How To Change A Hot Tub To Saltwater

If you’re in the market for a hot tub or already possess one, you’ve probably heard excellent things about saltwater systems. Proponents of saltwater hot tubs frequently tout the benefits of odor-free, soft, and smooth water, simplified maintenance procedures, and reduced reliance on harsh chemicals.

While the majority of these claims are genuine, you may be under the impression that it is too late or too expensive for you to join the ranks. But how simple is it to adapt a standard hot tub to run on saltwater? And is it possible to use saltwater in any hot tub? 

Read The Fine Print

The truth is that there are saltwater hot tub conversion kits that can be placed on most hot tubs, allowing you to reap the benefits of a saltwater system without having to give up the hot tub you already own or want to buy. But before placing a chlorine generator in your hot tub, make sure saltwater is advised for your model. Not all hot tubs are suitable for saltwater conversion.

What Exactly Is A Salt Water Hot Tub?

It’s critical to understand what a saltwater hot tub is and how it works before investing in one. To put it simply, saltwater sanitizers destroy bacteria by combining salt and electricity. This occurs when an electric current separates salt molecules into sodium and chlorine. The chlorine then kills germs before being turned back to salt.

Because the chlorine is turned back into salt, there will be no unpleasant chlorine odor or skin discomfort. Furthermore, the amount of chlorine produced by saltwater sanitizers is substantially lower than that produced by a standard chlorine-based sanitizer.

A salt cell, also known as a chlorine cell, is the central component of any saltwater sanitation system. With the help of an electrical current, that salt cell is responsible for separating the salt molecules into sodium and chlorine.

How Salty Will The Water Be?

If you’re concerned about having extremely salty hot tub water, keep in mind that saltwater hot tubs have a suggested salinity of 2,500 parts per million (ppm). In comparison, the salinity of ocean water is around 35,000 ppm. As a result, the amount of salt in a saltwater hot tub will be almost imperceptible.

Things To Consider

  • Saltwater systems do require upkeep. Every few months, the generator’s cell system must be removed and cleaned – commonly in an acid solution.
  • Your hot tub water will not be chlorine-free, and if the salt levels fall below a specific safe level, you may need to shock the water with calcium hypochlorite or conventional pool chlorine to kill bacteria.
  • The system will cost several hundred dollars, and the cells will need to be replaced every year and a half at an additional cost of several hundred dollars.
  • Aside from the salt, which is cheap, you’ll need other chemicals and testing equipment, which may not be as cheap.

Despite these disadvantages, you may find that a saltwater system makes your hot tub more comfortable and enjoyable to use, and the water is kinder on your skin than water containing calcium hypochlorite. Furthermore, because the chlorine generator does not produce chloramines, the water will not have a chlorine odor.

Making The Change

Before you can use your hot tub, you must drain the present water and refill it with clear water after you’ve selected a generator that’s appropriate for it, preferably through consultation with your spa dealer. Use this chance to thoroughly clean the tub, remove sand and other filth with a sponge, and scrub algae from the waterline with detergent and water.

Installation of the cell can be painless in some situations; you can select between a smaller cylinder that hangs over the side of the tub and a flat panel that floats in the water. You can also choose a setup in which the cell is connected to the hot tub tubing.

This system should only be used if you have a 24-hour circulation pump with 3/4-inch tubing. A cord connects the chlorinator to a control system that you fasten to a nearby surface, such as a wall or post. The control system, in turn, connects to a standard GFCI-protected 120-volt outlet. Systems are often energy-efficient, requiring as little as 50 watts when in use.

What Type Of Salt Is Used?

After you’ve installed the generator, you’ll need to add salt to the water. Although the salt is similar to table salt, it must be purer since additives in table salt can foul the cells, causing early failure. Check with the dealer from whom you purchased the system to determine the appropriate salt to use and fully mix it in the water in the recommended amount.

When correctly added to hot tub water, the salt concentration can be up to ten times lower than that found in ocean water. It’s even lower in concentration than in human tears. Because of the low concentration, rust and corrosion of metal parts are not as serious as may be assumed. Simply washing down metal hot tub parts can help avoid damage.

What About The Upkeep Of A Salt Water Hot Tub?

Saltwater hot tubs are easier to maintain than chlorine-based systems. 

Because the system recycles the salt continuously, you don’t have to add salt as frequently; and many systems monitor the salt level and alert you when it goes below the required threshold — typically 3,000 to 4,000 ppm.

If your system does not perform this automatically, you will need to do it manually with test strips. Never add salt prematurely; if the system becomes over-salted, the chlorinator will stop working correctly, and you’ll have to drain the water and start over. If the salt level falls too low, algae may bloom, necessitating the injection of calcium hypochlorite to shock the water.

Why Should I Switch To Salt Water?

Saltwater hot tubs have a number of appealing features. Here are some examples:

  • Fewer chemicals: Saltwater hot tubs use far fewer chemicals than traditional sanitation systems.
  • Less irritation: Because saltwater sanitizers produce such a small amount of chlorine, they are generally non-irritating to the eyes and skin. Furthermore, saltwater is silky soft to the touch.
  • Increased buoyancy: Because salt increases the density of water, it is easier to float. Even a modest bit of salt in your hot tub will improve buoyancy for even more relaxation.
  • Less maintenance: While there is no such thing as a maintenance-free hot tub, saltwater hot tubs require significantly less care than those with chlorine- or bromine-based sanitizers.
  • Low Log Term Cost: Long-term expenditures are lower because the salt used in saltwater hot tubs is substantially less expensive than comparable amounts of chlorine or bromine. This compensates for the higher initial expense of a saltwater sanitation system over time.

Final Thoughts

Once you’ve completed the processes, just grab some fluffy towels and a swimsuit and enjoy a relaxing soak.