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In step one of the decontamination, can the water have just been filled? Should the water be heated to operational temperature (eg: 102 degrees)? Do I need to balance the water before adding swirl away? Thanks for any info you can provide.

-DG-

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just did this decon on my tub and man I have never seen water so clear!!! love the Nature 2 set up...Good bye baqua suck! I would advise anyone that has traces of FC in their tap water to stay away from baqua spa. You'll run into tough times with baqua spa. Thanks to Nitro and the board members for all their help!!

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In step one of the decontamination, can the water have just been filled?

Yes.

Should the water be heated to operational temperature (eg: 102 degrees)?

No, but probably will be if you let it sit overnight.

Do I need to balance the water before adding swirl away?

No

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What about the spa pillows - should this be removed before shocking with chlorine? The parts of my pillows that touch the water are already bleached out. . .it seems as though raising the waterline then adding high dosage of chlorine would bleach them out higher up on the pillows?

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What about the spa pillows - should this be removed before shocking with chlorine? The parts of my pillows that touch the water are already bleached out. . .it seems as though raising the waterline then adding high dosage of chlorine would bleach them out higher up on the pillows?

Good question. I did read where you should wash all parts of the spa with the super chlorinated water, including spa pollows, cover etc. to kill off anything and everything. If not the pillows could add bugs right back into the tub. If it were me I'd either wash the pilows, or just buy new ones.

Remember, decontamination is kind of the last resort, and should only have to be done once. If the water is maintained properly, you should never have to do this again. However, the Spa Flush can (should) be done 1-2 times a year.

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Thanks for the reply. Though whatever nasties might come from the pillows would probably just fall into the water and be killed by bromine/chlorine. . .but I get your point, if I'm going to go through the hassle of decontamination, might as well do it right. Though technically I probably should replace my worn out spa cover if I really want to prevent any nasty things getting into water. . .but I can't afford to spend 300 extra bucks right now and will probably put that off and hope just cleaning the cover is good enough for now.

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I don't understand why you can't do this in one step. 1. Super shock to kill everything (run jets for 30-60 minutes), then 2. clean your pipes by putting in appropriate solution - taking out the filter, let sit overnight and then drain. What am I missing? Thanks. SJ

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I don't understand why you can't do this in one step. 1. Super shock to kill everything (run jets for 30-60 minutes), then 2. clean your pipes by putting in appropriate solution - taking out the filter, let sit overnight and then drain. What am I missing? Thanks. SJ

Because if you super shock, and have high levels of chlorine, the Spa Flush won't be effective. BTW, the Spa Flush is not required to do a Decon., just recommended to really give the tub a good cleaning.

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OK. Because of a drought (and higher costs for water), I don't like to fill my 480 gallon tub to often! Wonder if you could decon the tub and then let it run for several days (to lower the chlorine level) and then use the spa flush? What is about spa flush that it doesn't like high levels of chlorine? Thanks.

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OK. Because of a drought (and higher costs for water), I don't like to fill my 480 gallon tub to often! Wonder if you could decon the tub and then let it run for several days (to lower the chlorine level) and then use the spa flush? What is about spa flush that it doesn't like high levels of chlorine? Thanks.

How about doing the 1st step of the decon procedure using your existing water, assuming you haven't already dumped it. Let the Spa Purge circulate for a day and then continue with the decon procedure at step 2. Not sure I would want to leave 50 ppm chlorine in my spa for a couple days.

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You don't want to leave 50-100ppm FC in the tub for more than a few hours. You could do as Mike says and do step 1 with existing water, if the tub isn't empty. You could use Hydrogen Peroxide to reduce the FC level after Step 6, but I personally don't like that idea. Also, you can skip the Spa Flush until your next refill, and just do the Super Shock.

Remember though, this decon (super shock) procedure should only have to be done one time. If you maintain you water properly, you'll never have to do this again. That is with the exception of the Spa Flush, which can be done 1-2 times a year.

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I don't think this was asked before, but sorry if it was. I just used the swirl away and drained the tub. Is it o.k to rinse out, fill, and just soak. Or os the swirl away gunk probably still in the lines, requiring another fill and drain? Thanks.

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I have to drain again after the super chlorination?

If you don't you'll have Super Chlorinated water in your tub, which will last for days. Not recommended. However, you can use Hydrogen Peroxide to neutralize the Chlorine. I'm not sure on the amount.

I'm in the decon process. I followed the procedure and balanced the water. I super chlorinated with the Clorox Plus. Initially, I had foam 2 feet above the edge of the tub. The weather was too cold (20F) to drain and fill so I waited until today. Approximately 36 hours later the FC = 0. Could this be a reaction since I was using Baqua as the Sanitizer? Should I super chlorinate again? Your thoughts are appreciated - Doug

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Yes, if you had leftover Baqua then the chlorine will react with it so that's probably what happened. However, the procedure has you drain the tub before superchlorinating with bleach so unless you had leftover Baqua in your pipes I'm surprised that the chlorine went from 50 ppm to 0. Remember that unless you are using a FAS-DPD drop-based chlorine test kit (or an inexpensive OTO test kit), the chlorine will bleach out a standard DPD "compare intensity of pink/red against a standard" test kit above around 10 ppm making you think you have no chlorine when in fact you have a lot.

Remember that chlorine and Baqua are not compatible. Chlorine will oxidize Baqua (in a very colorful fashion). You can't use both together at the same time.

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Thanks. I bought a very inexpensive test kit, so you are probably correct. I reperformed the decon and have now balanced the water (Step 10). I have decided to shelve the Baqua products for now and will use Bromine with "Gentle Spa" to help make the water more comfortable. I really appreciate your insights as I setup the spa.

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I have read this thoroughly and have not seen the question "Why can't I just add the chlorine after the spa flush?" answered. My thought is this. What would be the negative effects of using the spa flush, running the jets, leaving it overnight, then after this increasing the chlorine to over 50ppm, then running for 30 to 60 minutes, then drain? Why do you have to drain before adding chlorine. I understand that the chlorine will destroy the enzyme, but at this point hasn't the enzyme served it's purpose? Am I just too cold that I see nothing wrong with destroying the enzyme in this matter? Is destroying enzymes just plain wrong in some peoples eyes? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

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Whenever you drain a hot tub there will always be several gallons of water in the system that you won't get.

Draining and refilling helps to completely clean out all flush chemicals.

It's like the rinse cycle on your clothes washer. The first cycle is the wash and then the second cycle rinses the soap out of the clothes.

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You want to rinse out the flush chemicals.

Do the flush out chemical some hot inhibit the performance of the chlorine?

I also don't understand. Why can't I do the spa flush, let it sit for 24 hours, then do the super shock and drain?

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This topic comes up quite a bit, so I thought I'd post a How To guide.

Decontamination is the process of Super Shocking to Kill and Oxidize everything in your tub. There are two reasons why you would want to do this. One is your tub contains an excess amount of organic waste, and is using large amounts of sanitizer. The other is you have bacteria actively growing in your tub that has formed a protective shield (Biofilm), and cannot be killed from normal sanitation levels. The former is easy to tell by measuring sanitation levels, but the latter is more difficult (usually not until after you start getting sick).

This may sound extreme to some, but I recommend decontaminating any used tub that changes hands. You have no way of knowing how a used tub was maintained before you got it. Why chance getting sick?!? You have nothing to lose, and nice clean, safe tub to gain.

So how do you do a decontamination?!? Here's how.

1. Use an enzyme to clean out your pipes, such as Swirl Away, Spa Flush etc. Add this product, run the jets 30 mins and let sit overnight. It will clean out your pipes and deposit the gunk along the water line. Wipe the waterline with a dry paper towel or cloth. Make sure you remove your filter before adding this product. Better yet, buy a new filter.

2. The next day, drain your tub and clean the walls with some leftover enzyme from step one.

3. Refill tub as high as possible (above the normal waterline) with fresh water, and install filter.

4. Balance your water at this point. TA = 80 ppm and pH = 7.2. If your pH is too far out of range, it will decrease the effectiveness of the Chlorine.

5. Add 50 ppm FC using Regular Clorox 6% Unscented Bleach. That's approx. 1/4 gal (32 oz) per 350 gal tub.

6. Run all jets and air features for 30-60 mins. You can turn the air on and off every 10 mins, to help clean the air lines.

7. Cut the power and drain the tub. This water is highly chlorinated, so you may want to keep it away from vegetation.

8. While the tub is draining clean the cover and all shell surfaces with the super chlorinated water. Then rinse well.

9. Refill tub with fresh water.

10. Balance water.

Test your Chlorine Demand to make sure the Decontamination worked by doing the following.

11. Shock with Dichlor (Stabilized Chlorine) to 10 ppm FC. Don't use the tub, let the jets run 10 mins, cover and let sit 24 hours.

12. Check FC. If FC is 5 ppm or above, you're ok. If it's zero, your tub is still using excess Chlorine, and needs to be decontaminated again (Absent the Spa Flush). However, this should be rare.

After this procedure your tub should be clean like new. If you maintain your water properly, your should never have to do this again.

Happy Clean Tubing! :)

I am getting a used hot tub and planning to perform decontamination. Why in step 3 does the filter go back in? Doesn't seem right that you would want a new one put in and then proceed to soak it in heavy bleach water while it is still being decontaminated. Can the high bleach concentration shorten the filter life? Read this somewhere else. Why does it need to go back in when the spa flush part has it out? Please advise.

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If you aren't replacing your filter, then the bleach will decontaminate it. If you have a new filter, then you could add it after decontamination if you wanted to. Even the high FC levels won't damage the filter since the exposure time is relatively brief (an hour or less). Because of the high pH from the bleach, 50 ppm FC at a TA of 80 ppm would result in the equivalent of around 15 ppm FC (with no CYA). During normal spa use with 4 ppm FC and 30 ppm CYA, this is roughly equivalent (at hot spa temps) to around 0.6 ppm FC with no CYA. So the decontamination exposure is roughly equivalent to 25 hours of normal chlorine exposure. It's just at a faster rate over a shorter period of time.

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Just a quick question. I am in the process of the decontamination. I used leisure time Jet Clean to clean out the plumbing and let it sit overnight. Drained the spa Sunday morning refilled and super chlorinated. Unfortunately I got called away. Is it okay to leave the super chlorinated water in the spa until Monday afternoon (I don't have a real choice in the matter)? No time to drain and refill today and expecting cold temps tonight so I don't want to leave an empty spa without being winterized. Will this cause any damage?

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If you followed the procedure getting the TA to 80 and the pH to 7.2 before adding enough bleach to get to 50 ppm FC, then the active chlorine level in the spa is roughly equivalent to having 24 ppm FC with no CYA because the pH likely went up to 8.0. This is from 40 to 250 times higher than the usual active chlorine concentration in the spa (depending on FC,CYA levels and water temperature). So the extra roughly one day of exposure would be equivalent to around one to six months of extra chlorine exposure so roughly shortening life of components by that amount. Not great, but not a disaster and you certainly wouldn't want to do this on a regular basis. The exception to this analysis would be stainless steel components since the effect of strong oxidizers on metals that form passivity layers is non-linear, but it's still unlikely to do serious damage in only one day.

Of course, we're not recommending anyone do this ever so if you find any problems at all, please report back.

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