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"Exotic" Spa Care Issues & Questions...

Biofilms in Spas & Hot tubs...

You know about mold in spas, now you need to know the rest of the story.

Watch the Video Here.

White Water Mold in spas & hot tubs is for all practical purposes, the covering for the real problem - biofilm.

If you think your hot tub water is clean and sanitary just because it looks clear, think again. Yes, you may have shocked the water and even maintained a good chlorine, bromine biguanide (Soft Soak or BaquaSpa) level, or installed a new Nature2 or Spa Frog cartridge but you've only controlled about 1% of the bacteria present! That's right, just 1%. The other 99% is on every pool surface that you can or can not see. And most of those places are virtually impossible to reach. What now?

The more we deal with spa & hot tub water problems, the more we realize that we're dealing with or treating symptoms rather than the root cause of the cloudy water, foaming, nasty odors, scale build up, etc. As noted in other articles, there are a plethora of reasons for cloudy water from poor water chemistry to poor circulation to improper cleaning habits to environmental causes. And typically, these causes combine to create the problem.

As we look for the root cause, we see more and more that there are real "problems" that are often undetected. What do we mean? Have you noticed that there is a regular build up of film on the spa shell or on the back side of pillows or around jets, up and down the walls or in the corners? If you are a regular "wiper," the problem may not be as noticeable. How about when you take the filter apart for normal maintenance or cleaning and you see a whitish film on the inside of the filter area or on the skimmer weir or skimmer body? How about a little pink or grey "scale"?  That's not necessarily scale, it's more likely to be biofilm.

By the way, if you have a jetted bathtub, this information is for you too!

Biofilms in spas & hot tubs can and often do lead to cloudy water, foaming, odors, scale build-up on the heater (prevents efficient heating), and even corrosion (certain biofilms can have a pH of about 1.0 - very acidic) of any metal surface of the circulation system including heaters, filter parts, rails, etc.  Even degradation of pillows, covers & other spa accessories.

Much of the biofilm found in spa, hot tubs & jetted bath tubs is found in the piping & plumbing lines. Older spas had about 40 - 60 feet of plumbing going around them. Today's newer spas can easily have 150 - 200 feet of piping! Especially if you have a spa with 40 plus jets (do the math; 40 jets times an average of 4.5 feet piping each equals 180 feet). That's more plumbing than in the average inground pool. If most of that piping is infested, you have a problem.

All of those films or slimes are what we call biofilms. In biofilms live the other roughly 99% of all spa bacteria. The 1% that is in the water is classified as "planktonic". Like plankton or algae in the ocean, planktonic bacteria free-floats in the water. That is the bacteria that your chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer can more "easily" kill. The 99% in the biofilm can be quite another story and a long-term headache. There is much information about biofilm from institutions around the world to back up our information to you. Montana State University's Center for Biofilm Engineering is one of our key sources.

This article continues HERE.

Learn how to remove biofilm here.

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