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Everything posted by Nat

  1. Well, just me and my wife use the tub, and we soak at night, so we have had this policy since we bought the tub. I hate getting out of a wet bathing suit! --Nate
  2. 303 is good stuff to use and have around. It is recommended for our Kayaks, Drysuits, grill covers, etc. I place an extra queen sized comforter I have on top of the hot tub cover and in addition to the insulation it provides, it keeps the sunlight off of the cover as well. In the summertime I put a vinyl protectant on the cover as well. --Nate
  3. Thank you for the feedback. We too bought a Tiger River Bengal in November 2007. We live near Washington, DC (in Northern Virginia), so the climate is a little milder. Bought the 120 volt model to prevent having to upgrade our electrical. I did the wiring myself, so that cost was about $60 for the wire and breaker. Impressions: We LOVE out tub (first hot tub we ever owned). The size is just right for two people, and we are tall. I have had no problems with the cover coming off in high winds (40 MPH have been experienced a few times). Ours does have a shut-off valve on the main tub drain (there is only a stubby "handle", easy to miss). There is no valve on the plumbing drain. Neither of them leak from their caps. We had the dealer install ours on three 6 X 6 pressure treated "railroad ties" and that works fine and there again, did not cost much ($300 for delivery and set-up) We were concerned that the tub may not stay warm, or maintain temperature, when we are using it because the heater does not run when the (single speed) jet pump is on, because the tub is on a 20-amp 120 volt curcuit. This has been no problem, whatsoever, because the temperature drops about 2 - 3 degrees, at most, in the winter during our soak, which lasts about 20 minutes, or so. In fact, I think it keeps us from getting overheated. We set it at 101 degrees, unless we get a cold snap (we then bump it up a degree), in the winter. In the summer we keep it as low as it will go! You do have to plan ahead when draining and filling, because it takes between 24 - 36 hours to get the tub up to temperature (it only has a 1,500 watt heater), depending on the season. I estimate the electricity cost to be about $40 per month, average throughout the year, based on 10 cents/KW-hr. I did add extra insulation in the motor compartment and I use a heavy comforter on top of the cover to keep in a little extra heat, that gets removed when it rains. I think Watkins products (Tiger River and Hot Springs) are made VERY well, and I am so glad we did not go with the Costco whatever they sell (my wife prevented that mistake!) P.S., we paid about $6,800 (I think), including the $300 delivery/set-up. What did yours run, if you don't mind sharing that info. --Nate
  4. I only use the spa light when pouring in either the bleach or di-chlor before we get in. We use our spa naked at night, and its in the back yard, so we would rather not use the light. --Nate
  5. I just looked online again. It appears I am getting two different Pleatco numbers as the replacement for the Watkins 31114 filter. One is the Pleatco PWK 45-N (which is the one I tried last year and found unacceptable) and the other is Pleatco PWK 65. One site claims the 45-N is a 65 square foot filter, another site says its a 45 square foot filter. Maybe I should be using the Pleatco PWK 65. Anyone know? I am truely confused now! At this point I think I may just stop by the Hot Springs dealer and pay $70 for the Watkins filter. Thanks. --Nate
  6. I am looking for a replacement spa filter. I have a Watkins Tiger River Bengal spa (Watkins makes Hot Springs, as well). About a year ago I bought an aftermarket filter, a Pleatco PWK 45-N (the replacement listed for my spa), because it was about half the cost of a filter from the Hot Springs dealer. The information describing the Pleatco I bought said basically, "the same as the OEM filter". Well, within 30 seconds of running the spa with my new Pleatco, my wife and I noticed that the force of the water from the jets was way noticeably lower. It was unacceptable. The Pleatco has more holes in the inner plastic tube, but they are smaller than on the Watkins filter. Do any of you know where I can buy an acceptable filter (either the real OEM one, or one just as good) and not pay dealer prices? The dealer wants $70 for the filter. The filter in the tub says on it "Watkins 31114", its a 65 square feet filter. Thanks. --Nate
  7. I have never pre-filtered the water (have county water), but the owner's manual (Tiger River Spas) says to use their pre-filter. I have absolutely sparkeling water! Sounds like a marketing gimic to me. --Nate
  8. Thank you for your replies. As for the MPS possibly throwing off the chlorine readings, the last time I added MPS was one week before testing for chlorine. I have been suspecting the bleach and MPS addition is on the low side for the spa use. My wife and I use the spa together, and soak 20 - 30 minutes every day, but soak twice on weekends, so the spa gets used 9 times a week, for about 4 hours total. So I guess that's about 8 person-hours per week. Another thing that comes into play, and this has to have an effect, is that we are larger than the "average" person, so this has to tax the oxidizers (chlorine and MPS) more. This is my second fill since purchasing the tub in October. I used Dichlor for about 2 weeks and measured about 45 ppm CYA right before I switched over to bleach. I plan on testing the chlorine levels again today. We used the tub last night, with the 10 ppm chlorine and I did not add anything before soaking. Maybe I could use 3 tablespoons of MPS twice weekly (instead of 4 Tbs. weekly) to get a little more oxidizer in the water. And increase the bleach a little, to 1/4 cup before using the spa and 1/4 cup added after using the spa (instead of just 1/3 cup before using the spa). OK, I just edited my post to add the chlorine test results (Sunday morning, 24 hours after superchlorination): Free chlorine is now 5 ppm and combined chlorine is 2 ppm. I even ran the jets for a minute or so to get a representative mix before pulling the sample. Is the 2 ppm combined chlorine an issue, and if so, how should it be lowered? Thanks. Nate
  9. I just tested the water (10 hours after superchlorinating) and I get 10 PPM free chlorine (which is what I tested it to be following the superchlorination). But oddly, I now measure 2.5 ppm combined chlorine. Before I superchlorinated I measured 0.0 ppm free chlorine and 1.6 ppm combined chlorine. I can't see how combined chlorine would increase after superchlorinating. Something must be off with my testing. Anyway, after dinner (in about an hour), I'm gonna soak. I guess I'll fine out what 10 ppm chlorine feels like. --Nate
  10. I have a 330 gallon tub. My usual water care routine is 2 weeks of dichlor and then use 1/3 cup of bleach prior to spa use for the remaining 2 month fill. Weekly shocks using 4 tablespoons of MPS. I am 45 days into my tub fill. The water is not sparkiling like it used to be and I smell chlorine when using the spa. This morning I tested chlorine levels with my Taylor kit. I got 0 ppm free chlorine and 1.4 ppm combined chlorine. So, I turned on the jets and slowly poured 1-1/2 cups of bleach into the water and let the jets run for 15 minutes with the cover off. Is this enough bleach, given my readings? Should I still shock with 4 tablespoons MPS this weekend (tomorrow), or is the superchlorination adequate? When is it safe to go into the spa after superchlorination? I take it that the MPS I have been shocking with does nothing to get rid of combined chlorine, but does get rid of oraganics in the water. How often should superchlorination be used? Thanks. --Nate
  11. Your total alkalinity may be too high. I found out that with a starting TA of about 130, which was at the low end of what the tub manufacturer recommended (I added baking soda to get to 130) that pH would be high (about 7.8) every weekend and I would lower it using about 1 - 1.5 tablespoons of "pH Down", only to have it back up there the next weekend. I was using bleach, as well. In order to determine the TA accurately (and other water parameters), you need a test kit (like the Taylor kit). Those test strips just are not accurate. Now, about a month into the fill, I think the TA is around 80 - 90, and I no longer have the pH creep and this past weekend, I did not have to add "pH Down" and the pH was right at 7.5. I plan to not add the baking soda at my next fill and the starting TA should be about 80, just right I think. I could see the manufacturer recommending a higher than 80 TA, since they also say you must use dichlor only. Bleach may necessitate the lower TA, but I will defer to Chem Geek on answering this. After I filled the tub, I used Dichlor for a couple weeks (CYA was about 45 ppm after 2 weeks) and then switched to 1/3 cup of bleach added BEFORE each soaking in the tub (330 gallons). My wife and I soak once a day on weekdays and twice a day on weekends. I add the bleach before because I like to have chlorine when I soak and I have found there is none, or next to none, if I add it after I soak. I also weekly shock the tub with 4 tablespoons MPS. I may consider shocking with about a cup of bleach instead of using the MPS. I will check for combined chlorine and if I have too much, I may try the bleach shocking. --Nate
  12. I insulated the pump compartment of my Watkins Tiger River Bengal (Watkins makes Hot Springs too). Its a full-foam tub, but I noticed heat loss through the compartment door. I used the 3-1/2 inch thick fiberglass unfaced building insulation, about 6 feet of it cut up to fit. I did not block the vent at the bottom of the door, did not cover the heater or pumps, and did not cover the electronic control unit. I just packed the insulation in. I used 3/4 inch ID pipe insulation for the heater hoses, but kept it away from the heater. I agree, even without upgrading the insulation, something is not right if the tub won't maintain temperature. Does the heater run constantly? Is your tub a 120 or 220 volt model? (the Bengal I have is a 330 gallon tub, 110 volt, (1,500 watt heater) and it has no trouble maintaining temperature at 20 degrees out (I have not had the opportunity to check at lower temps). In the spring I plan to remove the insulation to keep the motor from overheating. --Nate
  13. I decided to try a floating spa blanket. I bought the "premium" one from a vendor and it arrived a few days ago and I opened the box this weekend. The "premium" blanket is the 1/4 inch grey close cell foam (the less expensive other blanket type resembles bubble wrap). The blanket was manufactured by gluing two larger pieces together, using a one inch or so wide piece of the same foam, with two glued seams. It looked like the glue seam was supposed to be made by overlapping the foam by about 1/4 inch and gluing. I think I bought the 7 X 7 foot size and it must be cut to fit. No instructions came with the blanket. The blanket was rolled up in a brown unmarked cardboard shipping box. The blanket does not want to flaten out. It appears it may be permanently creased. In addition, it has separated where it was glued to gether, along one of the two seams, since the seam was not overlapped (just the corner of each piece of foam was glued and it was already coming apart before it arrived). The other seam appeas OK. I plan to call the company I purchased it from to either ask for a refund, or a replacement. I am not sure which, at this point. Questions: How does one go about cutting the blanket to fit, especially when the foam does not want to flatten out? The spa I have has rounded contours where the seats molded into it. Also, how easy are these blankets to use? It seems that this may be a lot more trouble than its worth. Opinions? Thanks.
  14. I have to say, that my 450 KW-hr/month usage estimate is just that. I may be off. This is with using the spa once per day on weekdays and twice a day on weekends, one fill during the time period. It may be only $30 a month more, which would equate to 300 KW-Hr per month. My wife bought me a "Kill-O-Watt" power usage meter this Christmas and I would love to figure out how to hook it up to my tub so I could track its power usage over the month. It is theoretically possible, because my Tiger River Bengal is a 120 volt/15 amp hot tub, the the Kill-O-Watt meter I have can handle 15 amps. The problem is that I would have to hard wire it into the curcuit, since the Watkins plug is not a standard outlet plug. I may give it a try, though and mount the meter on the wall of the house and run it for a month and see what it registers. --Nate
  15. My Tiger River Bengal (made by Watkins, the comapny that also makes Hot Springs) uses about $45 per month @10 cents a KW-Hr., which equates to about 15 killowatts a day. This is with an outside temperature of 30 - 40 degrees. This is a 330 gallon tub with full foam insulation. --Nate
  16. Thank you for your responses! I imagine flipping the core is something I can handle. You just unzip its cover, remove the core half and flip it over, reinstall in the cover and zip it up, right? --Nate
  17. I've had my tub a little over two months and a corner of the hot tub cover has warped upwards, creating about a quarter to a half inch gap between to hot tub and the cover. Another corner of the cover has warped too, and the gap is smaller. This causes a small amount of moisture to escape and condense and run down the side of the tub. This is a Tiger River (Watkins) Spa. Has anyone else expreienced this? I plan on mentioning it to the dealer. I have placed a couple of bricks on the hot tub cover on the warped corner, and that pushes it down some, but I think its getting worse. It may be possible I created the situation by opening the cover with the rear straps still latched (I forgot to undo them twice, and broke the catches), thus stressing it, but I am not sure if I caused any damage. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
  18. Therma Spa started a TV ad campaign recently in my area (Northern Virginia). Its a pretty slick ad. I think the ad offered a free DVD on their products. I would thuroughly research this company and its products before buying anything from them. If you look at the BBB report posted, since this company sells nationally, serveral unresolved complaints does not seem like a lot. As for the unfair sales tactics: BUYER BE WARE! Generally, a lot of companies price their products at what the market will bear. With that being said, it is up to the consumer to research what a fair price is, and pay no more. If you like the product, and if the manufactuer comes down to your price, then I see no reason to not buy it, IF YOU ARE SATISIFIED WITH THEIR SERVICE RECORD AND THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT. The final item is, Is the spa made well and energy effecient? I have no idea. This is where your research should begin, and if you determine that it falls short here, move on to another brand. No matter how low the price, you most likely will not be happy! --Nate
  19. About the only thing I can add is that two months ago I bought the Bengal with the exact options you listed, including set up and I paid about $1200 MORE! ($6709.83 was the total, including tax). This was even after a supposidly $500 discount! This was not a "closeout model". This is in Northern Virginia, where prices are high. Where are you located? What you were quoted sounds like a very reasonable price on this tub. Perhaps our tub was more because of transportation made the price higher. Watkins is located in California, clear accross the country. I do think the Bengal is made very well and its a great spa. If you want more jets and power, though, you need to move up to a more expensive line, such as Hot Springs (also made by Watkins Manufacturing). By the way are hot tubs an item you can bargain and bicker with the dealer on price? We did not because we really liked the Tiger River tub and did not have a competing dealer tub lined we liked up to use as a barganing tool. --Nate
  20. I've ben reading on the Forum that the clorine (dichlor or bleach, depending on when water was last changed) should be added right after you get out of the spa. The amount of clorine carrier to add is the amount needed to increase the free chlorine to 3.5 ppm, correct? I was under the impression that it would be better to add the chlorine right BEFORE entering the spa, because you would then have 3.5 ppm of chlorine available to disinfect the water at the beginning of your soak. I used to add the chlorine after exiting the spa (1.5 tsp. dichlor or 1/3 cup bleach in 330 gallons of water) and the next day I would measure (with a Taylor test kit) the free chlorinie level prior to using the spa, and it was 0 - 0.5 ppm. Basically non-existent. The instructions that came with my spa say to add the chlorine immediately before using the spa. Why is it suggested to add the chlorine after using the spa? Thanks. --Nate
  21. When we were considering a spa I looked on homedepot.com and suggested we consider a Keys hot tub, since we could "save" at least 35%. My wife basically said, "Don't you dare........." End of discussion. We bought a Watkins Tiger River Bengal and are darn glad we got a major name brand. BTW, it is 330 gallon and a truely convertable 120/240 volt spa (we found that they are not too common) and we bought it because I did not want to pay for an electrical upgrade (we currently have 150 amp service) on our house if we went with a 240 volt/60 amp tub. The only drawback is that it has one jet pump (and it is a single speed) and the heater can not run when the pump runs, due to the current draw. This is not an issue for us, though. Its on a 20 amp 120 volt dedicated circuit. If I had a newer house with 200 amp electrical service, I'd opt for a 240 V spa with a couple of jet pumps and lots of jets! Maybe in retirement! --Nate
  22. Thank you all for your replies. Another idea I have is to just place a rigid foam insulating board on top of the spa cover. I noticed that there is a one-inch uninsulated gap in the cover in the center, to allow it to fold. Alot of heat comes thru here. This is the material I was thinking of using: http://www.owenscorning.com/around/insulat...s/insulpink.asp If pink is not your color, another manufacturer makes it in blue. I could use duct tape or the like to tape sections together. On windy days perhaps bungee cords could hold the insulation board to the spa. This would add at least 50% to the R value of the existing cover and not be too expensive. Just slide it off and lay on the grass before using the spa. --Nate
  23. Thanks. That's exactly the answers I was looking for. I think I'll try some lithium hypochlorite and see how well it works and disolves for me. I also wanted to know how much the CYA increased per how much dichlor I was adding and Richard's answer provides that. More than I thought! I can't imagine how much CYA some people have in their spas at the end of 4 months, using strictly dichlor for both clorinating and shocking the tub, and I am sure some people will use more dichlor than is necessary! Also, part of the problem in using bleach is that I bleached my shirt acidently and my wife is happy with me using it. It just seems easier to use a powder. The bleach I was using was a no-name brand that could have been sitting around a while. I could get the chlorine up, but it took about twice the amount recommended on this discussion group. Thanks again. --Nate
  24. I am considering getting a floating thermal blanket like the one here: http://www.spadepot.com/shop/ThermoFloat-7...t-P130C637.aspx I am thinking about one mainly for the energy savings (live in Northern Virginia) during the winter. The company selling this blanket also says it promotes longer spa cover life. Does the use of these thermal blankets really save that much on electricity use and/or help the cover to last longer? How much of a hassle are they to remove and keep clean while you use the spa? Are they worth buying? Thanks. --Nate
  25. I've decided I will use a two month interval between water replacement in my spa (I just can not seem to stomach a 3-4 month change interval). At about a month into the current fill, I will test my cyuranic acid levels with a Taylor test kit. I presently use 1.5 tsp. (half a tablespoon) of dichlor prior to using the spa. Its 330 gallons. Use is once every day on weekdays and twice a day on weekends, so I add approximately 5 tablespoons of dichlor per week. My weekly shock is with MPS. If the CYA level appears high after a month of this routine (and I bet it will be), I would like to switch to using a non-combined chlorine. If its really high, I'll make the switch earlier on my next fill. I've read about using bleach, but I would rather have the convenience of a powder that I can store for long periods. I have found that the bleach I tried as a test during the last fill had lost most of its strength. Lithium hypochlorite seems to fit the bill. Its higher cost is not a concern for me. Is lithium hypochlorite a good alternative to using bleach as a source of uncombined chlorine? My understanding is that to get the same level of free chlorine, I have to use about twice as much lithium hypochlorite as dichlor, volume wise. Any opinion? Thanks. --Nate
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