Is running my hot tub without chemicals ok?
These are a few of the many questions we get asked regarding hot tub usage, especially by potential hot tub owners who’ve been searching for answers and found very little information.
Below we offer advice to owners using plastic, fiberglass, or acrylic lined hot tubs.
People with wooden hot tubs need to be more aware that bacteria is more prevalent inside timber because of the minute joints in the timber allowing bacteria to colonize these places easily and also it is very awkward to clean those points out thoroughly without chemical usage.
However, cedar is a timber used mainly in the US for hot tub production and is naturally resistant to bacteria.
Running a Hot Tub Without Chemicals is very feasible.
The problem here is most manufacturers are pushing their wares onto the public and obviously want to give them the best deal offering the least maintenance.
Because of this, they are promoting the use of additional chemicals like Chlorine and Bromine as sanitizers. These prolong the time between water replacement sessions, where the whole hot tub is fully emptied out, cleaned and refilled once again including their suggested required chemicals.
Also, it doesn’t cover the problems associated with people understanding the complicated balancing act required where one chemical reacts with another, (can occur naturally in your supplied water feed) throwing the whole lot into chaos.
Generally speaking, YES, you can have a chlorine-free hot tub.
You can also run your hot tub without bromine, but this requires a little extra effort on your part to make sure any bacteria is kept under control.
As a rule of thumb, hot tubs are emptied out (when they use only chemical control) roughly once every two or three months. But if you use no chemicals it is much better to change the water more frequently – monthly (assuming you have a plentiful supply) to keep bacteria to a minimum.
Looking at the pH scale, acid is measured lower than 7.0 (midway between the 0 pH and 14 pH) and alkaline is anything above 7.0 pH.
From this, you will see we are on the alkaline side of neutral by a small margin and sadly this is where pathogens and bacteria also thrive.
On top of this, they need warmth, moisture and food.
And can you guess what you are offering them in abundance???
Bacterial Food Sources in a Hot Tub
Their food comes from bodily waste like sweat, dead skin cells, urine and feces, fats from soap and shampoo, hair oil, suntan lotion, anything that is put on our bodies or virtually everything our bodies expel in the normal course of living.
This, in effect, floats up to the top of the water column if it doesn’t dissolve easily and provides any bacteria with an abundant supply of food and breeding possibilities.
From this, you will see that using neat water needs to be watched carefully, otherwise you will be overrun with potential bacterial diseases within a week, especially if the hot tub is used frequently or by multiple users.
Any partially dissolved waste gets caught by your filters and these need to be washed out more often, perhaps once per week in the dishwasher or washing machine with no detergent of any kind used.
Another point to be wary of is it is not wise to eat in a hot tub that has not been shocked regularly as this bacteria can quite easily be transferred from wet hands into your gut, causing food poisoning shortly after using the hot tub.
So How Do We Go On About Running a Hot Tub Without Chemicals
There are a few ways!
Basically, limiting the amount of ‘food’ being deposited into hot tub water is the first consideration and frequent change of water is the second.
There are also alternatives to using chlorine in hot tubs to achieve running your hot tub without chemicals, like The Natural Hot Tub Company’s Water Treatment and Conditioner. This is a very highly recommended product that works wonders for skin conditions and virtually eliminates waste products. Want to know more?? Click this Green Tab
By bathing before you enter the hot tub, you will be removing a great deal of that ‘food’, although asking your friends to shower before they jump in is perhaps not the best thing to do – otherwise, you may start losing your friends.
That’s fine if there’s only you and your partner, but if you have kids, they are very careless after using the toilet, some adults are too, so you’ll need to look at other alternatives.
Not only that, but if you have had a hard day and jump straight in to unwind you are providing that ‘food’ after your exertions over the day.
Adding this will create a depleted food source for bacteria, preferably added after each bathing session, to allow it time to work overnight or in the hot tub’s downtime. Once that is done, simply add the following sanitizers and you’re set to go with no worries about chemical imbalances. The Natural Hot Tub Company’s Water Treatment and Conditioner. Again, if you want to know more about this product, click this green tab.
You can always use a mineral sanitizer like the Zodiac W20750 Nature2 SPA Stick Mineral Sanitizer to keep your water clean.
These are simply minerals added to a floating dispenser and they allow silver and copper ions to be absorbed in the water to eliminate any build-up of decomposable matter which cause problems if left undisturbed for some time.
Being inexpensive and easy to set up, these are well-used products around the world.
Keeping your hot tub water balanced is also a must-do.
This is very important for any hot tub sanitation method, however, it is extremely important when you are operating a chlorine or bromine free spa or hot tub.
You must maintain your pH level at 7.0-7.6, your alkalinity at 80-120 ppm and your water hardness at 180-220 ppm.
Using the above Water Treatment and Conditioner should keep your water levels right providing you keep the pH readings right using either test strips or more accurately with the pHin mentioned below.
Using the floating pHin test monitor gives you a positive guaranteed reading of your hot tub water all the time sent directly to your phone, that way eliminating any doubt you may have about your water quality.
These boost the acidity, killing off any bacteria that has developed and gradually evaporate from your hot tub leaving a balanced water level, much along the same lines as chlorine does.
You’ll no doubt need to use these non-chlorine shock treatments on a weekly basis to eradicate any developing bacteria to allow the conditioner to do its job thoroughly.
Using a Spa Ozonator
An Ozonator provides extra oxygen molecules (ozone) into the water to break down anything very quickly and the one shown to the left is the most popular, relatively inexpensive and has the best customer ratings on Amazon.
It is suitable for 110/220 volt supplies and is maintenance-free.
You may be thinking – but isn’t water H2O?
Yes, it is, but by adding extra free oxygen atoms into the mix any living or decomposing matter is automatically eradicated, meaning less chemicals are needed to control bacteria, plus an Ozonator is far more beneficial to anyone who has sensitive skin because of the lack of chemicals needed.
You’ll need to check on your Ozonator to see if it is working, as they are not so obvious other than minute bubbles being formed in the water flow and also, if you are going down the mineral cartridge route, replace the mineral cartridges as suggested by the manufacturer to keep the amount of copper and silver ions at the right level to be productive.
As an aside, a hot tub ionizer provides hot tub silver and copper ions abundantly with very little effect on bathers, merely keeping bacteria levels down. You’d not even be aware it was in the water.
But in our opinion, the easiest option is to use the Natural Hot Tub Water Company’s products so you’ll have no concerns about water quality.
Non Chlorine Shock Treatments
For this, SpaGuard Enhanced Shock is our recommendation.
It is a highly praised shock treatment for hot tubs and spas where no chlorine is added to the water. It dissolves and acts virtually instantly in breaking down the ‘food’ we leave in our hot tubs and spas.
By removing and neutralizing the ‘food’ it also helps eliminate clouding of the water, plus helps considerably in dealing with developing smells associated with the chemical breakdown of this ‘food’.
On top of this, you can jump in immediately after dosing your spa, unlike shocking with chlorine, where you have to wait until the water balances out properly to stop skin and eye aggravation.