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About shoelace

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  1. Best Tub For 10K

    Great. Glad you bought from a Canadian manufacturer. Just in time for the cooler weather around the corner.
  2. Best Tub For 10K

    Marquis is another shallow water spa - harder to get submerged in freezing weather.
  3. Best Tub For 10K

    Hot Springs & Sundance are both shallow water spas. No good for Canada. You want something 40" deep ... you'll appreciate it when its -20 degC and you can easily get your shoulders submerged.
  4. Bromine or chlorine for hot tub?

    Sodium bromide - bromine generator. No odor, feels good on skin, minimal maintenance.
  5. h2o Banff spa review - after 3 years

    Nice little tub - nice price. For two it should be spacious. If I'd gone for a similar width tub it would have allowed 10" extra for parking my car - that would have been nice.
  6. First Hot Tub Purchase - Advise Please?

    With a Bromine salt generator you don't need to monitor ph closely. I check once a week generally ... but sometimes when I'm on vacation I leave it for 3 weeks. When I come back it's always the same. Sort of boring. The spa boy chlorine salt system sounds much more exciting ! To need to monitor it no matter where you are in the world must make one feel very special. Alas, bromine levels are not as sensitive to ph as chlorine - so even if ph did fluctuate a bit, which it doesn't - no big deal. I thought that foam filled spas & perimeter insulated spas were both old technologies? There may be pros & cons to both ... but there's nothing innovative about spraying your insulation on the tub vs spraying it on the box that holds the tub. This is not a new thing.
  7. h2o Banff spa review - after 3 years

    It's always nice to drive down to Vermont for skiing & hiking. Nice state. I'm very happy if my review was helpful to you. I find that for two people this spa is luxury big - for three it is still very comfortable. But if I were to have four people regularly I'd want something bigger. And for four people the lounger version, the Radium, would not suffice. I looked at some of the smaller two seater spas, like the bullfrog, but am happy I went bigger with a small but deep 4 seater. I'm also glad I went with a spa that has a more open bench corner seat ... that is a bit higher for cooling down. I find I actually spend the most time in this seat. What spas are you looking at? Have you decided? I don't blame you for not considering an H2O spa due to the lack of dealers in the area ... but their website is quite helpful anyway.
  8. I notice that most (if not all) posts on this site regarding salt generator systems are for chlorine salt as opposed to bromine salt. I read about Onzen & ACE – but not about any specific bromine generator systems. Does anyone else besides me have experience with bromine salt generator systems? When my father bought his bromine salt generator back in 2005 the consensus he heard was that chlorine salt generators were designed for pools & were not effective for spas due to the higher temperatures & PH range ... but that the bromine salt generators were more stable & very effective for spas. Anyone know how much truth there is to that? I’m just trying to reconcile the positive experience I’ve had with my bromine generator vs some of the more negative posts regarding chlorine salt generators. I have not read any discussion regarding the advantages & disadvantages of each system. Anyone?
  9. First Hot Tub Purchase - Advise Please?

    So I checked out hottubuniversity.com. I found the article “Salt Systems on Hot Tubs” very strange. My experience with a bromine salt generator has been excellent as described in my review post: The author presents a ridiculous rant against all salt generator systems based solely on his reading of pages from an Onzen Arctic spa technical guide. He presents no personal salt generator experience. While speaking only about the Onzen salt chlorine system he implies that bromine salt generators work the same way. From personal experience I know this to be false. I just add 40$ worth of sodium bromine and nothing else until my next water change. So this did not bother me too much because I thought I’d just present my experiences with a bromine generator system. I tried to post it 3 times but it was rejected for publication. Unusual a university where you are not permitted to present an alternative opinion. And the website’s moniker is “Unbiased Information For The Informed Consumer”. Ya right. This website is certainly biased and presents very misleading information. Are salt chlorine generators & salt bromine generators really so similar one can lump them together like that? Should one not have some personal experience with a salt generator system before writing what pretends to be an informative article?
  10. A bromine salt generator works all by itself. No need for an ozone generator. So far as I'm aware it is not even designed to be used with anything else.
  11. Does No One Water Test Hot Tubs?

    Easy to calculate the maximum heat recovery from a 24-hour recirculation pump motor. Let's assume a 1/4 hp motor (186 watts) & 75% efficiency. That equates to an energy loss (heat) of 46.6 watts ... a bit more than a 40 watt light bulb. 46.6 watts per year would cost about 2$ per month or about 25$ per year (taking electricity costs 0.06$/kWh). But really, in the summer you don't want that heat since the water gets too hot anyway. So, I'd estimate you could recover about a maximum of 15$ per year with perimeter insulation - not really very much. Also, what would stay warmer – coffee in a styrofoam cup with a styrofoam lid or a cup of coffee in a thin plastic cup inside a styrofoam box made from panels of styrofoam of similar thickness. Obviously the first one since the styrofoam box has larger surface area for heat loss and maybe there would be leaks around your styrofoam box panels. Theoretically, maybe perimeter insulation has advantages, but combined with issues of electronics and motors overheating and the possible inferiority of the insulation itself – it is far from a clear winner. If it was, I’m sure all the other companies would switch. Or maybe I’m wrong ... show me some math to prove otherwise.
  12. How does it work? - You add 3.5 lbs of sodium bromide into the spa water. The sodium bromide separates into sodium ions & bromide ions. As the spa water is pumped through the electrodes in the bromine generator the bromide ions are turned into the bromine sanitiser. That sanitiser performs it’s function before turning back into bromide ions and the process repeats. The bottom line is that you add the 3.5 lbs of sodium bromide once and that’s it ... until you drain and refill your spa ... no other chemicals are required. 3.5 lbs of sodium bromide costs about 40$. My father had one of the early bromine salt generators installed in his spa back in 2005. It worked very well for him. He only needed to check the spa chemistry now and then to make sure it was working properly – but he never had any problems. My parents would leave on vacation for many weeks at a time and when they returned the spa chemistry would remain perfect. His bromine generator finally wore out last year. It had lasted for 10 years. Since his spa was pretty low-end ... and getting old, he decided not to replace the unit and instead switched to bromine pucks. I asked him how he compared using the pucks to the bromine generator – he said he much preferred the generator because he never had to do anything. So back in 2013 when I bought my spa, I decided I wanted a bromine salt generator for water sanitisation. The generators work better with 24-hour recirculation pumps – so I made that a requirement for the spa I would buy. (However, my father’s spa did not have a 24-hour recirculation pump and his generator worked fine). The odd thing was that when looking for a spa back in 2013, I did not find any dealers who recommended bromine salt generators. They were pushing all sorts of other hokey pseudo-scientific sanatiser systems. But, I could not find anyone in the industry that had anything positive to say about the bromine generators. But, at least I had my fathers experience to go by ... otherwise I surely would not have taken the risk. I chose to buy an H2O Banff spa that featured a 24-hour recirculation pump. I assumed that manufacturers of spas with recirc pumps would be marketing the fact that they work well with bromine generators. Surprisingly to me this was not the case, however, H2O did sell the spa with a Gecko in.clear bromine generator well integrated into the pump housing. So, my personal experiences using a bromine salt generator? ... Great. No problems at all so far (after 3-1/2 years). Similar to my father – set it up, check in now and then – and it’s good until the next water change (twice per year in my case). So why is this sanitisation system not more popular? I think the problem is that there is no automated feedback adjustment. You need to tune the system yourself by using litmus tests to check how far you are from ideal bromine levels and then adjusting the power to the electrodes appropriately to correct. And you need to be patient – allowing several days for the system to stabilized before using the tub. But once the system is tuned – you lock it in and are good until the next water change. But you need to think about it. For example, if your filter is blocked, you will not be getting the same flow through the electrodes and your bromine levels will go down. You will need to either clean your filters or increase the power to the electrodes to correct. Another thing is that you need to start out with good water – water within certain parameters. If your water is not good enough you need to treat it first. I imagine this would be a pain in the neck. Luckily for me, Montreal water is fine ... so I don’t need to do anything to the water. But it may be worthwhile checking the water in your area first before investing in a bromine generator system. The other great thing is that I never feel like I need a shower after using a tube with a bromine salt generator system. The water feels good on the skin without any bad odour. By the way, my understanding is that Bromine salt generator systems are suited for spas whereas salt chlorine generator systems are better suited for swimming pools. I read somewhere that the saltiness of the water is equivalent to tears ... hence, not sufficiently salty to cause rust issues. However, I suppose that if you have a slow leak somewhere the evaporation may concentrate the salt. But this has not been a problem yet for me nor my father. If I identify any problems or issues with my bromine generator system in the future I’ll be sure to update this thread.
  13. I installed our H2O Banff spa on our sloped paver drive. The drive slope is 1" every 4'. Hence, over the 80" length of the spa the difference in elevation is a little over 1.5". Not too much ... but enough difference so that I wanted to level the spa. Hence, I installed a concrete slab. At its shallow end it is about 3.5" - any shallower would risk cracking. So at the deep end it is a little over 5". I used reinforcing wire mesh in the concrete to reduce the likelyhood of cracking. You can see that mesh leaning against the house in one of the photos I plan to attach. The slab sits on an EPDM rubber mat - perhaps 2mm thick - so that I could more easily remove the slab in the future without damaging the pavers. I had the concrete delivered from a small batch concrete truck (you'd be surprised how many bags of concrete such a small slab would take). You can see the construction of the formwork in the photos. I have used strips of 3mm teflon sheet for the rounded corners. The concrete exposed wood formwork is covered with tuck-tape - a smooth construction tape - to help release the formwork. The tuck-tape also sticks to the EPDM rubber to help seal the concrete into the formwork and to give the bottom of the slab rounded corners. I match these rounded corners with caulking between the teflon corners and the rubber. The slab, as you can see, was designed to match the shape of the spa's base. I suppose I could stain it black to hide it ... but, I figure it doesn't look too bad as is.
  14. About 4 years ago I started anonymously using pool-spa-forum to do research for a new spa. It was always my intention to give back to the community once I had some experience to share. Hence, this review of the spa we finally chose almost 3-1/2 years ago. I also plan to post on the construction of our concrete slab on top of a sloped paver drive and my experience with our bromine salt generator system. I purchased a Banff Luxury spa almost 3-1/2 years ago. It was the only spa that satisfied all my criteria. Specifically, it was small enough to fit in my small inner-city yard (80” x 80”) yet it had a full 40” depth – more than most spas and a depth that makes the smaller footprint feel very roomy even for taller folk. It also featured a 24-hour recirculation pump. This was important to me because I wanted a quiet spa that was better suited for use with a bromine salt generator system. I also liked the layout which featured 3 moulded corner seats plus a more open bench corner seat. Unfortunately, being located in Montreal, there were no dealers close by. I called H2O spas in Vancouver and spoke to Mark who did not want to sell me the spa initially due to the lack of service in the city. Eventually, I convinced him to ship me one with only a 3-year parts warrantee & I would deal with any service issues myself. After 3-1/2 years I am very pleased with my choice. Luckily, I have had no issues that would normally have been covered by a service warrantee. I have had to tighten a few fittings within the pump housing (very easy). Also, just before my parts warrantee was to expire the Gecko LED control screen failed. Mark sent me a free replacement right away & I was able to replace it within 15 minutes. We use the spa 2 or 3 times per week and after 3 years it still looks and functions like new. The jets are powered by two 4hp pumps – so there’s always plenty of pressure. Each seat is configured differently so you get a nice variety of massage action. This spa features entry steps moulded into the shell. Oddly, perhaps, we enter from the bench seat side of the spa and don’t use these steps. I think the steps would be best suited for when the spa is sunken into a deck & one entered the spa from above. Instead, we enter the spa from a small step on the side and it is easier to pivot a leg directly onto the bench seat. But, the steps have been great for our growing daughter that, instead of overheating, loved to sit on the top step to cool off. The steps actually don’t use up any functional space between the moulded seats. I definitely consider this to be a high-end spa that should be considered against other such spas. It has been a great pleasure to be able to speak directly with the manufacturer when I had any inquiries. The manufacturer does not specifically recommend bromine salt generator systems – but I have been very happy with mine. You need to be patient in order to tune it properly, but, once you do, it’s pretty much maintenance free and no extra chemicals are required. The re-circulation pump is pretty quiet – and, when speaking with the manufacturer, I discovered there are ways to reduce the noise even further. In summary, if a meteorite destroyed my Banff H2O spa tomorrow, I’d simply buy the exact same spa again (after a short period of grieving).