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Help! We have been using BaquaSpa since getting our new Lifesmart Coronado (that has an ozone water treatment built in) tub last October. 

We are infrequent users. Hubby tested water with strips on Friday, adding recommended chemicals. Got in on Sunday. The cover was off most of that day. We got in, after awhile my skin was irritated and my throat. The next morning my throat was raw, hardly able to swallow or speak and having a hard time breathing (I'm an asthmatic). Hubby only noticed skin irritation, no upper respiratory issues.

Went to my Pulmo doc. and he's seen this happen before, but usually with chlorine chemicals. I spoke with the spa business who talked us into using Baquaspa, telling them what happened. She has never heard of this happening with Baquaspa. She is now suggesting that we switch to AquaFinesse plus Dichlor. Is this any better for sensitive folks like me or is this a sales gimmick? 

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It's either from the peroxide shock used with biguinide santizers like BaquaSpa (and is a fairly common complaint with these products as people breath in the aresolized peroxide as the jets run) OR it's the ozone which is toxic and in relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation) or a combination of the two. Both peroxide and ozone are potent oxidizers and when inhaled can 'burn' the lungs. There should be no residual ozone in the water but often times there is in spas.

Irritation is very infrequent with chlorine and is not normally associated with outdoor pools or spas but happens with INDOOR pools and spas with inefficient air handlers that allow volatile oxidation byproducts to collect, particularly with there is a problem with persistent combined chlorine. The oxidation byproducts collect in the air and there is no UV from sunlight to help destroy them

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Thanks so much for your help. We are going to switch to Dichlor/chlorine after we drain and clean the tub. I likely won't use the jets when I'm in it for a good amount of time...which kinda sucks. It's been 10 days and I still have terrible laryngitis and have to see an ENT this Friday for this issue. Hopefully, permanent damage hasn't been done.

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Converting from biguinide to chlorine is often more than just a drain and fill. You will need to replace the filter (possibly more than once if there is enough residual biguinide in the plumbing) and the first addition of chlorine might cause weird water colors and a lot of goo forming. IF you run into problems I can post the procedure.

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I have ordered a new filter, some Spa System flush from SpaDepot. Should be here next week. I've drained the tub and will refill, add the spa flush with no filter, then refill and start with a new filter and dichlor. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/13/2021 at 11:15 AM, waterbear said:

Converting from biguinide to chlorine is often more than just a drain and fill. You will need to replace the filter (possibly more than once if there is enough residual biguinide in the plumbing) and the first addition of chlorine might cause weird water colors and a lot of goo forming. IF you run into problems I can post the procedure.

OK, having real problems purging out the biguinide, Drained it last week, refilled it, got rid of the old filter. After it refilled, added the jet cleaner, letting it run for a couple hours. Drained it, refilled, added new filter, balanced alkalinity, PH and hardness. It looked great, added the dichlor, the water turned green, cloudy and gunk formed on the water line. Drained it out, soaked the filter overnight in in filter cleaner. Hosed the filter off and let it dry. 
So today, 5 days later, I spent over an hour with a very powerful shop vacuum, sucked out all the jets. I could still hear some water in the pipes at the bottom, but could not get all of it to come out.
We refilled it, added the filter, balanced the Alkalinity and PH, hardness. Ran the jets, but not the blower, the water looked good for a couple hours, but later had a slight greenish tint, but clear.
Added the dichlor and it turned quite green, but clear, no gunk. NOW WHAT? Is it safe this color? We do have a lot of iron in our water but we filter it (not softened, just filtered-it is well water).
Please help.

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You need to add chlorine or another oxidizer such as sodium percarbonate until all the biguinde is oxidized. It can take up to a week. Don't change out the filter until you are done since it will keep getting gunked up with goo. Just clean it as best you can.

Here is a step by step:

Make sure biguinde is 30 ppm or less. O is better. Even if it tests at 0 ppm biguinide is a polymer and tends to coat surfaces and plumbing so it's still there.

Adjust pH to 7.2

Add enough bleach or liquid chorine to raise the FC to 15 ppm.

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/53108-some-truths-on-bleach-dosing/

Be prepared for the goo and the colored water. Keep adding beach to bring the FC back to 15 ppm as it is consumed by oxidizing the biguinide, The more often you test and bring the FC back to 15 ppm the faster the conversion will go. Testing and raising FC hourly is not too often.  Clean filter as needed, it will continue to clog.

When water clears and FC is holding (1 ppm or less overnight loss of chlorine) change the filter, throw out the old one, and clean any remaining goo from the tub. Maintain the 15 ppm FC level. When you have .5 ppm combined chlorine or less for 2 consecutive days your conversion is complete.

 

An alternative method that some feel is faster and easier is to use sodium percarbonate which you can order online from such retailers as Amazon and The Chemistry Store)  or Proteam Pool Rescue (which is also sodium percarbonate) from a local or online pool supply that carries Proteam products at a dose of 1.5 oz by weight per 100 gallons of water in the tub AND .75 oz of dry acid (pH down) per 100 gallons. Let circulate for 48 hours. Adjust pH to 7.2 before beginning. Percarbonate will consume any chlorine in the water until it has been oxidized by the chlorine.  My feeling is that if you have a high biguinide level at the start of the process then using percarbonate will be faster but if your biguinide level is already low then just using chlorine will be faster but I have not tested this out.

After 48 hours add enough liquid chlorine to raise FC by 10 or 15 ppm (The higher the FC the faster it will eliminate the percarbonate, This is also the time to change the filter and throw out the old one.

https://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index.php?/topic/53108-some-truths-on-bleach-dosing/

Test after 1 hour. The FC will have dropped.

Keep testing and bringing the FC back to 10 or 15 ppm until FC is holding with no more than an overnight 1 ppm loss. and CC is .5 ppm or less

When using percarbonate you are using the percarbonate to oxidize the biguinide and then have to add chlorine until it consumes the percarbonate instead of using the chlorine to oxidize the biguinide.

Hope this is helpful. Good news is that you only have to do this once. I have yet to come across anyone that has ever gone back to biguinide after converting to chlorine or bromine. As a side benefit you will find that your chemical spending will be much lower with chlorine.

 

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Thanks so much, Waterbear, for your help.  We'll stick with the chlorine, not wanting to add any more chemicals to the brew, since it's my chemical sensitivity that caused us to move away from biguinide in the first place.
I wish I had gone with my gut feeling when the pool store sales lady was pushing Baquaspa on us, I wanted to go with bromide, but she talked me out of it. Live and learn....always the hard way.

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You might know sodium percarbonate under it's most widely known brand name OxyClean. (the original powder formulation) When added to water it forms hydrogen peroxide and sodum carbonate (washing soda which is the same as pH increaser you get from the dealer). The dry acid (pH down from the dealer) is needed to offset the pH increase it causes.

As I said, I don't know which one is faster but I do know that both methods work and both require a bit of patience to oxidize all the biguinide in the pipes and surfaces.

As far as chemical sensitivity, it is more likely you suffered toxic effects from inhaling either ozone or high volume peroxide mist (used as an oxidizer in biguinide spas and  pools), IMHO. Neither ozone nor peroxide are sensitizers. As far as the skin irritation, was it all over or in localized areas?  You said that you used strips. Not all biginide test strips test peroxide and shock. Most only test biguinide, pH, and TA. What parameters do your strips test. I am curious to see exactly which chemical levels you tested for and which were not tested. You also state that you use the spa infrequently which makes me think that you also test the water infrequently. This could lead to the growth of pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that causes folliculitis ("hot tub itch"). Testing infrequently can also mean that pH is too high or low and this can also cause skin irritation in some individuals.  It is entirely likely that both your rash and throat irritation are caused buy different agents but are the result of improper maintenance.

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On 5/5/2021 at 1:50 PM, AllChokedUp said:

Hubby tested water with strips on Friday, adding recommended chemicals. Got in on Sunday

As I said, improper maitenance. Water should have been tested on Sunday BEFORE entering the spa to make sure that chemical levels were correct. What chemicals were tested and what was added?

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the skin irritation only lasted till I showered, nothing more. But still dealing with the chemical burns to my vocal chords and lungs. 

I honestly don't know what all was added from the Baquaspa chemicals 2 weeks ago, my husband takes care of that. It's the usual weekly maintenance that my husband does, per the pool chemical place we purchased it from. He used Baquaspa test strips and there's weekly chemicals we're instructed to add per what's indicated on the strips. 

Going forward, he will be a lot more careful and test before we go in. For a couple months, when I go in, we won't use jets. Less likely for chemical to aerosolized to trigger my asthma.

BTW, the water is no longer a pea green, followed your above instructions to oxidize the biguinide. The water looks great. The test strips show all the levels are good. Thanks for your help.

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15 hours ago, AllChokedUp said:

The test strips show all the levels are good

DO NOT DEPEND ON STRIPS. Please invest in a drop based test kit. My recommendation is a Taylor K-2006 (not the K-2005) It will test ALL the parameters needed (Free Chlorine, Combined Chlorine, pH with acid demand and base demand, Total Akalinity, Calcium Harness, and Cynauric Acid which is stabilizer).

While strips are precise (results are repeatable on the same water sample) they are not accurate (results are close to the true value, usually determined by testing a knows standard test solution for that paramater).

Also, strips do not have the resolution for balancing water. For example. strips will tell if if the TA is 40, 80, or 120 PPM (resolution of 40 ppm) which is not help since the TA (total alkalinity) in a chlorine spa should be 60 to 70 ppm for best pH stability which cannot be determined with a strip. The kit I mentioned above has a resolution of 10 ppm which makes it very easy to determine that the TA is in range

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