When talking about pools or hot tubs, there are a ton of things that make them similar. They are both pools of water that allow people to relax and enjoy themselves. And they both require regular cleaning, sanitization, circulation, and regular filter changes. But if we’re talking about portable or custom hot tubs that are detached from the pool, this is where their similarities end. Contrary to popular belief, hot tubs aren’t just small swimming pools. In fact, they have to be maintained differently than a normal swimming pool. If you’re thinking about getting a hot tub, then continue reading to find out why they’re so different from one another.
Hot Tub vs Pool
Bacteria Thrive in Warm, Damp Water
Bacteria thrive in areas that are warm and have high amounts of moisture, so it’s not surprising that hot tubs or spas are the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria. Unfortunately, these bacterias can cause a variety of skin infections, even if the water is actively maintained with adequate circulation and proper water chemistry. Even if you forget just one day of cleaning, you can see a layer of biofilm form on top of the water, the spa cover, the filters and plumbing lines in little to no time at all. Overgrowth of bacteria in your hot tub is a problem because the hot water opens up the pores in your skin, allowing these bad bacteria into your body, which can make you sick or cause skin infections. Regular cleaning and having your guests shower before entering the spa can help make a huge difference to your water chemistry.
Chemicals for pools and spas share the same names, but they are not actually the same products. Chemicals act differently in hot water compared to how they act in cool water due to the increase in molecular activity in hotter water.
Now, let’s take a look at chlorine. Chlorine is an excellent option for water sanitation because it is stable in water up to eighty degrees, at which point the chemical will start to dissipate from the water. Most hot tubs and spas operate at around ninety-five to one hundred and four degrees, so chlorine for hot tubs is specially formulated to withstand high temperatures.
Some owners prefer to use a chemical called bromine because it is a more stable chemical. Others choose to use chemicals like ozone generators to add extra protection to their water. Because pool cleaners are stronger than spa chemicals, using them in your hot tub can cause damage to the tub and equipment.
The Ph balance of the water is another prime factor contributing to good water chemistry. A common problem for hot tubs is high Ph balance, which can lessen the effectiveness of the chlorine and bromine. This can result in an increase of bacteria in your water, which would undoubtedly make your water a whole lot dirtier, as well.
Water Volume Per Person
Let’s say that you have five people show up at your backyard party. If those five people are all soaking in your five hundred gallon spa, these same five people are sharing about one hundred gallons of water each. If you were in a swimming pool that holds about twenty-five thousand gallons, it would take about two hundred and fifty people to match the volume ratio as the spa or hot tub. So as you can imagine, the ratio of people to water plays a major role in the chemistry of the water and the tub’s ability to filter the water to keep the tub clean. Having extra sanitation methods in a place, like cleaning or changing your filters every week or two, can help keep the hot tub clean.
Hot Tubs Need to be Regularly Drained
As opposed to hot tubs, which need to be thoroughly cleaned and refilled every three to four months, swimming pools rarely ever need to be drained. This is because of how low the water volume to person ratio is and the fact that the chemicals can only do so much to keep your water clean. It is absolutely necessary to flush and push out any unwanted biofilm lurking around the system of your hot tub at least twice a year. If you don’t flush the pipes of your spa’s system, then you’ll end up right back where you started once the spa is refilled. You can also use a jet cleaner in the system to keep your hot tubs plumbing in tip-top shape on a regular basis.
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between a spa and a pool. If you’re thinking about getting one or the other, then you should sit down and think about your needs and wants. If you want to relax and work on your muscle aches, then you should get a spa. If you’d like to have a bunch of backyard pool parties, then obviously you should get a pool. Either way, think about what you want and you’ll have an easier time choosing between the two.