Green Your Spa Maintenance – How-To
There’s nothing like splashing down in the hot tub after a long and stressful day. Unfortunately, maintaining clear, clean water in your tub can be a Herculean task. Hours of maintenance time and a host of dangerous, toxic chemicals that shouldn’t even be stored near each other can take the joy out of owning a hot tub.
The Hamilton Index is a new approach to spa water chemistry that not only reduces the amount of chemicals needed to maintain your spa, but drastically cuts down on maintenance as well.
The currently accepted method for maintaining pool and spa water chemistry, called the Langelier Index, was originally designed for municipal water systems to provide sanitary drinking water without destroying underground lead pipes.
Langelier was adopted by the pool and spa industry in the 60’s essentially for lack of any alternative. The index has been modified and adapted slightly over the last forty years, but has essentially remained unchanged. It is the ideal solution for the chemical companies to promote for spa care as it is nearly impossible to sustain and requires a massive amount of expensive and toxic chemicals.
According to Langelier, spa water should have a sanitizer level of 3 parts per million, a pH of 7.4 to 7.6 and total alkalinity in the range of 60 to 80. Langelier looks easy enough on paper, and it works just fine for municipal water supplies where the water is only used once. The nightmare starts when one tries to maintain these balances with water that is kept over 100 degrees and used over and over.
It is simply not possible to maintain these levels without constant tweaking of the pH, sanitizer levels and total alkalinity. Every time you add chlorine or bromine, you have to balance the pH by adding more chemicals. By adding more chemicals, you alter the total alkalinity, increase the number of total dissolved solids and create chloramines and bromamines, which are the leading cause of “spa itch.”
The Hamilton Index causes us to completely rethink spa water chemistry. It is an alternative approach that has proven itself to be very effective, safe and simple. It maintains that total alkalinity should be between 100 and 120 rather than the traditional 60 to 80. The pH levels should be between 7.6 and 8.2 with a sanitizer level of around 1 part per million.
Maintaining these higher pH and alkalinity levels has a truly amazing effect on amount of maintenance required to keep your spa at its peak. You will find that you need to add chemicals to your spa once a week rather than once a day. It has the added benefit of increasing the longevity of your sanitizer and reducing the amount of chlorine or bromine required from 2 ppm to 1 ppm. The higher alkalinity helps to lock the pH in place.
When your pH remains stable, you’re less likely to have cloudy water. A higher pH will reduce the amount of sanitizer needed, improve overall water clarity and is easier on the internal workings of your spa. A slightly higher pH also greatly reduces the likelihood of skin and eye irritation.
The Hamilton Index is no newcomer to the spa industry. It was developed by pool professionals specifically for use in pools and spas and was tested over the course of eleven years. Give it a try and let me know the results. I’m confident that you will substantially reduce the amount of chemicals needed to maintain your spa while enjoying the feeling that you’re helping the environment as well as your health.
The Hamilton Index.
pH: 7.6 to 8.2
Total Alkalinity: 100 to 120
Sanitizer: 1 ppm (.05 ppm or none in spas with ozone, depending on the system)
Mick Wynhoff is CEO of Pacific Sands, Inc. (OTC BB: PFSD), manufacturer of the EcoOne Spa product line, developed to work best under the Hamilton Index and from a proprietary blend of botanicals, mineral extracts and enzyme technologies. He’s spent a few decades restoring a prairie on his family’s land. Mick lives in Racine, Wisconsin.
Email: IR [at] PacificSandsInc [dot]com