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Posts posted by dlleno

  1. 3 hours ago, waterbear said:

    No, this is not true. The chlorine in the one step product will oxidize the bromide in the product and create bromine sanitizer.


    OP stated he is in Canada. Sodium Bromide is not available in Canada.


    NO ,it is not. Parameters for bromine are different than parameters for chlorine. For example, bromamines are active sanitizers so bromine systems are only tested for total bromine and pH range is wider for bromine spas. Also, the effect of DMHD used in bromine tabs needs to be taken into consideration when 3 step bromine is used.

    OK fair enough what I meant here is that regular addition of chlorine to a bromine spa,  With bromide bank present,  is the same motion and quantities used to manually add chlorine to a chlorine spa. 


    In my experience,  the one step 85/15 granules do  result in  hypochlorous acid on the first application because of insufficient bromide  bank.  It's 85 percent dichlor and 15 percent sodium Bromide .  Using this product on a regular basis builds the bank gradually


  2. On 12/18/2021 at 7:55 AM, rocket04 said:

    I’m in Canada and got my hot tub going using a one step product. It took a while for the bank to build but then things were ok… for a while. But now I’ve noticed that I add product and when I test the next day my bromine is always at zero. I use the Taylor kit I have for my pool with the FAS-DPD, I just multiply FC result by 2.25. Which of course, lately I don’t need to bother doing since it’s always zero. Is sodium bromide like CYA for chlorine, where as it gets high you need more and more dichlor to keep the levels up? I never bothered changing to a floater because I wasn’t getting around to going to the pool store, I thought the only downside to continuing with my one step product was that it was needlessly expensive. Maybe I was mistaken?

    no, sodium bromide is not like CYA at all;  it is the bromide bank that is oxidized to produce bromine sanitizer. higher sodium bromide levels are not bad.  and even if your bromide bank is zero or very low -- when you add the one-step product your spa will be mostly chlorine (from the dichlor) and the FAS-DPD test will respond to the chlorine (sample will turn pink)

    rising levels of CYA due to increasing use of dichlor is also relatively benign for bromine.  the conversion to bromine still happens very quickly per chem geek such that high CYA isn't a problem either for a bromine spa..

    if you are experiencing disappearing bromine levels consider purging with ahh-some.  you could have biofilms in there chowing down on your sanitizer 

    I happen to agree that the one-step product is expensive.  get bromide starters (granular or liquid) and then use dichlor for the oxidzer.  maintaining a bromine spa in this way is exactly the same as maintaining a chlorine spa except (in a bromine spa) the dichlor oxidizes the bromide bank into bromine sanitizer 

  3. 12 hours ago, RDspaguy said:

    Fwiw, waterbear is out of town right now. I know @Cusser and @dlleno are bromine users. Perhaps one of them can jump in here.

    its not clear to me what the question is, so apologies for that.  For bromine testing, I highly recommend and use the Taylor K2106 kit.  you put in the powder (actual amount is not critical) and then you add the reagent, drop wise (count the drops).  its very effective an accurate.  this has served me well over the  years, better than the color-matching test blocks.  I've never trusted the strips at all.

    As for the spa -- again pardon me if I didn't get the question right -- if the gunk is hard even under water then its more likely to be calcium scale.  If it is naturally soft under water but hardens when dry then its more likely biofilm or a combination of biofilm and other non-oxidized residue/gunk.

    the ahh-some purge is a great way to level set.  in a situation where there is a problem to correct, make sure to perform at least TWO purges -- or in tough situations it can sometimes take more than two purges to obtain a squeaky clean spa.  

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  4. I always use shock levels of chlorine when purging with ahh-some.  consider that ahh-some is releasing a lot of miserable bad guys that could themselves be potentially providing safe harbor for other bad guys.  bottom line -- the ahh-some label directions are clear (use elevated chlorine levels).  Just as a point of reference I always shock to at least 15ppm during the purge.  yes, Ahh-some is EPA certified to kill biofilms but don't let that allow you to forget the chlorine step -- you gotta kill those bad guys that ahh-some releases, and you gotta have chlorine for the complete kill.  

    As for the lawn:  you can always add peroxide just before draining onto the lawn but also keep in mind that heat is more likely to harm the lawn than chlorine, which will quickly dissipate.  Still, -- a  little drug store hydrogen peroxide works good as a chlorine neutralizer.  Just give the chlorine time to work before you hamstring it with peroxide 🙂 .  I have done this in actual practice -- in general terms, use about as much 'Peroxide as you would ordinary bleach to raise chorine to the same level you are trying to neutralize.  I'm sure there are more precise/cerebral formulas; thats just what I have found to work.  

    In this situation I would do a full on purge with ahh-some and use the ahh-some dosed water (also with 10-15ppm chlorine) to wipe everything down.  At this point, vinegar unnecessary unless you are combatting calcium scale.  Dish soap has way too foaming/surfactants -- I never put any dish soap in the spa itself;  ahhsome has enough surfactants to foam up enough by itself, and you probably don't want to be the regional distributor of suds 🙂   

    In short, just follow the ahh-some label directions, and wipe everything down with water dosed with ahh-some and chlorine.  

  5. Lots of questions that I'll let others answer but with respect to cleaning or purging:

    1. Spa marvel looks to be a detergent based cleaner which in my tests have not been effective especially against the bad guys that can arrive with a newly delivered spa.  I haven't tested spa marvel cleaner itself...just other detergent based products that appear to be similar..

    2. As regards the the new spa.  Mine was delivered with live nasty bad guys in the pipes as a consequence of the mfg wet testing and subsequent shipping, storage and transportation delays.  I tried a few products claiming to address this problem but none performed better than ahh-some. So I highly recommend purging with ahh-some as part of your prep. For me its a must.  Be sure to follow the label directions which include removing filter(s) and dose with chlorine along with the ahh-some. 

    Ahh-some contains some very effective molecule busting properties that will break up biofilms and (depending on tub condition)  can leave quite a residue on the vessel walls, which is why the label directions specify filter removal (the goo would otherwise clog up the filters and could harm your jet pumps) .  

  6. to stay within the context of this thread (extended absences) and to avoid getting wrapped around the axle over combs and quats,  I'm going to bring the Hot Tub Serum topic back down to reality and concentrate on what the label says, what EPA says, what I am testing, and why it is relevant to the subject at hand.

    The Label says it is a biocide in residential hot tubs.  I suppose that assumes no combs go into your spa, a restriction I can live with.  

    EPA says they believe the label.  

    I have found 'Serum to be profoundly effective at flattening the sanitizer decay rate and I have tested it for absences as long as two weeks with no sanitizer (or bather load).  Going forward, no combs will be harmed  but I will test to see if the product is useful to maintain a covered, heated but unused spa for extended absences, all the while staying within label dosing specifications in a "dichlor then switch to bleach" context (I set aside the amount of dichlor that represents about 30ppm CYA.  when that gets used up I switch to bleach.  I've switched to bleach). 

    My test indicator will be the condition of the water after such absences, and the ability to dose with sanitizer and use the spa immediately upon returning.

    those who are familiar with my work know that I have been testing spa products ever since my 2013 Grandee was delivered to me with active biofilms growing in the pipes.  that experience taught me about biofilms, snippets of which I have posted here over the years but which are consolidated on my hobby site:




  7. Ok. So hot tub serum has comb cleaner in it, The cdc is mis informed,  and chlorine pucks don't exist without cya. Check

    I'm getting tremendous results with Serum. Even "good enough" pH buffering for those not afraid to let TA fall, and I haven't used borates for 6 years.  ll post more results as I obtain them!

  8. nice!  

    I'm a simple guy really.  allergic to complexity;  but I did read the Hot Tub Serum label and noticed that it calls for a weekly dose for maintenance.  I also noticed that the product is EPA registered to control biofilms when used as directed.  This may be an assumption, but all of this tells me that whatever they've got in that stuff must exhibit some sort of decay rate that can be predicted -- otherwise they wouldn't specify a weekly dose!  I've already pushed its limits by going two weeks with no chlorine so I figure its just a natural next step to push things even further.  I'm not sure if this would be "off label" or not -- but I see it as "within the label directions"  -- I'll just dose with a four-week supply and then go four weeks!  how simple is that.

    this could be a cool solution to avoid CYA build-up, so stay tuned.  I can see chlorine level monitoring in my future.  I just need to set aside four weeks where I have to stay out of my spa... that won't be fun lol 🙂.

    how does this CYA-eating stuff work? 

  9. back to floaters -- if you are already carefully watching CYA and you've already "switched to bleach", then putting in a floater is going to raise CYA above your target and hamstring your chlorine for the rest of the water drain interval.  If you've not already "switched to bleach", then you're likely ok -- at least until your next trip when the floater goes back in and CYA climbs again.   

    So @samwise801 one alternative to the floater is to use Hot Tub Serum.  I'm going to experiment with this stuff I think and see if I can push it beyond two weeks.  I've already shown that the stuff really improves sanitizer decay rate and allows (no load) chlorine to go to zero, and I've gone two weeks without adding chlorine so I have no doubt it will be up to the challenge. 

    The key here is no load.  if you have biofilms already in your pipes then floaters just cover up the problem by over-sanitizing -- you'll just end up cranking up the dose rate while the CL gets consumed while fighting the biofilms.   but if you've purged with ahh-some and gained the victory over biofilms you have a good chance of success utilizing the slow kill rates of the stuff in Hot Tub Serum.  Start with a shock dose of chlorine, and the 'Serum will produce a wonderfully gentle decay rate (unless critters invade lol), and then you'll still have protection from the "QUAT" even with no chlorine (again, no bather load). 

    experiments to come! 

  10. I think there are finally signs of taking the biofilm thing seriously -- and of course the evils of using chlorine while hamstringing it with CYA.  the two are a bad combination.    In my early research I found a study showing that biofilms could survive 1-3ppm FC. Even the CDC's kill rate numbers -- those have always been understood to be free chlorine, unadulterated by CYA -- now they have taken the next logical step and are saying 3ppm is the minimum FC UNMODERATED by CYA (for spas).  

    so the "dichlor then switch to bleach" method is finally getting some airtime, if only for its recognition that CYA hamstrings chlorine.  anyone tried 3ppm with no CYA?  I worry that this will drive more people away from chlorine and into the world of heavily marketed non-halogen solutions that quote anecdotal stories instead of science.  

    biofilm references here


  11. or if you don't like dumping CYA into your water via the floater....

    dose with ADBACs (QUATs) that supplement the killing power of chlorine.  a few weeks at very low dose rate isn't so bad, but I do have question for you puck guys -- are there pucks available with zero CYA contributions?  I guess the CDC's recommendations are going un-noticed.  they want zero CYA.  zip nada nothingamus.  none.  don't use it.  pick a chlorine source that  has none.  no dichlor ...  

  12. or....if you are not a fan of floaters...

    I have found a very interesting capability of the product known as "Hot Tub Serum" which I have started to use on a regular basis.  I have been experimenting with this stuff, mostly because of its claims for certain victory - -which incidentally  are not unfounded ...  To date I'm not aware that the mfg promotes it for extended absences but I find to be very effective at flattening out the sanitizer decay curve, allowing me to go several days with zero chlorine. Wth a combination of a shock level of chlorine, and Hot Tub serum recommended dose in the water I have gone for as long as two weeks at a time, and my spa is ready to use when I get home.  I see no reason why you couldn't go three weeks;  I've just never tried it.  

    Here's my experiments with the 'Serum



  13. Just keep in mind that bad guys do/can grow in  low doses of chlorine so I will affirm the suggestion to add chlorine and get in but keep an eye on your sanitizer decay rate. (Note:  the CDC is now recommending 3ppm chlorine minimum UNMODERATED  by CYA. Yep dichlor is out.  

    I've shown experimentally that biifilms can grow under these circumstances and when water is clear. see


    for my write-ups (go to hot tub home)

     I would also advocate for the use of Hot tub serum due to its positive impact on the sanitizer decay rate and ability to kill bad guys .  This isn't an enzyme that works on their food supply this is a "quat" formula that works on the bad guys directly.   i have found it quite effective especially in long absences .

    You could try an enzyme type product but they are not effective in the face of an actual pathogen 

  14. I would only add here that that the spa could have been delivered with actively growing biofilms and that will absolutely wack out your chemistry.  I learned the hard way -- always purge a new spa with ahh-some.  I sound like a broken record (does anyone know what that actually refers too?) but if you're interested in a long read, my story is too long to post here ( I tried a long time ago).


    in short -- to be sure:  Read up on chemistry and learn water balance but if you haven't purged your brand new spa with ahh-some, then you should consider reading my story 🙂 



  15. yea.... without a automatic feeder that you can carefully tune, you're kind of hosed.  I've been able to get two weeks out of mine, unattended and all I have is Hot Tub Serum and a good "SL" without the "AM" (shock but don't maintain while you're gone)

    I've dosed my water with the Hot Tub Serum -- gave it a double the weekly dose to be gone for two weeks -- and the water was fine when I came back.  I have not experimented with longer periods, and thats outside of the mfg intended use for Hot Tub Serum, but it did tell me what it can do.  


  16. Cass -- you made a very interesting observation -- that the problem gets worse over time, and that you can go four weeks now instead of two.  that tells me you have achieved partial success.  But to me it sounds like your skin is sensitive to the accumulation of something in the spa water -- for example maybe its just the total dissolved solids.  The only way to fix that is to drain more often.  There is also the accumulated CYA itself.   have you tried bromine (you could run a  bromine spa with zero CYA, although I don't know of anyone who has tried this...).     how about a silver cartridge with a low level of bromine?  

  17. 2 hours ago, RDspaguy said:

    That was the impression I had as well. I know that pools running liquid chlorine also run acid or CO2 on an automated, sensor controlled system. However, the chemical gurus on several forums, including @waterbear, all agree that liquid is net acidic, in spite of having a high ph in concentration, due to the hypochlorous acid produced in solution or the sanitation byproducts resulting from interaction with organic contaminants. 

    Likewise, dichlor, which is listed to be only slightly acidic, is said to be very acidic, and a significant ph drag in the water. 

    I have stopped arguing about it myself. The experts all say that the education and info I have picked up over the last quarter century in this business is flawed and incorrect, and the industry training, health department regulations, and CDC guidelines are wrong. So every pool and spa professional out there is doing everything wrong, because we were taught to do so.

    Now I try to stick to repair and equipment questions and leave the chemistry to those who know more about it than I.


    +1 dude!  I quit digging into the chemical engineering thing too...and just stick with what i observe. If pH is high i add acid lol 

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