12 Hot Tub Myths Debunked


For some reason, certain fallacies get passed around in regards to hot tub care. Either people think they’ve found a shortcut or a way to save money when they actually may be costing themselves in the process. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common misconceptions in the industry and busted 12 hot tub myths in the process.

Myth: The chlorine in hot tubs makes my eyes burn.

Truth: While high levels of chlorine can cause irritation for people who have a sensitivity, it does not cause bathers’ eyes to burn while soaking in the tub. This problem has to do with other chemistry issues, particularly imbalanced pH or alkalinity. Low pH results in acidic water and high alkalinity makes the water caustic. Keep the water balanced by checking and adjusting it once a week to keep this from happening.

Myth: Hot tubs are a lot of work.

Truth: Hot tubs take less time to maintain than a pool. Because it’s constantly covered, you won’t have to skim before uses and the easy chemistry systems means that you ideally should spend less than 5 minutes a week sanitizing your hot tub.

Myth: Antifreeze is a good for the water in the winter.

Truth: You should never use antifreeze in your hot tub water. Not only is it dangerous and toxic when absorbed in the skin, it is very difficult to get out of the plumbing, even after the water has been drained. There are ways to properly winterize a hot tub without having to resort to the use of antifreeze.

Myth: Hot tubs aren’t sanitary.

Truth: Hot tubs (especially public ones) are often thought of as unsanitary, more so than pools. In truth, a hot tub’s filtration system is about as big as one for a pool while having to cycle through much less water. If properly sanitized, hot tubs are very clean. If you’re using a hot tub over which you don’t have any control of the sanitation, make sure it passes the eye and smell test.

Myth: Bleach is a good way to clean your cover and sanitize your hot tub water.

Truth: You should keep household bleach far away from the inside of your hot tub. Bleach is really harsh on finishes of products, including the acrylic of your hot tub shell and the waxy finish on the hot tub cover which is what protects it from the elements. You should always use an approved sanitizer in your hot tub water and use an especially formulated cleaner to keep your cover clean.

High sanitizer levels can discolor the underside of your hot tub cover. Use a thermal blanket to help prevent this from happening.

Myth: You can clean your filter in the dishwasher.

Truth: This is really damaging to your filter and will make it wear out rapidly. The heat in the dishwasher and high water pressure will make the filtering media deteriorate and will oftentimes warp the cartridge. Clean instead by soaking in filter cleaning solution and spraying with a hose.

Myth: The water isn’t clean unless it has a strong smell.

Truth: A really healthy hot tub will have a very LIGHT chemical odor. When it has that strong chemical scent, it’s because the pH is not in balance or there is something saturating the water like chloramines or body oils brought in by bathers. Keep your water’s pH balanced between 7.4-7.6 and keep it there to avoid unpleasant odors. If you have more smell problems, check your filter or purge your system, drain, and refill.

Myth: Having a hot tub is an exorbitant month-to-month expense.

Truth: Cheap hot tubs that are NOT energy efficient may end up costing you in the long run by jacking up your electricity bill. However, good quality hot tubs that are well insulated, have a well-sealing cover and an efficient motor will run up your bill very little, as little as $14 a month for some hot tub models.

Myth: You don’t need to add other sanitizers to the water if you have an ozone generator.

Truth: Ozone is a great way to boost the sanitizers you already use but is not totally effective as a sanitizer on its own. Ozone has a short half-life in water and doesn’t have the lasting power necessary to work independent of something like bromine, Cleanwater Blue or Nature 2. It does help you save on the amount of sanitizer necessary to balance the water.

Myth: The more jets the better.

Truth: Some hot tub dealers will try and sell you on large number of jets alone. Something that has 80 or 100+ jets isn’t really giving you that much value. In fact, to fit all of these into the shell, the jets are often smaller and less comfortable on muscles. Instead, focus more on jet placement than sheer number.

Myth: The more horsepower in the pump motor, the better.

Truth: The way cars are sold to us based on HP has really skewed the value of horsepower in a hot tub motor. The higher horsepower means a bigger electric bill without necessarily giving us more performance. The number that you should look at if you want strong jet output is “water volume output,” not horsepower. The former is measured in gallons-per-minute. A properly engineered pump will use less horsepower while delivering massive water flow to the jets.

Myth: Using swimming pool chlorine tablets in the hot tub will save money.

Truth: You can use chlorine to sanitize both your pool and spa and is a popular choice for people trying to save money. However, using pool chlorine tablets for the pool in the hot tub is a bad ideal. These formulations are made for cold water and dissolve too quickly in the hot water of a spa. They also have very low pH which, in addition to a high chlorine level, will corrode the medal in the plumbing of your spa. For this reason, many spa manufacturers will void your warranty if you use stabilized chlorine tablets in your spa. If you spend more on properly formulated sanitizers, you will save money in the long run.
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