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Thread: Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

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    Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

    We got our spa in October of last year. We have drained it twice now - both times not bc we wanted to. The first time, the pump quit working. The guy came out and determined it was a filter - yes, a filter! Second time, the chems were way off and the water smelled weird - and it happened in JUST ONE DAY. Seriously.

    We use the spa almost every day. It's usually 3 of us, but lately been 2. My husband does the chemical thing. He uses bromine in one of those floating thingees. Every time we get out we put some spa clean or some **** like that in there that Leslie Pools suggested.

    What are we doing wrong, if anything? I bought the TP kit but my husband seems to be intimidated by it and only uses a part of it. I'm really nervous if we go out of town are we going to come back to a stinking, nasty mess? It really does seem to turn in one day....sigh....

    and truly do we have to check the chems so much? Are spas really this much work?
    19k SW IG
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

    Listening to Leslie's suggestions is probably what you are doing wrong.

    Start with reading this post
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

    Spas are generally harder to maintain than pools because the water volume is small so the bather load is much higher (bathers per water volume). Also, the higher spa temperatures and the rich amount of nutrients provided by bather load mean that bacteria can grow very quickly to have the water go bad and to form biofilms that are difficult to remove.

    Does your spa have an ozonator? It sounds like it might not. Since you use the spa nearly every day then you may be better off with the Dichlor-then-bleach method described in Using Chlorine in a Spa. However, this won't solve the problem of dosing when you are away. If you have no ozonator, you could lower the spa temperature and raise the chlorine level high (around 10 ppm FC or more) and it should last through the week.

    Since your spa went south, you should consider using Ahh-Some before your next water change just so you start with a clean slate.

    Another alternative is to get a saltwater chlorine generator such as the ControlOMatic TechniChlor but with your high bather load it would be less expensive for you to use Dichlor-then-bleach and just use TechniChlor for making a background level of chlorine in between soaks or on vacations. If you use the TechniChlor almost exclusively, then it won't last as long so you'd have to figure the cost of replacing it. Regardless, you want to have a Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level of around 30 ppm in your spa even when using the TechniChlor.

    Bromine doesn't do as well in keeping the water clean so isn't as good when the bather loads are high. Bromine is better for spas used less frequently because the bromine tabs can provide a background level of bromine in between soaks.
    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

    NO! Our hot tub is a year and a half old, I use it at least 5 days per week. Wife and I often spend several hours watching TV in it on the weekend. I drained it once last spring into my pool to see if it would raise the water temp any (it didn't ) and because it had a little too much stinky epsom salts with lavender in it. It has had the same water in it for nearly a year since. All I put in my hot tub is is CYA, bleach and muriatic acid. And non-lavender epsom salts occasionally. Mine takes about 1/4 cup of bleach per person per hour-ish. Water is crystal clear, perfect, non-smelly. I hose off the paper pleat filter 2-4 times per year, usually when I clean my pool cartridge filters just because. I have never had any indication that the filter needs cleaning.

    I learned everything I know about hot tub maintenance right here at TFP, that is why it says "TFP Platinum" over there <------.
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    Re: Are spas really supposed to be such a PITA?

    I should have qualified that if one properly maintains their spa as with the TFP methods for pools (suitably modified for spas), then spas don't have any more trouble than pools. It's just that they tend to be less forgiving if you make a mistake and let the disinfectant level get to zero. Without proper disinfection, algae doubles in population in pools with ample nutrients every 3 to 8 hours, but in hot spas bacteria can double in population every 15-60 minutes.
    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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