Chris W

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About Chris W

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  1. I've been using a cheapy that is just a small depth filter cartridge. I don't believe my source water has any issues, but the filter was cheap and it certainly doesn't hurt anything. I've used it for 1 fill and a bunch of top-off and it shows no signs of significant restriction yet. The ones with carbon probably provide more substantial filtering. I tried to win a whole case of them on e-bay, but got outbid Chris W
  2. Sounds like the ColorChlor is working great! That's awesome. I've been using the Spa-Pilot for about 4 months now, and I couldn't be happier. I'm getting ready to do my 1st water change at 4 months, and it would have gone longer had I not tried a little "Salt-Water Magic".....bad idea!! great for my pool, lousy for the spa. Foam, foam, and more foam. After a week or so it settled down a little, but the water quality was never quite the same. Clarification: The Salt Water Magic Liquid causes foam. The liquid is enzymes +phosphate removers etc. I use the Salt Water Magic Startup in my Spa and it works great. As far as I can tell from the label, the startup has some CYA (monosodium cyanurate) and Borates (boric acid and sodium borate penthydrate.) The startup seems to stabilize the pH nicely. I think the comment about adding chlorine daily with the Spa pilot was probably referring to the Power-Pouches that Autopilot uses with the Spa-Pilot. The Power pouches are primarily KMPS. Since they aren't available locally, I just use unbufferd KMPS which works well. I really like the sounds of the ColorChlor logic as well. The cells appear to have plenty of capacity to handle the load, but the Spa-Pilot lacks the logic to "boost" after each use. To answer and earlier question. After 4 months of use, there is no detectable effect on any of the stainless in the spa. Still doing great with the Spa-Pilot, and testing about twice a week now. The battle right now is keeping the tub cool in the 115 degree weather. Surprisingly, if I get the tub down to 100 at night, it will stay below 105 throughout the heat of the day. I guess the cover works the other way as well Chris W
  3. Welcome to the Forum. As you may have already discovered, most internet forums are not very complimentary of the Master-Spas traveling one vendor trade show. You aren't alone in having gotten sucked in to the pitch. I have a Down East Windsor SE, w/o all the STS features. I am happy with my tub and have had no trouble with it, but if had it to do over again I might not get the same tub. I would encourage you to exercise any rights you have to at least put the deal on hold while you do more comparison shopping. The more you know before you buy, the less regrets you'll have down the road. Chris W
  4. My patio (poured concrete) slopes away from the house very slightly, but enough for me to notice (1/2" in 8 feet or so.) So far I just placed the tub and have been enjoying it. Nobody notices the slope unless I point it out to them. If I were going to compensate, I'd get a couple pieces of medium density foam with the foil face, useing a wire wheel on an angle grinder I'd scarf it into a big wedge (time consuming and messy ) Then I'd place the wedges under the spa at the next water change. The insualtion on the bottom might not be a bad idea, and the foam should compress at any pressure points so that the weight is distrubuted nice and evenly. I've used foam core boards in the past under aquariums when the surface it was being placed on was a little uneven. It's worked quite well and I've never had any trouble.
  5. That's great information, no doubt that 2 competing products in the marketplace will make these units less expensive for everyone. I did buy a Spa-Pilot and have been using it for the last few weeks. I know there were a few people on here who were interested in my experience and even though it's only been a few weeks, I can say that I'm quite pleased with my purchase so far. I'm basically using the Spa-Pilot to very consistently maintain a FC residual of 2.5-3.5 PPM. It took some tweaking to get the dial set in the right place. The instructions start you out with a setting which is known to be too high, then you back it down a little at a time until it stabilizes where you want it. It acts just like my SWCG in my pool, when it's turned up too high, it drives the pH up very slightly every day. I've got it adjusted now so that if I use about 1/2 tbsp of unbeffered KMPS before and after using the spa, it keeps the pH very stable :-) Shortly after i installed it, we went to SoCal for about 4 days with the kids, and I came back to a perfectly clear spa. The FC was a little high (I was still tweaking it then.) and the pH had drifted from 7.5 up to about 7.7 over the course of the 4 days. Now that I have it tweaked pretty well, I can comfortably go for a few days without testing, but the pool geek in me dosn't seem to let that happen very often :-) So far, so good. The best street price I found for the Spa-Pilot was within $5 of the online price of the ColorChlor, so they seem to be at the same price point so far. The ColorChlor calls for a higher salt level than the Spa-Pilot, but I run my spa at the upper end of the range called out in the spa-pilot manual. Most SWCGs seem to run better with a little more salt. There's a few things in the ColorChlor manual that I wouldn't choose to do, but not because it woudn't work, just my preference. If Tinybubbles is out there, the only stainless I have in my spa is on the Waterway handheld jet. So far, no signs of any ill effect from the salt. I really don't expect there will be, but I'll watch it since you asked :-) Chris W I don't know if you got it yet but it will have a similar effect on spas. I have used a similar device since December 07 called the ColorCHlor which is similar with a few more features and cheaper. PS. you can also use it with stuff you can get at the grochery store. Lance
  6. I received the Spa-Pilot yesterday! (Friday) I drained and re-filled both because it was due and because the instructiuons say to I added the start-up mix a few hours ago when the water got up to 80, verified the salt level, then started it up. Since my fill water was already showing 1.2 ppm FC, I set the unit at 50%. I'll try to get it dialed in ASAP and let you know how things go Chris W
  7. I only discussed Muratic acid because that is what the originator of the thread asked about. I was just trying to answer the quaestion that was asked. Chris W
  8. Exceptional find, that's likely as close as you're going to get, now that you know it's called the ultra-blaster, you can find it in several places on the internet. The part number on the Master Spa peice is 26750-1, but it's almost certainly custom to them. If you were ordering them I'd just order 2 and replace them both so they match. Personally, I'd just take out the "diffuser" (if you can call it that) it just threads out. Then you can dry it out and glue it back together on the table and then thread it back in once it's dry. I'm not sure what kind of plastic it is or what glue would be best. I'd probably try some really good CA (superglue) from a hobby shop. I can get you a picture of an assembled one if it would help (or you can just thread out your other one to use for comparison.) Chris W
  9. The only two common places that stock Muratic Acid (consumer term for Hydrochloric acid- HCl) are pool supply places and hardware stores. At my local Home Depot, I can find it in the Pool Supplies or also in the hardware side usually as a concrete cleaner - I'm not sure if it's in with masonry stuff or cleaners. The most common concentration is about 30%, but it's worth checking the label if you find it cheap to verify it's strength. For spa use I generally dilute it down (add acid to water, not water to acid.....) so that I'm not trying to measure such tiny amounts. Take care to add it into flowing water, don't just dump it in with the pumps off. A lot of people will recommend Dry Acid which is Sodium Bisulfate. The only common household use of this that I know of is in Sani-Flush toilet cleaning crystals and even then it's only 40-65% by weight, so there might be other less-active ingredients as well. I certainly wouldn't recommend it as an alternative Although it sounds like you don't need it, pH-Up is just Arm and Hammer Super Washing soda. From Arm and Hammers FAQ Chris W
  10. Thanks, most people would be more worried about the color fading from their swimsuit after using my spa if they saw the CYA and FC levels I commonly run I'm just hoping that the Spa-pilot does for my tub what the Auto-pilot does for my pool
  11. I agree that we all need to relax and enjoy our tubs I worry at times that boards like this fill up with a large number of "spa peddlers" who just want to preach the same oversimplified, perhaps controversial maintenance routine that they use to try and "close the deal" with impulse-buy customers that are nervous about maintenance becasue the really haven't done their homework before going shopping. Making it sound utterly trivial and chemical free to maintain a spa is a great short-term sales technique, but it doesn't necessarily help the consumer to achieve the most pleasant and sanitary spa experience over time. It seems like anyone who comes on this boasrd and recommends that spa owners use EPA approved sanitizers, at the levels required by health codes, and backs it up with scientifically sound reasoning and evidence is portrayed as an extremist who is not in tiouch with the current group-think of the sales force. Everyone seems to want to believe that a tub with <1 ppm FC and >200 ppm CYA is perfectly safe and sanitary for a tubful of partying college students as long as there's a magic little yellow stick floating in the filter compartment and they're throwing in a capfull of MPS once ina a while. There are some on here that give good advice that I trust, but they are repeatedly beaten down by people with simpler routines that "must be perfect because I did it and I haven't died yet." The only advice on here that doesn't seem to generate controversy is the recommendation that people who don't want to test and adjust chemicals daily, should use a 3-part bromine system with a floater to maintain their spa. Chlorine based systems generally require daily maintenance and generate controversy related to FC levels and/or CYA. Baqua systems nothing but controversy Low Chlorine systems based on Ions are also controversial. On Monday my Spa-Pilot should arrive and by the middle of next week, I'll be offering up another variation on the chlorine theme for the board's consideration. I don't think we can escape the controversy. We can't just group-hug and all agree to recommend that every spa be maintained the one single best way We can choose to be respectful of one another. We can ask the moderators to help us eliminate self serving posters that stoop to personal attack and don't contribute anything positive. We can expect to be civilized, but not that we'll all agree every time on everything. Chris W
  12. For daily testing of my Spa, I test for pH, Free Chlorine and Combined Chlorine. For pH I use a color block comparator that uses about 5 ml of spa water and 5 drops of Phenol Red indicator. If the pH is below 7.5, I don't make an adjustment as my pH tends to rise, if it is above 7.5 and I am going to add chlorine, I add about 1/2 tbsp of dry acid. For Free Chlorine and Combined chlorine I use and FAS-DPD titration test where you add some powder to 10 ml pool water which turns it pink if there is chlorine present and add the second reagent dropwise until the pink color clears. The drop count tells me the Free Chlorine. I add 5 drops of another reagent and if there is Combined Chlorine it turns pink again. The number of drops to turn it clear again tells me the Combined Chlorine. If the Free Chlorine is below 3, I add chlorine before I soak, if it's above 3.0, I add it after I soak to bring it up to about 7ppm (no I don't re-test to prove it.) To raise the FC, I add either 3 oz of 10-12% chlorinating liquid or 1/2 tbsp of di-chlor. My tub is about 500 gallons. My daily testing allows me to figure out how much to add to keep things in line. If use is really light, I might go an extra day without adding chlorine. If use is very heavy, I add extra chlorine. If the Combined Chlorine goes above about 1ppm, I shock with about a triple dose of chlorine. After the shock, I leave the cover open more than normal to allow any gasses produced to clear. I know that's alittle long winded. It really only takes me 5 minutes per day tops now that I have the hang of it all. I'm a bit OCD on the Chlorine test, a more normal person could probably just do the daily test with the double tube test with OTO on one side for chlorine and pH on the other side. I trust that in my pool, but the spa changes a lot more from day to day so I spend the extra time for FAS-DPD. I test for other water factors less frequently, or if it looks like something unusual is happening. Hope that is enough to be useful without being too overwhelming. Chris W
  13. I'd venture to guess that if you're on a municipal water system that somebody in the world DOES check your shower, bath and drinking water nearly every day if not multiple times a day. Tap water is not safe, clean and odor free by accident. The don't just randomly treat the water according to the instructions, they test it regularly and adjust treatment accordingly. My goal is to get in, enjoy the experince without unpleasant odors, get out, have no unpleasant after-effects, prevent the equipment from being damaged, and minimize the expense and hassle associated with maintenance. For me, the easiest way to achieve this is by testing daily with a kit that I have confidence in (for me this means drops) adjusting water chemistry and performing maintenance as necessary. If I wasn't willing to do this, I'd get a bigger water heater and a fancier jetted bathtub and drain and refill it every time I used it. Chris W
  14. Me too with my TR caspian... much better water quality, low energy use, quiet. Me to! With my Costco Platinum Elite spa....Much better water quality, low energy use, quiet. Me too! With my Down East Windsor SE (Master Spa)....Much better water quality, low energy use, quiet. Sorry, I couldn't resist. I think that both circ and non-circ designs can work well. I think the design that I question the most are the ones with tiny, feeble circ pumps. If your spa is not full foam and is designed to capture equipment waste heat to reduce heat loss, a good sized circ pump that allows for decent filtration and use of the heater element without running the jet motors seems to me to be a logical choice. Chris W
  15. I own a Down East Windsor SE, and I've been quite happy with it. So far the spa has performed flawlessly, It has two seats with heavy therapy, three with moderate therapy and a couple cool down locations. I love the fact that it has no diverter valves and you can have full therapy at all of the seats at the same time. I've had a bit of fun swapping in different combinations of jet patterns (Waterway storm series.) The standard jets were good, but I like to tinker and experiment So far I've been able to find a variety of jets for next to nothing on E-bay. I live in the Phoenix area so my bigger concern is not ultimate insulation, but the ability to avoid heat build-up in the cabinet in the summer. During the winter months, I have figured out a few quick and simple tricks to eliminate the worst heat "leaks" In the summer I will take advantage of those "leaks" to allow me to ventilate the cabinet in hope of keeping the water from going over 105. Considering I've had my 14,000 gallon IG pool up to 103 (left the solar turned on at the wrong time ), it will likely be a challenge. Although I can't deny that my sales experience was a bit out of the ordinary, the salesman I worked with was more knowledgable than any of the local spa dealers I shopped at before I bought. At least the Master Spa Dealer is still in business, even if he's not close by. Most of the local stores I shopped have gone out of business since I was shopping The only place in town that looks really solid is Paddock Pools and the only stable line they carry is Sundance for an outrageous price. They carry less expensive lines too, but they seem to have a different mid-range line in stock every time I stop by and most of them I've never heard of before. Even Paddock has closed stores in my part of town The Jacuzzi dealer seems to be hanging on, but the store is eerily quiet just like the L.A. Spas dealer was right before it had the assets siezed by the landlord. Chris W