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Ionizers for Spas and Hot Tubs

Metallic ions help reduce chlorine and oxidizer usage.
 
The Pool and Spa Informational Website
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An Alternative Spa and Hot Tub Sanitizer.
 

 
 

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!

 
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How to use an Ionizer or Mineralizer, as an alternative spa, swim spa or hot tub sanitizer? Ionizers are devices that supply a stream of copper and silver ions to the spa or hot tub water. The copper ions function as an algaecide and the silver ions function as a bactericide. Used properly, the ions are maintained at very low levels, avoiding the possibility of staining or discoloration. Ionization units use metallic electrodes and electrical circuits to release the ions into the water. Ionizers are not stand alone water treatment products, but can reduce the total amount of chemicals required for proper spa or hot tub water maintenance. Copper and silver ions will not destroy organic buildup and contamination and will not oxidize dead microorganisms and organic debris. This requires spa water oxidation and the use of agents such as: chlorine, bromine, non-chlorine shock or ozone. All of these oxidizers can be used with a Ionizers. 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.     ▼

Ionization And Oxidation?

I was just looking at some info on the ionization process for hot tubs to look after algae and such. I must admit it looks great and I bet smells better with no bromine or chlorine odors. My question is to do with the oxidation of the water. I have read where you suggest ozonators to deal with this problem. But, are they enough to keep the water fresh or do you need some non chlorine shock as well? Also is there a test you can do to check, if you have enough oxidation occurring to be safe? Thanks in advance.

Darren H., 10/27/2015


For proper spa water quality, you must have both sanitizing and oxidation! An ionization unit or mineral sanitizer can provide most, if not all of the sanitizing action. However, it must be used with oxidizing agents such as ozone, chlorine, bromine or non-chlorine shock. Ozonators come close to providing for all of the sanitizing and oxidizing needs. Because the presence of ozone is short-lived, after the unit is shut off, a backup sanitizer is always recommended: chlorine, bromine or mineral sanitizers or ionization units are most commonly used in this backup role. Ozonators provide the necessary oxidation and greatly reduce the amount of chlorine or bromine required to maintain a level of about 1/2 the customary amount. There should be no overpowering sense of chlorine or bromine. Use an ionization unit and you can come close to eliminating the chlorine or bromine. The only time non-chlorine shock needs to be used is if the water quality suddenly deteriorates. If you maintain a chlorine or bromine residual, at a reduced level, the ability to maintain this lower concentration is confirmation that the oxidation needs are being met by the ozonator. I hope that I have helped convince you that an ozonator will be beneficial and will enhance your hot water experience.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 10/27/2015

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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 need to use any kind of a shock at the first? Hope you can help! Thanks.

Jo, 7/10/2014


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. 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 or ionizer as the primary water sanitizer. However, in most cases better results are obtained, if you maintain a lower level of chlorine or bromine. I hope that I've been helpful and given you some food for thought. Good luck with your decision.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 7/10/2014


How Does An Ionizer Work?

I am thinking of adding an ionization unit to help reduce the amount of chlorine that is being used. Is this possible? I have very hard water and want to minimize chemicals.

Fred. H, Mesa, AZ, 5/12/2012

Yes, it will work to help reduce chemical usage, by providing silver and copper sanitizing ions, as the water passes over the copper and silver electrodes. The chlorine will now have help and less will be required. It is easily controlled and adds little to the water.  You can further reduce the chemicals required by adding an ozonator. That will allow you to cut the chlorine level back and even less will be required, as the ozonator will do most of the oxidizing.  This sanitizing combination will reduce the odor, as well. I hope that this information is helpful.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/12/2012


What is Ionization?

Exactly what is ionization? Is there a benefit in using ionization in a spa?

T. T., Eugene, OR, 5/2/2008


Ionizers are a type of alternative water sanitizer and operate on the principle of adding a low level of copper and silver or zinc ions to the water. Ions are the electrically charged soluble forms of these metals. These ions can function as a spa water sanitizer. At low levels, staining and precipitation can be avoided and the ions are able to remain in solution. Ionization units contain electrodes and the regulation and control of the current between these electrodes, will regulate the amount ions released into the pool water. The device is plumbed in-line and operates with the same cycle as the filter pump. Another type of device is the Mineral Sanitizer, that releases ions with the electrical circuits. In either, case the sanitizing principle is similar. In addition to the sanitizing ions, there must be oxidation. Without oxidation, there would be a build up of organic wastes and byproducts in the spa water. For this purpose, a non-chlorine shock, chlorine, bromine or an ozonator are frequently used, in order to oxidize organic contamination and debris.  The overall water chemistry must be maintained for bather comfort, water quality and to protect the pool surfaces and equipment. If you want to maintain a spa without chlorine or bromine, Ozonators, Ionizers and Mineral Sanitizers are things to consider. Unfortunately, it still requires some chemicals. I hope that I have been of assistance.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 5/2/2008


Too Much Copper?

I live in Santa Rosa, Ca and I have a cedar hot tub. I have a copper ionizer system which I apparently left on too long, and the copper reading is now too high (0.7). Is this unsafe? Is there a way to lower the copper level without draining the tub? Thanks for your time.

Kendra, Santa Rosa, CA, 1/2/2010

METALTRAP Filters remove iron, copper and manganese.
The Copper Test should not be more than 0.3 PPM, if an ionizer is being used. Higher levels can cause staining, green
fingernails and hair. Replacing water is the easiest way to lower the level. Otherwise, you can use a METALTRAP Filter and a small submersible pump to recirculate the water.  As the water passes through the METALTRAP filter, it will remove copper. When the level gets under 0.3, you can stop. Heater corrosion could be a source of copper, if the pH was under 7.0 and chlorine or bromine was present.  I hope that this information will help solve the problem.

Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/2/2010

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