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Thread: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

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    Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    Just got a new Softub 300 with ozone and the dealer has set me up with bromine.

    They supplied me with a floating bromine feeder. Aquachek test strips, bromine tablets, bromine powder, spa shock and akaline booster.


    Did my first test strip last night and saw the "FREE CHLORINE" was low, "PH" was just OK and my "ALKALINITY" upper end of OK.

    As I have the ozone do I still need to have the bromine levels in the normal range or can they be lower, I think my feeder is not open enough?

    Do I need anything to control the PH or does the right amount of bromine and alkaline control the PH?

    The test strip say chlorine but I assume this is reading the bromine OK.

    Still trying to learn about this stuff.

    Any other Softub owners want to share, how does the ozone impact on the chemical if at all?

    Many thanks
    Softub: 300 Euro in Anthracite and Pearl with ozone

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    The chlorine and bromine read on the same line but there should be two sets of numbers one for chlorine and one for bromine
    The ozone works as a sanatizer so you can keep your bromine at the low side of normal
    When the alkalinity is in the proper range it helps to prevent ph bounce if the ph gets high you will need ph down if it gets too low you will need ph down

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    If you purchased your Softub from a authorized Softub dealer, they should have advised you that Bromine tablets are not a recommended sanitizer. It is so stated in the Owners Manual. The Ozone system in a Softub is not enough to reduce your sanitizer levels as to be operating on minimal level. What can help is a Spa Frog Filter Frog which works with Chlorine or Bromine. That product will assist in maintaining the sanitizer levels in a safe level. You can try the tabs to work for your but the challenge is that a Softub does not run enough to properly dispense the bromine through a feeder consistently. You will be always chasing the setting on the feeder or put in too many tables or taking them out all the time. Second Softub does not recommend that you use Shock, potassium peroxymonosulfate in their spas. Yet the dilemma is that Bromine works much more effectively with a weekly shock application. Third that to get any spa started on Bromine tablets you will use need to apply at least two ounces of a bromine concentrate 99% to get the spa started. The bromine concentrate will boost up the bromine levels so you can get a reading on the test strips sooner. The only time we recommend a dispenser is when the spa is at a vacation home that only gets use on weekends. Otherwise if you are stuck on Bromine then the Bromine Concentrate like Spa Guard is a better choice. Good luck.

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    I think that what was meant that if the pH is too low that a pH increaser or pH up would be the product of choice.

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    My dealer is authorized and I saw that in the manual, but why is it that you can not use tablets from my understanding if a chunk of the tablets fell off and stayed on the liner it would not be a good thing. But if it's in the feeder and is slowly dissolving then is that not the same as putting powder in?

    The Spa Frog sounds interesting.

    Never had a spa or pool, before so I'm willing to try other methods, I only have the started kit of chemicals and that will last 2-3 months then I can switch over to something else.
    Softub: 300 Euro in Anthracite and Pearl with ozone

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    Quote Originally Posted by poolsupplysales
    The chlorine and bromine read on the same line but there should be two sets of numbers one for chlorine and one for bromine
    The ozone works as a sanatizer so you can keep your bromine at the low side of normal
    When the alkalinity is in the proper range it helps to prevent ph bounce if the ph gets high you will need ph down if it gets too low you will need ph down
    The bromine level is 2.25x the chlorine level. The test kit does not distinguish between these and that factor is a unit of measurement conversion between the two.

    Ozone is NOT a bulk-water sanitizer and does nothing to kill pathogens attached to spa surfaces. You do not use a lower target level of disinfectant in the water. What ozone does is oxidize bather waste so that less quantity of sanitizer is needed and it also reactivates bromide to bromine so again you need to add less bromine. However, the quantity of sanitizer is not the same thing as its target level and that doesn't change with having an ozonator. The background bromine level should be around 4 ppm bromine (or 2 ppm chlorine if you are reading it that way) and make sure it doesn't get lower than half that amount at any time in between soaks.

    As for pH, if the pH tends to rise over time, then the TA needs to be lowered. TA is a SOURCE of rising pH in its own right since it represents how much the water is over-carbonated and carbon dioxide outgassing raises the pH. Bromine tabs are net acidic so there is a TA level where the pH should be fairly stable and where the TA will slowly drop over time. The TA can be easily increased using baking soda.

    I didn't know that bromine tabs can't be used in a SoftTub. You can read Using Bromine in a Spa but where it refers to bromine tabs in a floating feeder you would use something that is allowed for the SoftTub that can slowly release bromine for a background level. However, if the ozonator were powerful enough and you started off with a sufficient bromide bank that you created by adding sodium bromide, then the ozone could maintain that background bromine level for you. Note that you probably need to add an oxidizer manually after every soak since the ozonator is unlikely to be able to keep up unless you don't use the spa very much and don't soak for very long.
    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: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    Quote Originally Posted by raymate View Post
    My dealer is authorized and I saw that in the manual, but why is it that you can not use tablets from my understanding if a chunk of the tablets fell off and stayed on the liner it would not be a good thing. But if it's in the feeder and is slowly dissolving then is that not the same as putting powder in?

    The Spa Frog sounds interesting.

    Never had a spa or pool, before so I'm willing to try other methods, I only have the started kit of chemicals and that will last 2-3 months then I can switch over to something else.
    The Spa Frog is a decent addition. They are expensive (as are many 'spa' tools) for what they are, but Silver has been used for centuries as a sterilizer. You'll want to replace it every year or so. Each chemical has it's own action on either stabilizing the water chemistry or sterilization.

    Others here are probably more knowledgable (and hopefully will chime in), but I'm a big fan of bromine over chlorine. The irritation is far less (and there is some relationship between chloramines and respiratory issues like asthma - chloramines are created when nitrogen-containing compounds in urine or sweat react with chlorine). I also find I need far less bromine to maintain my levels than folks seem to use with chlorine. Total cost of ownership calculations and far more pleasant to the nose, skin, and optional cloths tell me Bromine is a better solution for us.

    My water treatment runs like this:

    Test the water once the spa is up to temperature, only add chemicals when pump is running to immediately help dissolve and circulate. I have a 220, so my water volume means my chemistry changes faster than larger spas.

    Adjust the TA first. As Chem Geek alluded, TA acts as a buffer system akin to bicarbonate in your blood stream to suppress pH fluctuations. Sodium Carbonate (Na2CO3) or Baking soda/bicarbonate (NaHCO3) raises TA, Sodium Bisulfate (NaSO2) lowers TA. I add 5 ml (about 6 gms) at a time -- adjust your chemistry slowly to avoid overshooting your target. I shoot for 100 ppm.

    Adjust pH next. My target=7.5. Na2CO3 raises pH, NaSO2 lowers it. (Note that the same chemicals are used, so this WILL affect the TA. You can use alternatives such as Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) to raise the pH or muriatic acid (HCl) to lower it. Hopefully it is obvious that these alternatives are very strong bases and acids, and care must be used when handling them.

    Now adjust Br. My target = 4 ppm. I don't use tabs or a floater, but rather add in the granular powder. The label tells me that our bromine granules are actually a blend of NaBr (15%) and DiChlor (~83%). Just calculating the Br (and Cl content) as ppm needs or for normal folk, the amount of gms needed to boost my 757L (200 gal) spa 1 ppm is about 16gm of granules. This assumes no losses due to any other chemistry going on. So I only change things in my spa by 5-15 ml scoop of chemical at a time.

    Finally, I check the hardness with a target of 300-400 ppm. If too hard, I have to drain the spa some. The amount I drain is relative to how over I would be (20% over means 20% drained). If I'm under, I add a bit of CaCl2.

    Each chemical adjustment I make is done with the pump running, at temp. I wait an hour before making additional tests/adjustments.

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    Re: Softub Newbie, bit confussed

    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad DNA View Post
    The Spa Frog is a decent addition. They are expensive (as are many 'spa' tools) for what they are, but Silver has been used for centuries as a sterilizer. You'll want to replace it every year or so. Each chemical has it's own action on either stabilizing the water chemistry or sterilization.
    Silver ions or copper and silver are not fast disinfectants. See this post for kill times for chlorine vs. copper vs. silver. We generally recommend no using metal ion products since they are not necessary if one maintains a proper disinfectant (chlorine or bromine) level and they have the risk of staining though that is more of an issue with plaster surfaces.

    Others here are probably more knowledgable (and hopefully will chime in), but I'm a big fan of bromine over chlorine. The irritation is far less (and there is some relationship between chloramines and respiratory issues like asthma - chloramines are created when nitrogen-containing compounds in urine or sweat react with chlorine). I also find I need far less bromine to maintain my levels than folks seem to use with chlorine. Total cost of ownership calculations and far more pleasant to the nose, skin, and optional cloths tell me Bromine is a better solution for us.
    As for bromine, it actually has more reports of irritation than chlorine, especially when bromine tabs are used. See this paper as an example -- I believe it may be the 5,5-dimethylhydantoin (DMH) in the bromine tabs that is the actual irritant. As for chlorine or chloramines and asthma, the relationship has actually been shown to not be there or to be a very weak association as described in this thread (especially this post with the most recent update of meta-studies). As for carcinogenic/mutagenic chemicals, generally speaking the brominated organics including the trihalomethanes are more carcinogenic than the chlorinated ones (see this post with references showing that chloroform is not carcinogenic except at much higher toxic doses).

    Do you have an ozonator in your spa? If so, then that can explain why you use less bromine than chlorine. Not only does an ozonator oxidize bather waste, but it also produces more bromine from the bromide bank.

    Generally speaking, if one uses a spa every day or two or doesn't have an ozonator, then the Dichlor-then-bleach method works reasonably well. If spa usage is less frequent, especially if there is an ozonator, then bromine is more convenient due to the bromine tabs that give background dosing and ozone generating more bromine from the bromide bank.
    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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