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Is a Hot Tub Ozonator Worth It? (Should You Get It)

Hot tubs are the hot new trend. With a hot tub comes a whole range of options and accessories for you to customize your experience. If you are a hot tub owner yourself, you’ve probably heard of the Ozonator. So, what’s the hype all about? Is a hot tub Ozonator worth it?  

Ozonators help boost the sanitizers that you use in your water and require you to use less of them. Thus, saving more money on repurchases. They also make your water feel better against the skin and oxidizes the water. So, yes Ozonators are definitely worth the hype.  

Having said that, whether or not getting an Ozonator is the right choice for you depends on how you use your hot tub. So, let’s take a look at what exactly Ozonators do and how they work. Only then you can decide for yourself whether you need one.

How Does a Hot Tub Ozonator Work? 

Ozonators produce Ozone with the help of Ultraviolet light or CD mechanism which helps to spit natural oxygen molecules of water into two parts of oxygen atoms and thus releases ozone.  

An ozone molecule is simply 3 oxygen atoms bonded together. Ozone is highly reactive and it’s always trying to reach a more stable state of becoming oxygen, i.e. lose its third oxygen atom to become O2. As a result, this third atom attaches itself to nearby molecules, including those of bacteria and other germs, thus killing them in the process.  

Chlorine works similarly, but since ozone is much more reactive it works faster and more effectively than chlorine does. It can even destroy certain microorganisms that are resistant to chlorine by oxidizing the cell wall of these bacteria. To top this off, ozone oxidation does not leave any by-products, unlike chlorine.  

Another advantage of ozone over chlorine is that it can also clump together fat molecules or sweat, body oil, or lotion in the water. This makes it much easier for you to clean up and you can just use a filter or a net to collect them and throw them away. 

Ozone acts as a natural purifier in the water of your hot tub. It reacts with the other elements in your water on a molecular level and oxidizes toxins. Ozone is very reactive affecting different types of atoms, and even your hot tub vinyl interior cover. A lot of high-end hot tubs come with an integrated Ozonator. It enhances your overall hot tub experience greatly.

Is a Hot Tub Ozonator Worth It?

Yes, an Ozonator is worth it and in fact, it will save you lots of money in the long run. It works together with the chlorine in the water to make your water cleaner and remove toxins.

It has many other uses as well. Let’s take a look at all the reasons why an Ozonator is a great accessory to add to your hot tub.  

Oxidizes Contaminants  

Perhaps the best part and the main function of an Ozonator is that it cleans your water. It acts as a filter and removes a whole range of contaminants or toxins by reacting with them. It purifies your hot tub water.  

Ozonators can oxidize things like urine if someone accidentally pees in the hot tub or if you have kids this is a great feature. Things like your deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, body oils, perfumes might dissolve into the water and contaminate it. The ozone eliminates all of this as well. So, you can use your hot tub without worries. 

Enhances Chlorine and Bromine 

Due to the Ozone’s high reactivity, it enhances the sanitizers like chlorine and bromine that you probably use in your hot tub water. It works like a cleaning system for your hot tub. If you are using an Ozonator, you will require lower and lower amounts of chlorine or bromine. So you end up saving on having to buy chlorine or other water sanitizers for your hot tub. 

The cleaning system together also removes bacteria, viruses, and algae and makes your water truly safe for use. The ozone reacts with harmful chemical substances and toxins in the water and also clumps together body residual substances.  If you have a filter it can easily clean these solids as opposed to microscopic germs. If not, you can scrape it off. 

Affordable 

Ozonators are surprisingly affordable. Sometimes they come in-built with your hot tub and if not, you can easily get them at about 70 - 150 USD range, depending on which model you choose. The ones which work with UV light are slightly more expensive and the ones that use corona discharge are much cheaper.  

Without an Ozonator, you would have to use much greater amounts of chlorine, bromine, or sanitizing chemicals in your water to keep it clean, the cost of which can build up. On the other hand, an Ozonator comes at a reasonable price and it pays off for itself in the money you end up saving from having to buy less chlorine.

Easy to Install

 Some spas even have a dedicated space for you to install your Ozonator into them, which makes the process very easy. All you have to do is install it under your spa cabinet or near your hot tub, ensuring that there is room for good airflow. After that, you install the check valve. 

If your Ozonator also comes with an Ozonator jet connect it as well. Finally, you create a Hartford loop to prevent backflow, connect to a power source, and you are done! There might be slight changes depending on the model but if you just follow the instructions on the manual you should be good to go.  

Works in All Climates 

Whether you live in a very hot, humid place or in a cold, dry place your Ozonator will work just fine. It is not affected by surrounding humidity and will provide the same service no matter where your hot tub is placed. 

However, this advantage is only present in models that use UV light. The corona discharge models might be affected by humidity. So, if you live in a higher-than-average humid place, then consider getting a UV light option with your Ozonator.

Reduces Water Consumption 

Hot Tubs that do not use Ozonators usually need their water to be changed regularly. This means you end up losing a lot of water every time you’re using the hot tub.  

But with an Ozonator, the water stays cleaner for much longer and so you can get a lot more use out of your 400 gallons of water before you have to change it again. This saves up so much water in the long run and relieves you of the hassle of changing the water regularly.  

Reduces Smell  

While it is often necessary to use chemicals that disinfect the water in your hot tub, their smells can often ruin the experience for you. Especially if you have left your hot tub closed off for a while, the smell can build up and become overwhelming.  

Having an Ozonator rids this problem too. The Ozonator cleans up the water and reduces any chemical smells from it. So your water feels fresh and odor-free. It not only reduces smell during the use but also before and after your use as well.  

Good for Skin

 A lot of people who have used Ozonators claim that it makes their water feel much smoother and softer. It doesn't have that harsh, chemical feel that waters infused with chlorine have. So this water is much softer on the skin and protects your skin from harmful chemicals.  

With an Ozonator in your water, you are much less likely to get any infections or rashes. Since the water is continuously getting cleaned, you don’t have to worry about germs and it is completely safe for children as well.  

So, there you have it. There are so many reasons why you should get an Ozonator, and I have just listed some of them. It is worth it.  

Types of Ozonators

Since I’ve mentioned when you should get a UV Light Ozonator instead of a Corona Discharge model, you might be wondering what these are. Let me break it down for you. While the main function of both is the same, these are the two different types of Ozonators available in the market.  

UV Ozonators

Ultraviolet Light or UV light Ozonators, as the name suggests, use UV light to split the oxygen molecules in water to free oxygen atoms which then recombine to become Ozone. Ozone is just 3 atoms of oxygen chemically bonded together and they are very reactive.  

These types of Ozonators might not always be as powerful as corona discharge ones, but they aren’t affected by humidity. So, if you live in hotter climates where humidity is high, you should opt for this one.  

You might have to replace UV Ozonators faster than their counterparts and they might be slightly more expensive too. But they are easier to clean and maintain, providing you with great service.  

Corona Discharge Ozonators  

These types of Ozonators use a much more recent technology and work with the help of ionization. A sheet of plasma is created when any conductor is ionized using electricity. This sheet is called the corona. Ozone is produced using ionization and hence it’s called a corona discharge Ozonator.  

These are much more affordable and last way longer than UV Ozonators. They also work more efficiently and are used with larger tubs. Don’t let their smaller sizes fool you, these Ozonators are stronger than the UV ones despite being smaller in size. There are not many compartments to replace either and the plate ionizers this use can last up to 10 years.

But the only problem with CD Ozonators is that the ionization is easily affected by humidity in the air. If you live in a hotter climate, this might not be the best choice for you. They will work less during high humidity and might even stop ionizing. 

So, unless the weather is an issue for you, corona discharge Ozonators are the better choice. They are cheaper, more durable and are much more effective than UV ones.

Is A Hot Tub Ozonator Safe?

Ozonators are completely safe. Many people have the misconception that they produce ozone which can cause harm to the human body. But in reality, that is very much not the case.

 The ozone that your Ozonator releases usually gets much diluted with the water and it's not concentrated at all. They also react very fast with the contaminants and change to oxygen. Ozone isn't directly entering your lungs anyway, and it will not harm you. They actually protect you from the harmful chemicals and germs in your hot tub water. 

So don’t be scared by ozone concerns, as the concentrations used in hot tubs are not harmful, and as long as you are not directly inhaling the ozone produced by the Ozonator you should be fine.  

However, just to be safe keep a lookout on the cover, to see for any bleached spots. Sometimes the ozone does not dissolve properly and forms gas bubbles over the surface of the water and gets trapped between the cover. This will bleach the surface of your cover. You can see white or faded spots on your cover. 

If this is happening, it means your Ozonator isn't working properly and the ozone isn't getting dissolved. This might not be too serious, so just change your water and give your Ozonator some rest and turn it on again. See if the problem persists. If it does try to contact a specialist and get it checked or call the manufacturer. Otherwise, it was just a one-time thing.

How Long Do Hot Tub Ozonators Last?

A typical hot tub Ozonator will last from about 2 to 3 years. Depending on usage and model, you might have to replace it sooner or later. Especially with UV Ozonators, you’ll probably have to change the light bulb even before you need a new Ozonator.

How long passes before you have to replace your Ozonator depends on your usage. The less you use your hot tub and your Ozonator, the longer it will last. But typically, it is recommended that you turn your Ozonator on for at least three hours after every 12 hours. This keeps your hot tub sanitized and clean for use at all times.

 If you don’t regularly use your hot tub all that much, you can keep it turned off. Just remember to set a timer for it the night before. That should give it enough time to properly start up and sanitize the water before you take a dip. It should at least have been running for a few hours before you take a dip.

If you regularly use yours, however, you might even consider keeping it on 24/7. Especially if it’s a large tub and a lot of people use it. At the end of the day, usage depends on you. You can test out different settings and see which one works for you.

 If you’re using it 24/7 all day every day, chances are you might have to replace it after a year or so. But since Ozonators aren’t that expensive and the benefits they provide make it more than worth it to replace it every couple of years.

Can You Stop Using Chlorine If You Have an Ozonator?

No, unfortunately. Ozone on its own isn’t that great of a sanitizer. You will still need to use chlorine or bromine or any other sanitizer that you normally use. Ozone will usually work alongside these sanitizers and enhance their effects.  They also end up reducing the amount of sanitizer you will need.

But you can choose to stop using chlorine altogether as long as you are using another sanitizer. Compared to chlorine alone, ozone can clean the water much faster and more efficiently. It is also much less irritating to the skin and has a lower chance of causing rashes or sores.

Furthermore, ozone cleaning is not dependent on the pH levels of water. So, you don’t have to constantly keep checking the pH to see if your chlorine is working. And it doesn’t leave behind that horrible chlorine smell. So, using ozone coupled with another sanitizer is a much better option than using chlorine alone.

There are plenty of other sanitizers on the market that claim to be less harmful than chlorine. Coupled with an Ozonator they will provide you with efficient cleaning. You can even use the Ozonator alone if you want. It might not work as well on its own but it’s worth the try.

It’s best to try and check different combinations out for yourself and see what works for you. Check the pH level, the harshness of the water, the smell, and how it feels against your skin to figure out which one you like better.

Most importantly be mindful of any of these cleaning systems causing irritations or rashes to your skin. If you see a rash stop use of it immediately and consult a doctor. If you are careful then any of these cleaning systems will work just fine and won’t cause any serious problems.

Drawbacks of Getting a Hot Tub Ozonator

 There are a few cons to getting an Ozonator and you should know them before deciding on buying an Ozonator. The pros do outweigh the cons in my opinion, but it is up to you to judge. Let’s see what they are: 

Damage to Hot-Tub 

The main problem of getting an Ozonator and introducing ozone into your hot tub is that ozone can be corrosive. Over time, with extended exposure, this might begin to corrode the hot tub’s pipes and cover. Most commonly, you might find that the vinyl corrodes after a while. But there are ways to prevent this.  

If your hot tub isn't already corrode-resistant you can invest in some materials that can protect the internal surface of your hot tub. Consider upgrading the plumbing. This will not only protect your hot tub from ozone but also make it durable in the long run. You should also remove the hot tub cover every few weeks to protect from the ozone.  

Requires Frequent Replacing 

As Ozonators last about 2 or 3 years, you will need to replace them every few years. This cost can build up on expenses and it can be a hassle overall.

Especially with models that don’t have a dedicated space for an Ozonator and aren't compatible with it, it can be problematic. If your hot tub requires you to call a specialist every time and you can't replace it yourself it is annoying.

Prolonged Exposure to Ozone 

Though ozone levels in hot tubs aren't known to be harmful, extended exposure might affect the respiratory system. Don't stay in your hot tub for long periods and be careful of how you use it. If you notice any coughing or irritation, then discontinue use immediately. But this is also true in general, and other chemical imbalances in the water can also cause this.  

There are a few cons to getting an Ozonator, but all things have slight disadvantages. You can think for yourself whether it’s worth it in the end, and decide to get one.  

But the benefits ozonators bring far outweighs the drawbacks. To speak the truth, under moderate use ozonators can’t really hurt you in any way. So, don’t let the minor drawbacks scare you.

So now that you know all the pros and cons of getting an Ozonator for your hot tub, I’m sure you have a good idea of whether or not is a hot tub ozonator worth it. Chances are you are leaning towards getting one. They make your hot tub experience way better and make the whole process easier.

They reduce cost and ensure a safer tub for you to enjoy with your family. So, even though they have some minor drawbacks, I would wholeheartedly advise that you get one. I hope this article was of help to you. Until next time, farewell.

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Written by Ferdi Vol
Ferdi Vol is a pool and hot tub owner who has been working in this industry for over 5 years. He has learned all the ins and outs of maintaining pools and hot tubs, as well as how to privately own one. Ferdi Vol is also passionate about blogging, researching topics that he shares with his readers online via this blog.
About Ferdi Vol
About Pool Uncle
Pool Uncle is a blog that focuses on helping pool and hot tub owners get the right tools, maintain their pools and hot tubs, and learn about how to care for them. It provides readers with all of the information they need to keep their pools clean, safe, and looking great. The website also publishes original articles about pool maintenance topics such as filtration systems or algae prevention techniques.
About the Author
Ferdi Vol has been in the swimming pool and hot tub as an owner for over 5 years. His experience ranges from owning a pools and hot tubs and maintaining them. He’s learned about pumps, filters, chemicals, cleaning products, treatment systems… you name it!
About Ferdi Vol
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