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Thread: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

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    Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    I have a new Arctic spa with the onzen swg. Dealer did not give me much help withe the start up. After chasing the FC/PH/TA levels around for a week or two I thought that I should read up on what I am doing. Thankfully I found this site.

    So where am I today. Went out and bought a Taylor K-2005 test kit and got the following results:
    FC - 2.5
    PH - 8.0 (acid demand of 4 drops)
    TA - 120
    CH - 50
    CYA - didn't read at all (water never turned cloudy and the black dot never went away)
    According to the little wheel that comes with the test kit, my water is close to balacned (+1) but at the wrong point.

    My questions are:
    1) Looks like I need to add calcium to get the CH up. Will the water rebalance around this new CH level, or should I adjust TA and then PH afterwords?
    2) Any ideas why my CYA is zero (or really high)? As this is an outdoor above ground spa with a cover on 90% of the time, do I need to worry about CYA as UV should not be much of a factor?
    3) The Onzen system should generate FC, but does it generate CYA as well or do I need to add this. I have used a little spa oxidizing shock chemical that came with the spa. It is chlorine free potassium monopersulfate.

    Sorry for the long message. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Quote Originally Posted by keanes
    I have a new Arctic spa with the onzen swg. Dealer did not give me much help withe the start up. After chasing the FC/PH/TA levels around for a week or two I thought that I should read up on what I am doing. Thankfully I found this site.

    So where am I today. Went out and bought a Taylor K-2005 test kit and got the following results:
    FC - 2.5
    PH - 8.0 (acid demand of 4 drops)
    TA - 120
    CH - 50
    CYA - didn't read at all (water never turned cloudy and the black dot never went away)
    According to the little wheel that comes with the test kit, my water is close to balacned (+1) but at the wrong point.

    My questions are:
    1) Looks like I need to add calcium to get the CH up. Will the water rebalance around this new CH level, or should I adjust TA and then PH afterwords?
    2) Any ideas why my CYA is zero (or really high)? As this is an outdoor above ground spa with a cover on 90% of the time, do I need to worry about CYA as UV should not be much of a factor?
    3) The Onzen system should generate FC, but does it generate CYA as well or do I need to add this. I have used a little spa oxidizing shock chemical that came with the spa. It is chlorine free potassium monopersulfate.

    Sorry for the long message. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Welcome to the forum, keanes.

    Assuming that your above ground spa is fibreglass, having some calcium in the water is a nice preventative to foaming -- so 50-100 ppm calcium hardness (CH) is fine. Probably no need to increase it from its current level. Whenever you have to make adjustments, TA is usually the first thing to do, followed by pH and chlorine.

    Subject to correction by those more experienced with the use of CYA in spas, 20 ppm should keep you on track. It will help maintain a small reservoir of chlorine in the spa. Right now, it sounds like there is no CYA present... not the end of the world for a spa that isn't exposed to sunlight. You can increase it by use of trichlor or dichlor, or just add granular cyanuric acid. If you purchase CYA, don't buy too much because you won't need very much. Only the products I mentioned should contribute to CYA.

    We have a separate forum that covers all sorts of issues that arise with above-ground spas, so take a look around, read the threads -- you'll find lots of stuff of interest. Also, read through the articles that interest you in Pool School.

    Finally, here's a linked discussion from someone with your type of spa; it might be pertinent to questions you have now or will have:
    skip-the-swg-and-go-strictly-bbb-t15469.html
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Welcome to the forum!!

    Short answers to questions;

    1. I'd leave the CH at 50 for now. Probably fine right where it is.

    2. CYA only occurs if you put it in. You have zero. 20ppm is a good number for you.

    3. Yeah, you have to add CYA . MPS is an very acceptable product but you can get the same result for less money with liquid chlorine or bleach.

    You didn't ask, but keep your pH down in the mid 7's. Lower it with muriatic acid. The TA will come down with it but will still be in an acceptable range.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Thanks for the responses. I am a little confused though still with the CH numbers though. Looking at the little wheel that came with the Taylor test kit, if I leave CH at 50 and the temp at 104 I would have to increase TA to around 200 to get balanced water at a PH of 7.6? Wouldn't TA of 200 be high? In the message above were you saying that I should lower PH and TA, or just that muriatic acid would lower both?

    Thanks again.

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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Calcium in a plastered pool is important. It makes the water less aggressive towards the cement in the pool plaster. Water is also known as the Universal Solvent. If there is none in a concrete pool, the water will tend to pull it out of the nearest source, the plaster. This will eventually lead to rough plaster.

    You have a FG shell. The addition of calcium here may do two things, reduce foaming and keep the water from being potentially aggressive towards the gel coat.

    Hot water chemistry is somewhat different from a typical pool's chemistry for a number of reasons. A tub is much smaller. It is typically kept hot so there is energy available to speed reactions. and bather load is much more concentrated.

    Cyanuric acid is a sunscreen for chlorine, in simple terms. Because a spa is covered, the UV from the sun can't energize the chlorine for it gas off. The heat, however will cause this and AFAIK, CYA does nothing to prevent this.

    With higher temps, biologicals will grow very quickly. Not all of them require the sun. Keeping sanitizer in the pool is a good idea. Having the ozonator will help when the circulation pump in running but does zilch when the system is down, typically when it's at temp and not in a filter mode. Thus, having free sanitizers such as bromine or chlorine is a must.

    Keeping the pH in the mid 7's will help keep the heater element healthy and keep the effectiveness of the sanitizer in it's Happy Zone. A high pH will cause water to not hold things in solution, like calcium or iron, resulting in unsightly deposits forming. A low pH will cause some metals like silver in the water to fall out of solution and stain. Your eyes won't like either.

    HTH

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Quote Originally Posted by keanes
    Thanks for the responses. I am a little confused though still with the CH numbers though. Looking at the little wheel that came with the Taylor test kit, if I leave CH at 50 and the temp at 104 I would have to increase TA to around 200 to get balanced water at a PH of 7.6? Wouldn't TA of 200 be high? In the message above were you saying that I should lower PH and TA, or just that muriatic acid would lower both?
    As Scott said (and the Taylor watergram has reinforced) the hot water in spas is a sightly different environment with regard to water balance. Don't increase your Alkalinity to achieve it... if anything, raise the CH a bit. The pH is quite important. Happily, adding muriatic acid will lower both pH and Total Alkalinity. For more information specific to spas, read this thread:

    how-do-i-use-chlorine-in-my-spa-or-pool-t10095.html
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Um... Artic spas are fiberglass, there isn't any plaster. The little wheel/Taylor Watergram/CSI level really doesn't matter.

    The recommended CH level for a fiberglass spa is 120 to 200. That helps minimize foaming and protect the gel coat. Adding CH will not have any effect on PH or TA.

    Both PH and TA are too high. You want to lower PH to around 7.0, which will also lower the TA, and then run the jets for a few minutes. This may need to be repeated a couple of times until TA is down to the 50 to 80 range. PH, TA, and running the jets all interact with each other to some extent.

    You need to add some CYA, aim for between 20 and 40.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Newby w/ SWG & startup issues

    Just wanted to add...

    I don't know how other spas operate other than the three we've had over the years. Can't remember about the other two ("old timers" and it's been seven years since we replaced number 2) but my spa has a separate, very low flow pump that is totally separate from the jet pumps (2 X 5 hp). Jet water does not go through the filter; only circulation pump moves water through filter. The circulation pump can be set for several different periods of circulation in sets of two times per 24 hours. I have found that keeping it running constantly uses very little electricity. It's imperceptible on our electric meter wheel whether off or on. Constant circulation through filter makes chem levels remarkably easier to maintain and certainly should keep the "bad critters" more in check.

    On at least two of my spas running both jet pumps, without venturies can quickly heat up the water temps. So one could save money, if this condition exist in ones spa, by keeping the water temp a little lower than your chosen soak temp. We don't use the spa nearly as much in winter as other times of year so I keep it around 90 F and can quickly heat it up to 100 or more in about an hour by raising thermostat and running jets before getting in. (At first I was concerned about this heating when jets are running as I thought my heater was defective but the the spa guy, service tech straight from manufacturer facility, located near us, says that this is "normal" for their spas even though the jet pumps water does not go through the heater; only the circulation pump water goes through the heater he and manual say.) I figure we are saving on electric cost by keeping the water lower than soak temps in the winter.

    In the summer, of course, with our sizzling temps, we have to use the venturies and the bubbler pump going to keep temps down some when we are using jets. Other than winter we keep water at 100, our preferred soaking temp, for frequent spontaneous use, and we usually soak for over an hour, sometimes hours, so 100, for long periods, is not likely to cause medical problems. Also, Spring/Summer/Fall air temps assist the water in staying warm. BTW... DH and I are both medically trained so we keep a close eye on how we are doing during soaks and know when to get out if we start certain symptoms. I frequently take naps in the spa (haven't drowned yet and I think I have gills too) so we certainly don't want the temp above 100.)

    One more thing. Please be careful soaking at temps above 100 and keep soaking times way down. I've been warned several times by TPF members about our "excessive" soaking times but we rarely have temp above 100 except for extremely short soaks of say 10-15 minutes then a cool off dip in the pool except when water is too cold; at those times air will cool us enough.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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