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Everything posted by waterbear

  1. This is how to lower TA correctly without damaging your pool. You have a vinyl liner pool and dropping the pH too low can and will damage your liner. https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/28846-lowering-total-alkalinity-howto/ Sometimes it can take a LOT of acid. Also test strips do not have the precision for water adjustments. Your strips have a precision of 40 ppm. You need a decent test kit that has a precision of 10 ppm. Invest in a Taylor K-2006 which also had the acid demand test that tells you how much acid you need to add.
  2. Frog@ease is a chlorine system that uses a special type of chlorine in the cartridge. SpaFrog is their bromine system. Both use silver (the mineral cartridge) as a secondary, slow acting sanitizer that, in theory, allows a lower chlorine or bromine level but, IMHO, the primary (chlorine or bromine) fast acting sanitizer/oxidizer can easily be depleted by a large bather load. Remember, every person that enters the spa adds fecal matter (and bacterial enteric pathogens, urine, and sweat (chemically almost identical to urine) no mater how clean they think they are. IMHO, 3 step bromine or dichlor/beach are the way to go.
  3. Hose it off. Often this is all that is needed. You can soak it in a solution of powder dishwasher detergent or TSP (1 cup to every 5 gal of water) overnight then hose every 3 to 5 cleanings to extend filter life. Always have a spare cart on hand so you can take the dirty one out and drop the clean one in. Replace the filter when it shows wear or when the dirt becomes embedded. Do not acid wash your filter unless there is a buildup of calcium scale still visible after cleaning. If it needs acid washing you must soak it in cleaner (Dishwasher detergent or TSP) overnight first or you will ruin the filter because the crude on it can be hardened by the acid and become impossible to remove. Unicel (one of the largest manufacturer sof OEM and replacement filters) has excellent instructions on their website. They also discuss acid washing in the FAQ. The above applies to chlorine and bromine. If you are using biguinde/peroxide then your filters will gunk up, need a special cleaner for biguinide systems, and will have to replace your filter frequently. It's the nature of the beast with biguinide/peroxide sanitizer systems such as SoftSoak and BaquaSpa.
  4. Silver will kill biofilms and algae but, like copper and zinc, is not a FAST ACTING sanitizer. Silver based algaecides have been on the market for many years. and the Nature 2 and Spa Frog products are silver based. However, none of these are a replacement for a fast acting residual sanitizer such as chlorine or bromine because the kill times for pathogens are too slow.
  5. Your TA depends on what sanitizer you use. For liquid chlorine, lithium hypochlorite, and calcium hypochorite which are net pH neutral (alkaline on application, acidic reaction when they sanitizer) or a salt water system and/or ozone which increases aeration then you want your TA low, 50 to 70 ppm is usually a good range, for dichlor and trichlor, MPS, and 2 or 3 step bromine activated by MPS or diclhor which are net acidic (acidic on application and sanitizing) then you want your TA much higher to prevent your pH from crashing from the continued application of acid. Recommend range is 100 to 120 ppm or even possibly a bit higher. For 2 or 3 step bromine activated by chlorine then you want to run your TA in the 60 to 80 ppm range in most instances. In all cases running the pH higher (above 7.6 for chlorine and above 7.8 for bromine) will increase pH stability since the lower you put the pH the faster it will rise. Also adding a secondary borate buffer in the 30 to 50 ppm range will also increase pH stability in addition to the other benefits of adding borate to your tub or pool. Realize that other factors come into play such as the amount of aeration so there are no hard and fast rules. Bottom line, if you pH is rising too fast and is not stable and you are trying to maintain your pH above 7.6 or 7.8 then your TA is too high. Lower it. If your pH (and TA) keep dropping too fast or crashing to dangerously low levels at the low end of your testable pH range then you TA is too low. Raise it.
  6. The problem is the reagents used for pH testing. Phenol red will convert to either clorophenol red (when using chlorine) or bromophenol (wen using bromine) red at sanitizer levels of 3 ppm to 5 ppm (depending on manufacturer) for just about every test kit on the market. These values of 3 to 5 ppm fall within normal sanitizer ranges .These indicators have the same color changes as phenol red but at a much lower pH range and will cause pH to read high when, in fact, the actual pH is much lower. I(f they read at the top of the color reading (pH of 8.0 or higher) it is possible that your actual pH is could be below 6.8. It does not matter if the reading is obtained with a comparator block or a colorimieter (meter) if the color is not indicating an accurate pH result. The reason that I recommend the Taylor kits is because both their R-0004 (large comparator) and R-0014(small comparator) pH indicators, while phenol red, have additional chemicals to counteract this problem and provide accurate pH results up to 10 ppm chlorine or bromine. IF you want a digital readout then you could invest in a glass electrode pH meter such as the Myron L ULTRAPEN PT2 but these are, IMHO, more work and expen$e to properly maintain (calibrating them with standard solutions on a regular basis, having to store the electrode wet, replacing the electrode regularly) than using a good colorimetric test (which will supply more than enough precision for your pool or spa).
  7. In that case your UV will help break down chloriaimines (combined chlorine). However you will need to superchlorinate or possibly shock with MPS if you have persistent combined chlorine higher than .5 ppm. You will need to leave it uncovered when you do this to allow the volatile oxidation byproducts to outgas. Once we have good test results we can see exactly what is needed. Does the location of the swimspa have good forced ventilation? Air quality is a factor for indoor pools and spas. In the mean time review the videos on the Taylor Technologies website that I posted ablve to learn how to use your kit properly and when you test chlorine use a 10 ml sample size for a resolution of .5 ppm and a 25 ml sample size for the TA and CH tests for a 10 ppm resolution.
  8. You are not in over your head. It's just a learning curve and your experience is very common. Here is what I suggest: 1 Get a Taylor K-2006 (Amazon or an online pool supply retailer. Most pool stores do not carry it in my experience. 2 test your water (watch the videos in the link I provided to Taylor Technologies to learn how) 3. post your results here. We can then determine your next step and help you balance your water. . Since you said you are using dichlor it means you are not opposed to daily dosing of chlorine. My suggestion is to get your Cyanuric acid level in the 30 to 50 ppm range and dose daily with liquid chlorine or bleach to mainain a 3 to5 ppm Free Chlorine reading. I am suggesting a slightly higher Cyanuric acid levll than the post on the dichlor/bleach method because I am assuming your swim spa is not covered and exposed to sunlight. 4. UV sanitizing doesn't do much , IMHO, since it only sanitizes the water in contact with the bulb in the reaction chamber. It might also generate some ozone (depending on the type of UV bulb) but ozone is an oxidizer, not a sanitizer. UV is not a residual sanitizer which means it does not stay in the water to sanitize matter introduced by bathers and swimmers. FWIW, every bather introduces fecal matter, urine, and sweat (chemically very similar to urine) no matter how clean they THINK they are and there needs to be a fast acting RESIDUAL sanitizer in the water to handle this. Chlorine, Bromine, and Biguinide/Peroxide do this.
  9. Alkalinity increaser is sodium bicarbonate is sodium hydrogen carbonate is baking soda. Save yourself some money and just get baking soda. No, The alkalinity is not fine. FIne is not a reading. Strips are notoriously inaccurate and do not have the precision needed to balance water. When using an organic chlorine source (trichlor or dichlor) you are essentially always adding acid since they have an acidic pH (acidic on application and acidic reaction when they sanitize). This means that you need to run your total alkalinity in the 100 to 120 ppm range or possibly a bit higher. This requires a test that will give you a 10 ppm resolution on the test, not a 40 ppm resolution.. My suggestion is to invest in a Taylor Technologies K-2006 test kit. It will test all the parameters you need to test and is worth every penny. Don't try to save a few dollars with the K-2005. The K-2006 uses FAS-DPD testing which has several advantages over the DPD method used in the K-2005. https://www.taylortechnologies.com/en/page/231/k-2006-complete-kit-with-fas-dpd A bigger concern when using exclusively dichlor is overstabilization. Do you know your cyanuric acid (stabilizer) level? Dichlor adds 9 ppm cyanuric acid for every 10 ppm free chlorine added and this can quickly over stabilize the water which essentially inactivates the chlorine. It is sometimes referred to as 'chlorine lock' and the only cure is to drain and refill to bring the stabilizer level down only to repeat the process again. Switching to an unstabilized chlorine source sis a better idea. My recommendation is sodium hypochlorite (liquid chlorine or plain, unscented chlorine laundry bleach). Unsttabilized chlorine sources (sodium hypochlorite, lithium hypochlorite, and calcium hypochlorite) are essentially pH neutral. They are alkaline on addition and have an acidic reaction when they sanitizer. They require running the alkalinity lower, ususally around 60 to 90 ppm depending on the amount of aeration from jets, water features, ozone, and salt water chlorine generators present in the system. Once again, strips do not have the precision for determining this. Here are some posts that might be helpful: https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/52523-some-truths-about-ph-and-ta/ This post explains how total alkalinity works: https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/28846-lowering-total-alkalinity-howto/ This post is on the dichlor/bleach method and, although they apply to spas can also be used in a swim spa: https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/23090-dichlorbleach-method-in-a-nutshell/
  10. 1. Decide on your sanitizer method. I would suggest either 3 step bromine or dichlor/bleach. 2. Get a good test kit. I strongly recommend Taylor Techologies K-2006 or K-2106 depending on whether you decide to use chlorine or bromine. 3. Fill spa and purge. Repeat as needed. This will remove any biofilm and gunk in the plumbing. Ahh-some is a good product for this but there are several on the market. Some work better than others. 4. Balance water and add sanitizer. 5. Enjoy the tub.
  11. Some more information would be helpful. How are you testing? What is your total alkalinity. What sanitizer are you using? (My guess is either trichlor or dichlor. Baking soda is used to raise Total alkalinity, not pH. However, if the TA is low and you are using triclor or dichlor that could explain your low pH. Sodium carbonate is best for raising pH when TA is low. Borax is best for raising pH when TA is in normal range. If you would post a full set of test results and your testing method we can take it from there.
  12. Trichor is generally not recommended for tubs because it is extremely acidic and can cause damage, not to mention the rise in CYA. SWCGs still need regular testing to make sure FC, CC, pH, and TA are in line. Also consider that if the tub is covered and not being used there is no or little sanitizer demand and, as long as you are testing and monitoring sanitizer levels weekly there is probably no need for daily additions of chlorine, unlike with an uncovered outdoor pool that is exposed to sunlight (even with CYA UV light breaks down chlorine) and organic matter falling into the pool (leaves, bugs, pollen, etc.) which also create a chlorine demand. As far as allergies and sensitivities go, it's hard to say what the threshold is for a reaction. You might want to consult an allergist if it is determined that you do have a sensitivity to hypobroumous acid or bromide salts.
  13. One needs expose to an allergen over time before one develops an allergy. How long it takes partially depends on how often and at what level you are exposed to the sensitizer. Dermatitis from hot water does happen in some individuals, it is a form of heat rash and can appear as small, itchy bumps or a generalized redness of the skin. There can be an underlying contributing medical condition.
  14. What is your chlorine source? My guess is that you have a feeder that uses trichlor tabs and I will also guess that might have a cartridge filter, which is not backwashed. I will also guess that you might be shocking with dichlor. Trichlor adds 6 ppm CYA for every 10 ppm of chlorine added. Dichlor adds 9 ppm CYA for every 10 ppm of chlorine added, Backwashing a sand of DE filter and winterizing a pool does help lower CYA a bit but bottom line is that most pools running on trichlor and/or dichlor will become overstabilzed. Test strips are notorious for inaccurate although precise results. Accuracy is the degree of closeness to the correct value, Precision is the degree of repetition of the same value under similar conditions. IE: retesting the same sample will give the same results but there is no guarantee that the tested result is right. My recommendation is to ditch the strips and get a Taylor K-2006 test kit (Not the K-2005). It's worth every penny! https://www.taylortechnologies.com/en/page/231/k-2006-complete-kit-with-fas-dpd As far as the "drain and refill dance to lower CYA" goes it can take multiple partial drain and refill cycles to get the CYA into a workable range. Once solution is to turn your feeder to only add about 2 ppm FC and then use liquid chlorine or plain, unscented chlorine laundry bleach (both are sodium hypoclorite) to maintain the FC at the proper level, which depends on the CYA level. The higher the CYA the higher you need to maintain the FC for the same sanitizing ability.
  15. I’ve thought about this but this tub has been bromine for 1.5 years. I haven’t had an issue prior to this. Some people do react negatively to bromine. However, you will not have a reaction initially, You have to have repeated exposure before your immune system responds to a sensitizer so this would not be unusual.
  16. What are you shocking the tub with, chlorine or MPS?
  17. LaMotte uses DPD to test sanitizer and MPS (non chlorine shock) will test as combined chlorine. This known interference is a limitation of DPD testing. Taylor does have a special reagent to remove the interference from MPS for use with their K-2005 (DPD) and K-2006 (FAS-DPD) test kits. The jump in pH was an interference from the high level of MPS. The pH was not that high. In fact, MPS is acidic and your pH was prbably a bit lower than 7.6 at that point. Lesson here is to never test pH when sanitizer test indicates it is at or above 10 ppm (TC or TB). MPS is a known sensitizer. Stop using it. IF you are using bromine then activate with chlorine, not MPS (I prefer liquid chlorine or plain, unscented laundry bleach (both are sodium hypochlorite, only difference is concentration with laundry beach usually 5.25%, 6%, or 8.25% and liquid chlorine 10% or 12.5%. The generator produces sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Ozone destroys chlorine btw. Is your ozone unit UV-C or Corona Discharge? Is your UV a separate germicidal lamp or the UV in the ozone generator? My guess is that it's from MPS. Dermatitis from hot water does happen in some individuals, it is a form of heat rash and can appear as small, itchy bumps or a generalized redness of the skin. There can be an underlying contributing medical condition.
  18. are you asking for one or telling us about one?
  19. Post a full set of test results (and how they were done such as strips, drop based kit such as Taylor, Meter and reagents such and ColorQ, Dealer testing and how what they used--strips, disc and meter, liquid regents) and what sanitizer system you are using. Also, if you can, post a picture. It will really help. This way we will have a good idea of what might be going on. I am particularly interested in what sanitizer you are using and also your calcium hardness, pH, and total alkalinity. Also, if you are using stabilized chlorine such as dichlor or trichlor what your cyanuric acid (stabilizer) level is. I can think of at least 4 possible causes for what you are describing and we need to narrow it down.
  20. This is because teaspoons and tablespoons are volume measures and they are specifying a weight measure.
  21. According to "15 U.S. Code § 1453 - Requirements of labeling; placement, form, and contents of statement of quantity; supplemental statement of quantity" it would be weight since volume measure is specified to use the largest volume measurement which means it would say '1 pint". Also, since the Bottle also state that it is 453 grams this is a weight measurement and not volume as I originally stated in a previous post, and the rounding of 453g is specified in "NIST Handbook 133, Fourth Edition" for weight labeling. If it were a volume measurement the bottle would also be labeled in either milliliters or liters, most likely as .47 liters. This is assuming it is a US pint and not an Imperial (UK) pint which is 20 ounces. The labeling in both grams and ounces can be clearly seen in the attached picture confirming that it's by weight. Also, the dosing would be by weight.
  22. And you made the assumption that the phone rep knows what they are talking about. Sadly, that is often not the case.
  23. Clean the filter when you get a rise of 8-10 psi on high speed (if you have a variable or 2 speed pump). For example, if your initial PSI reading is 20 with a clean filter you don't have to clean the cart until it rises to 28-30 PSI.
  24. You are using stabilized chlorine which adds cyanuric acid (stabilizer). the FC level you need to maintain is determined by the CYA level. If the CYA is too high the chlorine is essentially deactivated which allows things to grow in the tub. The test kit you need is a Taylor K-2006, which uses FAD-DPD titration for testing chlorine (NOT the K-2005 which uses DPD colorimetric test for chlorine). It will be worth every penny, Also, you cannot maintain a stable pH without knowing the total alkalinity. Testing for pH and total chlorine (OTO test for chlorine) which is what your test kit does) is ok for a quick daily test but you need a full test kit to determine what's going on in your spa. The information you provided is essentially useless without a full set of test results (Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine, pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness, and Cynauric Acid which are commonly abbreviated as FC, CC, pH, TA, CH and CYA) I would recommend reading the "sticky" posts at the top of the hot tub water chemistry section of the forum and pay particular attention to the Dichlor/Bleach post and the ones that I wrote. In a nutshell, get a Taylor K-2006, watch the videos on the Taylor Technologies website to properly learn how to use it, test your water, and post the results.
  25. Other than the fact that your bromine is a bit high these numbers look good for a bromine spa. MPS is acidic so it will deplete TA so when it drops below 50 ppm use baking soda to bring it up. 50 to 70 ppm is a sweet spot for most spas. High sanitizer levels can cause DPD tests to bleach out and your pool store is using either testing discs or strips with meter to give you results like that. IF your Taylor kit is a k-2006 (FAS-DPD testing for bromine or chlorine ) then bleach out is not really a problem unless your bromine is really through the roof and I would trust it over the pool store test. IF it's a K-2005 (DPD testing) then it can and will bleach out at moderately high sanitizer levels and indicate that your bromine (or chlorine) is much lower than it actually is. This can affect pH and TA readings since high sanitizer will cause inaccurate pH readings (pH will seem to be much higher than it actually is because the pH indicator, phenol red, is converted into bromophenol red or chlorophenol red both of which have the same color changes as phenol red but at a much lower pH range and the purple red color that indicates a pH of 8.2 or higher with phenol red indicate a pH of 6.7 or higher with chlororphenol red or 6.8 or higher with bromophenol red. High sanitizer can also bleach out the indicators used for TA testing leading to off resuts, particularly with colormetric tests (read with a meter) vs titration tests (such as Taylor's).
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