Hey folks! Greetings from Cornwall, UK.


I have just purchased a small wood-fired hot tub and I'm hoping to educate myself on water treatment from the vast array of knowledge here (and hopefully contribute back once I better understand it).

There is a lot of conflicting advice and (mis)information on the web so I'm looking forward to getting some opinions!

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Store salt

I opened pool with the blue bags from local pinch store about a year ago. And have kept a few bags on hand as needed, but I had heard secondhand of a possible batch problem and staining from their salt. I haven’t been able to find anything online but have been afraid to use the two bags I have. The bags I have are dated 4/11/22 and I didn’t hear about this until a month or so ago. My pool guy puts salt in when I ask him but I would like to use the bags I have if safe to do so. Any one know of anything regarding their salt? I did notice around time I heard of this that local store were out of the blue bags of salt so not sure if related. Sorry to be vague, just don’t have any concrete information.


I found this forum while searching out information about replacing my old Janky Aqualink control board. It is a PCB 81245A with two wired remotes , 4 wired valves. The system has one filter and two pumps. It is all connected to an inground pool and a seperate spa. One of the pumps is a newer Pentair VSP while the other is an older Hayward. This is my first pool so at 76 I have been facing a steep learning curve. This forum has been helpful so far. Thanks.

IntelliCenter question

Hello all. I have 5 g color pool light, 5g spa light, 300 watt transformer for 2 laminars, 300 watt transformer for bubblers. My question is can I get power by using a jumper between all the relays from the same 15 amp breaker in the IntelliCenter?

Also I want to run a 3rd pump for the water features (intelliflo) can I connect that to the same breaker as the other intelliflo? If not what are my options? It seems I am out of space for breakers.

Here are some photos.


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Type of shock to use with bromine sanitizer

Hi all,

I have recently inherited a hot tub with a new house. I had it checked by a local pool company everything checked out well (all heaters/pumps work, jets work, etc.). Its capacity is 1330 litres and it is above-ground.

The previous owners were using bromine tablets in a floater as a sanitizer, which I plan to continue using. However, the shock they used was calcium hypochlorite. I am now exploring 3 options for a chlorine-based shock:

1) Continue with calcium hypo. The water supply in my area is considered hard, so I am not sure how quickly calcium hardness levels would build to the point that I would need to drain earlier if I use this method.
2) Use dichlor. I would prefer to avoid this if possible, since I do not want to deal with buildup of CYA and the many potential downsides of that, which I have read about on this forum (decreasing effectiveness of chlorine; increased chance of pseudomonas taking hold).
3) Use bleach (sodium hypochlorite). I have not read any specific reports of bleach being used as a shock with bromine tablets as the sanitizer, but I would appreciate input regarding this method.

I realize I left out non-chlorine shocks (like MPS), but I decided I want the algaecide/"killing" benefits that come with a chlorine-based shock. I am still open to all ideas...

What recommendations/insights can you suggest?

Thank you,

What size breaker and wiring needed for subpanel?

Our equipment pad is moving about 20' from where it had previously been and I'm replacing an old load center in the process. Previously there was a separately run 50a line from the main breaker for our heat pump, but all the original wiring (and heat pump line) were torn out during a renovation of the house.

The equipment will be:
- Pentair SuperFlo VS 1.5hp pump (13.6a max draw)
- Pentair Amerilite 500w watt 120v light (~4.2a, though this is very rarely ever used)
- CircuPool SJ30 SWG (.63a at 240v)
- AquaCal TropiCal T135 Heat Pump (43.3 Minimum Circuit Ampacity)
- Two 120v utility outlets (one at pad and one at light j-box)

I'm not planning an automation-capable panel, just a basic outdoor load center. Also, I haven't yet figured out what to do about freeze protection, so that may add a bit of draw. (I've had a separate old Freeze Defender hooked up that worked fine, but it's pretty rusty and I'm having trouble finding any similar standalone product now. Mostly seems like people either have pumps with temp sensors built in or have a timer with it, but I'm not planning a timer since I'll be using the VS pump to schedule things.)

The house's new main outdoor box has an empty 1.5" conduit running to the new pad location and 4 empty breaker slots in it.

If I run a single breaker and line to the sub-panel, I'm thinking I'd need something like an 80a breaker and 4/3 copper? But 4 gauge doesn't seem to be readily available.

Would I be better off running two separate smaller lines through the same conduit? Like a 50a breaker on 6/3 direct to the heat pump and a separate 8/3 line on a 40a breaker for everything else, with separate breakers at the load center (20a for Superflo, 15a for light/j-box outlet, 15a for pad utility outlet)?

The pad is within sight/distance requirements from the main box breaker to not need a separate cutoff at the pad, at least as I understand them.

I don't want to undersize things, but I also don't want to pay out the nose for larger wire than needed. It'll be about a 35' run.

Appreciate any thoughts or guidance. Thanks!

New Hot Tub Owner. Lot to Learn

I have a 35k gallon saltwater pool that we've had for 3 years. Chemistry in it confused me at first and, with help from here and a TFT Test Kit, it's extremely simple to keep all my chemistry in balance now. I added a gas heater when we installed the pool and I do love it, but the pool gets little usage from late September through March, other than heating a few times over the winter (in Georgia) just for fun.

I did not install a hot tub with the pool, mainly because I've never liked the comfort and effectiveness of a hot tub built into a pool. I also wanted one that was covered, under my covered deck, where it could be used when the pool wasn't.....cold weather, rainy days, etc.

So, I just bought a Hot Springs Grandee and it's being delivered tomorrow. Extremely excited. I'm 44 and a dad of 3. I'm starting to feel the aches and pains of life and I am really looking forward to having a hot tub to get in every evening to relax and work out the kinks in my back and body. Also a great place for the wife and I to spent time together and get caught up on the day after kids go to bed at night.

I opted for a large hot tub because we are a family of 5, and we have several friends over on a regular basis. I wanted room for everyone. I didn't go with the saltwater system, because I'm undecided on it in a hot tub. I've read several reviews about people having trouble with the chemistry balancing, and trouble with the tub after converting to salt. It's an upgrade charge either way, so I can add it later, if I choose to. From what I read, the chlorine and mineral hot tubs actually use 50-75% less chlorine than a chlorine pool, anyway. And most recommend sticking with chlorine in a hot tub. Any educated opinions or advice on this front is greatly appreciated.

I am also wondering, once it's filled, can we use it tomorrow night? As in use it the first night with no chemicals at all, and add the start up chemicals after we get out to work their way in overnight? Or, even put in chemicals and run the jets for an hour and then get in the same day? Or, will I need to wait? With our pool, they added about 25 bags of salt and said to give it an hour before swimming. It took several days to get the chlorine and chemistry settled in, but it was clear and fine to swim in. We just didn't open our eyes under water until we were comfortable with the chlorine levels. Same with the hot tub?

I may have extra questions I'll add to this thread as we go. Any recommendations, suggestions, etc are greatly appreciated.

Pool Vac internal staining

I have my pool looking better than it's ever looked after joining this web site, but I have a quick question. The inside of my pool vac is stained, I'm assuming it's from past algae build up. I've tried scrubbing it and soaking it in a bucket of bleach and water, but can't seem to get rid of it. Is this anything to worry about concerning any future algae problems. If so, what is the best way to clean it, short of replacing it.



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Sealing the hydrostatic disc

Hello everyone
I realized there is a leakage in my pool. After draining the pool, I found out the plug at the bottom of the pool was damaged from one side (attached are some photos). I could not find a similar plug in the market, so I want to seal it. Can anyone help me and give me some tips? like what kind of sealant and where I can find it.


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Soakepools precast plunge pool

Reviving/starting a new thread to see if any owners are here from this Pembroke, NH company making precast “plunge“ pools at a precast concrete facility that also makes septic tanks, coffin vaults etc. They‘ve showed up on some TOH shows and seem to be a comparable product to fiberglass without the installation concerns (just an 18” laser leveled base). Prices look pretty good, at least at the factory…I imagine the shipping portion can get pricey, but the buyer/owner comes up with the excavation/crane portion of the build/install. They also provide the pumping unit with salt water. Anyone out here have experience with these folks latel? I’ve started an email dialogue with them with pictures of my proposed site to see if it’s feasible.

What to try next after check valves???

I am new to the forum and am hoping someone here can share insights to my issue. Bought a house with an existing small spa pool with a vanishing edge and hardscape waterfall. The pool seems to be losing water, and I have noticed that after running the vanishing edge pump to pull water out of the trough/trench and pump it into the pool, a couple hours after I do that, the water level in the trough/trench has risen to the lip of the small overflow drain. I am fairly certain that water is slowing running out of the trough/trench overflow drain, after somehow finding its way out of the pool and into the lower trough/trench.

There is a autofill Jandy Levelor that senses when water level in the trough/trench is really low, and opens a valve to bring it to a proper level. It is not running in this scenario. The trench water level is somehow rising with water from the pool.

There are four check valves; 1. Filter pump, 2. Booster pump, 3. Vanishing Edge pump, and 4. Waterfall pump. They are all Jandy standard check valves and I have replaced the flapper/O-ring seal/cover for each of the four. I still have water moving from pool to trench.

Where else should I look for a gravity or siphon-fed connection between the pool and vanishing edge water trench?

I can keep the pool relatively full by running the vanishing edge to pump water into the pool and letting the Levelor refill the trench, but I don't think I should be losing water out to the overflow drain in the trench the way I do.

Thank you for your consideration and time taken to read this post!


Help! We had high winds and a power outage last night. Pump is out.

We had high winds in our area and the power went out early this morning. Pump is supposed to come on at 9:00 a.m. When I went out there, the spa jets are on (which they never are unless we are in the hot tub). The bubblers are not on, the waterfall is not on, and the Pentair Panel is not illuminated. It's dark. What steps do I need to take now? Do I turn all the breakers off and then turn them back on? Are they supposed to have a surge protection on anything? Should I put one; how? Also, for the future, if we hear there is a storm coming, should I turn all my breakers off? What is the proper way to do this? I was also thinking about a winter storm - if it gets below freezing and the power goes out, what do people do so things don't freeze and get costly?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your help!

Wiring help - No neutral wires on breakers

After a power surge did a lot of damage, I discovered I don't have a GFCI breaker for my pool lights. I've got to replace the regular QP type breaker with a GFCI breaker, but I'm a little confused by the wiring here (see pic).


A) What's up with the neutral wiring? Does this look normal? Can I just
(1) pop in the appropriate new GFCI breaker,​
(2) attach the connected GFCI neutral-out to the neutral bus,​
(3) attach the black wire from the old breaker that leads to the Lights Relay to the new GFCI breaker, and​
Most importantly: I assume I should also (4) move the load's neutral wire (from Aux 1/Spa Light wire bundle) from the neutral bus to the GFCI neutral-in? Is that right? (I don't see a neutral wire for the main pool light, just the load out wire to the junction box.)​

B) Doing all that may leave two neutrals in that path, one from the automation board to the neutral bus and one connected in to the GFCI from the load on Aux 1 (Spa Light) and then out of the GFCI to the neutral bus. It's probably not ok to leave it like that, right? There's a jump wire from the Lights relay to Aux 1, then automation.
Should I change the wiring to
(1) two separate lines in from a 2-pole GFCI for each of the two lights (with no jump wire from Lights to Aux 1) and a third line directly from a separate regular breaker to the automation, or​
(2) just keep the two lights on a one-pole GFCI using the current wiring as is with the existing jump wire from the Lights relay to the Aux 1 relay, but move the automation board line-in wire directly to a regular breaker (not connected to Aux 1)?​

C) Anything else jump out at you that needs attention - aside from cleaning up the sloppy/exposed contacts on the relays? Maybe I should swap out the stranded wire for solid copper wherever possible. Probably should change the pump/heater/blower breaker to GFCI too, but no idea what to make of no neutrals at all on the load there.



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Pool under construction leaking

I am under construction on a hillside pool with an infinity edge. The shotcrete was placed in May. The infinity side of the pool is fully exposed (above grade). In recent rains it was noticed that the pool retained water for weeks. The retention basin (which retains the water on the spill wall) did not retain water. Today, we attempted to fill the retention side of the pool with a hose and found that it leaks significantly. You can see the water dribbling out of the bottom of the retention basin (which sits about 2 inches above grade. The contactor, when I mentioned that I suspected this issue existed many months ago, said not to worry that shotcrete is not water proof and that the pebble tech creates the water proof shell. After filling the retention basin today, I sent the pool contractor (and the general contractor as they are in charge of the larger remodel) photos and a video showing the water leaking out. Long story short, I know that shotcrete is not waterproof, but it is clearly a whole lot LESS water proof in the case of my retention basin verses the pool basin. Should I be concerned? What would be the proper fix? Adding more shotcrete to the bottom of the retention basin?

Any Salt and acrylic tub issues?

So I asked Master Spa about using a SWG and of course adding salt to the spa for this. Their response was, "We don’t recommend the use of salt systems in the tubs as it converts the salt to a form of chlorine that is not recommended by the manufacturer of the acrylic as it can have a negative affect on the spa shell over time."

Clearly the first part is nonsense (Chlorine is chlorine wherever it comes from). However, is there any issue with salt water at 3000 ppm (-ish) on the acrylic shell?

Thanks for any insight on this issue.

Robot vs Pool Pump during Texas Fall/Winter

Has anyone used the robot pool cleaner to filter the pool during the winter months instead on using the main pump/filter? I get a lot of leaves and some berries during the fall/winter months and use my Dolphin Premier robot cleaner a few times a week and thought I might be able to save a few bucks and hold off running the main pump and use the robot to clean the debris and water. My pool rarely gets below 45 degrees. Granted the freeze guard may come on a few times a month as I don't usually winterize the pool as I use the spa occasionally unless I know a huge winter storm is coming like the Texas storm in 2021. Looking for thoughts and opinions...

Pool Facts:
SWG Pool (I use Liquid Chlorine in Winter)
FC: 1-2ppm
PH: 7.5
Boric Acid 50ish PPM
30k gallons

Chipping around safety cover anchors?

Concrete poured in early Oct. Tarp cover with water bags installed a couple weeks later. PB unexpectedly came out last week (day before Thanksgiving) to replace with a mesh cover (I was fine waiting until next year).

The week before holes were drilled, the day time high temperatures were mid-30s, and nighttime lows were in the 20s. The day of anchor drilling, the high was mid-40s, and part of the deck is in shade. Water bags (when removed before drilling) were frozen solid.

A small sample of the resulting chipped concrete shown in attached images, on over 80% of the anchors. In the second image, you can even see aggregate exposed. Our mason said he was frustrated to see these pictures and he can fix the concrete with a day of labor. PB instead says not to worry; they aren't done with the job and will be installing brass collars in the Spring.

I want the best end result. If it were you, would you have the PB install collars or have the mason repair and have the PB pay? Or a better option?




Starting up an inflatable hot tub that sits in storage 10 months a year?

It sits in the attic pretty much all year outside of the two months down here in Florida when its not 95 degrees every day.

It comes down, gets inflated, filled up with 210 gallons of water, TFP methods are applied, that article about how to use chlorine in your spa is followed.

It usually takes a while of SLAMing to get it to stay stable. When its put away I am assuming it's never fully dried out and the filters themselves are sittting in the dark for 10 months, which get dried out as best as they can and then put in the box.

Should I be doing anything different each year?

Right now the water is clear but using CL up, its in SLAM mode. CYA is at 40, pH is 7.4, TA is coming down by aeration. CL getting used up pretty quickly though, jacking it up to 20 every 4 hours to keep the SLAM going.

New build - Pump/Heater distance questions

First off, I want to say thank you for this site. It has been really helpful!

We had to make a change to our equipment location as the permit office shifted them 4' in from the back walls (neighbor adjacent) to where the concrete pad and trench would have been too close to the roots of our mature orange trees, and probably either damage or killed them. We have 2 options:

Option 1 - move behind the garage. 90' run with the equipment being 2' or so above water level. Positives are that it moves out of the yard, not taking up any more green space. PC says that all that is needed is to up the pipe size to 3". Any worry about flow, distance or underground heat loss?

Option 2 - move to the lower yard. 35' run with equipment being 24-30" under water level.

We are leaning toward option 1, even though there is an increase in cost from the PC for the longer run, but wanted to get some expert opinions.

I have attache my CAD of the yard with a fair amount of measurements. It should be noted that the yard has a grade, which is why there are some steps and small retaining walls above and below the pool. The grade is about 6' from top to bottom.

Equipment - All Haywood - Tristar VS 900 & 950 pumps, Universal H 400k BTU, 700sqft SwimClear Cartridge, TurboCell 940 Salt generator.

Thanks in advance for the input!


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New Automation System

My current pool filter pump needs replaced. It is an old Pentair whisper flo two speed pump that was controlled with a standard control panel with Intermatic timers. The pool also has a single speed Polaris booster pump that runs a Polaris suction pool cleaner. The wiring was not done well and the breakers from the main house panel are not done correctly to the existing panel and it is not easy to isolate the power from the pool equipment.

I am thinking about purchasing the new 011533 WhisperFlo VST Variable Speed Pool Pump and Pentair EasyTouch 4P 520591 controller and running a new single power cable over from the main breaker panel so the pumps and heater are all on their own circuits with breakers for disconnect.

I have read through both installation manuals for the pump and the control panel and also some general information on the web and this form that did include photos inside the box. Are there any wiring diagrams that show how to wire the relays in the panel from the breakers to the relay and from the relay to the pump?

I understand I need the control cable for speed control on the filter pump, but it is just not 100% clear yet on the relay wiring. Is it really just as straight forward as line - line from the breaker to the relay and then line - line from the relay to the pump? Do you have to interconnect anything on the relays for the booster pump or is that interlock to run for the booster done in the programming for filter pump run times and booster pump run time? I understand how to do all of the wiring and I am comfortable with that I just did not want to mix up anything on the relays.

Also will the control panel take the place of the old thermostat freeze protection? My understanding is the new control panel uses the air and water temperature probes and can call the filter pump to run and heater to run for freeze protection. I have a Pentair heater that I will also wire to the control panel.

Thanks in advance! Just want to make sure not missing anything major as I am looking at this control panel upgrade.

"Budget" build in Los Angeles

After having an above ground pool for two years, we finally decided to have a pool built. We are trying to be very budget friendly but everything is so expensive here, we got several quotes ranging from 60k-130k.

The bad? We have a tiny yard and decided to build essentially a pool covering our whole yard. Initially we were going to find a new home with either a pool already build or more land, but with interest as high as it is and having a 1.95% loan currently it just does not make sense to move.

Initial contract sign, May 2022, permits took a long time and did not come back until sept.

Some info from our builder:

  • AREA (SQ/FT): 420’
  • DEPTH: 3 ½ ” to 5’ or 6’
  • AREA (SQ/FT) 36’
  • DEPTH: 3 ½”
  • DEPTH: 18”




  • 6 JETS


WaterGuru issues - am I the only one?

I've had my WaterGuru for a few years now. I have two main issues/concerns with it, and I wonder if I am the only one.

1. The WaterGuru app rarely if ever notifies me of issues. I honestly can't remember ever getting a notification from it. There is no way to manage what level of issues get turned into app notifications. I have no idea what the criteria is, but I've had pH be very high or very low, FC super high or zero, no flow, batteries dead, need a new cassette, etc. Never get a notification out of this thing. Notifications are turned on for the app and for my phone. I'm not a dummy. I've asked tech support about this several times, and they literally ignore me. I have a Samsung S10+ phone and the original "Gen 1" WaterGuru. So do you get good meaningful notifications from the app when there is a problem? Personally, I'd like to get a notification every time it does a test, regardless of the results of the test.

2. The unit has no ability to recover from a WiFi outage. If your WiFi even blinks for a second, you will have to pull the batteries out of the unit, delete your pool and start from scratch. I have done this countless times. No idea why their unit has no ability deal with WiFi issues, but this seems like a solvable problem. At least give me a notification (see #1 above) from the app that the unit hasn't check in. How do people deal with this if they are monitoring a pool at a second home or remote location? Network connectivity persistence should be a given.

So am I the only one with these issues? Maybe because I was an early adopter and got a machine before they got the kinks worked out?

New spa- Why bother with Dichlor? Why not CYA and bleach

I am a long time TFP desciple with a pool. Recently moved and now bought a swim spa (1200 gallons). It is Master Spa with Ozone. After reading about the problems with FC burning with Ozone, I feel I should turn it off. I am well versed using hte TFT-100 kit and testing for FC/CC/CYA, etc and am comfortable with daily testing.

Is the prevaling view of the experts to just disable the Ozone and add bleach with hot tube use? Also, it seems I should remove (not use) the "EcoPure" filter instert that adds copper and zinc to the pool. Is this correct as well?

Also, what is expert view on 20 mule team Borax vs the liquid (Gentle Spa) for adding borates? I used to use 20 mule team borax and lots of acid (at time of adding) for my old pool.


Warming Area Around Hot Tub Under Gazebo Curtains

Yeah, weird question.

Wife has a chandelier hanging over the hot tub and I've got about 2 to 2 1/2 feet clearance around the tub. Service is 120V, 20A and GFCI protected, on the floor in one corner, at top perimeter switched at cattycorner.

First thought was gas, but it's not convenient to bring it and stand-alone are big. Anyway, was thinking the higher it is the more drafts will just vent the heat. Second was mounting on a post or roof support beam, but same does apply - the higher the more loss, right?

So, then I thought about infrared vs fan driven. My mistake there, my impression of infrared was flawed (maybe, I did confirm they can cause eye damage). An infrared heater would have mounted on the roof support beam, and it's still an option. However, for my first shot at this I just purchased a ($30 on sale) milkhouse heater which will either sit on the far floor, or on a corner table plugged into the switched ceiling receptacle. I like 2 foot off the ground and switched because the switch is outside and waterproof and don't want to use wet hands to switch it off on the floor, gfci or not. It's 1500 watts on high setting.

I'm thinking I can purchase a remote control outlet and energize from inside the house too, maybe 20/30 minutes beforehand. Climate maybe low 40's, hoping because steps are 3 feet away to feel a little warmer coming out.

Any voice of experience critique or advice appreciated. I can easily just add a long horizontal mounted infrared heater and power it off the same outlet (not both of course on a 20A circuit). My understanding is the infrared only warm what they hit --- seems like that would feel weird!

Maybe better half needs to consider losing the chandelier? Lots of the infrared units better rated by customers were hang from ceiling type.

Your thoughts?

Deck drainage issue suggestions

So I have posted some about water getting behind my liner when it rains or from heavy splashing. I know it is coming in from around the liner track. I have attached a video I took to show how the water is pooling from rain at the edge of the deck and draining into the pool and behind the liner. What is the best way to address this? Silicone the liner lock in, install a channel deck drain? Thank you

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