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Water Problems In New Spa


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#1 hanna256

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:51 PM

We had our spa for a bit over a month and we still cannot keep our water clean.

We started off with Chlorine based sanitizer (came with the startup kit), where we had to add a table spoon a day. Didn't work well, the water would be really cloudy when used multiple times a day. We were tired of chlorine not working out, so we went to Bromine tablets in the floater 2 weeks ago. Chlorine always tested 0 to 0.5 during the 4 weeks we used it (Tested at the dealer and with strips), and pH was high (8 and wouldn't do down even with pH-).

The new Bromine floater is open to the max, we see 6 tables in the floater. However, the bromine still tested between 1 and 1.5. When we shock the spa the water clears after 24 hours but return to dull and cloudy the next day. We have to shock again to make it clean.

Alkalinity is at 100ppm, pH is between 7.6 and 7.8 (depending on the day tested), Hardness is 200ppm.

We cleaned the filter every week with water and a hose. They are clean, we didn't use any filter cleaner yet, wanted to fix the water problem before adding even more chemical to the mix!

The spa foams a lot as well, I am sure it is related.

The shock we use is unstabilized chlorine. We also used chlorine free shock, but found the chlorine based one worked better.

My question, is what are we doing wrong so that we have to shock every other day? The water is not smelly, or green or anything, just cloudy (not much, but enough). We had very good help from our dealer, testing the water and recommending chemicals to balance it, but I am looking for another opinion here to see what to do. I don't want to drain the spa and be faced with the same problem in a week.

The spa filters twice a day for 4 hours each time. It has an ozonator that I am assuming is working, hadn't tested it yet... Testing the ozonator is our next step if you cannot fix the problem soon. We use the spa around 60 minutes a day, most of the time we are with kids, which make us 4 people in total.

Yes, I almost forgot, we used "Spa Perfect" every week since we had it. Not 100% sure it works but it seems to help on occasion.

#2 GaTub

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:21 AM

We are newbies at this too, but since nobody has responded yet...

We have been spa owners for 2-1/2 months now. The first few weeks was a comedy of errors when it came to maintaining water quality, but I spent a lot of time reading through the water chemistry section of this forum and learned a ton. I drained the tub and started over with my new-found knowledge and haven't had a problem since. The key is understanding what you are doing and working out a system.

I don't know about Bromine, my tub doesn't have an ozonator, and I can't speak to the best way to maintain pH. But as a "successful newbie" here are some general things that I have learned-

The amount of chemicals required depends a whole lot on usage. With me and my wife using the tub less than an hour a few times a week it takes very little to keep the water crystal clear. But add in some guests, multiple uses in a day, long soaks, etc- and the amount of chemicals needed goes up a whole bunch. We are not real sticklers for showering first, but this also seems to make a big difference. Bottom line it is not as simple as adding a tablespoon of this or that a day. And once the water gets cloudy it can take several days to get it back to right again so its best not to let it get cloudy to start with. All that said once you get a feel for it and have a system worked out its pretty easy.

Also the advice that I've gotten here has been much better than the advice from the spa dealer. For example I was surprised to find out that adding dichlor granules quickly builds up cya which reduces effectiveness- found that out here, not at the dealer. I suggest that you spend a few hours reading through the water chemistry section. After a while it starts making sense. Then choose a system (chlorine, bromine, N2) that is best suited to how you will use the tub and learn all you can about it. Keep the faith and good luck!

#3 arches2

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:37 AM

did you add the bromine bank starter packet? If you don't have that you won't maintain good sanitizer levels without shocking. It sounds like you have a need for decontamination. Read up on that in the pinned thread in the hot tub chemistry section. Also read the chlorine demand thread. it's applicable to bromine as well.

I think you need to shock it every day to a bromine level of about 10 ppm until it holds at 5-7 ppm the next day (without using it). This means your sanitizer demand is down to 25-50% which is a good target. Also don't be afraid to try your TA at about 60-70 as that will help keep the pH down. I have had a pH of 7.6-7.8 for over a week (since new fill balance) without adding any chemicals. The ozonator is activating my bromine bank and my floater has maintained a 5ppm level on just a setting of 1 with my 4 and 2 year olds using it. I knew nothing about this before i got my tub. I read and re-read the pinned topics. That's it.

#4 Spanky

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:51 AM

What the dealer didn't tell you is that new spas need to go through a complete "Flush" and often a "Decontamination" prior to use.

There are all kinds of contaminants left over from the manufacturing process which need to be flushed out. Use either Seaklear Spa-Flush or Swirl Away.

Spas are leak tested before shipping, often with recycled water. The spa can then sit in a warehouse for months with several gallons of unsanitized water in the plumbing. This can cause biofilm to form.

Biofilm is a very stubborn bacteria that is most likely the reason your sanitizer is being used up so quickly.

Go to the "Hot Tub Water Chemistry" section of this fourm and you'll find complete decontamination instructions.

Once you start with a clean, bacteria free tub you'll find that water maintenance is actualy quite easy. A bit of a "learning Curve" for sure but not too steep.

Just read some of the excellent posts by Waterbear, Chem Geek, Nitro, and other fourm members and you'll be fine.

#5 hanna256

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:22 PM

Yes, I have built a bromine base by crushing 2 bromine tablets and putting them next to the filters (dealer recommendation). It is only later that I read about the Sodium Bromide. Even then, with the 2 bromine tablets, bromine went up to 5 for less than a day.

So I am starting to think that is contaminated with test water from manufacturer... As I am writing this, the spa is running with Spa purge in it. Will empty it tomorrow and continue with the decontamination procedure.

I knew that keeping water clean shouldn't be that big of a hassle, my friends with spas couldn't understand why I was having difficulties, but i makes total sense. When the spa was shipped, they tipped it on the side and some water started leaking, confirming that old and dirty was inside... Didn't think much about at the time.

#6 jeffinpickering

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:06 AM

Once you get done with decontamination, follow the Bromine instructions (if you're sticking with Bromine) in the Chemistry section (also, follow ALL of them; you can't really pick and choose which steps to follow).

Note that the bather load you suggest (4 people, 60 mins per day) adds up to 4 bather hours per day; nevermind that 2 of them are kids. Your sanitizer demand is going to be quite significant! All the floater does is help maintain a residual level between soaks. It is not likely going to take care of your bather waste or keep your sanitizer levels up on it's own (nor with the ozonator) with that kind of bather load.

#7 njmurvin

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Posted 16 May 2012 - 09:54 AM

Yes, I have built a bromine base by crushing 2 bromine tablets and putting them next to the filters (dealer recommendation). It is only later that I read about the Sodium Bromide. Even then, with the 2 bromine tablets, bromine went up to 5 for less than a day.

Crushing 2 bromine tablets is not the equivalent of using sodium bromide to build your bromide bank. When your decon is finished, if you plan to go ahead with the 3-step bromine method, you need to get the appropriate amount of sodium bromide to build a proper bromide bank and follow the rest of the "bromine for beginners" thread. Based on the advice you got from your dealer, I'd look elsewhere for guidance. The Hot Water Chemistry forum here has a wealth of good information.

#8 arches2

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 04:17 AM

everything you need for three step bromine is available at walmart for about $15.

#9 hanna256

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 07:20 AM

After decontamination, I tested my Bromine demand and it was around 2ppm for a bit more than 12 hours period.

I followed the Bromine for beginners to the letter and I now have good level of bromine in the water. Of course, as JeffInPickering said, with that bather load, the floater isn't keeping up. But I do test every morning and add 2-3 tablespoons of bleach when needed, have to do it every 2-3 days.

It has been only a week since the decontamination, but the water is still crystal clear and my water maintenance is a lot lower!!

Thank your for all your help.

#10 DustyBill54

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:44 PM

Just last weekend I was thinking about installing a shower by the tub. I can use it day after day and have no problem keeping it balanced. Let a lady friend get in with all the lotions,hair spray and cosmetics and I get instant foaming and a bath tub ring. No offense intended to the ladys, it is what it is and I'll drain it if I have to after every visit. I'm headed to the Chemistry Section. :wub:

#11 DustyBill54

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 12:47 PM

Just last weekend I was thinking about installing a shower by the tub. I can use it day after day and have no problem keeping it balanced. Let a lady friend get in with all the lotions,hair spray and cosmetics and I get instant foaming and a bath tub ring. No offense intended to the ladys, it is what it is and I'll drain it if I have to after every visit. I'm headed to the Chemistry Section. :wub:


WOW! ....... The chemistry section scared the he$$ out of me. It's a wonder I am still alive with all the stuff I have been doing wrong. :unsure:




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