Ever wondered if you need to add chlorine to your spa or how much is too much? We’ve got answers to all your chemical questions.
The best hot tubs are safe hot tubs. We’re not just talking about physical safety, but hygiene as well. If you want to ensure that your loved ones have a fun time in your spa and the water stays clean and germ-free, you need to use some form of pathogen killing chemical. Chlorine is one of these options.
Adding chlorine to your hot tub-care routine isn’t complicated, but there are some basic things to know before getting started. We’ve answered some common questions to help you out.
What is chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical element that, in its natural form, exists as a yellow-green gas. It’s a great disinfectant that kills a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasites in water. That’s why it’s so commonly used in swimming pools.
But it’s not the gaseous form that’s used to sanitise water. Chlorine disinfectants are usually a mixture of different materials. Most of the compound is chlorine while the rest are agents that help stabilise and bind the mixture. If you seek out chlorine to use in your hot tub you will likely come across it in a granular form that dissolves easily.
Why should I use it?
Owing a hot tub means being responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. It’s not enough to get rid of the grime and dirt you can see, you’ve got to think about dealing with the invisible germs and pathogens in the water, too. That’s where chlorine comes in.
Harmful microorganisms love the water temperatures in hot tubs—they thrive in the warmth. If they aren’t maintained correctly, it could lead to skin infections, breathing problems or even stomach bugs. The victim could be anyone—a young child or a grandparent or someone with pre-existing illnesses—which is why the germs need to be eliminated.
Bonus: The chlorine also helps get rid of body fats and oils that seep into the water after a soak.
Is chlorine harmful?
Chlorine isn’t harmful if used correctly. As long as you ensure you use good quality granules and the right amount, you won’t have any trouble.
It’s important to use the right kind of chlorine mixture. You might think that all water is the same, and therefore all chlorine used to disinfect it is the same. That isn’t true. Water can be soft or hard, depending on where you are and the minerals in the water. Using the same amount of chlorine in soft water as you do hard water could result in problems.
You’ve got to be careful not to confuse dichlor with calcium hypochlorite, which is also in a granular form. The big difference is the presence of calcium in the latter. This can ruin your hot tubs by causing scales to grow on certain heating components.
If you use too much of a product or a combination of too many of them you could end up creating an uncomfortable environment that causes your eyes and skin to sting.
So use chlorine, but use it wisely.
How does it work?
When the chlorine mixture dissolves in water it creates chemicals that are harmful for bacteria. Don’t worry, humans aren’t affected. The chlorine destroys the microorganism’s cell walls, before attacking the enzymes and acids within the creature.
Once the job is done, the chemicals naturally start to break down. This happens faster when there’s exposure to sunlight.
Two things to keep in mind:
First: the chlorination process takes about half an hour, so ensure you dissolve the granules well before you decide to use the hot tub.
Second: since the chemicals break down over time, they need to be replaced to ensure a clean environment. That’s why you need to be regular using your chlorine products.
What about the pH levels?
It’s important that the hot tub water doesn’t get too acidic with the addition of the chlorine granules, which is why you need to keep testing the pH levels. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14; 7 is the neutral halfway mark. Anything below 7 means the water is too acidic and the chlorine may not be as effective. Chlorine works best between a pH reading of 7 and 8.
What spa chlorine should I use and how much do I need?
There are a lot of hot tub chlorine granule brands in the market. It’s important to invest in a good quality product, not just the cheapest one. Some disinfectants could leave residues in your hot tub and may not kill bacteria efficiently.
We recommend starting by testing your water and seeing the pH level. This then will dictate what you need to add to your water, and if you need products other than chlorine. Contact us to chat about what you need for your spa, and if chlorine is the best option for you.