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Will Indoor Hut Tub In Sunroom Make House Smell Like Chlorine?


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I am planning on buying a hot-tub for hydrotherapy purposes (will probably use 1-2x/day for 15-20 min). We are considering putting it in a sunroom attached to the house, but separated by a door, since we live in New England and I am intolerant of cold, even for brief exposures. An electrician told us that every house he ever worked in with an indoor hot-tub smelled like chlorine throughout the entire house, even when the hot tub was in a closed-off room. What is other people's exeprience with this? Would a salt system prevent the chlorine smell or diminish it significantly? Along the same lines, will an ozonator affect the air quality in the house? What precautions need to be made/designed into the sunroom as far as air quality?

Thank you!

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if you are using the correct amount of chlorine or anything else, it should not smell that way. maybe an air purifier closeby could help with any lingering smell, other concerns may exist.

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An indoor installation will need proper venting and air handling not just for any smell but also for humidity considerations. I would be very careful with ozone as it is implemented in most hot tubs since it is often allowed to gas off into the atmosphere and ozone is toxic. Outdoors this is not that much of an issue but indoors can have a negative impact on air quality. Some people use bromine in indoor installations instead of chlorine but, IMHO, both produce volatile oxidation by products that adversely affect indoor air quality.

Using a Silver/MPS system (Nature 2 or SilSpa) for sanitizing does lower the amount of chlorine used BUT you still need to shock with chlorine on a regular basis so you still need to deal with the oxidation byproducts and with the humidiity problems.

A salt system is still a chlorine system and the same oxidation byproducts will gas off as in a manually sanitized system.

Good air handling is the real key to keep the atmosphere and humidity under control but you will still possibly encounter problems in these areas. I would find a contractor that is versed in indoor pool installations since they will have the experience needed and realize that the hot water in the tub will possibly increase the humidity issues

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if you are using the correct amount of chlorine or anything else, it should not smell that way. maybe an air purifier closeby

NOT good advice. You are overlooking a lot of issues that occur with indoor installations. Buildup of volatile oxidaton byproducts in the atmosphere is a known problem and "maybe an air purifier closeby" is NOT going to solve the problem. IT will also not address the very high humidity created by the hot water in the tub and the possible damage that it can do to the house.

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A good HVAC contractor can perform an Air Balance test on your house. Being on the East coast, I'm guessing the majority of the year you will be trying to over come more cool/cold weather than warm with high humidity weather. Either case, humidity is in the equation. Add in a hot tub...more humidity but in your case the warmth will be a plus for the majority of the year. More than likely your current HVAC system is not large enough to over come the added humidity, Plus, it's expensive to overcome high humidity. So, install a stand alone system? Is power for a new system readily available? Need to know what size unit is needed. A good HVAC contractor, especially one that may do residential as well as commercial work can size your unit for you and recommend a system.

Depending on for what else the room is going to be used for and to what level of conditioning of the air you want to achieve, You may be able to just create an air exchange. Main thing is that you have to maintain a positive pressure in the room or at least a constant air exchange of some level and make sure you do not exhaust it or allow it to enter into your existing return air duct/flow. Your lungs and sinuses don't need the extra irritant in the house. Personally, since I live in SE TX. where we average 60-70 % humidity and our temps average 85-90* I wouldn't even consider trying to cool my hot tub room. I built it more like a green house with insulated, low E, glass, double hung screened windows and a 36" fan at the gable blowing to the outside. Just an air exchange. I have a wood stove for heat (more for atmosphere) and a misting system to cool off with on occasion. It all depends on what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to spend.

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original post:

I am planning on buying a hot-tub for hydrotherapy purposes (will probably use 1-2x/day for 15-20 min). We are considering putting it in a sunroom attached to the house, but separated by a door, since we live in New England and I am intolerant of cold, even for brief exposures. An electrician told us that every house he ever worked in with an indoor hot-tub smelled like chlorine throughout the entire house, even when the hot tub was in a closed-off room. What is other people's exeprience with this? Would a salt system prevent the chlorine smell or diminish it significantly? Along the same lines, will an ozonator affect the air quality in the house? What precautions need to be made/designed into the sunroom as far as air quality?

Thank you!

******************************************************************************************************

I commented on the "smell" mentioned ONLY. I didn't comment on air quality, or the affects of ozone etc..., or the affects of steam etc. on the structure of the home.

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original post:

I am planning on buying a hot-tub for hydrotherapy purposes (will probably use 1-2x/day for 15-20 min). We are considering putting it in a sunroom attached to the house, but separated by a door, since we live in New England and I am intolerant of cold, even for brief exposures. An electrician told us that every house he ever worked in with an indoor hot-tub smelled like chlorine throughout the entire house, even when the hot tub was in a closed-off room. What is other people's exeprience with this? Would a salt system prevent the chlorine smell or diminish it significantly? Along the same lines, will an ozonator affect the air quality in the house? What precautions need to be made/designed into the sunroom as far as air quality?

Thank you!

******************************************************************************************************

I commented on the "smell" mentioned ONLY. I didn't comment on air quality, or the affects of ozone etc..., or the affects of steam etc. on the structure of the home.

Yes, and therefore you did not provide the information that the OP needs to know so I stand by what I said about it being bad advice and potentially dangerous since

maybe an air purifier closeby .

is not an adequate solution to the potential problems and editing your original post to add that .

other concerns may exist.

after myself and another poster mentioned some of them does not really redeem your original reply (and, FWIW<, close by should be two words).

Perhaps you were not aware of these other factors with an indoor installation (which appears to be the case from your responses) ? If so, you really should refrain from answering.

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An indoor installation will need proper venting and air handling not just for any smell but also for humidity considerations. I would be very careful with ozone as it is implemented in most hot tubs since it is often allowed to gas off into the atmosphere and ozone is toxic. Outdoors this is not that much of an issue but indoors can have a negative impact on air quality. Some people use bromine in indoor installations instead of chlorine but, IMHO, both produce volatile oxidation by products that adversely affect indoor air quality.

Using a Silver/MPS system (Nature 2 or SilSpa) for sanitizing does lower the amount of chlorine used BUT you still need to shock with chlorine on a regular basis so you still need to deal with the oxidation byproducts and with the humidiity problems.

A salt system is still a chlorine system and the same oxidation byproducts will gas off as in a manually sanitized system.

Good air handling is the real key to keep the atmosphere and humidity under control but you will still possibly encounter problems in these areas. I would find a contractor that is versed in indoor pool installations since they will have the experience needed and realize that the hot water in the tub will possibly increase the humidity issues

Thank you for the helpful info. As far as humidity, I have heard that a hot tub with the cover on except for 15 min 1-2x/day produces about as much humidity as a hot shower for that amount of time, and therefore a room with a hot tub should be handled as a bathroom. Does this sound accurate? Our plan is to build the sunroom attached to the house, but the only opening to the house would be an exterior door that would remain closed (unless you're going in or out from the hot-tub). There will be a bathroom-type exhaust fan to the outside that can be turned on when the hot-tub is in use, several large vinyl windows that can open when it is warm out, a ceiling fan, and a venting skylight. The floor will be tile, the walls and ceiling painted with mildew-resistant bathroom paint. The heat to the room will be electric, so there will be no air ducts connecting to the rest of the house. We will not put an AC in there since in north-central Massachusetts, there are only several days a year that we would need it. We could put a free-standing dehumidifier in there if we need it. Our climate generally is humid and warm (80's) in the summer, but cold (20's) and dry (we actually need to humidify our house) in the winter. It seems to me like there shouldn't be much air entry from the sunroom/spa room into the house, but I am not an expert and only have experience with bathrooms. Does our plan sould like it would adequately deal with the moisture when the hot tub is used 1-2x/day for 15 min?

As far as the chlorine, I understand that a salt system uses NaCl to make chlorine, but isn't it true that this method releases fewer chloramines into the water and air than using strictly chlorine? This website makes the point (under watercare research) that salt systems are less irritating to chlorine-sensitive people, and it seems like pools and hot tubs I have been in that use salt systems smelled less like chlorine. I also understand that salt systems still need to be shocked with chlorine. I understand that bromine also makes volatile by-products, but from what I have read/heard, it may off-gas less than chlorine does in spa-temperature hot water. I guess what I'm getting at is...given that my hot tub will be inside, which type of system will have the LEAST impact on indoor air quality as far as chlorine, bromine, ozone, etc.?

I noticed waterbear mentioned in this thread as well as others that ozone needs to be implemented properly to be of any benefit. Can you (or anyone else) recommend a brand that does implement it properly? What questions should I ask a dealer in order to determine if it is implemented properly?

Thanks everyone for your help!

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A good HVAC contractor can perform an Air Balance test on your house. Being on the East coast, I'm guessing the majority of the year you will be trying to over come more cool/cold weather than warm with high humidity weather. Either case, humidity is in the equation. Add in a hot tub...more humidity but in your case the warmth will be a plus for the majority of the year. More than likely your current HVAC system is not large enough to over come the added humidity, Plus, it's expensive to overcome high humidity. So, install a stand alone system? Is power for a new system readily available? Need to know what size unit is needed. A good HVAC contractor, especially one that may do residential as well as commercial work can size your unit for you and recommend a system.

Depending on for what else the room is going to be used for and to what level of conditioning of the air you want to achieve, You may be able to just create an air exchange. Main thing is that you have to maintain a positive pressure in the room or at least a constant air exchange of some level and make sure you do not exhaust it or allow it to enter into your existing return air duct/flow. Your lungs and sinuses don't need the extra irritant in the house. Personally, since I live in SE TX. where we average 60-70 % humidity and our temps average 85-90* I wouldn't even consider trying to cool my hot tub room. I built it more like a green house with insulated, low E, glass, double hung screened windows and a 36" fan at the gable blowing to the outside. Just an air exchange. I have a wood stove for heat (more for atmosphere) and a misting system to cool off with on occasion. It all depends on what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to spend.

Thanks for your advice. Youa re right that we will mostly be trying to overcome the cold weather. We actually don't have HVAC (in our climate, most people don't need AC more than a few days a year, and the winter is so cold that the indoor air is very dry, making hot air heating undesirable). We use a hot water radiator sytem for heat, but when we build the sunroom, we plan to just heat with electric since it will only be heated when used. When we do build it, we will take into account the things you suggested, like the gable fan, and not letting the air exhaust into the house.

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Thank you for the helpful info. As far as humidity, I have heard that a hot tub with the cover on except for 15 min 1-2x/day produces about as much humidity as a hot shower for that amount of time, and therefore a room with a hot tub should be handled as a bathroom. Does this sound accurate?

I have never heard that but I have seen a few indoor hot tub installs (my brother had one in his house) and the humidity in those rooms was MUCH higher than any bathroom I was ever in.

I have also seen a number of bathrooms (without hot tubs in them) that had constant problems with mildew and mold from improper venting. Granted they were in Florida where the normal relative humidity is higher than in some other localities.

Our plan is to build the sunroom attached to the house, but the only opening to the house would be an exterior door that would remain closed (unless you're going in or out from the hot-tub). There will be a bathroom-type exhaust fan to the outside that can be turned on when the hot-tub is in use, several large vinyl windows that can open when it is warm out, a ceiling fan, and a venting skylight. The floor will be tile, the walls and ceiling painted with mildew-resistant bathroom paint. The heat to the room will be electric, so there will be no air ducts connecting to the rest of the house. We will not put an AC in there since in north-central Massachusetts, there are only several days a year that we would need it. We could put a free-standing dehumidifier in there if we need it. Our climate generally is humid and warm (80's) in the summer, but cold (20's) and dry (we actually need to humidify our house) in the winter. It seems to me like there shouldn't be much air entry from the sunroom/spa room into the house, but I am not an expert and only have experience with bathrooms. Does our plan sould like it would adequately deal with the moisture when the hot tub is used 1-2x/day for 15 min?

I would check with a contractor that is experienced with this type of install. You are basically putting in a very small indoor pool that is going to be kept heated to a very high temperature so a lot of evaporation is to be expected, let's not forget or minimize this fact.

As far as the chlorine, I understand that a salt system uses NaCl to make chlorine, but isn't it true that this method releases fewer chloramines into the water and air than using strictly chlorine?

Chloramines form when chlorine combines with ammonia and nitrogen containing compounds introduced by bathers. Hot tubs have a greater problem with this than pools because of the very small water to bather ratio. How the chlorine is introduced is immaterial. EVERY bather will introduce sweat, urine, and feces that will react with the chlorine and form chloramines and other disinfection byproducts. The biggest problem with indoor installations is the buildup of some of the volatile ones in the air (such as trichloromethane , which is why a good air handler is needed and a bathroom venting fan probably is not going to be sufficient. Buildup of these disinfection byproducts can produce asthma and other respiratory problems and some are suspected carcinogens)

This website makes the point (under watercare research) that salt systems are less irritating to chlorine-sensitive people, and it seems like pools and hot tubs I have been in that use salt systems smelled less like chlorine. I also understand that salt systems still need to be shocked with chlorine.

The website is trying to sell you a salt system. Personally, I like them and have one on my own pool/spa combo but don't believe all the hype!

I understand that bromine also makes volatile by-products, but from what I have read/heard, it may off-gas less than chlorine does in spa-temperature hot water. I

Some of the same volatile disinfection byproducts or the bromine analogues still form. Bromamines, while better sanitizers than chloramines, still have a strong odor.

guess what I'm getting at is...given that my hot tub will be inside, which type of system will have the LEAST impact on indoor air quality as far as chlorine, bromine, ozone, etc.?

Ozone is NOT a primary sanitizer.Period. It is not residual. I would not recommend ozone at all in an indoor installation.

I noticed waterbear mentioned in this thread as well as others that ozone needs to be implemented properly to be of any benefit. Can you (or anyone else) recommend a brand that does implement it properly? What questions should I ask a dealer in order to determine if it is implemented properly?

You want a corona discharge unit with a drying tube and reaction chamber. You do not want ozone introduced directly into the tub and their should be NO ozone left in the water that enters the tub. To the best of my knowledge you will not find one for a residential spa as standard or optional equipment. You might find an aftermarket one but it will not be cheap.Ozone gassing off is one more thing that will degrade the air quality in an indoor installation. My advice is skip the ozone on an indoor tub.

Thanks everyone for your help!

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We had a spa in our sunroom in MI. We never had a ventilation problem, nor a problem with our home smelling of chlorine. Our Sunroom was not part of the house though, it was connected to the outer siding, and the walls were all sliding glass doors. I would not recommend doing that if your sunroom is going to be drywalled etc. though.

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We built a 10x12 sun room for a hot tub 9 months ago.Mid Ohio area.

Overlooking the patio , two large window and large french door. Connected to the house , one wall (no windows) and two small french doors.

Contractor used moisture / mildew proof dry wall, 110 cfm, whisper quiet fan, exausting outside.

Sky light above the tub, electric baseboard heat.

No central air. Last weekend we had 90 plus degree weekend. The room was 76-78 degrees ( kept the 2 small french doors to the house open, to keep it cool) It was comfortable for me.

Did try the clorine method for few weeks and, yes, the house smeled like chlorine.

Switched to bromine . Not a hit of unwanted " fragrance".

Two adults, using the tub about 4-5 times a week.

My favorite room in the house.Overlooking the patio, furnished with two comfortable club chairs, plenty of reading materials and a lop top. I sit here for hours, watching the hummingbirds feeding on the windows feeders, the woodpeckers, bluejays,cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees, titmouses,golden finches, doves,red wings .....

Life is good.

As for the air quality in the house, as far as I can tell , no change. House is cleaned on regular bases, windows open when permited.

Do not believe in burning candles,I use plug-in , or oil difusers or just airsprays, on occasions.

Good luck with your project.

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A good HVAC contractor can perform an Air Balance test on your house. Being on the East coast, I'm guessing the majority of the year you will be trying to over come more cool/cold weather than warm with high humidity weather. Either case, humidity is in the equation. Add in a hot tub...more humidity but in your case the warmth will be a plus for the majority of the year. More than likely your current HVAC system is not large enough to over come the added humidity, Plus, it's expensive to overcome high humidity. So, install a stand alone system? Is power for a new system readily available? Need to know what size unit is needed. A good HVAC contractor, especially one that may do residential as well as commercial work can size your unit for you and recommend a system.

Depending on for what else the room is going to be used for and to what level of conditioning of the air you want to achieve, You may be able to just create an air exchange. Main thing is that you have to maintain a positive pressure in the room or at least a constant air exchange of some level and make sure you do not exhaust it or allow it to enter into your existing return air duct/flow. Your lungs and sinuses don't need the extra irritant in the house. Personally, since I live in SE TX. where we average 60-70 % humidity and our temps average 85-90* I wouldn't even consider trying to cool my hot tub room. I built it more like a green house with insulated, low E, glass, double hung screened windows and a 36" fan at the gable blowing to the outside. Just an air exchange. I have a wood stove for heat (more for atmosphere) and a misting system to cool off with on occasion. It all depends on what you want to achieve and how much you are willing to spend.

Thanks for your advice. Youa re right that we will mostly be trying to overcome the cold weather. We actually don't have HVAC (in our climate, most people don't need AC more than a few days a year, and the winter is so cold that the indoor air is very dry, making hot air heating undesirable). We use a hot water radiator sytem for heat, but when we build the sunroom, we plan to just heat with electric since it will only be heated when used. When we do build it, we will take into account the things you suggested, like the gable fan, and not letting the air exhaust into the house.

Sounds like it's going to be a real nice room. I hope you get lots of enjoyable use from it. I love mine!

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also in the Northeast so i understand your heating concerns. If you are not concerned about the cost of the electric heat in the winter to heat your room a high flow panisonic exhaust fan should be sufficient to reduce the humidity. However that will dump the warm air outside too and cost you a fortune. Like the others suggested, treat it like an outside room with your finishing. Minimize drywall if possible. Look into a fresh air heat recovery heat exchanger like this instead of the bathroom fan or even a bathroom version like this panisonic. Not much more expensive but will keep a majority of the heat in the room while exhausting the humidity. Add in a humidistat for automatic operation as you will otherwise have to manually operate it with the electric baseboard.

Finally, since you are doing tile, make sure the floor is well insulated (spray foam is a good idea) and use an under tile radiant floor electric heat mat. Otherwise the tile will be very cold in the winter. I am assuming there will not be a foundation under the sunroom (on peirs)

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