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Spa chemicals explained

Welcome to www.SpaServices.com.au (Select Spa Services)

Many customers who find our website for the first time may have owned their spa for years but tell us they still don't quite know what they are doing when it comes to maintaining their spa water. We have guided many people onto the right track and hope to also help you when it comes to looking after your spa water : )

There are many opinions when it comes to treating the spa and hot tub water. There is no exact right or wrong but we only deal with spas and hot tubs and that is our specialty. We have been into many spa owners back yards over the years so we get to hear and see their systems first hand when it comes to looking after their spa. We also see and test the products they were previously using (many end up in the bin before we leave ha ha). 

We choose our products to be of quality, good value and not to have an overpowering smell. This eliminates many products we could sell. We also find many products were designed and better suited to a much larger volume of water such as a swimming pool and are to strong and harsh for the bathers, spa equipment smaller volume of water of a portable spa.

Anyway if you have any questions at any stage feel free to contact us.

Below will explain how to keep your spa water clean and safe. If you want to fast track at any stage our spa start up kit has all the essential ingredients to get you started and keep you spa running clean and safe.

Click here to take a look at the spa start up kit.

A quick explanation of how to maintain your spa water

One breath...here we go : )

  • Sanitize and shock the spa water regularly with spa sanitizer and spa shock.
  • Test and adjust the pH, Alkalinity and hardness levels of the spa water once a week with the test strips.

Ok more details...........

Sanitize the spa water

Ok...this step is very important. The water needs to be sanitized on a regular basis by adding a spa sanitizer to the spa water. This will help keep the water clean and safe.

The spa sanitizer comes in different forms usually being granular, liquid or tablets. The two most known types of spa sanitizer are chlorine and bromine. 

Sanitizing the water with spa sanitizer will help kill bacteria and help eliminate the contaminants that would normally like the conditions of the warm water.

A spa sanitizer designed for the warm water of spas

We mostly use and sell lithium hypochlorite as the spa sanitizer. The reason being the lithium was specifically designed for the hot water of a hot tub. It is in the chlorine family but not as harsh as the traditional granular chlorine which is better suited to swimming pools. The lithium also has less smell and is less harsh on the bathers and spa components etc.

Choose a quality spa sanitizer

Whichever sanitizer you choose you want to go with quality. We find many sanitizers simply don't work properly or may leave a residue or water line on the spa acrylic or spa surface. We have tried many spa products over the years and choose our products carefully. Some of the less quality brands use filler. You might get more for your money but it's no good if the product does not work properly.

How much sanitizer should I use??

A rough guide is add 12g of spa sanitizer per 1000 litres of water per day. If the spa has heavy usage then you may need to use more spa sanitizer.

Note: A level tea spoon is approximately 10g.

Testing the spa sanitizer levels of the spa water

The free chlorine and bromine levels can be tested with the test strips to make sure the sanitizer levels are correct. This is pretty easy, just dip a test strip into the spa water and match it to the side of the test strip container by matching the colours. You will notice on the side of the test strip container that the ideal chlorine and bromine levels are between the 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). If the colour on the test strip falls below 1 and 3 ppm then you will need to add sanitizer following the directions on the side of the container.

Remember...the test strips are a great way of testing the sanitizer levels in the spa water. You can also buy testing kits but most customers say the test strips are the quickest and easiest way to test the spa water.

Should I use the spa before sanitizing the spa water??

If you check the chlorine or bromine levels on the test strips and the desired levels are below the 1 and 3 ppm then will need to sanitize the spa water.

What if I have been away??

Let's say you have been away for a week and nobody has sanitized the spa water. To make sure the spa water is safe you will definitely want to sanitize the spa water at least half an hour before you get in.

Can I sanitize the spa water after using the spa??

Many customers tell us that they sanitize the spa water after they have a spa because they are using the spa on a regular basis. This is ok but make sure the spa sanitizer levels of the water are between 1 and 3 ppm.

How should I add the spa chemicals to the spa water?

The aim is to dissolve the spa chemicals into the spa water. You don't want to leave spa chemicals sitting on the bottom of the spa undissolved.

The most effective way to dissolve the spa chemicals is mix the spa chemicals in a bucket of water. Once dissolved add to the spa water.

When adding spa chemicals to the spa water we mix one product at a time in a bucket and add straight to the spa water without stopping. This ensures no pets have a little drink in between because you have left the bucket on the ground: )

If you are adding the spa chemicals straight into the spa water it is a good idea to have everything running like the spa pumps and air blowers etc (providing your spa has them) to help mix the spa chemicals.

You may even be able to add spa chemicals into the filter basket if there is a suction when you turn the pump on. This method helps mix the spa chemicals into the spa water.

Can I add to much product to my spa water

You don't want to overdo it. Follow these guides and over time you will get a good feel for how much product to use.

Spa Shock

The spa shock helps clear up body fats, algae and contaminants. The health benefits of sitting in the hot water of spas and hot tubs are enormous. The hot water helps rid your body of toxins and dead cells etc. A good quality spa shock helps clean it up. Once again helping keep your spa water clean and safe.

The spa shock also helps keep the sanitizer stay active for longer.

Test strips

Test strips are easy to use. Once again choose quality test strips so they still work a year after purchase date and also for accurate readings.

The spa test strips test four things. 

  • Spa sanitizer levels (free chlorine and bromine levels)
  • Alkalinity levels of spa water
  • pH levels of spa water
  • Hardness level of spa water (Calcium level)

Alkalinity and pH levels of the spa water

Testing is simple. Dip the test strip into the spa water, check the test strip on the side of the test strip container:

  • If the alkalinity and pH levels are low, add alkalinity and pH increaser.
  • If the alkalinity and pH levels are high, add alkalinity and pH reducer.

If the alkalinity of the spa water becomes low then the spa water will become acidic. To look after the well being of the spa and equipment, we recommend checking the pH and alkalinity levels once to twice a week.

Note: The alkalinity is measured in parts per million (ppm). As a rough guide, 20g will raise the alkalinity of the spa water by approximately 10ppm of a 1000 litre spa.

Hardness (calcium) levels of the spa water

Test the hardness levels of the spa water with the test strips. The hardness is usually ok but may be low in country areas. If low add hardness raiser to the spa water.

Nature 2 stick (yellow stick)

The nature 2 cartridge is a natural sanitizer and works by slow releasing natural minerals into the spa water such as silver and zinc.

The beauty of the nature 2 stick is if you go away or forget to sanitize the spa water then at least the nature 2 stick is still working for you to help sanitize the spa water.

Although it's not recommend (by law actually) to use the nature 2 stick as a standalone sanitizer, it is still a great natural spa sanitizer. The more ways of killing bacteria and keeping your spa water safe the better. This is a fantastic product.

Nature 2 is also great for swimming pools. There are also nature 2 systems available for pools.

How to fix the cloudy water in a spa

Now if the spa water is a bit cloudy the chances are bacteria is also enjoying the hot water and possibly breeding. No big deal because the spa sanitizer and the spa shock will help kill the bacteria and clear up the spa water.

If your spa water is cloudy follow these steps:

  • Add spa sanitizer and spa shock to the spa water.
  • Check the spa filter. The spa filter may need changing or cleaning (see the filter section below).
  • Test and adjust the pH, alkalinity and hardness levels of the spa water.
  • Open the spa cover. Let the spa water breath for an hour or two.
  • Spa water clarifier. (Don't use liquid clarifier with disposable filters).

How to clear up foamy water in a spa

Follow the steps of clearing up cloudy water and you may also use a liquid defoamer to help clear up foamy water. (Don't use liquid clarifier with disposable filters).

How to clear up smelly water in a spa

Follow the cloudy water steps.

How often should I change my spa water

They say: You should change your water approximately every four months.

They also say: You sometimes need to change your water more often.

And sometimes you hear: You sometimes get longer from your spa water.

Rule of thumb is 4 months. It also depends on bather load, the spa products you are using and some spas filtrate better than others. See below for the changing water guide.

Changing the spa water guide

These are the best indications that your spa water is full and time to be changed.

  • The water is difficult to balance. You just can't seem to get the pH and alkalinity right.
  • The spa water keeps going cloudy or is constantly cloudy.
  • The water is smelly and you can't get it back.
  • You had a spa party last night, did you forget??

Spa filters

The most popular spa filters we sell are the:

  • Disposable spa filter
  • Pleated spa filter

There are other filtration products available but most of our business is using the above spa filters. Some spas are designed to use 1 spa filter, other spas use multiple filters. There are thousands of filter sizes available so contact us with the spa model and filter dimensions to figure out which filter is right for you.

Disposable spa filter

 You don't need to wash the disposable filter. The disposable filter filtrates down to 1 micron and they are 900 square foot. Four disposable filters will last approximately a year. You will usually get between 3 to 4 months from every filter, but this may vary depending on bather loads.

Pleated spa filter

The pleated filter is the most common filter used by most spa manufacturers. These filters need to be washed out.

How often should I wash my pleated spa filter??

The spa filter does help take body fats and whatever else out of the spa water. So a good wash with the garden hose will do it the world of good.

Most customers say they wash their pleated spa filter every couple of weeks (this probably means every 3-4 weeks ha ha). We recommend wash it out at the very least once a week. Pick a routine time to clean. You put the bin out and then clean the filter.

If you have a spa party or heavy bather load then it wouldn't hurt to take the pleated filter out and wash it with a garden hose the next day.

How long will my pleated filter last??

The pleated filters last quite well if you look after your spa and water quality.

The pleated filter will become less effective once they start getting a bit older. You may notice the water is becoming cloudy a bit more often. Most customers replace the pleated filter every one to two years but we recommend once a year.

The more effective your spa filter is the less spa chemicals you will be using to clear up cloudy water etc.

Cleaning the spa cover

Cleaning the spa cover regularly will make it an easier job. Good quality covers usually are made with a marine grade vinyl on the outside. Clean the outside of the spa cover with a scrubbing brush and water. Clean a small section to make sure you are not going to damage the cover before cleaning the whole cover. Its best to not use detergent to ensure detergent does not make its way into the spa water. For stubborn stains you might find some alkalinity increaser and vinegar will help. Once again try a small section to ensure you will not damage the cover.

For the inside of the spa cover. Good quality covers usually use a swimming grade vinyl. Use a scrubbing brush and water to clean.

How can I protect the outside of the spa cover?? 

The 303 spa cover protector clean and protect the outside of the spa cover from uv rays etc. Spray onto the spa cover and wipe on with a rag.

Tip: Dampen the rag with water to help spread the 303 cover protector.

Replacing portable spa cover

We can organise a new spa cover anytime and it usually takes approximately 2 weeks for a new spa cover to be made and couriered to your door.

If the cover needs replacing it's as easy as taking some measurements and choosing a colour for the replacement spa cover.

Over time some spa covers may become damaged and/or water logged. If the cover is waterlogged it will be much heavier than normal. The spa cover will not insulate the spa properly and this will cost you more on your power bills.

Also portable hot tubs are outside in the elements. The spa covers have a harsh life, being in the sun and rain not to mention the potential 40 degree Celsius heat the inside of the cover is subject too.

What temperature should I heat my spa water too??

Body temp is approximately 37 degrees Celsius. Most spa owners operate their spa between 37 and 40 degrees. In summer you may want to cool the spa water down a bit.

How often should I filtrate my spa?

It usually depends on bather load. If you are using the spa more often you may want to filtrate the spa for longer and more often.

Providing your filtration cycle is programmable. Most of our customers set the filter duration (FD) for 2 hours and the filter frequency between 1 and 4 times per day depending on use.

Is there a cheaper time to run my spa filtration cycle?

Yes probably providing your filtration cycle is programmable. Check on your power bill to find the cheapest time for power consumption or contact your power supplier. These times will probably be cheapest between 10pm to 6am.

If possible change the filtration cycle to come on during these times providing it is not going to annoy anyone because of noise.

Can pregnant people use the spa??

If you are pregnant it has been said you don't want to be in water that is too hot. Check with you doctor to see if using the spa is advisable and what is the maximum recommended temperature advisable to bath in is.



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