Use the right chlorine in your hot tub
Tablets in your hot tub usually overdose sanitizer levels and cause chemical damage
Tablets in a floating dispenser are a good choice if you soak in your hot tub every day or at least every other day. Each time you sit in your hot tub you deplete the sanitizer level and raise the pH so the tablets continuously dissolve adding more sanitizer to keep your hot tub water clean and clear.
Unfortunately, most people don't sit in their hot tubs every day or even every week but the tablets in the floating dispenser still dissolve at the same rate so it's very easy to overdose your hot tub with a floating tablet dispenser.
Mismanaged tablet dispensers are the leading cause of sanitizer overdose in covered, portable hot tubs. Sanitizer overdose is the leading cause of premature hot tub failure due to chemical damage.
Sanitizer tablets tend to overdose portable hot tubs. Overdosed bromine or chlorine levels makes soaking in the water caustic and unpleasant. Tablets also lower pH making the water very acidic increasing the chance of skin irritation or dryness.
Tablets lower pH especially if you don't use your hot tub every day
Bromine tablets generally have a pH around 4.0 so pH and total alkalinity adjustment are necessary to maintain proper water balance. Even if you don't sit in your hot tub every week, you'll have to go out to test and adjust the pH and alkalinity every week.
Chlorine tablets (Trichlor) are even more acidic with a pH around 3.0 so chlorine tablets reduce pH and alkalinity even faster than bromine.
When you soak in your tub the hot water makes you sweat and the jets scrub off body oil, dead skin cells, deodorant and sunblock. These organic and inorganic byproducts are called bather waste or bather load and all these bather byproducts tend to raise the pH of the water every time you soak.
Unfortunately, most people don't use their hot tubs every day or even every week so there is no bather load to raise the pH. This allows the tablets to overdose bromine or chlorine levels and drives the pH too low making the water very acidic.
The bottom of this brand new hot tub cover was originally grey but a mismanaged tablet dispenser bleached & burned the bottom in just a few weeks.
If you use a floating tablet dispenser you must remember to adjust the output as bather load changes; more bromine or chlorine for heavy bather loads and less during periods of non-use. If you don't use your covered tub for several weeks you might have to remove the dispenser from the water to prevent overdose.
Overdosed sanitizer and very low pH turns your water into a caustic, chemical brew that reacts when you disturb it by giving off noxious fumes that burn your eyes and take your breath away every time you turn on the jets.
Prolonged eposure to excessive sanitizer levels and very low pH can permanently damage your hot tub. Every jet body gasket in this hot tub was damaged by excessive chemistry. Every jet in this seat leaked and had to be cut out and replaced.
If this combination of bad chemistry can permanently damage the cover, plastic pipes and gaskets in your hot tub imagine what it does to your skin!
Sodium Dichlor is usually the best choice for the way most people use their hot tubs
Sodium Dichloro-S-Triazinetrione (Dichlor) is a granular chlorine that can be added to your hot tub water in small, measured doses before and after each soak.
Also known as: dichloroisocyanurate, dichloroisocyanuric acid, or dichlor
One or two Tablespoons of Dichlor before each soak is usually enough to sanitize the water and quickly kill germs on your body as you slip into the water. This small, fresh shot of chlorine ensures any microbes lingering in the water or on your body are destroyed before they have a chance to multiply.
One or two Tablespoons of Dichlor after each soak is usually enough to oxidize or destroy bather waste such as sweat, body oil & dead skin. This small, fresh shot of chlorine ensures the organic and inorganic waste is destroyed a soon as you're done soaking right after you get out of the water.
Sodium Dichlor is nearly neutral with a pH of 6.5 so you don't change pH every time you dose with chlorine. Using the right chlorine for portable hot tubs automatically means you'll spend less time chasing changes in pH.
Controlled, measured, manual doses of chlorine more closely match the way most people use their portable hot tubs. You can reduce chlorine use by 60 to 90% just by using the right chlorine and manually dosing your hot tub only when you need to.
But what about "Cyanuric Acid"?
Sodium dichlor is buffered which means it contains cyanuric acid (CYA) which helps keep sunlight from breaking down chlorine in uncovered swimming pools and spas.
When dichlor is used 0.9 ppm of cyanuric acid is added to the water for each ppm of available chlorine added. Cyanuric acid slows down the degradation of free chlorine by sunlight. The effect of cyanuric acid on slowing the oxidation of organics, kill rates of bacteria, viruses and algae has been demonstrated, primarily in controlled laboratory studies.
Cyanuric acid is a very stable molecule and does not readily degrade in swimming pools and spas. If the cyanuric acid level exceeds the APSP maximum of 100 ppm, it is recommended to perform a partial drain and refill. Draining has the advantage of removing contaminants that have built up through use of the pool or spa and is recommended as a periodic practice for all pools and spas to control the total dissolved solids
APSP Fact Sheet: Sodium Dichloro-S-Triazinetrione (Dichlor)
Since your portable hot tub is covered, you don't really need cyanuric acid because there is no exposure to ultraviolet light but most Sodium Dichlor you'll find on local store shelves will contain CYA.
Since, CYA acts as a buffering agent it will make chlorine less reactive so it lasts longer but it also builds up in your portable hot tub eventually reaching a level where it can substantially reduce the effectiveness of chlorine.
APSP Fact Sheet: Cyanuric Acid
CYA should be limited to 100 ppm so small, measured doses of chlorine before and after each soak helps to avoid CYA buildup. If you drain and refill your hot tub on a scheduled basis you can completely avoid problems with CYA buildup.
In fact, you can use CYA level as another way to know when you should dump a batch of water down the drain and start over. If the test strip indicates CYA is 100 ppm or higher: drain & refill.
Sodium Dichlor reduces hot tub chemical overdose and eliminates most pH problems
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