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jimma4191
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Added the calcium to 60 ppm no problem. Added baking soda to get TA to 130 no problem. Ph is off the scale. Added 3 or 4 ounces of muriatic acid to bring it to 7.4. TA dropped to 30. added baking soda per poolcalculator. TA came back 100 but Ph went off the scale. Added 5 ounces of acid or more this morning and still off the scale of my Taylor 2106. Please help.

Jim

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so I finally got the Ph down to 7.2 with the TA at 80. I was so happy. I added the requisite amount of 6% bleach to oxidize the sodium bromide. Aerated for about 45 minutes and TA is now at 6+ and the Ph is a solid 8. Bromine level is a solid 5. To complicate my frustration i read in the hot springs owners manual to never use muriatic acid, no household bleach and no floater type sanitation systems in their tub. My water is crystal clear with no smell and very inviting. What should I do next cause I don't know anymore. Someone please talk me off the ledge here.

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Why did you raise the TA to 130 ppm? Higher TA has the pH rise faster.

Also, aeration has the pH rise so aerating plus acid addition is what you do to lower the TA level. So if you now lower the pH and stop aerating the pH should be more stable now that the TA is lower and you are using bromine.

In everything you said you added, you didn't mention adding any sodium bromide. Did you do that? If not, then you don't have a bromine spa. Did you read Bromine for Beginners?

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Yes i did put in 2oz of sodium bromide. I printed off and tried following nitros 'spa balance' and '3 step bromine system'. The floater is in there now half full of tabs. So I should add a bit more acid to bring the Ph down? Don't i need to aerate to mix the acid in? What about while in the tub? Is the Ph rising while soaking? First time don't know. People at the stores are not very approachable. I'm not buying much. I'm getting everything here and there is so much info. I'm trying

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Aeration will raise the pH. The only time you do that after adding acid is when you want to lower the TA level since the acid lowers both pH and TA while aeration raises only pH with no change in TA. So if you want to just lower the pH and not permanently lower the TA, you add the acid without aeration (but with the circulation pump running. If you can't force your circulation pump to run, then yes, you can briefly run the jets but shouldn't need to do that for more than a few minutes.

The pH will rise some when soaking because the cover is off, but it will rise much faster if you use aeration jets. If you find that the pH continues to rise too quickly, then you can lower the TA more (but not below 50 ppm) and can add 50 ppm borates (from boric acid) as an additional pH buffer. Normally that's not needed for the bromine system since the bromine tabs are net acidic.

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I think you meant pH Lock. That's a phosphate buffer. If there is significant calcium in the water, it can get very cloudy and precipitate calcium phosphate. The pH is fairly locked in from the strong buffering, but I'm not sure if the water is considered to be silky.

The other pH buffer is using 50 ppm Borates usually from Boric Acid. It's not as strong as the phosphate buffer, but doesn't have the precipitation side effects. Some say it has the water feel more silky or look sparkly, but others don't notice much difference. You would normally use the borates when you are using a hypochlorite source of chlorine and have the TA low at around 50 ppm to minimize the rate of pH rise.

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Yes I did mean pH lock. Someone had mentioned 'Gentle Spa' specifically. I'm going in tomorrow first time. Me and the crazy broad. 35 years of marriage. pH is 7.6 and TA is 5.5- 6. The test goes from green to clear/blue/what color is that, on five, to red on 6. Bromine was at 9 today after taking the floater out last night. It's in there now closed down. What should I do to sanitize after using it tomorrow? I'm guessing pH will probably go up. Please stay with me

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Gentle Spa is borates (mostly boric acid). The pH Lock products are different as they are phosphate buffers.

For the 5.5-6 that can't be the TA -- each drop is 10 ppm so with red on 6 drops that is 60 ppm for TA.

If you have an ozonator, you may not need to do anything after your soak. If you don't have an ozonator, then you might need to add some oxidizer such as chlorine or MPS after your soak to create enough bromine to handle your bather load. It depends on how long you soak. You can add a few fluid ounces of bleach after your soak and then check your bromine level the next day. If the bromine level is too low, then you'll need to add more oxidizer after your soak; if it's too high, then you don't need to add as much.

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I think you meant pH Lock. That's a phosphate buffer. If there is significant calcium in the water, it can get very cloudy and precipitate calcium phosphate. The pH is fairly locked in from the strong buffering, but I'm not sure if the water is considered to be silky.The other pH buffer is using 50 ppm Borates usually from Boric Acid. It's not as strong as the phosphate buffer, but doesn't have the precipitation side effects. Some say it has the water feel more silky or look sparkly, but others don't notice much difference. You would normally use the borates when you are using a hypochlorite source of chlorine and have the TA low at around 50 ppm to minimize the rate of pH rise.

 

Just curious...what does "significant calcium" mean? I'm on a municipal water source with ~30 ppm calcium hardness at the tap. I would love to use a phosphate buffer over borates if it would work out. Is there an upper limit calcium hardness where precipitation does not occur?

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30 ppm calcium should not be so much as to be a problem with a phosphate buffer. If you had 100 ppm or more, then it would start to get messy. It might still show cloudiness at 50, but it would filter out reasonably. I think 30 should be OK.

With the ozonator, you should still test the water regularly until you are sure that the bromine level is being maintained, but yes you would shock as needed -- might not be weekly if the water is staying clear. You might get lucky and not need to shock with chlorine at all, but with bromine sometimes it gets cloudy if you don't use chlorine on occasion but with an ozonator it might prevent that.

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I also own a vanguard and just started using muriatic, can you tell me where it says to not use it? What are the risks with an acrylic shell?

Aeration will raise the pH. The only time you do that after adding acid is when you want to lower the TA level since the acid lowers both pH and TA while aeration raises only pH with no change in TA. So if you want to just lower the pH and not permanently lower the TA, you add the acid without aeration (but with the circulation pump running. If you can't force your circulation pump to run, then yes, you can briefly run the jets but shouldn't need to do that for more than a few minutes.The pH will rise some when soaking because the cover is off, but it will rise much faster if you use aeration jets. If you find that the pH continues to rise too quickly, then you can lower the TA more (but not below 50 ppm) and can add 50 ppm borates (from boric acid) as an additional pH buffer. Normally that's not needed for the bromine system since the bromine tabs are net acidic.

Chem, my TA has been solidly at 40 with the PH mostly staying put right in the 7.2-7.4 range and I don't have borates in the water. Because the PH seems to be holding, I was wondering what your thoughts on this are and if there's any risk besides the obvious PH jumping possibility. I've only been using Dichlor and the CYA is ~25.

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BradS1, The info on not using muriatic acid to control pH and not using floating type sanitation systems in the Vanguard is found on page 56 of the owners manual. I stumbled on it reading up on my clogged ozonator. Replaced backflow check valve and now works perfect. Awesome tub. I have followed the water balance info found here and the 3 step bromine system. I have the Taylor K-2106 test kit and could not have done without it.

Mr. Wizard, My water is crystal clear and no smell. But after we go in the pH spikes and stays until the next day. 7.4 when we go in 8+ the next day. I adjust with a small amount of muriatic acid according to the pool calculator. Without aeration the pH comes right down in a few minutes. Should I try Boric acid, 50ppm borates? I'd rather not but winter snow and ice are coming. If there is a way to lock it in then I'll try.

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With any concentrated chemical, one needs to be careful about adding it too quickly in one place since it can damage spa components if not thoroughly mixed. Adding the chemical slowly in the flow of circulation will ensure thorough mixing.

As for a low TA of 40 ppm, just note that Dichlor is net acidic so will continue to lower the TA so you will likely need to add baking soda to maintain it. If the TA gets too low, the pH can crash too low. Not having the 50 ppm Borates just means you need to be more diligent about watching your pH and TA levels. Even with the borates, the TA would still drop from the Dichlor.

The reason the pH rises from 7.4 to 8+ when you go in is that you are likely using spa jets and aerating the spa. Aeration increases carbon dioxide outgassing and that raises the pH. If you use 50 ppm Borates, that will reduce the amount of pH rise, but you'll still need to add acid now and then to get the pH down.

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Thank you Mr. Wizard. It sounds like I should skip the borates and just continue to adjust with muriatic acid according to the pool calculator and the occasional dose of baking soda. It really is a very small amount of muriatic acid but I'll need to adjust every time we go in as we do like the aeration action. I think I'd rather use less chemicals. Is there any reason to switch to dry acid? It's very interesting how the bather load uses up the available bromine. My grandson, the wife and I went in with the bromine level at 4.5 and a test after showed barely 2 ppm. Hopefully the bromine floater and the ozonator will help recovery before tomorrow. Even the few tablespoons of bleach stinks it up.

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You can use dry acid if you want. For spas it can be more convenient, but it really doesn't matter. Technically, dry acid builds up sulfates rather than chloride, but for a spa that's not important -- for a plaster pool, significant sulfate buildup can be damaging to plaster.

Bather load requires a lot of oxidizer to get rid of it. The rough rule-of-thumb is that every person-hour of soaking in a hot (104ºF) spa requires around 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor, 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach (3-1/2 fluid ounces of 8.25% bleach), or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (43% MPS). This assumes no ozonator. With an ozonator, the required amounts may be around half as much. In your case, with a bromide bank and an ozonator, the ozone oxidizes some of the bather waste directly and makes more bromine to make up for the bromine loss so you don't see that much of a drop compared to those who do not have an ozonator.

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