A hot tub is a small pool featuring hot water, which is used in spas or hydrotherapy centers. Like swimming pools, hot tubs also require regular sanitization to avoid the growth of algae and bacteria due to water containment. For years, bromine and chlorine have been used to sanitize hot tubs. However, owing to growing consciousness on the side effects of these chemicals, people have started using healthy alternatives. This post guides you through healthy hot tub chlorine alternatives and their benefits.
Hot Tub Chlorine Alternatives: What is Right for You
Bromine and chlorine are much cheaper than many of these alternatives, but they may produce strong chemical smell and bleaching effect, while also causing strong skin and eye irritation. Many of these are found indoor with poo ventilation systems that can cause lung and throat irritations. To avoid this, many people nowadays prefer any of these five hot tub chlorine alternatives:
- Copper Ionizers: These are systems that introduce copper ions into the water through electrolysis. The copper ions are produced by electrolytic controller devices that apply low current to a flow cell. These electrodes release metallic ions into the water when current passes through them. Generally, electrodes made of pure transition metals or their alloys. Copper only, copper/silver, copper/zinc/silver or copper/zinc alloys are generally utilized. In these electrodes, copper usually accounts for 70% or greater of the total metals. Intec-America utilizes 100% copper only electrodes as a standard in all of its ionization systems for swimming pool and spas. Other alloys are available as custom offerings.
These copper ions are known to disturb the balance of enzyme in algae cells. They pierce through their outer membrane and inhibit their food intake, thereby inactivating them. Copper ions are also known to have a similar impact on bacteria. They inhibit the process of photosynthesis in bacterial cells by percolating through their outer membrane.
- Ultraviolet Purifiers: These purifiers use UV rays to permanently damage the bacteria and microbes present in a hot tub. Ultraviolet purifiers comprise of a flow tube (quartz sleeve) that runs parallel with a UV bulbs inside a sealed enclosure. The water, when passing through the quartz sleeve, is exposed to UV radiation. Although a UV purifier is known to be effective, it requires regular servicing to maintain its efficiency. Hard water will scale on the quartz sleeve and reduces its effectiveness overtime. Since the only sanitation occurs withing the quartz sleeve and no sanitation residual is found in the body of water, a little amount of bromine or chlorine is required.
- Salt-based Systems: These disinfection systems have been around for a long time and are being marketed for their efficiency in sanitizing swimming pools and hot tubs. The chlorine is produced onsite through electrolysis using salt that is added into the water. The systems supply an electrical current to cathodes and anodes inside a flow cell that convert the chlorides into chlorine. Some SWG owners still believe that it is the salt keeping with pool sanitized and they are disappointed to discover they are essentially swimming in a chlorine pool!
- Copper-Algaecide Based Products: Other than copper ionizers, there various water treatment options in the market that claim to use copper as the active ingredient for killing algae. These products feature a copper sulfate formulation, which has been used for several decades for inhibiting algae growth in ponds, lakes, and other water bodies. Copper sulfate has a green / blue tint. Various scientific studies show that copper sulfate can reduce algae growth, but it cannot kill bacteria. Although copper sulfate products have been widely used, extra care needs to be taken when handling copper sulfate chemical as it causes irritating reactions on the skin or severe staining to a pool surface.
- Shock Treatment: Over the years, non-chlorine shock treatments have gained popularity. They are available in tablet, granular, or pillow forms. Most are sulfate-based and are known as monopersulfate (MPS). The lack of studies cannot determine if it is a sufficient antimicrobial treatment. However, they do possess strong oxidation properties. There is a misconception that these products are non-chlorinated, thus safer. However, this is not necessarily true. When used in required amounts they are good, but if used in les or over optimal amounts they may be unhealthy.
- Biguanides: Biguanides have been marketed as a great disinfection chemical for hot tubs and swimming pools. It is made of chemical polyhexamethylene biguanide, which possesses excellent disinfection properties. The chemical is also gentle on bathers skin and eyes and offers no known side effects. However, the only downside of this product is that it cannot work on its own. It still requires a non-bromine or non-chlorine based shock, because it cannot be combined with chlorine. Meaning, once its used you cannot reverse back to chlorine treatments. Without substantial draining of your pool.
As the benefits and disadvantages of all systems are introduced, the choice will entirely depend on your requirements. Of all the options mentioned here, copper ionization systems emerge as one of the safest and most reliable treatment options. So, if you are a hot tub or swimming pool owner, it is important to source these ionizers from a trusted supplier. Intec-America is a leading supplier of 100% copper electrode only copper ionizer systems. The company was the first to capitalize and market the NASA-based copper ionization systems for swimming pools.