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Spa Operation

Your Frequently Asked Questions About How To Operate Your Spa.

How Do I Start Up My Hot Tub?

We've compiled instructions on how to do this for different systems.  You may view or download the instructions below. However, if you have more questions, please call us at these numbers:  Austin: (512) 458-4772  OR  San Antonio: (210) 930-7727 


What Will It Cost To Operate My Hot Tub?

Bullfrog & Maquis Spas have some of the lowest costs to operate, lower in fact than some of the major brands that often suggest they are the most efficient.  With both Bullfrog & Marquis Spas you can expect to spend between $12 - $20 per month depending on spa size and time of the year. 

What Should I Know About Hot Tub Sanitation?

Let's keep this simple!  Sanitation is about killing bacteria, viruses, and spores that may be in your spa water.  If a product does not specifically say it "Sanitizes" it is not a sanitizer. 

For more information on maintaining a great hot tub, please click here.

What Is The BEST Way To Sanitize My Spa Water?

The EPA approves only 3 chemicals for sanitation in swimming pools & hot tubs; Bromine, Chlorine, and a chemical with a much longer name but abbreviated PHMB.  To be in compliance with federal regulations at least 1 of these must be used for sanitation.


We are all familiar with chlorine as it is by far the most common method used to sanitize swimming pools.  It is not as good a sanitizer as bromine but the major reason we do not recommend it for hot tubs is simply water temperature.  Chlorine will dissipate out of water above 97 degrees.


Bromine has been used in the hot tub industry for decades as the primary sanitizer.  Both chlorine & bromine are chemically known as halogens.  Halogens have a unique ability to both sanitize (kill bacteria, viruses, etc.) and oxidize.  Bromine is simply a heavier atom, hence the reason it will stay in water above 97 degrees.  We strongly recommend the use of Bromine (Br).

Bromine can be introduced to your hot tub with any of 3 methods:  a Floater (Feeder) with Bromine (Brom) tabs, combining a Bromine Salt with an Oxidizer, or a true Salt System.


PHMB is polyhexamethylene biguanide, hence this method of sanitation is often called "Biguanide".  Biguanide is an effective sanitizer.  It was developed for the medical industry several decades ago.  However it has a very significant downside.  Biguanide is incompatible with all other chemicals you might use for your hot tub, even ozone.  Hence the oxider for biguanide is hyrdrogen peroxide, not shock or ozone.

You must be very careful and attentive if you use Biguanide in your hot tub.  Bigiuanide is known to cause problems with filters if you are not very careful to not introduce anything incompatible with biguanide to your spa.


This is technically a "non-chlorine based shock".  Shock is an oxider used to remove (or oxidize) waste matter in your hot tub.  Dead skin cells, dead bacteria and viruses, body oils, etc. are all waste that needs to be removed from your water to keep it clean and pure.

Please click here for more information on Shock.

What Is An Ozonator?

An ozonator introduces ozone gas into your spa water in order to oxidize accumulated waste material.  In a hot tub, ozone is not a sanitizer, but it will reduce your sanitizer requirements. 

Some companies oversell their own proprietary ozonators saying they have chemical-free systems.  This is simply not true.  As noted above, the EPA approves only 3 chemicals for sanitation in swimming pools & hot tubs; Bromine, Chlorine, and PHMB.  To be in compliance with federal regulations at least 1 of these must be used for sanitation.

What Are "Alternative" Sanitization Methods?

There are many "Alternative Sanitizers" on the market.  We've tested quite a few.  They are largely marketing hype.  They will all say (usually in small print somewhere hard to find) that you may need to use bromine or chlorine with their product.

They usually try to sell you on the idea that chlorine & bromine are bad for you.  In a sense they are right.  Both are highly corrosive.  That is why they work!  That is why they kill bacteria & viruses.  But, unless you are allergic, in the proper concentrations for a hot tub (generally 3 - 5 ppm for Bromine) they are harmless to you while deadly for bacteria and viruses - exactly what you want!

Here is the thing.  If chlorine & bromine are bad for you, why will they suggest that you may still need to use them with their products?  Because they have to to "dance around" federal advertising laws.  And one more thing - Many of these products are quite expensive, meaning highly profitable for the companies selling it.  This one will cost around $750 a year, yet it is really only about making your water feel soft.  We can do that with a Salt System for FREE!

Alternative sanitizers always have a "story".  Below are a few.

Metallic Ion

These methods are generally based on either silver or copper ions and as with all good marketing stories there is a bit of truth to their story.  It seems that our Pioneer forefathers would toss a silver coin (back when they were silver) in their water as they traveled across the plains to keep their water fresh - and it worked!  Just a few problems here though.  The biggest problem is they were not bathing in the water!  Silver ions are known to have some ability to kill bacteria, but hardly enough to take care of your hot tub.  By the way, copper ions have virtually no ability to kill bacteria but they are effective against algae.  If you have algae in your hot tub, you better call us now!  That is a pool problem, not a hot tub problem.

Ultraviolet Light

 A number of hot tub companies have recently jumped on this bandwagon but once again they will say that you may still need some chlorine or bromine (read the fine print).  And once again it works - sort of!  Ultraviolet light will kill bacteria and viruses if the light concentration is strong enough.  But that light is shining through a clear tube that carries water moving quite fast.  Within weeks after you have your hot tub, that tube is no longer all that clear.  You need to clean it to keep your Ultraviolet Light System working.  We don't even know how to do this, so your odds aren't very good.


You'll hear all kinds of stories here about seaweed, moss, etc.  Thing is you will never, ever find anyone to tell you what enzymes are in their product or how they actually work.  We've tried some and when they did not work, we were told we were not using their product correctly.  Bet you will be told the same thing should you wish to try these.



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