The truth about UV-C Sanitizing for Hot Tubs

Hot tub manufacturers are always looking for easier ways to sanitize water. Thankfully for Oregon Hot Tub, the manufacturer of Hot Spring Spas is the leader in bringing new hot water sanitizing technology to market in ways that make it safe and easy to have crystal clear hot tub water.

Several years ago, after years of research and beta testing, Hot Spring introduced its exciting ACE Salt Water System. This system has revolutionized water care for us to be sure! However, it has also caused other manufacturers to scramble and find the alternative to the ACE System. (Since the ACE System is proprietary, other companies cannot legally replicate this technology.)

With this scramble has been the introduction of systems using UV-C bulbs to sanitize hot tubs. While this is not new technology, used for years for ponds, aquariums and other smaller bodies of water, it is new trying to use it to sanitize water that is exposed to a wide array of bacteria known only to thrive in 100 plus degree water.

Before you make a decision on a new hot tub and a way to keep your hot tub water safe and easy, here are some published facts about UV-C sanitizing systems to note:

  • UV-C does not kill bacteria. Instead, it interacts with bacteria DNA. It changes the bacteria to a state where it can no longer reproduce. This will only successfully happen with a UV-C bulb consistently producing enough radiation to affect this change.
  • Claims have been made that “no chemicals” are needed when using UV-C bulbs to sanitize hot tub water. This is absolutely untrue. Anything available to read online (including on the sites of hot manufacturers now trying to sell this option) state that bromine or chlorine must be used. They also state that shock must be used, and that pH, alkalinity & hardness must be maintained at certain levels. This can only be done by weekly water testing and adjusting with chemicals. If you follow this regimen, you in fact need six chemicals to maintain a hot tub with a UV-C bulb: 1) Chlorine or bromine; 2) Alkalinity increaser; 3) Calcium hardness increaser; 4) Shock (MPS); 5) pH increaser; 6) pH decreaser.
  • Claims have also been made that you can reduce your chlorine/bromine use in half. However, it should be noted that EPA regulations stipulate that the safe residual for chlorine in a hot tub environment is 3.0-5.0 ppm; the safe residual for bromine is 2.0-4.0 ppm. While UV-C systems now being sold for hot tubs make this claim, they also make a disclaimer that you should refer to government agency standards and regulations on how to maintain your water chemistry—which take you back to the EPA regulations.
  • A homeowner should not change out a UV-C bulb. If a bulb being replaced is still producing ultraviolet radiation, it can cause serious eye injury and skin burns. Even reflective light from a UV-C bulb can cause these health threats!
  • A UV-C bulb must be replaced annually, according to hot tub manufactuer websites. Average cost found online to replace a UV-C bulb is $85-$125.

 Finally, we urge you to be a savvy informed consumer when hot tub shopping. Realize that hot tub sales folk will try to compare their UV-C sanitizing system against our ACE Salt Water System. They are both entirely different and achieve different results the way they are designed. While both could be considered options for taking care of hot tub water, in no way are the two systems the same or equal.

We hope you’ll visit us today for a rundown on the ACE Salt Water System and our tried and true EverFresh System. Both systems are easy, effective, safe and abide by EPA regulations for approved hot tub sanitizing. We look forward to seeing you!