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Innovations in spa water care

The past is the past

Prior to these advancements, it was commonplace for consumers to purchase a large amount of chemicals in various bottles that required constant measuring, pouring, and testing. It was up to them to figure out how to attain—and then consistently maintain—acceptable spa water levels. Balanced spa water is defined as: pH 7.2 to 7.6, alkalinity 80 to 120, hardness 100 to 250, and free chlorine 3 to 5 (or bromine 4 to 6, or salt 2 to 4).

Today, it is possible to combine any sanitizer with a dissolvable water-conditioning packet and the spa water’s pH will remain steady, allowing bathers to enjoy a relaxing soak in a spa full of soft-feeling water that is free of chemical odours and does not leave their skin dry or itchy. To ensure customers maximize the benefits of their spa, the water temperature should be plus/minus 32 C (90 F) and the sanitizer (chlorine, bromine, or salt) levels in the water should be properly maintained. This is necessary to eliminate bacteria, organic matter, and microbes that are introduced into the water by bathers.

It is also important for spa owners to understand: the more they use it, the quicker the sanitizer levels will be depleted. Further, if they do not want to smell chemicals while soaking in their spas, retailers should suggest customers add a water conditioner to neutralize these odours. These conditioners can also protect the components that produce jet streams and, as a result, keep them operating at peak performance. By ensuring efficient operation, spa owners can conserve energy and make sure their spa equipment lasts longer, which is another green benefit.

Retailers should also stress the importance of replacing the cover when the spa is not in use. This would protect the spa water from the elements and aid in water quality. Finally, when it is time to drain and refill the spa, a plumbing cleaner should be used to remove the buildup of organic deposit in the lines. Biofilm can clog jet streams; therefore, these lines should be purged so the homeowner can start clean and fresh when their spa is refilled.

People like spas for their versatility, health benefits, and potential for year-round usage as a temperature-controlled wellness retreat. The future of water care is here; there are numerous after-market options in water chemistry products that retailers can offer their customers to help make spa water care easier, giving them more time to indulge.

While it may be the bells and whistles that initially attract many homeowners to spas, it is the experiences they have in the spa water that determine how often they return to their relaxing retreat.

Colin Taylor, B.Sc., MIScT, is a chemist for SilkBalance, a hot tub water care company based in Vancouver, B.C. He has been involved in addressing several spa water maintenance problems and focused on resolving and simplifying some of them. Taylor also answers many e-mail questions from spa users around the world at

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