How to Maintain a Swim Spa ...

    

Swim Spa Care -  is it a swimming pool or a big hot tub?

The Basics.




  








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 a 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 look at what's available in general, this should help:


Chlorine - dichlor granular   Very 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®)  Very 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®  Very Good  Prevents & controls bio-film build-up in plumbing lines and on surfaces; Pool Pucks are added every 2 weeks


Enzymes  Very 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. Many contain phosphates which serve as food for bacteria & algae. 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.














Second, what combination of chemicals (a care system) works best? Over the past 2 years we've been helping customers with swim spas determine the best care program for their individual needs and addressing their individual concerns. For all swim spas, be sure to maintain a chlorine level of about 1.0 - 2.0 ppm or if using bromine, 2.0 - 4.0 ppm.

By the way, you can purchase
these systems here.


Simplest & most economical - Chlorine plus. BioGuard® Super Soluble® or Silkguard Tabs® (1") plus Optimizer Plus® (maintained at about 50 ppm to inhibit algae growth). Shock monthly with Oxysheen MPS shock.  1 oz. of NaturCare® Enzymes digest "un-filterable" swimmer waste, added weekly (per 2,000 gallons). AquaFinesse® Pool Pucks (1 puck per 2,500 gallons every 2 weeks) further prevent bio-film build up in the extensive plumbing lines & jets of the swim spa leading to decreased chlorine use, cleaner filters, better "feel" & increased swimmer comfort. This is the #1 choice.

Simple & a little more - Ionizers plus. Nature2® or Pool Frog® cartridges are installed & replaced about every 4 months according to manufacturer's instructions. Again, Optimizer Plus® (maintained at about 50 ppm to inhibit algae growth). Shock monthly with Oxysheen MPS shock.  1 oz. of NaturCare® Enzymes to digest "un-filterable" swimmer waste, added weekly (per 2,000 gallons). AquaFinesse® Pool Pucks (1 puck per 2,500 gallons every 2 weeks) further prevent bio-film build up in the extensive plumbing lines & jets of the swim spa leading to decreased chlorine use, cleaner filters, better "feel" & increased swimmer comfort.


A non-chlorine/bromine alternative - Pristine Blue. Easy to use. Soft, silky water. No or low chlorine use, especially in indoor environments. Supplement Pristine Blue with Optimizer Plus® (maintained at about 50 ppm to inhibit algae growth). Shock monthly with Oxysheen MPS shock.  1 oz. of NaturCare® Enzymes to digest "un-filterable" swimmer waste, added weekly (per 2,000 gallons). AquaFinesse® Pool Pucks (1 puck per 2,500 gallons every 2 weeks) further prevent bio-film build up in the extensive plumbing lines & jets of the swim spa leading to decreased chlorine use, cleaner filters, better "feel" & increased swimmer comfort.


To purchase these products, please click here (your browser will open a new window)


A cleaning note - remember to chemically clean the swim spa filter(s) every 6 to 8 weeks.  Why so often? As noted, swim spas' higher water temperatures and higher bather loads put more stress on the cartridge filters with excess swimmer waste. Although natural enzymes help considerably, regular cleaning gives them a much longer life (do you rinse your dirty clothes or launder them?). Two excellent chemical filter cleaners are Natural Chemistry® Filter Perfect (uses enzymes plus natural acids that are easy on lawns & most plantings) & AquaFinesse Filter Cleaner tablets (great for Microban® treated filter cartridges). Very effective & easy to use.

Purging & Draining - Like spas, you have a "higher" bather load. You will have good success if you purge, drain & refill your swim spa about every 3 - 5 years depending on size & use (check with your local dealer before draining). Four people using a 2000 gallon swim spa would be like having 75 or so people using an average swimming pool; plus the higher water temperature. Purging & draining is like "rebooting" the spa & starting fresh.  Over time, "unfilterables" build up & just become an obstacle to water care. The only way to thoroughly remove the obstacle is to start fresh. AquaFinesse Spa Clean tablets or Hot Tub Serum Total Cleeanse added about 24 prior (Hot Tub Serum Total Cleanse about 2 hours) to draining will aid in purging the plumbing lines & hidden areas of bio-films so you can have a good, clean start.

Let's make this even easier for you with everything you need. Swim Spa Care Kits with everything you need.



A Swim Spa is both a swimming pool and a spa or hot tub. And it's neither! What?

Let's look at what makes them unique to care for & treat.

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

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A Swim Spa is both a swimming pool and a spa or hot tub. And it's neither!

We just looked at the differences (page 1) & some of the water treatment basics. Let's put it all together.

First, what do we want to accomplish? We want crystal clear water that is well balanced, bacteria & algae free, that will be friendly to the equipment, easy on our bodies, simple to maintain, and cost effective.

And all of that is possible with minimal effort!