Updated: Apr 26
I spend my days analyzing water for clients in store who want to ensure they are well maintaining their spa water. For the most part those who take the time to come in to see us frequently or even once in a while are doing their best to properly maintain their water.
Where we often see neglect is out on the road doing service. We have changed many spa components early then they should have ever been replaced simply because of a lack of water care. I cannot express enough times how important proper water care is. You cannot simply just throw in some chlorine and a shock treatment here and there and expect your water to be perfect. Though your water may look clean and clear an in depth water analysis will tell a different story, just as many of the spa components will. Keep in mind that your toilet bowl water is nice and clear, so is battery acid and vinegar but you wouldn't take a dip in any of these even though they are clear.
I am well aware that everyone has that one neighbor or uncle who says they only use chlorine and never do anything else because it's a waste of time and they apparently have no issues.
They have likely changed parts on their spa more frequently than needed and have many issues they are unaware of because they've neglected to insect their spa. We've seen spas that apparently never leaked and have the entire floor rotted out underneath the pump because it's been leaking slowly for the last 3 years.
Water care is more than just throwing in a sanitizer. It is weekly water balancing, shock treatments, filter cleaning and good bathing habits. For a better understanding of your spa water care and parameters to keep visit my article "Better Understanding your Maintenance".
What can cause damages to your spa components? Several things: too high of sanitizer levels for too long, low quality chlorine containing high amounts of calcium, low pH and alkalinity, high or low calcium, lack of stain and scale protection and more.
Bromine is very acidic and if left at high levels for long periods of time in combination with low pH and alkalinity it can be very corrosive and deteriorate parts. What we often see effected first is the inside of the spa cover and headrests. And within the motor compartment the heater element, O-rings or gaskets and pump seals. Many other components will be effected but these are what we tend to notice first. Keep your bromine levels between 3 and 5 ppm. Test your water at least once a week at home to make sure your levels are where they should be. If in doubt, visit your local retailer for professional analysis.
Just like bromine, chlorine is acidic, though not as much as bromine. Consistently high levels of chlorine will produce the same effects and damages as high bromine. In low grade or bulk chlorine you will often find that there are very high amounts of calcium.
When calcium is not within the proper ranges of 100 to 200 ppm it can have some devastating effects on your spa. When calcium is low the water of your spa will seek it out in anything it touches. Slowly eating away at your spa surfaces and components.
When too high it will form scale(tartar) which in time can lead to blockage in plumbing and pumps. Scale formation on your heater element will greatly reduce to effectiveness of your heater and over time slowly costing you more and more to keep your spa at desired temperature. You can read more about calcium in the article Why is maintaining proper Calcium Hardness levels so important? .
Aside from keeping proper sanitizer levels, pH, calcium and alkalinity it is also important to ensure we have little to no presence of metals in your water. These can also be damaging to our spa. At home tests cannot test for these but many professional analysis in stores can. What metals are tested will vary from one store to another but the most frequently tested for are copper and iron, and occasionally manganese. If high levels are left in your water they can leave different colored deposits or stains on spa surfaces, and cause damages to certain components such as your heater element. If you're source water is known to contain metals it is best to prevent them from entering your spa by using a refilter, such as the x10. For metals remaining in water you can use the Dazzle Eliminator to slowly remove reaming traces of metals and use products such as Minerlauxe Cubes or Dazzle stain and scale to protect your system.
It is important to properly care for your spa water to ensure your spa is running top shape for many many years. Poor water care is the number one reason why spas don't last as long as they should, same goes for spa covers. Protect your investment, save yourself money and headache by taking that extra 15 minutes a week to care for your water. Afterall it's the equivalent of the price of a coffee at the drive thru everyday.