FreshWater® Salt System for Caldera® Spas

Fresh Thinking

The Simpler, Cleaner, Fresher Way to Hot Tub

The revolutionary FreshWater® Salt System for Caldera® Spas takes the work and worry right out of water care. This innovative, intuitive system provides better water with less hassle, so you can spend more time feeling renewed, restored, and reconnected with your loved ones. Learn how your hot tub can take care of you – not the other way around.

This easy to use system is available on all Utopia and Paradise Spas from 2019 on.


Easy-to-follow on-screen instructions with no guess work – consistent and trouble-free!

caldera spa utopia north carolina

Water lasts up to a full year when properly maintained. Gentle on eyes and skin.


Water is always clean and ready to use with no harsh odors. Worry-free so you can relax.




Power must always be OFF while the spa is empty.

Remove plug and insert your salt system cartridge.

Fill the hot tub with fresh water by placing your hose in the gray filter standpipe (in order to force air out of the lines) to approximately 1" above the jets.

If you have well water: after 10 minutes of running water through the gray standpipe, install the EcoOne Hose Filter on the end of the hose. Flush filter outside of the spa in the grass or mulch area for 3-5 seconds to remove carbon, and complete the filling process by placing the hose with filter attached back in the filter compartment and proceeding as outlined above.

If your source water is high in calcium, iron, or other metals, please contact us for further instructions. Stain and Scale Defense can be used to treat the water for metals, but you MUST wait 24 hours and clean your filters after treatment before proceeding to the next step or adding chlorine.



For optimal performance of your FreshWater Salt System, regular testing and removal of phosphates from spa water is required.

What are phosphates?

Salts made up of phosphorous and oxygen that can be combined with a variety of minerals, molecules, or compounds. They can build up over time in spa water from soaps, shampoos, lotions, detergents, stain and scale products, filter cleaner detergents, and minerals in ground-water sources.

The acceptable range for phosphates is 0 - 150 ppb (target is less than 100 parts per billion).

Phosphates will decrease the life of your salt cartridge by increasing chlorine demand and coating the electrodes with calcium phosphate scale, so it is vital to test for phosphate level using the provided FreshWater Phosphate Test Strips.

If you need to treat your spa water for phosphates, you will also need to use Water Clarifier. Wait 24 hours before proceeding and clean your filters. Saturate the filter surface with SpaGuard Filter Cleaner, allow the filters to sit for 15-20 minutes, then hose off with a high pressure hose or Water Wand. Ensure ALL soap is removed before placing the filters back to avoid foaming.



If you are using a FreshWater Mineral Spa Sanitizer, you may insert it into the filter compartment now. We highly recommend supplementing your salt system with the silver ion cartridge to help inhibit bacteria growth and lower the amount of chlorine needed to keep the water clean.

Turn the power on and set the temperature to your desired level (a minimum of 95 degrees is recommended for the salt system to function optimally). Turn off the salt system by setting the output level to zero. Check your jet systems by pushing the jets icon on the control panel home screen. When you've confirmed that the jets are fully operational, adjust your diverter valves to middle position and leave the jets on while adding salt.

It's normal for the water care icon on the control panel and diagnostic logo light to flash during this step if you choose not to turn your salt system off.



To find the correct water capacity of your spa model, check the chart in your spa Owner's Manual.

Make sure the jets are on before adding salt. DO NOT add all the salt at once. If you over salt the water, it will not dissipate and you cannot remove it; you will need to drain part or all of the water and start over.

Start out by adding approximately 3/4 of the recommended amount of salt noted on the chart below, using the scoop provided in your kit. I.e., if 8 cups are recommended, add only 6 initially and then let dissolve for 5 minutes, then test and add more incrementally as needed. Pour the salt into your filter compartment, one cup at a time, with the jets running.

  • 200 gal: Add 4.5 cups | Output Level 5
  • 250 gal: Add 5.75 cups | Output Level 5
  • 300 gal: Add 7 cups | Output Level 6
  • 350 gal: Add 8 cups | Output Level 6
  • 400 gal: Add 9.25 cups | Level 6
  • 450 gal: Add 10.25 cups | Level 6
  • 500 gal: Add 11.5 cups | Level 7
  • 550 gal: Add 12.5 cups | Level 7
  • 600 gal: Add 13.75 cups | Level 7

Use the FreshWater Test Strips to verify the salt level is around 1,750 ppm. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle, using a timer to count down the requisite 20 seconds. Notice that the strip will lighten as you increase the salt level - the colors on the bottle, from left to right, go from 0 ppm to 2500 < ppm. The strip will continue to lighten as time passes, so it is vital to compare the colors at 20 seconds.



IMPORTANT: Always follow printed instructions on the balancing chemical packages. Add balancing chemicals in small increments one at a time with the jets on and wait 6 hours before testing again and adding any additional balancing chemicals.

Test the water with a FreshWater 5-Way Test Strip and balance according to the Water Balance Guidelines. Make sure to balance Total Alkalinity FIRST, then pH, and finally Calcium Hardness.

  • Total Alkalinity: 80-120 ppm
  • pH: 7.2 - 7.8
  • Calcium Hardness: 25 - 75 ppm
    • Hard water can damage your hot tub equipment and may hinder the effectiveness of the salt system, so it's important to make sure your water is soft. If your calcium hardness is over 75 ppm, use the Vanishing Act pillow provided in your start up kit.


With the jets on and the diverter valves turned to the middle position, add Chlorinating Concentrate or Enhanced Shock to the filter compartment according to the instructions on the bottle. Run the jets for 5-10 minutes and measure the chlorine level again.

Your initial target chlorine level is 5 ppm during the start-up process. Keep in mind that there are trace amounts of remaining water left in the plumbing from factory testing. Your hot tub will probably also receive higher than normal usage during the first month of ownership. For those reasons, your FreshWater Salt System will be working overtime to sanitize the water and maintain a chlorine residual during the first week or so.

It is recommended that you test your water every day or so over the first week to ensure the spa water remains balanced and sanitized while the system acclimates to your usage. It's common to need to add Chlorinating Concentrate or Enhanced Shock during this period.

If using liquid chlorine, DO NOT USE splash-free or scented bleach of any kind.



Once your spa temperature is over 95 degrees and you have added salt, balanced and sanitized the water, you can turn on the salt system.

Access the water care menu on your control panel. Set the salt system output to the recommended level indicated below.

  • Level 0: System Off
  • Level 1-4: Vacation / Low Output
  • Level 5-7: Normal Use (Recommended)
  • Level 8-9: High Use
  • Level 10: Maximum Output
  • Boost: Level 10 for 24 Hours

Using a FreshWater 5-Way Test Strip, check the water to ensure a residual chlorine level of at least 3 ppm has been maintained over the past 24 hours. Check the chlorine level once a day over the first week and repeat the chlorinating process until the salt system can independently maintain the target 3 ppm residual.

The salt system cleans the water before it produces a chlorine residual that is visible on a test strip. If there is not a measurable amount of chlorine in the spa water after 24 hours, this is an indication that the salt system is still cleaning the water. If there are contaminants in the water, or you use the spa often initially, it may take the salt system a few days to clean the spa water and keep up with your chlorine demand. Use the chlorination process and Boost function to generate additional chlorine during the first week or so.

Once you find that your spa is consistently maintaining a chlorine residual, you can move to testing the water once a week and may need to adjust the output level slightly. Because the salt system cleans the water before producing a chlorine residual, you may find that your test strip rarely shows a visible free chlorine level. This is totally normal, as long as your water is clean and clear and balanced.



The FreshWater Salt System makes spa ownership simple and easy by reducing the amount of time required to care for your spa water. It is ultimately your responsibility to maintain balanced and sanitized spa water to ensure the proper operation and lifespan of your hot tub.


Use a FreshWater 5-Way Test Strip to keep pH, Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness levels in the recommended ranges.


We recommend adding Enhanced Shock biweekly (or weekly, depending on usage). The salt system is compatible with Chlorine, MPS, and Silver - keep in mind that Enhanced Shock or MPS is needed to activate the silver ion cartridge.


Every 10 days, the water care icon on the control panel will flash as a reminder to check your spa by confirming your output level. The 10-day timer will reset any time you adjust your output level. If you do not perform the 10-day maintenance routine, the system will default to Low Output Mode (level 3 after 15 days and level 1 after 20 days).


Saturate the filter surface with SpaGuard Filter Cleaner, allow the filters to sit for 15-20 minutes, then hose off with a high pressure hose or Water Wand. Ensure ALL soap is removed before placing the filters back to avoid foaming. We recommend purchasing a second filter to switch out every month, making cleaning a breeze and extending the life of your filters.


Replace the Titanium Salt Cartridge as directed by the water care system on the control panel. Cartridges typically last 2-4 months, depending on your spa model, water chemistry, and usage.


You will need to remove the Mineral Spa Sanitizer after 4 months. It's important to discard the used Mineral Cartridge after 4 months, whether you choose to replace it or not - after this time period, it loses its efficacy and will cause cloudy water.


Over time, the level of total dissolved solids build up and saturate the water, preventing proper sanitation and balancing. Because the FreshWater Salt System generates sanitizer, decreasing the level of bottled chemicals added to the water, you should only need to drain the water every 12 months, based on proper care and average spa usage.


The FreshWater Salt System sanitizes water by using a disposable cartridge to generate chlorine from salt. The cartridge lasts two – four months and can be easily replaced in seconds without tools or dealer assistance.

Simply set the desired chlorine level with the touch of a button, and the system will automatically generate the appropriate amount of sanitizer, eliminating the guesswork of manual dosing.

The FreshWater Salt System uses fewer chemicals than traditional water care, reducing harsh odors for softer-feeling water that is gentler on eyes and skin.

With fewer additives needed, the water can stay clean and fresh for up to a full year* before needing to be drained and refilled. This conserves water, saves money, and reduces time previously spent on complicated water care.

Pair the salt system with an anti-microbial Mineral Spa Sanitizer for the ultimate fresh water experience.

The FreshWater Salt System leaves water clean and ready to use, so you can spend more time enjoying your spa and less time maintaining it.

The system was designed to help keep water clean and fresh for a full year, up to 3x longer than other systems, saving you time and money with fewer drains and refills.

Silver is a low-maintenance, anti-microbial that destroys bacteria and viruses. The combination of chlorine and silver is the most powerful cleaning option for hot tubs. While optional, we suggest pairing the FreshWater Salt System with a Mineral Spa Sanitizer for the ultimate water care solution. Simply install the silver cartridge directly into the spa’s filter for the cleanest, clearest water experience available.

System Status OK (Yellow)

The system continues to generate chlorine and operate normally when status reading is yellow.

  • High salt (yellow right) or low salt (yellow left) will shift the status reading.
  • Low water temperature will lower the status reading (yellow left).
  • Dirty filters will lower the status reading (yellow left).
  • Cartridge wear will lower the status reading (yellow left).

System Status Low (Red Left)

This status reading can be caused by cartridge age, scale buildup, cold water, high chlorine, dirty filters, or dirty water.

  • Ensure water is above 95 degrees (status will read lower in cooler water).
  • Use a FreshWater Salt Test Strip to measure the salt level and add salt if needed.
  • Use a 5-Way Test Strip to measure the chlorine level – if too high, add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide with the jets running.
  • Dirty filters will lower the status reading (red left).
  • Cartridge wear will lower the status reading (red left).

Cloudy Water

Cloudy water can be caused by high pH, low chlorine levels, or a dirty filter.

High Chlorine

The system will continue to produce chlorine according to the selected output level, regardless of your spa usage. If you begin to use the hot tub less frequently, it’s important to lower the output level.

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