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Thread: Giving PristineBlue a try

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    Alfred Beachport's Avatar
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    Giving PristineBlue a try

    After a couple of months trying 2-part bromine, I'm giving PristineBlue a try in my 320 ga. fiberglass spa.

    The only people who use it are my girlfriend and me, so the kill time is not such an issue, and I figure I can always pour some bleach in if we're going to have guests.

    So far we are both happy with it compared to the bromine.

    Things I did not like about bromine were the smell and the water feel. Also, after about 2 weeks, hitting it with MPS would no longer create an active bromine residual, requiring dumping more bromide salts into the tub.

    I got tired of smelling like bromine when I got out of the spa. I also never felt in control of the chemistry, and wound up testing the water a couple of times a day. And we went through pounds of MPS. I wound up shocking with bleach toward the end of the bromine run because I got tired of buying MPS.

    So far the only negative with PB has been some greyish staining that happened around some of the blower holes after a week, but I took care of it pretty quickly.

    The PristineBlue start-up instructions only call for adding PristineClean, their metal sequestrant, at the 1st 2-week interval, not at start-up. I added the recommended dose as soon as I saw the staining, and it got rid of the staining in a matter of minutes.

    With my current understanding of water sanitization, I would be leery of using the stuff in a pool, but I think for my private spa, it has potential.

    We both have noticed that our skin feels softer now after our marathon soaks (we spend at least 45 minutes a day in the tub, with the heat topping out at 102).
    Cheers, Erik
    ----
    320 gallon Beachport San Clemente octagonal fiberglass spa, RayPak Versa 155B heater, Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 1HP pump, Sta-Rite 100TX cartridge filter, Len Gordon FF1000 controller, Mariah blower
    Pristine Blue with 30ppm borax, bleach and MPS shock

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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    If you look at the actual data by going from this web page to the one they have on this web page you can see that copper levels of 0.65 and 1.3 ppm took 24 hours to lower E.coli bacteria populations and only very high levels of 13 ppm or higher killed the bacteria at a rate of 99% kill rates in somewhere around 30 minutes. You aren't using that high a copper level since that would lead to staining at normal spa pH, especially since spas tend to rise in pH due to their high aeration. Though kill rates are faster at spa temperatures, copper is more effective at killing algae than it is at killing bacteria. Also, E.coli is easier to kill than Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is the bacteria that causes hot tub itch.

    If you don't want to use a fast-acting sanitizer like chlorine or bromine, then I'd suggest using a combination of silver ion with MPS shocking such as done with the Nature2 system, though you could use anything that produces silver ion. Silver is more effective than copper against bacteria, especially when combined with MPS non-chlorine shock. With a little higher Borates level of 50 ppm, you could effectively control algae, though that is not usually a problem in a spa.

    Another alternative that would be less expensive would be to use Dichlor for about a week and then use bleach, but only add it after you soak and add enough to barely have a residual when you next get in (do don't end up with zero FC, but a low amount like 0.5 ppm). That way, you shouldn't get any negative effects during the soak, but will still keep the hot tub sanitary and more likely to prevent the hot tub itch bacteria (though it could form biofilms during your soak).

    With Pristine Blue alone, I don't understand what you are using to oxidize ammonia/urea from sweat/urine. Copper has no effect on these chemicals so over time they will build up as will other organic contaminants. I would expect the water to get dull or cloudy after some time unless you shock with some sort of oxidizer.

    Richard
    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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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Itr sounds like you were using a 2 step bromine system (sodium bromide and MPS). If you had used a 3 step system I think you would have found your bromine experience to be much more satisfying. Also, the way you skin felt is more likely from the large amounts of MPS used in a 2 step system than from the bromine. This is one of the reasons I recommend shocking bromine with chlorine.
    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=102

    Bottom line on Pristine blue, it is NOT an EPA approved sanitizer. The EPA registration number it has is for the copper sulfate that it contains. Most of the copper based products on the market use this little 'trick' to fool people into thinking they are EPA approved sanitizers.

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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    I

    With Pristine Blue alone, I don't understand what you are using to oxidize ammonia/urea from sweat/urine. Copper has no effect on these chemicals so over time they will build up as will other organic contaminants. I would expect the water to get dull or cloudy after some time unless you shock with some sort of oxidizer.

    Richard
    The system uses both MPS (PristinePower) and dichlor (PristineExtra) to help maintain sanitized water. It is hardly a chlorine free system as they advertise.

    I just LOVE this one statement on their website:
    "The formula used to make PristineBlue® is EPA registered in every state and is Certified to NSF/ANSI Standard 60 as a drinking water additive. "

    It's a true statement, copper sulfate is EPA registered n every state and is certified as a DRINKING water additive. However, it is not an EPA approved pool and spa sanitizer but does have EPA approval as an algaecide. It also overlooks the fact that drinking water sanitation is a whole different ballgame than pool/spa sanitation. It's just a way to give unsuspecting people a false sense of security about the product and what it actually does. The SANITZER in this system is the PristineExtra, which is chlorine!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    They really know how to market stuff don't they.... I can see the logic of an uninformed customer. Well, if its safe to drink it must be safe to swim in....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Alfred Beachport's Avatar
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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Though kill rates are faster at spa temperatures, copper is more effective at killing algae than it is at killing bacteria. Also, E.coli is easier to kill than Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is the bacteria that causes hot tub itch.
    Gotcha on the e. coli. Is psuedomonas aeruginosa also as common? My understanding is that e. coli is in everybody and bathing water sanitization stops it from going "ATM." Is pseudomonas the same way?

    If you don't want to use a fast-acting sanitizer like chlorine or bromine....
    I would love to use a fast-acting sanitizer like chlorine or bromine, but I would much prefer one that doesn't leave an odor on my skin.

    then I'd suggest using a combination of silver ion with MPS shocking such as done with the Nature2 system, though you could use anything that produces silver ion. Silver is more effective than copper against bacteria, especially when combined with MPS non-chlorine shock. With a little higher Borates level of 50 ppm, you could effectively control algae, though that is not usually a problem in a spa.
    That is some valuable information. You like Nature2 better for a metal ion germ killer.

    I am shocking with MPS per the PristineBlue instructions, BTW.

    Another alternative that would be less expensive would be to use Dichlor for about a week and then use bleach, but only add it after you soak and add enough to barely have a residual when you next get in (do don't end up with zero FC, but a low amount like 0.5 ppm). That way, you shouldn't get any negative effects during the soak, but will still keep the hot tub sanitary and more likely to prevent the hot tub itch bacteria (though it could form biofilms during your soak).
    That is an intriguing idea. I take it the week of dichlor would be to build up some CYA for chlorine retention.

    It's also something I could do in combination with the PristineBlue or Nature2. It's kind of like what I was thinking of doing for parties. Chlorinate for the party, then let it drop back down for private use.

    With Pristine Blue alone, I don't understand what you are using to oxidize ammonia/urea from sweat/urine. Copper has no effect on these chemicals so over time they will build up as will other organic contaminants. I would expect the water to get dull or cloudy after some time unless you shock with some sort of oxidizer.
    Sorry for the misunderstanding; I am using 15ml of MPS after each soak. Also using Scumbuster enzyme from SpaDepot (am I the only one who hears "spade pot" in my head when I read or type that? Must have gardening on my mind.).

    I've updated my sig to indicate just what I am dumping in the tub these days.
    Cheers, Erik
    ----
    320 gallon Beachport San Clemente octagonal fiberglass spa, RayPak Versa 155B heater, Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 1HP pump, Sta-Rite 100TX cartridge filter, Len Gordon FF1000 controller, Mariah blower
    Pristine Blue with 30ppm borax, bleach and MPS shock

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    Alfred Beachport's Avatar
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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Itr sounds like you were using a 2 step bromine system (sodium bromide and MPS). If you had used a 3 step system I think you would have found your bromine experience to be much more satisfying. Also, the way you skin felt is more likely from the large amounts of MPS used in a 2 step system than from the bromine. This is one of the reasons I recommend shocking bromine with chlorine.
    As I mentioned, I finally switched to activating with bleach instead of MPS, and while I liked it better, it ultimately did not solve the problems with odor, and the bromide reserve still got depleted.

    I didn't try the 3-part because I wanted to minimize the amount of stuff I put in (in the spirit of the holy BBB) and also don't like those **** floaty plastic bobber things. I guess you can remove them during the soaking, but still....

    Bottom line on Pristine blue, it is NOT an EPA approved sanitizer.
    I think anyone who has searched for "PristineBlue" on this site will have that statement ringing and echoing in their head.

    As someone else said, I am more concerned with how it actually works in my hot tub than I am with whether the EPA thinks it's good for me.

    I agree that PristineBlue's slower kill rate makes it iffy for use in pools with a lot of different people (including impatient children) using them. I also think that it or something similar may work well in a private spa with just one couple using it.

    Actually, I may give Richard's BBB Lite suggestion a try in conjuction with the PristineBlue. I'm not an anti-chlorine hardliner, I just don't want to smell funny after I get out of my spa, and I don't want a sanitizer that dissipates too quickly to remain effective.
    Cheers, Erik
    ----
    320 gallon Beachport San Clemente octagonal fiberglass spa, RayPak Versa 155B heater, Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 1HP pump, Sta-Rite 100TX cartridge filter, Len Gordon FF1000 controller, Mariah blower
    Pristine Blue with 30ppm borax, bleach and MPS shock

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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Beachport
    Gotcha on the e. coli. Is psuedomonas aeruginosa also as common? My understanding is that e. coli is in everybody and bathing water sanitization stops it from going "ATM." Is pseudomonas the same way?
    Yes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is quite common and you can read more about it generally here and specifically in spas here. I tried to keep track of hot tub itch/rash incidents on another forum here to see if it correlated with a buildup of CYA from continued use of Dichlor-only so it's not uncommon though most people don't experience hot tub itch/rash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Beachport
    That is some valuable information. You like Nature2 better for a metal ion germ killer.
    I wouldn't exactly say I "like" it, but it is more effective at killing bacteria due to the silver (especially silver + MPS in combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alfred Beachport
    That is an intriguing idea. I take it the week of dichlor would be to build up some CYA for chlorine retention.

    It's also something I could do in combination with the PristineBlue or Nature2. It's kind of like what I was thinking of doing for parties. Chlorinate for the party, then let it drop back down for private use.
    Yes, the week of Dichlor is to build up around 20 ppm CYA since without any CYA in the water chlorine would be too strong and would be harsh on skin and swimsuits and would also dissipate (outgas) too quickly. You stop the Dichlor after a week to prevent continued buildup of CYA which would make the chlorine less effective against hot tub itch bacteria.

    The biggest mistake most hot tub users make is in not using enough oxidizer to handle the ammonia/urea from sweat/urine. If you add enough chlorine to make sure you have at least some measurable residual by the next time you go in for a soak, then you are using enough (for the low-to-no chlorine approach during the soak); if you measure close to zero, then you aren't using enough. The general rule is 7 ppm FC in 350 gallons for every person-hour of soaking. Your 2 people for 45 minutes is 1.5 person-hours and in 320 gallons that comes to 11.5 ppm FC. This is a rough estimate, but it's probably a lot more than you have been adding. 11.5 ppm FC in 320 gallons is about 5-1/4 teaspoons (1-3/4 tablespoons) of Dichlor or 2.5 ounces weight (11 teaspoons volume) of pure Oxone (43% MPS). I don't know the purity of the liquid MPS you are using.

    Richard
    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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    Alfred Beachport's Avatar
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    Re: Giving PristineBlue a try

    Just an update on my PristineBlue trial.

    So far, so good.

    The only part of their instructions I'm following are in testing for copper and adding the PristineBlue every 14 days, along with PristineClean, their sequestering agent.

    After each use, I hit it with either bleach or MPS. A greater amount than they suggest. With their recommended amount of MPS, I was getting foam, which is my indication that there's crud building up in the water.

    I did take Richard's suggestion and used dichlor for a while, although I haven't tested to see exactly how much CYA I wound up with. Haven't gotten around to getting a CYA test kit.

    It's a good combination for our use of the spa. The copper makes it so that I don't have to worry about maintaining a chlorine residual, and the bleach gets the crud out of the water after a soak.

    Also using Scumbuster; not sure what effect it's having but the water is quite sparkly.

    My mother recently visited, and she's had very sensitive skin her whole life, eczema, etc. and is like the canary in the coal mine for bathing water. She thought it was great.

    I'm due for a refill next week and I'll be continuing with the PristineBlue.
    Cheers, Erik
    ----
    320 gallon Beachport San Clemente octagonal fiberglass spa, RayPak Versa 155B heater, Pentair Whisperflo WFE-4 1HP pump, Sta-Rite 100TX cartridge filter, Len Gordon FF1000 controller, Mariah blower
    Pristine Blue with 30ppm borax, bleach and MPS shock

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