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Thread: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

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    Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    Have used our Sundance Chelsee hot tub since end 2008 with no problems. It lives at our holiday home in the Pyrenees in France, when we return to England we empty it and turn it off, as power outages can be common in this mountain region and we don't ever want it to freeze.

    All has been good until we filled it on our return to France last week. As soon as we turned the jets on the water was filled with hundreds of flakes of ....well, who knows but some kind of mould maybe. Emptied the water, refilled, adjusted PH and added bromide, turned on jets again, still a lot of bits but not as many. Since then I have washed out main filter 3 times and fished out any remaining flakes with a nylon sieve. my water now is pretty much flake-free.

    questions:

    what are the flakes?
    now I have mechanically removed them is the tub safe to use?
    how can I stop this happening in the future?

    As a postscript to the last question, I noticed this time when we took the cover off there was quite a bit of rain water in the tub which had blown in under the cover. when we empty we use an air compressor to empty pipes so I know it was completely empty when we left it. we plan to rig up an additional cover to stop such water getting in but could this be the cause?

    I will post my chemical readings if you want but as this happened on fill-up (i.e. before any chemicals were added) I'm not sure how relevant current readings are.

    and one final point (sorry guys this is a bit of a saga isn't it) my pool guy tells me just to put in 1 bromide tablet per week as the ozonator keeps water clean but doing this my test results have always shown bromide levels to be on the low side. could a couple of years of under-sanitising be a factor?

    thanks so much for any help you can give 2 Brits!
    Sundance Chelsee, 365 US gallons, ozonator, sanitisied with bromide, bought new 2008.

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    Since this is a vacation home..........could it just be from lack of use and some corrosion/mineral buildup in the pipes from just sitting? Did this same stuff come out of any of the other faucets in the home? You might want to remove the screens in the faucets to check for it there.
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    Re: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    Welcome to TFP!!

    It sounds to me like some sort of 'bio-nastie' that grows in any water in the lines. If water has been bypassing the cover and standing in the pool, a second cover should prevent the reinsurance of the issue and keep the pipes from bursting from freezing water.

    If you hadn't said that you blow out the lines, I'd have suspected stuff growing in all the lines where water will stay from just gravity draining the system. If undersanitized water had been left in the pipes, it would certainly be a potential cause.

    How often do you visit the vacation home? (i.e. how long does it sit `empty`)


    Blowing the lines and adding a second cover should solve your issue

    You can ask the hot tub experts here but it's my understanding that bromine tubs need a powdered bromine base, which is activated with chlorine, then the tabs maintain the bromine residual - maybe all you need do is supplement the tabs with a little bleach to keep your spa sanitized.
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    Re: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    many thanks for your replies.

    we spend quite a lot of time in this vacation home and the tub is only empty for 2/3 months. this time it was 8 weeks.

    nothing suspicious came out of the faucets in the house (btw, I would call this a "tap"? faucet sounds so strange to me! 2 nations divided by a common language as they say)

    I am suspecting bio-nasties but just to repeat is it safe to use now sanitiser levels right and nasties fished out?
    Sundance Chelsee, 365 US gallons, ozonator, sanitisied with bromide, bought new 2008.

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    Re: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    If you cant keep the spa filled and sanitized nor blow out lines and completely dry them when emptying the spa, then when you refill do a decontamination procedure or use Spa System Flush (this link is for the U.K. -- you say you return to England and the spa is in France).
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    Re: Brown/black/white flakes in the water

    Yes, as long as the 'crud' is out and the sanitizer level good, it's safe to use

    I, personally, would have added a cup of bleach to the spa after finding the nasties in it and run everything for an hour or so
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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