Can I Make My Own Chemical Treatments? - Hot Tub Water Chemistry - Pool and Spa Forum

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Can I Make My Own Chemical Treatments?


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#1 Everett2008

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 07:10 PM

I recently bought a used spa and subsequently bought a kit of chemicals that claimed to have all the stuff I'd ever need for the next three months (cost $100).

Of the different things in the kit, what can I use as a homemade substitute for each of the chemicals to perform the same task (e.g., baking soda works for raising pH)?

Are there some that I won't even need?

Do I really need to use as much as they say I do?

The following are the chemicals that came in the kit:

pH up
pH down
Hardness increaser
Water clarifier (emulsifier)
non-chlorine/non-bromine shock
de-foamer
scale and stain preventer (for use during fill-up)
cartridge cleaner
granular chlorine
Mineral purifier (which came in the form on a narrow cylinder that's supposed to go inside the filter)

Thanks for the help!

#2 chem geek

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 10:01 PM

Baking Soda doesn't raise pH very much -- it mostly increases Total Alkalinity (TA).

pH Up -- Sodium Carbonate; same as Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (careful: NOT the laundry detergent); note that if you want to raise the pH without raising the TA as much, you can use 20 Mule Team Borax; if you want to raise the pH with no change in TA, just aerate the water.

Alkalinity Up -- Sodium Bicarbonate (synonym: Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate); same as Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

pH Down -- Sodium Bisulfate aka dry acid; no direct substitute; Muriatic Acid is generally too hard to handle for the spa (though it does work)

Calcium Hardness Increaser -- Calcium Chloride; same as Peladow melting salt (or DowFlake though that is less concentrated)

Water Clarifier -- don't know of substitute

Non-Chlorine Shock -- Potassium Monopersulfate (MPS) -- don't know of substitute other than chlorine (unscented bleach)

De-Foamer -- don't know of substitute, but if you keep your Calcium Hardness (CH) at 120 ppm, it should help to prevent foaming

Scale and Stain Preventer -- don't know of substitute

Cartridge Cleaner -- use Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), but the real stuff such as found in Red Devil TSP; automatic dishwashing detergent is OK as well.

Granular Chlorine -- use Dichlor initially cumulatively for [EDIT] 33 ppm FC (which is 30 ppm CYA) [END-EDIT], then switch to unscented bleach, BUT may have pH rise more than you'd want (especially with ozonator or aerating jets) [EDIT] so need to keep the TA low and can use 50 ppm Borates [END-EDIT].

Mineral Purifier -- don't know substitute but you don't need copper/silver if you maintain chlorine or bromine levels properly.

Richard

#3 ndwoods

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 02:48 PM

The Bacqua Oxidizer says it's 7% hydrogen peroxide, the rest is water. That's about twice the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide I buy in a little bottle from Target. Would it work to use that cheap hydrogen peroxide, in twice the quantity, instead of the Oxidizer?

#4 chem geek

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 03:09 PM

QUOTE(ndwoods @ Sep 13 2008, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Bacqua Oxidizer says it's 7% hydrogen peroxide, the rest is water. That's about twice the concentration of the hydrogen peroxide I buy in a little bottle from Target. Would it work to use that cheap hydrogen peroxide, in twice the quantity, instead of the Oxidizer?

Yes it would work, assuming there aren't some sorts of impurities or additives (I doubt there are).

#5 roromissd

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 09:19 AM

Wow! Thank you! This helps a lot. Now I know what to look for when buying my chemicals and also that some common household products work as well as the spa chemicals. ANything to save money as I know this tub is going to take a good bit of funds each month to run.

Anne
New owner of a HS Limelight Flair : )

#6 Firewire

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 06:19 AM

Can this thread be saved to always be on top or something? Like a sticky note?

#7 Maxemily

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 07:40 PM

Bookmark it.

#8 PFamily

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 08:27 PM

QUOTE(Maxemily @ Oct 9 2008, 11:40 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bookmark it.



So, starting this over to get clear, what makes for a simple chemical regime, assuming balance? I have the Floating Frog but it gets in the way and caught in the skimmer. It has bromine and minerals. Do i need both or can i merely toss in some bromine or chlorine manually say weekly? And is that necessary as I have an ozonator?
PFamily

#9 toby

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 04:46 AM

I live in England (UK) and have had a challenge finding a supplier to buy Borax (100% Sodium Borate) as a PH up and also getting Baking Soda (100% bicarbonate of soda) for TA up in bulk quantities from. I would not normally plug a supermarket, but it it moves from their shelves, they may keep stocking it.
I have just bought both from Tesco Extra. The Sodium Bicarbonate cost about 8 times less than my local spa shop! Both are new products in their 'naturally' range of cleaners.
I have also read that large Boots stock Borax.

#10 chem geek

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 09:18 AM

Yes, supermarkets are great places to get both Baking Soda (which should say 100% Sodium Bicarbonate or Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate) and Borax (sodium tetraborate or sodium borate). You can also get 100% Sodium Carbonate in Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (careful: NOT the laundry detergent) as shown here. Sodium Carbonate will raise both pH and TA whereas Borax will only raise TA by half as much (and not add to carbonates).

#11 toby

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Posted 16 April 2009 - 04:48 AM

Thanks,
I am looking to source a shop to buy 'Sodium Bisulfate aka dry acid' (to reduce PH) in the UK. Anyone got any suggestions, or UK equivalents to achieve pH down?

#12 lancef1

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 12:57 PM

Use white vinegar to low pH. It is cheap and safe to use. You can also use chlorine generation for sanitizing which uses a bank of ordinary salt to continually make chlorine. I have a lot of tubs using chlorine generation which use a combination of salt, baking soda and white vinegar at the tune of $2-3 USD per month.

Good Luck
Lance I. Fitzsimmons

#13 softub300

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:58 PM

I'm not sure if you will be able to find a source of Sodium Bisulfate (PH down) from anywhere else but a pool or spa store. If you are needing a lot of it you can save some money by getting a larger size (such that you would normally use in a swimming pool).

Or if you really want to avoid your spa shop, you could also use Muratic acid (which is available at hardware stores). However, that is strong nasty stuff. If you do go that route, I'd dillute it with water (pouring the acid carefully into water, so that it is one part acid, three parts water).


#14 toby

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 02:13 PM

Thanks
I like the idea of Muratic acid. Do you know any brand names/suppliers under which it is available in the UK?
Toby

#15 Elbyron

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:02 AM

I've been using regular unscented bleach to shock my bromine tub, and it seems to work quite well. I recently saw some lemon-scented bleach on sale, and was wondering what would happen if I used that to shock with? Would it just make the water smell nice or could there be some undesirable side effects?

#16 chem geek

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:48 PM

It is generally better not to add scented bleach. It does add fragrance, but it's that much more that will have to get oxidized by chlorine and there's no need to add to that burden, especially not on a regular basis. Also, the scented bleaches tend to be weaker -- some are oly 3% -- compared to Clorox Regular (or off-brand Ultra) unscented which is 6% and they tend to have more "excess lye" so would tend to make the pH rise more quickly.




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