As you're soaking & relaxing in the nice
warm, bubbling waters of your spa or hot tub, your body is releasing literally
liters of perspiration, body oils, skin cells, not to mention deodorant, make
up, perfume, lotions - need I go on? In a swimming pool it's not so bad. But
in a spa, well...
Keep this in
mind...4 people in a 300 gallon spa is roughly equal to 120 people in a 20,000
gallon pool. Plus there's the significantly warmer water. Do you remember the
last time you took a real bath? Not a shower - but a bath. Would you soak in
that same water 2 or 3 days later? We didn't think so! Now I think I have your
The reason a spa gets
foamy after a period
of time is because you are producing soap. To make soap you need 3 things:
heat, an alkaline base (something with a high or higher pH) & animal fat (read
that as body oils & perspiration).
Now you ask, "I thought the chemicals &
filter system were supposed to take care of all of that." Yes and No. Yes,
the chemicals & filter will oxidize and remove some of those contaminants, but
not all of them. Most of those substances are "insoluble" meaning they
can’t be broken down any further. Shocks help to oxidize and enzymes help
to "eat up" these insolubles, but again, not all.
That's why the spa MUST be regularly
purged, drained & refilled
(click on that link for greater details). But how often? Here's a formula that we use...
1. Determine the number of gallons in the
2. Divided the number of gallons by the
average daily bather load (for example, 3 bathers, 2 times per
week would equal approximately – 2 x 3 = 6 divided by 7 = 1 bather per day).
3. Then divide that number by 3 to get
your answer (in days).
Let’s do 2 examples…
a spa or hot tub with 300 gallons of water
that is used by 2 people twice each day 5 - 7days (2 people times twice a day
equals a bather load of 4)
300 ÷ 4 = 75 ÷ 3 = 25 days or about once per month.
a spa or hot tub with 300 gallons of water that is used by 2 people once each
day 5 - 7days (equals bather load of 2)
300 ÷ 2 = 150 ÷ 3 = 50 days or about once every 2 months.
This formula is not concrete, however it
is a good guideline to follow. Depending on how much the spa is used, directly
determines how often it needs to be purged, drained & refilled. Most commercial
spas need to be drained & refilled at least once per week! Or they should!
A quick word about bio-films. Bio-films
are colonies of bacteria that grow & thrive in moist areas; any moist area.
Research at leading universities has shown that roughly 99% of the bacteria
present in a spa or hot tub resides in the bio-film. That means Only 1% is
floating around the water. Bio-films need 2 things to grow: a surface &
moisture. If you notice a bit of pinkish or white-ish film around your spa
pillows, that’s bio-film. But keep in mind that the bulk of bio-film is in the
plumbing lines where you can’t easily get at. And did I mention that bio-films
are very sanitizer resistant? Read more about
Even if the spa has been standing empty
for a period of time without being treated or used, it is recommended that prior
to filling the spa, first fill it then purge it by adding a
spa plumbing line
cleaner (such as AquaFinesse Spa Cleaner, Spa Purge, Spa System Flush, or, Swirl
Away) & clean the spa's plumbing lines. Follow the label directions. This will
help provide a more successful experience – bio-films can build-up even when not
being in use (Did you ever leave a thermos or cooler with a little bit of liquid
in closed up for a period of time? Same problem). A fill, treat, drain & refill
is worth the extra time & effort (doing this a second time). By the way, if you own a jetted bathtub, this
is a great procedure to perform every few months as well.
If at all possible, from time to time (a
couple of times per year), tip the spa on its side to more thoroughly empty the
water that is in the lines. Be sure to check with your local spa professional
to avoid damaging the spa.
Regular use of
continually (and is the only spa chemical product on the market to perform this
job) remove & prevent the the bio-film build-up. To learn more about
bio-films click here.
Water Chemistry Tip: if things get too out of
control, drain the spa & start over.
Pristine Blue users click
here for more information & usage tips.
For more information on the workings of your pool, click on the
6 Keys to Spa Care
Some information contained in this
article is courtesy of the BioGuard Chem PLUS 2003, 2004, Chem College 2007 &
H2-Know 2011 Reference Guide.
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