The drawbacks of traditional chlorine-based (bromide) Hot-Tub water sanitization methods are legion; the necessary chemicals are expensive, complicated, smelly, and really drying to the skin. But with a little pre-planning you can sanitize your Hot-Tub water with Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) instead of all those other chemicals. Save money, save your skin, and save having to perform all sorts of unnecessarily complicated water treatments.
I recently switched our 1558 Liter (410 US Gallon) Coast Hot-Tub over to Hydrogen Peroxide and I couldn't be happier with the results. The tub is easier to maintain, doesn't have that 'chemically smell' it used to have, and my entire family noticed being in the Hot-Tub no longer dries out their skin but leaves it feeling smooth and soft. We'll never go back to chlorine!
Now, Hydrogen Peroxide won't be an option for you if you don't get your water from a municipal water supply that chlorinates it. So if you get your water from a well or directly from a lake or river WITHOUT chlorination you'll have to stick with bromide. But the relatively low levels of chlorination provided by virtually all municipal water supplies is adequate and, since most people are on municipal water, Hydrogen Peroxide is an alternative for almost all Hot-Tub owners.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- 35% Technical Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
- Polyethylene Containers for Hydrogen Peroxide
- Hydrogen Peroxide Test Strips
- Clean Hot-Tub Filter(s)
- Glass measuring cup - 250 Ml (1 cup)
- Protective Gloves and Eye-wear
Obviously you'll need Hydrogen Peroxide. It is available in various concentrations and grades but for Hot-Tub use we want 35% Technical Grade. Depending on where you live, getting it can be tricky. I live in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada and, fortunately, in the neighboring city of Guelph there is a supplier who not only sells 35% Technical Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and all of the other supplies I need but offers free delivery to my area. In fact, Bob Simpson of SUPERFAST SOLUTIONS (www.superfastsolutions.com) has been a terrific source of information as well. If you aren't fortunate enough to live in Bob's delivery area try doing a web search for Hydrogen Peroxide suppliers in your area, you might get lucky and find Bob's counterpart near you. If not, you can investigate shipping your supplies from somewhere else, but the shipping charges will put your costs up a bit.
The minimum quantity of 35% Technical Grade Hydrogen Peroxide that Bob sells is 20 Liters (5 US Gallons). It costs me CDN$60 and, for a Hot-Tub our size, I figure is about a one year supply. Although the Hydrogen Peroxide comes in a blue polyethylene container with an attachable spigot, it weighs 26 KG (57 Lbs) and that seemed rather unwieldy to me so I also ordered five 4.5 Liter (1 US Gallon) polyethylene jugs for storage.
Hydrogen Peroxide Test Strips are plastic strips with a reactive pad on one end, similar to the test strips you are probably using currently to check Chlorine, Alkalinity and pH levels. The strips measure Hydrogen Peroxide from 0 to 100 parts per million (PPM). Bob sells me test strips for CDN$40 for a 50 pack.
When you first start using Hydrogen Peroxide, organic material that has accumulated in your Hot-Tub's pipes, pumps and tubes are going to circulate so starting out with a clean filter is advisable. Be prepared to replace or clean it frequently, at least at first.
You'll need to measure the Hydrogen Peroxide and since glass is non-reactive to it, a glass measuring cup is a good choice. And protective gloves and eye-wear should always be used when handling corrosive materials.
Though Hydrogen Peroxide can exist quite safely in water already treated by chlorine, bromide and the other chemicals I was already using, to enjoy the benefit of unclouded, fresh-smelling, non-drying water I chose to make the switch when I was planning to replace the Hot-Tub water and I strongly suggest you do the same.
Once you've drained and refilled your Hot-Tub (and put in a clean filter), shock it by adding 250 ml (1 cup) of Hydrogen Peroxide for every 1000 liters (250 US Gallons) of water.
Let the Hot-Tub stand for one day with the circulation pump running intermittently. After that, check your filter and clean or replace it as necessary.
Use the test strips frequently to check the level of Hydrogen Peroxide until you pick up the pattern of how much Hydrogen Peroxide to add and when to add it. Check at least once per week after that.
When the level drops below 50 PPM add 250 ml (1 cup) of Hydrogen Peroxide per 2000 Liters (500 US Gallons) of water in the tub - this is half the quantity you used to originally shock the water.
Maintain the level between 50 and 100 PPM (it isn't dangerous to exceed 100 PPM but it is unnecessary).
Remember to check and clean or replace the filter frequently.
SAFETY AND STORAGE TIPS
Undiluted 35% Hydrogen Peroxide is corrosive, toxic and can be fatal if swallowed. Keep it out of the reach of children and never use unlabeled or improperly labeled containers. Use child-proof caps on all containers. I used an indelible ink marker to label my storage jugs: "DANGER! H2O2 - DO NOT TOUCH".
Hydrogen Peroxide also reacts to sunlight and becomes more active at higher temperatures so store it in a cool dark place. I put my supply on a bottom shelf in the basement on top of a plastic sheet. The shelf is behind a door and I installed a hasp and lock on the door for additional security. I also keep the measuring cup, gloves and safety glasses on the same shelf and I only measure the Hydrogen Peroxide outside when I am about to add it to the Hot-Tub.
If you accidentally spill it on skin, flush the area immediately with running water. If it is accidentally swallowed, drink large quantities of water, remain upright and call a doctor or poison control agency at once.
In case of accidental spillage, flush the area with water to dilute. Don't return any spilled Hydrogen Peroxide to its container and keep undiluted Hydrogen Peroxide from going into the sewage system. Report any spills as required by Federal, Provincial/State or local regulations.
If you are using a spigot to dispense Hydrogen Peroxide leave it in place until the container is empty. Removing and replacing the spigot can cause lint or dust to contaminate it.
With a little pre-planning and some common sense you can safely switch your Hot-Tub water sanitization over to Hydrogen Peroxide and not only save money on the multitude of expensive chemicals you are currently using but also have an over-all better Hot-Tubbing experience.