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Thread: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

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    New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    I have a new 270g Dreamaker Spa on the way. My wife, not me, has wanted a spa for years, so I decided to get her one. So I've been reading up on chemicals and such and the more I read, the more of a nightmare this sounds like this is going to be. We have a 4 yr old daughter so I want to keep this thing safe. There are so many opinions as to which is the easiest way to keep a spa safe that my head is spinning.

    I ordered an Ozonater with the spa, but now I don't know if that was the right thing to do.

    One guy says to add dichlor after each use, and shock once a week, which I thought sounded like the easiest. Now I'm reading that this will cause CYA build up and, in turn may the Dichlor less effective each time.

    The spa comes with the Cleanwater Blue system, which uses Copper. Now I'm reading that this system is total ****.

    I truly do not know which chems I should use. I apparently did not know what I was getting into. I don't want to have to test the water everyday, but it seems there is not way around this.

    What chems are the easiest to maintain? To me, at the moment, Bromine sounds the simplest, with the trade off that it is harder on the pump components. Chlorine seemed the easiest at first, but with the CYA build up, probably not. The spa will be in my basement, so I have to worry about smell on top of everything else.
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Welcome to TFP!

    Many of the things you are worrying about aren't an issue. The small volume of the spa makes many problems that are significant in a pool diminish to nothing because the spa water can be changed quickly and cheaply. Dispensing problems are also minimized because the small volume and high circulation of the spa allows you to quickly correct levels. Replacing 270gallons of water is much less of an issue than replacing 20 or 30 THOUSAND gallons in a pool.

    The copper system is unneeded since your spa isn't going to be exposed to sunlight which might produce algae. The copper can also turn blond hair green if it is allowed to build-up. I'd recommend you sell it on eBay if you can't get a refund.

    Bromine is a good choice in an indoor spa. It doesn't add anything you don't want and does a good job of sanitizing in water that isn't exposed to sunlight.

    You can use chlorine. CYA won't be needed since your spa won't be exposed to sunlight. Many people here use laundry bleach for chlorination.

    Testing for chlorine or bromine and pH only takes a minute or two, and you'll quickly develop a feel for how often you need to test it. My 7 year-old grandson tests my pool water when he's at the house. Very easy to do.

    Odor is minimal in a properly maintained pool or spa. It's usually the ones that people let get away from them that have a smell. I have well water, and when I get a glass of water at someplace on city water, the smell is overpowering to me. I can fill my sample bottle with my pool water at 3-5ppm chlorine and not even catch a whiff of chlorine odor.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Note...I anticipate that my wife and daughter will use the spa 30 min a day, everyday.
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Constant use of Dichlor cause CYA to go up right? I do not want that do I? So, since sunlight will not be an issue, I can just use straight bleach? At what levels should I balance the water to? Does using bleach only effect the balance of the water, ie. what effects does bleach have on Ph and TA? Thanks for your help.
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    The easiest approach, if you want to use chlorine, is to initially start out using Dichlor until you build up the CYA level to around 30 ppm or so (around 33 ppm cumulative FC using Dichlor) and then switch to using bleach. That way, you don't have an overly high effective chlorine level from using only bleach while also avoiding the continued buildup of CYA from using only Dichlor. Usually this means around a week or two of Dichlor usage if your daily chlorine use is around 4 ppm FC per day (in your case it'll be more like 4 days of 9 ppm FC daily usage). If you initially shock your hot tub after a refill, then doing so with Dichlor could get you to the CYA level you want faster.

    If you only used bleach, then the chlorine would be too strong and will wear on your hot tub cover faster as well as your swimsuits, skin and hair. It will also tend to outgas faster so the usage would be higher and it would smell more.

    If you only used Dichlor, then the CYA would build up. For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC), Dichlor also increases Cyanuric acid (CYA) by 9 ppm. After a month or so in most spas (a few weeks in your case), the effective chlorine level may not be enough to prevent hot tub itch bacteria from growing.

    This post goes into more detail about the Dichlor-then-bleach method. You also don't want your Calcium Hardness (CH) to get too high in order to prevent scaling. Usually, 100-150 ppm is about right for spas and will also inhibit foaming. You'll want to keep the TA lower, especially after you switch from Dichlor to bleach, since this will reduce the tendency for the pH to rise. Using 50 ppm Borates in the spa also helps keep the pH more stable.

    The rough rule of chlorine usage (without an ozonator) is that it takes 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (MPS) for every person-hour in a hot (100-104F) tub. So two people for 30 minutes is one person-hour. So these amounts are roughly what you would expect to use, though you need to test the FC level and adjust so that you end up with at least a small FC residual (1 ppm or so minimum) the next time they soak. Initially, you'll need to test every day to get a feel for your spa's chlorine demand, but if it's consistent then you might be able to test a little less frequently, but probably not less than twice a week (mostly just for chlorine level) if the spa is used every day.

    You will need to figure out if you want them to soak with chlorine levels up or not. It's technically the safest and most sanitary if they do, but it will smell of chlorine. Most people soak with minimal chlorine and then add chlorine right after they get out of the tub. So long as you still measure a chlorine residual before the next soak, this is an OK approach. It just means that there is a small risk of person-to-person transmission during the soak, but since you're family anyway this isn't a big deal (and I'm pretty sure that if your wife or daughter had some sort of diarrhea illness that they wouldn't use the tub).

    Because your 270 gallon spa is relatively small, the amount of chlorine you add after each soak (2 people for 30 minutes) will be around 9 ppm FC. Since this would normally have the pH swing quite a bit, I strongly suggest you use the 50 ppm Borates. Gentle Spa is one such pH balanced borates product. Getting Boric Acid directly from The Chemistry Store or other source is another option. 50 ppm borates in 270 gallons is around 10 ounces weight of Boric Acid (and probably of Gentle Spa).

    As for how often you need to replace the water, the normal rule is Water Replacement Interval (WRI) = (1/3) x (spa size in gallons) / (number of bathers per day) where I believe they assume 20 minute soaks. So that would be (1/3) x (270) / (2x30/20) = 30 days, but most people using the Dichor-then-bleach method find they can go at least twice as long between water changes so around 2 months in your case. Based on your anticipated chlorine usage, your salt level will increase by around 430 ppm per month so you could probably go even longer than 2 months, but as John pointed out doing a water change is a very easy way to reset your water chemistry and start fresh and clean. If you go more than 1 month before changing your water, I'd retest the CYA level and use more Dichlor briefly as needed if it's too low. The CYA may degrade faster in a hot tub.

    Your ozonator might complicate things. It can either increase or decrease the chlorine usage. In your case with a higher bather load and smaller tub it might decrease the chlorine usage, which would be fine, but is something you'll just have to see. The ozonator bubbling will tend to make the pH rise more quickly in the spa. If you have a way of turning off the ozonator (including the air injection), you might try that for a while and see which way you want to go (i.e. with or without the ozonator).

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Thanks. The Chlorine method sounds complicated. Would the bromine route work better for my situation? 2 bathers at 30min per day, indoors. What would be the best Bromine approach for these circumstances? I did get the ozonator, I don't have to hook it up, but would like to since I paid for it.
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    You can read about using bromine in your spa here where the easiest approach is the 3-step method that involves using a floating feeder to add additional bromine automatically, after you've got things set up. The ozonator can work better in a bromine spa since it can reactivate the bromide to bromine.

    The rules of thumb I calculated in the previous post with regard to the amount of oxidizer (in this case, bromine) needed and the rough water replacement interval still apply.

    If you want the easiest method that does not require manual daily addition of sanitizer, I'd go with bromine. Just note that some people don't like the smell of bromine and a few are sensitive to it.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    The only time we have used a spa was at a cabin resort we vacation at every year. Their spa's had a floater in it. Would this likely be a bromine system? The reason I ask is because we all seemed to toterate it well. The smell was not bad and it didn't give us any skin irritation. Is bromine harder on spa components, or is that a myth?
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Yes, that was probably a bromine system. As for bromine being harder on spa components, I don't know about that. It's technically stronger than chlorine when CYA is used with chlorine, but I don't know how this all nets out in terms of spa components. A lot of people use bromine so I don't think it's that harsh.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    I have been using the BBB system (highly recommended on this forum) in my new hot tub for over a month.

    I have found it easy and inexpensive and the water is clear and odor free (as far as I can tell, my city water has 3 ppm chlorine).

    I got the Trouble Free Test Kit that is recommended here (I suggest ordering additional pH indicator solution and orthotoluidine solution). The pH and chlorine tests are the only ones needed frequently.

    The local pool store tests water free and then recommends buying a quart of dilute baking soda for $9 or something similar. It became apparent that their tests were very inaccurate after comparing their results and mine. All their advice has seemed to be aimed at separating me from my $$.

    I put money into the test kit and have save lots by buying my chemicals at the grocery or hardware store (muriatic acid).

    I have kept a log of the water condition and chemicals added on a spread sheet. It has really helped me get a feel for the tub. And I have enjoyed keeping it in good condition.

    Read the "Pool School" section of this forum and don't worry about problems. I have found it is not a hassle if you just spend a few minutes a day on it.


    Curmudgeon

    350 gal Infinity using BBB

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    What exactly is the BBB system? I've seen it referenced a lot, but no specifics to exactly what it is. What does BBB stand for?
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    It is explained in the "Pool School".

    pool-school/

    Bleach, Baking soda, and Borax.


    Curmudgeon

    350 gal Infinity using BBB

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    I see that now. Thanks. Now, where do I find the starting and daily doses? My spa is 270 gallons.
    21,000 in-ground with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG.

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    I think you will find all the information you need in the 'Pool School" section.

    Curmudgeon

    350 gal Infinity using BBB

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by MDM
    I see that now. Thanks. Now, where do I find the starting and daily doses? My spa is 270 gallons.
    Welcome to the forum....

    The Pool Calculator (link is in my sig.)

    Enjoy your Spa!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    To use BBB with a spa, you should read: How do I use chlorine in my spa, as chem geek already pointed out.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by MDM
    I see that now. Thanks. Now, where do I find the starting and daily doses? My spa is 270 gallons.
    Welcome to the forum....

    The Pool Calculator (link is in my sig.)

    Enjoy your Spa!
    The Pool Calculator will tell you how much chemical you need to add to get to a certain water parameter, such as a Free Chlorine (FC) increase, but it won't tell you how much FC you will need for your particular spa. That is, it does not have the rough estimation I gave in my post. Since you have an ozonator and we don't know how it will react with your bather load and chlorine, you'll just have to see how things go with measuring the FC before a soak. If the FC is too high, try adding less chlorine after the soak. If the FC is low or zero, then add more. I'd suggest starting out adding the amounts I suggested after each soak -- namely 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach. Only use the Dichlor for 4 days and then switch to using bleach. You can then cut back from there, if the FC is too high before the next soak.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: New Spa on the way. Sounds like a chem nightmare.

    I would recommend bromine for you since the spa is indoors. As far as BBB goes, that is also part of the bromine system. Borax and baking soda are just water balancing chemicals to be used as needed, which is determined by testing with a GOOD test kit and bleach is a good choice for an oxidizer for a bromine system.

    These threads might be helpful:
    how-do-i-use-bromine-in-my-spa-or-pool-t102.html
    alternative-sanitizers-and-chemical-free-pools-the-truth-t3025.html

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