This is the third post in the series “The Top 5 Tips for Buying a Hot Tub or Spa.” In this series we will discuss the most important considerations when choosing the hot tub that is perfect for you. Each day we will cover one of the top five tips with a new post and we encourage you to leave your comments, thoughts or opinions below.
Tip #3: Filtration and Maintenance
Most portable hot tubs and spas use a cartridge-type filtration system to ensure clear, sparkling water. In cartridge filter systems, water is drawn in to the center of the filter, catching small particles and debris on the filter’s surface, then the water is pushed back out through the filter back into the spa. When shopping for a hot tub, an important question to ask is, “How many square feet of filtration is offered in this particular spa?” The larger the filter’s surface area, the more debris that is able to be filtered out of the spa water. Some hot tubs will have one large filter, while others may have two or more smaller filters. The filters will need to be cleaned and replaced periodically, so you will want them to be easy to access and remove. Plus, you may want to get an idea of what the cost of replacement will be, especially if you do have to purchase multiple filters at one time.
Another key point of filtration and clean water is the spa’s automatic filtration cycle. The water in a hot tub needs to be filtered several times throughout the day. During a filtration cycle the jets will turn on for a specified amount of time and move water through the filter, as discussed in the previous paragraph. Many spas feature pre-programmed filter cycles or even customizable filter cycles to adapt to bather load and general spa use. This entails programming how many times your spa is filtered as well as how long each filter cycle runs. You can even set the time of day that it runs, so it doesn’t interrupt you when you are sleeping or spending quality time outside near the spa.
A circulation pump is another feature that assists with hot tub filtration. A circulation pump keeps a small amount of water moving throughout the spa’s filter system 24 hours a day. It helps prevent standing water from becoming stale and works in conjunction with the hot tub’s programmable filtration cycles to ensure fresh, clean water. A circulation pump is usually offered in premium spa models and also aids in energy-efficiency, which means a lower monthly bill.
Ozonators are usually included or available as an option for most spas. Ozone has been around for many years and aids a hot tub by assisting with sanitization and reducing the amount of chemical maintenance required. Ozone is often a very misunderstood topic for spa buyers and sometimes even amongst those in the industry, which is why I would like to refer to a recent article from SpaRetailer, titled “Ozone Generators Demystified“:
“Ozone is created when oxygen molecules are split by a high-energy electrical discharge resulting in two individual oxygen atoms. Those individual oxygen atoms unite with remaining oxygen molecules to produce a three-atom molecule of ozone gas. The weak bond holding ozone’s third oxygen atom causes the molecule to be extremely unstable and thus, a very effective oxidizer.
An oxidation reaction occurs upon any collision between an ozone molecule and an inorganic or organic molecule or substance such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and algae, where the oxygen atom held by the weak bond splits off and only oxygen is left behind. So, ozone is actually a gas manufactured by the method described above, created inside a chamber, housed in various styles of containers.
There are two types of ozonators used in hot tubs. One style produces ozone using an ultraviolet light, which oxygen passes through, immediately separating the atoms. The second style produces ozone by a process called Corona Discharge, or CD. This is actually a chamber inside the container that creates little electrical charges to split the atoms. The CD method has an operating life of about five years while the ultraviolet style lasts about one year.”
To read more from this article click here.
Tip: When shopping for a hot tub don’t be afraid to ask, “Does this hot tub have an ozonator? What kind of ozonator is it?”
Spa Care and Weekly Maintenance
Weekly maintenance should only take a few minutes each week and is as easy as testing the water, adding chemicals, and periodically cleaning the filter cartridge. We have outlined an Easy to Follow Spa Care Program and there is much more information found in our Hot Tub Handbook.
If you missed the first part of this series you can find it here:
As always, we would love to learn from your thoughts and questions in the comments below…