Roger from Los Angeles asks, “I read your piece about chlorine-free pools. What about my hot tub? Can I have a chlorine-free hot tub and not get the heebie-jeebies?”
Answer: Roger, if you don’t breathe LA’s air (just kidding), and if you don’t use tea tree oil, crystals, prayer or no disinfectant at all, yes you can use chlorine-free alternatives.
That said, my first question is, are you ready to perform more maintenance on your hot tub’s water than you do using either chlorine or bromine (bromine is chlorine’s kissing cousin)? If you are not interested in micro-managing your spa’s chemistry, then stick with the forty-year-old technology.
Some of your chlorine/bromine-free options are: Ozone, UV, biguinide, or minerals. Regardless of your alternative choice, you absolutely must maintain a perfect chemistry balance, a clean filter, and drain the spa when necessary. Check your local pool and spa store, see what they stock, then email me with your choices and I’ll go into more detail.
Sally in Portland says, “My hot tub cover stinks. What can I do about it?”
Answer: Sally, is mold growing on the north side of your spa as well? I mean, you are in Oregon and it can get a tad moldy there. Fortunately, that has nothing to do with a smelly hot tub cover. Give your cover the following test:
1) Is it heavy when you lift it? If so, your cover is waterlogged and you need to replace it. Once it is waterlogged it no longer can offer the same insulation it did when it was new.
2) Is your cover slimy on the underside? This is a simple fix. Wipe it down with a ¼ cup of bleach mixed with 2 gallons of water. Be sure to remove the cover from your spa while cleaning the slimy beast.
3) Still got gag? It could be that the foam core’s plastic envelope and the covering inside the cover have mildew or mold. You can probably fix this by, folding the cover in half, unzip the cover at the fold, remove the foam core in its envelope, turn the cover inside out, and spray both the envelope and the inside-out cover with the same bleach mix as above. Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the cover off. Let it dry, reassemble, and gag-maker should be bleached away.
4) If these ideas fail, I can get some clothespins for your nose—real cheap too.
….Okay kids, go ahead shoot me those questions…and yes, Bill, I will answer your question about the safety of luv in da tub!