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Spa Chemistry Nightmare - Ecoone Oneshock - Is It Too Good To Be True?


KE4NYV
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We have had our DuraSport spa since last fall and we love it, but keeping the chemistry balanced has been a nightmare for us. We started off with Nature2, since that is what the spa shop suggested. They tested our water and had us dump a pile of chemicals into it, just to get the water neutral. We then started with the day to day chemical up keep, using the Nature2 sitting in the trap basket (they told us NOT to place it down in the filter).

Anyways, after a while, no matter how much testing we did and putting more Ph up/down or shock in, we would get cloudy water and then we started to have bacteria problems. A friend suggested that bromine tablets in a floater worked well for him, so we decided to give that a shot. For a couple of months, the water would never clear up, but it never smelled and we didn't seem to have any problems. All of a sudden we started to have problems with the pump cutting off and tripping the GFCI. An inspection of the filter found that it was clogged up. My guess was the pump was overdrawing current and tripping the breaker. I soaked it in a filter cleaner, put it back in and things ran well for a couple more months. Just last week, we noticed that the pump had cut off again, tripping the GFCI. Same problem, only this time the filter was much worse than the first time, clogged with yellow slimey muck. Right now, I have the filter soaking to clean it again. Obviously the bromine is NOT working and I have gotten way off track.

As a last resort, we pumped out the tub this weekend, put the filter in a clean soak and decided that we need to step back and punt to fix this problem. I'm trying to decide what is best. Should I go back to the Nature2? I know that out water is very poor do to it being simply treated well water. This is what prompted the blitzkrieg of chemicals when we first filled it up. I assume I will have to go through this again to get the Ph back in the right window, but we had such a horrible time keeping it balanced.

That brings me to my final questions, EcoOne OneShock tablets. Do they really work or are they just a mythical solution? They say drop a few in and walk away. I just don't believe that it's THAT simple. They do mention having to shock every few weeks and also having to use Ph up/down to keep the water balanced. I half expected that.

Should this whole thing be this difficult? Does everyone have this much trouble keeping their tubs balanced or am I just a dumbass that can't figure it out? :D

Thanks!

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First and foremost you need to get a proper test kit to understand what is truely going on with your water. Once you do that, it's not hard to maintain a hot tub, especially with bromine.

You have a lot of nasties growing in your tub right now. Step 1 will be to read the Decontamination sticky thread in this forum, understand it, reread, then execute it with a water change. Buy a new filter.

Step 2 will be to refill, balance the water using the water maintenance sticky thread.

step 3 is to pick a sanitizer (i recommend bromine since it's the easiest in terms of forgiveness due to the floater) and read and reread until you thoroughly understand the bromine for beginners sticky thread. In fact, read all the sticky threads and understand them before starting any of this. then you can make the proper informed decisions of how to proceed. Come back here with any questions. We'll get it fixed for you.

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a couple of questions and observations. How long are you going between filter cleanings? This is a maintenance procedure that usually needs to be done weekly or every two weeks, particularly with the N2 system (silver/MPS) .

If you have cloudy AND smelly water that indicates that you are letting the sanitizer levels get too low. With the N2 system you MUST keep a residual of MPS in the water at all times and you MUST shock with chlorine weekly or more often if needed. You need to be testing your water before each soak and if the MPS level is low you need to add more. You also need to drain and refill AND replace the N2 cartridge every 4 months!

With bromine (which is NOT compatible with the N2 cartridge and will render it useless) you must also maintain a proper bromine level in the water and you need to establish a bromide reserve on each fill by adding sodium bromide to the water. You also need to drain and refill about every 3 to 4 months.

No matter what system you choose you need to test the water, clean your filters, and drain and refill on a regular basis. Period.

I suspect that you are not doing these things since it's really not vey hard to maintain a spa, even with well water.

Posting a full set of water test results and how they were obtained would be a good start. After that read ALL the pinned topics in the hot tub water chemistry section of the forum! There is a lot of good information in there.

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Not sure what is in the ecoOne spa shock packets but I suspect it is either chlorine (dichlor) in pre measured packets or sodium perborate (not a sanitizer which is what their Oxypool product is! You are probably familiar with sodium perborate as the brand Oxy-clean! It does have some use in pools and spas as a specialty chemical (clearing 'swamps' and converting from biguanide to a halogen based sanitizer) but is not a maintenance chemical since it will destroy bromine or chlorine so I tend to believe it is chlorine (and one website selling it did state it was a chlorine disinfectant).

No magic in a bottle here.

Bottom line is this. You are having water issues and that is usually caused by improper maintenance and testing. Period.Think of this analogy. If you drove your car and never checked the oil, tires, wate, gas gauge, etc. you will not go very far before it stops working and you possibly have some expensive repairs on your hands. Same applies here!

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First and foremost you need to get a proper test kit to understand what is truely going on with your water. Once you do that, it's not hard to maintain a hot tub, especially with bromine.

You have a lot of nasties growing in your tub right now. Step 1 will be to read the Decontamination sticky thread in this forum, understand it, reread, then execute it with a water change. Buy a new filter.

Step 2 will be to refill, balance the water using the water maintenance sticky thread.

step 3 is to pick a sanitizer (i recommend bromine since it's the easiest in terms of forgiveness due to the floater) and read and reread until you thoroughly understand the bromine for beginners sticky thread. In fact, read all the sticky threads and understand them before starting any of this. then you can make the proper informed decisions of how to proceed. Come back here with any questions. We'll get it fixed for you.

Thanks! I have started with reading the stickies you suggested. I'm not looking at what it will cost to purchase a new test kit, filter and the required chemicals to get this going again.

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a couple of questions and observations. How long are you going between filter cleanings? This is a maintenance procedure that usually needs to be done weekly or every two weeks, particularly with the N2 system (silver/MPS) .

If you have cloudy AND smelly water that indicates that you are letting the sanitizer levels get too low. With the N2 system you MUST keep a residual of MPS in the water at all times and you MUST shock with chlorine weekly or more often if needed. You need to be testing your water before each soak and if the MPS level is low you need to add more. You also need to drain and refill AND replace the N2 cartridge every 4 months!

With bromine (which is NOT compatible with the N2 cartridge and will render it useless) you must also maintain a proper bromine level in the water and you need to establish a bromide reserve on each fill by adding sodium bromide to the water. You also need to drain and refill about every 3 to 4 months.

No matter what system you choose you need to test the water, clean your filters, and drain and refill on a regular basis. Period.

I suspect that you are not doing these things since it's really not vey hard to maintain a spa, even with well water.

Posting a full set of water test results and how they were obtained would be a good start. After that read ALL the pinned topics in the hot tub water chemistry section of the forum! There is a lot of good information in there.

Can I at least preface this with "I had never owned a pool or spa prior to this."? I guess I foolishly believed the spa shop when they told me once I had the water balanced, we only needed to put shock in AFTER each use. He told us to test the water weekly and keep an eye on it. Also, I was made well aware that the Nature2 stick would only last 3-4 months and then I would have to replace it.

As far as the sanitizer level, this was one of the constant battles. You say that you can't let it get low, but I would add more as instructed by the shop to keep the level up and then testing showed that it was through the roof. Also, there were times that the water became cloudy and they told me to put in about ten times the amount of shock as normal. I can't tell you how much money I have wasted on dumping piles and piles of chemicals into the water to balance it out, just to have it fail every time.

As I stated above, I have read the stickies pointed out to me and I am in the process of ordering a new test kit, a new filter, enzyme cleaner, sodium bromide granules and more bromine tablets. I already have the floater. I have seen conflicting information on the floater. Some said bromine tablets only and at least a couple places said bromine AND chlorine tablets together. Which one is correct?

When we noticed how bad the water had become, we decided to drain the tub of the old water. I feel like this was a mistake now, because I'll need to put water back in to run the enzyme through the system. Then drain it and start over with fresh water. I have even found one of these "spa stick" filters for about $30 to re-fill with and hopefully filter out some of the harsh metals in our well water.

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The ecoone® ONEshock™ product is nothing more than 0.25 ounces of Dichlor in a pre-measured self dissolving packet (see this link for more info). So what you are buying is the convenience of these pre-measured packets. They recommend one packet per 250 gallons and they say to wait 5 minutes and test the chlorine level which should measure 2-3 ppm, and that one should maintain 2-3 ppm FC in the spa by adding more packets as needed in between soaks. Note that one packet would roughly handle approximately 25 minutes of soaking for one person if there is no ozonator.

The product is $18-$21 per pound for what is just Dichlor (assuming the 0.25 ounces doesn't include the weight of the packet material) compared to $7.50-$10 per pound for Dichlor sold in small spa quantities and $6.25 to as low as $3.38 per pound in larger pool size volumes.

I you want an even lower price for chlorinating your spa, then nothing beats the Dichlor-then-bleach method since once one switches over to bleach after roughly a week, the price is the equivalent of $2.87 per Dichlor pound for a 3 quart Clorox bleach at Walmart or less for off-brand bleaches.

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The ecoone® ONEshock™ product is nothing more than 0.25 ounces of Dichlor in a pre-measured self dissolving packet (see this link for more info). So what you are buying is the convenience of these pre-measured packets. They recommend one packet per 250 gallons and they say to wait 5 minutes and test the chlorine level which should measure 2-3 ppm, and that one should maintain 2-3 ppm FC in the spa by adding more packets as needed in between soaks. Note that one packet would roughly handle approximately 25 minutes of soaking for one person if there is no ozonator.

The product is $18-$21 per pound for what is just Dichlor (assuming the 0.25 ounces doesn't include the weight of the packet material) compared to $7.50-$10 per pound for Dichlor sold in small spa quantities and $6.25 to as low as $3.38 per pound in larger pool size volumes.

I you want an even lower price for chlorinating your spa, then nothing beats the Dichlor-then-bleach method since once one switches over to bleach after roughly a week, the price is the equivalent of $2.87 per Dichlor pound for a 3 quart Clorox bleach at Walmart or less for off-brand bleaches.

OK, thanks for that info! I figured that the OneShock was basically a name for something that was readily available for less money by it's chemical name. You bring up a good point, though. I was curious about the use of plain, unscented bleach as my method of keeping the water bacteria free. I understand that I still need to keep the water Ph balanced. Thanks!

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Bromine tabs are a combination of dichlor and bromine, hence your confusion. Just brom tabs are all you need.

You sound like you were doing all the right things on the N2 system but not knowing the sanitizer levels you were not able to main it properly. remember also that you will need to add sanitzer on a regular basis (daily). The 3 step bromine does this automatically for you and as long as you are able to maintain a bromine level you don't have to add bleach. My usage is low (1 person, 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week) and I rarely have to add bleach unless i want to shock. If my usage was higher i'd have to add a little bleach every time.

You are going to want to do a chlorine demand (can be done on bromine too) test after you decontaminate to make sure you got it all but as long as you can maintain that sanitizer level you will keep clear water.

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Duplicate post!

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Just note that you shouldn't use bleach alone without first having some Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water; otherwise the chlorine level is too strong. That's why one should use Dichlor first (or otherwise add CYA to the spa water) before switching to using bleach. Obviously, this is a chlorine method. For bromine, you can use bleach to oxidize bromide to bromine assuming you've already initially added sodium bromide.

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Again, thanks for all of the great information!

I have yet to start on this, but when I do, should I fill up the spa to at least over the top jets to run the enzyme or can I get away with only coming up part way and allowing the upper jets to shoot the water out, without being submerged? I'm asking this because I foolishly drained the spa, not realizing that I would need to run the enzyme through with the old water, then drain and start with new, clean water.

Here are the steps as I understand it, to get going again:

1. Fill to appropriate level.

2. Run enzyme cleaning solution.

3. Drain spa.

4. Fill again to appropriate level.

5. Balance water Ph.

6. Add sodium bromide to build up bromine bank.

7. Shock water

8. Put floater in with bromine tablets.

9. Test daily

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typically to get a spa to run correctly you have to fill it most of the way up to get water into the filter compartment. If you aren't getting water in there it will run dry. I believe you want it at temperature as the enzyme works better hot but read the label.

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typically to get a spa to run correctly you have to fill it most of the way up to get water into the filter compartment. If you aren't getting water in there it will run dry. I believe you want it at temperature as the enzyme works better hot but read the label.

OK, thanks! That was one of my concerns, but I guess I forgot to mention that in my last post. I have to make a trip up to the "big city" this weekend, so I'm going to drop by the shop that we bought the spa from and see if they carry the enzyme cleaner so I can get that now and get that part going. I can worry about ordering the rest this week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Now I'm running into another problem that is preventing me from continuing with the process. My GFCI keeps tripping, causing the spa to cut off. I can't see to find a pattern. It happens at random. When this first happend, I figured it was a clogged filter, causing the pump to draw too much current and trip the GFCI. During the enzyme run, I actually took out the clogged filter and let the water run freely through the system, but it keeps cutting off. i'm going to contact the spa shop on Monday to see if they can provide me a different GFCI breaker to try out. I have a feeling this one could be the problem.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Now I'm running into another problem that is preventing me from continuing with the process. My GFCI keeps tripping, causing the spa to cut off. I can't see to find a pattern. It happens at random. When this first happend, I figured it was a clogged filter, causing the pump to draw too much current and trip the GFCI. During the enzyme run, I actually took out the clogged filter and let the water run freely through the system, but it keeps cutting off. i'm going to contact the spa shop on Monday to see if they can provide me a different GFCI breaker to try out. I have a feeling this one could be the problem.

I think a new breaker could solve your problem. But first make sure your spa is wired properly (to code) to begin with.

Breakers are not designed to handle constant overload trips and there are a lot of very cheap and poorly made breakers available. They all may meet electrical code when new but the good ones are made to perform well even after years of environmental exposure.

I avoid spa shops, much easier and cheaper to buy your chemicals from the grocery or hardware store and order the test kit and test chemicals online from a reputable dealer. Oh, and I get my advice right here where there are a number of generous and very knowledgeable contributors. Spa shops have a conflict of interest in providing advice because they want to sell you there over-priced "designer" chemicals (many of which it's hard to tell exactly what is in there).

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