My Hot Tub Almost Maintains Itself

Dear Bio,

 Over 3-months ago I made a command decision to change hot tub chemistry and stop using chlorine and ozone. This is a Dimension One Spa (Chairman) purchased used in May of this year. While I have had a career of water treatment experience, admittedly, I didn’t know much about care for a hot tub. I had only heard the horror stories of maintenance and chemistry balance. So how hard can it be? I thought.

 Again, this was a used tub and cover, which had not had the best care experience. Stored outside for a couple years I’m certain, so the cleanup was a chore. After a good solid weeks work we were ready to fill. A visit to Home Depot to visit the hot tub chemistry department and we were fixed up. Instructions were studied and the process started. Pumps on, ozone on, chlorine added, pH measured, adjust pH and wait. Once we were comfortable that the chemistry was in balance, it was time to get in.

 A few parts were needed to optimize the mechanisms but we were in business. Probably the largest inconvenience was the heater. It stops working if the air diffusion drops low enough to fault the flow switch. It took me a while to figure out that if the filter gets dirty enough the air flow is reduced and the heater doesn’t work. Cleaning the filter was an issue; you only knew it was time when heater stopped and the tub wasn’t staying hot.

 Getting back to the chemistry, chlorine isn’t everyone’s friend. Plus, I really don’t think ozone is anyone’s friend. That seems to be a lot of corrosives that can’t be good for anyone. Keeping a balance of chlorine that was just right was virtually impossible. You can’t measure the ozone with the test strips but I know chlorine and ozone somehow interact with each other and not necessarily in beneficial compliment.

 It was a daily task to perform the chemical evaluations, test the pH, adjust the pH, add chorine, and I haven’t mentioned the foam. Of course, they sell an anti-foaming agent, which was purchased with the next bunch of supplies. Now, if my boy and his friends used the hot tub on a Saturday night then chemistry took on a whole new meaning on Sunday. Certainly the filters were cleaned and by now getting pretty dirty. Of course they sell a filter-cleaning agent so that was purchased also.

 I soon realized that the stories I had heard put complications of owning a hot tub very lightly. I couldn’t remember if anyone advised me of the treatment supply costs or not but I had certainly figured that out myself. Combine all the hassle already covered with the periodic wipe down and scrubbing of the hot tub ring. That’s the organic stuff that for some polarized reason sticks to nothing better than the sides of the tub just above the water line. I hadn’t had a good experience. If possible, it worsens if a blond gets in the tub and later has a gorgeous green tint to her hair. But the Chlorine looked fine on the test strip —

 A page ago I mentioned a chemistry change. The previous long story was to illustrate my perception of hassle factor for tub ownership; obviously I was not very pleased. Anybody that treats a hot tube conventionally and says it’s easy to keep a chemistry balance is lying to justify the purchase they made. Also, I mentioned the various items because they have a direct bearing on what I am about to convey.

 Someone at my work mentioned that they used Biodigesters™ Pool & Spa Treatment in their hot tub. These bugs, as they are affectionately referred to, were said to be the cure for all tub evils. Having had some experience with biological wastewater treatment I didn’t see much harm in giving it a try. Of course by now I knew nothing could be worse than what I had already experienced for several months.

 On July 1, it was time for a water change and a fresh start would be a good comparison. I had to get rid of the chlorine and ozone anyway so the good bacterial life could survive. At the same time, I decide to set up the ozone on a switch. Since I was a bit skeptical, I thought I might need to abort and go back to conventional treatment if I wasn’t pleased. Family and friends don’t seem to have the same appreciation for biological treatment that I do. Perhaps I should have never said bugs. Anyway, after an education of good bacteria and bad bacteria, reluctantly they adapted to the psychological impact.

 Rest assured…I am quite amazed. The water is clear, tub rings are non-existent and the flow switch never shuts the heater off because the filters stay clean. The filters have even whitened up again. I also never noticed that the cover was so dirty. The underside was covered with whatever covers get covered with, but it too is now very clean where the vapor contacts it. There is never any foam accumulation and the pH is very stable. Best of all, it just keeps running stable without frequent attention.

 I started out adding about a tablespoon weekly spacing the dose twice a week based on what I thought would be a good approach. I cut that back to a teaspoon once a week without any negative affect. I have now gone to ½ teaspoon once a week and will monitor for any change. It seems that if I go longer than a week the pH starts to rise a bit but if I can stay on a maximum 7-day between doses it doesn’t change. Everything stays really clean and the hassle factor is gone. I’m quite sure that there would be some dosage variation depending upon use but it’s not like you can overdose. It’s just a matter of why add more than you need if you don’t have to.

 I did have one glitch in my program relative to the ozone switch. Unfortunately I located this in a bad spot and one evening it accidentally got turned on. By the next day the tub had quite an odor. Ozone had killed all my good bugs and I never heard the screams. I turned it off and let the ozone dissipate for 24-hours and then re-introduced the Biodigester program. In two more days the tub was back to normal. The switch is now secured to prevent future events of that nature.

 In summary, Biodigester treatment of a hot tub definitely appears to be the way to go. There seems to be only positive factors involved. Blonds are happy and the family soon accepts that better living isn’t necessarily through chemistry.


Jim Foust