NC Brands: Eradicate Phosphate

NC Brands’ product improves function of hot tub salt sanitizer systems

As salt generator use in hot tubs grows, NC Brands recognized the need for a phosphate remover formulated specifically for spas, says the company’s brand manager Jamie Novak. The Spa Phosphate Remover was an existing formulation in the NC Brands portfolio, but the product was re-released with updated packaging in April 2020, along with an effort to educate consumers on the importance of using a phosphate remover in spas.

Rob Anderson, general manager at Olympic Hot Tub in Seattle, agrees that educating consumers on phosphates is important. While he says the industry just seems to be waking up to the idea, Olympic has been testing and treating for phosphates in hot tubs for nearly 10 years. This is due in part to the number of salt systems the company sells, but also because most water in that area comes from surface runoff, which tends to contain more phosphates than water from deeper wells.

“In bodies of water, too much phosphorus (phosphates) will result in rapid growth of algae and other aquatic plants, which can cause a decrease in the levels of dissolved oxygen,” Anderson says. “This process often results in algae blooms. Ultimately, phosphates provide food for algae and bacteria in hot tubs, which in turn causes them to proliferate and greatly increase the demand for chlorine, often causing salt systems to appear faulty.”

This supposed fault is because salt systems generate sanitizer based upon demand the user creates. If phosphates are present, they can contribute to an environment that can increase the demand on chlorine and make it appear as if the salt system isn’t working, when in fact demand is so high that the sanitizer is used up before it can produce a measurable residual in the hot tub.

“Anytime the phosphate levels are above 200 to 300 ppb, you’re going to have problems maintaining sanitizer levels,” Anderson says. “This is where NC Brands’ Spa Phosphate Remover steps in. Just 1 or 2 ounces will consistently solve most phosphate issues. And since we already offer NC Brands’ products as our main offering, it’s a perfect fit for us.”

Novak says by selling this product, dealers are helping customers protect their hot tub investment. Of note, the Spa Phosphate Remover does cloud the water when in use — something dealers can show to spa owners to indicate the product works, Novak says. She recommends using Natural Chemistry’s Spa Clarify or SeaKlear’s Chitosan Clarifier for Spas following the addition of Spa Phosphate Remover to clear the clouding effect more quickly.

Anderson recalls one customer who saw optimal results with this product. After receiving a complaint from this customer on the poor water quality in a two-week-old hot tub, Anderson dropped by on his way home to test the water. The phosphate levels were over 1,000 ppb, which is extremely high.

“After turning off the salt system, I added about 2 ounces [of Spa Phosphate Remover] with jets running,” Anderson says. “Within seconds, you could see the product begin to work by flocculating the phosphate out of the water.” He had the customer run the jets a few times over the next 24 hours, then pull and clean the filters and reengage the salt system. He also left some phosphate testing supplies. The next day, the customer called and said phosphates were below 200 ppb.

“After a week, the customer was raving about how nice the water had been all week, and they had been in the tub several times,” he says. “There really aren’t any drawbacks to using this product.”