Both hot tubs and pools are bodies of water that allow people to relax. Both systems will require proper sanitation, circulation, and cleaning, but that is really the end of the similarities. Generally, pools are larger than hot tubs, and hot tubs use warmer water than pools, but what are the other key differences?
Water Volume Per Person Ratio
The water volume per person ratio is an important consideration in the differences between pools and hot tubs. Think about five people sharing a 500-gallon hot tub. Each of those people is sharing about 100 gallons of water each. In a swimming pool that is 25,000 gallons, it would take 250 people to match the water volume per person ratio.
This ratio plays a key role in water chemistry and the cleanliness of the water in general. In fact, even water filters are going to need to be cleaned and replaced more often in a hot tub than they would in a pool.
Bacteria love to grow in warm, moist areas. What better place to do that than a hot tub? Since bacteria love the habitat that hot tubs provide, it is more likely that you will have problems with keep bacteria at bay in a hot than you would in a pool. If you aren’t keeping up with cleaning properly, your hot tub could develop a layer of biofilm on the water, spa surfaces, cover, filter, and plumbing lines very quickly.
To keep bacteria from taking over your hot tub, you will need to keep up with the cleaning and chemicals. These chemicals will prevent the bacteria from causing infection or other problems for those using the spa.
It probably comes as no surprise that two bodies of water of different size and temperature will have different chemical needs. While the chemicals that you use to treat your pool and hot tub may bear the same name, they aren’t the same products. Chemicals will behave much differently in hot water of a spa than they would in a large pool.
Chlorine, a common water sanitizing chemical, stays stable in pools up to 80°F. However, anything above that will cause the chlorine to dissipate. Since hot tubs operate between 95°F and 104°F, chlorine used in hot tubs will require a different formulation. Hot tub chlorine is designed to withstand these higher temperatures. Some hot tub owners use bromine, however. Bromine is more stable than chlorine. Lastly, chemical alternatives such as ozone generators are becoming increasingly popular sanitation options as well.
Since pool chemicals are stronger, using them in a hot tub can cause damage to the tub and equipment. You will also need to monitor the pH levels of the water in your hot tub because high pH levels can render chlorine and bromine ineffective.
Hot tubs need to be drained from time to time to be safe for use, while pools very rarely need to be drained for any reason. When draining a hot tub, it is important to get all of the water out and to get all surfaces cleaned. This deep clean should occur every three to four months because hot tubs quickly fill with all kinds of bacteria, and chemicals can only do so much.
Twice a year or more, you will also need to flush the pipes to get rid of any biofilm that has made itself at home inside. Otherwise, you will end up with dirty water once you get the tub refilled with water.
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