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Thread: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

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    wpbucher's Avatar
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    ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Hot Springs Grandee setup this past Monday.

    I was going to add borates to it, but the ACE Owners Manual states:
    Please note that PH Lock, or similar products, are not recommended for use with the ACE system.

    I know that PH Lock is not the same as borates.
    So is it OK to add borates?

    Does anyone one have experience/knowledge concerning the use of borates and the ACE system?

    Thanks for your help.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    The first thing I would ask is why do you want to add borates?

    Having said that, Adding borates should not be a problem.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    I want to add borates to slow the PH rise due to aeration.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    The borates should help prevent scaling in the ACE salt cell. They significantly lower the calcium level in the spa using a calcium remover bag since calcium carbonate scaling in the cell is a problem. The borates strongly buffer against a rise in pH so should help.

    As for why they don't want you to use a phosphate buffer, that is because calcium phosphate can scale and is even harder to remove than calcium carbonate. In fact, when you add a pH Lock product, you often get very cloudy water and precipitate in the filter -- calcium phosphate. It's not all removed so if the pH rises as it does in the ACE cell (one half of it, that is), then calcium phosphate scale can form.

    So the borates should be fine and should actually help reduce scaling in the ACE cell. The ACE system uses boron-doped diamond electrodes to generate more hydroxyl radicals and not just chlorine. I don't believe the borates (which also contain boron) will have any negative effect, but I cannot be certain.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Thanks for the info. I filled the tub from water that went through a water softener. I started with a calcium hardness (CH) of 10. I slowly added calcium chloride to get it to 40.

    I decided on 40 since the documentation on the Ace System is confusing.
    I got a laminated sheet (PN 62761 Rev D) with all the "info" related to the ACE system. It lists a range for CH of 25 to 75 with 50 being the "target".
    In the ACE owners manual (PN 302646 Rev B (6/13)) it says in bold print under the heading Spa Owner Responsibilities: Keep total hardness at or below 50 ppm.
    So the manual makes it sound like 50 is the maximum and above 50 is not OK.

    This morning's readings:
    FC: 4
    CC: .5
    TA 55
    PH 7.4
    CH 40
    Salt 1800 (pool calculator was perfect)

    I decide to take the plunge!
    Borates are in the tub.
    I'll let you know how it works out.

    Thanks for your help.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Hot Springs ACE System and bleach - high salt issues

    Merged by moderator. Please keep your related questions together for continuity. Thanks, jblizzle

    How do you account for the rise in salt from bleach when using the ACE system?

    I am trying to do the chlorine --> dichlor --> bleach method.

    The ACE literature states a range of 1000 to 1750 with 1750 as the "target".

    Well, I saw "target" and added salt (per poolcalculator) to get me to 1750. Initial reading was 1600

    I added my dichlor then switch to bleach. I saw my salt level increasing, but just figured it took a while to show up in the test.

    I then noticed at the bottom of poolcalculator the heading "Effects of adding chemicals"

    My tub is 500 gallons, so to compensate for 1 person/hour of bather load I should add 5 oz of bleach. This contributed 6.8 ppm of salt to the water.

    So if I initially add salt to get to the minimum 1000 ppm.
    I could add bleach to compensate for 110 person/hours of bather load before I reached the upper limit of 1750.
    Calculations 1750 - 1000 = 750 (available window to raise salt)
    750/6.8=110 (number of 5 oz doses of bleach that raises salt level by 750 ppm)

    Is 110 person/hours of bather load a lot in a 3 month period?

    So now I'm at a high salt level....about 1800. What should I do?
    I've already added 34 ppm of dichlor.
    Should I strictly go MPS from here until I drain and refill?
    Or should I do a full or partial drain and refill?

    Suggestions appreciated.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: Hot Springs ACE System and bleach - high salt issues

    The CH needs to be kept below 50 ppm. There was no need for you to add any additional calcium. If you want to target 25 ppm to be on the low end of what they specified, that's fine, but probably not necessary.

    As for bleach, the ACE is a saltwater chlorine generator system in addition to creating hydroxyl radicals so you should be turning up it's on-time to better balance your bather load. Let it do most of the work if you can. The Dichlor-then-bleach would then just be to supplement for higher peaks of bather load that the ACE might not handle. For example, if you were to use the spa only on weekends, then the ACE setting would be for background dosing and the Dichlor-then-bleach would be for handling the bather load (unless the ACE has a boost mode that works well enough -- most don't output enough). If you are soaking more regularly during the week, then setting the ACE higher to handle more of the bather load would be better.

    For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by bleach, it also increases the salt by around 17 ppm. So yes, over time the salt level will rise. If it gets too high you need to do a partial drain/refill to keep it in check. 1800 ppm is not too high. You can consider some partial drain/refill above 2500 ppm though even that shouldn't be a problem. This is why it would be better to have ACE generate more of the chlorine.

    Now the trick is how to have the ACE generate enough chlorine to handle bather load while not having to soak in higher FC levels which can be less pleasant. That's not easy to do since the ACE doesn't have a "press this button to handle ## bather-hours" above and beyond the background level needed in between soaks.

    110 person-hours in 3 months is 1.2 person-hours per day. That is a high bather load but not extraordinary. How high do you have your ACE system set for its output level? If I assume your Hot Springs Grandee is 500 gallons (from what I looked up), then without the ACE and with no ozonator the 1.2 person-hours would need somewhat under 6 ppm FC to handle the bather waste. So the salt would build up by around 300 ppm per month. If you can have the ACE handle at least half the bather load, then that salt buildup would only be 150 ppm per month.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    I added calcium to reduce foaming. Bad idea?

    The spa was installed last Monday (11/18/13). We have four children (17, 15, 13, 12). They have off school for the week of T-giving. The 13 year old had a friend over last night. Last night's bather load was 6 person/hours.

    I would expect hot tub use will be 6-8 person hours per day for the next 10 days or so.

    Did I mention 25 relatives for T-giving dinner?

    Good to know not to stress to much on salt levels.

    What role does MPS play in this? I never used it in my pool, and I'm not quite clear or how/when to use it in the hot tub.

    Thanks for your help.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Yes, with the ACE system you don't want to have more calcium in the water. To deal with foaming, it would be better to use de-foaming products assuming they do not contain calcium. I suppose this is one downside to the ACE system -- that one has to keep the CH low to prevent scaling in their salt cell, but to do so raises the likelihood of foaming. Making sure you thoroughly rinse your swimsuit to remove any soap will help as will making sure you are fairly clean before getting into the spa (i.e. it's not a bath).

    MPS doesn't play any role at all because you need not use any of it. You can use chlorine alone to maintain the spa. The ACE manual only talks about MPS in the context of being supplemental oxidation, but they refer to it as with "Dichlor or MPS". It is true that their "Hot Spring Freshwater Spa Care Kit" includes MPS and you can certainly use it until it's gone, but there's no need to buy any more after that since it's far more expensive than bleach (and even more expensive than Dichlor). As for dosing, if the ACE system were not handling any of the bather-load, you could figure that every person-hour of soaking would need 3-1/2 teaspoons of Dichlor or 5 fluid ounces of 6% bleach (3-1/2 fluid ounces of 8.25% bleach) or 7 teaspoons of non-chlorine shock (43% MPS). Of course, the ACE system will handle part of the bather load so you'll need to just test and adjust to figure out what you need to do.

    Note that MPS will increase the salt level as well. Remember that I said that for every 10 ppm FC added by bleach that it increases salt (sodium chloride) by 17 ppm. Well, it takes 7.26 fluid ounces of 6% bleach to get to 10 ppm FC in a 350 gallon spa and it would take 2.33 ounces weight of non-chlorine shock (43% MPS) to be equivalent in oxidizing capability for bather waste. The MPS also results in salt though it results in potassium sulfate plus you need to add a base to raise the pH or baking soda to raise the TA since MPS is net acidic. So in effect you end up with the equivalent of 3KNaSO4 + K2SO4 which in this example is 2.58 ounces weight of salt or 55 mg/L. In other words, every 10 ppm FC equivalent with bleach gives you 17 ppm salt as sodium chloride whereas when using MPS you get 55 ppm salt as potassium sodium sulfate. So the buildup of salt is much faster when using MPS, though the salt does not build up chloride and builds up sulfate instead. This means that the increased salt from bleach may result in more production of chlorine from the ACE system whereas the buildup of salt from MPS may result in more oxygen species. This shouldn't matter very much.

    As far as corrosion risk, the faster salt buildup from MPS would be potentially more damaging and having more sulfates in the water is not good for stainless steel when there is already a lot of chloride in the water. So, bottom line, I would stick to bleach and don't use the MPS beyond what they gave you in the startup kit.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Wow. I can't believe that the Hot Springs documentation says the Calcium Hardness (CH) should be in the 25-75 range when in fact the optimal amount is zero!!! Unbelievable. Well, that is the last time I add Calcium Chloride to the hot tub.

    I think another issue is that I have something consuming chlorine. This makes it look like the ACE system isn't doing to much.

    Here are some times and numbers for (500 gallon tub):

    11/24/13
    8:00 am
    FC 2.5
    CC 1
    PH 7.6
    CYA ...the spot is barely visible at 30 level....so I'm guessing CYA is 25?

    1:30 pm
    FC 1
    CC 1.5
    Added 10 oz 8.25% bleach to shock

    2:00 pm
    FC 12
    CC 1.5

    4:00 pm
    FC 11.5
    CC 1
    Added 2 oz 8.25% bleach

    6:00 pm
    FC 11
    CC 1
    Added 2 oz 8.25% bleach

    9:30 pm
    FC 9.5
    CC 1
    Added 4 oz 8.25% bleach

    11/25/13
    7 am
    FC 6
    CC 1.5
    PH 7.6
    salt 2000

    What's the deal? What am I doing wrong?

    At this point I just turned the ACE on max....and I am waiting to see what happens.

    I might have "slime in the pipes" from the factory wet test.
    I am awaiting the Spa System Flush I ordered online....but it is too darn cold in central PA to do a drain at this point.
    Where is global warming when I need it?

    Thanks for your help.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Check to see if the ozonator is still plugged into the circuit board. It should be disconnect unless you have a high bather load.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Is it obvious where the ozonator is connected on the circuit board?
    Or can you direct me to a diagram that shows the location of the connection?

    Thanks.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    I believe the 25-75 ppm CH recommendation is because their calcium removal bag probably doesn't get the CH much lower than that.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    I pulled the panel.
    Ozonator clearly marked.
    Followed cord and verified that ozonator is NOT connected to circuit board.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Well, at 11 am with ACE system set to 10 I had:
    FC 6
    CC 1


    Four hours later (nobody in spa in last 36 hours) I have:
    FC 3.5
    CC 1.5

    Help!!!

    Will shocking to a higher amount (say 20 ppm) do anything?

    Or do I need to do a spa system flush, drain, and refill?
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Shocking would help, but you've got something consuming a lot of chlorine so a Spa System Flush would be better. Normal loss without an ozonator even in a hot spa is around 25% of the FC per day. New spas do consume more chlorine until their first flush and refill, but what you are seeing is pretty high.
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    Re: Hot Springs ACE System and bleach - high salt issues

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by bleach, it also increases the salt by around 17 ppm. So yes, over time the salt level will rise. If it gets too high you need to do a partial drain/refill to keep it in check. 1800 ppm is not too high. You can consider some partial drain/refill above 2500 ppm though even that shouldn't be a problem. This is why it would be better to have ACE generate more of the chlorine.
    Just an update. The Grandee displayed a message about the Ace system offline due to high salt levels. I used my k-1776 and salt was 2200.

    So from my experience, 2200 is the level where the ACE system shuts down.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Thanks. That's good info to know. The HotSpring® ACE™ Saltwater Sanitizing System Owner's Manual gives an "OK" range of 750 to 1500 ppm for the salt level. The high limit they have must be to prevent too much current from the higher conductivity -- the higher current mostly being a problem for the power supply though it may affect the cell plates as well (it would have to affect them in a non-linear way; otherwise you could set the on-time lower to compensate for the higher chlorine production rate). That implies that they are not regulating their voltage to the cell to maintain a constant current, so constant chlorine production (for a given on-time). That's too bad.
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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    How many versions of the ACE manual exist? Here is the one I got when I purchased my Grandee: www.hottubassist.co.uk/pdfs/HotSpring-H ... e-2013.pdf It has the range of 1000 to 1750 with 1750 as the target.

    Here is a site with a bunch of videos: http://www.pihottubs.com/owners-corner/ ... ub-owners/ The video "Maximizing your ACE cell life" recommends a salt level of 1750....DOH!!!

    One more question (for now): For TA...they have a range 40 to 120 with a target of 80. I've seen some posts that recommend TA of 50. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for your help.
    2013 HotSpring Grandee with Ace Sanitizing System
    25K IG vinyl pool with Alps spillover spa and waterfall. Build Date: June 2013
    Triton II TR100 Sand Filter, Pentair Master Temp 400 natural gas pool heater, Intellichlor SWG, Rainbow Chlorine Feeder
    Pentair VF filter pump, WhisperFlo 2 hp WFE-8 waterfall pump, WhisperFloFX 2 hp spillover spa pump
    Intellibrite 5G (2 pool and 1 in spa) lights :: TFT-100 test kit, Taylor K-1776 test kit

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    Re: ACE Salt Water sanitizing system and borates?

    Interesting about the changing manuals.

    As for TA, you'll want it lower at 50 ppm and may want to use 50 ppm Borates if you use the Dichlor-then-bleach method to dose after your soak if the bather load is too high for the ACE system to handle on its own. If your bather load is light, then you may not need to dose after your soak.
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