FAQ & TEST DATA
Overview of eco3spa
What is eco3spa?
The eco3spa system is a complete, non chlorine water treatment solution developed specifically for hot tubs and spas, rather than swimming pools. It is 100% non-toxic and environmentally friendly and will not irritate your skin or eyes. eco3spa comprises 3 synergistic elements: A cleaner which is used prior to use and at each water change. The eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner removes biofilm, scale and grease from the hot tub pipework to 'deep clean' your hot tub and remove both bacteria and the food on which bacteria thrive. A water conditioner which is applied to the water monthly. The eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner contains blends of non-toxic surfactants, coconut extract and several types of natural enzymes. The conditioner enhances the bactericide action of the sanitising tablets, softens the hot tub water, hydrates your skin and stabilises the water pH. Multi-Function water sanitising tablets. The eco3spa Step 3 - Water Sanitiser Tablets produce Active Oxygen in the hot tub water to immediately kill any harmful bacteria. The tablets also remove algae and oxidise any organic matter in the hot tub water. eco3spa will make your hot tub water management amazingly easy and will drastically reduce the time required to maintain your hot tub.
Is Active Oxygen a new sanitiser?
Absolutely not! Active oxygen has well-known and well documented antimicrobial, fungicidal and viricidal effects. Active Oxygen has been used since the 1950s in a range of applications, including the disinfection of drinking water; intraoperatively to prevent tissue infection and as a biocidal in dental operations. Active oxygen has well documented antimicrobial effects against E. coli and P. aeruginosa, the two bacteria most commonly found in hot tubs, and our own research into this is available on the Test Data tab above. Many studies have also shown the effectiveness of Active Oxygen against biofilm formation and again our own test data confirms this effect. In recent times Active Oxygen has been used extensively worldwide to fight Covid-19, primarily because of because of it's non-toxic, and odourless properties.
Will eco3spa have any detrimental effect on my hot tub components, jets, pumps etc?
No! In fact quite the opposite. The naturally softer water with less minerals and heavy metals, combined with no chlorine or bromine and no acidic pipe cleaners, means that your hot tub's components such as pumps, jets, pipework joints etc will last longer. The underside of you hot tub's cover as well as soft headrests will also last much longer as they will not suffer from the usual staining and corrosive effects of chlorine or bromine.
What is the shelf-life of eco3spa?
When kept in a dry, cool area such as a cupboard the ingredients in eco3spa will stay active for at least 3 years.
Who manufactures eco3spa?
eco3spa is manufactured in the UK by Surespa Ltd. The product contains a patented water purification technology developed in the USA by a leading manufacturer of innovative, biologically proven, eco-friendly cleaning products.
The Benefits of eco3spa Over Chlorine
What could using chlorine at 5ppm do to my body?
There is a wealth of evidence that chlorine is harmful to health. For example, the United States Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) has published (Nov 2010 Cas#:7782-5-5) that the following effects have been observed in humans briefly exposed to chlorine: mild nose irritation at 1-3ppm eye irritation at 5ppm throat irritation at 5-15ppm immediate chest pain, vomiting, changes in breathing rate and cough at 30ppm lung injury (toxic pneumonitis) and pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) at 40-60ppm death after 30 minute exposure at 430ppm death after a few minutes exposure to 1,000ppm The concentrations listed above are approximate. The effects will depend also on exposure duration. In general, people who suffer from respiratory conditions such as allergies or hay fever, or who are heavy smokers, tend to experience more severe effects than healthy subjects or nonsmokers. Manufacturers of hot tub chlorine recommend a dosage of 5ppm of chlorine in your hot tub during daily use and significantly higher levels for regular shocking. There is overwhelming evidence that these levels of chlorine exposure are harmful to your body.
Are there any more disadvantages of using Chlorine or Bromine?
Yes! chlorine reacts with organic hot tub contaminants and leads to the formation of potentially toxic disinfection-by-products such as trihalomethanes, halomethanes, haloacetic acids and chloramines. It is these bi-products that cause smell and skin irritation. both chlorine and bromine's biocidal abilities are hindered by water hardness and poor pH control. chlorine disinfection has been found to increase antibiotic resistance. chlorinated water will harm plants and the environment and cannot be discarded onto the garden.
Why is eco3spa better?
The following table summarizes the benefits of eco3spa. Chlorine eco3spa Step 3 - Water Sanitiser Tablets Chlorine commonly causes skin irritation due to halogen amines generated as a bi-product of the chlorine reaction with bacteria Active Oxygen does not produce halogen aminesare produced and there is no evidence of Active Oxygen causing skin irritation Chlorine produces potentially carcinogenic trihalomethanes There is no carcinogenic effect known to be related to Active Oxygen Chlorine has an unpleasant smell caused in part by the chlorine reaction with bacteria. The only smell from eco3spa will be an occasionally fresh, clean 'Ozone-like' smell Chlorine is only effective over a very narrow pH range and the reaction of chlorine with bacteria causes pH changes, resulting in a need for constant testing and water balancing eco3spa sanitiser tablets are unaffected by normal water pH and have been shown by our own research to be effective over the range pH 7.0 - pH 8.0. Documented research in the academic literature indicates the efficacy of Active Oxygen as a biocide over a much wider pH range. Chlorine tablets are highly acidic, resulting in corrosion and damage to plastic hot tub parts, cushions and covers eco3spa sanitiser tablets are pH neutral Chlorine bleaches swimwear, pillows, cushions, covers, other surfaces and hot tub parts eco3spa sanitiser tablets do not bleach at the concentration advised
Why is using eco3spa less time consuming?
Adding chlorine to hot tub water is not straightforward. You need to get the Total Alkalinity, pH and Calcium Hardness levels in your water just right before you add any chlorine product (this process is otherwise known as 'balancing') . If you don't balance the water the chlorine becomes ineffective and won't kill all of the bacteria. Just the process of adding chlorine granules or tablets to the water has a tendency to alter the water pH value so you need to constantly keep testing and adjusting the water's balance. It can be a never ending loop! These effects are well documented in the academic literature. In contrast eco3spa has been shown to be effective over an extremely wide pH range and our own research has demonstrated that its effectiveness is virtually unchanged between pH 7.0 and pH 8.0. What's more, the eco3spa Step 2 Water Conditioner contains a pH stabiliser so, if you do need to adjust your pH because your source water is outside the pH range 7.0 - 8.0, you only need to do it once when you fill your spa up and then you don't need to worry about it again until your next water change.
How Does eco3spa Work?
How Does the Step 1 Hot Tub Cleaner Work?
eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner is an environmentally friendly biofilm remover and surface cleaner. It is an advanced blend of surfactants and organic salts that effectively clean the internal workings of your hot tub and all exposed surfaces, removing biofilm, scale and body fats and leaving the pipework and equipment sparkling clean. Unlike most biofilm removers, eco3spa Step1 - Hot Tub Cleaner is non-corrosive and non-acidic, it will not damage your hot tub cover or equipment and it is safe to discard on garden plants and grass. eco3spa Step1 - Hot Tub Cleaner is added to the water in your hot tub prior to using eco3spa for the first time and then prior to draining your hot tub every 3 months. It cleans the parts of your hot tub that you can't reach, removing bacteria and bacterial food and so reduces the need for high levels of sanitiser. eco3spa Step1 - Hot Tub Cleaner must be used in warm water and it is particularly important that it is used in new hot tubs prior to first use.
How Does eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner Work?
eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner is is the environmentally friendly, non-toxic heart of the eco3spa system. It is made from natural coconut, minerals and plant extracts with natural enzymes and a proprietary formulation of non-foaming surfactants. The Water Conditioner not only enhances the quality of the water in your hot tub, it also stabilises the pH and reduces the demand placed on the sanitiser, enabling the Active Oxygen generated by the sanitising tablets to effectively and efficiently kill bacteria. The coconut extract has the additional benefit of being an excellent skin softener and hydrator. Every hot tub is different, but the problems with them are the same. Hot tubs provide an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. If bather comfort, water cleanliness, and waste-management efficiency is important to you, eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner will provide the boost you need to accomplish that goal.
How Do the eco3spa Step 3 - Water Sanitising Tablets Work?
eco3spa Step 3 - Water Sanitiser Tablets contain a triple potassium salt which dissolves in water to produce Active Oxygen. They also contain proprietary additives to assist with algae removal, water clarification and cleansing. At the higher water temperature of hot tubs these tablets are at least as effective as chlorine at neutralizing harmful bacteria and oxidising organic waste - organic waste comprises substances such as body oils, sweat (yes you do sweat in a hot tub), dead skin, saliva, mucous, urine, faeces etc. As hard as you might try, you cannot avoid these contaminants getting into the water and it's very important to remove them or, over time, they will enable harmful pathogenic bacteria to grow and thrive. eco3spa Step 3 - Water Sanitiser Tablets do not contain any chlorine or bromine. Water treated with the tablets will not irritate your skin or eyes. It is non-toxic and safe to discard onto your garden plants or grass.
What does the coconut in eco3spa do?
Coconut fatty acid is natural, biodegradeable and is used in many soaps, bath products and household and industrial cleaning products. Coconut is a natural surfactant, cleansing agent and emulsifier. Coconut has a high level of lauric acid content, which makes it an ideal, natural skin conditioner. This is why bathers who use a hot tub with eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner in the water feel that their skin is soft and moisturised.
How does eco3spa kill dangerous bacteria?
Bacteria can be found in two states within a hot tub: planktonic (or free living bacteria) present in the water and sessile bacteria which adhere to the surfaces and form biofilms in the pipework, under the head rests and in the filter etc. eco3spa removes these bacteria from your hot tub in 3 ways: Firstly, the eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner removes biofilm and other organic contaminants from the hot tub’s plumbing system, jets and surfaces, removing the sessile bacteria and the bacteria breeding ground present in untreated hot tubs. Secondly, the eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner breaks down organic contaminants which would otherwise remain in the hot water creating more food for harmful bacteria to thrive on. Finally, the eco3spa Step 3 - Multi-Function Water Sanitising Tablets produce Active Oxygen in the water to safely deal with any harmful bacteria that do remain.
Why does eco3spa remove the need for frequent pH testing?
The eco3spa Step 3 - Multi-function Water Sanitiser Tablets have been shown in experimental testing to be an effective bactericide over the pH range 7.0 - 8.0. It is unusual for UK tap water to be outside pf this range (the legal requirement is for the pH of UK tap water to be between 6.5 and 9.5) and as long as your source water is within this range eco3spa will function effectively. This is in complete contrast to chlorine that will only effectively sanitise if the pH of the water is within a very narrow band between 7.4 and 7.6. However, if the pH of your source water is lower than 7.0 it will be slightly acidic and this in itself can lead to skin irritation. If your pH is higher than 8.0 significant scaling of your hot tub equipment can occur which will cause the eco3spa Step 1 Cleaner to work harder. So we do recommend testing your source water when you first fill your spa and using a pH Increaser or pH Reducer to raise or lower the pH to between 7.0 and 8.0 if necessary. The eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner contains a pH stabiliser which will minimise any pH fluctuations so, once you have adjusted your pH once there is no need to worry about again until the next water change.
What are surfactants and how do they help with the water sanitising process?
Surfactants are compounds that separate other compounds at a molecular level. They are found in almost every household cleaning product. They are responsible, for example, for the grease-cutting power of washing-up liquid. Technically speaking, surfactants work by reducing molecular surface tension. The surfactants in the Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner break down the ‘sticky’ layer of bio-film that grows and multiplies in all hot tub pipework, enabling it to be released into the water prior to draining down and re-filling. The surfactants in the Step 2 - Water Conditioner break down organic waste in the water and help to kill bacteria by disrupting the cell membrane. The surfactants in eco3spa are completely safe, biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
How does eco3spa reduce filter cleaning?
The natural surfactants and enzymes in eco3spa and the Active Oxygen from the sanitiser tablets are constantly circulating through the entire hot tub pipework and filtration system. Together, they are constantly cleaning the inside of the pipes and filters. In hot tubs that use the traditional chlorine or bromine based water treatments, hot tub filters get clogged up and need frequent cleaning because biofilm, organic wastes and scale gets trapped in the filter pores. However, the active ingredients in eco3spa products remove biofilm, break down the organic waste and eliminate scale, thus reducing the need for frequent filter cleaning and replacement. We recommend that with normal hot tub use, filter cleaning need only be carried out every 4 to 6 weeks. Obviously this will depend on the size of your filters compared to the volume of water in your hot tubs. Inflatable spa filters will need to be cleaned much more frequently.
The Test Data
Why, where and when was this research performed?
eco3spa is a new product and both the manufacturer and potential users need to have confidence that it is safe to use in a hot tub sanitising environment. There is traditionally a great deal of resistance to using any product other than chlorine or bromine to sanitise hot tub water, mainly because it has been felt that sufficient test data has not been available to prove the efficacy of other options. The prevalent use of Active Oxygen sanitation worldwide during the Covid 19 pandemic has raised its profile as an extremely effective method of sanitation but, prior to this research, hard data was not available to prove the use of the product in a hot tub environment. This research was performed at Swansea University jointly within the faculty of Life Sciences and the faculty of Chemical & Environmental Engineering between October 2019 and January 2021. A further programme of research started in October 2021 to look in more detail at the at the biocidal performance of the product over time and also to study the function of the eco3spa Step 2 Water Conditioner in conjunction with the Step 3 Sanitising Tablets.
What were the objectives of the research?
The key objectives of this first phase of research were: To test the efficacy of the eco3spa Step 3 Sanitising Tablets (Multi-function Active Oxygen Tablets) as a biocide against the prevalent hot tub infectious agents Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and E-coli at a range of concentrations and water pH values and at water temperatures typically found in hot tubs. To test the efficacy of the eco3spa Sanitising Tablets at preventing Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and E-coli biofilm formation at a range of water pH values and temperatures. To compare the efficacy of the eco3spa Sanitising Tablets to that of chlorine at a range of temperatures and pH values.
How was the research performed?
A Microtiter plate is a flat plate with multiple "wells" used as small test tubes. These plates enable many variations of an experiment to be performed in parralel. Microtiter plate experiments were performed at two different temperatures (25°C and 37°C). Selected strains of E. coli and P. aeruginosa bacteria were diluted and exposed to a solution of the product being tested. Each product was disolved in water at a range of concentrations and a range of pH values. A stain was then added which passed through any live bacteria cell membranes to stain the cell neuclei. The growth of bacteria could then be measured by measuring the optical density of each well in the plate.
Efficacy of eco3spa Sanitising Tablets for prevention of bacterial growth
The graphs below show the bacterial growth of E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa measured as a function of the concentration of eco3spa Active Oxygen in water at both 25C and 37C and a range of pH values. The dilution is equivalent to the number of tablets stated used in a 1200 litre hot tub. The vertical axes represent the Optical Density of the sample. A higher Optical Density represents a higher bacterial growth. Calibration data is available in the full report. The calibration varies slightly between E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and is a function of temperature but, broadly, an Optical Density of 0.2AU represents a log reduction of between 3.5 and 4 or a 99.97% - 99.99% reduction in potentially harmful bacteria. The conclusion from the above results is that no measurable planktonic growth was seen for both E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa at any Active Oxygen concentration above 1 tablet dissolved in 1200 litres water at any pH between pH 7 and pH 8 at both temperatures. A slight degradation in performance is seen in the cooler water at pH 8, but even in this case the planktonic growth is minimal.
Efficacy of eco3spa Sanitising Tablets in preventing biofilm formation
The graphs below show the formation of E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa biofilm measured as a function of the concentration of eco3spa Active Oxygen in water at both 25C and 37C and a range of pH values. As above, the dilution is equivalent to the number of tablets stated used in a 1200 litre hot tub and the vertical axes represent Optical Density. Both E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa exhibit similar levels of susceptibility to Active Oxygen, with no or very little absolute biofilm formation observed at concentrations above 1 tablet dissolved in a 1200 litre hot tub.
Comparison with chlorine at a range of pH and temperature values
In the graphs below AO represents 1 eco3spa Sanitising Tablet disolved in 1200 litres of hot tub water and the effectiveness of this solution at inhibiting planktonic bacterial growth of both E-coli and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is compared to chlorine in concentrations of 3ppm and 5ppm. The conclusion from these graphs is that in all cases eco3spa performs at least as well as chlorine at 5ppm. (Note that although there could be some doubt in the case of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa at pH 8 and 25C the AO result has a very large error bar meaning that the absolute result in very uncertain).
How to Use eco3spa
How to use Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner
The first simple step in the process is to use Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner to remove biofilm, body fats and scale from the pipework and all surfaces of your hot tub. If you are starting with a brand new spa then there will be biofilm growing in the pipework from when the tub was wet-tested in the factory. Similarly, if your hot tub has been left empty it will have been damp, so you still need to complete this step. Ensure the tub is full of water to 50mm above all jets and air vents. Open all air inlet valves and centralise any diverter valves. Remove any fitted head rests and remove the filter(s) from their housing. Tip the bottle of eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner into the water, reserving a small amount of the product to clean the shell of the hot tub and headrests after the flushing process. Turn on all jet pumps and air blower, if fitted, and run for at least 60 minutes. It is normal for a lot of foaming to occur and dark coloured biofilm particulates to be seen. Allow the water to stand for at least 30 minutes and then turn on all jet pumps and air blower, if fitted, and run again for a further 30 minutes. Drain the hot tub. The drained water is safe to empty onto grass or plants. As the water drains down, wipe away any visible residue left on the acrylic shell and rinse the surfaces with fresh water. Wipe away any stubborn scum marks by sparingly using a small amount of the reserved cleaner on a soft, clean cloth. Rinse away the cleaner thoroughly or foaming may occur when the tub is refilled. When the tub is completely drained, refill with clean water and clean and replace the filter(s) and headrests.
How to Use Step 2 - Water Conditioner
Use eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner immediately after cleaning your hot tub with eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner and filling with fresh water. Turn on all air and water pumps, shake the bottle and add 300ml of eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner (for spas up to 2,000 litres). Use in conjunction with eco3spa Step 3 - Multi-Function Water Sanitiser Tablets as described below. Add a further 300ml after one month and the final 300ml one month later. After 3 months clean the hot tub with eco3Spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner and start the process again.
How to Use Step 3 - Multi Function Water Sanitiser Tablets
Use the tablets immediately after adding eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner and before each hot tub use. After the initial cleaning and conditioning the water add 2 eco3spa Step 3 - Multi-Function Water Sanitiser Tablets. It is preferable add the tablets directly to the filter compartment or to the skimmer basket with a circulation pump running and ensure that the tablets have fully dissolved before using the hot tub. If it is not possible to add the tablets to the filter compartment then a fully open floating dispenser may be used, but ensure that the tablets have fully dissolved before using the hot tub. Prior to each hot tub use add an additional tablet to the water. If you haven't been using your spa you just need to ensure that you add at least 2 tablets each week. If the water ever becomes dull or foamy add an extra tablet daily until the problem subsides. Extra tablets may be required before and after heavy use.
Do I have to measure the pH value of the water when using eco3spa?
eco3spa does not change the pH value of water, in fact it stabilises it, and it also works with the pH value of all common source/tapwater. However, if the pH of your source water is lower than 7.0 it will be slightly acidic and this in itself can lead to skin irritation. If your pH is higher than 8.0 significant scaling of your hot tub equipment can occur which will cause the eco3spa Step 1 Cleaner to work harder. So we do recommend testing your source water when you first fill your spa and using a pH Increaser or pH Decreaser to raise or lower the pH to between 7.0 and 8.0 if necessary. The eco3spa Step 2 - Water Conditioner contains a pH stabiliser which will minimise any pH fluctuations so, once you have adjusted your pH once there is no need to worry about again until the next water change.
Can I use my existing filters with eco3spa?
You should clean your filters with a good quality powdered filter cleaning product (we will have one available soon, but there are many available on-line) before starting your hot tub on eco3spa and approximately monthly thereafter. When cleaning your hot tub filters you need to remove particulate matter and also bacteria, scale and biofilm. Rinsing them under a tap, even a high pressure hose, dose not clean them adequately. Powdered filter cleaners are much better than liquids or sprays at removing scale and biofilm. If your filters are under a year old and have been regularly cleaned using a powder filter cleaner then you can re-use them with eco3spa. Most first time users of eco3spa tend to fit new filters at the same time as using eco3spa to give the hot tub water the best start with our water treatment system.
Can I add aromatherapy products to the hot tub with eco3spa?
Aromatherapy products can be used if they are made from natural materials and without emulsifiers, perfumes and preservatives. The eco3spa range of aromatherapy crystals are made from naturally occuring Dead Sea Salt crystals with pur essential oils and will not affect thesanitising properties o eco3spa in anh way. Do not use any form of liquid fragrance/aromatherapy products.
My hot tub already has chlorine or bromine as its sanitiser. Can I use eco3spa straight away?
If you have been using chlorine or bromine there is likely to be a build-up of biofilm in your hot tub plumbing system, which needs to be removed with eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner. To start using eco3spa simply add the Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner to your existing water to remove the bio-film, drain it and refill with fresh water. Then just add the Step 2 - Water Conditioner and the Step 3 - Multi-Function Water Sanitiser Tablets and off you go!
Can I use an ozonator or UV system with eco3spa?
Yes! You do not need either of these, but both are very good ways of helping to disinfect your hot tub water. Bear in mind that they both rely on consumable components (CD chip or UV bulb) that need replacing every 12 months or so in order to work properly. The eco3spa system is powerful enough to keep the water clean without the assistance of an ozonator or UV system so there is no need to replace your ozonator chip or UV bulb, if you have one fitted to your tub. But of course, you can do so if you wish and eco3spa will work happily along side any additional devices, which will only work to support and enhance the sanitisation process.
Why do I have to drain my hot tub and refill it every 3 months?
To understand why you need to change the water it is important, first of all, to understand what is happening to the water in the hot tub. The very act of you getting into the hot turbulent water in your hot tub contaminates the water. Over time the amount of bather waste builds up, in what is a very small volume of water. These wastes contain solids that accumulate and result in an increase in the Totally Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water. eco3spa works hard to counteract this problem but, eventually, the hot tub's pipework, jets, pumps and blower etc will all accumulate a layer of TDS and also biofilm which naturally builds up in the pipework due to bacterial growth. Hot water evaporates over time, but only the water itself is removed by evaporation, not the solids and bacteria it contains, so topping up with fresh water doesn't help the TDS or biofilm situation. Over time the solids accumulate and reach unacceptable levels. As the TDS increases the water becomes cloudy or hazy and foaming can occur. The only way to reduce the TDS level is to drain the water from your hot tub and replace it with fresh water. This draining process represents the perfect opportunity to apply the eco3spa Step 1 - Hot Tub Cleaner to give the pipework a thorough cleaning and removal of the accumulated biofilm, keeping your hot tub clean and safe.
Can I use eco3spa products with reduced quantities for hot tubs with water volumes less than 2000 litres?
The eco3spa system is designed to work effectively in hot tubs with a water volume of up to 2000 litres. We do not recommend using proportionately reduced volumes of our products in smaller hot tubs with lower volumes of water as the bather and bacterial load in these tubs will be higher anyway.