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Everything posted by waterbear

  1. Copper stains and turns hair green. Period! End of story!. Metal ions are not fast acting primary sanitizers with the exception of silver nitrate with MPS and HOT WATER. (Nature 2) but it also requires chlorine shocking so it's not totally chlorine free. All metal systems, whether active ionizers, passive systems like Nature 2 or SpaFrog, or copper sulfate and/or silver nitrate based 'alternative' sanitizers which often have the word 'Blue' in their names because of the color of copper sulfate (which are, in fact, nothing more than algaecides) still require using an oxidizing primary sanitizer for fast kill times and action against viruses. The same goes for enzyme additives and qauaternary ammonium based 'serums' and such. They are an unnecessary added expense. Some of these products say that you can use a reduced chlorine or bromine level but in actual practice this lower level of fast acting residual sanitizer (chlorine or bromine) is quickly depleted by the bather load. A tub has a small quantity of water and a large bather load. Metal ions (call them minerals if it makes you feel more warm and fuzzy but in fact copper, silver, and zinc are metals. They do have a limited use as algaecides in swimming pools under certain conditions but would still not be my first choice because of their drawback. While they are classified as pesticides with an EPA registration number they are not EPA registered fast acting residual sanitizers. Fun facts: EVERY person that enters the tub involuntarily urinates about 5─10 mL in the water and involuntarily releases about 10─25 mg of fecal matter (Courtesy of Taylor Technologies). They also sweat and sweat and urine are almost chemically identical. The water to bather ratio in a tub (most are under 500 gallons) is extremely small when compared to a pool (average size of most residential pool is 15,000 to 20,000 gallons) or even a swim spa (normally in the range of 1500, to 2500 gallons) so a fact acting residual sanitizer is a must! IF you are going the bromine route I suggest 3 step bromine since you are in the US according to your IP address. (Sodium bromide is no longer available in Canada so alternative methods are needed). 1. Add sodium bromide on filling to create your bromide bank in the water 2. oxidize (chlorine is the preferred oxidizer but MPS can be used. My preferred chlorine source is Sodium Hypochlorite, also know as pool chlorine and also as liquid chlorine laundry bleach (such as Clorox) Once you create a bromide bank the chlorine oxidizes the sodium bromide into hypobromous acid and no chlorine is in the tub. 3. put in a floater with bromine tab to maintain the bromine santizer levels in proper range. (Fun fact, most bromine tabs and 1 step bromine granules are mostly chlorine). why?
  2. There are a few ways to deal with this situation. My preferred method for more than a day or two is: 1. maintain a 30-50 ppm borate level in the tub 2. shock with chlorine before you leave and then turn off the tub if possible 3. shock again with chlorine when you return and restart the tub. if you can't turn it off the tub circulate at the lowest speed and turn of ozone if you can.
  3. soft water is water that does not have CH (calcium hardness) or magnesium hardness either. Water softeners work by replacing the calcium and magnesium in your water with either sodium or potassium, depending on whether you are using salt or potassium chloride in your brine tank.
  4. Peat moss lowers pH, not calcium hardness. I've used it in aquariums for that purpose. It will also acidify soil. The ONLY way to remove calcium is by an ion exchange medium as found in a water softener or by reverse osmosis. A sequestrant can chelate calcium but does not remove it from the water. The easiest way to raise calcium is by adding calcium chloride, which is what calcium hardness increaser is. IF you are using chlorine be sure to get a pool/spa grade of calcium chloride because much of what is sold as de icer contains enough sodium bromide to convert some of the chlorine to bromine. If you are using bromine it probably does not matter much since yo want to create a bromide bank anyway.
  5. If you want to try another borate test STRIP (not kit) you can but if you can get the LaMotte borate test STRIPS try to. IF you were using a biguinde/peroxide sanitizer system like Bacqa or Softsoak then you would need 50 to 80 ppm for the algae inhibiting effect. There should be no problem going a bit over 50 ppm but you don't want it too high because it becomes a part of the TA and it needs to be in the right range for the best pH buffer effect. Borate is like CYA, it is lost mainly by splashout. Test it every 2 to 4 weeks depending on how often you need to top off the water from splashout. Evaporation does not remove it and in fact can cause tested levels to rise until water is added to compensate for the evaporation. However, evaporation is usually a non issue in a covered tub. As far as multifunction products a good rule of thumb is if it says 4 in 1 (or 3 in 1 or 5 in 1 or any other combination) STAY AWAY. They often cause more problems than they correct. Sufate will build up in the water and the only way to remove it is by water change. MPS, Dry acid, and your 4 in 1 product all add sufate to the water.
  6. FC .5 and CC 6.5 means that there are organics or biofilm in your tub. are these results after shocking or after the tub has been sitting? If the CC is that high after shocking I would try purging. This condition probably occurred because of under-chlorination when your CYA levels were high combined with the ozone destroying what little chlorine was being added that allowed stuff to 'grow' in the tub. As far as how much 2.5 cups of 6% bleach will raise FC, it depends on the volume of water which I did not see in your posts, In a 500 gal spa it will raise FC by 19 ppm. In a 350 gal spa, 28 ppm.
  7. Use softened water and bring your CH to around 130 ppm if it is lower than that. There are no chemicals that will lower CH. CH above around300 ppm can lead to scale deposits on the tub surface. If you current softener is producing water of 1 grain that is about 17 ppm. not really. The salt dissolves to produce a saturates solution in your salt tank and the same amount of brine is used for each resin recharge. The only way to lower salt usage is to change your backwash frequency or the pounds of salt setting which controls the amount of water in the brine tank if I am not mistaken and therefore the amount of salt that will dissolve to produce a saturate solution. IF your softener valve does true on demand backwash based on water usage or is a metered valve and not a time clock on a set schedule you will probably not see a difference. If your unit uses a timeclock you can set it to backwash less frequently to save salt but that is usually not a good idea.
  8. No, wrong information. The K2005 is a DPD kit for both chlorine or bromine. K2006 is an FAS-DPD kit for chlorine which can also be used for chlorine by multiplying the FC test by 2.25 to get a total bromine reading. It is identical tot he K-2005 except for the FAS-DPD chlorine test instead of the DPD chlorine test. FAS-DPD testing has many benefits over DPD testing such as better precision , easier, even for colorblind individuals, and a much greater testing range. DPD testing maxes out at 5 ppm unless you resort to cumbersome sample dilutions and is prone to bleach out at high sanitizer levels leading you to believe sanitizer is low or non existent when in reality is it high. K2106 is an FAS-DPD kit for bromine and is identical in all other respects to the K-2005 and K-2006 except that it does not include a test for CYA which is not needed for bromine.
  9. The Taylor K2106 is the FAS -DPD kit for bromine. It is identical the the K2006 for chlorine except for the different strength of FAS titrant and the inclusion of the CYA test in the K2006. You can use a K2006 to test bromine by doing the free chlorine test and multiplying the chlorine results by 2.25 to get a total bromine reading. The combined chlorine test and the CYA test are not done on a bromine tub. All other tests (pH, acid and base demand, TA, and CH are identical in both kits. I would not recommend the K2005 since it has some limitation in testing because it uses the DPD method but is is for both chlorine and bromine and, except for the sanitizer testing method, is identical to the k2006. DPD testing has a limited range, suffers from bleachout which can indicate no or low sanitizer when, in fact, sanitizer is high, and requires a cumbersome sample dilution technique to verify if the sanitizer is actually low or if high sanitizer is bleaching out the DPD reagent. The FAS-DPD method found in the K2006 and K2106 do not have these drawbacks. While expensive, Taylor kits are well worth the money. The Canadian price is set by the sole Canadian distributor Lowry & Associates and is quite a bit more than US prices but are still worth the money compares to other test kits available.
  10. Get some borate test strips (I recommend the LaMotte ones since they are MUCH easier to read than the strips from Taylor, Hach, and AquaChek. The Lamotte have a color change of rose pink to tan while the others are very close shades of tan that are rather inconclusive) You want borate at 30 to 50 ppm for a chlorine system. I initially bring it to 50 ppm and monitor biweekly to monthly (more often if you need to refill the tub frequently to top it off) and when it drops to 30 bump it back up to 50 ppm. The product you are using is a mixture of borax and boric acid to create a pH neutral borate source. Borax by itself is alkaline and requires the addition of acid with its use since it raises pH and boric acid will cause a pH drop.. Carefree is NOT MPS. MPS (sometimes called KMPS since K is the chemical symbol for potassium) is Potassium Monopersulfate. Your product is a mixture of of a peroxodisulfate oxidizer (which is a known irritant to the skin), and dry acid (sodium hydrogen sulfate is another name for sodium bisulfate AKA dry acid or pH down). NOt sure why the sodium sulfate is present but I suspect is is a filler since it merely adds sodium and sulfate ions. This product will lower your pH and TA. Not sure if it will have a greater or lesser impact than KMPS but I suspect that it will have a greater impact because of the inclusion of dry acid. I would use it with caution. Bottom line, if your CC is 1 ppm or less after shocking then you really don't need KMPS or any other non chlorine shock. Shock when CC is above 1 ppm. IF your CC is persistently higher then 1 ppm after shocking then the use of a non chlorine shock might prove helpful.
  11. Keeping the tub covered while not in use keeps the heat in, minimizes evaporation and keeps debris out of the tub. It will hinder the removal of volatile oxidation byproducts,which is why some hot tubs have persistent high combined chlorine readings. IF yours are 1 ppm or less after shocking I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. You might want to leave the tub uncovered for a few hours after shocking since this will allow oxidation byproducts to gas off and the high chlorine levels will have time to drop. This can lessen the damage that high chlorine can do to your cover. Keeping the tub covered will not interfere with biofilm formation or inhibit the chlorine. The first is primarily because of the high bather load to water ratio and the second is primarily from high CYA. Keeping a tub covered will actually help prevent the destruction of chlorine (and bromine for that matter) from the UV in sunlight.
  12. You would probably do much better with either a robotic cleaner or, if you can re-plumb your cleaning port to pressure instead of suction and install a booster pump, a pressure side cleaner (Polaris, Hayward, and Pentair have pressure side models) . Suction side cleaners do tend to get stuck. Their main advantage is lower cost but they suck everything into the filter, which then needs to be cleaned. Both robotic and pressure side have independent collection bags or chambers on the cleaner itself.
  13. Please don't double post. It lessens the chances of you getting your post answered properly. I have replied to your post under Hot Tub Water Chemistry, which is the proper place and am locking this one.
  14. bring it up to a minimum of 2 ppm FC if you are leaving the N2 in the tub. Personally, I would maintain the FC at 3 to 6 ppm with a CYA of 30 ppm If your CYA is higher then you need to run the FC higher to maintain the same sanitier activity. The N2 is a silver nitrate cartridge. Silver has very slow kill times, is ineffective against viruses, and is better suited to drinking water sanitation where the water is in a contact chamber with no introduction of contaminants (bathers), which would requires a FAST acting residual sanitizer. SIlver/MPS with HOT water (as found in a hot tub) ARE an effective sanitizer but, as you noted, some people are sensitive to MPS. Once you switch to chlorine with silver you are relying on the chlorine to handle the bather load and the silver works when the tub is not in use to supplement the chlorine. Fun facts: EVERY person that enters the tub involuntarily urinates about 5─10 mL in the water and involuntarily releases about 10─25 mg of fecal matter (Courtesy of Taylor Technologies). They also sweat and sweat and urine are almost chemically identical. The water to bather ratio in a tub (most are under 500 gallons) is extremely small when compared to a pool (average size of most residential pool is 15,000 to 20,000 gallons) or even a swim spa (normally in the range of 1500, to 2500 gallons) so a fact acting residual sanitizer is a must!
  15. Without a full set of test results it's impossible to say what might be going on. Low pH is the red flag that stands out to me since phosphates are often a non issue. How low WAS you pH? Was the green water a clear emerald green (indicating copper) or a cloudy green (indicating algae)? If the green water was caused by algae then it means the sanitizer levels were low and the tub was exposed to sunlight (necessary for the growth of green algae) which is unlikely in a tub kept covered. Phosphate removers are Lanthanum (a rare earth metal) salts that work by causing phosphate to precipitate out as Lanthanum phosphate, which will cloud the water and eventually get filtered out. They create more problems than they sovle, IMHO. This explains the foam and the filter problem. However, there are better ways to deal with algae, IMHO, if that is what is causing the green water. Phosphates are algae food and could be partially responsible for algae blooms but maintaining proper sanitizer levels and using a borate additive are effective ways of dealing with them and removing them only work when phosphate is the limiting factor in algae growth. Often it is not. However, it is a limiting factor that can be tested. and dealt with chemically. The other limiting factors are nitrites and nitrates, which can be tested but the only way to lower them is by draining and refilling with water that does not contain nitrite/nitrate so there is no product that you can be $old to remove them. To give a real life example, my own pool and attached spa have phosphate levels of over 1000 ppb (essentially off the charts), has been that way for about 15 years, is exposed to full Florida sun, and has not had an algae outbreak in that time, including a 3 week vacation where the pool and spa were shocked and then turned off (and left uncovered and exposed to the sun) When I returned the water was still clear with no algae so I just shocked again once I turned on the pumps. I do run 50 ppm borate, which is an effective algaecide and preventative, in addition to its other benefits.
  16. Without a FULL set of test results it's impossible to know what might be going on. Also most inexpensive (under a few hundred dollar) digital pH meters are not that accurate and all pH meters do require calibration against standard solutions on a regular basis (before each use is best but at least monthly. They also have a lifespan and the electrode (or the entire meter if the electrode is not replaceable) should be changed out yearly. Some also require that the electrode be stored wet in a special solution. The pH test in the Taylor is a better choice unless you have a laboratory grade pH meter, keep it calibrated, and replace the electrode (or meter) yearly. IF you r pH is that unstable I would recommend bringing up the TA to 50 ppm and see if that helps stabilize it. Do this in 10 ppm increases, giving a week or two between each increase until the pH becomes stable. Also instead of maintaining the pH at 7.5 keep it at around 7.7 and consider adding 50 ppm borate to the water.
  17. no because it is also applicable to a bromine spa where CYA is not a factor. As I said, because of the very small water to bather ratio when compared to a swim spa or pool the buildup of organics (from sweat, urine, feces, body oil, creams and lotions, etc.) in the water from bathers builds up quickly and cannot be completely oxidized. In a larger body of water such as pool the amount of organics from bathers is more dilute and can be handled easily by normal sanitation.
  18. Normally every 3-4 months. This is the recommendation of most manufacturers, btw. Remember that there is a very high bather to water ratio so it's better to start fresh 3 or 4 times a year. It's also a good idea to purge on at least every other water change. There is a formula that some use to determine how often to change the water (but I don't really follow it since it can have you changing the water monthly under some circumstances and every 3-4 months is normally more than adequate). Divide the gallons of your hot tub by 3, then divide it again by the number of daily users to get an approximation of the number of days between water changes. If you seach on the internet for how often to change the water in a hot tub you will find that just about every source recommends every 3-4 months, btw. These recommendation are based on using either chlorine or bromine. Biguinde/perxoide and silver with either chlorine or bromine might need more frequent water changes.
  19. 1) please post a FULL set of test results 2) if your CYA is 80 ppm then you need to maintain a FC level of 6-12 ppm for NORMAL chlorination and would need to shock to 20 -25 ppm. If you have not been maintaining these FC levels there is a good chance that there could be a biofilm buildup in the plumbing. contributing to the persistent CC. 3) are you using a 10 ml sample or a 25 ml sample when testing FC and CC and exactly how many drops of the FAS titrant are needed to change the color from pink to colorless for each titration?
  20. NO! Yes, chlorine tabs (trichlor) are EXTREMELY acidic and can cause a dangerous pH crash in the small amount of water in a tub. Your one step product already contains chlorine (dichlor) which is only mildly acidic and much safer for hot tub use. Bleach is also safe for hot tub use. A bromide bank or reserve is created by adding 100% sodium bromide (NOT available in Canada, btw). If you are using a one step product (mixture of dichlor and sodium bromide) or just bromine tabs it can take several weeks before there isenough bromide in the water to create your 'bank'. However, since chlorine is also being added your tub does have a fast acting residual sanitizer present (chlorine) so the water is sanitized until enough bromide is present for all the chlorine to oxidize the bromide to hypobromous acid. If you are using bromine then you do not need to worry about CYA since CYA does NOT stabilize bromine. You can continue using dichlor or you can use bleach. You are over-complicating things. Bromine chemistry is not the same as chlorine chemistry. Don't read about chlorine procedures if you are using bromine. They are NOT the same!
  21. IF you are not using the tub set the floater to only add enough sanitizer to maintain a minimum level since there is no bather load happening. This should slow down the pH drop. You can try bumping up the TA like I suggested and see what impact that has on pH stability, both with the tub unused and with use. As long as the pH stays below 8.0 you are good. Remember, bromine does not have the pH limitation of chlorine, especially in an unstabilized or understabilized chlorine tub.
  22. It doesn't. In theory it allows a lower sanitizer level to be used but in reality it doesn't since the amount of residual fast acting sanitizer in the water can be quickly depleted by the bather load and silver has very slow kill time. Bromine chemistry is different than chlorine chemistry. Bromine needs an oxidizer to convert the bromide ions into hypobromous acid. Chlorine and MPS are the two most common oxidizers used and I prefer chlorine over MPS for several reasons. It's less expensive, It's not a known sensitizer, and it is also a primary fast acting sanitizer (unlike MPS) so if the bromide bank is low you still have a sanitized tub.
  23. Bromine tablets are acidic and can cause a drop in pH if there is no aeration and the tub is covered so CO2 can't outgas. However, once the tub is uncovered and starts running pH usually rises quickly. If it doesn't then your TA is too low. How quickly does the pH rise when the tub is turned on and the cover off or does the pH stay at the same reading? As long as the pH is stable and is above 7.0 it's ok. You can try bumping up the TA by 10 ppm and see what that does if the pH is constantly dropping and let it run for a few weeks. If it stabilizes you are done. If it's still dropping bump it up another 10 ppm until you find the sweet spot for YOUR tub. Remember, pH (and all other water parameters) are not constants and will go up and down. This is why it's good to check sanitizer and pH daily (or, at least, a few times a week) TA weekly to biweekly, and CH biweekly to monthly.
  24. What is your calcium hardness? Test strips will not give you a calcium hardness reading, only a total hardness (calcium and magnesium hardness) reading. Please post a full set of test results (preferably NOT done with strips). Why are you adding sodium carbonate? Does you pH constantly drop? What is the pH and total alkalinity? It seems you are using a one step bromine product with dichlor and sodium bromide from your description. What is your bromine reading? Without actual test result numbers it's impossible to know what's going on in your tub. However, it looks like it might soap or detergent has gotten into the tub, possibly from a swimsuit that was not properly rinsed after washing. However, without your water test results and full information on ALL products added to the water we are just guessing.
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