preventing mold growth hot tubs

When moisture and enclosed spaces are allowed to interact in certain ways, a common output many people are familiar with – and want to stay far away from due to health concerns – is mold. And while avoiding this is easily possible with the right attention and diligence, one common location where this takes place among those who aren’t careful? In or around the hot tub or hot tub cover.

At Dolphin Pools & Spas, we’re proud to be both a Gunite and Bullfrog Spas licensed dealer, with years of expertise on both the installation and maintenance of these high-quality new hot tub options. Our pros have seen every kind of user error that might lead to mold formation in or around your hot tub – this two-part blog will detail several of the types possible, how to spot them if they show up, and most importantly how to prevent them from ever becoming an issue.

Hot Tubs and Mold Types

As we noted above, the conditions needed for mold are generally heat, humidity and an enclosed space. For this reason, hot tub covers that aren’t maintained well often lead to mold formation – hot tubs offer a number of different hiding places for the kinds of microorganisms that go into mold formation. But with proper basic routine cleaning and maintenance, this won’t be a concern.

If you don’t set up this kind of basic upkeep, however, you could risk several mold types. The two most common are black and white mold, which we’ll discuss in this blog, but there’s also pink mold (also called pink slime) and a few other minor areas you should know about.

Black Mold

Commonly found in areas like the headrests, under the cover, or in areas just above the water line in hot tubs that are damp but not fully wet, black mold is a form of fungus. It often attaches itself to walls or other hot tub surfaces, appearing like black specks.

The most common cause of black mold: Lack of sanitary water conditions. Too little sanitizer in the spa will not destroy mold spores as they should be, leading to water steam that condenses into the areas we listed above and growing due to the moisture. If you have black mold, you’ll often notice it when you open the cover in the form of a poor odor.

To prevent black mold, first ensure your tub receives the proper sanitizer amount. From here, you should perform monthly cleaning of the cover to ensure it’s not a risk item. If you go on vacation, don’t leave the tub empty – rather, drain it and refill it just before leaving.

White Mold

White mold, which might appear like little pieces of shredded tissue paper in your water, is often consumed with a calcium deposit because they look very similar. White mold is a fungus, however, one that results from biofilm or bacteria that mixes with dead skin, body oils and various body products that might find their way into the water. Its common cause is a lack of filter replacement, or a lack of water testing.

A simple process to determine whether white specks are actually white mold, or whether they might be a calcium deposit:

  • Take a water sample, and pour 20 drops of liquid bleach into it.
  • Gently stir, then wait half an hour.
  • If flakes are still present after this time, the issue is almost certainly a calcium deposit. If not, you may have a white mold or biofilm issue.

For more on identifying and preventing mold in or around your hot tub, or to learn about any of our custom new swimming pool options, speak to the staff at Dolphin Pools & Spas today.