Do Swim Spas Need Chemicals?

Regardless of how environmentally friendly you want to be, if you own a swim spa you’ll need to add chemicals to the water. So, why do swim spas need chemicals? Swim spas are closed systems which means that once they’re filled up with water they simply recirculate that water. The only way freshwater gets added to the system is if it’s done manually. Adding chemicals to the water helps keep the water chemistry balanced which means that you don’t have to empty and refill your swim spa every time you want to use it.

What Types Of Chemicals Do Swim Spas Use?

The two main types of chemicals used in swims spas are sanitizers and water chemistry balancers.


As the name suggests, sanitizers help keep the water clean. Typically chlorine or bromine-based, sanitizers neutralize organic compounds that can cause the water to become cloudy, smelly or foamy. They prevent the growth of bacteria, algae, molds and more. Without chemical sanitizers, it wouldn’t take long for your swim spa to become an unpleasant and possibly dangerous place to bathe.

Water Chemistry Balancers

The other types of chemicals that you’ll need to add to the swim spa keep the water chemistry balanced. This means that pH, calcium hardness, total alkalinity and other important chemical levels are kept within their prescribed range. If these levels become unbalanced, the water could start to burn your eyes and skin, become cloudy, allow deposits to form on the swim spa surfaces or start to prematurely wear down various components. Water chemistry balancers allow you to feel comfortable in the water and protect the integrity of the swim spa.

How Can You Reduce Swim Spa Chemical Use?

The best way to cut down on the number of chemicals that need to be added to the swim spa is to keep the water as clean as possible. This means keeping a regular maintenance schedule that includes skimming and vacuuming the water, testing the water chemistry, cleaning the filters, draining the swim spa, cleaning the shell and refilling it with fresh water. Insisting that swimmers shower before getting into the water will reduce the introduction of body oils and residues into the water which are often responsible for water chemistry imbalances. Also restricting the consumption of food or drinks in the swim spa will help maintain water chemistry balance. Being judicious about replacing the swim spa cover when it isn’t being used will reduce the amount of airborne debris that gets into the swim spa. Although you’ll never be able to get away from adding chemicals to the swim spa entirely – unless, of course, you drain and refill the swim spa upon every use as you would in a bathtub – keeping the swim spa clean will reduce your reliance on chemical additives.

Can You Use Swimming Pool Chemicals In A Swim Spa?

Swimming pool and swim spa chemicals are generally not interchangeable. This is especially true with chlorine-based chemicals. The biggest reason for this is that swim spas typically run much warmer than swimming pools. Chlorine-based swimming pool chemicals are designed for colder water and end up burning off too quickly in a swim spa. This means that even though you’ve been adding chemicals to your swim spa, they’re being neutralized before they can achieve their desired purpose. Therefore it’s important to ensure that your chemicals are designed for use in a swim spa as opposed to a swimming pool.

Hopefully, we’ve answered your questions about using chemicals in a swim spa. If you need more information, download a free buyer’s guide today.

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