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Thread: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

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    RobbW's Avatar
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    Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    I have a Marquis e750 hot tub with ozonator. We got it in November 2016. It is set up to be a bromine spa. It has the Spa Frog cartridge inserts for minerals and bromine. The spa dealer recommended and gave me all Leisure Time products to use with my spa. That is the only brand I have been using. The shock product the dealer gave me originally was Leisure Time Replenish, which is the chlorine-based shock. I have since switched to using LT Renew, which is the non-chlorine shock.

    Unfortunately, being a hot tub newb, I really can't tell the difference between using Replenish vs. Renew in my bromine spa. Is there any consensus on which shock product is better? The only reason I switched to Renew was because I thought it would be better to go with a completely chlorine-free spa. However, now I am more concerned about which shock product will be better over the long-term for oxidizing organics and keeping my water chemistry more balanced.

    Any advice and insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    It's not really a matter of which one is better, they both do the same thing. The chlorine shock is dichlor powder which adds chlorine to the water. The chlorine will oxidize bather waste and oxidize bromide to bromine. The non-chlorine shock is potassium monopersulfate - it also oxidizes bather waste and reactivates bromine. The only difference between them is that the non-chlorine shock is usually more expensive per pound and it will not generate combined chlorine compounds. MPS, however, is sometimes less effective at destroying bather waste but, with the ozone generator there (and assuming it's actually working), there should be enough oxidizers in the water to do the job. Be careful with the ozone systems though as they are very much under-powered relative to the required oxidation AND they fail very quickly, often within the first two years.

    Not to sound snarky or rude but it's funny that you mention it's a bromine spa and yet you're concerned about chlorine? Both chlorine and bromine are halogens and act as oxidizers and sanitizers. Both bromine and chlorine create disinfection by-products (DBPs) and trihalomethane compounds (THM's). Some combine bromine compounds (monobromamine, dibromamine, etc) are just as irritating and potentially "toxic" as the chlorine-based analogs (monochloramine, etc, etc). Bromine spas with ozone can also generate bromates which are recognized as carcinogens in drinking water (not that you drink hot tub water, of course). I know bromine is often sold as the "it's not chlorine" alternative to spa's but, chemically speaking, it's not really all that much different. The only EPA approved sanitation method for spas that is truly chlorine-free are spa's that use the combination of silver ions and MPS (along with a UV lamp or ozone to help oxidize bather waste). The downsides to that method of hot tub sanitation is the cost, as both the silver mineral packs (usually silver nitrate) and MPS are expensive, and the fact that the tub has to be maintained at a fairly high standby temperature (above 94F) in order for the silver/MPS method to produce the necessary pathogen kill times required by the EPA.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    RobbW's Avatar
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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    I do not consider your reply snarky or rude. I am a new spa owner and admit to being unknowledgeable about spa chemistry. Any advice is helpful.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Yes, we were sold on the bromine spa with thought of being "chlorine free." My wife hates the smell of heavily-chlorinated pools and spas. So we went with a bromine system thinking we would avoid the chlorine smell. I'm trying to learn all i can about the system now.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Bromine can form oxidation and disinfection compounds that are sometimes more noxious than their chlorine analogues but it seems to vary quite a bit more person-to-person in terms of being able to smell them. I understand your wife's disgust with the "chlorine pool smell" as no one here likes it either. That smell that everyone associates with chlorinated swimming pools (especially the ones you find in hotels), is actually the smell of a chlorinated body of water that is way out of balance and contains lots of combined chlorine compounds (CC's). I assure you that that if your wife ever swam in a TFP maintained pool, she would not believe the pool owner was actually using chlorine.

    But back to your query. There is nothing wrong with bromine in a spa (or really chlorine for that matter) as long as the water chemistry is properly maintained. I would suggest, since you are a bromine user, that you invest in a high quality test kit. The ones from Taylor Technologies are the best. The Taylor K-2106 is their bromine hot tub kit that will allow you to measure total bromine, pH, TA and CH. Since you are using potassium monopersulfate, you might want to see if Taylor recommends also getting the MPS interference kit which measures total oxidizer levels and that allows you to get the feel for the difference between total bromine and total bromine + residual MPS since MPS can cause interference with the total bromine test. I'm not sure if Taylor actually recommends its use with bromine since most of the MPS you add should oxidize the bromine fairly rapidly.

    Either way, having a good test kit is essential. Are you actually using silver ions at all? I only ask because metal ions in the water (copper, silver, etc) can interfere with the calcium hardness test. It's still possible to do the test, you just have to do a slightly modified version of the test to remove the silver ion interference first.

    Here's the sticky we have for bromine users - How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?)
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbW View Post
    Yes, we were sold on the bromine spa with thought of being "chlorine free." My wife hates the smell of heavily-chlorinated pools and spas. So we went with a bromine system thinking we would avoid the chlorine smell. I'm trying to learn all i can about the system now.
    I second JoyfulNoise's advice to get a high quality test kit. Accurate testing is the only way to properly assure your spa/pool has balanced water and is properly sanitized.

    I own a stand-alone spa that originally used the Spa Frog cartridges and bromine. However, after finding this website, I switched to bromine only (2013). The cost of the Spa Frog system was way more expensive than draining/refilling my 400 gallon spa every 3-4 months versus the 6 months using a Spa Frog. (I estimate 400 gal of water costs me $5!)

    Bromine has some advantages over using chlorine in a spa. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria at high temperatures and high pH levels. At a high pH, say of >7.7, only 25-30% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much, and continues to be effective, when a full hot tub can quickly raise pH levels through aeration.

    Another positive characteristic of bromine is being stable at high temperatures (>100 F). Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off, at temperatures >100 F.

    On more point: when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers, without smell or irritation. However, as JoyfulNoise pointed out, bromamine sensitivity varies wildly from person-to-person.
    19,500 gal, 16' x 38' PebbleTec IG Pool, Built 4/2013; Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3050 3 HP Pump, Pentair Intellichlor IC40 SWG, Pentair IntellipH, Pentair 520 sq ft/150 GPM Cartridge Filter, A&A In-Floor Cleaner, Dolphin Nautilus Plus Robot (aka "Robbie"), Pentair EasyTouch Power Panel w/ Quick Touch 4 Remote Control, Autelis WiFi controller, Clear 12 mil Solar Cover on Presto SS Reel, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Quote Originally Posted by tucsontico View Post
    I second JoyfulNoise's advice to get a high quality test kit. Accurate testing is the only way to properly assure your spa/pool has balanced water and is properly sanitized.

    I own a stand-alone spa that originally used the Spa Frog cartridges and bromine. However, after finding this website, I switched to bromine only (2013). The cost of the Spa Frog system was way more expensive than draining/refilling my 400 gallon spa every 3-4 months versus the 6 months using a Spa Frog. (I estimate 400 gal of water costs me $5!)

    Bromine has some advantages over using chlorine in a spa. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria at high temperatures and high pH levels. At a high pH, say of >7.7, only 25-30% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much, and continues to be effective, when a full hot tub can quickly raise pH levels through aeration.

    Another positive characteristic of bromine is being stable at high temperatures (>100 F). Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off, at temperatures >100 F.

    On more point: when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers, without smell or irritation. However, as JoyfulNoise pointed out, bromamine sensitivity varies wildly from person-to-person.
    I PM'd you some info.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Thank you all very much for your very detailed responses. It is greatly appreciated!

    Having been a saltwater aquarium owner for 10+ years, I'm no stranger to constant testing and adjustment of water chemistry. Because of my SW experience, I've been a big fan of LaMotte test kits for a long time. Therefore, i got the LaMotte ColorQ 7 Plus test kit with the digital sampler. It has certainly made testing my spa parameters quicker and easier!

    My Marquis spa has the Spa From insert in the pump line for the mineral and bromine cartridges. I don't know enough about the mineral cartridges to know if these have the silver ion that you are referring to. All i know is that it is supposed to help you use less bromine than you normally would without it.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbW View Post
    Thank you all very much for your very detailed responses. It is greatly appreciated!

    Having been a saltwater aquarium owner for 10+ years, I'm no stranger to constant testing and adjustment of water chemistry. Because of my SW experience, I've been a big fan of LaMotte test kits for a long time. Therefore, i got the LaMotte ColorQ 7 Plus test kit with the digital sampler. It has certainly made testing my spa parameters quicker and easier!

    My Marquis spa has the Spa From insert in the pump line for the mineral and bromine cartridges. I don't know enough about the mineral cartridges to know if these have the silver ion that you are referring to. All i know is that it is supposed to help you use less bromine than you normally would without it.
    LaMotte ColorQ's are used by a few TFP'ers but they tend to lose their calibration over time and I think only the highest end model allows for field calibration. While it certainly gives you lots of digit's of precision in your results, honestly speaking, no one needs to know total bromine levels to the 0.01 decimal place. A pH reading of +/-0.1 units is more than enough. That's the difference between reef work and pool/spa work - reef's are way more sensitive and need much more strict control over recommended limits. Human beings are much more durable than fish

    With that said, based on what you've posted, I would almost certainly bet donuts on the certainty that you have silver ions in that mineral cartridge. Most spas that are sold as "low chlorine/bromine" or "no halogen" use the MPS/silver chemistry because it is the only one legally allowed by the EPA to be declared a hot tub sanitizer. So your system is putting silver ions into the water and your ozonator (which probably has minimal ozone output) is there to regenerate a small amount of bromide back into bromine. The system might work as advertized but I don't think it will be long before you start to develop pseudomonas in the water (aka, the bacteria that causes hot tub rash). Certainly give it go and keep us informed about how it is working. It's always good to know if a system like this can be made to work.

    One thing you might consider doing with your old water when your up for a hot tub flush - Ahh-some (http://www.ahh-some.com). I know the tub is new but even new tubs need to be flushed of biofilms because they are all pressure tested at the factory and the stagnant water left in the pipes will cause biofilms and bacterial colonies to form. Ahh-some is the preferred TFP hot tub flushing chemistry and boy does it work. You will be totally grossed out from what comes running out of your pipes when you use it. Just use it as-directed when it's time to change the water using the old hot tub water and watch as all the brown scum comes flowing from the pipes.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    While my spa has the mineral cartridges (silver ions?) and the ozonator and was advertised as a low-bromine system, I don't know that I put much faith in that and wasn't planning on relying on just the ozone/silver system to keep my spa fresh and clean. In fact, I bought extra bromine (Leisure Time Reserve liquid sodium bromine) to supplement the cartridge system. I add a little each week while doing my weekly testing and maintenance. With only the bromine cartridge, my bromine levels always tested very low every week (i.e <1ppm). So, I got the liquid bromine to give it a little extra boost.

    Does the Ahh-Some product do relatively the same thing as the Leisure Time Jet Clean? I bought a bottle of Jet Clean to use when I finally do my first tub flush/refill, which needs to happen pretty soon. The information on Jet Clean seems to indicate it is supposed to do something similar to Ahh-Some, i.e. clean out the plumbing with the old water before doing the drain/refill.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by JoyfulNoise View Post
    I PM'd you some info.
    Sorry, JoyfulNoise. I have not received any PM.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbW View Post
    While my spa has the mineral cartridges (silver ions?) and the ozonator and was advertised as a low-bromine system, I don't know that I put much faith in that and wasn't planning on relying on just the ozone/silver system to keep my spa fresh and clean. In fact, I bought extra bromine (Leisure Time Reserve liquid sodium bromine) to supplement the cartridge system. I add a little each week while doing my weekly testing and maintenance. With only the bromine cartridge, my bromine levels always tested very low every week (i.e <1ppm). So, I got the liquid bromine to give it a little extra boost.

    Does the Ahh-Some product do relatively the same thing as the Leisure Time Jet Clean? I bought a bottle of Jet Clean to use when I finally do my first tub flush/refill, which needs to happen pretty soon. The information on Jet Clean seems to indicate it is supposed to do something similar to Ahh-Some, i.e. clean out the plumbing with the old water before doing the drain/refill.

    - - - Updated - - -



    Sorry, JoyfulNoise. I have not received any PM.
    The PM was not for you....

    If you read the Ahh-some website, you will see that they had their product independently tested (and they provide the actual test data) against most of the major jetted tub cleaners. What you see is that Ahh-some out-performs all the other cleaners tested by leaps and bounds. This is one reason why TFP hot tub users recommend it - the company was actually willing to prove that their product actually does what they claim it does. That's actually very rare in the pool/spa chemical industry - most manufacturers make claims in their marketing and sales materials but never back it up with real world testing or, if they do, they don't ever provide the data for independent review. You can use the Leisure Time stuff if you want (since you paid money for it), but I doubt it will work as well or as thoroughly as Ahh-some does. Believe, I'm not trying to be a shill for Ahh-some - we've had folks here on TFP test it out and they all confirm tat it works amazingly well.

    That liquid bromine is most likely sodium bromide...it is not the same as bromine (same atom, different oxidation state). Sodium bromide is used to build up a "bromide bank" in the water so that an oxidizer (like ozone or chlorine or MPS) can convert it into bromine. So adding that stuff is not actually going to raise your total bromine levels. Only by running the ozonator and/or adding some form of oxidizer (chlorine or MPS) will raise the bromine levels.
    Last edited by bjr; 01-20-2014 at 10:39 AM.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Quote Originally Posted by tucsontico View Post
    Bromine has some advantages over using chlorine in a spa. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria at high temperatures and high pH levels. At a high pH, say of >7.7, only 25-30% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much, and continues to be effective, when a full hot tub can quickly raise pH levels through aeration.

    Another positive characteristic of bromine is being stable at high temperatures (>100 F). Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off, at temperatures >100 F.

    On more point: when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers, without smell or irritation.
    Not to get too deep in the weeds but allow me to correct the record on the differences pointed out here between chlorine and bromine in a spa. While TT gets some of the broader contours of the chemistry right, the specific details are a bit more complicated. TFP advocates the use of the "dichlor-then-bleach method" when chlorinating a hot tub because one can and should only use chlorine in a hot tub when stabilizer (cyanuric acid or CYA) is present. Once CYA is present in the tub water at any concentration above 10ppm, greater than 95% of the chlorine is bound to the CYA molecule as a chlorinated cyanurate which is stable to temperatures found in the spa and will not offgas easily. The remaining 5% of the chlorine is a mixture of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite anion, the percentages of each being pH dependent, but BOTH are available for oxidation and sanitation. For bromine, it is mostly found as hypobromous acid and it is not as sensitive to pH. However, once CYA is present, a chlorine hot tub is functionally equivalent to a bromine hot tub. As for the fact that bromamines are sanitizers, that is true but so too is monochloramine. Both can be used as disinfectants per se, but that's not really a desirable feature as no one wants to have combined halogens in their water. All combined halogens are serious irritants to nasal mucosa and eyes as well as being classified as toxic (but only in much higher quantities). In terms of relative toxicity, combined halogens follow the order of their position in the periodic table - chlorinated amines are less toxic than brominated amines and both of those are much less toxic than iodated amines. But the goal is really not to have ANY combined halogens at all in the water.

    The only downside to using chlorine in a hot tub (as far as I can determine) is that it does seem to require more frequent dosing of sanitizer. While a chlorine tub might need a dose of chlorine every other day or so, a bromine tub, with the right mix of tablets and oxidation of bromide to bromine, can often go many days in between oxidizer additions. So, in that sense, a bromine tub seems to be more stable. However, one will spend more money on a bromine tub simply because the chemicals are a bit more expensive. Chlorine has the advantage of being pH neutral once the tub's TA is lowered to an appropriate level and chlorine in the form of bleach is much cheaper than bromine tablets. As well, brominating tablets are acidic and so careful attention must be paid to pH and TA so that neither of those parameters get too low.

    Please see the following stickies for information on either method -

    How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)?

    How do I use Chlorine in my Spa (or pool)?
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    Holy cow! My head is swimming. Thank you all for the very detailed information. If I'm understanding all this correctly, both chlorine and bromine are equally effective sanitizers for hot tubs. The main differences are that chlorine is less expensive but requires more frequent applications. Bromine, while more expensive, may not require as frequent applications. And if dosed and treated properly and the water chemistry is optimal, neither chlorine or bromine should have that off-putting chlorine smell or irritate the skin. My other take-away is that you should not mix the two. If I have a bromine spa, I should not be using products that contain chlorine. Is this correct?

    If I have all that right, then I think I chose wisely for my family by getting the bromine spa. We have a tendency to choose convenience over price, as long as the price difference isn't horrendously different. I'll gladly pay a little bit more for the bromine if it means I only need to concern myself with it once or twice a week. As opposed to fiddling with chlorine every other day. I don't want to come across as a lazy person who doesn't want to care for their tub. Quite the contrary. I want to do whatever is necessary to keep it in prime operating condition. However, being married with two young daughters, work, friends, family, projects, hobbies, et al, having one less thing to constantly worry about is something for which I'll gladly pay an extra dime!

    As it is now, we use our tub a couple nights per week. It's usually either just me and my wife, or maybe our entire family of four. We are usually in the tub for 15-30 minutes. I dose with MPS shock after each use (about 35g or 1.25 oz.). I test my water weekly and adjust chemistry as needed.

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    That should be doable. Just watch the bromine level.
    Bob - INTEX 12x24 owner (not setup yet), 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: Leisure Time Renew vs. Replenish for shocking hot tub?

    We started with a bromine spa and the Frog a year ago and quickly stopped using the frog cartridge because the silver ion mineral cartridge needed replacing every 2 weeks. Now we use a bromine floater and applications of MPS.

    I have heard that too about not mixing bromine and chlorine and I am confused since the bromine tablets apparently have some chlorine in them and also it is supposedly okay to use a chlorine shock or Replenish (which has chlorine) in a bromine spa.

    Renew is basically MPS?

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