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Water maintenance for faraway cabin


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Help! I bought a cabin in the mountains with a hot tub and it’s 2.5 hrs from home (and 2.5 hrs from anywhere). It was always my dream to have a hot tub, and this has one! The problem is, I’m usually only able to make it up to the cabin around once a month reliably (sometimes much more, but need a water maintenance plan that will allow for these absences).

I was doing well with the water maintenance while I was spending a ton of time here (chlorine granules, non-chlorine shock, etc) but since winter has hit I’ve hired a service to come once a week so I didn’t have to worry. The problem is, they frequently do the exact wrong thing (raising pH off the charts when it’s already high, using Tri-chlor tablets, etc). 
 

I need help selecting a maintenance plan that I can do myself that allows for long absences as chlorine just isn’t cutting it. 
 

Would Bromine be better? What are mineral sanitizers and how do you use them? Salt?
 

What’s the ultimate for people in my situation? (Hoping you don’t just tell me to get rid of my hot tub and forget about my dreams of owning one)

Thanks!

Andy

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yea.... without a automatic feeder that you can carefully tune, you're kind of hosed.  I've been able to get two weeks out of mine, unattended and all I have is Hot Tub Serum and a good "SL" without the "AM" (shock but don't maintain while you're gone)

I've dosed my water with the Hot Tub Serum -- gave it a double the weekly dose to be gone for two weeks -- and the water was fine when I came back.  I have not experimented with longer periods, and thats outside of the mfg intended use for Hot Tub Serum, but it did tell me what it can do.  

 

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Thanks for the input. In the past I’ve superchlorinated and got the pH into good range, then went back home and monitored it with my pHin. It showed that pH drifted up each time the jets turned on, so it got to a bad range after about a week. The ORP went down to what the pHin calls “yellow” range after a week also and leveled out there. At this point I’m assuming there was no chlorine left at all and the system was relying exclusively on the ozonator that runs 24/7. I left it like this for 6 weeks, and when I returned I expected to find the water green, cloudy and smelly, but it was crystal clear and smelled fine. When I added a bit of pH down and chlorine/shock, it seemed to be just fine.
 

My question is, by getting the chlorine back into range when I arrived, and since the water was crystal clear, does that mean it’s safe to get in? Is there some reason I shouldn’t trust the water? Is it not safe even though it’s clear, doesn’t smell and is now perfectly balanced? Or, if I can keep repeating this, is this an acceptable way to maintain the water while I’m gone?

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I'd hit it with chlorine and jump in.

How old is your ozonator. That is a pretty slow loss for most ozone systems. Is it a 24/7 or just during filtration? What brand spa?

I would toss in a nature2 stick just to be on the safe side.

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Thanks, I was assuming if there was no visual indicators that anything was off and the water was perfectly balanced that it was safe to jump in, but wasn’t sure if there was something I was missing. Didn’t want to end up with a bad case of Legionnaire’s a week later!

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Just keep in mind that bad guys do/can grow in  low doses of chlorine so I will affirm the suggestion to add chlorine and get in but keep an eye on your sanitizer decay rate. (Note:  the CDC is now recommending 3ppm chlorine minimum UNMODERATED  by CYA. Yep dichlor is out.  

I've shown experimentally that biifilms can grow under these circumstances and when water is clear. see

rvdoug.com/

for my write-ups (go to hot tub home)

 I would also advocate for the use of Hot tub serum due to its positive impact on the sanitizer decay rate and ability to kill bad guys .  This isn't an enzyme that works on their food supply this is a "quat" formula that works on the bad guys directly.   i have found it quite effective especially in long absences .

You could try an enzyme type product but they are not effective in the face of an actual pathogen 

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Ahh yeah my circulation pump only runs intermittently, so I guess that means the ozonator is only running intermittently.

I monitor ORP with a pHin, I keep seeing that chlorine can be less effective with high levels of CYA, that bad bugs can grow in lower levels of chlorine, etc. but if my pHin is showing that the ORP is in acceptable range, that should mean that it’s continuing to be clean, whatever the mechanism (be it ozone, chlorine, mineral sanitizers, etc) right? So if I’m gone for 3 weeks and the ORP stays in good range, should be safe to jump in when I get back, albeit with some effort to get the chemicals balanced again first.

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