I'm hoping some veteran here can provide some insight because after 12 years of spa ownership and maintenance (mostly by following the advice here) I am at my wits end. Maybe my best option is to drain and refill, but our initial fill of this tub was only 3 weeks ago (9/26) so I have no confidence that my new water will be any different than the original. I've never posted before because I never had to! Spa water maintenance is not that hard if you know what you are doing and make the effort to do it right - so I thought because my 2007 Sundance Hartford (two filters, chlorine, no ozonator) obeyed my every command. But all good things give out eventually, and they no longer make the Hartford, so we bought an Edison. One filter, filter basket, ozonator standard and something called "Clear Ray". Not one for bells and whistles but it seems reasonable that they would have come up with some improvements in 12 years so why not.
Well, something is just not right. Initial fill LOOKED good, until we had an F1 condition and supplier suggested draining (and then refilling) about 6 inches of water. For some reason, the next water (top-off) came in brown. We've had discolored water come in from the hose before, and the filter just took care of it (filter turned brownish) so we weren't too worried, but that didn't take care of the F1, so the tech came the next day. He "fixed" the F1 by finding a crossed wire (?) and remedying that, and then he put in 3 bottles of metal gone for the brown water which completely cleared it up. Next day I went to work to balance everything, and no sooner had I gotten all the levels where they needed to be, but the water turned a tea color. So... maybe there was iron left in the water even after 3 bottles of metal gone? Hmmm... So I consulted a local dealer (Sundance purchase was from much further away) and he suggested a filter booster. Sounded very similar to "Bright and Clear" recommended by my dealer so I used that. Cleared up the tea - briefly - until next chlorine balance, when we got a light green color. So now we have copper? Kept cleaning filter (which never seemed dirty) and used it some b/c sanitize/chemicals were fine, and then it got very cloudy. All this time we're getting debris collecting at the bottom of the tub and something I've never, ever encountered before - matted hair near where the water intake is (underneath it, actually). But no hair in the filter... maybe cleaning the filter TOO often? Am not enjoying having to use my net to scoop lightweight materials (it's windy here) out of my tub. I never had to do that before, just suction up sand or grit, things that were too heavy to reach the filter. Based on my experience with my other hot tub, this would seem to be a filtration issue, in other words the filter system just isn't working as well as it needs to.
Yesterday we used Bright and Clear and boy was it bright and clear AFTER my husband spent a couple of hours skimming "gunky foam" and eventually scum from the water. Until this morning! Nothing changed - no bathers, no change in chemicals - just a change from clear to cloudy. So I tried Bright and Clear again today and didn't get nearly as much gunk or scum at the waterline but got a lot more than I would expect. Just what is that coming out? Do metals actually do that? Is it possible that this could all be from an outrageously high metal content in my water (we did have serious filtration issues in our town this summer), followed by the "swing cycle" that can get set up after lots of chemical intervention? Besides Bright and Clear and the filter enhancer (basically cellulose) I also used a "scale and stain" product to sequester any remaining metal.
Obviously I'm involving my dealer in this issue because it is just not ok to have a brand new hot tub that has yet to have clear, stable water since installation (3 weeks now). If I were a brand new owner I would probably have had serious buyer's remorse by now. As it is, I'm thinking I got a lemon (back to original issue when delivered), because I know hot tubs can work, apparently, just not this one...
Any thoughts, hunches or hypotheses are welcome! Thanks.
P.S. We've already sanitized with dichlor enough to switch to bleach, and the total alkalinity, ph and hardness are spot on (well, hardness might be a bit low as I ran out raising it), as are the free chlorine and total chlorine. This is the easy part (and the given) so didn't think to mention until now