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Thread: Spa in unfinished basement -- Smells! Help!

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    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Spa in unfinished basement -- Smells! Help!

    I recently bought one of those blow-up spas (hey, I'm on a budget!) and put it in my unfinished basement. Indoor relative humidity here in the winter runs 25-30% without active humidification, so I'm just planning on running my humidifier less to account for the spa (normally I humidify to the tune of ~6-10 gallons/day; the spa loses much much less water than that).

    Anyway, I decided on bromine with hope that it would be less smelly. I balanced the water per the "how do I use bromine" guide ... took me almost a full pound of sodium bisulphate for 250 gallons, but I ended up with:

    TA = ~120 (still kind of high, I know, I'm still slowly adding additional sodium bisulphate each time I test)
    PH = ~7.7
    Hardness = ~350

    Then I added 1oz sodium bromate, shocked with MPS, thew in the floater with 3 tabs, and put on the cover. Next day I tested it and the PH/TA were about the same, and Total Bromine was at ~3-4, so I decided to take a dip. Wife immediately noticed that the whole house smelled like a swimming pool.

    So my question is: 1) considering that I'm using this indoors with little outside ventilation (it's 30f out!), should I expect the smell? (note - I monitor the humidity, it's OK)
    2) Would switching to dichlor/bleach smell any less?
    3) Would switching to a saltwater setup smell any less?

    Basically, I need to achieve the *least possible smell*, because if it's still too much after whatever changes I make, the spa is going to end up deflated until it can go outside next spring

    It has now been 3 days and I've done no maintenance other than add sodium bisulphate and fiddle with the floater setting. I'm considering removing the floater altogether and going to a 2-step system (Regular application of MPS), but I don't know if that will help things or make them works. I'm also considering switching systems entirely, but once again, I really don't know if/what would be better. Help!

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Central Minnesota

    Re: Spa in unfinished basement -- Smells! Help!

    The offensiveness of an odor is a personal thing. Myself, I don't like the smell of brominated spas. It rubs my nose the wrong way. That being said, any spa that is indoors is going to have some odor associated with it, hopefully only the smells of bromine or chlorine. When properly maintained, I find that I can't smell much coming off my chlorinated spa unless I'm in the water or my FC is higher than normal (above 8 ppm), but mine is outdoors. Anytime waste is being oxidized, disinfection by-products are produced. Some of those smell, some do not.

    You have a few options. Try better ventilation in the area. This obviously will increase your heating bill as you'll be exhausting more heated air. You could also try switching away from the floater and only use bleach and/or MPS to convert your bromide bank to bromine as necessary to maintain your bromine level. The last option is to try the chlorine sanitation method, but this would necessitate draining the spa completely because once you have a bromine tub, it's always a bromine tub until you drain/refill. That would also mean another round of getting your TA level down...

    On the note of getting the TA down, I find muriatic acid to be lest costly and doesn't add sulfates to your spa like sodium bisulphate does. That's what's recommended here for lowering pH in spas and pools but the bisulphate does have the advantage of convenience and less hazardous to handle and store.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    appleton wisconsin

    Re: Spa in unfinished basement -- Smells! Help!

    I know someone who has a spa in her basement. They built it into a bathroom. I never smell pool smells in their house. She uses the bromine system that I have no experience with.

    I would recommend that you isolate the tub into a room sized area, and exhaust the moisture with a bathroom unit designed for the purpose. Perhaps you could tap into the dryer exhaust to avoid cutting a new hole. You could use panda film to make the room as a low cost/temporary solution.

    I suspect that switching to a chlorine system will not improve your pool smell issue.

    How well does the cover on an inflatable tub seal?

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Grand Rapids, MI

    Re: Spa in unfinished basement -- Smells! Help!

    Danjayh, welcome. Some people actually react to bromide, eg those with allergies or asthsma, etc. I am one of those people, so I really notice a bromide smell. My hunch is that you will find chlorine far less offensive, but again, that could be my own heightened feelings about bromide
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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