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We moved into a house recently that has a hot tub in the basement.  This is our first time owning a hot tub and I had no idea what to do.  The previous owner left some chemicals behind, so after a little research I bought some test strips (after a lot of research I realize this is a no no) and attempted to balance the water.  We used the tub for about 6 weeks, water is clear, doesn't smell, filter has been rinsed and is very clean since it's indoors.  The tub has a bromine floater and I've been shocking 1-2x/wk.  All was well, although it was very difficult to tell with the test strips if the pH was correct (so maybe it was off?)...until last week when I got a nasty rash that just keeps spreading even though I haven't been in the hot tub since.  I did notice not too long ago that there was some yucky stuff building up on the seam of inside of the cover so I just wiped it away with a Lysol wipe (bad idea?).

So...I've read Nitro's decontamination method, figure that's the best place to start from here. Questions:

1. Do you leave the cover on or off while going through all the steps?

2. How often am I supposed to clean the inside of the cover?  Can I just use regular cleaning products, or what do you recommend? How often should this be done?

3. I've read some posts that say 'brush the spa'? Is there a specific brush you need, or anything soft-ish will do?

4. I have a water softener.  Some things I've read say to use the hard(er) water, pre-softener, to refill, others say a mix of softened and not. Thoughts?

5. Draining...because it's indoors, there is a hose connected underneath that goes into a drain.  I have to assume this is going to my septic system.  From what I've read, people who have this issue suggest cooling the water and draining it bit by bit over a week so it doesn't flood the septic.  I assume this will begin a bacteria breeding process again and ruin my decontamination. Ideas?

6. Testing -- I have read here that the Taylor kits are the way to go.  I can't find a 2006 bromine kit in Canada.  Someone suggested a 2005 and doing some calculations.  I found it on amazon for $158 which seems pretty steep given it isn't even what I need.  Any other kits available in Canada that will do the job? I also have a saltwater pool and will need a kit for that, so if there is something that could do both that would be amazing!

Sorry, a lot of questions.  But I have read A LOT and still feel so lost.  And I really don't want anyone else in my family to experience this nasty rash that I am dealing with.

Thank you in advance!!

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Yikes, Hottub rash is nothing to mess with.  After decontaminate & draining the spa, wipe/clean/sanitize all the surfaces with bleach.  Do not re-enter water until the rash has cleared up completely for several weeks.  Depending on the severity of your rash you might want to see a dermatologist for medication.   You'll risk re-contaminating the water if you hop back in without getting treated first.

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

1. Do you leave the cover on or off while going through all the steps?

Gonna wanna keep the cover off - excessive gasses building up under the cover will damage it

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

2. How often am I supposed to clean the inside of the cover?  Can I just use regular cleaning products, or what do you recommend? How often should this be done?

My tub is outside so it's a bit different.  But I wash the exterior monthly with dish soap and water and then use a 303 aerospace protectant to condition the cover and extend it's lifespan.  

For the inside of the cover (only cleaned a few times a year when it needs it), I use cleaning vinegar with a splash of citrus extract cleaner (d-limonene - mainly to mask the vinegar scent lol) and use a rag to clean/scrub the cover.   Then I use some fresh water to wash off the vinegar/citrus cleaner.

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

3. I've read some posts that say 'brush the spa'? Is there a specific brush you need, or anything soft-ish will do?

Lol that's a new one on me.  Never had to do that with my hottub in the past two years I've had one (used daily).    Maybe I'm missing something but I don't see a need if your spa is properly maintained.

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

4. I have a water softener.  Some things I've read say to use the hard(er) water, pre-softener, to refill, others say a mix of softened and not. Thoughts?

Softened water is fine from my understanding.     It's more important for saltwater systems which need proper ranges for the cell to generate adequate chlorine

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

5. Draining...because it's indoors, there is a hose connected underneath that goes into a drain.  I have to assume this is going to my septic system.  From what I've read, people who have this issue suggest cooling the water and draining it bit by bit over a week so it doesn't flood the septic.  I assume this will begin a bacteria breeding process again and ruin my decontamination. Ideas?

Don't know how to help with this one.   Why not simply turn off the hottub and open the cover for a day to bleed off the heat first before draining.  Alternatively grab a sump pump and a long hose - pump it somewhere else if necessary/desired.

 

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

6. Testing -- I have read here that the Taylor kits are the way to go.  I can't find a 2006 bromine kit in Canada.  Someone suggested a 2005 and doing some calculations.  I found it on amazon for $158 which seems pretty steep given it isn't even what I need.  Any other kits available in Canada that will do the job? I also have a saltwater pool and will need a kit for that, so if there is something that could do both that would be amazing!

The K2006 is for chlorine.  The K2106 is for Bromine setups.

These titration test kits contain several different reagents and tests - they are not a single "test" like test strips.   So things like the pH test can be used for both saltwater pool and tub. 

Screw Amazon and their ridiculous pricing (along with bin SKU mixing, and other crappy business practices).  Do you have any local pool chemical supply dealers in your region?  Go visit them and tell them you're looking for a titration test kit for your hottub.  They'll have several different test kits in stock - get the most expensive titration test kit they sell lol.      Alternatively why not buy direct from the manufacturer - https://www.taylortechnologies.com/en/product/test-kits/complete-kit-for-chlorine-ph-alkalinity-hardness-cya-fas-dpdhigh-range-75-oz-bo--K-2006

 

  

On 4/30/2021 at 4:37 PM, newbiecanuck said:

And I really don't want anyone else in my family to experience this nasty rash that I am dealing with.


Wait, so you are the only one in your household who has gotten this rash?   As far as I understand it - there are two types of rashes which can be caused by a hottub:

Hottub Folliclulitis which is a bacterial infection festering in the plumbing caused by improper sanitizer usage.  This can infect anyone who uses the tub until the tub has been decontaminated.  This type of hottub rash infects your hair follicles on the skin causing nasty red irritated bumps  (even infecting the scalp in severe cases!).    This is the worst case scenario for a hottub and should be avoided by sanitizing properly.

The other type of rash is far less common - it is an allergic reaction to a chemical in the non-chlorine shock (MPS).  In this case the individual with the skin reaction will be affected but everyone else will be fine to use the spa.   The solution here is to drain/refill the spa and switch to an alternative care routine which does not require the use of non-chlorine oxidizing shock chemicals.

 

 

 

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You might have a build up of Biofilm in the plumbing. Buy some Ahhsome and purge the plumbing. Run a purge, drain and refill and you may possibly need a second purge. Wipe down the tub with a soft cloth as it's foaming to get the gunk off the shell.

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The Taylor K2106 is the FAS -DPD kit for bromine. It is identical the the K2006 for chlorine except for the different strength of FAS titrant and the inclusion of the CYA test in the K2006. You can use a K2006 to test bromine by doing the free chlorine test and multiplying the chlorine results by 2.25 to get a total bromine reading. The combined chlorine test and the CYA test are not done on a bromine tub. All other tests (pH, acid and base demand, TA, and CH are identical in both kits.

I would not recommend the K2005 since it has some limitation in testing because it uses the DPD method but is is for both chlorine and bromine and, except for the sanitizer testing method, is identical to the k2006. DPD testing has a limited range, suffers from bleachout which can indicate no or low sanitizer when, in fact, sanitizer is high, and requires a cumbersome sample dilution technique to verify if the sanitizer is actually low or if high sanitizer is bleaching out the DPD reagent. The FAS-DPD method found in the K2006 and K2106 do not have these drawbacks. While expensive, Taylor kits are well worth the money. The Canadian price is set by the sole Canadian distributor  Lowry & Associates and is quite a bit more than US prices but are still worth the money compares to other test kits available.

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On 5/1/2021 at 7:46 AM, ratchett said:

The K2005 is for chlorine.  The K2006 is for Bromine setups.

No, wrong information.

The K2005 is a DPD kit for both chlorine or bromine.

K2006 is an FAS-DPD kit for chlorine which can also be used for chlorine by multiplying the FC test by 2.25 to get a total bromine reading. It is identical tot he K-2005 except for the FAS-DPD chlorine test instead of the DPD chlorine test. FAS-DPD testing has many benefits over DPD testing such as better precision , easier, even for colorblind individuals, and a much greater testing range. DPD testing maxes out at 5 ppm unless you resort to cumbersome sample dilutions and is prone to bleach out at high sanitizer levels leading you to believe sanitizer is low or non existent when in reality is it high.

K2106 is an FAS-DPD kit for bromine and is identical in all other respects to the K-2005 and K-2006 except that it does not include a test for CYA which is not needed for bromine.

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2 hours ago, contact634 said:

had a similar problem wife got a rash  turns out she's allergic to bromine    I switched to chlorine and she's fine now 

Were you using MPS as an oxidizer? MPS is a known sensitizer and can cause contact dermatitis in both bromine and chlorine systems but is more commonly used in bromine in many two step and some one step bromine systems. In chlorine systems it is used as a non chlorine shock so, even if used, the amount added to the water is often less than in a bromine system using MPS as the primary oxidizer.

Neither chlorine or bromine are known sensitizers but it is possible to develop an irritant contact dermatitis from either (however, this is not an allergy but more akin to a chemical burn). Some people have also been known to develop a rash from the hot water in the tub

The most common rash from a hot tub is hot tub folliculitis or hot tub itch which is an infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa and affects sensitive individuals. It occurs when the sanitizer levels are not properly maintained which allows the organism to grow.

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