In The Zone: Should You Install An Ozonator In Your Spa Or Hot Tub?

If you are lucky enough to own your own personal spa, hot tub or jacuzzi, you will already be aware of how important it is to keep your spa water clean and free of contamination. The warm, moist environs of a hot spa can create the perfect environment for bacteria, fungi and other harmful pathogens to breed in, potentially endangering the health of you and your family of spa hygiene is neglected for too long.

Traditionally, spa water is kept sanitary with the use of sterilising chemicals such as chlorine and bromine, and these powerful substances are still the first and best line of defence against spa water contamination. However, more modern equipment can also be used to treat our spa water, and one of the most effective is the ozonator.

What are the advantages of installing an ozonator in my spa?

Under ordinary circumstances, the oxygen molecules within the water of your spa are made of two individual oxygen atoms bonded together. When an ozonator is inserted into the spa water, these molecules are separated into their individual atoms using intense bursts of UV light or rapid bursts of electrical current; these newly liberated molecules subsequently bond with intact oxygen atom pairs, creating the three-atom molecule commonly known as ozone.

Ozone's unique properties make it a highly effective substance for cleaning and sanitising the water of spas and hot tubs; it is a particularly strong anti-pathogenic agent, and small amounts of ozone in your spa water will rapidly kill off bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes. Ozone also oxidises and degrades other unwanted contaminants in your water, ranging from soap and suntan lotion to sweat and other body fluids, causing them to clump together and making them easy to remove with conventional spa filters and skimmer baskets.

Consequently, installing an ozonator in your spa can make keeping your spa and its water supply sanitary far easier, and can dramatically reduce the amount of chlorine and other cleaning chemicals you use to keep your spa clean. Ozone also has a beneficial side effect in that it breaks down chloramines, the molecules that cause chlorine-based cleaning chemicals to emit their characteristically unpleasant smell.

What about the disadvantages of using ozonators?

Unfortunately, using an ozonator in certain spas and hot tubs can create problems. The most commonly-reported of these problems is damage to spa liners and weather covers made from vinyl -- ozone does not react will to certain vinyl plastics, and can cause them to fade and degrade rapidly, so ozonators are generally more suited for use in spas made from more traditional materials such as stone or plaster.

Ozone can also have deleterious effects for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. Even though the vast majority of the ozone created by your ozonator remains dissolved in your spa's water supply, a small amount does evaporate into the air, where it can cause problems to people with sensitive respiratory systems if inhaled.