Naturally Speaking, Spa Water Care is EasyPublished :
Take a Break From Tradition
Darrell Gazloff, right, along with Amanda Eely of Twilight Hot Tubs and Home Leisure Centre provide their customers in BC, Canada with a natural solution to water care with SilkBalance.
As the Director of Operations for Twilight Hot Tubs and Home Leisure Centre in British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria, Darrell Gazloff has heard a plethora of customer complaints regarding spa water care. Some say their water is cloudy all the time and they can’t figure out why. Others are frustrated from having to battle the up and down pH ladder with levels climbing or dropping off the charts. On top of that, they are bothered by nagging water care complications such as constant foam and malodorous smells.
“Sometimes people can fall into poor habits without realizing it and do the same thing day after day after day and they say, ‘well I’ve been doing it that way for so long it might be the correct way of doing it,’ said Gazloff. “So, we have to do what I call de-programming them to get them back on track again.”
That journey can sometimes be a rocky road for his customers, many of whom are used to enjoying outdoor activities with all the abundant parkland Vancouver Island has to offer. Gazloff insists that hot tub maintenance doesn’t have to be the difficult chore many owners believe it to be. Rather, it could and should be more like smooth sailing.
At Twilight Hot Tubs, the staff explains to its customers that there are two very different methods of maintaining water in their hot tubs: the traditional procedure or the natural approach, using the SilkBalance family of products. While both systems require that you first attain (and then maintain) proper water chemistry levels with respect to pH, alkalinity, hardness and sanitizer, Gazloff and his customer service employees try educating their hot tub owners about the benefits and ease of use of simpler, scientifically-proven natural approach that affords bathers the spa experiences they yearn for.
THE “TRADTIONAL” SPA WATER CARE METHODOLOGY
One of the biggest complains about hot tub ownership is maintaining the water. When you think about spa water care, people immediately conjure up visions of test strips and copious amounts of bottles containing harsh chemicals that need to be mixed together to formulate just the right elixir. Yuck, right? There’s no getting around the basic benchmarks of keeping your hot tub water delightful. But it’s up to your customers on how to reach these goals:
pH: This value can change easily and quickly. The traditional method of spa water care requires the user to check it often to ensure the water is in the target zone of 7.2 to 7.6. If not, they need to add pH up or pH down, accordingly.
Alkalinity: Water alkalinity is a measure of your water’s ability to neutralize acids. It’s an important part of balancing pH levels and is often called a “buffer” because it helps the water resist changes in pH. Unbalanced alkaline levels can have an adverse effect on your hot tub’s appearance and may even adversely affect your skin. The target is 80 ppm to 120 ppm.
Hardness: Calcium hardness, also referred to as Total Hardness, is a measure of the calcium and magnesium dissolved in the water. Keeping the hardness level in range (±250 ppm) will ensure your hot tub is protected from acid erosion damage and assist in clean clear water by preventing cloudiness and scale.
Chlorine: (or bromine). The key to safe, clean clear water is the sanitizer. You can’t avoid this step whether you use the traditional or the natural method to spa water care. The difference, however, is in the bathing experience. Bacteria and other microbes feed on the organic matter introduced into the spa. Chlorine oxidizes the organics, denatures the bacteria and is the key player in the maintenance of clear water. Values to maintain are 3 to 5 ppm for chlorine.
“Using the traditional method where you are using like 14 bottles of chemicals and a typical instruction sheet that is very complicated and difficult to understand is one option,” said Gazloff said. “Or the other option is to go with a natural product like SilkBalance.”
THE “NATURAL” SPA WATER CARE METHODOLOGY – WITH SILKBALANCE
People don’t want to regularly check on their spa water. They want the enjoy their water in a manner that provides predictable and satisfying results. The problem is, when people get into the spa, they add a bunch of chemicals: sweat – sodium chloride, proteins with nitrogen, bacteria and amino acids, several organic chemicals from urine, etc. The list can go on, but the point is obvious. This concoction can quickly develop into poor water quality. Treating these concerns doesn’t have to be difficult – or harsh.
“What we find here in Canada is there seems to be a huge trend toward more natural products than using the old traditional and harsh chemicals, what I refer to as poison and corrosive material going into the water,” Gazloff said. “They seem to understand that those poisons going into the water aren’t good for you in any way, shape or form. And most of the chemicals that do go in the water, if you look at the label it will say right on it poison or corrosive or dangerous or flammable or whatever the case may be. The skin is the largest organ in the body and even though you are not ingesting it through your mouth, it’s still going into your body through your skin and that’s not healthy for you at all. When people come to realize that, they definitely want to go with the more natural products from SilkBalance just for health reasons if for nothing else and also the fact that they are more environmentally friendly. When they buy a hot tub from us, we give them a Welcome to Water Care kit that includes SilkBalance (a natural conditioner), Shock Gems (non-chlorine shock) and Clean Start (a plumbing line cleaner).”
Of course, with the more natural method, you still use chlorine regularly and a non-chlorine oxidizing shock, but you also introduce SilkBalance, a stable conditioner that uses all-natural ingredients to balance the water, eliminate odor, provide a soft sensation and help to prevent Biofilm buildup in the pipes.
Pete Morisette, owner of Paradise Bay Leisure Products – a Calgary-based company that has been in business for more than 26 years, also recommends this natural SilkBalance process in the spas he sells.
“When we sell our saltwater systems that require probes and cells in the water, we find that when we use SilkBalance with them, it keeps these cells and probes a lot cleaner and it helps prevent Biofilm from building up,” Morisette said. “On any spa like this we include a Welcome to Water Care kit and simple instructions on what they need to do. People have been very pleased with their water.”
While Gazloff and Morisette start their new spa customers off on this natural path the SilkBalance way, they both also assist customers who have been using the traditional process. Many customers who have been hot tubbing the old way will bring in 500 milliliters (16.9 ounces) of water to their respective test stations in the stores. From the samples, they are able to test for the benchmarks (calcium, alkalinity, pH, what kind of sanitizer is in the water, etc.) and try to figure out what’s in the water and why it’s reacting the way it does. Twilight and Paradise Bay take these test results a step further and ask their customer probing questions like how many hours a day is their tub set to filter for? Very little or 24-hours? Is the tub used a lot or a little? Is it two adults daily or a bunch of kids?
“We test water on a regular basis,” Morisette said. “We don’t use the programs that are designed to sell chemical manufacturers more chemicals. We test the water manually here and check on a personal level. We don’t just let a computer spit it out. Part of our daily routine is to help people get better water.”
Often, they both find themselves breaking customers of their traditional habits and moving them into a new way of thinking with the SilkBalance family of products. They recommend Clean Start to purge the pipes of the inevitable gunk buildup. Then they make sure they install a new filter or at least clean their existing one with something more than a hose. With their customers’ spas in “like-new” condition, they introduce SilkBalance or SilkBalance Gems into a water care program that customers seem to embrace.
“We’ve seen a lot of customers come back to us concerned about sitting in chlorine and bromine,” Morisette said about two sanitizers approved for use in Canada. “SilkBalance helps reduce this demand and allow them to sit in something less of a chemical.”
Gazloff agrees. After he finds out exactly what his walk-in customers are doing wrong and if they are on the old method where they are frustrated with the chemistry and putting in all the chemicals, he knows what to say.
“I first of all explain there is no need for that anymore,” he said. “They’ve been conditioned over the years that they need all that stuff in the water and so then we explain no they don’t. A lot of those products aren’t necessary anymore just because of the natural products from SilkBalance that they can use in their water instead. It’s safer and easier to maintain. What people want nowadays is something that is quick and easy. They want instant gratification so to speak. They just need to keep their chlorine up to speed (3 to 5 ppm). Also, they need to toss in a Shock Gem when they get out of the water and add SilkBalance once a week. And when they see it from that point of view, it just makes sense to them.”
By Eric Vician
Director of Promotions & Key Accounts
EDITOR’S NOTE: Excerpts from this blog originally appeared in Pool & Spa Marketing Magazine in an article written by SilkBalance. For a list of articles SilkBalance has contributed to the magazine and for more water care FAQs, visit: https://silkbalance.com/faq/.