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Thread: Nasty itchy rash help !

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    Nasty itchy rash help !

    I have a 280 gallon dream maker spa that I got up and running in late July ( after building a deck, running power etc). I use the spa about 5 times a week for an average of an hour each use. I developed a nasty rash that itches like crazy. If I stay out of the tub for a week the rash goes away. The tub has an ozonator. I have been using bromine tablets, or sometimes a chlorine powder that the spa dealer sold me. My PH has been kept in check which I check a couple times a week. I use Ez Spa Total care once a week. I have read that it may or may not contain PPMS which is a known skin irritant. My wife uses the tub as well as an ocassional guest and no one had had the issue I am having. I do not have a way to measure sanitize level so if someone can recommend one I think I need to be checking that. My other question is can someone tell me does EZ Spa Total care contain PPMS? Also could the rattle stick (sorry don't know what its called) that you place in the filer basket area contain Nickel or other possible metals I may be allergic to? I am going to drain and refill the tub soon in prep for winter and am hoping not to add anything back in that may be causing this miserable rash. Thank you in advance for any input.

    Tim

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Welcome to TFP!

    I don't know what ppms is. Your issue is most likely bacteria in the tub due to lack of sanitizer, either chlorine or bromine. Bacteria colonies can double in as little as 20 minutes in a hot tub when there isn't enough sanitizer. The bacteria then infects your pores, giving you "hot tub rash". It is important to never let the sanitizer level drop to 0 in a hot tub.

    You need to pick either chlorine or bromine as a sanitizer for your tub. Here is how to do both.
    How do I use Chlorine in my Spa (or pool)?
    Or
    How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?

    I've been using the chlorine process to maintain my tub for 4+ years now and it works great.

    To test your water you need a good drop based test kit. Taylor reagents are preferred. I use the TF-100 from TFTestkits.net. You can use the TF-50 if all you are maintaining is a hot tub.
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Thank you very much for the reply and welcome, I will order that test kit today. My wife had brain surgery unexpectedly in late June, I was not home for 7 days and I think you may be right, certainly my sanitizer level was at 0 during that period of time. The rash broke out after that. I would use 6 to 7 nights a week, or rather will once I get this rash issue worked out. I had a Cal spa years ago so have some experience but need to do a better job here on monitoring sanitizer levels.

    Thank you,

    Tim

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    If there are times where you cant monitor the fc level when you get back dose fc up to 10 ppm with the tub running and retest again in 30-60 minutes and make sure it stays up, repeat as needed until fc holds for a few hours.
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Something not mentioned yet in this thread is the slime that builds up in the pipes. This is something that absolutely happens when chlorine gets low, and I suspect that it happens even when sanitizer is kept up with.

    Shocking with chlorine will not get rid of it, and the bio-film protects the bacteria from being killed from the chlorine.

    This is why the skin irritation is always worst right where the jets blow on your skin.

    You need to use ahh-some spa pipe cleaner product. It requires a water change, and should be used each time the water gets drained.
    340 gallon stand alone spa.

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Get Ahh-Some. Run it through your system. Drain. Learn as advised above. Refill. Maintain. Enjoy.
    Hot Springs Sovereign (1999?)

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Ok thanks, sorry fc?

    - - - Updated - - -

    OK thank you, have not drained yet just dropped the temp till I can get new chemicals fro start up. Will use



    Quote Originally Posted by ant 83 View Post
    Something not mentioned yet in this thread is the slime that builds up in the pipes. This is something that absolutely happens when chlorine gets low, and I suspect that it happens even when sanitizer is kept up with.

    Shocking with chlorine will not get rid of it, and the bio-film protects the bacteria from being killed from the chlorine.

    This is why the skin irritation is always worst right where the jets blow on your skin.

    You need to use ahh-some spa pipe cleaner product. It requires a water change, and should be used each time the water gets drained.

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    FC is free chlorine

    Have a read here on pool lingo.
    ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Last year I repaired a tub for a couple that wanted to clean it up for sale. They wanted it gone because they believed they were allergic to bromine and had itchy, prickly rashes all over there bodies.
    When I was rebuilding the pump, my arms got all prickly with hives and a burning sensation. At the time I thought i got a chemical or bacteria on me. Another couple days went by and I had some time to work on the pump. Once again I had a rash. It felt like the prickles that fiberglass insulation would give your forearms.
    On a closer inspection of the volute, it seems the water, or chemicals had eroded the resin inside the impeller housing, exposing the reinforcing flecks of glass fiber.

    Those fibers had been set loose in the tub causing the discomfort those people were suffering from. It was difficult but you could acutally see the glass strands if you looked at the inside of the housing close enough.

    There are many people online complaining of this kind of discomfort, that I think may be on a wild goose chase with chemicals, flushes and other 'solutions.'

    Have a look at the pump housing if you get a chance.

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    I've never heard that one but certainly a good thing to have in mind if you've tried everything else to no avail.
    Hot Springs Sovereign (1999?)

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Thank you , I suppose that could be possible here but the tub was purchased new in May and not put into service until late June. I really dont want to have to start even thinking about tearing a pump apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leaving_Jupiter View Post
    Last year I repaired a tub for a couple that wanted to clean it up for sale. They wanted it gone because they believed they were allergic to bromine and had itchy, prickly rashes all over there bodies.
    When I was rebuilding the pump, my arms got all prickly with hives and a burning sensation. At the time I thought i got a chemical or bacteria on me. Another couple days went by and I had some time to work on the pump. Once again I had a rash. It felt like the prickles that fiberglass insulation would give your forearms.
    On a closer inspection of the volute, it seems the water, or chemicals had eroded the resin inside the impeller housing, exposing the reinforcing flecks of glass fiber.

    Those fibers had been set loose in the tub causing the discomfort those people were suffering from. It was difficult but you could acutally see the glass strands if you looked at the inside of the housing close enough.

    There are many people online complaining of this kind of discomfort, that I think may be on a wild goose chase with chemicals, flushes and other 'solutions.'

    Have a look at the pump housing if you get a chance.
    - - - Updated - - -

    OK will do thank you, and thanks all for the tips and advice here, what a great forum with such helpful folks

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    FC is free chlorine

    Have a read here on pool lingo.
    ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    I think your pump is fine.
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    I noticed the TF-50 does not have a Ph test included. I am currently using a digital Ph meter because I found the test strips all but useless, The meter has been calibrated and I trust it, so the question becomes do you still think I can go with just the TF-50? Thank you, Tim

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Welcome to TFP!

    I don't know what ppms is. Your issue is most likely bacteria in the tub due to lack of sanitizer, either chlorine or bromine. Bacteria colonies can double in as little as 20 minutes in a hot tub when there isn't enough sanitizer. The bacteria then infects your pores, giving you "hot tub rash". It is important to never let the sanitizer level drop to 0 in a hot tub.

    You need to pick either chlorine or bromine as a sanitizer for your tub. Here is how to do both.
    How do I use Chlorine in my Spa (or pool)?
    Or
    How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?

    I've been using the chlorine process to maintain my tub for 4+ years now and it works great.

    To test your water you need a good drop based test kit. Taylor reagents are preferred. I use the TF-100 from TFTestkits.net. You can use the TF-50 if all you are maintaining is a hot tub.

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    You can add the K-1000
    K-1000 TFTestkits.net

    Or order the TF-100
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    ok thank you !

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    You can add the K-1000
    K-1000 TFTestkits.net

    Or order the TF-100

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    OK I have read the how to use chlorine article, have to admit pretty intimidating at first, lots of info there. Test kit will be delivered this weekend. I have ahh some on its way as well. So I Am planning on using the ahh some this weekend and draining the tub and starting over. I have a couple of questions because I do not want to have to do this again until after winter (pretty cold here for the next few months).

    1. I have an ozonator in this tub, still ok to use Dichlor? If so where can that be purchased?

    2. The article mentions testing every day for the first couple months, does that mean all tests (CH, TA, PH, CYA etc) that seems like a ton of maintenance.

    3. The spa store is going to try and sell me their usual startup kit when I visit tomorrow including protect plus to remove metals, natural clear enzyme clarifier, activate shock oxidizer etc) Do I need any of those when I refill this weekend? I am on well water but have pretty good water and use a filter on end of hose to remove some metals.

    Thanks all for the advice here, really want this rash to be gone and be able to use my tub again.

    Tim

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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    1. Yes, fine to use dichlor/bleach and ozonator. It is sold in 1 lb bags at most big box stores. It is usually called "shock" but read the label there are other things in 1lnpb bags called "shock" like cal-hypo.

    2. Only FC and pH should be tested daily/regularly. You'll get a feel for it pretty quickly. Keep some notes for a bit.

    3. Skip all that. On my last refill I added CYA (In a sock), bleach, 20 Team Mule Borax and muriatic acid. And some Epsom salts.
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    You can add the K-1000
    K-1000 TFTestkits.net

    Or order the TF-100
    Quote Originally Posted by onebadfish View Post
    ok thank you !
    Personally speaking, I would get the K-1001 for pH/FC testing, not the K-1000. The OTO total chlorine (TC) test is all but useless except as a simple "presence of chlorine" test. OTO is not very good at distinguishing TC levels. The DPD-only test in the K-1001 is a true free chlorine (FC) test and, if you get #9056 comparator block, you can use it to measure FC levels as high as 10ppm which, for a hot tub, is more than adequate. Even the lower concentration (0-5ppm) midget comparator that comes with the K-1001 is adequate for a spa.The difference in price on Amazon is $0.30...
    Matt
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    Re: Nasty itchy rash help !

    Not a bad idea. I have all of the above. I have a lot of trouble reading the shades of pink/red on the DPD chlorine test.
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