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Salt Water Hot Tubs

Salt Water Hot Tubs

You have probably already heard about salt water hot tubs and sanitizer systems. They have made a resurgence in recent years. With all the information that’s out there, it may be hard to decide if one may be right for you. At Great Bay Spa & Sauna, All we want is for you to have the best possible hot tub owner experience. It is with that in mind that we put together this guide to see if a salt water hot tub or sanitizer system is right for you.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Salt Water Hot Tub

When it comes to your hot tub, you probably want to keep the maintenance to the minimum and your fun to the maximum. Can a salt water hot tub or sanitizer system help you do that? That depends. There are many factors to consider such as, how natural you want to keep your water, how hands on you want to be when it comes to balancing the water’s chemical levels, and how much you plan to spend on maintenance costs. Let’s dive into it more below.

Natural Water

Salt Water Sanitizer Systems clean your water by converting salt into chlorine. Because these systems run continuously, you will have a level of chlorine in your water at all times. Approximately 3-5 parts per million. To put that into perspective, those are the chlorine levels that the CDC recommends for public pools. While salt water systems will keep the water sanitized, it wont keep your water natural.

The Sundance ActiveOxygen and ClearRay system uses a combination of ozone and UV lighting to sanitize the water and keep it fresh and clear. Because these are both naturally occurring, your water stays as natural as the water that comes out of your shower head and is just as clean. While you do need to supplement this system, you can use free chlorine, which acts as a shock, and will only stay in your water for around 12 hours. There are also plenty of chemical alternatives like Water’s Choice Spa Enzymes that will keep your water clean and chemical free.

Ease of Use

Since salt water systems have continuous chlorine levels, maintenance should be pretty hands off, right? Maybe not. The spa water ecosystem can be pretty fragile. While chlorine is good for killing germs, bacteria, and algae, the added stress to the environment puts you more at risk to upsetting your chemical and mineral levels. Meaning you may be spending more time balancing your water than you had planned.

The Sundance PureOxygen and ClearRay system doesn’t use any chemicals, though, you will have to supplement from time to time. For a hot tub that is used with 2-3 people 3-4 times a week, you would need to add free chlorine about once a week. If you are using spa enzymes, you only need to add once every couple of week or after parties as a precaution.

Maintenance Costs

Salt water systems use salt cells that need to be replaced every 4 months. At $85 each, that is $255 per year in maintenance costs. Though there may be fringe costs. As we said earlier, the high levels of chlorine stress the water environment. This could lead to added chemical costs. And if you struggle to keep the water balanced, these costs can add up quickly. Another thing to consider when it comes to salt water sanitizer systems is that there will be an increase of calcium deposits in your tub. Not only will this make the shell harder to keep clean, these deposits will build up in the pumps, heaters, and other components as well. Not only will this will shorten their life, but the life of the tub in general.

Let’s look at the maintenance costs of a Sundance® Spa. On top of chemical cost, there are some other maintenance costs to be aware of. As we said before, their tubs use the CLEARRAY® and ActiveOxygen systems. The CLEARRAY® system has a life span of 10+ years, but the bulb needs to be replaced annually. This will cost you around $80. The ActiveOxygen system has a lifespan of up to 4 years. There may be some additional costs balancing the water, but those are minimal once you get your routine dialed in.


They both have their strengths and weaknesses. It really boils down to what’s important to you. Hopefully our detailed guide helped you figure that out. And whether you go with a traditional hot tub and sanitizing system like the ones below or a salt water sanitizing system, we’ve got you covered with expert installation, advice, and service. Because to us, our customers are our priority.

Salt Water Compatible Hot Tubs