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Hot Tub Ozonator FAQ

ozone generator ozonatorWhat is a Hot Tub Ozonator?

The purpose of an ozone generator is to produce ozone, the best oxidizer for spa water, which can help combat bacteria, germs, viruses, bather waste such as sweat, and introduced organic compounds for safer, cleaner spa water. 

Ozone is created in the ozonator by several different methods including corona discharge, ultraviolet and others to break up oxygen molecules into free oxygen atoms which then collide with other oxygen molecules to create O3 or ozone gas.

What does a Hot Tub ozonator do? How do spa ozone generators work?

Ozone is an oxidizer that helps break down chemicals and unwanted compounds in the hot tub water including soaps, shampoos, oil, lotion, detergent, hair spray, saliva, perfume, deoderants and other pollutants.

Ozone breaks down these pollutants in the water as it is a powerful oxidizer.  It also frees up combined chlorine or combined bromine so these sanitizers can continue to combat bacteria and other compounds to keep the water safe. 

With the ozonator, the spa owner typically needs less (but always some) chlorine, bromine or other sanitizer.

Ozone also does not affect pH, so it is ideal for use in hot tubs and pools.  Ozone alone is not a sufficient sanitizer for hot tubs, so you will always need some bromine or chlorine, but can use less than if no ozonator were present.

Ozonators are safe for use as they usually only come on during filter cycles and the ozone quickly dissipates after reacting with compounds as it dissolves in the water. Never breathe concentrated ozone gas directly.

How to Replace an Ozone Generator

ozone ready qcaOzonators help to reduce the amount of bromine or chlorine sanitizer as well as other chemicals in the hot tub.  If the ozonator needs to be swapped out, read on for some tips. If this is a new installation into an ozone ready spa, see below.

Find your replacement ozonator and ozone generator parts here at Hot Tub Outpost.

Types of ozonators include the most popular CD or corona discharge ozonator along with the APG type advnaced plasma gap units, the UV or ultra violet models and some hybrid ozonators.

Horse Sense
Warning: Working on your own appliances, cars, covered wagons and hot tubs as well as anything else electrical or mechanical carries with it severe risk of injury or property damage. These tips and suggested procedures are free and for informational purposes only. Proceed at your own risk. It is best to use the services of an electrician or tech. Hot Tub Outpost is not liable for any damage or injury that may result.

First -  Turn Off Power to the Spa
Replace the ozonator by first turning off power to the spa.
Then remove the access panel and locate the current ozonator.
The ozone generator is connected by tubing to the ozone jet in the spa.

Sometimes the ozonator is wall mounted and other times it is near the spa pack.
First disconnect the ozonator from the circuit board or spa pack/control box. 

This may involve removing the front plate of the spa pack to access the circuit board.

With the ozonator cable unplugged, unthread it out of the control box and make note of the type of plug or connection so the replacement ozonator can be ordered with the same plug.

Next unmount the ozone generator from the spa wall or mounting plate.
Remove the bonding/ground wire from the ozonator as well if there is one such as on older metal ozonators. (New style plastic case ozone generators don't use a separate ground wire).

ozone tubing popetteSome spas will use an ozone injector in the plumbing while others will have it plumbed right to the air side of the ozone jet.  The old hose is usually removed since the new ozonator usually comes with new tubing.

The new ozonator kit will include the ozone generator, a check valve and ozone tubing as well as the cord and plug (see plug types below). 

Sometimes a new ozone injector will also be needed if that is how the old one was installed.  Other systems that have the ozone jet installed don't have the injector seperately installed into the plumbing.

Then these components are reinstalled in the reverse order of when the old one was removed.  Note that when replacing the small in-line check valve (popette), the arrow faces the direction of air flow from the ozonator to the spa to allow for one way flow without allowing for any water to backup into the unit.

Also note that when replacing ozone tubing, it should be installed in a similar way as to the removed tubing. This tube usually is installed as high in the spa as it will go to create a natural gravity method for assuring water does not backup into the hose.  By keeping the top of the loop above the water line, this will help avoid the intrusion of water into the ozone tubing. Create at least 2 full loops of ozone air tubing mounted as high as possible under the spa skirt.

What are the pros and cons of ozonators?

Ozonators save on the cost of chemicals and provide another level of water purification in conjunction with needing a lower level of sanitizer such as bromine or chlorine.  Harmful chemicals, bather waste and compounds in the water are oxidized and broken down so that they coagulate into clumps which then end up in the filter for easy cleaning and removal.

del ozonatorsThis is why it is important to rinse off the spa filter regularly to assure the best performance of the ozonator and spa chemicals.  

More benefits of using an installed ozonator to perform some water purification duties is that lower chemical doses are needed to achieve the same clean water.

Odors are reduced since there are less chemicals and also since the bromamines or chloramines are reduced through the oxidation process, and the equipment life is extended due to having better water chemistry.

The cons of using an ozonator is that the ozone gas may have a tendency to reduce the underside/vinyl cover's or plastic pillows' product life. 

But many times it is other things such as mishandling the cover, allowing snow or ice to build up on the top which creates pockets for rain to accumulate and further degrade the cover and natural usage which can reduce cover life as well.

Typically, hot tub covers last for about 7 years and underside degradation is not a leading cause for cover replacement.  Pillows should not be allowed to soake underwater, but remain above the water line. Some manufacturers suggest removal of the pillows when the spa is not used for an extended period of time such as on vacation or if only used seasonally.

Hot Tub Outpost does offer floating thermal blankets which not only reduce heating costs by creating another barrier under the rigid hard cover, but these thermal blankets also can help protect the underside of the cover.  We also offer replacement pillows for most spa makes and models.

How long do spa ozone generators last?
Ozone generators may produce ozone for 2-3 years or longer depending on the brand. After that time, either the ozonator needs to be replaced, or sometimes a chip replacement kit is available in the case of certain model corona discharge ozonator types. 

Ozone itself lasts about 15-20 minutes in the water, so does not replace sanitizers completely because there are large portions of time throughout the day when the ozonator is off (outside the programmed filter cycles).  Less chemical usage is the benefit of having an ozonator along with another source of active protection of your water quality.

Not sure if the ozonator still works? Get an ozone test kit and check!

Some spas are ozone ready which means they have all the tubing and a dedicated ozone jet installed while others need to mix the air and water with a Mazzei injector inserted into the plumbing line.

How to Install a Hot Tub Ozonator - Ozone Ready Spas

ozone ready spasMost spas that do not initially come with an ozonator are already plumbed with an ozone line and ozone get. These are called "ozone ready" since adding that actual ozonator, attaching it to the existing ozone hose (that is plugged up to avoid water leakage) with 1/4" tubing (3/8" exterior - 1/4" interior) and then plugging it into the spa pack or circuit board is all that is needed.

Ozone ready means not having to glue any plumbing parts in place or add an ozone injector separately.  For ozone ready spas, all that is needed is a piece of ozone tubing, the ozone check valve that comes with the ozone installation kit to prevent water from backing up into the ozonator, and the actual ozone generator with cord and plug.

Installing an ozone generator can be done by any qualified spa tech. Do-it-yourselfers may elect to do this repair. The following is provided for informational purposes. Working with any electrical appliance can be dangerous and such repairs should be left to qualified persons to avoid personal injury or equipment damage.

  • Power spa off
  • Hook up the ozone tubing
  • Install the ozone check valve the right way (it has an arrow for the direction of ozone flow away from the ozonator and towards the spa)
  • Plug ozonator cord/plug into the right socket (on spa pack or circuit board)  see schematic on inside lid of spa pack for details. Order the right ozonator (120v or 230v with correct plug type)
  • Mount the ozonator - hang it up on a post or higher up inside the cabinet, not on the ground.

Follow any instructions that come with the ozonator.

How to Replace an Ozone Generator

Replacing an ozone generator is similar to installing one into an ozone ready spa, but first the existing ozonator must be removed.  See the top of this page for details. It is best to start over by refilling the spa after installing or replacing the ozonator to give things a fresh start.

ultra pure ozonator spaSourcing a replacement ozonator

The easiest way to buy a replacement ozonator here at Hot Tub Outpost is to just find the model number on your existing ozonator and putting it into the search box at the top of any page on this website. 

Be sure to purchase the ozonator with the correct cord/plug type such as AMP (white 4 pin of which usually only 3 pins are connected),3-pin AMP cord, Mini-J&J, Gecko style in. plugs, standard power plug or other connectors.

Note that some ozonators ship with the plug not attached to the wires since there are several different plug types for the same ozonator. In that case note that the white wire is the neutral and the black wire is hot/power. Green is ground.  A schematic should be located on the inside lid of your spa system control box to be sure the connector is wired up correctly.

Be sure the ozonator voltage is correct - 110v or 220v. Some newer model ozonators work with both voltage types such as the newer Del.  In the case the replacement ozonator does not match the voltage of the original, then the spa pack may need to have a wire moved (If this is the case, see video below called Ozone Install 2).

If there was not previously an ozonator in the spa, check the circuit board or spa pack for the location of where the ozonator plugs into so you get one with the right cord/plug type.

Also confirm the voltage the spa/ozonator should operate at (120v or 230v). If you are unsure about the voltage, you can always get a universal voltage ozonator that operates at both 120v and 230v such as some of the more recent Del ozonators.

We carry most major ozone generator brands including Del Ozone, Gecko, Balboa, Prozone, Aqua Sun and Ultra Pure. 

See all of our current model ozonators.

Ozonator Plug and Cord Types - See our cords and cables

ozonator plugs cords hottuboutpost

ozone test kit testerHow to Test a Hot Tub Ozone Generator

The wrong way to test an ozone generator is to try to remove the ozone hose and breathe the ozone in directly - or remove the hose and let your horse smell the ozone directly. This can cause eye and skin irritation or be dangerous in higher doses. Ozone is safe for use in hot tubs because it is introduced into the water and diluted to such a great extent before it surfaces and rapidly dissipates. It is not to be breathed in directly from the concentrated source.

The right way to test an ozone generator to see if it is still producing ozone is to use an ozone test kit available right here at Hot Tub Outpost.

How else can I diversify the water chemistry ritual?
Successful spa water treatment involves the 3 pillars of sanitization: disinfection, oxidation and safety residual.

First the water is disinfected by the sanitizer, then it is oxidized by the ozonator and regular shock treatments, and a remaining safety residual is held to combat new pollutants in the water (free chlorine, free bromine).

inviting hot tubLower the chemical usage and get broader protection again by adding a mineral stick to your water care regiment. 

Sanitizer plus mineral stick plus ozonator is the best trifecta for pure, clean, safe and clear hot tub water.  This way every component does a better job such as chlorine (or bromine) being able to disinfect the water and let the ozonator do more of the oxidizing. 

While the sanitizer bonds with impurities and forms larger molecules which end up as chlorine (or bromine)combined compounds in the water that then benefit from being oxidized as otherwise they may cause scumlines and staining. 

That bad, water tearing chemical smell from some hot tubs is many times not the lack of bromine or chlorine, but too many combined compounds in the water (chloramines, bromamines) which are then no longer at attacking additional pollutants in the water. 

The bandaid seemed to be to dump more chlorine or bromine into the water to create free bromine or free chlorine into the water for more sanitizing, but the actual solution is to use the ozonator and avoid this situation and also to shock the water regularly with a shock treatment (usually weekly depending on spa use).

See the Monday-Wednesday-Friday water care program for easy spa water maintenance.

Your ozonator will help reduce (but not eliminate) the amount of sanitizer needed.

Replace a Corona Discharge Ozonator Chip

tubing ozonator tubeOn some Del ozonators, the chip can be replaced after 2-3 years of service to avoid buying the whole new ozonator.  These replacement chips are good for about 2 years.  For instance on the Del Eclipse, first the spa needs to be shut off and then the existing ozonator can be disconnected and unmounted. 

The back of the ozonators can be unscrewed and the case can be opened.  The pin connectors on the chip can then be taken out (the connectors are keyed, so there is only one way to plug in the cables) and the new chip installed. 

Seal the case and it is ready to go.  When replacing the ozonator chip it is also a good practice to assure the ozonator check valve is still working (it is a directional popette that allows for airflow in one direction).  Just be sure it is not clogged. See the video for details.

We offer many rebuild kits for ozonators including the Del Ozone MCD-50 renewal kit and the Eclipse/CDS-16 renewal kit though many are being discontinued requiring replacement of a complete ozone generator.

Enjoy your name brand ozone generator, ozone test kit and ozonator installation kit from Hot Tub Outpost.

Additional videos

Ozone Install 2 - Need to change the voltage from the circuit board to accomodate a different voltage ozonator? Usually it is best to purchase the same voltage and connector type of ozone generator to avoid having toi rewire the spa pack, but if you find yourself with the wrong replacement ozonator, all is not lost - in this case a Balboa pack is reconfigured to accept a different ozonator voltage.

Ozonator maintenance may require periodic changing of the ozone tubing in the case the tubing becomes blocked by accumulated gunk and debris. The ozone check valve can also be exchanged at that time.  Typically ozonators may last from 3-5 years and then require replacement themselves.  One place in the ozone tubing that can get plugged is the Hartford Loop which is a loop hung high up in the spa cabinet that is the first line of defense against water flowing back into the ozonator.  The ozone check valve is the final stop.

See our hot tub ozonators.

Combine ozone generator with spa chemicals for safe and clean water for you and your spa guests.

Not sure if your ozonator is working? See the ozone test kit.