Several Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Is NOT Just a Tiny Swimming Pool

Several Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Is NOT Just a Tiny Swimming Pool

Several Reasons Why Your Hot Tub Is NOT Just a Tiny Swimming Pool

by Terry Arko via

Many who buy a hot tub often do so with a misconception that caring for a small hot tub will be easier and involve less chemical use and time than a swimming pool would. Those who have cared for spas/ hot tubs know that nothing is farther from the truth. These individuals have discovered that spas and hot tubs aren’t just tiny swimming pools.

The Difference Between Pools and Hot Tubs

In fact a hot tub is much more than just a tiny swimming pool. There are many differences between a pool and hot tub and these differences call for a different and more strategic plan for care. Listed below are some of the major differences between hot tubs and pools.

Temperature – Most pools max temp 80° Spas/Hot tubs 92° to 104°

Higher evaporation rate – leads to more scale and increased calcium levels

Air jets and blowers cause quicker chemical reduction

Water balance – smaller body of water means greater effect on pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and TDS from added chemicals

Bather load ratio – 3 people in average spa/hot tub = 300 in a backyard swimming pool

Using The Right Chemicals

Many hot tub owners may fall in to the trap of using the same chemicals in the spas as they do in their pools. This can seem to make sense because they get the products in bulk for the pool and save by using fewer chemicals. However this can also be a very costly mistake.

Tri-Chlor tablets should never be used for stand-alone hot tubs

Trichlor tablets are highly acidic and heavily concentrated for treating larger bodies of water. The acidity of Tri-chlor tablets will rapidly destroy total alkalinity’s buffering capacity leading to a severe drop in pH.

Soda ash for pool use should not be used to manage the total alkalinity and pH of a hot tub

This can cause problems and frustration due to the high pH of soda ash being introduced into a small amount of water. It will be particularly difficult to manage the total alkalinity without causing a spike in pH. This pH spike could reach as high as the pH of the soda ash itself, which is 13. Then you play a catch twenty- two game adding acid to lower then adding more soda ash to raise but never being able to reach a balance.

Never use liquid muriatic pool acid in a hot tub

…as it could cause major problems if overdosed.

The best way to deal with both total alkalinity and pH adjustment in a hot tub is to use an alkalinity adjuster and pH products specifically designed for hot tub water.

Do not use liquid chlorine to sanitize your hot tub

There is approximately 1 pound of salt in every gallon of liquid chlorine. When that is being added to a small body of water such as in a hot tub it will cause the total alkalinity, pH and hardness to increase very rapidly. Because spas have a high evaporation rate caused by the higher temperature of the water and bather load, the TDS will also spike, which will mean the water will have to be frequently drained. You can also cause scale problems that can lead to plugged filters and equipment failure.

There is one last warning I have regarding sanitizers and shock treatments for hot tubs. I don’t advise that you buy your chemicals from the big box stores just to save money. Here’s why:

Most of what’s sold at the big box is cheap grade, cut product that requires more addition and can actually cause damage to your hot tub and the equipment. One example is a popular big box brand uses calcium hypochlorite chlorine as a shock treatment for hot tubs and recommends this be used frequently.

What they don’t tell you is that calcium added to a hot tub frequently is the worst thing you can do. It will lead to high pH problems, excessive scale, hard water and can lead to a damaged heater.

You made a big investment on your hot tub. Don’t skimp on the vital part of water care. Buy from independent professionals who know the industry and who have the knowledge to ensure you get the best experience from your hot tub and the longest life of the tub possible.

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