Card on Guard uses UV rays to sanitize hot tub water
By Michelle L. Cramer
That consumers request nonchlorine sanitizers for their hot tubs is not news to any hot tub retailer. Released in fall 2016, a floating, solar-based method of oxidizing bacteria called Card on Guard (headquartered in Indianapolis) was inspired by the long heritage of using nonchemical methods to successfully treat water and control bacteria.
How it Works
The base photolytic technology, invented over 25 years ago, focuses on sunlight as the preferred renewable resource. For seven years, Darren Hickman, Card on Guard CEO, has identified and developed commercial applications of the process, including solar water sanitation.
Hickman says Card on Guard captures, retains and radiates UV light and near infrared electromagnetic photonic energy to generate a photolytic reaction (the splitting of hydrogen and oxygen off water molecules) within some of the treated molecules. This process results in the formation of low levels of free radicals that attack, weaken and inhibit the reproduction of bacteria.
Hickman says Card on Guard works especially well in hot tubs, due to increased water circulation. “Even though the higher water temperature is a better breeding ground for bacteria and would suggest Card on Guard would not work as well as in the cooler water of swimming pools, the turnover rate of the water results in much faster and consistent exposure to its effects,” he explains.
If hot tub users shower before using a hot tub, being free of sweat, sun lotions and other excesses, the water in a hot tub is less contaminated than that of a pool. Since hot tubs are also covered more often, debris and other phosphate-generating elements are generally kept out of the water.
“These characteristics of hot tub use helps Card on Guard work better,” Hickman says. “Many hot tub owners who follow these simple rules of hot tub water maintenance can reduce their traditional sanitizer levels by 75 percent, and often 100 percent, using Card on Guard.”
Because of the increased water flow through a hot tub sanitizer system, Card on Guard can treat almost the entire volume of hot tub water immediately as opposed to a pool, where it can take days to treat all the water.
Once a customer purchases the Card on Guard product and drops it into their hot tub, Hickman recommends the following steps for continued use:
- Test the water after one week. If it is between 2 and 4 ppm, reduce the amount of sanitizer normally used by 50 percent.
- Test the water each week and continue reducing the sanitizer by 50 percent each time until the free chlorine level drops below acceptable level.
Hot tub users should leave the Card on Guard in the hot tub, even when it’s covered. “Card on Guard gathers and stores UV light,” Hickman says, “which allows it to work for days without exposure to the sunlight.” The cover needs to be opened every two to three days for at least 10 minutes to recharge, he says.
How and Why to Offer
Card on Guard is available through all distribution channels. As consumers continue to look for chlorine alternatives, Hickman says he believes businesses that do not provide these alternatives will lose sales to outlets that do. He also foresees the hot tub market expanding with this alternative sanitization, with consumers who previously would not purchase a hot tub due to the chemicals needed now being willing to buy.
Of the response so far, Hickman says retailers are amazed at what is promised with Card on Guard, but are skeptical and apprehensive. “They should see for themselves that it works and we back that up with a 30-day money-back guarantee to consumers and a 60-day money-back guarantee to trade partners,” he says.
The company hopes that, within the next five years, one in four hot tub owners worldwide will be using Card on Guard. “An ambitious goal, but one that we believe to be achievable,” Hickman says.