With one in 10 households in Britain having an outdoor spa, and the popularity of hot tub hire on the rise, Paul Abbott, senior water treatment consultant at Hydrochem, is warning people to take care and be aware of the health risks associated with home hot tubs. 

Paul said: “Most of the time people are buying or hiring a hot tub without realising the dangers that are associated with them.

“The bubbling water which is kept at a high temperature puts high demand on the hot tub’s filtration system which can lead to a rise in bacterial growth.

“Inadequate water quality management can put hot tub users at risk of illness, including Legionnaires’ disease which can be potentially fatal.” 

“Before using a home hot tub it is vital that people familiarise themselves with the safety instructions in terms of treating the water and using the correct type and amount of chemicals. We would recommend that the water be tested daily with chemicals and treat with appropriate sanitisers to ensure that balance is kept right.

“I must strongly advise that the chemicals used in hot tubs can be extremely dangerous if not handled correctly and good hot tub conditions are not easy to maintain due to the complex nature of halogen biocide chemistry.” 

Most pools and tubs use Chlorine or Bromine, which have links to causing asthma and can be carcinogenic, as they release harmful by-products that can be inhaled or absorbed. 

Paul’s five top tips for hot tub users 

1. If you’re hiring a hot tub, when it arrives make sure it is a commercial not domestic model as these are more robust and less prone to damage from being transported around. Also check that it is visibly clean and that you have been provided with clean filters and a chemical disinfectant to keep the water safe and more importantly adequate instruction as to how to use it, this is crucial to keep you and your family safe! 

2. I would recommend that a hot tub be used for no longer than 10-15 minutes at a time as staying or bathing in hot water for a long time can cause severe heat-related illnesses, such as nausea, dizziness or fainting. Hot tubs are not recommended for children under 5 to use as small children have a different body temperature regulation system and can’t cope with the heat. 

3. Do not exceed the maximum number of people permitted as this can put strain on the tub and chemical and filtration system which can result in illness from contact with the bacteria. 

4. Do not eat, drink or smoke in the tub as food and drink are potential nutrients for bacteria and being drunk in a tub can put you in danger of drowning. 

5. Shower before and after using the hot tub and dry your ears to prevent infection. Hot tubs and spas can harbour bacteria that can make you very ill or that can even be fatal.