Jacuzzi and Sundance Introduce UV Hot Tub

by Scott Webb February 28, 2012 10:44 AM

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs and Sundance Spas have added factory-installed UV water purification to their 2012 hot tub models. The new water sanitizing system, dubbed CLEARRAY, uses ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms in spa water as they pass through a light chamber in the plumbing.

According to the company, “The CLEARRAY system instantly treats 99.9 percent of waterborne pathogens and does not introduce chemicals, gases or byproducts into the hot tub water. Lab tests have validated that water treated with CLEARRAY maintained the same cleanliness level while using up to 50 percent less sanitizing chemicals. Using less sanitizing chemicals translates to less skin and eye irritation for bathers from chlorine- or bromine-based products. The water purification system is available as a factory-installed feature on every Jacuzzi and Sundance Spas hot tub model." 

Tracine Marroquin, director of marketing at Jacuzzi Hot Tubs and Sundance Spas, added that “CLEARRAY water purification technology is a milestone in the hot tub industry. We’ve seen the application of UV-C technology in consumer products and in commercial use, but this introduction marks a breakthrough for our industry.”

The CLEARRAY system uses UV-C light, a natural part of the electromagnetic energy spectrum generated by the sun, to disinfect water. UV-C light effectively modifies the DNA of waterborne pathogens to stop their reproduction. UV-C light is a proven and reliable water disinfectant used in consumer products and commercial industries, such as industrial and municipal water treatment plants, medical facilities, food and beverage production and aquaculture. 


Scott Webb has been with AQUA magazine in one capacity or another since April 2001; he now serves as executive editor. Scott has a degree from University of Cincinnati in Aerospace Engineering and lives in Madison, Wisc.

Comments (18) -

2/28/2012 7:29:48 PM #

Yeah...just one problem.  The EPA does not recognize this as a proper sanitation process for water applications.  It is highly ineffective at properly breaking down the compositon of the bacteria associated at creating water chemistry issues and bacterias such as Psudeomonas which is easier called the hot tub rash.   Not to mention the constant maintenence involved in making sure the pipe in which the water passes through is perfectly clean 100% of the time.  If even a part of the pipe has any debris, calcification, or dead bacteria lining the pipe the UV-C light becomes blocked and will not do its job properly.  I personally recommend looking into this by searching EPA and UV sanitation issues.  The EPA has an extensive 20+ page report on why this is not an effective application.  Being in the water treatment industry I would highly recommend against this form of 'sanitation'.


2/29/2012 8:29:13 AM #

I was a beta site for the uv-c sysyem introduced by Jacuzzi. It worked extremely well, but you must understand - it is only 1 part of the chemical balance equation.  You still use chlorine, bromine or mineral technology.(only now - in lesser amounts)  You still balance your PH.  You still watch you TDS levels.

The best way to understand the aplication of uv-c to hot tubs is to think of it as a replacement to your ozonator.  The uv-c has the advantages of eliminating the bacteria's ability to reproduce.  This allows your sanitizer to be more effective in killing off the bacteria quicker, hence allowing the use of less chemicals.

The other advantage over ozone has to do with the detrimental side effects of ozone gas - specifically offgassings' deteriation of spa pillows and the underside of spa covers,  uv-c eliminates these consumer headaches.


2/29/2012 11:36:45 AM #

Scott:  I believe the second sentence in this article is inaccurate. "The new water sanitizing system, dubbed CLEARRAY, uses ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms in spa water as they pass through a light chamber in the plumbing." As Todd indicates, it is my understanding that UV will only sterilize the microorganisms not "kill" them. Meaning that they will not be able to reproduce, but are still dangerous contaminants until destroyed by a sanitizer.  I wonder what the total maintenance requirements are for this system, how many bulbs or other replacement items, how long do they last, and the replacement costs.  BCR indicates that the tube the water runs through must remain 100% clean.  How easy is it to clean the inside of a tube with water running through it?


3/1/2012 10:44:52 AM #

Scott:  is this a low-pressure or medium pressure UV system.  We are looking to add a UV system to our large pools too and have received lots of conflicting information on which is better.  Any suggestions for main pools too??

John Herdson

3/1/2012 1:57:42 PM #

@ John M. That has not been my understanding. It's possible that some or even many survive, but over the years I have definitely been told by different UV people that microorganisms are killed by UV using these systems. However, there is a lot of conflicting information out there on this topic.

@ John M. Very good question. Perhaps the subject of a story in our upcoming green issue.

Scott Webb

4/12/2012 4:24:46 PM #

Nothing in this world is killed by UV- I have a degree to prove it.  First, lets discuss a few items about the science

1.  You have water running past a 10 watt lamp with a max at 35 GPM.  It is a proven empirical scientific fact that you cannot "sterilize"  bacteria or viruses at that speed, of which are more active at that temperature (90 to 104)

2.  There is no conflicting information other than the "science" has been "twisted" to sell product.  A 10 watt lamp does nothing in a spa @ even 35 GPM.  On top of that UV-C at 254 nanometers which is the wavelength need to STERILIZE certain kinds of bacteria and organisms ONLY works at a certain speed and wit water being a certain distance from the lamp.  You must have 85 watts of  low pressure lamp moving under 65 GPM NO LESS than 1.5 CM form the lamp or quartz sleeve to sterilize certain algae, bacteria and virus.  

3.  The above is scientific fact.  Backed by 100's of years of research.  Once again, the industry is going to take some simple science that "could work" and ruin it for everyone, similarly to salt systems, bust only at the consumers expense.  

Lets think about the formula-

What they propose is for water to "run through the UV assembly several times" which will give it "a lot of exposure"  Wow - you mean if I run in and out of my house several times I can get the same exposure as standing outside in the sun for 20 minutes straight?  Where did these engineers go to school?  I hope not ITT because they need to get their money back.  

UV water sanitization is about exposure.  Jacuzzi has been sold " a medicine man bag of tricks" of which will be passed on to the consumer, of whom will vow to never own a spa or do anything with one ever again.  

Its sad because I would be wary if these engineers would be in charge of sending me up in a rocket off into space.  Even NASA engineers know this formula, boeing and lockheed engineers know this formula.  When I say this in not "rocket science" well then I mean it.  if you want to check it against papers do it. what ,makes  is not competition, but those misusing science that could further our industry as opposed to misrepresentation.   Just like salt systems in spas and pools.  


4/13/2012 12:05:10 AM #


No offense (and I do not have a degree in UV), but I have a couple of concerns with your "facts" (and examples).  

Number 1:  "The above is scientific fact (source?).  Backed by 100's of years of research".   That's an awful lot of years of research.  Can you site any examples or sources?

Number 2:  How does the industry misuse science and ruin it for salt systems?  While not a fan of salt systems (especially in our area where water is very hard) I have to wonder what this statement means.

Number 3:  I imagine if you could treat and entire pool or spa at one time (similar to your standing outside example) the potential to sanitize (however briefly) that body could occur.  Since we cannot do that, multiple passes may be needed, and just may work.

I am by no means well versed on UV (I even had to go to Wikipedia to find this info:

UV radiation can be an effective viricide and bactericide. Disinfection using UV radiation is commonly used in wastewater treatment applications and is finding an increased usage in drinking water treatment. Many bottlers of spring water use UV disinfection equipment to sterilize their water. Solar water disinfection is the process of using PET bottles and sunlight to disinfect water.

New York City has approved the construction of a 2.2 billion US gallon per day (535,000 m3/hr) ultraviolet drinking water disinfection facility due to be online in 2012.[52] There are also several facilities under construction and several in operation that treat waste water with several stages of filters, hydrogen peroxide, and UV light to bring the water up to drinking standards. One such facility exists in Orange County, California, which is designed to treat wastewater and convert it into high-quality water for Indirect Potable Reuse.[53][54] NASA has examined the use of this technology, using titanium dioxide as catalyst, for breaking down harmful products in spacecraft waste water.[55]

It used to be thought that UV disinfection was more effective for bacteria and viruses, which have more exposed genetic material, than for larger pathogens that have outer coatings or that form cyst states (e.g., Giardia) that shield their DNA from the UV light. However, it was recently discovered that ultraviolet radiation can be somewhat effective for treating the microorganism Cryptosporidium. The findings resulted in the use of UV radiation as a viable method to treat drinking water. Giardia in turn has been shown to be very susceptible to UV-C when the tests were based on infectivity rather than excystation.[56] It has been found that protists are able to survive high UV-C doses but are sterilized at low doses.

It seems to me that effective water treatment is possible, as opposed to stating that "Nothing in this world is killed by UV".  

Like I said, please do not be offended by my concerns about your post.  It's just that I'm not quite sure all of your statements are correct.  I'd love to learn more about UV, but I prefer verifiable facts as opposed to opinion.

Bruce Wettstein

4/17/2012 10:44:53 PM #

These posts are well deserved when it comes to this UV unit that Jacuzzi is promoting. I have also spent a few weeks pouring over data to obtain the truth to this type of water care. In addition, I have seen some disturbing marketing at recent show in Novi Michigan where the local dealer had a Clear Ray sign on a spa and under the logo it read "NO CHLORINE NEEDED".  Here are some facts that I found on the internet -

From thier web site - " the CLEARRAY system uses UV-C technology to neutralize waterborne pathogens, rendering them useless. CLEARRAY will also reduce the amount of sanitizer you use in your hot tub, providing you with clean, fresh clear water. Use in conjunction with ProClear Mineral Cartridge for the cleanest, softest water possible".

More from Jacuzzi - Our laboratory testing has shown that CLEARRAY can reduce your sanitizer usage up to 50%. Always refer to your state or local government agency standards and regulations on how to maintain your water chemistry. The CLEARRAY system uses UV-C light, a natural part of the electromagnetic energy spectrum generated by the sun, to disinfect water. UV-C light effectively modifies the DNA of waterborne pathogens to stop their reproduction. UV-C light is a proven and reliable water disinfectant used in consumer products.

On one hand it says check with your local government agency, so I did and on the other hand it keeps saying "DISINFECTANT". So is LYSOL, but we do not spay it in the water.

- NSF Standard 50 contains a disinfection efficacy test procedure for process equipment that is intended for supplementary disinfection of water such as UV, ozone and ion generators. The procedure requires a three-log reduction in challenge organisms.
- NSF 50 also requires UV systems, ozone and ion generators to be utilized with residual levels of chemical disinfectants.
-Ion generators shall be used in conjunction with not less than 0.4 ppm free chlorine or 0.8 ppm bromine.
- UV systems are required to be used with not less than one ppm free chlorine or two ppm bromine.
- Ozone systems are also required to be used with residual disinfectants and ensure the ozone concentration in the finished product water does not exceed 0.1ppm.

The most interesting thing about all of this hype, is that none of the sales consultants are telling the customer that according to the manufacturers instructions that this UV LIGHT needs to be replaced EVERY YEAR! Yes, that is about $200 a year on a system that is only ONE SHOE to keep the water clean.

There are many companies (D1) that have been using UV since 2006. This system is nothing new, just a new marketing twist. Tell the customers the full story so that this industry can grow in the right direction.

Helpful Web Site - http://www.uvcomparison.com/uvscience.php

Robert Randall

Robert Randall

4/19/2012 4:46:13 PM #

uv simplifies bleach..... like adding thiosulphate..... therefore you will use more chlorine bleach when you have uv... and once the organism has been killed you still have to bleach out the dead bodies breakdown..... uv has been around the spa industry for many decades and it has no magic.... indeed , if the bulb is not changed when its efficiency is gone you can grow algae and have green water..... the comments make are all good ones that the whole spa industry needs to pay attention to....  goes around comes around....

patrick venton

4/24/2012 3:02:09 PM #

I am skeptical of the advantage of using a small supplemental sanitizer UV system due to some of the above concerns of cost of maintenance and ineffectual dosing of UV energy. I still think ozone sized and used properly is the best supplemental sanitizer as it takes care of the greatest sanitizer load which is bather waste etc that must be oxidized. This leaves the bromine or chlorine free to take care of the pathogens although halogen resistant organisms  can be a problem esp in public pools where it would be advisable to use multiple layers of treatment.
  As far as ozone damaging covers and pillows, although we see it when oversize ozonators are ran for too long, we see far greater damage from using chlorine in the hot water environment and as such high recommend that it not be used as the primary sanitizer in residential tubs.
  This has just been our experience over the last 26 years.  

Dan Reid

4/24/2012 8:01:44 PM #

The largest portion of the market is the residential homeowner. The marketing will zero in on them. Will they get told the whole truth? I don't see that as being one of our industry's strong points so the answer is NO. That is a problem. Ours is not the only industry that that situation exists though, so we aren't alone.

Scott Bair

4/25/2012 2:05:02 PM #

  The sizing of the clear ray system is incorrect.  To add to that when the water reaches a certain temperature above 90 de, transmittance UV water drops tremendously.  If you will send me your e-mail I will send the graph.

As far as hundreds of years, UV has been used by nature as sunlight to reduce the effectiveness of microorganisms.  Many municipalities use uv as you stated, and we actually will produce the hydrogen peroxide that will be used in many of these municipalities.

The verifiable fact is that 35 GPM of water per minute across a 10 watt lamp will not be effective in sterilizing water at the higher temperatures in a spa.  Not at 30,000 mj squared.  There is a list of what it will sterilize under that, but it wont make anyones spa chlorine free, etc.

My problem is the science is being 'twisted" and metered down and in the end the consumer will just have to dump more chemicals in their spa, because everything is "metered down" The water does not have a chance at being sterilized at this rate.

Nonetheless, it works well with mineral cartridges to help it along.  I believe the above posts can explain how the technology is being abused and consumers will be led up the stairs and the door slammed in their face.  

If you input 150 watts on a UV lamp and the output is 52 watts, how can you input 10 watts with an out put of 3-5 watts in high temperature water with lower transmittance and expect to get this to work?

Check out roberts link- it seems to spell it out.  Thats my beef- tell the industry the full story, use the technology correctly and give consumers a viable working product, not a christmas light under a spa called UV.


4/26/2012 11:37:23 AM #

Thank you Andy for your factual details and information. We need to make sure the public is informed of what the products can deliver and not to cloud (sorry for the pun) the science. Otherwise, the public might shy away from spas altogether. This also is a case of not all UV is the same.We have been manufacturing spas UV systems for more than a decade and we are careful to make sure they work as touted. It is important to determine the correct sizing of the UV unit for the type of spa and its use.
Spas are used for fun and relaxation; however, the warm water is also a breeding center for many water-borne micro-organisms. And the warm water has more evaporation thereby making the halogen treatment more volatile. Apparently Ozone does not mix well with bromine (see recent MAHC et al). And today, Ultraviolet water treatment for spas is gaining use for water treatment in recreational spa facilities and in portable spas and hot-tubs.
The anology of a Christmas light is not far off which shows the importance of design for properly sizing the UV-C treatment systems. A few simple questions should help:  Are they properly designed to deliver the UV dose necessary to eradicate the water-borne micro-organisms? Do the UV-C units meet the flow rates of the spa pumps? Are the units energy efficient?  Check with your UV-C manufacturer to make sure they meet specifications.

Jeff Boynton

4/26/2012 1:08:54 PM #

  You are right, but it will be sold as it is.  You need 30,000 MJ2 at a certain flow rate to sterilize certain waterborne pathogens with a low pressure lamp.  UV loses its transmittance after certain lower temperatures and higher temperatures.  Work this into the mathematical formula and you would have the answer  of the proper wattage and proper flow.  I agree with your statement, mine was simply that a 10 watt low pressure lamp @ 35 GPM at the temperature of a spa is normally, is incorrect and will not work.  Commercial systems are in use now all over the world, but they use high pressure systems at 60,000 mJ2 and their math is different.  This is no more simpler than doing a calculation to reach a certain result.  I do manufacture UV and do not want the industry to get a "black eye" with the consumer such as salt systems caused when consumers were led to believe it was "chlorine free".  Theres lot of angry pool owners out there.  Its not up to the consumer or dealer to have to learn everything about the science in order to cross check if they are "getting the proper dose".  its up for us to support and live by the science so this will never be a question in their mind.  


4/26/2012 3:59:37 PM #

Enjoyed reading all the comments.
Good questions have been raised on the effectiveness of UV-C in a spa application.
The speed of the water passing question is highly relevant as well as the wattage of the lamp.

Russ Chrysanthou

5/17/2012 5:41:53 AM #

Having read all these very good comments i would like to toss in that Silver/Copper ionisers are a very ood system for spas and only require some monopersulphate or H2O2 as an additive (apart frtom a water balance now and then) to be the most effective hot tub treatment. We are a pool ioniser company Down Under and utilise an Eco oxidizer to supplement our pool ioniser...very effective oxidizer. We are at present incorporating our Mini B product with our Eco Oxidizer to create a hot tub/spa unit that will be extremely effective in both sanitizing the hot tub as well as oxidizing and crunching any nasties and fats along the way. waiting for our UL's and we are going to be looking at the USA Pool/Hot Tub market..soon enough...I just returned from AZ after several weeks fact finding and visiting many parties and also a conference in Phoenix...actually got married at easter in Sedona aftyer almost 14 years together with my Lady. Just thought I would mention that...Apache Srevice at Red Rock Crossing...funky. Geronimo was there...Cochise couldn't make it...lol

Ian Jones

Ian Jones

5/18/2012 1:10:44 PM #

I think it's a good idea, don't they use UV light to kill bacteria already in things like tooth brushes?  

More details and pictures here:  <a href="http://davewirth.blogspot.com/2012/02/illegal-light-bulbs.html" rel="dofollow">Illegal Light Bulbs</a>



5/21/2012 6:47:44 AM #

Copper and silver good for spa systems? Are you kidding us? Longer kill times, fewer biologicals killed, shorter reproduction periods are not exactly something I would want in my tub if I had one or any other tub I care for. That doesn't touch on the potential for staining!

Scott Bair

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