How Do Hot Tub Ozonators Work


If you ever wondered how do hot tub ozonators work or what is the best hot tub ozonator, and all you know is that it helps you sanitize your hot tub, you are in luck, because I can explain. A hot tub ozonator allows you to control the quality of your water and it will save you plenty of money too. It is also important to choose the best hot tub ozonator for your hot tub.

Ozonators split oxygen molecules into two free oxygen atoms in one of two ways:

  • Intense ultraviolet (UV) light or by using what’s known as a corona discharge (CD) unit
  • Or it will convert oxygen into ozone by pulling air across an ultraviolet bulb or corona. 

When these freed oxygen atoms combine with existing oxygen molecules present in the water, they create ozone.

Table Of Contents

How do I know if my hot tub Ozonator is working?

There are four main indicators that will help you determine if your spa’s ozone generator is working:

  1. Water Clarity.
    The spa water should be clear and odorless. Any water that is not perfectly clear and balanced is an indicator that one or more of the following conditions apply :
    The spa’s ozonator has expired and must be replaced.
    The spa’s ozonator has expired and must be replaced. The check valve is defective and ozone is not entering the water.
    The spa’s ozonator does not produce enough ozone to properly sanitize the spa water.
    The injector may be clogged or needs to be replaced.

2. Squeak.
If the water in your spa smells like a locker, bacteria and/or viruses may have accumulated. This indicates that you do not have an ozone generator, or that the existing ozonator has expired. Ozone is 200 times more powerful than chlorine and kills 99.99% of all known viruses and bacteria (chlorine and bromine do not), keeping the water clean and clear.

If the water in your spa smells like a chemical plant, don’t go there! Contrary to popular belief, the smell of toxic chemicals does not mean your spa is safe; it could indicate that your chlorine or bromine is trapped and that it is ineffective and dangerous to bathe in or inhale it. With a properly designed ozone system, your spa water should smell fresh and clean. Ozone reduces chlorine to 0.5 PPM and bromine to 1 PPM. It reduces the need for shocks, metal removal, pH increase and decrease, clarifiers and water adjusters. Ozone makes water as easy to handle as it is to balance.

  1. Confirm that the Spa’s ozonator is producing ozone. If in doubt, test it with this helpful, accurate, and easy-to-use spa ozone test kit. The helpful video below shows how to apply the test; and the video has the added benefit of showing you how to install an ozone generator, check valve and injector in relation to each other. At the end of this great video you will see what perfect ozone bubbles look like: Spa Ozone Test Kit Video
  2. Age. The average life of a spa ozone generator is 3 years. Most people don’t know what type of ozone generator they have, but if you do, here is a basic lifetime guide to help you determine if you need a new ozone generator:

How do you maintain an Ozonator in a hot tub?

Maintenance of an ozonator is quite simple.

  1. Make sure that it is producing ozone. You can do this with an ozone test kit.
  2. Make sure the distribution system is efficient.
  3. Check the check valve. The check valve prevents spa water from entering the ozonator.

Also, how do you maintain a spa? To perform 95% of a hot tub’s care and maintenance tasks, all you have to do is follow these five simple tips:

  1. Test and adjust your spa’s water balance 2 to 4 times per week.
  2. Clean the spa filter every 4 to 8 weeks and replace it every 1 to 2 years.
  3. Keep the spa clean; drain and refill the spa every 3-4 months.
  4. Air the spa cover twice a week.
  5. Is ozone good for hot tubs?

How To Install An Ozonator?

Install The Check Valve

Your ozonator requires a check valve that will help stop the backflow of the hot tub water into the device. This could possibly destroy the ozonator. Usually, the valve is built-in, but sometimes, it may have to be installed separately.

In case you decide to install it separately, cut through the tube leading to the jet tubing, insert the valve and then secure it in place using the clamps.

Check The Wiring

Ozonators are usually wired for 110 or 220 volt systems. You should refer to your user manual for the large part as this step may differ from unit to unit. If you are not familiar with this step, hire a professional electrician to finish the rest of the installation.

Set the Timer

In case your new ozonator does not come with a timer, take some time to install it yourself. Ozonator must run for at least three hours for every 12 hours. The longer the ozonator runs, the more effective it will be in cleansing your hot tub water. If the pump you are using does not filter, ozone will not be introduced into the water system.

Keep reading to know more about what a hot tub ozonator actually is and what it does.

How Long Do Hot Tub Ozonators Last?

Ozone gas will only remain present for about 12 hours, once injected into the hot tub water. This means that at the end of it, your hot tub wont have any sanitizer left in it. That’s why it is suggested that an ozonator be turned on at least 2 hours over the course of12 hours. This action will ensure that there is the right amount of ozone sanitizer in the hot tub water at all times.

You have to know that the ozone is a strong oxidizer, but since it doesn’t last long it needs to be constantly refreshed by the ozone generator. It needs to run at least 4-6 hours per day to continuously dissolve contaminants in the hot tub water.

Do You Need Ozone In A Hot Tub?

Most of the latest hot tub models already come installed with an ozonator. It is a great replacement to your chlorine, and it offers a significant reduction of chemicals used in the long term.

The ozone technology helps kill pathogenic bacteria, germs, and viruses. That means you can use less sanitizer, cutting your hot tub expenses while making your hot tuba happier place for people with chemical sensitivities.

What Does Ozone Do in Hot Tubs ?

There are a few things that ozone is really good at.

  • Reduces a need for high chemical doses like chlorine or bromine.

Ozone, in fact, is a great hot tub oxidizer, sanitizer, and it is a safer alternative to chlorine. It destroys and kills bacteria continuously. Ozone does almost everything chlorine does except that it does way better. 

  • Helps destroy bacteria, viruses, algae, and yeasts.

Using ozone reduces the need for high chemical doses because it helps in destroying bacteria, viruses, algae, and yeasts and oxidizes other contaminants. Most importantly, ozone reduces odor and prolongs the life of your hot tub equipment.

  • Oxidizes other contaminants.

Once a system has delivered ozone, it cleans the target water or produces ozone-enriched water to sanitize a surface through ozone oxidation. The unstable third oxygen is combined with organic and inorganic molecules which destroys them through the process of oxidation.

  • Less odor and chloramines.

Ozone is a more effective disinfectant than chlorine, chlorinates, and even chlorine dioxide. This will lead to a more complete disinfection and a lower disinfectant concentration that will eliminate Odor and taste in the water.

  • Prolongs the life of the hot tub equipment

It can help to expand the life of your other hot tub equipment because it significantly reduces the maintenance time and costs, all while purifying your hot tub water naturally. Ozone reduces the need for regular shock treatments because ozone serves as an automatic, daily, non-chlorine shock.

  • Reduces maintenance time and cost.

Ozone will reduce the need for high levels of harsh chemicals like chlorine and bromine. Purposely reducing maintenance costs on chemicals, filters, pillows, and covers. Ozone helps in the removal of minerals such as iron and manganese. Ozone leaves no unpleasant chemical taste and is less corrosive than chlorine and other harsh chemicals in the water.

  • Gives natural purification.

Ozone is an outstanding disinfectant with the superior ability to kill viruses and biological contaminants found in the water. It is also the most powerful oxidant that can oxidize metals in water such as manganese, iron, and sulfur into small particles, aiding in their filtration and removal from the hot tub water.

Other Benefits

  • Ozone could also oxidize soap, deodorant, hair spray, cologne, makeup, perfume, body lotion, hand cream, suntan lotion, saliva, and urine. If it is used in combination with your sanitizer, ozone helps kill pathogenic bacteria, germs, and viruses and helps to oxidize organic contaminants.
  • Ozone frees up combined chlorine and bromine. Freeing them to be continuously reused. Ozone can help in enhancing the performance of chlorine and bromine as well as alternative sanitizer systems.
  • Less chlorine or bromine is sometimes needed to maintain a residual. Water quality will be better with the combination of ozone and chlorine/bromine than with chlorine/bromine alone.
  • Ozone destroys microbes, oxidizes contaminants, and causes total dissolved solids to clump together for easier removal by the filter as a result, water becomes cleaner and provides a smoother feeling to the skin.

What Does The Ozonator Do On A Hot Tub?

Ozone is known in breaking down body oils that help to remove chronic odors often found in hot tubs. Ozonated water doesn’t need to be repeatedly changed, as it remains fresh for a long time. Compared with commercial hot tub chemicals, ozone does not have an obvious taste or color. Ozone doesn’t leave any residues in your hot tub that could stick to the surface of the hot tub or could cause a cloth in the hot tub filter. Ozonator-treated hot tub water doesn’t need to be changed for about 7 to 9 months.

Ozonator is a powerful oxidizer of contaminants in water. It can be installed on hot tubs and spas by the use of ozone generators. Ozone is formed when three atoms of oxygen are bound together. If you have ever noticed a faint, sweet smell in the air after a lightning storm, that was ozone!

Ozonator works during the filtration cycle. The ozonator doesn’t create bubbles. One end of the ozonator has an open port that serves as a source for air. It’s basically just a hole inside the case. The ozonator is attached by plastic tubing to an ozone injector, which is a fitting in the circulation line that sucks the air in that plastic tube into the water that’s being circulated.

Ozone kills microbes and keeps your water clean. Signs of a non-functioning ozonator is when water suddenly becomes dirty, even though your disinfection cycle hasn’t changed. Sometimes, it’s because one-way valve sticks open and water gets sucked back into the ozonator. That usually causes the hot tub to short out, although that’s not always the case.

Editorial Staff

I'm Adnan Sabanovic, the guy behind Hot Tubs Report. I've had a chance to enjoy hot tubs last few years and have really become interested in owning one of them. Nearly every weekend you'll find me spending time with my family or playing sports. If I am not doing that then I'm here writing about tubs on Hot Tubs Report. This blog is a research for my first hot tub which I decided to document and share publically so others can benefit from it as well.

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