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Salt Water Hot Tubs

Whether you already own a hot tub or are shopping for one, one of the most important questions asked of the staff at Purewater is “tell me about salt water.”  Here’s a few tips and things to consider:

What is salt?

Salt water systems consist of a mechanical device that converts salt you add to the hot tub into chlorine. Salt systems are not “chlorine free” or even “low chlorine” systems, they are simply another way of getting chlorine into your hot tub.

What are the advantages?

The one major advantage is less handling of chemicals.  In addition these systems generally run continuously so that your hot tub always has a safe level of sanitizer (chlorine) in the water.

Are there disadvantages?

In brief, there are a few things to consider.

  • 90% of your maintenance regimen (including chemicals and minerals you add to your tub) remain unchanged when you add a salt system. You still need to manage pH (which will tend to drift up with a salt system requiring you to add dangerous acids), alkalinity, calcium, TDS, combined chlorine levels, etc…  A salt system ONLY replaces the daily addition of chlorine.  Most people with salt systems are shocked to discover that they STILL need to buy and use chemical chlorine shock periodically.
  • Salt has side effects. Saline water is more corrosive and more conductive, both of which mean potentially more wear and tear on components, from jets to heaters to pumps.  Equipment in a salt water hot tub often needs replacing more frequently
  • Hardware costs. Salt systems are expensive.  The salt generator cell is a wear part that will break down over time, cells are proprietary (specific to each make and model) and replacement cells are also expensive.  The ten year cost of a salt system can top out at over $2,000.  Consider that most residential hot tubs use less than $100 a year worth of chemical sanitizer.
  • Warrantee effect. While many hot tub brands feature the option of a factory installed salt system, as mentioned these are expensive.  Installing an aftermarket system will, in almost every case, void your manufacturer’s warrantee.  Read your owners’ manual very carefully before converting your hot tub to salt.
  • Salt IS chlorine. The notion many consumers have that salt systems are somehow “not chlorine” is simply false.  Your hot tub is 100% a chlorine tub if you use salt.


Purewater can get you a salt system if you want one.  But.  Many consumers are really after lower maintenance and less chemical addition when they look to salt water systems for their hot tub.  With new technologies in mineral, enzyme and borate treatments, not to mention high-efficiency UV systems (used commonly in treating drinking water) Purewater can suggest many alternatives that may make more sense to you and your family.

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