Chemical free hot tubs!!!

Every manufacturer has a miracle system that will make owning a hot tub easier, and healthier and safer.

In this Video, we take a quick look at the different options like chemical systems, Saltwater hot tubs, Mineral systems, UV systems, Ozonators, and Enzyme systems and weigh the pros and cons of each.

Manufacturers are milking this the pitch now and a good pitch can close deals but what they don’t want you to know is the easiest most chemical free systems have nothing to do with the hot tub. In fact, the lowest easiest systems can be used on almost any hot tub…

 

Bromine and Chlorine systems toxic

levels of 3-5ppm of toxic chemicals

These high chemical old technology but beware a lot of brands private brand the chemicals to make them sound like something else and to trick you into paying more for these base chemical systems.

Salt water hot tubs

levels of 1-3ppm of toxic chemicals.

Salt water hot tubs are not chemical free, hell they are not even close the lowest chemical systems available, They are finicky, unreliable and have big failure issues, this tech was all the rage back in 90’s and most guys abandoned it and now some companies are re-introducing it as new tech!!! It’s a gimmick,  all salt systems do is make chlorine or bromine!!

Ozonators

Every hot tub has one and you really don’t care about them, they do help but they only work well for about a year and frankly, it’s not worth spending the money to replace them your money could be spent in better places. They are a good helper system but nowhere near good enough to stand alone.

Enzyme systems – good –

These can be used in any hot tub and are far better than any of the onboard systems, they will let you get down to the same or lower levels of chlorine or bromine than the salt systems, for far less and you will have an easier time balancing the water.

7028297-natural-water-dropsMineral systems – The best overall –

Drinking water levels of chemicals These are arguably the best way to deal with your water, they are fantastic for your skin, in fact, Aquafinesse, the number one brand out there is used in hospitals in Holland to treat eczema on newborn babies! This system is by far the lowest chemical, easiest to use and best for your skin. hot tub companies hate it because you can use it on any tub and it is around the same price as the big onboard systems over time, and there are no parts to fail! Plus you can go 2-3 times longer without changing your water.

UV Systems – very good but expenive –

Probably the best onboard systems out there, this is the exact same system used to treat drinking water in large municipal water treatment facilities and in rural areas to treat well water to make it drinkable, Expensive and requires yearly service at around $300/year but in conjunction with ozone and a mineral pack can get to near chemical free.

 

 

 

 

 

Right now thats the hot button so

46 Comments:

  1. Chris,
    Have you heard of ‘Natures Hot Tub Treatment’? A non chemical enzyme water treatment.
    I am in the process of buying my first hot tub (possibly a Bullfrog, Caldera or Master Spa) and want a chemical free water treatment solution.
    What is your opinion? Also would like your opinion on the 3 hot tub brands I mentioned. What is important to me is quality of components, low energy cost, ease of use and ease of maintenance.

    • Yep, it’s an enzyme system that lets you go to low chemical. never used it personally just because I have had great results with spa marvel

  2. Just got my master spa on the web site it said to use a pre filter and put some metal x stuff in our spa marvel good enough thanx

  3. I see how you highly recommend the Aquafinesse mineral system over anything else. But I am wondering (as I am in the process of buying a spa) how you would feel about a combination of the Aquafinesse and the UV light on a twilight or HL series tub.

  4. The first part says stay away from bromine but the last part recommends aqua finesse but their solution uses bromine as well. Can you clear this up?

    • Stay away from high levels of bromine or chlorine… they are bad… aquafinesse lowers the level of chlorine or bromine from 3-5 ppm to 0.5ppm and you can use chlorine or bromine with it.

  5. I am deciding between a master spas twilight series and sundance chelsee. I want low levels of harmful chemicals and don’t want to spend a lot of time and money doing it. I don’t mind paying a higher up front price for extra features like UV and Ozonators if it means lower total cost of ownership over 5-10 years.

    it seems your suggesting using minerals in combination with chlorine. I understand this extends the water lifespan, but the mineral products sound expensive month to month (aquafinesse runs close to $40 per month alone?).

    What is the best combination of TCO and low levels of harmful chemicals?

    And finally, what is your water chemistry routine in your hot tub, and how much does it cost per month?

    • So Sundance is owned by the group that owns Jacuzzi and suffers from the same proprietary parts issues. That alone would remove any possibility for me, I would never put that on my sales floor because I would not expose myself or my customers to a lesser quality parts list that has very limited availability with only one place to buy the part, the Balbo system is just so much better than the others.

      Performance wise the 2 spas are not even in the same Ballpark, the Chelsea is lots of small inexpensive low flow hi pressure jets (the small ones) and only a couple of the Hi end therapy massage jets whereas the Twilight is all Hi end jets, these spas are chalk and cheese.

      I use Aquafinesse. yep $40 a month but so easy and so reliable and so safe healthy. and trust me over the long term it’s no more expensive than the on board systems. every week I balance alkalinity to the top of ok and the ph to the bottom of ok and add the AF and try and burn 3 chlorine tabs a week. but there are lots of good systems for low chemicals, see your local dealer.

      Its

  6. I have almost decided to get a Twilight 8.2, but I don’t have a dealer in my town. The nearest dealer is a little oven an hour away, & has only been selling Master Spas for a couple of months. They carried Hot Springs for 20 years, before switching to MS. I have a D1 dealer almost in my back yard. Should I get the 8.2 without a local dealer, or get a lesser quality tub with a local dealer? Also, if I order the Twilight is it worth getting the UV system…considering the up front cost & the yearly bulb cost? I am located in Huntsville, AL.

    • Hi Renae’

      1 hour is not a big issue for a dealer, and D1 is not in the class of a Twilight.

      I do not recommend the UV system or the circ pump system. the standard eco pure with ozone and the hi flow filter system is better.

      • Hi – Why don’t you recommend the UV and circ pump system? My master spa dealer was pushing this hard.

        • I am not a fan of the low flow filter systems.

          The Pitch is that they are small efficient pumps that clean your water 24 hrs. a day and are quiet and efficient to run.

          It’s usually about a $500 upgrade and in my opinion, they are not as good a the alternative which is a high flow circ system.

          Although they use a small amount of power they run 24hrs a day whereas the high flow pump only has to run about 4 hrs a day to clean the same amount of water both systems use similar amount a power per day.
          They wear out more quickly because they run all the time.
          The tiny energy savings against the increased cost of replacement parts make them more expensive over the long run.
          They can only filter so much water a day. if you have a heavy bather load or a party or busy weekend of hot tubbing it can take them a while to recover whereas with a high flow system you can change how many hours the pump runs! So after a party you can throw it on 24 hr mode (or any other amount) and it will filter up to 6 times more water than a circ pump can over the 24hr period.
          Circ pumps are also low flow and this means you need to be very regimented with filter cleaning, if the filter gets too dirty they go into flow error easily, the hi flow systems don’t unless you are truly negligent.
          The new anti vibration mounting systems make the good hi flow 2-speed pumps almost as quiet as the Hush pumps, there is very little difference.
          I’m not a fan I think they are sold to add margin into a deal or added value perception. It’s all marketing spin.

      • Thank you… should have my twilight 8.2 soon! Master should love you. You are the reason I changed my mind. Pouring concrete tomorrow. Does it matter switch corner the electrical conduit should come through? I want it as near as possible to where it connects. I suppose that is on the front? Also, I haven’t purchased a lift yet, and wondered if one could be installed on any side? I don’t have much room, and I don’t want the cover to block my view.

        • if they build a tub how I know it should be built to last they love me there are several brands I recommend and all for the same reasons… they build how I like them built.

          ask your dealer for the line drawing that shows where the electrical should come up.

          wait until you have it installed and ask the installers what will work best for a lifter for your application, try and get an aluminium one.

          Enjoy your purchase!!!

  7. Hello, I just purchased a new spa, HotSpring Grandee NXT. I was hoping that you could help me with determining which products from AquaFinesse to purchase. The spa gets delivered this Wednesday and I’d like to start it up on this system from the beginning. There’s 3 options from Amazon in regards to the AquaFinesse product; di-chlor, tri-chlor and bromine. If I have to choose, I think I’d rather go with the bromine system, but I can be convinced otherwise. Is there anything else I’ll need?
    The folks at the showroom want to sell you everything under their roof so I figured I’d ask around first. Thank you in advance for your help.

    • LOL no problem…

      id go with this as a once a year order…

      Aquafinesse Mineral system (CDN DOLLARS) / `1.35 for USD

      1 x 3kg ph down @ 9.95
      3 x 2 kg alka plus @10.95
      1 x 680g cal boost @ 6.95
      2 x 3kg Non chlorine shock @ 35.95
      1 eco pure filter @ 54.95
      2 test kits @ 11.95
      3 Aquafinesse tri chlor @ 155.95
      1 Floating dispenser @ 12.95

      sub total $681.30
      tax 12% $81.75
      Total $ 763.06 ($63.59/month) (about $565 USD or $50/month)

  8. Is it worth the master 3 pure water system on the master spas as a option thanx

    • I’m not sure yet 🙂

      Personally, I am not a fan of any of the upgraded onboard systems but if there are any that have the potential to change the game the UV systems are a great candidate. This is the tech that rural houses on wells use to purify drinking water and large municipal treatment facilities use for drinking water. The UV light damages the DNA of the contaminants and causes cell suicide 🙂

      But I am also not a fan of the circ pumps…

      Circulation pumps also called Hush Pumps, and silent flow pumps are sold as an advantage and often as an upgrade on Hot Tubs.

      The Pitch is that they are small efficient pumps that clean your water 24 hrs. a day and are quiet and efficient to run.

      It’s usually about a $500 upgrade and in my opinion, they are not as good a the alternative which is a high flow circ system.

      Although they use a small amount of power they run 24hrs a day whereas the high flow pump only has to run about 4 hrs a day to clean the same amount of water!
      They wear out more quickly because they run all the time.
      The tiny energy savings against the increased cost of replacement parts make them more expensive over the long run.
      They can only filter so much water a day. if you have a heavy bather load or a party or busy weekend of hot tubbing it can take them a while to recover whereas with a high flow system you can change how many hours the pump runs so after a party you can throw it on 24 hr mode (or any other amount) and it will filter up to 6 times more water than a circ pump can over the 24hr period.
      Circ pumps are also low flow and this means you need to be very regimented with filter cleaning, if the filter gets too dirty they go into flow error easily, the hi flow systems don’t unless you are truly negligent.
      The new anti-vibration mounting systems make the good hi flow 2-speed pumps almost as quiet as the Hush pumps, there is very little difference.
      I’m not a fan I think they are sold to add margin into a deal or added value perception. It’s all marketing spin.

  9. Mark Newbigging

    What is the garden liesure brand like they use clamps and the good foam for insulation but is the rest any good what base would you use to put a tub on is concrete pad any good thanx

    • It’s funny they love to throw around the Icynene name because it implies they use a full foam system but the reality is they just use a thin layer and then some air space… cheap insulation system.

      Concrete is overkill, patio stones are a GREAT BASE FOR ANY SPA

  10. I have been look8ng at Artesian Spas Island Elite Series or Island with Microsilk but confused by the water purification systems. They have Crystal AOP and Diamond APP which bot reference UVC. What is the difference? Are either of these the mineral water and UV systems like the Aquafinesse you reference?

    Also interested in any comments on the Microsilk product. Not looking for any miracle cures…just a fun and different way to get lots of little bubbles…or does it feel any different than the air injected into the jets?

    • The @ease system simply a dispenser for bromine and is ok but nothing stellar, it helps but nowhere near the class of the aquafinesse system.

      The next one is simply that with UV ozone.,.. again nothing special.

      The diamond uses nature 2 which is Ion similar to the eco pure system, again its ok tech but again not in the class of aquafinesse.

      The last two jusat use better mixer tanks for the ozone…

      there is a lot of meaningless words on that page… basically its as good as ony onboard system but i would not buy any of it except the Ion stick and uyou can buy them anywhere for any tub… its just nature 2

      Microsilk again is a bit fishy… it’s not like there is an oxygen tank injecting oxygen into the spa and all spas make microbubbles… I like thier spas from a build standpoint but they are full of hot air bubbles on the BS side 🙂

  11. I am planning on purchasing my first hot tub this fall and an overwhelmed at the options. I want as low chemical count as I can get. It seems like the mineral option is the best combined with a UV system. So many of the sales guys tell me certain systems are only available in specific models, generally the higher priced one, and cannot be installed in the lower models. Is this true for some reason? I don’t need anything fancy as far as lights and stereo goes. I just want a comfortable tub and as low maintenance as I can get. I live in Canada so need something rated for very low temps. Do you have a specific brand recommendation? If I bought a UV system do I just order this Aquafinesse system online and go from there? Or is it possible to go with a refurbished tub, and install a new system in it to try to save on some cost?

    • It is true the high-end chem reduction systems are often only available on the higher-end lines 🙁

      Personally, I don’t know if I would bother with all the onboard systems, just go Aqua finesse.

      • Filled up my tub for the first time about a week ago. Alkalinity on high normal & ph on low normal. Added aquafinesse & chlorine (granual). All looked great. Since then oh has been super high & chlorine disappears fast. I add ph decreaser & water responds but then then about 24 hours later it’s back up. We’ve used the tub a few times but not a ton. Am I missing something?

        • Hmmm

          something must be driving the PH up.

          The normal routine would be every week the alkalinity and ph drop slightly…

          You need to figure out what is going into the tub that is raising the pH

  12. Hello, I’ve contacted in the past about best tub to buy, but my parents have just decided to get rid of theirs so we are going to be the new owners. It’s not the one we would have bought new, but best for our budget right now.
    It’s a 10 year old Hot Springs Grandee. My mom has kept it in pristine condition & always been vigilant on keeping the water clean.
    Now that I will have it, my children will be in it a lot & my husband plans to relax each night for his bad back.
    Questions as we prepare for it…
    *Best way to prepare for the move (live about 1/4 mile from my parents) as far as emptying & filing back up?
    *chemical options that are more mild in nature that would be more gentle on my kids skin yet keep the tub clean?
    *I’m a big fan of essential oils. Are these a big problem to have on our skin prior to getting in the tub (or to put into the tub) ?

  13. Sarah Mathieson

    Hi there
    We bought the Master Spa legacy after your feedback and it’s just been delivered. It comes with the EcoPur filtration system. I have been through the ‘starter’ box of chemicals as the water will go into the tub tomorrow, and am now feeling very panicked as this is our first hot tub…
    You mention using Spa Marvel or Aquafinesse – can I ask some daft questions… would the Spa marvel trio (cleanser, water conditioner, filter cleaner) totally replace the whole set of stuff from Master Spa or just some of it after the initial set-up? I was thinking of setting up with this starter kit, then moving to the Spa Marvel trio after that. Help!?

    • Hi Sarah.

      just order a spa marvel bottle and throw it in.

      Spa Marvel Startup

      1. Heat water to desired temp
      2. Prime pumps after turning on power(turn both pumps on high speed)
      3. Run pumps for 20 minutes
      4. Use test strips to test water
      5. Balance alkalinity to 120-150
      6. Run pumps for 5 min
      7. Balance ph to 7.6 – 8.2
      8. Fill floating dispenser with chlorine tablets and set to the first break in the threads (see image)
      floater

      9. Add Full bottle of Spa Marvel, Run pumps for 30 Min (Wait the 30 minutes before getting in)

      Weekly

      1. Make Sure floating dispenser always has chlorine tabs in it
      2. put 1 capfuls of shock (1cap/4-6 people) or at the end of each day used..
      3. use test strips provided to test water 1 time per week and balance alkalinity and ph if needed

      ** Add Spa Marvel Water Treatment every three months.

      **RINSE YOUR FILTERS WEEKLY (not the mineral filter)

      **EVERY 8-10 WEEKS SOAK ONLY THE BLUE FILTERS IN A PLASTIC PAIL WITH THE FILTER CLEANER FOR 24 HOURS (DOING THIS YOU SHOULD GET 12 TO 18 MONTHS OUT OF YOUR FILTERS). NEVER SOAK THE GREY COLORED FILTER (THIS HAS TO BE REPLACED EVERY 6-8 MONTHS DEPENDING ON USAGE).

      **IGNORE THE CHLORINE or bromine LEVEL ON YOUR TEST STRIPS, THE SPA MARVEL REGULATES THE CHLORINE AS NECESSARY SO THE LEVEL SHOWING ON THE STRIPS WILL NEVER BE ACCURATE

      ** IF YOU MUST WEAR CLOTHES IN THE TUB PLEASE WASH WITH MINIMAL AMOUNTS OF DETERGENT AND ALWAYS DO A SECOND RINSE, THE JETS ARE POWERFUL THEREFORE THEY PULL SOAP FROM THE CLOTHES AND IT’LL MAKE YOUR WATER FOAMY!!

      **IT’S SMART TO ONLY TEST YOUR WATER ONCE PER WEEK. ENVIRONMENT AND CONDITIONS CAN SLIGHTLY ALTER THE PH AND ALKALINITY BUT THIS CORRECTS ITSELF WHEN THE JETS ARE RUNNING. YOU DON’T WANT TO OVERDOSE YOUR WATER WITH CHEMICALS.

    • Hello and thanks for the wealth of information. I have a couple of questions for you:
      1. you recommend master spa. we have a pretty good deal quoted for the healthy living 8 foot spa (i think)–it includes the uv light and circulator pump.
      2. what is the difference between the 8 foot clarity master spa and the 8 foot healthy living spa ( the healthy living has a higher jet count and slightly larger pumps, but otherwise structurally or component wise is there a difference)?
      3. What would a good price be for the 8 foot healthy living spa with the UV and circulating pump as add ons in the midwest area?
      4. Is the UV worth it to jump up from the clarity to the healthy living?
      5. Another salesman was touting their spa uses only mechanical parts and doesn’t use a circuit board to control things–is this really a bonus or just marketing spin?

      Thanks in advance for answering these questions. I have never owned a hot tub and have lots of questions!

      • Both are built the same with negligible differences in build.

        Clarity is really great open spaces if you want to pack them in you can.

        HL is higher therapy and the custom moulded seating, it’s more about smaller groups and therapy.

        Price is hard it depends on where you are. They should compare to most of the upper-end spas in your area.

        UV is not really an issue and I think it’s standard on both.

        Wow I haven’t seen a mechanical pack in ages:-) they are inexpensive and reasonably reliable, but low on features.

  14. Hello, first of all, thanks for all the info. After much research, I have a new Master Spa Twilight 8.25 just filled and heating in the back yard.

    So I have the mineral filter but not the UV.

    Just so I understand, your ultimate recommendation is Aquafiness combined with a floating dispenser for chlorine tablets?

    I have my PH to the range you suggested, my alkalinity is still on the high side however. Not sure what to do there

    Thanks again

  15. We are looking at buying our first hot tub and we live in Western Canada, I have been looking at the Arctic Spa Summit tub with their “Spa Boy” system. Have you done a review on this new system and is it similar to the Aquafinesse system? I am just wondering if it is worth the additional money or if there is better tub’s out there at a better price point? Thank you!

    • The Spa boy salt system is old tech being remarketed as innovation, these salt systems made a splash in the 90’s as it let us go from 3-5 ppm of chlorine to 1-3ppm… the new systems can go to drinking water levels about .5ppm…

      Not a big fan of that brands at all, sometimes companies spend so much on brand awareness, marketing, and spin that they don’t have enough money left to build a good hot tub and have to use cheap Chinese parts, 3″ of insulation, and no clamps on the plumbing.

  16. The mineral systems say there the best? What the cost and what exactly is it. Name brand? I went to a show on a hot tub called bare foot spas out of Va. Any comments.

  17. The mineral systems say there the best? What the cost and what exactly is it. Name brand?

  18. We are looking at a Marquis Spa. Kind of confused about the use of chemicals. With the Aqua Finesse system, do you still need the inline Frog bromine or chlorine? The Marquis Spas are designed with an inline system. Or do you use the chlorine tablets instead?

    Also, do you know anything about the Zodiac Mineral Sticks? How does that fit in?

    Thanks so much, your site has been so helpful!

    • Hi Leslie

      You can probably use the inline chlorine or bromine dispenser provided you can adjust it down to a low enough release rate.

      Zodiak are Nature 2 they are a zinc and silver or copper ion, same as the Eco Pure filtration systems, but the 2 are different tech, it does help for sure but it’s not the same as Aquafinesse. Nature 2 just kills organics, the Aquafinesse stops biofilm formation.

      • So, you are saying that we could use the inline Frog system OR a chlorine tablet. The mineral sticks are in addition to that, or can we just use just the chlorine and Aquafinesse?

  19. I’ve recently purchased and love a Master TS240. It has a mineral cartridge. Is this the same as aquafiness?

    • No. the cartridge you have is an Eco Pure it uses zinc and copper Ions and kills bacteria, it lets you go down to lower chloring levels and with the ozone system you have it will go to around 2 ppm wich is half of the normal level.

      the cartridge needs replaced every 6 months and the ozone needs rechipped every year. Aquafinesse or mineral lux are mineral systems and they work by preventing bio film formation, a less expensive option is spa marvel enzyme.

    • No. the cartridge you have is an Eco Pure it uses zinc and copper Ions and kills bacteria, it lets you go down to lower chlorine levels and with the ozone system you have it will go to around 2 ppm wich is half of the normal level.

      the cartridge needs replaced every 6 months and the ozone needs rechipped every year. Aquafinesse or mineral lux are mineral systems and they work by preventing bio film formation, a less expensive option is spa marvel enzyme.

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