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Thread: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

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    Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    So I just bought a softtub. I have been reading the manual and they suggest only using their chemicals and not using any shock type treatments. It seems the vinyl is sensitive to certain chemicals. So whats the difference from their spa chlorine and ph decreaser compared to what I would find at a spa store? I plan to use the Dichlor/bleach method from nitros guide. Do I avoid using mps and do my weekly shocks with bleach after the cya is up? The only other info I can find is to try and not let stuff sit on the bottom and make sure it dissolves.

    edit: so I came across this
    http://www.poolspaforum.com/forum/index ... opic=18070

    The FC is usually around 6 ppm when we get in because we like to stay a while. Sometimes I go up to 10 ppm as we often miss a few days and then its ready to go when we want to use it. Can having that amount of chlorine damage my liner? Also if I ever have to super shock should I use dichlor instead to protect the liner?

    thanks!

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    I think you'll be fine with nitro's guide. I can't see the vinyl being fragile to normal bleach methods.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    Welcome to TFP!

    Low pH is much more harmful to vinyl than chlorine. As for soaking with a higher chlorine level while you are soaking, that is up to you, but most people prefer to not soak with so much chlorine so they can avoid the chloramine smell. Are you soaking for longer than 1 hour? If not, then you could start your soak with 1-2 ppm FC and then add sufficient chlorine after your soak to have 1-2 ppm FC at the start of your next soak. You only need to start out higher if you aren't sure who you are soaking with and want to minimize any chance of person-to-person transmission of disease (as with commercial/public pools and spas).

    It would be easier on your spa if you didn't raise the FC so high and instead dosed more frequently, but I understand that you can't always do that because you are away longer. You might target a somewhat higher CYA level, say 40 ppm instead of 30 ppm, to help lower the active chlorine level since your FC tends to be higher on average.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    its a 140 gallon tub and only for my girlfriend and I. We don't use it every day however when we do it can be up to a hour. We used a inflatable tub for about a month before we decided on a upgrade so thats why I was curious about how fragile the vinyl is.

    Right now my TA is 80 - 100 , out of the tap its 375 before balancing.
    Calcium Hardness 175, its actually around 275 out of the tap but I already started filling before I bypassed the water softener.

    My first goof is that I dumped a table spoon of dichlor instead of a teaspoon. I've been aerating but I'm going to have to wait a bit for the chlorine to drop. I dumped 1/3 of a ounce of 3% hydrogen peroxide to lower it a bit more. So I think my cya should already be around 20. Currently my ph is 7.4. I'm going to close it up and do all the tests again tomorrow after the water warms up. Water is 45 F out of the tap. How long would my ph have to drop below 7.2 to actually cause damage? I'm fine with running lower chlorine. I'm still trying to learn. Should I still shock to 12 ppm once a week or is that excessive?

    Also another quick question if anyone can help. The tub is in a unfinished basement. I have a dehumidifier and it seems to bring the moisture down to a acceptable level. Do you think mold could be a problem on the unfinished ceiling directly above the tub? I'm not sure how effective a dehumidifier can be from keeping moisture directly hitting the ceiling. I also plan to open a window in the basement periodically to let any gases out. Obviously when its cold I can't leave it open for long.

    I also wanted to say thanks to everyone on these forums. Not much info on the net about spa care. The dealer had no idea what cya is. The guys that delivered my tub were great but they didn't even own a tub or know what a taylor test kit was. These forums seem to be the only source for the right way to take care of a tub.

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by spork
    How long would my ph have to drop below 7.2 to actually cause damage? I'm fine with running lower chlorine. I'm still trying to learn. Should I still shock to 12 ppm once a week or is that excessive?
    Most damage to vinyl occurs with quite a low pH such as from Trichlor pucks, but generally having the pH at 7.0 during the TA lowering procedure should be fine even for a number of days. After that, you'll likely keep it around 7.7 to 7.8 or so since the pH will tend to be higher if you've got any aeration; if not, then you might settle in around 7.5 but either way is fine.

    You should not need to shock at all if you just use the appropriate amount of oxidizer after each soak such that you have a low (but not zero) residual FC level just before your next soak. A rough rule-of-thumb is that, with no ozonator, every person-hour of soaking in a hot (104ºF) spa needs around 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (43% MPS). If you start with Dichlor to build up CYA to 30 or 40 ppm and then switch to using bleach, then you should not need to shock if you use sufficient chlorine and never let it get to 0 (except towards the end of your soak if you start with it lower before your soak).

    I'll let others comment on your humidity question.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    So if 2 people enter the tub (140 gallon) at 1-2 ppm FC for a hour then I would need to put in roughly 10.5 - 11 ounces of bleach so it would be close to 2 on the next use? I was thinking in this small of a tub the FC will come close to zero much faster than a larger one which is also why I previously ran with more on entry.

    thanks for the advice. I will go with your suggestions and aim for 1-2 ppm of FC on entry and try to figure out my actual chlorine usage so I have a better idea of how much to use.

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    What I gave you was a rough rule-of-thumb that is independent of the volume of water (because it is based on how much sweat, urine and skin/water contact their is). You will have to experiment some to see how much is actually needed.

    You are right that starting out with only 1-2 ppm FC will have it go to zero during the soak, but most people don't like the smell of the resulting chloramines if you start out with a higher FC and one hour isn't long enough for bacteria to grow out of control (they double in population every 15-60 minutes). The blast of chlorine right after the soak takes care of anything in the water and prevents biofilm formation as well. It's up to you. If you don't mind the smell, you can certainly start out with a higher FC level.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    what chemgeek is describing is basically what I am doing with my tub. I was using bromine at first but found that floaters made it difficult to control the levels. Plus it didn't smell great. I switched to bleach and keep the level around 2ppm. Making sure to add a little after I'm done for the night. I also add 1/3 third of a shot glass of algeacide 60 once a week (hope thats ok ). The tub also has an ozinator. [although not really sure if this is beneficial or just using up my chlorine faster at this point]

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    The extra chlorine doesn't seem to bother us when we enter the tub but I am trying to get everything figured out so its normally a little lower. After use when I add more and leave the cover off for a while I get a little dizzy when I go back to the basement. My gf complained about being a little dizzy for the first time. I'm guessing this is from all the cloramines? At first I also thought it could of been from all the vapor helping my sinuses drain. I'm not sure how toxic it can be to people but I really need to get the tub outside once I figure out a spot. Its warm enough that I can leave a window open next to the tub when the cover is off and I hope that is enough for temporary use. Taking long showers never seemed to bother me from the chlorine in the tap.


    Are chloramines a issue if the spa is outside?

    thanks again

    Edit: Another question. I know its a great idea to shower before using the tub but how important is it to shower after?

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    An outdoor spa will likely have better air circulation so you will notice the outgassing less, but even so if you start off your soak with more than 1-2 ppm FC then you may smell and notice the resulting chloramines. So long as you dose right after your soak and you dose enough to handle the bather load and still have 1-2 ppm FC by the time of your next soak, then you'll be in good shape and probably have less problems from smell and irritation and hopefully dizziness though I don't know if the latter is from chloramines or as you say from just being in a hot tub and breathing moist hot air.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    Spork, we use only bleach as a sanitizer in our softub. We have the 300 (6 person) and never use more than 8oz. After every use, we put in aprox. 4oz. If the water starts to get cloudy at all, I will bump up to 8oz when done and another 8oz in about 8-12 hours and that will clear things up. Otherwise just using B&B to balance the water. I do try and dump and refill on a every other month basis.
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    I've had mine going for over 3 months and it hasn't clouded up yet. I add chlorine every other day or after every time I use it. I've been going for 1-2 ppm of FC when I go to use the tub. I'm hoping to move it outside soon so I topped it off and re-balanced to get me through another month. It does smell funky in the basement when adding chlorine afterwards but it goes away quickly. If I use it for 20 - 30 minutes I add roughly 4 oz of bleach. Now that I'm getting the hang of it I might try to figure out my actual chlorine usage and do closer calculations. Although the tub is 220 gallons I figure that if the actual level is a little above the top jets its more like 180.

    How do I go about cleaning the filter? Are the cleaning sprays they sell worth it or should I just soak in 1/10 bleach and hose it off? Also is there any kind of maintenance I should be doing on the cover? If I'm not using the tub I only open it half way to add chlorine and try to alternate the side I open. I let it circulate for at least 10 minutes before closing.

    I want to put it on my deck. My cousin is a experienced deck builder but I see some people suggesting to hire a engineer. A neighbor has a tub on his deck and the joists are sitting on top of the posts. It doesn't look safe at all. I want to make sure mine is solid.

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    Just note that CYA slowly gets oxidized by chlorine so you may be losing around 5 ppm per month. So you should consider using Dichlor for a day or two per month to keep the CYA level up. If the CYA level gets too low, then the active chlorine level will get too high which will not only be harsher on your skin but on the tub as well (especially the cover) and will outgas faster as well so might smell more of chlorine. If you have a Taylor K-2006 or TFTestkits TF-100 test kit, you can test the CYA level.

    With your relatively heavy usage of a small volume tub (assuming you are soaking every day or two), lasting 3 months is extraordinary and something you would not be able to do using Dichlor-only, for example. Keep up the good work!
    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
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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    thanks! It was turning into a bubble bath though. When my gf does use the tub she doesn't listen and gets in without taking a shower. Scooping out the suds for a few minutes with a net seems to have reduced the foaming. However most the time I prefer not to use the bubbles unless my gf turns them on so it doesn't bother me that much. Also yes I do have the taylor 2006. I haven't bothered with using strips. I need to order more of the cya testing solution.

    Another question whats the best way to remove the tips from the bottles for refilling? I lightly used pliers and it seems to be ok but I'm not sure if that can mess up the amount of solution that comes out.

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    Re: Softtub manual says I have to use their chemicals

    I usually get replacement bottles whole, but if you are getting larger refills, I just grab the lower part of the bottle tip and press it diagonally to the side. They come off fairly easily. You don't want to squish the tip ends since those are machined to produce 24 drops (+/- 1 drop) per milliliter.
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