Hi All! Any advice you folks have to offer on this subject is much appreciated!
We have an older (made in the mid 90's) hot tub that holds 180-200 gallons in our basement. It has an ozone system but it has been unplugged since we bought the house both because of the fire hazard it presents and because the hot tub is switched on and off by an external timer to save electricity so it would not go on at the specified time. Because it is in the basement sunlight and algae are not problems but chlorine and other funky smells are...
In previous years I have tried bromine as the sterilizer and have never been able to maintain a reasonable bromine balance for more than a few days. If I left the floater in the bromine would be unacceptably high after a day or two (even if I left the floater entirely "closed"). If I took the floater out of the tub for a day or two to fix the high bromine the concentration would drop like a rock. This would of course cause the water to become a nasty bacteria stew and I would need to dump and refill.
The last season that I ran the hot tub I tried the "clearwater blue" copper ion system, again with mixed results. The copper concentration kept dropping to ineffective sterilization levels after a week or two (where was the copper going???) resulting in bacteria stew and a repetition of the dump & refill exercise. After 2-3 months of that argument I dumped the tub and have had it off / out of use for a couple of years in frustration.
I am thinking of trying a "drop in" saltwater generator. The options I am eyeing are the Solaxx Saltron Mini (available for around $150) or the Nexa Chlor (which goes for around $200). Does anybody out there have experience with either of these SWG's in a small hot tub?
The Solaxx Santron Mini looks more sophisticated (it has a control panel and tells you if salt concentration is OK) but I am concerned that it will make too much chlorine. It claims to work with up to 2000 gallon tubs and is only adjustable in hour increments of 1 to 10 hours of generation per day.
If I understand correctly the Nexa Chlor can be plugged into a standard digital timer allowing adjustments as small one minute per day in run time. I dislike paying more for something less sophisticated but given the small system size and experiences with runaway sterilizer levels I think it might be the better choice. Could you please let me know if there other drop in systems out there that allow fine scale adjustments?
How noticeable are the chlorine smells from a properly regulated SWG hot tub?
Also - in an indoor hot tub such as this is it beneficial to have CYA or is it only useful in pools / hot tubs that are exposed to sunlight?
In case it makes a difference the fill water is city water that is hard and quite alkaline as measured by a Taylor test kit. I can test a sample and give you numbers if it would help.