Saltwater pools have been gaining popularity in backyards and towns and cities across the United States for the last decade or so. While almost everyone is familiar with the concept of a saltwater pool, saltwater hot tubs aren’t as well known. If you are planning on getting a hot tub, it is important that you know the difference between a saltwater hot tub and a more traditional spa.

First, let’s talk about how a saltwater hot tub works. Instead of using a mineral sanitizer like chlorine or bromine, saltwater spas use salt to keep the water clean and safe. In a saltwater hot tub, you put a salt water chlorinator or chlorine generator in the water to convert the salt to chlorine to sanitize the water in your spa.

Benefits of a Saltwater Spa

Saltwater hot tubs tend to require less maintenance than a traditional spa, and they are often easier to operate. By using salt instead of a standard spa sanitizer, you are likely to have a gentler spa experience as well, meaning that your skin won’t be as dry or irritated as it could be when you use chlorine or bromine. For those with sensitive skin, a saltwater spa can be a much more comfortable option.

Most people are familiar with the smell of chlorine. When you have a saltwater spa, you will notice that you don’t really smell much of anything when you are around the hot tub.

Finally, the water in a saltwater hot tub tends to need draining less often than in a traditional spa.

Drawbacks of a Saltwater Spa

The cost of saltwater hot tubs tends to be the biggest drawback for many people. Often, the purchase and installation costs are a lot higher for these hot tubs. Additionally, the salt can increase the chances of corrosion in the internal workings of the tub, which can lead to very expensive repairs. For this reason, maintenance is extremely important for saltwater spas.

Saltwater cells are also expensive to replace. Fortunately, you won’t have to purchase them frequently, but when you do, you are going to spend a lot at one time.

Caring for a Saltwater Spa

The most important aspects of cleaning a saltwater hot tub include cleaning the spa filters and salt cell. The salt cell should be cleaned at least once every 60 to 90 days. When you clean the salt cell, you are removing calcium build up that occurs over time. To clean your salt cell, shut down power to the spa and remove the salt cell from the water. Soak the salt cell in a salt water cleaning solution for about 10 minutes and put it back in the spa. Once the salt cell is back in the hot tub, you can turn the spa back on.

Use a filter cleaner to clean your filters every 30 days. Soak your filters in the cleaner and then rinse them out. Be sure that you turn the hot tub off when you remove the filters and don’t turn the hot tub back on until they are back in place.

A hot tub surface cleaner can be used to clean the spa itself. You will need to drain the tub to completely scrub it down. You should consider draining and cleaning the tub every three to six months depending on how much you use the spa and the condition of the water inside.