Sanitizing a hot tub is nearly as complicated as sanitizing and cleaning a large pool. Without proper sanitization, the hot tub becomes dirty and full of harmful bacteria, viruses and algae. Chlorine is the traditional sanitation method of choice; however, chlorine can damage wood, and some people are sensitive or allergic to chlorine. Luckily, there are many alternatives to chlorine that work just as well.
Bromine is the number one alternative to chlorine. Bromine works in a similar method as chlorine by killing viruses and bacteria present in the water. Usually bromine pipes into the hot tub by a tubing system, just as chlorine does. Bromine has some drawbacks because it has a high bleaching power, and it also causes chemical reactions in individuals with chemical sensitivities or allergies.
Mineral ionization of the water, most commonly with the use of copper and iron additives, is another way to keep a hot tub sanitized. An ionizing box attaches to the side of the hot tub, charging the water with copper and iron minerals. The unusually high mineral content of the water prevents bacteria and algae from growing in the water. The problem with copper and iron ionizing systems is that the water may cause a ring of discoloration around the inside of the hot tub.
Monopersulfate is an oxidizing agent that kills bacteria and algae in the water. Monopersulfate provides a chemical “shock” to the pool that disturbs the spread of bacteria. The continued use of monopersulfate creates a sanitizing and oxidizing barrier in the water that keeps fighting against algae and bacteria. Monopersulfate is also used as a water clarifier along with other chemical methods such as chlorine and bromine. Monopersulfate, added to the hot tub in large amounts, will not cause damage to the hot tub or humans. This gives the chemical a greater success rate due to the high concentration used.
Biguanide is a lesser irritant than chlorine and bromine and is just as effective in removing bacteria and algae from the water. Biguanide is typically added in a liquid form to the water. However, biguanide cannot destroy organic compounds, which makes it necessary to add hydrogen peroxide along with the chemical to remove all contaminants. Some bacteria may also develop a resistance to the chemical after a few years of use.
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