Leading spa suppliers and water treatment specialists are expressing concern over increased sales of Tri-Chlor tablets, mostly via the Internet, to unwitting hot tub owners who are unaware of the potentially detrimental effect on their hot tubs, especially to heating components.
Tri-Chlor tablets are designed for use in erosion feed chlorinators as their concentrated and acidic nature makes them hazardous to handle. If used in a hot tub in any other way, their low pH and corrosive nature can damage surfaces and equipment, especially where spa water becomes acidic damaging seals and parts.
Where Tri-Chlor tablets are used and damage caused, many spa warranty claims are deemed invalid as the failure is due to incorrect maintenance rather than a manufacturers’ fault. Soft water areas in parts of North Wales, South Wales and the South West are bearing the brunt of the problem. “In the past few years there has been a surge in demand for Tri- Chlor tabs (TCCA) as many home spa owners find it easier to dose the sanitiser in a floating dispenser and re-fill when required,” confirms James Lee of Water Treatment Products.
“The main issue with this method of dosing is that the tablets are particularly corrosive as the chemical composition is very acidic. “Therefore, as this product breaks down, it will also create an acidic environment especially if the heat cover is in situ,” he adds. “The environment between the surface of the water and the underside of the heat cover is enclosed and will be subjected to this acidic environment and over time, damage can be sustained to fitting and fabric.
“Mindful of the generic water conditions, particularly in the South West and North West, with very soft water, adding Tri-chlor to the mix simply creates an acidic chemistry that is only going to exacerbate the situation.” Most leading hot tub companies make it clear that the use of Tri Chlor tablets invalidates a manufacturer’s warranty. “We do not recommend Tri-Chlor tablets in our hot tubs as they have to be fitted in a floating dispenser,” confirms Ray Wells of Hotspring World. “As they dissolve into the water they produce a fairly strong acid solution which then dissipates into the water providing the necessary, very weak solution required for sanitisation of the spa. “As the dispensers always seem to end up in one position in the spa, against the weir gate through which the water is drawn, this means that one particular part of the hot tub shell is constantly exposed to a strong concentration of acidic solution,” explains Ray. “This can result in a discolouration and a weakening of the shell. This is why we do not recommend their use.”