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What Should My Chlorine Level Be At Time Of Soaking?


enigma869
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Good Morning All...

I'm still wrapping my brain around getting my chemicals right in my new tub. I thought I read somewhere on this board that my chlorine level should be about 1 or 2ppm at the time I take a soak in the tub. Is that accurate? If it's higher than that, is it dangerous to use the tub? Is there an optimal free chlorine level that I should be aiming to keep that tub at when I'm not using it? Is there a quick "cheat sheet" that I can refer to somewhere on this site that shows what my ideal chlorine, alkalinity, and PH (and by all means...anything else that I'm overlooking here)levels should be? I'm trying to keep things as simple as I can. Any and all feedback is most appreciated.

John

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Assuming there is some Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water, say from using Dichlor, then starting a soak with a Free Chlorine (FC) that is higher is not harmful. It may, however, smell more as the chlorine will react with the ammonia in your sweat so some chloramines may outgas and smell. The main reason to start with 1-2 is to avoid such smell. You would then add chlorine right after your soak to oxidize your bather waste and still have enough left over for your next soak the next day (or your dosing the next day).

In between soaks, the FC will vary since it will be high right after you dose after your soak, but will drop as bather waste gets oxidized. You should try and keep it at 2 ppm FC or higher in between soaks so if you have an ozonator that creates a 50% daily chlorine demand, then you'd dose to 4 ppm and have it 2 ppm the next day when you dose again. If you don't have an ozonator, then your chlorine loss may be 25% per day (or less) in which case you could go from 3 to 2 or could dose every other day from 4 to 2.2.

If you are using the Dichlor-then-bleach method, then look at the sticky for it, but the TA should be brought down to 50 ppm and the use of 50 ppm Borates is not optional. CYA should be roughly 30-40 ppm. CH should be 120-150 ppm to prevent foaming, but can be lower if you don't have a foaming issue and have an acrylic spa.

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Wow. You know your stuff. Thank you for being so willing to assist some of us dopes :) I assume "CH" is calcium hardness(if so, what chemical controls that level)? Another question I have is about the ozonator. I've connected the dots that the ozonator creates more of a chlorine demand. I assume there must be some great benefit to using an ozonator to make the chlorine demand worth it? I have a Marquis Tub, which is their top of the line model ("The Show"), so I know that it's definitely equipped with an ozonator. I'm just trying to get a sense of why I should (or should not be) using it and what exactly its benefit is. Is there any downside to not using it? I assume it has an independent control to turn on and off? I apologize for the questions. I'm just new to the whole hot tub thing, and trying to educate myself, as much as I can. Thank you again for the willingness to assist.

John

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Yes, CH is Calcium Hardness. You add calcium chloride to increase it.

An ozonator reduces chlorine demand if you use the spa every day or two. This is because it oxidizes some of the bather waste so that chlorine doesn't have to. However, ozone also reacts with chlorine so in between soaks it uses up chlorine. So an ozonator in a chlorine spa is great if you use the spa every day or two, but it uses up more chlorine if you use the spa infrequently, say only on weekends.

The ideal situation would be if you could turn on the ozonator right after a soak, but turn it off within 24 hours if not soaking again the next day. Unfortunately, spa manufacturers generally don't have such a control.

Some ozone manufacturers claim you don't need to dose chlorine in between soaks (just after your soak), but we've had reports of spas going south (cloudy or biofilms) when not using chlorine so we recommend maintaining the chlorine level for proper disinfection.

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Enigma - Pardon my intrusion but doesn't your spa use the frog carts of Bromine? If so, there is a difference between the Chlorine and Bromine procedures. I have the Marquis Epic (about 4 months) and I'm still learning here too.

There is a great "pinned" post about the 3 step Bromine startup procedure by Waterbear here...

http://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=30249

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Yes, calcium chloride is the same as rock salt except you need to get the stuff that is more pure like Peladow or Dowflake.

I assumed the spa was to use chlorine since that's what the poster originally said, but if they have bromine already then yes, you are correct that Waterbear's 3-step bromine post is the place to go for information on using bromine.

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Enigma - Pardon my intrusion but doesn't your spa use the frog carts of Bromine? If so, there is a difference between the Chlorine and Bromine procedures. I have the Marquis Epic (about 4 months) and I'm still learning here too.

There is a great "pinned" post about the 3 step Bromine startup procedure by Waterbear here...

http://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=30249

Sure, I can use Bromine, but I'd prefer not to. I've decided to just roll with the chlorine. My brief reading here has indicated to me that those using chlorine seem to have fewer water issues and it seems to be for more simplistic (and I'm all about simplicity). Not, to mention, I'm already used to using chlorine on my pool, so I'm hoping that will assist me with the learning curve. The interesting thing is that I did take the time to read the Marquis manual that came with my tub, and they seem to indicate Bromine or Chlorine are both okay, which surprised me a bit, as I thought all hot tub manufacturers would recommend Bromine only.

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Hot tub manufacturers generally do not recommend only bromine. Chlorine is the most popular disinfectant used in spas (usually it's Dichlor-only) with over half of all spas using chlorine. Bromine is second with around one-quarter of spas using it. The rest are a mix of various products including Nature2 (silver ions) with non-chlorine shock (MPS) and "alternative" products that are not EPA-approved disinfectants (e.g. enzymes, surfactants, QACs).

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Assuming there is some Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water, say from using Dichlor, then starting a soak with a Free Chlorine (FC) that is higher is not harmful. It may, however, smell more as the chlorine will react with the ammonia in your sweat so some chloramines may outgas and smell. The main reason to start with 1-2 is to avoid such smell. You would then add chlorine right after your soak to oxidize your bather waste and still have enough left over for your next soak the next day (or your dosing the next day).

In between soaks, the FC will vary since it will be high right after you dose after your soak, but will drop as bather waste gets oxidized. You should try and keep it at 2 ppm FC or higher in between soaks so if you have an ozonator that creates a 50% daily chlorine demand, then you'd dose to 4 ppm and have it 2 ppm the next day when you dose again. If you don't have an ozonator, then your chlorine loss may be 25% per day (or less) in which case you could go from 3 to 2 or could dose every other day from 4 to 2.2.

If you are using the Dichlor-then-bleach method, then look at the sticky for it, but the TA should be brought down to 50 ppm and the use of 50 ppm Borates is not optional. CYA should be roughly 30-40 ppm. CH should be 120-150 ppm to prevent foaming, but can be lower if you don't have a foaming issue and have an acrylic spa.

 

So if your TA=50, you HAVE to have 50 ppm borates (not optional)? Why is that?

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Because when the TA is that low, the pH is less stable so the borates are an additional pH buffer preventing the pH from swinging, especially from rising too quickly. When I originally proposed a low TA we had one user who didn't pay attention to their pH and with their aeration jets the pH still went up high and they got scaling (they had high CH as well). To help prevent that, the borates will slow down the rate of pH rise. Of course, if someone still doesn't ever test their pH they could still get into trouble, but it'll take a lot longer with the borates in the water.

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Because when the TA is that low, the pH is less stable so the borates are an additional pH buffer preventing the pH from swinging, especially from rising too quickly. When I originally proposed a low TA we had one user who didn't pay attention to their pH and with their aeration jets the pH still went up high and they got scaling (they had high CH as well). To help prevent that, the borates will slow down the rate of pH rise. Of course, if someone still doesn't ever test their pH they could still get into trouble, but it'll take a lot longer with the borates in the water.

 

Ok, makes sense. I am in the process of determining the cause of a rash and I am adding only the necessary chemicals at this point. I had my TA down to 50ppm and pH was holding at 7.5 with no borates. I will raise it to 70 and keep an eye on it. I prefer not to add the borates this time.

BTW, I like to get in the tub with the chlorine levels around 3-4 max, otherwise it seem a bit strong.

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  • 2 months later...

The ideal situation would be if you could turn on the ozonator right after a soak, but turn it off within 24 hours if not soaking again the next day. Unfortunately, spa manufacturers generally don't have such a control.

After adding an on/off switch to my ozonator I turn it on when I get in (not after). Would that not be more ideal, especially if I'll be soaking for 1/2 - 1 hour?

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You aren't supposed to have the ozonator on during your soak because ozone gas is hazardous in larger quantities (it's an EPA regulated air pollutant). It is best to use the ozone after your soak so that it can handle your bather waste without outgassing ozone during your soak.

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You aren't supposed to have the ozonator on during your soak because ozone gas is hazardous in larger quantities (it's an EPA regulated air pollutant). It is best to use the ozone after your soak so that it can handle your bather waste without outgassing ozone during your soak.

This answer is surprising to me.

Most spa chemicals are harmful if contacted in high enough concentration. Because the ozonator that came with my spa is approved for and was wired from the factory to be on 24/7, I assumed there would be no harm in it running while I was using the spa?

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Most spas automatically turn off the ozonator when you turn on controls such as spa jets and that is intentional. Now it is possible that your particular ozonator has such a low output that it can operate 24/7 and not produce enough ozone to substantially outgas. I was assuming your ozonator was more powerful. So if yours is designed to run all the time, then yes it is likely to be safe.

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