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Thread: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

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    Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    I had been using Baqua Spa chemicals successfully in my hot tub in MD for years. We moved to our beach house in NC two years ago and have not had the same success with Baqua Spa here in this hot tub. I am looking for a suggestion for another type of non-bromine chemical system to use, as I really don't like the smell of bromine/chlorine. I need something that is fairly easy to maintain, as neither my husband nor I are particularly good chemistry students. The hot tub is a 350 gallon Dimension One @home hot tub. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    Bromine and chlorine are different and smell very different. Many people do not like the smell of bromine. Used correctly, there should be little chlorine smell.

    The 3 options you mention are the only ones approved as sanitized in the U.S.
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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    There's a 4th option approved by the EPA only for spas. That is the Nature2 system using non-chlorine shock (MPS) though chlorine is still needed about once a week or so to keep the water clear.

    I think you should try the Dichlor-then-bleach method first, starting with a low chlorine level (1-2 ppm) before the soak. If you've ever taken a hot bath with chlorinated or chloraminated tap water, the smell and experience would be similar. If for some reason you don't like it, you can switch to Nature2 with MPS though that is much more expensive.

    Does your spa have an ozonator? How often will the spa be used -- every day, every other day, only on weekends? How many people will be soaking in the spa and for how long? If you use the spa frequently, then Dichlor-then-bleach is easy since you just dose after every use of the spa. If you use the spa less frequently, especially if you have an ozonator, then this method probably won't work so well for you as it would require maintenance dosing in between soaks.

    See Using Chlorine in a Spa, but get your Total Alkalinity (TA) down to 50 ppm and definitely use 50 ppm borates (from boric acid is the easiest).
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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    To answer your questions: No, the spa does not have an ozonator. The spa does not get used frequently - maybe once every few weeks or so and usually it is only used by myself and my husband. When my husband and I do use it, we probably spend anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes in it. During the summer months (when we have frequent visitors) it is used more often and by more people (who often have sunscreen on) at one time.

    An additional question: Are systems like Pristine Blue, Cleanwater Blue, and Simple Blue considered chlorine systems since they require the use (I believe) of Dichlor? As I have said, I have only used Baqua Spa and am not at all familiar with chlorine systems. If the chlorine smell is not as strong as the bromine, I could probably be ok with chlorine.

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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    Those "Blue" systems all use copper ions, but copper can stain surfaces, turn blond hair greenish, and is only an algaecide and not a disinfectant because it does not kill fecal bacteria. It is not EPA approved as a disinfectant in either pools or spas -- it is only EPA registered as an algaecide. You can see kill times and more info on copper in this post.

    Since copper does not oxidize bather waste, these systems usually offer non-chlorine shock (MPS) and some of them also offer Dichlor.

    Since you aren't using the spa very much, I assume you don't want to have to maintain it by adding more chemical very frequently. If you turn down the spa water temperature in between use, you could probably dose with chlorine twice a week or maybe once a week if you dose to a high level, but it sounds like that wouldn't be the best system for you unless you were willing to do that dosing in between spa usage.

    So perhaps the Nature2 system with MPS will work better since the MPS will last longer in between soaks. You'd have to see if it lasts longer than one week -- I suspect you will need to dose once a week when not using the spa, but I could be wrong. The silver ions in Nature2 combined with the MPS act as a disinfectant at hot spa temperatures and at lower temperatures they still inhibit bacterial growth, even fecal bacteria. You can read more about this system in the Nature2 Owner's Manual.
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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    I have looked at the Nature2 Owner's Manual as you suggested and it looks like something that we could work with. Using Baqua Spa we have always done weekly maintenance (balancing/shocking/sanitizing), so the weekly maintenance should not be a problem.

    However, at the risk of really showing my ignorance, I have to ask if there is a specific brand of balancing chemicals that I should use with the Nature2 system? The Baqua Spa system has it's own pH balancing, calcium hardness and alkalinity chemicals that are used. (I have been using Baqua Spa for ~14 years so am really not familiar with other brands of chemicals.)

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    Re: Hot Tub Chemical Suggestion

    No special brand of chemicals is needed. MPS is net acidic so you should be able to set your TA level to have the pH be somewhat stable but where the TA drops slowly over time. In that case, you can use baking soda for raising the TA. If instead the pH tends to drop in spite of a higher TA (say, 100 instead of 80), then you could use 20 Mule Team Borax to raise the pH. If you wanted to raise both the pH and TA, you could use Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (careful: NOT the laundry detergent) since that is identical to "pH Up" products.

    As for calcium hardness, you only need that up to 120-150 ppm to minimize foaming. Dowflake or Peladow can be used but for smaller quantities a spa or pool product might be easier to find and not unreasonable in price. See Recommended Pool Chemicals for more info.
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