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Thread: Foam again!

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Foam again!

    Hi guys,
    I don't know what's going on with my spa. 3 weeks ago I drained and refilled my spa with fresh water. Added CYA (too much, but should not cause a problem @ 80ppm) and have only been adding bleach to my 500Gal spa to chlorinate.

    All seemed ok for a couple weeks I guess. But now when the jets go high speed and aerate, the foam build up is pretty high. More than I think is normal. It does not last long, nor does it seem smelly, but it's very present.

    Now, before you say it's conditioner or soap from suits, let me say I'm pretty much 80% of the bather load. I use the same pair of shorts that have not been laundered repeatedly. (very little if any soap residue there) and I don't use hair product or lotions or conditioners, etc. Anything I introduce to the pool, my 4ppm chlorine level should be able to oxidize.

    I added calcium at fill to get to 190 Hardness, 80 alcalinity, great Ph.

    I use a 6% bleach from the store, but it is store brand. Is this maybe because I'm not using clorox? Maybe some addiditives in bleach cause foaming that are not present in dichlor?

    Thanks.
    20,000 Gallon, Vinyl Liner
    Hayward Sand Filter
    South Mississippi

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Re: Foam again!

    I think that it would be best to drain and refill. Cyanuric acid at 80 ppm is too high for your tub. 20 to 30 ppm would be a better target. 80 ppm of cyanuric acid reduces the effectiveness of the chlorine and could allow a buildup on organics that can cause foam. I think that it would be best to thoroughly clean the filter as well.

    Store brand bleach should be fine as long as it's 6 %, and not a special bleach, such as scented, thickened etc. I think that 190 ppm is too high for the calcium level. I would recommend that it be closer to 100 to 120 ppm.

    What can you tell us about the chlorine use patterns?

    What FC level do you maintain? Highest, lowest and average?

    What is the range of CC (Combined Chlorine) levels?

    What is you overnight FC loss rate?

    Do you have an ozonator? If yes, is it UV or CD, and how much time does it run per day?

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,082

    Re: Foam again!

    If the bleach you are using is a weak off-brand regular (instead of Ultra) or is a specialty bleach with thickeners or other additives, then it might be from the bleach. As James noted, you want the 6% stuff which is Clorox Regular (in the U.S.; Ultra in Canada) or off-brand Ultra bleaches. Off-brand regular bleaches are usually < 3% and have a lot of lye in them and may have other additives. You can try using a better bleach (try Clorox Regular, if you can) and see if that make a difference over time. You can target a higher FC level to compensate for the higher CYA, at least until your next water change. 80 ppm is high, but not a disaster. For the hot tub itch incidents I was tracking, they seemed to happen more after one month and especially two months of Dichlor-only usage which for those spas is in the 100-200 ppm CYA range, but people also tended to keep their FC low. So I would just try and keep the absolute minimum FC of at least 4 ppm and target a more usual 8 ppm given your 80 ppm CYA.
    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"

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Foam again!

    So let me reply to you guys because I want to get to the bottom of this and try not to repeat if I do refill, since i thought my last refill was going to be the last one for a couple months!

    Store brand is the one I buy, just regular unscented. Nothing else. 6%. Should be ok here I gather.

    FC I keep is around 4 or 5. CC is pretty much 0.

    Usage is pretty easy. One bather 20 minutes every few days. Sometimes 2.

    No one really complains of itch (pretty much me, but my wife is ok with it too)

    Why is 190 too high? I always thought you wanted a bit harder water for spas to keep the bubbles lower and also to help with ph drift. Alcalinity stays around 90 which is where I balanced it from the start.

    If I drain 1/2 of the water and refill I'll have roughly 40ppm CYA. This should be a good compromise to a full refill maybe? We have visitors over for the holidays and I don't want to take 8+ hrs to get back up to temp if someone wants to get in.

    I heard of enzyme stuff that may help eat away soap residue, which may help for me. Does leslies sell that type of stuff?

    Thanks!
    20,000 Gallon, Vinyl Liner
    Hayward Sand Filter
    South Mississippi

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Foam again!

    One other thing, I understand high CYA will inhibit chlorine and the reason to have lower CYA is to essentially have more FC avaliable to attack germy things. BUT, if I'm not mistaken, higher CYA will not really mean dirtier water with a given FC level. It just means it will take a longer period of time to kill germs over a lower CYA level, FC being equal. Since the bather load is typically pretty light and we're typically pretty clean people, taking a bit longer to return to sanitary is OK for me. My main concern is excess foam when jets are on. It dissipates quickly when they are off, but it's just something I don't want to have to deal with. It's annoying. I'm wondering if it really is a sign of dirty water, even though it's very clear and doesn't show me any measurable CC when I measure in the morning.

    FC drop overnight is about 2 most times. It stays at 100degrees as well. I always attributed the FC drop to high temp.
    20,000 Gallon, Vinyl Liner
    Hayward Sand Filter
    South Mississippi

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Foam again!

    An FC at 4 to 5 ppm is too low with a cyanuric acid at 80 ppm. The minimum should be 6 ppm, which means that if you're going to lose 2 ppm overnight, then you want to keep the FC at 8 ppm to account for losses so that the FC never goes below 6 ppm.

    Chlorine does not break down certain organics that create foam, such as body oils, lotion, soap etc. very quickly, so you need to keep the FC up to oxidize the bather wastes and organics introduced.

    Calcium at 190 puts your CSI too high, and risks calcium scaling, especially in the heater. Calcium does not help with pH drift. Using a lower TA (about 60 ppm), higher pH (about 7.8) and borates (50 ppm) will reduce pH drift.

    http://www.chemistrystore.com/search.cg ... boric+acid

    I recommend keeping an extra cartridge filter so that a dirty on can be swapped out and cleaned. Real TSP works best for cleaning filters. Most TSP is a substitute, but you can find real TSP at some hardware stores or online.

    http://www.unicelfilters.com/retailers/ ... _users.asp

    http://www.chemistrystore.com/Trisodium ... _8lbs.html

    Leslie's does sell Spa Perfect, which is an enzyme that helps eliminate organics. Most people can manage without an enzyme product. I would say to try to avoid using it as much as possible.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,082

    Re: Foam again!

    Quote Originally Posted by slists2
    I'm wondering if it really is a sign of dirty water, even though it's very clear and doesn't show me any measurable CC when I measure in the morning.
    As James noted, a low FC/CYA ratio will not only slow down killing of pathogens, but oxidation of bather waste. However, you aren't reporting cloudy water, but rather foaming when the jets are on. Foam is from soap-like molecules that aren't generally broken down by chlorine. A CH level in the 120-150 range is usually sufficient to inhibit foaming since hard water tends to have soap make less suds. Too high a CH level can lead to scaling. So with your CH high, getting foam would indicate a lot more soap-like chemicals in the water.

    Did you ever use Spa System Flush or do a superchlorination when you first got your spa? If not, then perhaps there are biofilms from the wet-testing of the spa at the factory and that the foaming is coming from there since it's worst when the spa jets are on (of course, foaming in general is made worse from aearation, but soap bubbles only form if soap-like molecules are present). If you never used Spa System Flush, then before you dump the water for your next refill, I suggest you try using it. There may be biofilms and/or grease or other chemicals left in the pipes.
    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"

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Foam again!

    Thanks Guys. I'll chew on this and see if I can resolve. As suggested I may do another do-over drain and refill.

    -steve
    20,000 Gallon, Vinyl Liner
    Hayward Sand Filter
    South Mississippi

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Foam again!

    Did you ever use Spa System Flush or do a superchlorination when you first got your spa? If not, then perhaps there are biofilms from the wet-testing of the spa at the factory and that the foaming is coming from there since it's worst when the spa jets are on (of course, foaming in general is made worse from aearation, but soap bubbles only form if soap-like molecules are present). If you never used Spa System Flush, then before you dump the water for your next refill, I suggest you try using it. There may be biofilms and/or grease or other chemicals left in the pipes.[/quote]

    Bingo.
    I had the same issue soon after a fresh fill as described until I used Spa Flush after super-chlorination. Could not believe the junk that was caked in pipes.
    No problems ever since with foaming. I also use enzymes ~ once every couple
    of weeks depending on usage.
    Barry
    Sundance Hot Tub 365 gal, acrylic
    (2) 2.5 hp pumps
    ozonator
    Northwest Ohio resident

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