It’s tempting to try and save money on chemicals and cleaning products when you own a spa pool or swim spa. Before you buy low-cost products, you should know the risks.
The low-cost spa chemicals sold at your local supermarket or big-box supply store may look harmless enough. But, along with cheap products, you might also be buying a whole lot of trouble for you and your spa.
Those retailers may be alright selling bottled water or hand tools; but they are not experts in spa pool water treatment. Because of that they often carry the lowest quality spa products available.
What’s wrong with cheap spa chemicals?
Lower-cost spa chemicals come at a cost; more often than not – it’s spa pool owners like you who pay the price.
The wrong chemicals could do serious damage to your pumps and filters and cost you a lot of money in replacement parts.
Using the right spa and swim spa chemicals might cost a little more in the short-term, but it will pay off in the long-run.
How manufacturers save money: The truth about fillers
With spa chemicals, the main way manufacturers save money is by using fillers.
Because active ingredients cost more, manufacturers save money by adding more filler and less active ingredients. This can make it much less concentrated than good quality alternatives.
In general; the higher the price the more concentrated the chemical and the lower the price, the less concentrated.
With less concentration, you need to use more spa chemicals to accomplish the same task. When more chemicals are needed, more dosing is required and often the water quickly becomes out of balance.
When spa water becomes out of balance it becomes highly corrosive and can damage most of the spa parts.
Why you should avoid calcium fillers in spa chemicals
The type of fillers used in cheap spa chemicals varies, but calcium is a widely-used filler. It is often used in powdered spa chemicals such as spa chlorine, bromine and lithium sanitisers.
It is easy to tell when a cheap spa chemical with a large amount of calcium filler has been used, due to the build of calcium found in the pumps and filters.
What does calcium do to spas?
You only need to look at the spa pump pictured above and below, to see why too much calcium is bad for spas.
It is only 4 months old, but it looks much older.
The inside of the pumps should be a shiny black. You can see the calcium buildup. This is the typical build-up seen on spa parts when low-quality spa chemicals are used.
In a short time, the corrosive water and build-up of these fillers can destroy mechanical seals in pumps causing leaks.
These leaks allow water to seep out of the pump housing where the water migrates down the spinning shaft and starts attacking the motor bearings. Soon the bearings are destroyed and the motor becomes filled with water.
Avoid an expensive mistake – use only recommended products
The owners of the spa pumps pictured above learned an expensive lesson.
After starting out using the correct chemicals, to save money, they decided to switch to buying chlorine from the supermarket.
As a result, they had to purchase two brand new pumps at $795 each.
No surprise, they’re now back using the recommended spa chlorine and other spa chemicals.
How common is calcium build-up in spas?
Although this may sound like a rare case it happens far too often.
It is so common that a number of spa and swim spa manufacturers are stipulating the brand of spa chemicals to be used with their spas and swim spas or the warranty can be affected.
Sure you may have saved a few dollars when purchasing cheap spa chemicals, but a replacement pump can be $700 not including the installation labour.
What are the best chemicals for my spa?
Spa maintenance should be quick, simple and inexpensive. Especially water treatment.
Quality spa chemical brands formulate their spa chemicals to match the requirements of the major spa manufacturers. Typically these brands can be purchased through spa experts and licensed dealers.
Make sure you’re buying the best spa chemicals for your spa or swim spa. Look for ones with a higher concentration of active ingredients and less filler, and from a reputable spa company. See our list of recommended suppliers below.
Just remember: If you are buying your spa chemicals from a store that sells bacon, it may be a danger sign. If they sell lawn fertiliser and cordless drills, you may be heading for trouble.
Where can I buy quality spa pool chemicals?