In recent years a lot of interest has been generated for saltwater hot tubs. Sometimes they will be referred to as saltwater filters. The saltwater portion of the hot tub does not have anything to do with filtration rather the sanitization of the spa. Many websites present the Saltwater hot tubs as magical therapeutic systems that don’t need chemicals. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A saltwater system is simply the process of splitting the NaCl molecule (salt) into separate components. The result is available Chlorine (the Cl) which is the same as throwing a capful of chlorine into your spa.
Who is it good for?
Saltwater hot tubs are great for people that will check and manage their spa daily. The process of splitting NaCl generates chlorine at a steady pace which can build up to extremely high levels causing severe damage to your spa. If you check many manufacturer’s websites they will refer to chemical abuse as an exclusion to the warranty. Pump seals, headrests, control decals, diverter knobs, and even your spas shell can be damaged in a very short period. This process also raises the PH very quickly which is also damaging. Currently, there are no systems that are smart enough to know when chlorine and PH have gotten out of limits and make adjustments. For this reason, they are only good for people that will manage their spa daily.
Many people feel that since they have a saltwater pool and it works great, so should saltwater hot tubs. The challenge is that a pool can average 20,000 gallons and a spa 400 gallons. The damaging effects happen drastically faster in the smaller volume of water.
It is worth noting that some manufacturers refer to mineral systems as saltwater hot tubs. This can cause some confusion because the spa is not manufacturing chlorine which leaves the spa unprotected. These are called freshwater salt hot tubs. If you read the owner’s manual, you will see that these spas call for significant addition of traditional chlorine.
Who are they not good for?
As I mentioned, people that don’t want to check and manage their spa daily should consider another method of sanitization. We find that most of our customers prefer a system that needs maybe weekly or biweekly attention. We find they people strongly prefer using UV systems in conjunction with a mineral. Both pieces of this puzzle are harmless to the spa…..even if you ignore it!
We want spa customers to enjoy their spas regardless if they purchased them from us or not. Easy management and spa care make for more positive experiences which makes for more spa buyers. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting and how to properly and safely manage that system.