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Ultra Bleach As Sanitizer ?


turbottt1
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Just a quick question for all. Once open what is the shelf life of bleach?? Does it loose it's effectiveness?

IF stored properly (out of sunlight and high heat) laundry bleach is supposed to have a shelf life of about 9 months once opened from what I have been able to research and determine.

ALL forms of liquid chlorne will lose their effectiveness over time. The stronger the solution the less stable it is. Pool store liquid chlorine 12.5% is good for about 6 weeks if stored properly.

If you are using bleach for chlorinating I don't see any problem. You will use it up before it losses its potency. Just remember to test your free chlorine levels and of the normal amount of chlorine is not producing them then just use more. Don't go by how much you add....go by what the test results tell you is in the water!

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IF stored properly (out of sunlight and high heat) laundry bleach is supposed to have a shelf life of about 9 months once opened from what I have been able to research and determine.

ALL forms of liquid chlorne will lose their effectiveness over time. The stronger the solution the less stable it is. Pool store liquid chlorine 12.5% is good for about 6 weeks if stored properly.

If you are using bleach for chlorinating I don't see any problem. You will use it up before it losses its potency. Just remember to test your free chlorine levels and of the normal amount of chlorine is not producing them then just use more. Don't go by how much you add....go by what the test results tell you is in the water!

My mistake!!! As you know we use only bleach in our spa. After about 3 weeks the bleach looses that strong smell in the bottle and it does seem to take more of it to keep out levels right. just wanted to check and see if this was common. thanks. steve

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My mistake!!! As you know we use only bleach in our spa. After about 3 weeks the bleach looses that strong smell in the bottle and it does seem to take more of it to keep out levels right. just wanted to check and see if this was common. thanks. steve

How are you storing it? If you keep it in the house with your laundry use bleach perhaps it will last as long. Like I said, just test your levels and if they are not high enough then just add some more! Not really rocket science! :)

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I didn't think using bleach was recommended for spas? What do you think about using bleach waterbear?

I see no problem with liquid chlorine being used for spa sanitation or shocking if used properly and proper chlorine levels are maintained. Just for your info: liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlorite) is usuually availble at pool and spa supply stores in 12.5%, 10% and or 6% strengths and available at grocery stores as 6% (Ultra laundry bleach), 5.25% (regular laundry bleach0, and 3% (some bargain priced laundry bleaches). They are EXACTLY the same chemical, omly the amount needed to reach a certain ppm of free chlorine will differ. Liquid chlorine acually has the smallest impact on spa pH and TA of any of the available forms of chlorination! A lot of manufacturers of spa chemicals would loose a lot of money if people realized that some of the expensive chemicals they are using in their spas are just overpriced bleach, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) , washing soda (sodium carbonate) , and borax (sodium tetraborate)! (Yes, all of those can be and ARE used in pools and spa and sold under brand names for a LOT of money!).

I used bleach in my stand alone portable spas for years both as primary sanitizer when I used chlorine and as an oxizider when I used bromine. I currently have a salt system on my pool/spa combo so I am still using bleach, it's just being manufactured IN the water by the salt cell!

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I didn't think using bleach was recommended for spas? What do you think about using bleach waterbear?

Of course, what waterbear said is right, but I thought I would tell you the main reasons that people tend to use bromine instead of chlorine in a spa. It's mostly that the chlorine in a spa outgasses more quickly than bromine so there is both more smell (the "clean" smell of bleach) and you need to replenish it more often. Generally, CYA is not recommended nor used in spas due to the higher disinfection requirements in a spa, because of the smaller water volume to people ratio (i.e. higher bather load) and due to the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa which causes hot tub itch being so hard to kill. The high temperatures and high aeration in a spa along with no CYA (so high active chlorine concentration) means that half of the Free Chlorine can outgas in 24 hours. In a salt pool (3000 ppm salt for an SWG), half of the chlorine can be outgassed in 3 hours. Of course, one normally keeps a spa covered when not in use and that keeps the chlorine in the spa.

waterbear, is the spa in your pool/spa open to air? Is the spa water always at 104F or thereabouts or do you just increase its temperature when it will get used? I assume you only have the jets on when you are using the spa so there won't be increased aeration all the time. Also, the half-life of chlorine that I quoted above would only apply to the chlorine in the spa portion in your pool and that would work out to be a fraction of the total pool volume so the loss might not be that noticeable (i.e. the rest of your pool volume is a large buffer of chlorine for your spa depending on the spillover rate). Also, since you use CYA in your pool I presume it must be in your spa as well. The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa that causes hot tub itch actually thrives at 98F and can survive up to 108F so the typical 104F of a spa is quite cozy for this bug. A couldn't find a precise CT estimate for this bug, but it looks like its around 30-50 (probably at 77F) and other sources indicate that an FC of 2 ppm keeps this bug from proliferating. Of course that is all without CYA. At least for free-floating bacteria we know that it will get through your salt cell and be zapped at high chlorine concentrations at some point so maybe that's enough -- I don't know.

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Part of my point in starting this thread was maybe to arouse the attention of some folks on how simple your spa chemicals can be. As we read these post and can't help but think back to when we first got our spa. We struggled with the balance of the water it seemed that all we did was add more and more chemicals all the time. [ s.b. ph up/down alky up/down, metal this and that. With no real success other than spending a small fortune on unneeded chemicals. Since waterbear suggested treating our spa just like our pool.[ bleach for sanitizer] things have gotten so simple it almost scares us. We use a touch under a gal. of ultra bleach a month, a half of capfull of ph down per week and depending on jet useage a half of capfull of alky. increaser once a month and thats it. No more rashes, chemical burns, reactions and always clear water. One note we do check our water at least once aday and yes we add bleach daily. One trick we learned is to open the cover aprox. 10 minutes before we use the spa so the bleach can outgas. Now if bleach can hurt the spa or cover I would be interested in hearing about it, but it better do major league damage before were changing. thanks again waterbear. steve

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turbottt1,

Your points are all valid. Using chlorine for a spa has all of the advantages as using it in a pool such as much more stable pH. To get that stability in pH, you need to keep your TA much lower than you would have in a pool and that should be fine so long as your spa is not plaster/gunite nor have tile with grout surfaces (and even so, you could STILL have the TA at around 50 without serious problems so long as you don't let your pH drift down too low). The reason is all of the aeration in the spa would outgas carbon dioxide causing the pH to rise.

As for whether the chlorine is dangerous to your spa cover or other materials, the answer is generally no. The concentration of chlorine in the air when it is in equilibrium with the chlorine in your spa (with the cover on it) is on the order of no more than [EDIT] 100 parts-per-trillion (yes, that's trillion, not million, partial pressure) [END-EDIT] if you don't use any CYA (which you generally shouldn't for a spa unless it's in direct sunlight in which case you have a dilemma). That's a very weak concentration of chlorine so should not do much damage to your cover. The first problem you would notice would be a fading of any colored material in the cover so if you don't find any fading, then you shouldn't see any other problems.

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waterbear, is the spa in your pool/spa open to air? Is the spa water always at 104F or thereabouts or do you just increase its temperature when it will get used? I assume you only have the jets on when you are using the spa so there won't be increased aeration all the time. Also, the half-life of chlorine that I quoted above would only apply to the chlorine in the spa portion in your pool and that would work out to be a fraction of the total pool volume so the loss might not be that noticeable (i.e. the rest of your pool volume is a large buffer of chlorine for your spa depending on the spillover rate). Also, since you use CYA in your pool I presume it must be in your spa as well.

My current set up is an inground fiberglass pool/ acrylic spillover spa combo (I finally graduated from a portable hot tub to a pool a few years back). The pool and spa share a pump and filter and normally operate in a reduced spillover mode so they are essntially one body of water. The spa does operate by itself for about an hour a day. This allows me to run a higher free chlorine level in the spa (The spillover is set to just barely trickle so the water does not change out of the spa that fast. I generally keep the pool at about 4 ppm free chlorine and the spa at about 6 ppm. The cya is kept around 70 ppm for both. There is a lot of aeration to the systme with the 2 waterfall pots and the 2 deck jets that operate for about an hour a day. The enitre system is controlled by automation (Goldline Aqualogic PS-8) The pool and spa are heated and the pool is usually kept around 82 degrees and the spa will heat to 100 degrees (where I like it) in about 15 minutes. I have a reverse cycle heat pump so it will operate properly even with the outdoor temperature as low as 40 degrees. I get about a 10 month swim season here in N. Fl. I usualy keep a solar blanket on the spa but not on the pool. I do use heatsavr liquid in both the pool and spa and notice about a 3-4 degree less heat loss overnight than without it. The solar blanket on the spa prevents about another 5 degrees of overnight heat loss in the spa. I do have a 50 ppm borate concentration in the water which gives me a much reduced chlorine demand and also much greater pH stability, pH is maintained at about 7.6. I keep my TA at about 70 ppm (adjusted TA, so my TA without correction for CYA is about 90 ppm...Chemgeek, these are ballpark numbers :D )

I know this setup is not applicable to most portable spa owners but many of the principles that I emply are such as running a lower TA, using borates, and chlorinating with liquid chlorine. I have kept portable spas (I've owned 2 before I put in my pool/spa) on both chlorine and bromine so I have personal experinece with both systems besides the experiences I have in helping my customers maintain their pools, spas, and combos on various santizier systems including the use of ionizers, ozone, salt genterators, etc. I am in the business to sell chemicals but I don't beleive in selling unnecessary ones nore making pool or spa care any more complicated than it has to be (it's really NOT rocket science). I do believe that a good test kit is a necessity! People will spend thousands on a spa a freak out at the idea of spening about $60 on a GOOD test kit such as a Taylor K-2006 for chlorine or a K-2106 for bromine. Unfortunately, if you are using a biguanide system you will need 2 separate test kits to properly test your water and will spend close to $200 to get good ones such as the Taylor K-1725 for biguanide and hydrogen peroxide and a Taylor K-2005 for all other water tests needed (and some not needed in a biguanide system). No, I don't work for them. They just make the best test kits out there, IMHO!

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