If you own a hot tub, you probably already know if you have hard water. You can adjust your hot tub maintenance routine to make your water feel more refreshing. You can also use spa chemicals and accessories to ensure the long life of your unit. If you haven't checked your water lately or you're getting a new spa, it's a good idea to test your water now. Find out what type of water you have, then decide how to balance it. Depending on the type of water you have at home and the type of water sanitizing system you use, you can take different steps. One of the most popular options is to adjust the calcium hardness of your water with hot tub chemicals. Another option is to use a prefilter to minimize the amount of metals and minerals that permeate your spa water. Some hot tub owners use them in tandem.

What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is heavy in metals and mineral deposits. When left untreated, hard water results in scale deposits, which can build up on your plumbing and other surfaces. It minimizes the transfer of heat, which makes your hot tub work harder to keep the water at the proper temperature. You can't see the particles while you're soaking in your hot tub, but they're there. You can see the scale build-up, like the ring that forms around your hot tub basin or the gray bumps that grow on your pipes. When water has a high metal or calcium content, it can discolor the water.

How Does a Prefilter Work?
A prefilter traps and removes trace minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese and iron from the water. It's an extra step of used during the filling process. There are several different types. For example, the Vanishing ACT Calcium Remover is designed for Limelight, Tiger River and Hot Spring spas. It's placed on the bottom drain of the unit, trapping unwanted particles as water flows through it. Another prefilter option connects directly to your water source before it reaches your spa. The UNC2699 Filling Filter is a long filter tube that attaches to your garden hose when you're ready to fill your basin. The minerals, metals and particles are trapped inside the filter tube, allowing the water to pass through and fill up your hot tub.

ACE Saltwater System
If you use the ACE Saltwater System from Hot Spring spas, you may have seen the notes in the owners' manual about how important it is to check the hardness level of your water. While you can also use hot tub chemicals to adjust the levels, a prefilter is recommended to help eliminate metals and other contaminants from your water before they're integrated into your spa.

Hard water not only feels different from soft water, but it can take its toll on your spa system. Be sure to read your owner's manual or your ACE Saltwater System manual to learn more about the effects of hard water on your spa model.