Jump to content
Goldglv

Yellow gunk in hot tub after complete flush

Recommended Posts

I've seen this yellow gunk around the water line before, usually shows up when the jets are running then seems to disapear.  I've only had the hot tub for about 6 months, I add bromine and shock once a week.

Last night I decided to completely empty the hot tub so I added half the bottle of Sea Klear System Flush, let the jets run for about 30 minutes, emptied the hot tub and scrubbed down the shell.  Rinsed inside with the hose, emptied out what I could again using a pump.  Then I added fresh water, turned the hot tub back on, started the jets and saw all this junk again. 

Anyone know what this is?  Since I already emptied and started with fresh water, how am I supposed to get rid of this?  Thank you...

 

spa2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a biofilm which is a cluster of bacteria that is hard to kill and lurking deep in the plumbing. Really gross and a bit unsafe as clusters of bad bacteria would be. You can use a product called AHH-SOME which will clean it ALL from the interior pipes. This does not happen if spa is maintained chemically with sanitizers. I would switch to Dichlor instead of Bromine and shock once every 2 weeks at least and change your filter every week. This has happened to many who think they are properly sanitizing but are not, so don't feel bad.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Nitro's Dichlor and Bleach method and it's a breeze! Just make sure you use regular plain Chlorox and not the splashless. I used that once and Foam City. I've also used AHH-SOME on and older tub and you wouldn't believe the gunk that came out. It was really super clean after.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I contacted Sundance a couple of times this past week, one tech I spoke to told me to never under any circumstances use bleach.

I called the next day and a different tech sent me steps on how to use bleach, she sent me the following:

·         Remove filter and pillows and make sure there is no debris in the spa.

·         Fill the spa slightly higher than the highest jet in the spa – 2” to 3” inches.

·         Ensure the air controls are open.

·         Make sure the diverter valves are in combo and that the waterfall valve is in the middle position – water should be coming out at half the volume of normal open operation.

·         Add 5 gallons of chlorine bleach

·         Run everything for 20 minutes

·         Then let the spa sit for 10 minutes

·         Repeat six times

·         Drain and refill

·         Install a new filter

 

That seems like A LOT of bleach, 5 gallons???  My hot tub is 410 gallons.  As opposed to Nitro's procedure where you're adding this much:

·         Add 50 ppm FC using Regular Clorox 6% Unscented Bleach. That's approx. 1/4 gal (32 oz) per 350 gal tub.

 

Should I just follow Nitro's recommendation instead?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you "really" want to get rid of the bio film use "Ahh-Some".   When you use Ahh-Some, make sure you add enough chlorine to maintain a good sanitizer level (between 5 to 10 ppm).  It's also not wise to breath any vapor during the flushing procedure because it's pretty obvious your tub is seriously contaminated with bio-film.

It's simply incomprehensible that anyone would direct you to use five gallons of bleach in a 410 gallon hot tub!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently use Bromine in the tub, can I maintain the level using Bromine or do I need to use chlorine?  i will try the Ahh-Some,...

Ridiculous that the 5 gallon recommendation came from a tech at Sundance....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never had much luck with Bromine. Dichlor granules are much more effective for me. A couple tbls. to shock and a teaspoon or so after use. I also use a Nature2 Mineral Cartridge and an enzyme product, Spa Perfect, that reduces chlorine smell and conditions the water. Oh and a scum bug once it is clean will help keep the oils collected. Just be sure to rinse it out a couple times a week...it will last a long time and surprisingly works very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I concur with the diagnosis of  biofilms, and the use of ahh-some.  

Before the likes of "ahh-some", which really purges biofilms and other oils and crud from the pipes, the only tool we had in our toolbox to combat contamination was the 'decontamination' process.  There are many variants, but all the good ones involve very high levels of chlorine, from 50ppm to 100ppm over some controlled period of time.  These are tried and tested, there is lots of documentation on their use especially for commercial pools,etc.  

The problem with  biofilms is that they are very hardy, self-colonizing self-regenerating organisms that can be chlorine resistant ,which means in some cases, no reasonable amount of chlorine exposure will kill them outright -- they have to be lifted from the pipe surfaces (scrubbed).  Many a decon procedure (including on my own spa) has failed miserably to eradicate these contaminants, which are effectively eliminated by the use of ahh-some (as directed) .  So after a number of experiments and trials I am no longer in favor of traditional decontamination when the problem statement is 'biofilms'.  note carefully I did not say decon procedures are no longer needed -- I'm saying that a full-on decon procedure isn't the right tool to rid the spa of biofilms lurking in the pipes -- thats the job of one or more purges using "ahh-some".  

for more detail on biofilms and purging, please see my blog post here.  Note that this was my own personally-funded experiment during which I learned about biofilms and ahh-some.  

Here are some other misc. comments I have on the discussion in this thread:

1.  Seaklear is not an effective purge product, according to my experimentation (see above blog post).  it works "a little" but suffice to say if you have purged with Seakler (as I did) you should now purge with ahh-some (as I did) and you will release even more material (as I did!).    in some cases ,it takes more than one ahh-some purge to get the job done. 

2.  The statement, "this [biofilms] does not happen if spa is maintained chemically with sanitizers."  is  not entirely true.   I have presented evidence in the above blog post that biofilms CAN GENERATE in the presence of chlorine.  

3.  the recommendation to switch "to dichor instead of bromine" is confusing, inaccurate,  and not necessary.  my spa is bromine and I use dichlor  granules all the time as the oxidizer.  I also use regular bleach.  I recommend some reading on what bromine is, and how dichlor is used to oxidize sodium bromide into bromine.  I also recommend some reading on the "switch to bleach" method.  Most of the "I don't have good luck with bromine" comments usually originate from the bromine method itself, and/or dispenser, the use of tablets and floaters, etc.. The bromine method I use is very simple:  (1) add sodium bromide to establish the bank , and (2) use dichlor as the oxidizer util you have built up the correct amount of CYI, after which you switch to ordinary chlorine bleach. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Removal of Bio-film (the root cause of my itchy/scratchy patches of skin!)

 

Background

Over a long period of time (years!) I have been trying to track down the cause of my hot tub water problems and itchy patches on my skin. This started pretty much soon after we we bought a brand new tub. The old tub we had from new and had used for many years never gave us any problems.

I am meticulous in looking after it (OCD!) and and would have bet it was forensically clean.

Please believe me when I say that in the search to overcome my hot tub issues if you name it I have read it (including turgid scientific papers), bought it, tried it and talked to many so-called hot-tub ‘professionals’ but with no success (and less money) until now!

Success came when I read around the issue of bio-film and a product called Ahh-Some to successfully remove this very stubborn problem.

I have to heartily thank ‘Dlleno’ whose articles put me onto the bio-film issue, its occurrence even in brand new tubs and the success of the Ahh-Some product. Top man.

I have tried all sorts of ‘pipe cleaners’ and nothing but nothing worked like Ahh-some - don’t waste your time and money with anything else (I have no connection to or reason to promote this product).

It is expensive but its another case of you get what you pay for (I realise that that is not always the case when it comes to all things hot tub).

I have read the product reviews on Amazon (.com) and I would summarise the negative ones as issues with the ‘gunk’ it produces (see below to minimise this issue) or where they don’t seem know/understand what they are doing and complain about the continual issues of ‘gunk’ when the product is doing exactly what it should (apologies if that sounds arrogant).

How to minimise the issue of the sticky gunk produced - this will save you a lot of unnecessary work!

Basically a foam is produced and anywhere the foam goes, the sticky gunk deposit is left on the shell etc.

So my tips are (and they worked well for me) are:

Remove your filters (I have 5 in my Hotsprings hot tub) and fully submerge them. This is very important as they will be cleaned and not attract any gunk whatsoever if fully submerged.

I tied mine together and weighted them down with 2 2.5Kilo weights. I even tied the pillows down as well.

Next time I will use a net like the ones the scuba people have for their fins etc. as that will work and be easier. I can also put the filter tops in.

Wipe the gunk away periodically as it forms on the shell - this is relatively simple to do and much better than leaving it to the end. I also skimmed brown patches of foam with a net as I stood there in admiration of the bio-film mess produced from this process!

The only issue I had was the mess in the skimmer and skimmer housing where poor design to my mind makes it difficult to clean. However when I realised that it is only attached by 2 easily accessible screws and a plastic nut that needs a 90 degree twist then I took this off to clean the gunk off. Next time I will remove the skimmer and housing and put it all in the net and fully submerge and the rest will be easy!

I did 2 cycles of Ahh-Some (each an hour) without changing the water but clearing the gunk off after the first cycle. The second cycle produced very little indeed so I am sure from now on I will only need one cycle.

Some people apparently needed to do this a few times but that just shows they had a bigger problem with bio-film that definitely needs to be dealt with.

God only knows why it took me so long to discover the root cause of my issues and this excellent product, but if you have the same issues you simply must give this a try. Like me, you may well be amazed that what you thought was a clean tub is in fact not.

Have a read around bio-film as well and you will also see that chlorine and other sanitisers will not touch it!

A footnote on the use of Chlorine, in my experience:

After much hope and searching unfortunately I have found no successful substitute to using Chlorine (tried Bromine - no different) and non-chlorine substitutes all seem to need Chlorine at some point, or produce chlorine (salt water systems).

The end.

Thanks again Dlleno.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicely done keith01!  Yes I too find that wiping up the residue (rinse microfiber cloth in separate bucket of ahhsome)  works  good.  Youll end up wiping it down anyway so best to do that when its easy.   Submerging the filters is clever too!  They might get damaged from banging around so folks should beware of that. That's why i use pvc pipe.    I might try weighting down my pvc pipe and get the best of both worlds.  

If you really want to get ocd , run your jets with filters installed in their normal positions (on the 3rd purge where no new material is released) and force the ahhsome dosed water through the media itself.   I have ceramic filters so they can take it.  Be careful with other media types im not sure i would risk it.  This is very satisfying indeed!

  

Congratulations on your success!  You have crossed the threshold, and gained the victory!

 

Oh, and p.s.  wear gloves and dose with bleach during the purge for a more complete kill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi dlleno,

Thanks for your reply. 

I also have ceramic filters and they seem fine after being submerged but were tied in sort of a circle so didn't bang against each other. I am interested to know how you use the PVC pipe though please? I will also try a final 'clean' purge with the filters in place as that doesn't sound as though it will fill them with gunk.

With regard to the bleach I read contradictory stuff about that but if you have tried it I'll give it a shot thanks. I have a 323 US Gallon hot tub so how much bleach would you use for that please? Last time I used bleach to clean the washing machine I could hardly get into the utility room for froth, so does this produce a froth that I need to be aware of. I assume from what you said you put that in with the Ahh-Some?

Apologies for all the supplementary questions but any answers gratefully received.

Cheers, Keith (01)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for  the delay im not going to have access to the forum for a few more days.   Bleach works.... just don't use the anti splash.  Just pure unadulterated regular sodium hypochlorite 6% . 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay thanks Dlleno, I'll sort out how best to use the bleach. I forgot to mention that I did super-chlorinate after the Ahh-Some flush so hopefully that had the same effect. I read about super-chlorination but it was suggested that was done before the flush but I did it after as that seemed more logical to me - may be wrong! Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you follow the label directions for ahh-some you find that it should be used with chlorine.  I dose with 20ppm chlorine whenever I purge.  don't separate the two!  upon the new fill, there is no  harm in dosing to 10-ishppm just for extra margin, but you'll have to leave the cover off (to attract sunlight) or neutralize with 'peroxide to get the chlorine levels down to where you can get in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/22/2020 at 1:35 AM, Keith01 said:

Hi dlleno,

Thanks for your reply. 

I also have ceramic filters and they seem fine after being submerged but were tied in sort of a circle so didn't bang against each other. I am interested to know how you use the PVC pipe though please? I will also try a final 'clean' purge with the filters in place as that doesn't sound as though it will fill them with gunk.

With regard to the bleach I read contradictory stuff about that but if you have tried it I'll give it a shot thanks. I have a 323 US Gallon hot tub so how much bleach would you use for that please? Last time I used bleach to clean the washing machine I could hardly get into the utility room for froth, so does this produce a froth that I need to be aware of. I assume from what you said you put that in with the Ahh-Some?

Apologies for all the supplementary questions but any answers gratefully received.

Cheers, Keith (01)

 

Below is a link to my spa purge blog where I discuss a number of fun things, including ahh-some and its competitors.  "part 6" of the series is where i show a photo of my PVC pipe holding my filters in place while in the ahh-some dosed vessel.  While this technique is successful, I might try your trick and hang a weight onto the pipe.  the length of pipe is carefully chosen to correspond with the contours of the vessel in order to keep the area in front of the skimmer weir clear.  

 

https://boisediesel.com/blog/2019/10/ahhsome-vs-leisure-time-and-proline

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks very much for the link. I will have a look at that and I guess could put something suitable/heavy in the pipe to weigh it down. Thanks for the tip on getting the correct length.

Looks like we have the same skimmer door/housing which is very easy to remove. I'll let you know how that goes when I also submerge that as it was a pain to clean last time.

I'm now into trying to sort out the correct sanitising method (currently using Trichlor tablets) and reading conflicting stuff about Dichlor / CYA / Bleach...

I would be very interested to know what regime you use if that's not too much trouble.

Thanks again for the help.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also thanks also for the tip re. Ahh-Some/Chlorine combined flush. I think I have the 'UK' Tub (hardly big enough to get any instructions on :) ) and that only mentions normal levels of Chlorine but I'll do as you suggest and save the post Ahh-Some Chlorine shock that I did last time.

Cheers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

by the way -- be easy on spa stores that tell you not to use bleach.  they are just trained by their respective big-label partners and they fear the unknown.   they have been taught that bleach will destroy your shell and cause all kinds of apocalyptic doom.  just remember that they are well-meaning, even if mis-informed, and that the big labels know that a gallon of 6% sodium hypo is like US $4, when they can charge you $18 for a bottle of dichlor.     yea you gotta take responsibility for not splashing bleach on your shell, and you have to know about CYA as well, just as you do if you want to use pool chlorine.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi dlleno, I have been reading/trying a few things regarding Chlorine dosage and arrived in the following place. May I just run that by you please?

I read a long and informative post about bleach as a sanitiser by chem geek (albeit 2008) and adopted the "use tricolour or alike until the CYA/Stabaliser level is right, then switch to Bleach".

I have now tried that but could not stop the Free Chlorine from dropping quickly (I use AquaChek test strips and although there are more scientific methods I find these okay). I diluted the thin, unscented bleach (4.5% is all I could get of this type), added it, did a clean cycle, checked it (all good 4-5ppm), closed the lid, checked it a couple of hours later (okay but dropping to 3ppm) and then checked it the next morning (0 ppm!). I found that to keep a correct level I was having to too regularly add bleach so after a couple of days decided to revert back to tricolour tablets at least to keep the tub constantly sanitised correctly. I read somewhere that it can aerate/outgas but I tested it after I added it and did a clean cycle so assumed this was okay.

I then found a source of unstabalised chlorine 'HTH Easiflo Dry Calcium Hypochlorite Briquettes' that are intended for pools with CYA issues. I read their marketing blurb and they sounded perfect :) . They had better be because I had to get 25kg and they are up there with the normal stabiliser prices i.e. a shed load more expensive than bleach! I do like the idea of them being a slow release so I will now give them a go. 

However, I also thought it sensible to get your view on the above, in case I am missing something (a brain :)) that you may know of.

Any advice much appreciated.

Cheers, Keith

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a nutshell, the "switch to bleach" program is great.  Good science and it works.   But you do have to realize that CYA is your friend.   If you don't have 30 ish ppm CYA in your water then its not time to "switch"

Before you switched to a non stabilized source of chlorine how did you determine your  CYA level?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used Tricolour tablets for a week or so to get the CYA level to approx 30 as measured (approximately) on the AquaChek test strips.

I will continue to watch the CYA closely but I am having better luck with the HTH Briquettes as although they dissolve pretty damn quickly (hours not days) the Free Chlorine reading is okay in the morning when I check (3ppm) as opposed to 0 when I tried bleach, so at least the tub always has enough free chlorine in. I am now trying to hone in on the right amount of HTH briquettes to put in the hopper to maintain a reading of 4.

I also learnt (self-taught/google) about chloramines today as I wanted to know why people recommend a weekly non-chlorine shock!

I should have done all this years ago when I first got a tub!

Cheers.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
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...

×
×
  • Create New...