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Thread: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

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    How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    So the yard is prepped, the test kit is ordered, and I'm just waiting to hear from our dealer that the spa has arrived so they can schedule delivery.

    Which means I've been reading up on water chemistry until my eyes have crossed!

    While doing that, I ran across a forum post by Chem Geek that suggested treating a new spa like a used one and doing a decontamination procedure which I understand to mean filling the spa, super-chlorination, and then draining the spa before refilling and proceeding to balance the water for use.

    Then later I found another post by Chem Geek that said any new spa owner should expect to have to do the first drain/fill routine after less than a month of use due to organic contaminants and/or manufacturing residues that will undoubtedly be in any new spa.

    Does that mean I should expect to have to fill the tub (paying for the water & heating it ) three times just in the first month?

    Or does doing the initial decontamination routine mean I shouldn't have to do another drain/fill less than a month later?

    I've got a couple other questions about combining Nature2 with the Dichlor-then-bleach method, but some of them may change based on answers to this question, so I'll hold on to them for a bit.

    Thanks much!

    -G

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    Re: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    If you do a thorough decontamination procedure when first getting the spa, then you may not need to do another in a month. You can monitor your chlorine demand to see if it rises too much too quickly.

    The decontamination can be done through superchlorination, but it's also one of the times when a product such as Spa System Flush can be useful to remove heavy biofilms in pipes.

    Just decontaminate once and see how things go. You may be fine and have no problems requiring an early drain/refill. My comment about needing to replace the water after one month was for situations where the first decontamination was not able to remove everything the first time and where some people don't decontaminate so don't get very much time with their first water fill before they need to change the water.
    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: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    The decontamination can be done through superchlorination, but it's also one of the times when a product such as Spa System Flush can be useful to remove heavy biofilms in pipes.
    This is a bit off the subject but as it was mentioned I do want to make this comment. I'm not in any way arguing with chem geek just adding that there are some instances when commercial "spa flush" won't eliminate a resistant biofilm. I did two separate decontamination using double the recommended quantity of spa flush product and then "normal" shocking process, using bleach, afterwards, and soaking filters in bleach. Treatments about one month apart. Each treatment put a dent in the film but signs of it started showing within days and then full blast within a few weeks. BUT, a big one, I had not found TPF yet so I continued to rely on Nature 2 and non chlorine oxidizer. 1) the treatments using spa flush didn't totally kill it and 2) I was not really using effective sanitization.

    It took a lengthy decontaminations with extremely high FC level to nip it in the bud. And most importantly starting the spa back using BBB method. I haven't had a sign of anything growing in the spa since.

    I started using bleach but switched to Bromine last fall. I have no good reason for this other than I had an ozonator and I wanted to test out using Bromine. In my case, my people hours and other factors, I think the bleach method is much easier to control balance. Again, that is for my spa and is somewhat subjective. As soon as my Bromine tabs run out it will be time to empty the spa and I'll then switch back to bleach. I disconnected the ozonator a few months ago as I think it was malfunctioning, working on and off, causing wide swings in Bromine levels, AND I was having issues with rapidly rising pH from all the bubbles it put out.

    The only downside to using bleach, and a very small one, is that it is much easier to get DH to add a cap of granular non chlorine oxidizer to the spa after soaking rather than adding the liquid bleach.

    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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    Re: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    The decontamination can be done through superchlorination, but it's also one of the times when a product such as Spa System Flush can be useful to remove heavy biofilms in pipes.
    If I used the Spa System Flush to do the initial decontam do I need to add any dichlor or spend any time screwing with water balance?

    Can I just fill the spa with water, add the Flush, and let it run the circ. pump overnight? Am I correct in assuming that this could be done at the lowest temp the spa thermostat will support without needing to heat that water all the way to 98F just to run it down the drain the next morning?

    Or is this one of those cases where "overdoing" it is worth the effort to avoid the chance of having to do another drain/fill a month later? (i.e. superchlorinate and Spa System Flush)

    It's not so much the cost but the water waste that I really want to avoid -- with only two adults and no kids in the house, we're pretty frugal with the H20. Filling the spa twice in a month will constitute at least 25% of our consumption for a 30 day period. I don't mind it much when that water will stick around for 3-5 months, but to turn around and dump it 1-20 days later just pains me!

    But if it's what I have to do in order to establish a safe/healthy spa environment, I will!

    -G

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    Re: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    Quote Originally Posted by geekgranny
    there are some instances when commercial "spa flush" won't eliminate a resistant biofilm. I did two separate decontamination using double the recommended quantity of spa flush product and then "normal" shocking process, using bleach, afterwards, and soaking filters in bleach. Treatments about one month apart. Each treatment put a dent in the film but signs of it started showing within days and then full blast within a few weeks.
    Thanks for that Granny --

    It does put some strength behind my idea of "double-dosing" the initial decontamination process with both dichlor and Spa Flush so I hopefully only have to do it once.

    Though being a brand new spa, I would certainly hope there aren't any really scary things growing in there!

    I had fish tanks as a kid, so water test kits and the concepts behind them don't scare me at all. So I do intend to try the BBB / dichlor-then-bleach method from the outset. (Though in conjuction with a Nature2 cartridge inserted in the filter since it's cheap insurance to make my wife feel better and hopefully stabilize things when we travel for 10-15 days a couple times a year)

    Thanks!

    -G

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    Re: How many fill/drain cycles to expect on new spa?

    As for superchlorination vs. Spa System Flush (as opposed to Swirl Away and some other products), all I can report are the experiences people have had so while it has worked for many, it didn't work for everyone as GG has described.

    The superchlorination is described here where 100 ppm FC in a 350 gallon tub would be 9 cups of 6% bleach.

    I can't really give you advice on this one. Some people have done superchlorination and found the chlorine demand to still be high so they used Spa System Flush and had a bunch of gunk removed and the chlorine demand lowered. Others, as just reported, required far more to get their spas in good shape. I would say that most people with new spas are able to just do a single decontamination with either method, but your situation depends on what exactly you've got in your spa that has likely been wet-tested without blowing out the lines (i.e. water has probably been sitting in the plumbing and could have formed significant biofilms).

    I don't know what doing both methods would do without changing the water in between, I'd use the Spa System Flush first -- the chlorine would then likely just break down those enzymes and attack anything else that was leftover. I suspect that Spa System Flush won't be effective if added to superchlorinated water. Note that no matter what, you need to replace the water after decontamination regardless of which method (or both) are used.

    After decontamination, you still need to use Dichlor initially to build up the CYA level and then switch to using bleach. Have the TA low and follow the other instructions in Using Chlorine in a Spa.
    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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