Several times a week we are asked about a salt system, and how it works. Mainly by pool customers or pool shoppers, The new trend has started now, and hot tub customers are also curious about using salt water in their hot tubs. We do not suggest salt water for a hot tub for many reasons.
What to Watch Out For
There is much misinformation about salt systems on the internet. One of the main myths we hear on a regular basis is that salt systems are maintenance-free. Just add the salt, and everything else takes care of itself. Wrong! Please do not believe this. You’ll see why by the end of this blog. Salt is still chlorine. Many people do not know this. Your salt generator generates the salt into liquid chlorine, instead of granulated or tablet chlorine. The salt that you will need to buy is a special type of salt. It is not a table salt or a water softener salt.
Although salt systems have been very popular in swimming pools over the years, many companies are trying to integrate them into their hot tubs and it doesn’t work. We do not recommend using a salt system in a hot tub for many reasons.
- The equipment can be very expensive. Hot tub manufacturers do not include this type of system on their spas, it is an upgrade. An upgrade means there are more costs involved than the “initial” cost that has been presented to you. You can figure in at least an additional $400 to add this system to your new unit.
- Salt is corrosive, so plan on replacing parts like your pump and motor, heater, gaskets, seals, electronic components, etc.… more often. There is no way to get around this fact, even if your chemicals are kept in line.
- There is usually a limited warranty on these types of salt systems. The cell (on the inside of the generator that converts salt to chlorine) only has an average lifespan of approximately depending on the manufacturer, 3-4 months to 1.5 years. The cell alone costs $120-$1,500 every time it needs replacing.
Here are some saltwater myths:
- Salt systems are maintenance-free. Wrong! The instructions have multiple steps over a 2–3-day process. The manual also shows dozens of required actions to not only operate but maintain the salt system. How is this maintenance-free with this many instructions and rules to follow? It’s misleading!
- They do not use harsh chemicals. Wrong again! Although the salt generator generates the salt into chlorine, you will still need granulated chlorine on hand in case your generator has not generated enough chlorine. You should always have a chlorine level in your hot tub (unless you’re using a different sanitizer). You will still need to “shock” your tub approximately once a week with a non-chlorine shock. The chlorine the salt generator makes will kill the bacteria in the water but not get rid of it. This is where the shock comes in. The shock will oxidize what your chlorine has killed. You will still also need a metal and stain remover, PH adjustors, water clarifier, spa defoamer, phosphate remover, and a test kit or strips
- Inexpensive to use. Again, not true. Stand-alone salt systems cost between $500-$1,000, while built-in salt systems will cost between $400-$2,000. A salt cell’s average life span will vary between manufacturers. They can range from 3-4 months to 1.5 years and cost $120-$1,500 every time it needs to be replaced.
- Environmentally friendly. That is true, to a point. If you religiously follow the multiple warnings and steps, fewer chemicals may be used. Salt water can kill plants and rob nearby soil of important nutrients. Because of this, some cities and towns have banned saltwater use in pools and hot tubs.
- Feels better on your skin. Again, true to a point. Some salt is good and has no effect on your skin. However, the salt cell will generate the chlorine to which your skin could react. Whether it is salt water or hot tub chlorine, having too much of either will not be beneficial to your skin.
Sadly, the bottom line is, that saltwater systems for a hot tub are overhyped. They are very confusing to the consumer. They are complicated to operate and maintain. Expensive to purchase and maintain. Plus, it still creates harsh chlorine, having no environmental advantages over regular hot tub chlorine. If you are looking for a hot tub that has the ultimate in Water Management that is hands down the best on the market, look to Dimension One Spas. They are the only hot tub manufacturer on the market in the St. Louis area that will truly give you the least amount of maintenance and the cleanest water. Dimension has had Water Management for years, this isn’t something new. Don’t get caught up into the “new hoaxes” that manufactures like to try and sell their spas around, because they have been proven time and time again to not be effective. A Dimension One Spa will be the first and last hot tub you will ever have to own!Baker Pool & Spa
6 THF Blvd.
Chesterfield, MO 63005