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How do I remove Biofilms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Peltenburg   
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 10:40

Treating & Removing Biofilms in Spas & Hot tubs

Biofilms can be removed mechanically, chemically or "naturally." 

Mechanical removal using scrub brushes, filter cleaners, etcetera, physically remove the biofilm from visible places.

Visible places would be the filter cartridge itself, filter tank, all spa surfaces where you sit or lie down, water line, pillows, skimmer baskets, etc. You can physically handle the object that needs to be cleaned.  This is one of the reasons why we as Spa & hot tub Professionals are so adamant about wiping the spa's surfaces on a regular basis - even every time that you use the spa.  Wiping breaks up and lifts the biofilm off from its cozy environs enabling the chlorine or sanitizer to kill it and the filter to remove it.  Be careful however to regularly clean & chemically clean the filter to remove the accumulations of "filtered" biofilms from the filter cartridge.

Keep in mind that biofilms are a direct contributor to chlorine demand, causing the spa to use significantly more chlorine, bromine or biguanides than if none were present.  Remove the biofilm, remove an important component to chlorine demand.

In hard to reach places like hot tub plumbing lines & inside heaters, biofilms need to be removed Chemically. This is where so much biofilm (and about 99% of the bacteria) accumulates and thrives.  Biofilm is typically left alone.  It has all that it needs - a surface, moisture, and nutrients floating by. Keep in mind that biofilm doesn't need sunlight - it's not an algae so sunlight is not one of biofilm's needs. Biofilm does need "warm" water - 90° F or better for optimal growth, but as long as it's not cold, the biofilm will survive and grow just fine thank you.

Tried & true products such as natural enzymes (Dazzle Botanical Cleanse, Spa , or Spa Essentials Natural Enzyme) "eat up" much of the nutrients and other waste that contribute to biofilm growth thereby stunting it. But as biofilms become more resistant and more proliferate, a new arsenal of products must be considered & used.  Flushing products such as  Spa Naturally Spa Flush, Swirl Away or Dazzle Drain Prep have shown to be fairly effective in bio-film removal.

An even newer, "gentler" natural way to remove biofilm is using sphagnum moss.  In testing by Montana State Univ. Center for Biofilm Engineering, sphagnum moss was found to be an excellent preventive and remover of biofilm.  It was noticed in many ponds and lakes the world over that where sphagnum moss lived and thrived, water quality of those lakes and ponds was "potable" or drinkable without the need for filtering or chemical sanitizing.  New patented products such as SpaNaturally use eco-friendly, eco-processed sphagnum moss in disposable, consumer friendly pouches to remove biofilms and prevent biofilms.  Studies are further showing that pool water treated with SpaNaturally sphagnum moss, spa system flushsphagnum moss stays better balanced (natural buffers are present in the moss) and is "gentler" for spa users.  Learn more about sphagnum moss & SpaNaturally here. SpaNaturally sphagnum moss pouches are replaced on a monthly basis for optimal effect. Sphagnum moss products work with all chlorine, bromine and salt systems but are NOT compatible with biguanide products such as SpaGuard® Soft Soak® or Arch Chemicals® BaquaSpa®.

The bottom line for the hot tub owner and customer is a longer life of the spa & its equipment (filter, heater, pillow, cover, etc.) due to the removal of biofilms as well as biofilm scaling. Chemical consumption should and will show a marked decrease as chlorine, bromine & other sanitizers can concentrate on the 1% of planktonic bacteria present in the water. Easier water balance, less shocking, etc.

It is true that only time will prove the efficacy & efficiency of these new treatments, but the studies so far look extremely promising.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2011 11:09
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