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Spa Savant

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  1. Another factor that you might want to adjust is how often your circulation pump turns on. In my Jacuzzi brand hottub, the circulation pump causes the floater to move around. As it moves through the water it dispenses the bromine. When I first started using a bromine floater, I had the pump set to go on 4 X 30min = 2hrs per day. My bromine level was too high (around 15ppm). I now have the circulation pump come on just for one 30min period per day. My bromine level is now around 5-6ppm. If this factor is adjustable on your hottub, I would give it a try. Good luck, - Simon
  2. Waterbear - OK, I think I get it. The bromine distributed by the floater maintains the bromine level and oxidizes the bather waste. So I don't need to add oxidizer after every soak. Thanks for clearing up my confusion. The purpose of a weekly oxidizing shock (with bleach or with MPS) is to get rid of the bromine byproducts that can cause a smell. It also will bring up my bromine level (temporarily) if it is too low, but I'd still would need to adjust the floater to bring the bromine to the right level. As it turns out, the type of floater I have is exactly the type that you recommended. Do you have a ball park suggestion for which number to set it at? I have a 275 gallon jacuzzi tub. No ozonator. The circulation pump turns on 4 times 30 minutes (2 hours total) per 24 hour period. Water temperature will be 90 while my wife and I are away. We might use the tub about once or twice week when we're home and raise the temp to 104 for our soak, then back down to 90 when we leave. In all honesty, I tried bromine a few years ago based on a dealer's recommendation. This was before I joined this forum and "saw the light". The dealer sold me a floater, bromine tablets, and bromine test strips. He said put the tablets in the floater and use the test strips ... and asked "Will that be cash or credit?" He didn't say anything about bromide or shocking or bromine reserve or water balancing. Needless to say, it didn't work out well and I gave up on bromine back then. Waterbear, thanks again for your help and patience in explaining all of this. - Simon
  3. Waterbear - Thanks again for taking the time to explain things in detail. Here is what I'm still confused about: With chlorine I added about 4 oz of bleach after each soak. This was based on Chem Geek's recommendation that one needs to add some type of oxidizer to handle bather waste after EACH soak. It is independent of tub size since the amount of bather waste is a function of person hours, not tub volume. Since I don't pee in my tub, I'll assume for my purposes that "waste" refers to sweat, which I can do a lot of when the water is warm. Now with bromine, I assume there is still the same amount of bather waste. So don't I need to oxidize this waste with the same amount of chlorine bleach (or MPS?) If I add 2 tablespoons of MPS to handle bather waste for a chlorine tub shouldn't I also add MPS for a bromine tub? YES? NO? If no, then is the waste being taken care of by the bromine automatically on a daily basis? If YES, then how much MPS should I add? Is Chem Geek's rule of thumb the same for chlorine and bromine tubs? So ... could you explain how bather waste is handled in a bromine tub? I know you say that I'm "overthinking" this, but I'm the sort of person who likes to understand the basics of what I'm doing. I'm not a chemist, so I can't handle the detailed the chemical reactions, but I would like to generally understand how a bromine tub handles bather waste and how it's different from a chlorine tub. Sorry to be a pain in the ... well ... let's just say ... "neck". - Simon
  4. I just switched from chlorine (diclor-then-bleach) to bromine (3 step method recommended by Waterbear). Waterbear ... thanks for all the help. I'm having trouble keeping my bromine level down. It is running 12-15ppm. I'd like it in the 4-6ppm range. Here's the story ... 1. My tub is a recent fill (about 2 weeks old) using diclor then bleach. I adjusted TA to 90 and CH to 110. My pH is 7.6 - 7.8. 2. I probably put too much bromide to start. My tub is ~275 gallons. Waterbear recommended 0.5oz of bromide per 100gl. The packet has 2.0 oz. So ... what the heck ... I threw the whole 2 oz in. (Hey ... just call me "devil may care".) I also shocked with 8oz of bleach to match the 2oz of bromide. 3. The next day my bromine was ~14. It took about a day to come down to 8. I tried running jets and boosting temp to speed up the process. It didn't seem to have any effect even after a few hours. So ... I waited. The next evening my bromine was at 8, so my wife and I used the tub for about 30 minutes. Figure one person hour of use. 4. After use, I dumped in 2 tablespoons of MPS as a shock. I set the floater to a low setting ... only a little more than 1/4 inch opening for the water to enter. I'm using 1 inch bromine tablets. (Note: The reason I used MPS as the shock is that I didn't want my bromine reading influenced by FC that might be still kicking around if I had used bleach as the shock. Maybe this is poor "logic"?) 5. The next morning (today) my bromine was 15ppm. I took the floater out. Increased the temp. Now (about 12 hours later) my bromine is about 12ppm. So ... did I screw up by putting in too much bromide to start? It was only 1/2 oz more than recommended. If so, will my bromine level eventually get to my desired range of 4-6ppm if I keep the floater out? Or ... maybe I used too much MPS shock? I figured 2 tbls based on 1 person hour of tub use. One thing I don't understand is the whole concept of the "bromine reserve/bank". Shock (bleach, MPS, ozonator) activates the bromine. So it seems to me that if I use too much shock my bromine level will get too high. Right? Also, if increasing the amount of shock chemical produces more bromine, then why do I even have a floater to add more bromine (and chlorine ... the tablets contain both)? Maybe someone can explain how this works. I'm still confused. It's hard for me to imagine that having the floater on a very low setting overnight would have raised my bromine from 8 to 15ppm in less than 12 hours. Something else must be going on here. If I closed the floater down anymore, it would be almost completely closed. Lastly, I'm using the Taylor K-2006 kit to test for bromine. I'm counting each drop as 1.2ppm of bromine, per chem geek's advice. So ... 12 drops is 12x1.2 which gives me about 14 or 15 ppms of bromine. I assume I'm doing the calculation correctly. Any help/advice would be appreciated. I'd like to use my tub instead of waiting for the bromine level to drop. It's as much fun as watching paint dry. Thanks, - Simon
  5. Jennifer - Sorry you're having problems with your water. Here are some suggestions that may help: 1. "Green water" can be caused by algae or by copper dissolved in your water. Some spa products use copper ions as a sanitizer. Typically, this does not work well. From your list of chemicals my guess (it's only a guess) is that you aren't using copper based products. Because your Cl is zero ... not a good thing ... there's a good chance you have some type of algae or something else growing in your tub. This will use up your Cl (actually it's FC or Free Chlorine). Things growing in your water can also cause bad smells. 2. Your pH is way too high. The acceptable range is 7.2-7.8. I high pH will reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer (Chlorine), can cause skin/eye irritation, and in the longer run can damage your tub components. 3. I don't know what a "Du 50" is. I've never seen the term "Du" when referring to spa/pool chemistry. Maybe it's just my ignorance? 4. An ozonator can help reduce some chemical use, but it is not a substitute for chlorine which is what kills the things growing in your tub. You seem to only be adding chlorine (Lithium Hypochlorite)once a week on Fridays. I don't think this enough. Depending on various factors, you probably should add chlorine every time you use your tub. Also, the type of chlorine you are adding is the most expensive type. 5. Take dealer advice with a grain of salt. They are trying to sell you stuff. Some dealers don't always provide the best information. It depends on the dealer. If you are having problems and the dealer advice isn't working, I'd not waste time or money with the dealer. I think this forum is a much better source of information than the advice you are getting. So ... I have two recommendations. 1. Decontaminate your tub. This will kill what's most likely growing in it now. Here is a decontamination procedure: DECON PROCEDURE. You might get away with just shocking your spa, but I would be on the safe side and get rid of whatever is growing in it. 2. Switch to the Diclor-then-Bleach method of sanitation. Here's theLINK. Read the entire writeup, but focus on the summary section. It's actually much easier than it first seems. However, to do it, you must get a good test kit as described in the link. Good luck, - Simon
  6. Milly101 - "Yellow Scum" doesn't sound good. Since you are having issues with the CYA interfering with your sanitizer, it might mean that you have something growing in your tub. These "bugs" may produce a "bathtub ring" on your hottub. Since you're going to drain your tub anyway, you might consider decontaminating it. Here is a link to the decontamination procedure. Sometimes it's difficult to find the cleaning product locally. I've had the best results with something called .Spa System Flush. Another product that seems to be popular on this forum is "Swirl Away". I've tried "Spa Purge" and "Jet Clean". These last two didn't seem to work for my tub. What I mean by "work for my tub" is that "Spa System Flush" produced the most gunk after use. "Spa Purge" and "Jet Clean" didn't produce any gunk at all in my tub. Good luck, - Simon
  7. Roger - I don't have any experience with Baqua Spa, so I cannot speak from personal experience. However, I do have some general comments that might be helpful: 1. You've gotten advice from two of the most experienced and knowledgeable people on this forum ... waterbear and hillbilly hot tub. I would seriously consider their advice. As the old saying goes ... "A word to the wise is sufficient." 2. The FIRST responsibility of a hottub owner is to make sure his/her water is SAFE. People introduce all sorts of nasty bugs into the water ... bacteria, viruses, mold. These things like the warm water environment and their populations can explode quickly. People do get sick from these things. The purpose of a sanitizer is to kill these bugs before they can multiply and become a threat to your health. There are a limited number of US government "approved" sanitizers for pools and hottubs. Baqua Spa is NOT one of these. (Correction: Baqua Spa is apparently an EPA registered sanitizer. I apologize for my error.) The most common ones are chlorine and bromine. If you or your wife have been in public swimming pools or public hottubs with no skin irritation, there is a good chance that you will also do well with a chlorine sanitizer for your own spa. Maybe some more experienced forum members can comment on which approved sanitizer method is best tolerated in the general population? Personally, I don't know. My experience is limited to chlorine which works well for me. 3. You mentioned that you used "shock" from a pool kit you have. "Shock" is a word that may refer to multiple chemicals. Most likely, it's a "non-chlorine" shock. It also might say "oxidizing" shock. This is NOT a sanitizer. By itself, it probably will not kill the bad bugs in the water at a fast enough rate to make your water safe. (You said you added it to increase the sanitation level.) This type of "shock" is an oxidizer. It's primary purpose is to get rid of bather "waste" such as sweat. It also gets rid of residual chemicals that are byproducts of using chlorine. One can use chlorine as a "shock" and it will kill the bugs. However, I don't know if chlorine shock (or any kind of shock) is compatible with Baqua Spa. I hope this information helps you determine how best to keep your water safe. I'm sure that's a concern for you too. Good luck, - Simon
  8. Milly101 - May I make a suggestion regarding getting the CYA level right? I use the diclor-then-bleach method. After doing a fresh refill and BEFORE I add any diclor, I set aside ALL the diclor that I'm going to use and put it in a small sandwich-type ziplock bag. Then I add my diclor from the bag. When the bag is empty I have a CYA level of ~30ppm. At that point, I start adding clorox bleach as per the diclor-then-bleach method. It's easy to figure out how much diclor to put in the bag. When you add diclor, you get 9ppms of CYA for every 10ppms of chlorine. So ... if I add 35ppm of chlorine (via diclor) to my tub over the first week or two, I'll also have added ~30ppms of CYA by the time my bag of diclor is empty. Go to the POOLCALCULATOR and use the chlorine section. Enter ZERO for the starting point and 35ppm for the target. This will tell you that you need so many ounces of diclor to achieve a goal of 35ppm FC. Well ... this will also give you a goal of ~30ppm CYA. For my tub it's about 2.3 ounces of diclor by weight. I have a small food scale, so I measure out 2.3 ounces and put that in the ziplock bag. Now I'm all set to start adding diclor so that when the bag is done I'll also have ~30ppm CYA. Remember, do NOT use the whole bag of diclor at once ... just add your usual amount as you would normally on a day by day basis until the bag is empty. A couple more things ... 1. CYA gradually diminishes in the hot tub ... about 5ppms/month. So about once a month I throw in a tablespoon of diclor to bring my CYA level back up to about 30ppms. 2. After you do this, you may want to test your CYA. After a couple of refills/tests, you'll gain the confidence that your diclor/CYA calculations are correct. Unfortunately, the CYA test is relatively expensive to do often (unlike FC or pH tests). Each CYA test uses 7ml of reagent. Each little bottle only has 3 tests in it. Unless, I'm having sanitation problems with my tub, I don't test CYA. I depend on the calculation with the POOLCALCULAOR. Good luck, - Simon
  9. Waterbear - Thanks for your detailed response to my questions. Yes, I'm going to give bromine a try. I think my "issue" with it is that I don't have any experience using it and therefore it all seems like a big mystery. When I first bought my hot tub (over 5 years ago), the dealer said it's simple ... just use these test strips and put these chemicals in ... everything will be OK. I joined this forum when the dealer recommendations did work as advertised. You and others on this forum have given me quite an education. Now that I "understand" (loosely speaking, of course) a chlorine tub, it seems easy. I hope I'll have a positive experience with the bromine sanitizer method. One more question ... With chlorine, one tries to keep the Combine Chlorines to a minimum. Is this a concern for bromine tubs? After all, I am adding chlorine as a shock. Should I measure CCs? If so, since I'm using a Taylor Chlorine test kit (K-2006), do I apply a multiplier to it to get a CC value for a bromine tub? And ... if I have CCs >=1.0ppm, what do I do about them ... MPS? Thanks for the help, - Simon
  10. I plan on switching over to bromine after the first of the year. I've read Waterbear's very informative post regarding how to start and maintain a bromine tub. I've been using the diclor/bleach method successfully up until now. The reason I'm switching to bromine is that I'll be away for extended periods of time over the next few months and apparently bromine tubs don't require day to day attention. I'm going to give it a try, but I've got some more questions: 1. How do I calculate how much chemical(s) to add to raise the bromine level? For my chlorine tub, I just use the Poolcalculator and add the required amount of bleach. But with a bromine tub ... let's say I want to shock my bromine tub to X amount of bromine, how much bleach/shock do I add? Is there a similar calculator for bromine? If not, is there a simple rule of thumb to get a rough idea of how much to add. (I do not have an ozonator.) 2. Is there something I can add to lower the bromine level? For my chlorine tub, if the FC is too high, I add some hydrogen peroxide and the FC level comes right down. I occasionally do this in my chlorine tub when the FC is too high (e.g., after shocking) and I want to go in the tub that evening. Will hydrogen peroxide (or some other chemical) work for bromine? In one post, I read that you have to drain the part of the tub and then fill with fresh water to lower the bromine level. This seems like a lot of work and a waste of water, time, and money ... it takes electricity and many hours of waiting to bring the tub up to temperature. Any simple solution here? 3. In another post, I read that the bromine tablets (I plan to use them in a floater) don't have CYA, but they have some other type of carrier/buffer. Do I need to test for this or just not worry about it? The nice thing about the diclor/bleach method is that you only have to test CYA occasionally because bleach doesn't add CYA and adding a tablespoon of diclor once a month seems to work to main a CYA level of around 30-40. With bromine, what do I do? Finally ... maybe I'm making a mistake switching to bromine? I will be away from my tub for a week or two at a time ... yes, I'll miss it. I don't think I can't leave it alone for so long using the diclor-then-bleach sanitizer method. I could use a floater with tricolor tablets. I've done this before for short periods of time (a 10 day vacation) and it works OK. I've also used tricolor with a floater for extended periods of time, but I had problems maintaining the pH ... it was frequently too low and I was constantly adding pH up. Any other suggestions besides draining my tub while I'm gone? Thanks, - Simon
  11. Waterbear - Thanks for the link to using bromine. Can you (or someone else) tell me if I understand the basic concepts and procedures with bromine. Here is what I think. Am I in the ballpark? 1. After balancing the water, you create a bromine reserve by adding Sodium Bromide. When this dissolves in the water it creates the stuff that is the sanitizer (hypobromous acid). This is what my test kit will measure as the bromine level. 2. As the bromine tablets in the floater dissolve (they contain bromine and chlorine to activate the bromine), they will maintain a basic level of sanitizer so that "bad things" won't grow in my tub while I'm not using it. 3. If the level of bromine gets too low, I can add chlorine bleach to shock the water and create more sanitizer. 4. Immediately after using the tub, I should add chlorine to oxidize bather waste and to maintain my bromine sanitizer reserve. Correct??? - Simon
  12. Chem Geek & QCD - Chem Geek ... Thanks for the useful information. I'll save myself some money by not having to purchase a separate bromine kit. QCD ... thanks for catching my error on the kit number. That would have been a $50 mistake! I should know better than to BLINDLY trust Google search. I put in the correct kit number for the search field, but got this incorrect hit. As they say ... "Buyer beware". - Simon
  13. I've been using the diclor-then-bleach method very successfully in my 275 gallon Jacuzzi tub. However, because of I'm not going to be available to use/maintain the tub on a frequent basis, I need to find something that will only require once-a-week (maybe once-every-two-weeks???) of maintenance when the tub is getting minimal use. So ... here are my questions: 1. Assuming minimal use ... my wife and I once every week or two ... can I successfully maintain the tub by testing (and adding chemicals) only once a week? Longer intervals would be preferable. 2. Do I need to buy a WHOLE new test kit? I have the Taylor K-2006 for chlorine. The Taylor bromine kit is a K-2106 which I can get for $43 + shipping at this Amazon SITE. I don't need two complete kits unless most of the chemicals are different. Can I just use my K-2006 and buy a couple of new chemicals? Of course, as the cost of additional chemicals gets close to $43, then I might just as well buy the whole bromine kit. (NOTE: I'm a little confused about the kits. The description of the K-2106 says "chlorine/bromine". Will this kit test both?) 3. I'm assuming that I do NOT need to dump my current tub water when I switch from chlorine bleach to bromine. Correct? My plan is to adjust the water then follow the directions for bromine. 4. I plan to use a floater to supply the bromine and clorox bleach (6%) as the shock. Any other suggestions? Thanks, - Simon
  14. QCD - Sodium Persulfate is sold by Kem-Tek as a non-chlorine shock. See the link to their website. Also, here is a link to the MSDS for the product. In California, this product is sold by Orchard Supply Hardware (a large hardware chain). Via this forum, I discovered that this was not MPS, so I stopped buying it. I switched to the non-chlorine shock sold by Leslie Pools which is MPS. I didn't have any skin irritation problems with Sodium Persulfate, but I was afraid that one of my guests might have a negative reaction. If Kem-Tek sells sodium Persulfate as "non-chlorine shock", other companies might do the same. As always, it's a good idea to read the label to make sure you know what you are buying. You and others on this forum have been very helpful in educating the rest of us on what to use and not use in our spas. Thanks! - Simon
  15. QCD - Thanks for Khan Academy link. I bookmarked it. It has a lot of educational videos on a variety of subjects. I watched the one on the "mole" under the chemistry heading. I thought it was very well done because it was oriented toward the non-scientist who is interested in the subject but doesn't possess a technical background in the subject ... i.e., it uses simple language and examples to explain basic concepts. I didn't have time to watch other videos, but I am hoping they are just as good. A great reference tool! Thanks, - Simon
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