Since I was a child, I would be seen fiddling with electronic devices, pulling them apart and then putting them back together to see how they work. I have always been interested in the physics of things and this is what drew me to water treatment and pool maintenance too. So when my friend Glenn and I, began The Pool Cleaner Expert, a website for all pool treatment issues, the focus was not only on how to maintain your pool but also the science behind it. Hot tub ozonators are the perfect amalgamation of that science and practicality. This article is a quick guide to hot tub ozonators.
What Are Hot Tub Ozonators?
A hot tub ozonator is a device which can reduce the need for chemicals in your hot tub maintenance regime. The device emits an intense UV/CD light which splits oxygen molecules in the water into two separate, free oxygen atoms. When the free oxygen atoms interact with regular oxygen atoms, it produces ozone. The ozone then works on purifying the water and killing contaminants.
As you may have learned in high school chemistry, ozone is a natural sanitizer. It can kill the bacteria in your tub without needing to use any strong chemicals. The ozone released by the ozonator can work beautifully with some simple sanitizers like chlorine and bromine. In fact, it can enhance the effectiveness of the two chemicals. It manages to free up combined chlorine and bromine so that they can be reused. This way, you don’t have to keep adding more sanitizer – the same batch will last you for a longer time. It will also save you money by diminishing the need to buy stronger, more expensive sanitizer.
Why Do You Need Them?
Ozonators are useful for a variety of reasons. The following are only some of their advantages:
- You can install an ozonator once and save money on buying expensive chemicals throughout the year. On the other hand, continuously buying chemicals could end up costing you more than what installing and running an ozonator would.
- If anyone who is using the hot tub is allergic to pool chemicals (a common allergy), an ozonator is the perfect way to ensure the water is clean without needing to use any chemicals that do not sit well with you or your loved ones.
- It can reduce the effects of many compounds and bodily fluids in the water, like deodorant, sunscreen, sweat, makeup, soap, saliva, urine, etc.
- The water will sparkle like never before because ozone is a natural flocculant. It will clump all the impurities together, which the filter will dispel from the water. The oxygen byproduct of the ozone will make the water, quite literally, sparkle in the light. If you have an outdoor hot tub with access to natural sunlight, the water will sparkle even more.
How Often Should You Use Them?
Now, can you keep your ozonator on at all times? Surely, that would rake up an enormous electricity bill. After all, the physics behind an ozonator is rather fascinating but there is no creating ozone without the consumption of electricity.
There is no hard and fast rule about how often you should be using the ozonator. But if the hot tub is being used frequently or if there are more than a few people using the tub at once, you may want to leave the ozonator on. On an average, if you run it for 3-4 hours in a 12-hour day, that should produce enough ozone to keep the water clean and sanitized. If on a certain day the usage is higher than usual, you can run it for a few extra hours.
Are They Environment-Friendly?
Now, you know that the ozone layer is what protects our atmosphere, but anything in excess can be harmful. Inhaling ozone directly can damage your lungs. Too much ozone in the air around us, therefore, can be detrimental to health even though ozone is an important component in protecting our atmosphere. While ozone generators used to curb pollution may be doing more harm than good but ozone dissolved in water is perfectly safe to be around. Any excess ozone is converted back to oxygen so you do not have to worry about inhaling ozone or releasing excess ozone into the air around you.
Types of Ozonators
There are two main types of ozonators available in the market. UV ozonators and CD (corona discharge) ozonators. CD ozonators, however, are becoming more popular now as they are more energy efficient than the UV variety. There are also many advances being made in the field of corona discharge, making it a more sought after technology. CD ozonators have longer lives, are more energy efficient and are compatible with most hot tubs, among other things.
Pros and Cons
As with anything else, hot tub ozonators have several pros and cons too:
- You get to save a lot of money on unnecessary and expensive chemicals which could irritate your skin and eyes if overused.
- It is long lasting and easy to use. Having an ozonator is more convenient than running to the store every now and then because the hot tub chemical reading is not balanced and you need to buy more sanitizer.
- It is a natural solution which is probably better for you than sitting in a tub full of chemicals.
- If the ozonator is not installed properly, not only have you spent money on buying the device but now also have to pay for chemicals to treat the water since the ozonator is malfunctioning.
- The ozone can damage your hot tub cover, even if the ozone being released is mild. You will have to take the cover out for a few hours every week to increase its life. Alternately, you can also buy a floating blanket to protect your cover.
How to Install an Ozonator?
Most new hot tubs come equipped with a setting in case you want to install an ozonator. It should have all the necessary outlets to mount and plug in your ozonator. If not, check your hot tub’s manual to see if there’s a workaround. You may need to get some additional plumbing work done. The following are the steps for installing an ozonator, but before you attempt to install the device, ensure it is the correct voltage for your hot tub:
Mount the Ozonator
You will need to mount the ozonator at a place where it will get a good air flow. Usually, this is underneath the spa cabinet or perhaps even on a wall or other dry place in the hot tub room. Try to place it directly above a water line. Most ozonators should also come with a check valve to prevent any backflow that could damage your device. Check the manual thoroughly to see how the device should be placed.
Connect the Tubes
A single tube should connect to the jet system and allow the ozone being created to be introduced into the water. When the ozonator is not installed, the tube will simply allow water flow to the jets. Cut through the tube and install the ozonator inline. Use hose clamps to ensure you get a right fit.
Install the Check Valve
As mentioned above, your ozonator requires a check valve that will stop the backflow of water into the device. This could potentially destroy the ozonator. Often the valve is built in but some other times it may have to be installed separately.
To install it separately, cut through the tube leading to the jet tubing. Insert the valve and then secure in place using the clamps.
Ozonators are typically wired for 110 or 220 volt systems. You should rely on your user manual for the large part as this step may differ from unit to unit. If you are too out of depth for this step, bring a professional electrician on board to finish the rest of the installation.
Set the Timer
Install a timer if one is not already installed. Your device must run for at least three hours in every 12 hours. The longer the device runs, the more effective it will be in cleansing your water. If the pump does not filter, ozone will not be introduced into the water system.
Here’s a detailed description of how to install your ozonator.
Most new hot tubs already come installed with an ozonator or at least highly recommend you install an ozonator. While the device will not fully replace the use of chemical sanitizers, it will reduce their requirement to a large degree. Once you have installed an ozonator, however, you need to keep checking that it is functioning properly. Only by keeping regular checks on it will you be able to maintain it for a long time. Use ozone test kits regularly to see if the system is generating ozone. If the levels are lower than expected, check if there is a blockage in the device’s delivery system. Also, examine the check valve regularly to prevent any leaks and backflow. Enjoy a hot spa!