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Can You Use Salt Water in a Hot Tub?

Have you ever asked this question? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. But before you run off and tell everyone that they can get their salt shakers out and dump it into their water, here is what you need to know…

In order to use salt water in your hot tub, you need what is known as a salt-water chlorinator. Not all hot tubs come with a salt-water chlorinator so it is important you understand what it is, why you need one and how to turn your current hot tub into a salt-water tub.

For a regular hot tub with normal water, you typically have to use chloride to sanitize the water and keep it clean. Salt however has natural chlorine and is used in many cultures as a natural disinfectant. In chemistry, salt is called sodium chloride. This natural chloride is very important when it comes to keeping hot tub water nice and clean.

Let’s learn more about how to make salt-water work with your hot tub.

What is Salt Chlorination?

Salt chlorination is a process that uses salt water for chlorination as we have described above. A built-in chlorine generator which is also sometimes called a salt chlorinator takes the chloride found in salt and turns it into hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite which are known sanitizing agents for water in pools and hot tubs.

Because a salt chlorinator does this for your hot tub, there is typically no need to use extra chlorine sanitizers to keep your water clean.

What are the benefits of using salt water in your hot tub?

  • As mentioned before, you will not have to use extra chlorine in your water. This is a win-win for you because this means you won’t have to buy that much chlorine. Saving money is always a great thing!
  • Chlorine generated from salt is much better for your eyes and skin. Bye-bye burning sensation of some regular chlorine chemicals.
  • You know how you sometimes smell like bleach when you come out of your hot tub? You can say bye to those as well.
  • Maintenance of a salt chlorinator is generally easier than other sanitization systems. You will still have to maintain your hot tub water but you won’t put in nearly as much work as you would if you were using regular water.
  • Salt water is also known to help with certain skin conditions including psoriasis.
  • Normally, calcium build regularly referred to as scale, builds up on the cathode of the cell. When you use regular water in your hot tub, you have to routinely clean up the scale so that the effectiveness of the cell is not reduced. Certain designs of salt chlorinators however use a "reverse-polarity" design. This design regularly switches the roles of the anode and cathode of the cell. This reduces the amount of scale build up.
  • And last but not least, it is more environmentally friendly since salt is a natural product.

Are there any downsides to using salt water in your hot tub?

It would be a mistake if we did not share the downsides to using salt water in your hot tub.

  • Salt water is corrosive. This means it easily causes damage to any portions of your hot tub that are not coated or protected. This can lead to thousands of dollars in repair and replacement costs. Thus, if you do choose to go with a salt water system, you will have make sure metal parts especially are protected.

As you can see however, there are so many great reasons to use salt water in your hot tub. An alternative to using salt water as a natural sanitizing system is to use sodium bromide in your hot tub.

Similar chemical reactions happen with sodium bromide as they do with salt (sodium chloride). The only difference is that the bromine generated from sodium bromide is more stable than salt at hotter temperatures. And since the water in your hot tub is more than likely at higher temperatures than say pool water, sodium bromide is a great alternative to salt water.

Need professional help troubleshooting a problem with your hot tub? Call us at Master Spa Parts 7 days a week at (888) 436-9515.