Jump to content

Can't maintain Bromine level in new caldera tub


JimmyCT
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm in week 2 with a new tub and would appreciate any insight into water health. I have a caldera (475 gallons) with an ozone system and inline spa frog bromine system.

I bought an electronic tester and have been monitoring/playing with the chemical levels for a couple of days. I'm using amerse spa care products as suggested by the dealer and came with the tub.
 
When I got home Thursday and tested the bromine levels were low 0.2
Ph was 7.8
Alkalinity was 87
Calcium Hardness was 134
 
I tried opening the bromine tab up to notch 6 and left it overnight and next morning down to zero.
 
Yesterday I used a shock/startup (1.5 oz Frog Jump Start packet) packet to bring it back up and also re-leveled the bromine cartridge back to notch 3. Within an hour the bromine level went back up to 7.8
 
Left this overnight and just re-tested this morning and it's the following:
Bromine: 0.0
Ph: 7.8
A: 86
CH: 134
 
Any tips on how to keep bromine level up? I know it should be above 0.5 with the ozone system
 
Thanks all
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jimmy:  Based on what I read in your post it would seem that your new hot tub needs it's plumbing infrastructure "purged". If you have Biofilm, and I'm quite sure you do, this can definitely cause your sanitizer dissipation and high usage.  New hot tubs especially should always be totally purged after the first fill.  Unfortunately, most dealers neglect to do this as they are either unaware of the biofilm issues from the factory or are too busy to stop and purge the tub after the initial delivery and set-up.  Manufacturers run water through the entire plumbing system prior to shipping to dealers.  Some of this water remains in the plumbing and can grow bacterial colonies very quickly.  Use a good quality plumbing cleaner that is made for hot tubs and/or jetted tubs.  Do this initially and at least every 6 months.  If the hot tub is low gallonage, under 200 gallons and gets extensive use, purge  and clean the plumbing every 3-4 months at the least.  This will go a long way in helping you maintain crystal clear healthy water.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Figured I'd report back after I purged with "Silk Balance Clean Start" 

I'm up and running again with fresh water and I just tested after start up procedure (2nd day). Levels are as following (Using a ColorQ testing kit)

Bromine: 0.1 

Ph: 7.8

AK: 96

Calcium H: 126

I do have an ozone water purification system which the dealer explained should only require me to keep a low bromine reading. They also said not to worry too much about the lack of bromine reading as long as the water is clear and healthy. Is this true?

Is there anything else that could be affecting the low bromine readings? I have a spa frog system and have the bromine cartridge turned up to level 6.

Thanks for any advice....appreciate the help

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't measure a disinfectant level then the tub is not being properly disinfected.  What the dealer is hoping is that the ozonator is keeping the water safe and while any water flowing through the ozone system will get disinfected, the ozone does nothing to pathogens not circulating including those growing on surfaces.  If there is sufficient residual ozone making its way into the main tub water, then that would kill pathogens on surfaces but it could also outgas and be a health hazard (ozone is an air pollutant you don't want to breathe).  Most likely, the risk is lower with ozone, but it's safer to always measure a residual of disinfectant.

 

Normally an ozonator will produce higher bromine readings since it makes bromine from bromide (spent bromine).  Did you start off adding sodium bromide initially?  I'd think you'd have built up enough bromide from the bromine cartridge, but you can always add some Broma-Start or equivalent sodium bromide product and the ozone should then make bromine from it.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks chem geek,

As an update, I did a 2nd purge and refill using Ahh-Some Hot Tub/Jetted Bath Plumbing & Jet Cleaner. It produced a lime green scum in the foam so I was hoping that this purge would remove any biofilm concerns. I refilled and restarted the chem process by using the Frog jump start system (33% Sodium dichlro). 

Low and behold i tested the water this morning again and the bromine was down to almost zero again. I just ordered a sodium bromide product and will try that to set up a sufficient bromine bank.

Stay tuned, will report back :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Reporting back:

I added sodium bromide to try and build up the bank and it seemed to work (even though my monarch ozone instructions told me not to add sodium bromide, please correct me if this could harm anything). Bromine shot up to over 10 and then gradually came back to 6.0 over a few days. I had had my bromine in-line cartridge to level 6 and was able to take it down to level 3. bromine was 2.1 yesterday and seems to be much better and more manageable.

Recent readings:

Bromine: 2.1

Ph: 7.7

AK: 78

CH: 185

Do all these levels seem correct now?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

recommended bromine levels are 4-6ppm.  Such a low concentration of bromine  may dissipate quickly under normal bather load.  Ozone in a bromine spa creates a very interesting and beneficial situation, in that ozone will oxidize sodium bromide and produce a small amount of  sanitizer.  In my  experience, in a properly purged and healthy spa under no load, the bromine levels will decline normally and approach some small residual (such as .5ppm) but never go to zero, due to ozone.  I don't know what Monarch's ozone instructions are referring to here, unless it is the fact that with ozone in use, you can get yourself into a pickle if you dose too high -- the normal sanitizer decay rate is very slow under no load and you can wait a long time before it decays to acceptable levels.  But that aside I find ozone and bromine work very well together. 

In a spa where you are purging to correct a known problem, I find it beneficial to purge more than once with ahh-some to prove that the first purge was sufficient to clean the vessel.  in my personal tests I found that two purges and even three can be required, and I have coached others through more than that, to correct a particularly vexing contamination issue.  your excessive sanitizer demand could be due to an incomplete purge. if I were in your shoes I would purge again. 

Glad you got ahh-some.  Silk Balance "Clean Start" is nothing more than ordinary grocery store Borax in a really expensive container

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
On 1/2/2017 at 11:19 PM, chem geek said:

If you don't measure a disinfectant level then the tub is not being properly disinfected.  What the dealer is hoping is that the ozonator is keeping the water safe and while any water flowing through the ozone system will get disinfected, the ozone does nothing to pathogens not circulating including those growing on surfaces.  If there is sufficient residual ozone making its way into the main tub water, then that would kill pathogens on surfaces but it could also outgas and be a health hazard (ozone is an air pollutant you don't want to breathe).  Most likely, the risk is lower with ozone, but it's safer to always measure a residual of disinfectant.

 

Normally an ozonator will produce higher bromine readings since it makes bromine from bromide (spent bromine).  Did you start off adding sodium bromide initially?  I'd think you'd have built up enough bromide from the bromine cartridge, but you can always add some Broma-Start or equivalent sodium bromide product and the ozone should then make bromine from it.

 

I would "greatly" appreciate your advice on how to accomplish this objective (if its possible):

 

Since we almost never use our 1988 Jacuzzi Meridian spa I don’t spend the time managing the sanitizer level and PH and TA during months of no use.  Consequently when we decide to use it I have always had to drain it and refill and reestablish sanitizer (Bromine).

I’d like a solution (perhaps a silver ion generator and/or ozonator?) that would maintain the water safe for months of no use and then allow me to reestablish the sanitizer, PH and TA levels when we get ready to use it and not have to drain it every time.

Is there a way to accomplish my objective using Ahh-some initially (probably several repeated purges as it is quite old and probably very clogged up with gunk and biofilms) and again every 6 months in conjunction with a product like a silver ion generator?

 

Again, I would reestablish Bromine or Chlorine levels and PH and TA “before” allowing a bather to use it.

Or would something added to the water like the Nature2 filter cartridges accomplish this? I am a little reluctant to use an ozone generator out of concern it might cause the vinyl covered spa cover to disintegrate. Is that a valid concern? Thanks.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can relate my experience (blog link posted elsewhere)  that you absolutely can utilize a Corona discharge ozone generator to maintain bromine levels in a spa with a vinyl covered cover.  I find that ozone doesn't deteriorate my cover any more than the sun does.  Yes the secret is the Ahh-Some purge to insure that no biofilms are present.  When you do this, you will find that bromine levels will decay but will not go to zero, under no load.  You do have to make sure that no dust or critters end up on the water cause the ozone production  of bromine cannot keep up with any bio load 

 

I am a firm believer in multiple ahh some purges 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you. Our Jacuzzi is inside in a dedicated room adjacent to (but unfortunately not connected to) our exterior pool so the cover doesn't get direct sun exposure but it is under a clear glass skylight.  I say "unfortunately" not connected to the pool since I keep the pool balanced and sanitized with a saturation index very near zero (although cold) year round.

Which ozone generator do you have and would you recommend it? 

Also if anyone with experience with silver ion generators can comment I'd appreciate knowing if silver ions might keep the water sterile or if a Nature2 cartridge every few months would do the same thing as far as killing bacteria?

My goal (if possible) is to be able to go for months with something that keeps the water germ free and then when we decide to use it I will rebalance it (PH, hardness and TA and sanitizer - probably bromine) before use.

Somewhere I read both ozoneators and silver ion generators would keep the water safe if no one was in it but you need an active  sanitizer to kill germs before they can move from one person to another.  In other words the water would be safe when you got in it but it wouldn't kill a germ introduced by another person (or a dirty  bug) unless the sanitizer level was restored. And of course that means getting the PH right so the sanitizer can work.  Is that true?

Edited by NickJ
Forgot details
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally have not tried  the particular solutions  you mention  but would suggest thinking  about the  problem from the standpoint of sanitizer consumption.    I'll let Chem geek school us regarding the solutions  themselves  but as a practical matter, note that a halogen sanitizer at  .5ppm is sufficient to maintain water when no organics or pathogens are introduced ("no load"). I have personally achieved this.  Introduce any load (organic that will consume sanitizer) and the supply can't keep up with the demand and so bromine goes to zero and bad things happen.   In the case of a Corona discharge ozone generator, with sufficient sodium bromide salts in the water, ozone will oxidize the bromide and produce a small concentration of bromine (in my 500 gallon hot spring grandee I measure between   .5 and 1 ppm), under no load conditions.  Before I get in the water I raise bromine to 4-6 ppm. 

I wish I knew how to size or express the requirements of an ozone generator for this purpose but I note that it can't be too strong (if it runs during soaks) or the bathers will be in danger, but it has to be strong enough to oxidize the bromide salts to produce bromine.  The only point of reference I have is (1) my old school uv generator wasn't good and (2) the one supplied with my grandee works perfectly. 

Not to sound like a broken record, but the ozone trick making bromine doesn't work if there are any biofilms present.  You gotta have a clean spa (the ahhsome purge is just a requirement imho before you can depend on this). In your favor, putting the spa indoors is good.   outdoors I find that that wind   dust, spiders, yellow jackets or whatever can  really put this plan at risk.  

My own experiments have led me to conclude that the reason spa stores look at you funny when you mention ozone producing bromine is because the technique won't work in most cases.  This is because most residential spas, even when they have sufficient bromide bank, have some biofilms present (my opinion) because they aren't purged regularly.  owners just cover up the problem by maintaining acceptable sanitizer levels (I have personally demonstrated this on my own spa).  The evidence is strong that one can have healthy looking water,  acceptable sanitizer levels, and healthy, blissfully unaware bathers and still have biofilms present such that the ozone  trick won't work. 

BTW when I refer to a clean spa I mean jets running, filters in their normal position, and water dosed with ahhsome but producing NO visible contaminants. This is not trivial to produce and (for me) required multiple ahhsome purges before reaching this state of cleanliness. No I don't use the spa in this condition... I drain and refill, and the ozone trick works! 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dlleno,

Thank you. I appreciate the information and personal experience you have shared. Since I have always used bromine in the Jacuzzi (but chlorine in the pool) I like the idea of an ozone generator and bromine.  I plan to start the ahh-some purges as soon as I get it back in commission.  I just replaced the recirculation pump and the plumber cracked my filter housing so I have to replace it and fix a leak at one joint he failed to glue properly. (He's not a REAL plumber.) Before I do that (will do myself this time) I want to decide on an ozone generator and/or silver ion generator and plumb it in at the same time. I think I read somewhere that silver ion generators aren't compatible with bromine but I'm not sure why. Since your ozone system came with your spa I assume you don't have a brand and model to recommend?  I "think" my Jacuzzi Meridian is 450 gallons but need to look that up to be sure.  Right after I bought it (1988) I discovered the Jacuzzi "name" had been bought by one of those conglomerates (they owned a piano company too) and even though it had the Jacuzzi trademark it did NOT have genuine Jacuzzi nozzels with center air injection. Luckily that was before I had it installed so I added another pump with two nozzles one of which is adjustable to be sure it matched the REAL Jacuzzi hydrotherapy graphs with the right horsepower and flow.  I hope to get it all working again and have a new Len Gordon controller to install since the old one is so rusted and probably not working.  We used to keep chlorine in the same room outside with the Jacuzzi equipment which was NOT a good idea.  Once I fix the leaks and install the new controller I hope to find everything else works but realize the air buttons or lines that operate the control may need replacing too.  I think I am on my third RayPak 12Kw heater and so far it hasn't come on with the pump running.  It's supposed to be a 36 gpm pump (Laing high efficiency) and the heater is supposed to only need 15 gpm so I may find that something else in the heater has failed.  I realize I need the heater and jets working before I can start the ahh-some purges. I say "purges" with a "s" since as old as it is I am sure it will require multiple purges.  Thanks again and if you know anyone on the forum with knowledge of silver ion generators please ask them to comment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yea in afraid I cant recommend an ozone generator.  Mine came with the hot spring grande and just works. 

I wish you good luck on the purges!  Yes especially for an old/used spa you are doing precisely the right thing.  The biggest mistake people make - -  well there are two - - in failing the purge step are 

1.  You got to keep purging (drain, fill, re dose with awesome)  untill you have achieved a clean spa as I described previously  with filters in their normal positions. Don't give up - if you see yuck  you have to purge again.  I have personally coached others through as many as 10.  Note : on my last purge I saw only a small amount of material release, which I wiped up with a cloth.  That did it. 

2.  People have actually postulated that ahhsome itself introduces contaminants for the visual effect.  These folk have not performed step 1  😄

Here is a post from Chem geek relating to nature 2

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share



×
×
  • Create New...