On many consumer Facebook groups about hot tubs, a good portion of the questions and information being exchanged pertain to water maintenance. It’s the most bothersome and befuddling part of hot tub ownership, and the industry continues to look for better solutions.
In recent years, many have turned to AOP — advanced oxidation process — to make water care easier. Clear Comfort, which manufactures AOP units for hot tubs and swimming pools, has released a new AOP product for spas, the CCW25, that’s more compact and lower priced, making it a better fit for portable hot tubs.
“We actually went in and redesigned the entire thing to be completely optimized for a spa environment,” says Steve Berens, CEO at Clear Comfort. “Whether you’re a manufacturer or a spa dealer, you can take this and install it quickly and simply, and it is purpose driven for a spa. No matter what the spa hydraulics are, we can make it work.”
What is AOP?
Clear Comfort’s advanced oxidation process treatments pull oxygen into the system, convert it into atomic oxygen, then inject it into the water. In the water, the atomic oxygen combines with hydrogen and becomes hydroxyl radicals, powerful oxidizers that destroy contaminants.
Clear Comfort’s CCW50 could be used on portable hot tubs, but it was at a premium price, typically between $2,000 and $2,500 a unit.
“As we go forward, we’ve been talking with manufacturers, working with them on what they need, what price point they need and how to integrate that,” Berens says. “We didn’t want to just develop a widget and afterward try to fit it in [the spa].”
CCW25 is small enough to be easily mounted inside a spa cabinet, but Berens says they were careful to retain all of its power and efficacy despite the smaller size. Installation is simple: remove any current UV or ozone systems, mount the CCW25 to the spa frame and plumb in a venturi to feed the treated air through. A small hole drilled in the cabinet allows users to see an LED indicator light for the sanitation system, which alerts when it’s time to replace the cartridge.
“We used all this experience we had to figure out how to put this in a spa so the consumer or the spa technician can quickly maintain the system that maintains the water care,” Berens says.
Instead of removing bulbs when they wear out, Clear Comfort put everything into an easy-to-swap cartridge. Once the skirt is off, replacement should take only a minute, Berens says; the old cartridge can then be shipped with a pre-paid label back to Clear Comfort to be properly recycled.
“For decades, we’ve seen ozonators that are anemic and never get replaced, and UV systems that are hard to maintain,” Berens says. “You have to do a heart and lung transplant to get the parts out.”
With supply-chain shortages hampering many new products from coming to market in 2021, Berens says Clear Comfort’s control of its supply chain has allowed continued innovation.
“We’ve always taken the approach of a custom-built product that’s ours,” Berens says. “So there’s no one we’re competing with for that board or that common component. That’s helped us grow quickly this last year and a half.”
While Clear Comfort’s aim is to get the CW25 AOP System integrated at the hot tub factory, it’s an easy aftermarket sell for older spas as well. And with long lead times, it presents retailers with an upsell for returning customers that will improve their spa ownership experience.