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Water balance is important as it ensures that the mineral content of the water is in an appropriate state to protect the spa surface and equipment and make spa water more comfortable to bathe in. Water balance is affected by a wide range of variables – the quality and source of the water, what chemicals are added to the water, the exposure of the spa to weather conditions and so on. Due to the small water volume, raised water temperature and rapid agitation, chemical reactions occur much more rapidly in spas than they do in a pool environment, making water balance even more critical. A proper balance of chemical factors such as total alkalinity, pH and calcium is needed for the sanitiser to work correctly, the water to be pleasant to bathe in and to prevent scaling or corrosion of the spa surface and equipment.
The combination of hot water and heavy use places a high demand on the oxidiser used in a spa. Even over a short period of time, spas can accumulate substantial waste material from a variety of sources, including the bathers themselves, animals, insects, pollutants and the general environment. These wastes cause the same problems that swimming pools suffer from, such as dull, cloudy water that’s irritating to the skin and eyes with an increased incidence of resistant algae. Regular oxidation is needed to break these wastes down. Due to their minute size, the particles that sometimes result are not capable of being filtered out without some form of clarifier.
Much like in a swimming pool, sanitation or disinfection plays a crucial role in spas to treat bacteria. The combination of heavy use and hot water places a tremendous burden on the sanitiser used. Whatever the source, all of the billions of micro-organisms present in a spa need to be killed in some way and as quickly as possible. To do this, a sanitiser must be continually present in the water in a measurable residual amount. Whilst other sanitiser options are available, chlorine and bromine are the two main chemicals recognised by Health Authorities as providing the necessary level of safety for bathers.