Saltwater in a hot tub? When it comes to hot tubs, the traditional method of keeping the water clean and clear has been through the use of harsh chemicals like chlorine. However, in recent years, an alternative method has gained popularity: saltwater hot tubs.
By using a saltwater system, hot tub owners can enjoy a more natural and gentler approach to water treatment. But is a saltwater hot tub the right choice for you?
In this blog post, I’ll explore the pros and cons of saltwater hot tubs, so you can make an informed decision about whether this innovative system is the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences. So, whether you’re a seasoned hot tub owner or considering your first dip, read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of a saltwater hot tub.
6 Key Facts
Here are six important things to know about owning a saltwater hot tub:
- Saltwater hot tubs still require maintenance – While saltwater systems use natural chlorine generated from salt, they still require regular maintenance to keep the water clean and balanced. This includes testing the water chemistry, cleaning the filter, and occasionally adding chemicals to adjust the pH or alkalinity levels.
- Saltwater systems can be more expensive upfront – While saltwater hot tubs can save you money on chemical costs in the long run, the initial cost of installation can be higher than a traditional hot tub. This is because a saltwater system requires specialized equipment.
- Saltwater hot tubs can be gentler on the skin – For people with sensitive skin, a saltwater hot tub may be a better choice than a traditional hot tub with harsh chlorine chemicals. Saltwater is gentler on the skin and can leave it feeling softer and less irritated.
- Saltwater systems can be more eco-friendly – Unlike traditional hot tubs, saltwater systems do not require the use of harsh chemicals that can harm the environment. In addition, saltwater systems use less energy than traditional hot tubs because they do not require as much power to run the system.
- Saltwater hot tubs require a lower level of salinity – Saltwater hot tubs require a higher level of salinity than the ocean, typically around 3000 to 5000 parts per million (ppm). This means that adding too much salt can be harmful to the system and may require draining and refilling the hot tub.
- Saltwater hot tubs may require more maintenance for the hot tub cover – Saltwater systems can be corrosive to some hot tub cover materials, such as metal or cheap vinyl. It is important to choose a hot tub cover that is specifically designed to withstand saltwater conditions.
What are the Myths of Salt Water in a Hot Tub?
When it comes to saltwater systems for hot tubs, there are several myths and misconceptions that have circulated among hot tub owners. Let’s debunk some of these common myths:
Myth 1: Saltwater hot tubs are completely chlorine-free. Fact: Saltwater hot tubs do utilize salt to produce chlorine, but they are not entirely chlorine-free. Saltwater systems use a process called electrolysis, where salt is converted into chlorine through a salt cell. This chlorine is then used to sanitize the water. While the chlorine levels may be lower compared to traditional chlorine-based systems, it is still present in the water.
Myth 2: Saltwater hot tubs are maintenance-free. Fact: While saltwater systems can simplify the maintenance process to some extent, they are not entirely maintenance-free. Regular water testing, pH adjustments, and occasional cleaning of the salt cell are still necessary to maintain proper water balance and sanitation. Additionally, the water chemistry should be monitored and adjusted as needed.
Myth 3: Saltwater hot tubs won’t damage or corrode the equipment. Fact: Saltwater can be corrosive to certain materials, including metal components and some types of hot tub equipment. It’s important to choose a hot tub model and equipment that are specifically designed to handle saltwater environments. Regular inspections and maintenance of the equipment are essential to prevent corrosion and ensure longevity.
Myth 4: Saltwater hot tubs won’t irritate the skin or eyes. Fact: Saltwater systems, just like chlorine-based systems, can potentially cause skin and eye irritation if not properly balanced. Improper water chemistry, such as high chlorine levels or unbalanced pH, can lead to discomfort. Regular water testing and maintaining appropriate water balance are key to minimizing potential irritations.
Myth 5: Saltwater hot tubs are more expensive to maintain. Fact: While the initial investment for a saltwater system may be higher than a traditional chlorine system, the long-term maintenance costs can be comparable or even lower. Salt cells typically last for a few years before requiring replacement, and the ongoing cost of salt is generally lower compared to purchasing chlorine products regularly.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness and experience of a saltwater hot tub can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the system, proper installation, and maintenance practices. If you’re considering a saltwater hot tub, it’s recommended to consult with a reputable dealer or manufacturer to understand the specific requirements and benefits of the system for your hot tub.
Remember, regardless of the sanitization method you choose, proper water maintenance and regular testing are crucial for maintaining a clean and safe hot tub environment.
What are the Benefits of Mineral Filtration in a Hot Tub?
Mineral filtration is becoming an increasingly popular method of water treatment in hot tubs, and for good reason. One of the main benefits of mineral filtration is that it can reduce the amount of harsh chemicals needed to keep the water clean and balanced.
This is because mineral filtration systems use natural minerals, such as copper and silver, to help sanitize the water. These minerals work together to destroy bacteria, algae, and other contaminants, leaving the water clean and clear. In addition, mineral filtration can also help to soften the water and make it feel smoother on the skin.
This can be especially beneficial for people with sensitive skin or those who experience dryness or irritation from traditional hot tub chemicals. Overall, mineral filtration can provide a more natural and gentle approach to water treatment in hot tubs, while still maintaining a clean and healthy environment for you to enjoy.
How do Salt Water Systems Work in a Hot Tub?
Saltwater systems in hot tubs work by generating natural chlorine from salt. The system consists of a salt cell, which is a chamber that contains a series of metal plates coated with a thin layer of specialized material.
When an electric current is passed through the cell, the salt in the water is converted into hypochlorous acid, which is a natural form of chlorine. This process, known as electrolysis, releases the chlorine into the water, where it acts as a sanitizer to kill bacteria and other contaminants.
The level of salt in a saltwater hot tub is typically around 3,000 to 5,000 parts per million (ppm), which is much lower than the salt level in seawater. The salt is added to the hot tub as needed and does not need to be replenished very often, as it does not evaporate with the water.
One of the benefits of using a saltwater system in a hot tub is that it can provide a more natural and gentle approach to water treatment, without the harsh chemicals that are often used in traditional chlorine-based systems. Saltwater systems can also help to reduce the amount of maintenance required for the hot tub, as they can be more efficient and require less frequent chemical additions.
However, it is important to note that saltwater systems still require regular maintenance to ensure that the water remains balanced and clear. This includes testing the water chemistry regularly, cleaning the filter, and occasionally adding chemicals to adjust the pH or alkalinity levels.
Overall, saltwater systems can be a great option for hot tub owners who want a more natural and gentle approach to water treatment, but it is important to understand how they work and the maintenance required to keep the system running effectively.
What is an Alternative to Salt Water in a Hot Tub?
Ultraviolet (UV) water treatment systems can be an effective alternative to saltwater systems in hot tubs. UV systems use a lamp that emits a specific wavelength of light that is able to destroy bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants in the water. This process, known as UV-C radiation, works by disrupting the DNA of microorganisms, which renders them unable to reproduce and spread.
One of the main benefits of UV systems is that they do not require the use of chemicals or salts, which can be harsh on the skin and the environment. This can make them a more natural and eco-friendly option for hot tub owners.
Additionally, UV systems can help to reduce the amount of maintenance required for the hot tub, as they do not require the same level of monitoring and adjustment as traditional chlorine-based systems.
However, it is important to note that UV systems alone may not be enough to keep the water completely sanitized, and may need to be used in combination with other treatment methods, such as active oxygen, chlorine or bromine although in reduced quantities.
Additionally, UV lamps need to be replaced periodically, typically every 1-2 years, to ensure that they are working effectively.
Overall, UV water treatment systems can be a great alternative to saltwater systems in hot tubs, providing a more natural and eco-friendly approach to water treatment while still maintaining a clean and healthy environment for you to enjoy.
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Thanks - Andi
Hi, Andi here. I own Buildahottub.com and also write all of the articles and info pages on the site. Some years back now, I built my own hot tub but struggled to find the information I needed. So, once my tub was complete, I started this website to help others in their own pursuit of hot tub and plunge pools DIY building information.
Today, I've helped over 900 DIY customers just like you all over the world build hot tubs and pools. Have a good look around the site, there are lots of resources here. Please do get in touch if I can help you. - Cheers, Andi