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Thread: Newbie at a total loss!

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    Newbie at a total loss!

    Hello everyone!!! I am completely new to the whole hot tub ownership and am here to learn. My husband and I just recently purchased a hot tub from a friend of ours that was looking to get rid of it because of their lack of use and time. It is a Marquis Reward 6 person 2003 model. In the 5 years of them owning it have used it roughly 12 times or so.

    I am from Michigan and it is currently in the teens to 20s for temp right now and it is currently sitting empty in the backyard just waiting for the GCFI (sp?) to be hooked up. Is it ok to fill a spa during these temps? It is currently winterized, but I am wanting to do a spa flush on it and wanting to "gloss" the shell and condition the cover for it prior to filling for use. Just wondering if this is ok to do during the colder temps.

    Second thing is, THE WHOLE DECISION ON WHAT SANITATION SYSTEM TO GO WITH IS DRIVING ME BONKERS!!!! I have been going back and forth between the BBB method and bromine 3 step system. I just have no idea which way to go. I have been looking over the forums extensively on the BBB and bromine but just don't know which way to go.

    Our spa has 2 filters and has an ozonator. Even though it is equipped with an ozonator do we really need to use it?

    I would appreciate any advice as possible. I notice there is not much info on the BBB method but can't seem to find anything with measurements to use for each item and how to initially "shock" when doing a new fill or can BBB be used with bromine? I understand the 3 main products needed for the BBB but is there anything else? Ugh... I have wanted a hot tub for so long and just after going over all this new info I feel like I am way over my head and want to cry but am bound and determined to have my 'dream' of having my own hot tub with clean fresh sanitized water!!!

    Would anyone be able to give me their two cents about either one of these methods whether they are advantages or disadvantages with each. I have tried to google BBB method but haven't been to triumphant on finding anything much on it except this forum.

    This is my husband and I's first hot tub and we in the near future plan on building our dream home and it includes a brand new hot tub with a deck around it... so we are basically doing this used hot tub as a test run for getting to become pretty acclamated to the hot tub lifestyle....


    Please help!!!
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Sorry one more thing I forgot to mention... we have well water. Haven't had it tested but by the smell of it, taste, and slight yellowish/orange tinge it is pretty hard. I know we ended up having to replace a toliet because of the build up of minerals and metals in the tank... it was groody!!!
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Don't add water until you're ready to turn the tub on. There are a lot of little nooks and crannies in the plumbing of a hot tub that leave it very susceptible to freeze damage even after draining.

    As for the ozonator, odds are that after 5 years it doesn't even work any more. If you are so equipped, you can check the amp draw on it to see (some even 'glow' when they're on since they use a bulb, but some do not). Whether it works or not, it is not necessary to use it if you are opposed.

    And then the chemistry. You're looking at two pretty similar options. You could use bromine tabs and still use the balancing and oxidizing principles of BBB. In my experience, you'll have just as much luck using chlorine as bromine. Bromine will cost more, but since we're talking hot tub amounts of chemicals the difference isn't $100's a year or anything.

    The key to either system will be that you are set up with a good test kit for home use. Take a look at the TF-100 linked to on this site. Between that kit and the kind folks on this forum, you'll have whatever system you choose under control in no time.

    Given the metals in the fill water you'll want to keep a sequestering agent on hand.

    Congratulations on the new tub!

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Bromine is easier to maintain, bottom line, but it costs more. If you are going to use the tub a LOT then chlorine is fine to use. If you are going to ignore it for a week at a time then go with bromine. In either case get a GOOD test kit. If you go with bromine I recommend a Taylor K-2106 which is made specifically for bromine.

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    At the Pool School you can find more information in the Further Reading section on using bromine and chlorine in a spa. waterbear's advice is excellent in that infrequent use is far easier with bromine since you can get a floating feeder and a residual that lasts longer whereas frequent (daily) use can be easily handled with a daily addition of chlorine.

    If you decide to go with chlorine and use the Dichlor-then-bleach method, you should turn off your ozonator which, as was pointed out, is probably just injecting air with the ozone no longer being produced. Aerating the water for an extended period of time, which is what the ozonator does, will tend to make the pH rise and when using bleach that can get annoying in having to add acid frequently.

    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: Newbie at a total loss!

    My original choice of sanitizing was bromine because of the low maintenance portions. Since my hubby and I work 12hour plus shifts (we don't have a normal 9-5 job) that if we were to not test it it would be ok. I was just a bout pretty much ready to buy the bromine products until I came upon this website and read the BBB method then it got me thinking.

    *Is the BBB method low maintenance? If not then I am probably better off going with bromine.

    I have been looking at the test kits and will be ordering one shortly.

    The other thing with groing with the bromine system, what do I need exactly? We only have two spa/pool stores in the area and neither of them sell bromine which I thought was weird but sell chlorine, nature2, and cleanwater blue. Ugh.

    I have a list of products I was going to buy but are these something I truly need such as....

    *Leisure Time Renew Tabs Oz Tablets Shock (even though the ozonator probably don't work)
    *Leisure Time Brominating Bromine Tablets
    *Leisure Time Sodium Bromide
    *Leisure Time Bright & Clear
    *Leisure Time Spa Metal Gon & Spa Defender
    *Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (Scum Gon)
    *Spa Frog Filter Core Mineral Purifier
    *Leisure Time Spa Alkalinity Increaser
    *Leisure Time Spa Foam Down
    *Leisure Time Spa Down
    *Leisure Time Spa Up
    *Leisure Time Spa Calcium Booster

    Plus I ended up getting a thermometer and spa thermal blanket plus spa gloss and cover conditioner.

    Also, is it ok to fill the spa due a spaflush then drain it and quickly refil it?

    Im sorry to be asking so much but have not had much luck on trying to find info on the internet and we are completely new to this.... I will also be looking at PoolSchool as well

    Oh with the ozonator are you able to physically turn it on or off at your liking?
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    is it ok to fill the spa due a spaflush then drain it and quickly refil it?
    You'll end up with a lot of water left in the plumbing that can only be removed by extensive vacuuming, blowing the lines out, or tipping the thing on end. If the outside temperature is consistently falling below freezing you need to have the tub either running or completely drained as it is now.
    with the ozonator are you able to physically turn it on or off at your liking?
    There are some units where this is possible, but usually it has to be manually plugged in / unplugged.

    As for chemicals, you need:

    - Sanitizer: *Leisure Time Brominating Bromine Tablets
    - Alkalinity Increaser: *Leisure Time Spa Alkalinity Increaser
    - pH Increaser: *Leisure Time Spa Up
    - pH Decreaser: *Leisure Time Spa Down
    - Something to deal with the metals: *Leisure Time Spa Metal Gon & Spa Defender
    - Oxidizer: The Renew Tabs and the Sodium Bromide could be used here. You could also pick up a granular monopersulfate shock instead.

    That leaves you with a few things that should be unnecessary if you maintain the water properly:

    *Leisure Time Bright & Clear
    *Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (Scum Gon)
    *Spa Frog Filter Core Mineral Purifier
    *Leisure Time Spa Foam Down

    And a water balancer that is arguably unnecessary in an acrylic spa, especially since you already have hard water:

    *Leisure Time Spa Calcium Booster

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    If you check the other thread you started
    hydrogen-peroxide-as-a-sanitizer-t10176.html
    I listed several generic chemicals that you can get at the grocery store for use in your spa (such as baking soda, since that is all total alkalinity increaser is!)

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    OK so what would you suggest I do with a used hot tub that is winterized. How am I suppose to get it up and running right now but yet want to have it nice and clean??? Will it even be feasible to get this tub up and running in 20-30 degree weather??

    Second of all, when it comes to using bromine can I still incorporate the BBB method? Using bleach as the weekly shock and then baking soda and borax for the pH upper or downer? If this is feasible would I still need the bromine floater tab thing?

    I plan on ordering a bottle of spaflush to have handy, and also the metal gon... I had went to Menard's and got 6% bleach for 88 cents!!!
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Hi,
    Just to share my experience. First - This forum is so beneficial. Suggestions definitely worked for me.
    It would scare me to fill a spa thats been winterized in freezing weather. I personally would wait until it got above freezing - Then I would check the fittings during the flush.
    Water - I also used to use well water until I got a good test kit that measured calcium hardness. It was over 1800 ppm which really affected the water balance (pool calculator). Consequences were foaming and cloudiness after 3 weeks of a fresh fill regardless my ph and ta. I also used dichlor exclusively as a sanitizer and shock treatment which took my cya to extremes (probably also contributed to cloudiness).
    I use water from cistern now (CH of 125)
    Dichlor for the first week to get cya btw 35 - 50
    Approx 1 tsp a week of ph down (dry acid) to compensate for ph drift
    Approx 2 - 3 oz regular 6% bleach per day as sanitizer after the first week of using Dichlor (This depends on tub usage of course). Only time I shock is after extreme usage (my son and friends use it alot once a week)...However my Combined Chlorine seldom goes above .8 - but thats a trigger for me..And I use bleach to shock after the first week using the pool calculate recommended levels.
    Approx 1 oz of scumbuster per week
    Baking soda as needed to keep my ta between 65 - 75 (acid to control ph brings this down - ever so slowly however)
    Lastly I bought Borax (Pro Team Gentle Spa) which adds borates. This made the water silkier and also helped stabilize my ph drift (do to aeration).
    I have a spa frog - still not sure what this does
    Ozonator - probably don't need but my ph drift is minimal. still probably won't replace parts when it decided to quit working.
    I would also test daily until you get a feel on what the ph, ta, and FC are doing ( what patterns based on usage)
    Good Luck
    Sundance Hot Tub 365 gal, acrylic
    (2) 2.5 hp pumps
    ozonator
    Northwest Ohio resident

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaMedic21
    OK so what would you suggest I do with a used hot tub that is winterized. How am I suppose to get it up and running right now but yet want to have it nice and clean??? Will it even be feasible to get this tub up and running in 20-30 degree weather??
    You can do it, you'll just need to do it all in one day. What I was saying was don't partially fill, drain, and then leave it overnight. If you add any water to it just be sure that by the end of that day it is full and running.

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpaMedic21
    Second of all, when it comes to using bromine can I still incorporate the BBB method? Using bleach as the weekly shock and then baking soda and borax for the pH upper or downer? If this is feasible would I still need the bromine floater tab thing?
    If you are going to use bromine you need sodium bromide (1/2 oz per 100 gallons on each fill) bleach for shocking ( or MPS but bleach works just fine) bromine tablets, baking soda, borax, dry acid, metal seqesterant, and possibly calcium if your fill water is very soft. If you do not use the bromine tablets you will be doing a 2 step bromine and that actually requires as much maintenance as chlorine, if not more. 3 step bromine, with the floater, is the 'easy' bromine. The other advantage to bromine is that the pH range can be from 7,2 to 8.0. You still should shock weekly (which many people don't!)
    Here is info on how to use bromine:
    viewtopic.php?f=9&t=102

    HOWEVER, if you react to chlorine like you say you do then you are most likely also going to have the same reaction to bromine!!!!!! If you do not react to bromine it is very unlikely you will react to chlorine. Bromine is a known sensitizer, chlorine is not!

  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Thank you guys!

    Oh no with the filling and re-filling I plan on doing everything that day and as quick as possible. We have a couple days coming up with temps in the mid-thirties to low fourties so this should help us.

    I have one question though, I see that borax is to make water more acidic and baking soda more alkalodic; but I ended up ordering an alkalinity increaser is this the same thing as baking soda or something else? Because if I don't need it I am going to return it.

    I can't tell you how excited I am to get this going. I just want to make sure I have everything I need and the basics.
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Borax doesn't make water more acidic. It makes it more alkaline -- it raises the pH (and also raises the TA about half as much as pH Up for the same pH rise). Baking Soda raises the TA without too much change in pH (unless it's low in which case it will rise somewhat). Alkalinity Increaser is the same as Baking Soda.
    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"

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    So what exactly is borax and baking soda's purposes for spa sanitation?
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    Their purposes are not for sanitation. Chlorine, Bromine or Baqua/Biguanide/PHMB are the sanitizers. Borax is only used to raise the pH or in larger quantities is used as a pH buffer (it also inhibits algae growth, but in a spa that's usually not a problem). Baking Soda is used to raise the Total Alkalinity (TA). You don't use Baking Soda to move the pH. To lower the pH, you use acid -- either dry acid (sodium bisulfate) or Muriatic Acid (hydrochloric acid).
    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"

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    When it comes to storage of these chemicals would it be safe to keep them all together in their original container and put them in a rubbermaid plastic tote type deal with a lid? Or should the be kept separatelY? Hubby and I were talking about doing that and then storing them in our laudry room since its in the basement and that door is close to our back porch door.

    Oh!! And I was sooo excited to receive my first package of many of spa supplies that I had ordered online and saved a bundle on!!! Yes, I am a dork... oh well. And another dork moment, I spent close to 45 minutes getting ice and snow off the cover of our tub since I heard that the weight of that can cause buckling and damage to the cover. There was a good inch of ice with an inch of slush and about 3 inches of snow on top.

    Edit: Does anyone know any tricks or tips on keeping ice from forming on the plastic buckles of the cover or to remove it for future reference?
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    As for storage, the safest thing to do is to store acids (dry acid such as Spa Down; liquid acid such as Muriatic Acid) separate from chlorine (Dichlor granular; Trichlor pucks/tabs; Cal-Hypo; chlorinating liquid or bleach), bromine (tabs) and bases (pH Up). If you have both Trichlor (for a pool) and other chlorine, keep them separate from each other. If you have Cal-Hypo, keep it away from organic fluids (paint thinner, etc.). Such separation will prevent noxious fumes of chlorine or bromine gas or even a fire if the containers were to leak. You can store other products, such as baking soda (Alkalinity Up) and calcium chloride (Calcium Increaser) in either location. If you have Muriatic Acid, I'd store that in a very well ventilated area -- the fumes can rust nearby metal since the cap on the container is vented (to prevent bursting of the container).

    That said, many people store everything in one big box as you describe. So long as the containers are kept tightly sealed, there aren't problems. The above guidelines are most important in pool and spa stores where the chemical quantities are much larger and the likelihood of leaks from damaged containers tends to be higher.

    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"

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    OK, I am having a total brain fart.... yes I went ahead and ordered the cheap test strips for bromine... naughty me So I was testing the water we have it and my alkalinity it too high and my calcium is too low...

    For alkalinity being high is that where the borax will help?

    And for the calcium being low is there something I can use to increase this or do I need to order the calcium boost stuff?

    By the way I plan on getting a good test kit just that this past paycheck I needed to be more modest in my spending right now....
    "Sometimes you have to look reality in the eyes and deny it." --Unknown

    2003 Marquis Reward 6 person spa/320 gallons/2 filters/ozonator (unknown if it still works, the ozonator that is.)

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Newbie at a total loss!

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/categ...l%20alkalinity.

    Borax ( laundry stuff will raise TA). Link above describes the process of lowering TA. Whats the PH of the water?
    Sundance Hot Tub 365 gal, acrylic
    (2) 2.5 hp pumps
    ozonator
    Northwest Ohio resident

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