Attention hot tub lovers: If you use chlorine, make sure it’s the right kind!

May 21, 2019 – Recently we had a customer contact us that takes care of multiple tubs out on the coast. They were having some issues with the screw mounts for the pillows rusting. This was a very odd situation, as we normally don’t have issues like this on our tubs.

After some further investigating, we discovered that floaters were being used in the hot tubs to do the sanitizing. A floater is really the worst way to take care of sanitizing your tub—about the most “dinosaur” method still used. It’s difficult to regulate the amount of sanitizer being dissolved into the body of water. Then, it starts to seek out what it wants to “eat” after bacteria is gone: pH, tub shell, and more. Left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on hot tub parts, the underside of the cover, equipment…it’s just not smart.

What I just mentioned in regard to using a floater is the normal counseling we give when using it with bromine tablets (another sanitizer we don’t recommend at Olympic).

Well, when we contacted the folks to discuss this and got deeper into it, the situation got even worse. It turned out that the floaters were filled with tri-chlor tablets. Tri-chlor is meant for use in concrete pools and designed to work on bacteria that can thrive in cooler water. This not only can be an unsafe way to treat and sanitize hot water, it really sets you up to damage your hot tub, and in some cases that damage could be catastrophic. Tri-chlor is very acidic in nature, which means that it will not only create a low pH environment, it will tank your alkalinity level as well. Heater elements and other components are defenseless against this type of attack and will get compromised. And, any of the plastics in your tub could become brittle and shrink (can anyone say leaks?). Some of this damage will happen without your knowledge, as it will affect parts and plumbing that you can’t see.

It’s pretty clear in the owner’s manuals for Hot Spring Spas—the brand of tub we offer—that tri-chlor use is an absolute no-no and will void your warranty.

How do these things happen? Well, the #1 reason is drifting away from your hot tub retailer and going with the magical “I found it cheaper” train of thought. This is the time of year that big box stores decide they’re rogue hot tub and pool water care companies. They sometimes buy up cheap off-brand stuff with no regard for what you might accidentally buy that will be absolutely wrong for the tub you own.

The correct chlorine—if that’s your water care choice—is chlorine that is 99% sodium di-chlor. This is the right blend of chlorine to kill bacteria in 100+ degree water, have a more stable pH, and NOT introduce an environment where overproduction of cyanuric acid can develop and run rampant. It also dissipates correctly so it will not cause damage to your tub and its components.

It will absolutely be more expensive to use. It will also make sure bathers don’t get hot tub rash, and it will not ruin your hot tub to the point where you’ll have to abandon it for a new one. Di-chlor is a lot less expensive than a new tub! And, no one’s health is worth risking over popping tri-chlor tablets into a floater in your tub.

We have customers visit our stores regularly and call our Service Center with all kinds of water care questions and concerns. This happens because we’ve been in this business for 42 years and can help give guidance and recommendations for the right way to sanitize and take care of your hot tub. Your hot tub retailer was your choice to buy your hot tub from for a very very good reason! Give them the courtesy of making sure you continue to have a happy healthy hot tub AND water that is clean and sanitary for anyone that soaks in it. They can also recommend alternatives to make your hot tub water care simple and in many cases allow you to use fewer products that will be better for you.

You’ll protect your investment and enjoy safe healthy soaking every single day.

Sounds like a good plan, yes?


Don Riling

Author: Don Riling

Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 20 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through hot water & sauna therapy.

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