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General Spa Care Questions...

Swim Spas: more than a spa but not quite a pool

The Basics.

A Swim Spa is both a swimming pool and a spa or hot tub. And yet it's neither! Let's rid ourselves of the confusion...

This is what makes Swim Spas unique to care for & treat.

Pool similarities:
  "cooler" water - typically 85░ - 95░ F
  "larger" bodies of water
  "larger" surface areas & equipment

Spa / Hot tub similarities:
  "larger" & more plumbing area
  "smaller" body of water - compared to even a small aboveground pool - usually between 1500 and 3000 gallons
"larger" bather loads - number of people per gallon using the swim spa.
"warmer" water - compared to the average swimming pool at about 80░ F
"aerated" water - lots of bubbles & infused air into the water system (leads to more gassing or aerosolizing of care chemicals)
water is typically heated MOST of the time (especially indoor swim spas)
need to be purged, drained & refilled on a regular basis

Build ups of bio-films leading to White Water Mold & Pink Slime are more of problem in swim spas as opposed to algae.  Cloudy water issues are due to the accumulation of bio-films and bather waste (higher bather loads).

Not only those differences but you also need to take into consideration if the swim spa is used indoors and year round or outdoors and seasonal.

Now, what do you use to treat it? Let's put it into a simple table that should help:

Chemical Used Overall Effects Special Notes
Chlorine - dichlor granular Good needs to be added multiple times per week; can also be used as a shock treatment; ability to "control" the amount of chlorine better; maintained at a level of 1.0 - 2.0 ppm
Chorine - trichlor tabs/sticks Good may put a drag or constant lowering of the pH; added using a floater or chlorinator; maintained at a level of 1.0 - 2.0 ppm
Bromine tablets Good sometimes gives a "musty" odor; added using a brominator or floater; maintained at a level of 2.0 - 4.0 ppm
Liquid Chlorine Not so good significantly adds to Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), resulting in more frequent draining & refilling
Salt / Chlorine Generation Not so good High mineral levels, scaling of surfaces, plumbing, heaters, etc.
Biguanides (Soft Swim« or Baquacil«) Not so good significant foaming, water can feel "gummy" if PHMB is allowed to be "high" (over 50 ppm)
Ionizers (Nature2«, Pool Frog«) Good may not provide sufficient sanitizing when larger bather loads are encountered
Algaecides Not so good significant foaming of the water; algae better controlled with borates and solid chlorine levels
Cal Hypo Chlorine Almost bad significantly adds to Calcium Hardness & Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), resulting in scaling and more frequent draining & refilling
Borates (Optimizer Plus«) Good controls algae growth without foaming plus aids in overall water balance; easy to maintain (at a level of about 50 ppm), typically added 1 or 2 times per year.
AquaFinesse« Good prevents & controls bio-film build-up in plumbing lines and on surfaces; Pool Pucks are added every 2 weeks
PoolNaturally« Good prevents & controls bio-film build-up in plumbing lines and on surfaces; sphagnum moss packets are changed monthly
Enzymes Good help "digest" excess swimmer waste that will contribute to bio-films, odors, etc.; added weekly
MPS (potassium mono persulfate) shock Good usually used in combination with Ionizers; not a stand-alone product; a good oxidizer but poor sanitizer; recharges bromine; breaks up chloramines

Household products? Stay away from them. They are NOT pool or spa chemicals. Would you cook or do laundry with pool chemicals? Didn't think so.

Remember that good water balance (pH, total alkalinity & calcium hardness) is just as important for a Swim Spa as for a swimming pool or hot tub.  Good water balance affects sanitizer efficiency, equipment longevity and swimmer or bather comfort (red eyes, itchy skin, dry hair, rashes, etc.) and health.

With all of this information, let's put it all together for simple & effective care.  Click here for the details.

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