cut your energy costs down, but they also serve as a safety barrier for pets and small children. Always make sure you replace the cover on your hot tub or spa after you are done using it, and make sure to lock it into place with the locking tabs on all four corners.

In the sun and heat, the cover clips will weaken and wear out. They are very easy to replace. Just check with your local spa store or find them online. Remember, NEVER leave children unattended around a spa or hot tub even if your cover is securely clipped into place.


If you remember these simple and common sense safety tips, you will be enjoying your hot tub or spa for years to come. Enjoy and Relax!

Top 5 Money Saving Tips for your Spa or Hot Tub

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Having a hot tub is great and using it on a regular basis is what it is all about. Unfortunately, you may be throwing money away if you are not following these top 5 energy saving – money saving tips.

1 – Spa Cover

You must have a good quality cover if you want to save money on your energy bills. The reason most portable spas and hot tubs are a better value then those built in next to your swimming pool is mainly because of the spa cover. Heat rises so even though your spa or hot tub is well insulated under the acrylic shell, 85%-90% of your heat is lost out the top of the spa.

To be effective, your cover should be in good shape and attach snugly with the tie straps to prevent heat from leaking out. If your cover has deteriorated, it is starting to loose the ability to retain heat. Consequently, you will be paying a lot more to keep your spa’s water at temperature.

Over time, especially in the Arizona sun, covers will wear out and deteriorate and begin to absorb and retain water. Does you cover feel especially heavy when you lift it, or does water drain from your cover when it is tipped up? If so, your cover has started to hold water like a sponge. This means you are wasting heating dollars because a water logged cover has almost zero insulation value.

If you cover is no longer doing the job it was meant to do, call us and we can order you a new, custom-made cover for your spa or hot tub. You will spend two or three times more on your energy in one season then it will cost to replace your cover. Besides, a new cover always makes you tub look great and it is an important safety feature as well! We can also tell you how to protect your cover from the Arizona sun and make it last 3-4 times longer then normal. Ask us about a new cover today! 602-334-0077

2 – Thermostat Settings

Spa Thermostat

5 money saving tips for spas & hot tubs

Hot tubs and spas will typically heat water up to about 104 degrees. Because it takes exponentially more energy to heat the water for each additional degree, lowering your thermostat by 2 or 3 degrees will add up to a lot of money saved over time. The best part is you will scarcely notice the water temperature difference when using your tub, but you will notice the savings on your power bill.

3 – Time of day energy usage

This is a simple one. Check with your energy company and see if you are on a Time of Day, or an Off-Peak/On -Peak plan for your electrical usage.  If not, you may ask about signing up. While some people may not have seen a huge difference in their energy bills with these plans before they got a spa or hot tub, (I know we didn’t) after getting a spa or hot tub, these plans can be your best friend.

If your hot tub has a programmable thermostat, or if you have a programable circuit, program your spa to heat only during the off-peak hours. If your cover is in good shape (See money-saving tip #1) the water will retain it’s heat for several hours even after the heating elements are turned off. You will notice this one on your power bill guaranteed!

4 – Going on vacation

If you are going on vacation, or if you just use your hot tub on the weekends, consider either turning your hot tub down to the lowest setting or turning it off completely. In the winter, if you live in a place that freezes, you need to keep some heat on to prevent to prevent the water from freezing and damaging your pipes, or winterize your tub by draining all the water from the tub and the pipes. Check with the manufacturer or your owner’s manual for directions for your spa or hot tub.

5 – Air Jets and Blowers

Hot Tub with Bubbles

5 Money Saving tips for Spas & Hot Tubs

Using the jets or blowers on your spa is wonderfully relaxing and therapeutic. Air jets and blowers introduce air into the tub and create those wonderful relaxing bubbles. When cooler air circulates in your tub, it will lower the water temperature just like blowing on a bowl of hot soup will cool it enough to eat. As the water temperature lowers, your heating elements kick on to compensate for the heat loss.

Your spa was designed to work that way, but if you keep the blowers or air jets running when you are not using your spa or hot tub, you’re wasting money. Only turn on the jets or blowers when you are using your hot tub.  You will thank me for the advice later.

Most newer models of spa and hot tubs use air jets that pull warm air from the cabinet to create the bubbles in your spa. They are more energy efficient then the older blowers. Check with your spa manufacturer or check your owner’s manual for the specifics on your model.

Well, there you go. The top 5 ways to save money and still enjoy your spa or hot tub from AZ Clear Choice Spa & Hot Tub Movers.