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Ionization-Oxidation Spa Sanitizers

An alternative spa sanitizer, born of the space-age.
The Pool and Spa Informational Website

Hybrid Spa and Hot Tub Water Purification Systems


Scroll down to browse through some archived SPA and Hot Tub questions and answers.  Please click the Spa Topics Link, on top of every page, to access a complete listing of Spa and Hot Tub Problem subjects, an alphabetized Website Table of Contents, Spa and Hot Tub Equipment Information, About Alan Biographic Material and a Spa and Hot Tub Glossary. Use the other links to access additional subject information. More information about some new and unique products, for Spas and Hot Tubs, can be found by visiting The Website Store. You'll never know what you'll find and that's always fun. Be better prepared and avoid costly problems!

MegaChlor-CD Salt CXhlorine Generator, with Chlorine Detection Technology. SmarterSpa Salt Chlorine Generator for Spas. ColorQ digital water analyzer.
BlasterAutomatic Filter Cartridge Cleaners for pools and spas. Nano-Spray uses new technology to help preserve spa covers.
Model SV battery-powered Spa Vacuum. The short-coming of Copper-Oxidation systems is that the active oxygen is short-lived and the copper ions are not very effective spa sanitizers.  A salt Chlorine is a complete Spa Sanitizer and is a better choice.  They are easy to use, affordable and many require no installation.  Magnetic water conditioners for spas, pools and the whole house.

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How to use Ionization-Oxidation, as an alternative pool sanitizer? Ionization-Oxidation Systems are hybrid water purification devices that supply a dual stream of sanitizing metallic ions to the spa or hot tub water: usually copper and zinc. The copper ions function primarily as an algaecide and the zinc ions function as a bactericide. Used properly, the ions are maintained at very low levels, avoiding the possibility of staining or discoloration. What makes Ionization-Oxidation a hybrid product and sets it apart from simple ionizers is another set of electrodes that produces various forms of active oxygen. The ability to both sanitize and oxidize wastes and organic byproducts makes this a very effective system, with a low chemical presence. It is this dual functionality that makes this product more versatile than ionizers or mineral sanitizers. When used in conjunction with a very low level of chlorine, Ionization-Oxidation produces better and more consistent results with minimal chemical usage. If problems arise, refer to the Spa Problems Page, as a source of problem-solving information, broken down into various categories.  Scroll down the page and click on the linked keywords, catch phrases or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.

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▼     Helpful, Problem-Solving Information, in a question and answer format.     ▼

Oxygenating Alone Is Not Working?

We purchased a fiberglass spa bath with an oxygenator, and were told that no chemicals would be needed. This was a selling point. We did not want to have to add chemicals, as I have allergies to some chemicals, or to keep changing the water. Another alternative that we considered was a salt chlorinator.  After two months we noticed slimy green patches on the walls and seat, about two feet from the water surface, so drained the spa, cleaned it as instructed, and refilled it. Within a week they are back, and also occasional bits of white foam. The surface of the spa bath is also a bit slippery. The water looks sparklingly clean and the green patches come off when rubbed, but then it bothers me that the water might contain harmful bacteria.  Thank you for your time.  Regards.

Sally S., 1/14/2017
ChlorMaker Drape-Over Salt Chlorine Generator, for spas and swim spas.
It is much easier to sell something, when you promise the world. The "oxygenator" is not a sanitizer! It may help reduce the organics content of the water, but it will not control microorganisms - hence the green deposits and slimy underwater surfaces. And its residual action is very short. You need to be using a sanitizer, such as chlorine or bromine. A salt chlorine generator can be added. When used together, the "oxygenator" will be doing some of the waste elimination and this will allow you to operate the Salt Chlorine Generator, at a lower setting, to maintain any given chlorine level. This will allow the salt cell to last longer and make pH control easier. With the combination, there should be little of the odor, associated with chlorine use. We offer an affordable selection of spa salt chlorine generator and most require no installation. Just plug-n-play. I hope that this has been helpful.

Sincerely.  Alan Schuster, 1/14/2017

What is Spa Ionization-Oxidation?

I recently used a pool and spa that were being something called Ionization-Oxidation. I really enjoyed not having the heavy odor of chlorine lingering around. Is this something that I can use in my own spa? Currently, I am using bromine, but this was better!

Chris N., Allentown, PA, 6/20/2018

Ionization-Oxidation is a hybrid method for purifying water. The technology was actually developed for the Apollo space program
One of the ColorQ all-digital, pool and spa water analyzers., to purify water on many manned space missions. Electrodes release controllable amounts of copper and zinc ions, to act as sanitizers, as another set of electrodes produces forms of active oxygen to destroy organic matter, algae, bacteria and waste products. You preferred the end result because of the low chemical presence. Sometimes, depending on bather usage and actual spa conditions, more consistent results are gotten, by also maintaining a very low level of chlorine. The chlorine just helps bridge the gap between the shutting off of the unit and its restarting. Because of the oxygenation, there are none of the odorous and irritating forms of chlorine. If you are interested in maintaining an eco-friendlier spa that uses a minimum of chemicals, this is certainly something to consider. However, you could also use a mineral sanitizer and ozonator, along with a low level of chlorine or bromine and achieve the same or better results, at lower cost.  No Matter what, the copper content should be tested and monitored. The ColorQ COPPER 5 or COPPER 7 all-digital testers are the best ways to do that. I hope that this information proves to be helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/20/2018

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Troubling Spa Rash?

We had our hot tub for 2 months. Then I developed a itchy rash on my lower back, chest and eventually my forearms and legs. Since we were new owners and had had a fair number of people in the "new spa" we assumed bacteria and emptied the spa, washed down all surfaces with a 10% chlorine solution and added bromine to 30ppm to shock the new water. I still got a severe rash. So then we did the decontamination procedure (with the formula of 100 ppm of chlorine, etc.) listed on government sites. I could then use the spa for 15 minutes at time with only a few bumps which did not persist for any length of time but came 6-8 hours after usage. Nobody else has ever gotten a rash, before or after all this treatment.  We have paid particular attention to shocking the spa after use and keeping the bromine, pH and TA at the appropriate levels but a few days ago the water felt slightly slimy when we got in and I got a rash again on my arms and legs. Never under my bathing suit which is where they say folliculitis is most likely to occur!? We keep our temperature at 100-101 degrees F which we find comfortable so far this winter. Could we have a person who carries the pseudomonas bacteria infecting the spa? We have noticed a difference in the foaming of the water but we don't use the aerators much. With all this treatment, is it bacteria or chemical dermatitis that is likely bothering me and how do I find out to rectify the problem? Our healthcare provider figured it was folliculitis when I asked him and put me on the recommended antibiotic for 5 days and said I could use the hot tub again after 48 hours. I waited 72 hours and made sure I had no "red" rash and got more after being in the tub even while on the antibiotic?? Could it be heat rash? Any help would be greatly appreciated as problem solving knowledge seems to be hard to come by in our part of the world!

Jane, Saint John, N.B. Canada, 12/3/2014

I can't tell you if the spa rash is due to chemical dermatitis or folliculitis. I'll leave that to the medical professionals. The slimy conditions are indication of microorganism growth and this can lead to folliculitis. Ultra high chlorine or bromine levels can lead to chemical dermatitis. While I can't tell you the source of the problem, I can suggest that a possible way to avoid a recurrence. You are the only one effected and this makes chemical sensitivity more likely. Bromine is not common in pools - chlorine is very common. Bromine is much more popular in spas. Possibly, you were never previously exposed to bromine. It would be hard to imagine your not being previously exposed to chlorine. You might not be sensitive to bromine, but you could be sensitive to the inert ingredients that are unique to most bromine tablets. I suggest that you drain the spa completely. Make sure that you remove ALL THE WATER! Otherwise, bromine may be produced, after you add chlorine or shock. Instead of bromine, start maintaining the spa on chlorine. To reduce the amount of chlorine required, I suggest that you add an ozonator. This will greatly improve the water quality and reduce the chemical presence. Add a mineral sanitizer and you can come close to completely reducing the need for chlorine, on a regular basis. I hope that you will find this information helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 12/3/2014

No Chlorine Please?

My wife has some chemical sensitivity issues, especially with chlorine and for that reason, it was suggested that we maintain out spa on biguanide. For about the first year or so, it went well. Then, the spa developed what was called water mold and the troubles have persisted. I keep spending money and am getting little use of the spa. Do you have a better suggestion? Thanks for your time and consideration.

John H., 3/28/2012

This water mold problem is not uncommon, after being used for a period of time. It is the result of a microorganism
that has become resistant to the sanitizer and the sensible solution is to permanently switch to another sanitizer. It will take a combination of units to meet your goal and even then, there could be a benefit to having a trace amount of chlorine. Use an ozone generator to oxidize wastes, a mineral sanitizer to help provide persistent sanitation and a ultraviolet sanitizer unit to suppress the microbial population, by killing virtually everything in the return flow. Having a trace amount of chlorine present, will confirm that the systems is functioning in unison. It should take very little chlorine or bromine to do this and it might only need to be done on a weekly basis. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster. 3/29/2012

Natural Sanitizing?

Alan, We're just about ready to have our hot tub installed. I've been looking at the various ways to keep the water clean. I came across this a natural enzyme based product. Is this for real, what would be the shortfall using this method to keep the hot tub water clean? Thanks for all your ideas, they are very informative.

Rick B., Rochester, NY 4/8/2017

If you don't control infectious bacteria, such as pseudomonas and e. coli, you can end up with a rash or worse. This product
SmarterSpa Salt Chlorine Generator for Spas. is not a recognized sanitizer. I have heard it described as being like lake water. Check the label. Does it have the EPA Registration number that a sanitizer must have? Evidently, this product, can under certain circumstances, work. I suspect that it can be overwhelmed due to high bather usage and that can lead to problems. I would rather use a product that I can measure and test and that works under virtually all properly maintained conditions. I suggest that you consider a more traditional spa water sanitizer. Bromine, Chlorine, Mineral Sanitizers or Salt Chlorine Generators, perhaps, in conjunction with an Ozonator or Ultra-Violet Sanitizer will afford much greater protection. I'm glad that you found the website helpful. Good luck and enjoy the spa.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/8/2017

Hydrogen Peroxide?

We have a hot tub and would like to use hydrogen peroxide instead of the normal chemicals. My husband is allergic to the chlorine and bromides. How much Hydrogen peroxide do we use and what %. We were told that it should be a 10% concentration but we can't find any hydrogen peroxide above 3%. I thought maybe you could help us. Also do we nee to use any kind of a shock at the first? Hope you can help! Thanks.

Jo, 7/10/2008

I am not sure that using just hydrogen peroxide will provide adequate sanitation. In pools and spas, it is
used as a shock treatment with biguanide. It is available in concentrated form in many pool and spa outlets that offer biguanide products. Have you considered the use of an ozonator and a mineral sanitizer or ionizer. This combination would come close to being chlorine and bromine free. The ozonator could negate the need for hydrogen peroxide and a mineral sanitizer would release metallic ions and act as a persistent sanitizer. Hydrogen peroxide can be used as a shock treatment and a mineral sanitizer, as the primary water sanitizer. However, in most cases better results are obtained, if you maintain a lower level of chlorine or bromine. Good luck with your decision.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/10/2008

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