What is killing the hot tub business! (Water Chemistry)

I entered this industry in 1996 – as a former electronics technician servicing hot tubs.  Seeing the world of Balboa Instruments and such in a Morgan Spas store got to me.  Unfortunately for me I had never learned how to plumb a garden hose in my entire life, so learning plumbing on hot tubs was my A.D.D. issue for about a year.  Having graduated the school of hard knocks of plumbing – one thing loomed in the back of my head for the next ten years… Water Chemistry. I HATE chemistry. My son takes in in college now and I hate it even more.

What’s worse, just go to any pool/spa store in any town and you will find the it LOADED with TONS of chemicals and all other sorts of things to spend yet another 18 bucks for something else with the back of the bottle in such micro-type it makes an industrial MSDS look EASY! Not only that, but the bottle might be light grey, and the print in medium grey, further rendering the product a useless purchase, especially if you need reading glasses and light to even read the insanity that is printed on these things.

After servicing hot tubs for more than 20 years, the one thing I can say is that the industry is destroying itself with bad chemistry, bad chemicals, and bad advice.

Let’s start this conversation with this photo, from a 1984 Watkins Hot Springs Spa placard, in the equipment compartment I found in my customer’s hot tub two years ago:

How to take care of your spa water
How to take care of your spa water

So basic right?  Why don’t we just eliminate EVERYTHING that the pool store sells for hot tubs, and sell two basic things! Sodium-Dichlor, and Baking Soda.

Now to allay fears of collusion with Hot Springs (lol) Here are photos of this really old Hot Springs Spa, but still working in perfect condition…

1983 Hot Springs Spa Watkins
1984 Hot Springs Spa – Watkins Manufacturing Corp.
Hot Springs Spa Equipment - 1984. Perfect!
An immaculate equipment compartment, following the rules stated by Hot Springs in 1984.
1984 Hot Springs Spa - Hot Tub. Still works perfectly in 2017!
1984 Hot Springs Spa – Hot Tub. Still works perfectly in 2017!


1984 Hot Springs Spa - Hot Tub. Still works perfectly in 2017! Inside View.
1984 Hot Springs Spa – Hot Tub. Still works perfectly in 2017! Inside View.

Now, at this point this is where I must chew off my right arm having slept with the ugliest person in the room last night – the hot tub industry. It is a joke. This insanity must stop.  The people at the top (you know who you are) that are pushing for dealers to sell anything and everything to consumers to bolster their bottom line is total bullshit.

I am the dude the real people deal with every single day. I actually used to listen to you higher ups in the industry – for years I did this, and never gave out advice on chemistry, until I got sick and damn tired of my own hot tub’s equipment going to hell because of BAD CHEMISTRY ADVICE!

So, I went back to ground zero, and let me tell you, I had to rewind my brain back to the late 90’s, when I was working with Dimension 1 spa owners, and how they were taking care of their own spa water.  Some were going overboard following multiple confusing instructions from pool/spa stores, and others were not. The ones in the ‘NOT column, had the best equipment condition I had ever seen!

Why was this?

Because they weren’t dumping massive amounts of chemicals into their hot tubs. Simple.

Less chems in your water is better than more. OK?

A hot tub is basically your personal fun bathtub!  But if you keep injecting all types of industrial crap into it it’s gonna be a nightmare and you will eventually end up calling me or another service to fix this or that because of it.

So what’s the answer? Rewind to 1984. Problem solved.

Another post to follow on water chemistry guidelines.

AAAAAnd…. I finally got a round tuit.