Ahhsome was clean...

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
I actually used sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) back a few years ago when I owned a house before I got a water softener. STPP is what was used in dishwashing and laundry detergents before phosphates were banned in many states (and the manufactures pull phosphates from all detergents rather than make two types). STPP works better than TSP (I tried TSP first), and is easily bought off eBay. If you have a water softener it's not needed of course, since the whole purpose of phospates is to bind up the calcium and magnesium so they don't get in the way of the degergents, but water softeners remove calcium and magnesium.

In the EU you can actually buy dishwashers with built-in salt ion exchange water softeners, so you get the benefits of soft water for dishwashing without the cost and potential environmental concerns of dumping tons of salt down the drain by doing whole-house softening (of course compared to road salt it's a drop in the bucket), but like many cool things (in my mind) they aren't available in the US, or very expensive/hard to get if you can. I think I found one model with a built-in softener sold in the US but I couldn't find a store that actually had it in stock.

Our new house already has a water softener so we'll be using that, since in addition to dishwasher performance we enjoy showering in soft water.

Most commercial dishwashing soaps still have TSP in them.. the deemed public health risk is worse in this case than a bit of fertilizer bloom. There are definitely places that this bloom could be an issue, but as long as your water is treated (i.e. sewer) or live several miles from a lake or river and are on a septic the chance of actually causing any damage doing this is minimal.
Isn't the source of most phospates in lakes and rivers farming and lawn fertilizer runoff, not detergents (before they were removed)? Compared to those two I agree that it's unlikely laundry and dishwashing detergents would cause a lot of algea bloom, but I could be wrong.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
941
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Actually that makes sense. The water over in Europe in general is softer than in the US (by a fair bit) so it makes sense to have whole house softeners here but not over there, but for dishwashers especially and maybe even clothes washers having that in the unit is a good idea there. But then again one of the dirty little secrets out there (and people will incessantly argue with me about this) is that a ion exchange softener is an ion exchange softener is an ion exchange softener. As long as the capacity is there a $250 one works as well as a $2000 one. Maybe not for as long (though cheap ones have been fine in my experience)... but there is sure a lot of snake oil in the US with water treatment...and that might also be why you can't get the built in softener units here...

I'll have to look STPP.. you are correct it wasn't TSP that was in the soaps, but in most places it is readily available and still makes a big difference. TSP by itself makes an important component of a good clean-in-place detergent, and since I roast my own coffee (and have fancy brewing machines) and also occasionally brew my own beer, having that sort of cleaner around is a necessity.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
But then again one of the dirty little secrets out there (and people will incessantly argue with me about this) is that a ion exchange softener is an ion exchange softener is an ion exchange softener. As long as the capacity is there a $250 one works as well as a $2000 one. Maybe not for as long (though cheap ones have been fine in my experience)... but there is sure a lot of snake oil in the US with water treatment...and that might also be why you can't get the built in softener units here...
I agree. Ion exchange is ion exchange. There is some factor in efficiency that varies, as in pounds of salt used per grain of hardness removed, and perhaps lifetime of the resin, but they will all do the same thing. This is easily proved with a hardness test kit such as the CH test everybody on TFP has. It should read zero with a properly working softener.

Snake oil for sure. I like buying quality things, so when I was looking for a water softener for my house a number of years ago, I got intreged by Kinetico, due to the on-demand regeneration without a control board. They are only sold by dealers, so I called one out. That was a mistake. He did a bunch of "tests" to show how "bad" my water was to try and sell me a $7000 water care system!! One used a simple water TDS meter. He had some "pure" (I'm assuming DI/RO) water, and measured the TDS. It was low. Then he had his assistant rub his fingers on the floor and dip them in the water and the TDS meter went up. He then took a sample of water from the sink and put the TDS meter in and said "would you drink floor water?" or some BS like that. He also talked about the hardness being "little pieces of rock" and asked if I would drink 30 pounds of rock a year. My regret is that declined his services politely and did not call him out on his BS. Especially the chloramines bit. He said our water service adds chloramines (they did indeed add monochloramine, as many water providers do), and asked if I would drink chlorine and ammonia, cause that's what I was doing when I drank the tap water. I really should have asked him if since he eats table salt if he would eat sodium and drink chlorine.
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
I didn’t know the stuff existed until recently. It took 2cycles to loosen up enough to work. After that it spewed gunk out for about 10 cycles because I had 7 years of crud to get out. Yours is safe to assume it was just already clean at the start.
Two cycles as in two additions, two drain/fills, etc? Asking as at the end of the month we're getting a house with a hot tub. It's been kept at 80 degrees for this (and presumably other winters) without being used, so no sanitizer and perfect conditions to build up nasty stuff. While I'm certainly planning on using Ahh-some before I soak it in, I wouldn't have thought to run more than one cycle if nothing showed up on the first cycle.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
I drained every two cycles to start once the water got gunky but the last 10 or so cycles only made gunky foam so I went to 3 cycles per drain and then 4. I added half the recommended amount for the repeat cycles with old water. It took a week or so because I only had so much time to play with it. I completely scooped the foam and washed the water line the times I didn’t drain.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
941
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Two cycles as in two additions, two drain/fills, etc? Asking as at the end of the month we're getting a house with a hot tub. It's been kept at 80 degrees for this (and presumably other winters) without being used, so no sanitizer and perfect conditions to build up nasty stuff. While I'm certainly planning on using Ahh-some before I soak it in, I wouldn't have thought to run more than one cycle if nothing showed up on the first cycle.
You seem pretty handy. It's not difficult to reach at least some of the plumbing in most hot tubs. I'd get at what you can and clean (or replace) the tubing manually by hand if you can and then use Ahh-some for the rest. Having it sit at 80 degrees with no disinfection really is kind of off putting, honestly. I'd just assume remove the crud as much as I could by hand and then get the rest with Ahh-some, no matter how good it is....

As for Kinetico, they still advertise that their units are the only demand driven units (due to the mechanical flow thing they use) when even the cheapest electronic controlled softeners use an electronic flow meter and a microprocessors. That does the same thing, plus the "more" you can get by using a computer. So ... yeah.. and if you get one and it needs to be fixed, you can't get the parts.. only the dealers can.

As for drinking rocks.. really quite necessary to survive. It literally is what most vitamins are! Funny stuff.

As for Ahh-some.. I need to do this, I am about 4 months overdue on a water change in my tub so "really soon" I will be doing the first Ahh-some purge... it will be interesting. I wonder how much water I will end up using doing multiple purges....
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
The first cycle came up clean. The second made some nasty foam so I drained and did it again. 3, 4 and 5 made the water nasty and then it was back to just the foam as the ahhsome had gotten most of it out. I had nothing to lose so I kept at it until the container was empty.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
Looking back I wish I had kept better track of it for future explaining. I just kind of kept going until it was done, not thinking much about it at the time.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
You seem pretty handy. It's not difficult to reach at least some of the plumbing in most hot tubs. I'd get at what you can and clean (or replace) the tubing manually by hand if you can and then use Ahh-some for the rest. Having it sit at 80 degrees with no disinfection really is kind of off putting, honestly. I'd just assume remove the crud as much as I could by hand and then get the rest with Ahh-some, no matter how good it is....
That's certainly an idea. Not really a pleasant proposition if the high is 21 °F like it is today though... Likely due to typical Wisconsin winter temps, I will have to do only Ahh-some purges at least at this time.

I'm assuming no disinfection, as in our brief conversation he implied but did not explicitly state he was not currently adding anything to it. I'm not certain there is not a SWCG/UV/Ozone system. And yes, I am aware UV/Ozone on their own do not sanitize the water, but it would at least help some build-up of junk I would imagine. At least to some extent.

The first cycle came up clean. The second made some nasty foam so I drained and did it again. 3, 4 and 5 made the water nasty and then it was back to just the foam as the ahhsome had gotten most of it out. I had nothing to lose so I kept at it until the container was empty.
Okay I will be sure to run a few extra cycles if the first one comes up clean. That is a lot of water. I was hoping I could use it the first weekend we had the house but I suppose that will depend on exactly how nasty it is. Can't really speed up the drain/refill cycle much.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
Can't really speed up the drain/refill cycle much.
It is what it is. Like i said i just went with it. It wasnt bad, then it got pretty gross and then the last few rounds tapered back down each run. If just the foam was gross i would scoop it out (most of the runs i scooped as it was ejecting the foam) i would add a half dose to the water and run again. If the water got gross, then i drained and used a full dose with the fresh water. I probably ran one last cycle once it ran clean. My county water is cheap so conserving wasnt a thought.

On a side note it probanly would have worked better to let the tub heat to 104 each round but my tub takes 2 days to get there so at least half of the cycles were with the cold hose water.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
It is what it is. Like i said i just went with it. It wasnt bad, then it got pretty gross and then the last few rounds tapered back down each run. If just the foam was gross i would scoop it out (most of the runs i scooped as it was ejecting the foam) i would add a half dose to the water and run again. If the water got gross, then i drained and used a full dose with the fresh water. I probably ran one last cycle once it ran clean. My county water is cheap so conserving wasnt a thought.

On a side note it probanly would have worked better to let the tub heat to 104 each round but my tub takes 2 days to get there so at least half of the cycles were with the cold hose water.
Let's see. I'll pay roughly $4.50 per hundred cubic feet (~750 gallons), and electric is roughly $0.11/kWh. Assuming 250 gallons, 55 °F incoming water temp (that may be high), and heating to 100 °F, we get $1.50 for water per fill and $3 in electricity to heat, for $4.50 per fill/heat cycle. I'm assuming it has a 6 kW heater as some searching shows that is a standard size on spas and it's hooked up to a 50 amp breaker so it certainly has enough current available for at least a 6 kW heater. With said 6 kW heater it would take a bit over 4.5 hours to heat the water. I may do a partial heat to balance speed of flushing with speed and cost of heating.

If yours takes 2 days to heat, I'm assuming yours is a standalone spa with 120 V heat? Or is it 240 V with a really small heater? Or a big spa?
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
941
Corona de Tucson, AZ
That's certainly an idea. Not really a pleasant proposition if the high is 21 °F like it is today though... Likely due to typical Wisconsin winter temps, I will have to do only Ahh-some purges at least at this time.

I'm assuming no disinfection, as in our brief conversation he implied but did not explicitly state he was not currently adding anything to it. I'm not certain there is not a SWCG/UV/Ozone system. And yes, I am aware UV/Ozone on their own do not sanitize the water, but it would at least help some build-up of junk I would imagine. At least to some extent.

Okay I will be sure to run a few extra cycles if the first one comes up clean. That is a lot of water. I was hoping I could use it the first weekend we had the house but I suppose that will depend on exactly how nasty it is. Can't really speed up the drain/refill cycle much.
I would consider draining it and winterizing it (get a non poisonous anti-freeze) and then doing a thorough cleaning in the early spring. I am from Northern Illinois originally and lived in Indiana, Wisconsin and 20 years in Iowa before moving to a place where the weather is more sane, so I get you. I don't know how I did it and I've only been away from it for 2 years.

I should have done a couple of passes at my 250 gallon tub over the Christmas break but the mid-30s and 40s as lows we have even here in Tucson is too cold for that for me, honestly! My pool water temp is 49F now and I don't even want to clean out baskets (but I am). (I should do the filter but the pressure is still okay.. so... next month or later)... At 21F (high I know) I'd be scared to have it even off for much more than a couple of hours to clean.

I'm pretty picky so I'd at least want to pull the hose at the inlet to one of the pumps and see what is in there. Not doing anything to the water is really quite bad. At least I'm keeping mine balanced (the water is fine even though I am months over a change) ... and occasionally using it...

Obviously once you refill you need to keep everything in balance. If you are using it I suppose it is worth it. I had friends who used their tubs in Iowa in the winter, but I honestly don't know how to could stand getting into and especially out of them in January.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
If yours takes 2 days to heat, I'm assuming yours is a standalone spa with 120 V heat? Or is it 240 V with a really small heater? Or a big spa?

It’s a 120. It’s the biggest ‘starter tub’. It has the ability to be changed to 240but when I figured that out I had already stopped using it. Tubs basically need a 120 leg to heat and the second leg to circulate and run the pump. It couldn’t keep up in the winter time doing both on one leg and was down to 85 degrees in about 20 minutes. Which is still warm, but not hot like you would like in February.

It could heat (covered and not in use) about a degree an hour. Cold weather fills with 55 degree pool water took 2 days. For summer fills I would uncover it and let the air help warm it until the water and air matched. That would save about a day
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
The bigger heaters will be 240 volt and so use both legs, but I get what you're saying. I figured you had a 120 V spa as our Intex inflatable spa is 120 V for obvious reasons and also takes two days to heat. Unusable in the winter, which is why we have it set up indoors in our basement right now.

was down to 85 degrees in about 20 minutes. Which is still warm, but not hot like you would like in February.
That may be warm for a pool, but that's cold for a spa! If doing an extended soak in our Intex spa, I prefer it at 98-99 (in ambient temps of 60-70), and get out once it drops to 96-97 cause it's too cold. I imagine if you're in an outdoor spa when it's 20 °F ambient as it is now you're going to want that temp more like 102-104. And of course you need a beefy heater like 6+ kW to maintain water temps in that weather!

...I really hope our future spa has a big, beefy heater! Right now that's just a guess based on the fact it's fed by a 50 amp breaker....

I would consider draining it and winterizing it (get a non poisonous anti-freeze) and then doing a thorough cleaning in the early spring. I am from Northern Illinois originally and lived in Indiana, Wisconsin and 20 years in Iowa before moving to a place where the weather is more sane, so I get you. I don't know how I did it and I've only been away from it for 2 years.

I should have done a couple of passes at my 250 gallon tub over the Christmas break but the mid-30s and 40s as lows we have even here in Tucson is too cold for that for me, honestly! My pool water temp is 49F now and I don't even want to clean out baskets (but I am). (I should do the filter but the pressure is still okay.. so... next month or later)... At 21F (high I know) I'd be scared to have it even off for much more than a couple of hours to clean.

I'm pretty picky so I'd at least want to pull the hose at the inlet to one of the pumps and see what is in there. Not doing anything to the water is really quite bad. At least I'm keeping mine balanced (the water is fine even though I am months over a change) ... and occasionally using it...

Obviously once you refill you need to keep everything in balance. If you are using it I suppose it is worth it. I had friends who used their tubs in Iowa in the winter, but I honestly don't know how to could stand getting into and especially out of them in January.
That would not be my ideal course of action. I've been wanting to sit in a nice hot spa in the middle of winter for quite some time now. Waiting till spring isn't my ideal, and my wife wouldn't be on board with that either! She's looking forward to a "proper" spa, just like I have. The Intex is more like sitting in a bathtub then a spa, since it lacks seats and jets.

Now, it may be 20 °F today, but it's not uncommon to have days rise into the 40's, so I could probably pull some plumbing even in February so long as it was replaced and turned back on that day. Pulling the filter should give some idea as to how the plumbing may be, no?

As to the use in winter, it's 5' from our patio door. Obviously we wouldn't use it when it's 0 °F outside with 40 MPH winds and blowing snow, or with sleet falling, but on a night like tonight when it's 15 °F and dead calm I'd totally be using it. I've always thought it'd be fun to sit in it when it's around 30 °F, no wind, with gentle snow falling and snow covering the ground, drinking a beer...not like I've ever thought about this at all... :ROFLMAO:
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
The bigger heaters will be 240 volt and so use both legs, but I get what you're saying
Yeah on a big tub. Mine is still a small one. So the heater and pump are 120v. I have 2 lugs at the hookup like a 240v, but there is a bridge across them basically taking 120v and splitting it to the heater and pump. I Found the instructions printed inside the hookup panel on how to undo it too late. To my knowledge from the wiring schematic (which has been wrong before), removing the bridge and using a 4 wire would keep the heater on a dedicated leg and same for the pump.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
2,550
NY
As to the use in winter, it's 5' from our patio door. Obviously we wouldn't use it when it's 0 °F outside with 40 MPH winds and blowing snow, or with sleet falling, but on a night like tonight when it's 15 °F and dead calm I'd totally be using it. I've always thought it'd be fun to sit in it when it's around 30 °F, no wind, with gentle snow falling and snow covering the ground, drinking a beer...not like I've ever thought about this at all... :ROFLMAO:

Whiteout blizzard was on my bucket list and worked even in my wimpy tub. Ironically, the 85 degrees at the end of my 2nd cycle felt warmer the colder it got. It felt hotter @ 10 below with a larger difference between the two temperatures. If yours stayed 104 you would still be sweating.

Protip: if its windy or has precipitation, a hat is a must.

And i cut a piece of scrap solar blanket from the pool to the tub. That helped alot too. I would open it just enough to squeeze under.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
Yeah on a big tub. Mine is still a small one. So the heater and pump are 120v. I have 2 lugs at the hookup like a 240v, but there is a bridge across them basically taking 120v and splitting it to the heater and pump. I Found the instructions printed inside the hookup panel on how to undo it too late. To my knowledge from the wiring schematic (which has been wrong before), removing the bridge and using a 4 wire would keep the heater on a dedicated leg and same for the pump.
Ah, I see. That won't make it heat faster, but it would let you run the heater and the pump/jets at the same time. My guess is that when using 120 V the heater shuts off when the pump is running.

Whiteout blizzard was on my bucket list and worked even in my wimpy tub. Ironically, the 85 degrees at the end of my 2nd cycle felt warmer the colder it got. It felt hotter @ 10 below with a larger difference between the two temperatures. If yours stayed 104 you would still be sweating.
Honestly that sounds like hypothermia setting in to me, but I wasn't there...
 
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Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
941
Corona de Tucson, AZ
I have a small tub but it's a real one. 240V, more HP on the pumps than the pool, decent sized heater has, etc. Right by the kitchen sliding door. You still freeze your <whatever> off when you get out of it once it's below about 40F. I didn't go bigger mainly because I wanted it to fit under the porch and have it right by the door for winter!

But I suppose it's fun to said you've done it. I do prefer a hot shower in January. The rest of the year here it's definitely usable except maybe for a couple of weeks in July and August but then the pool is idea anyway.

I really still would pull a hose off when you drain after the Ahh-some and take a peek. If you are willing to freeze with almost no clothes on, that extra 25 minutes of work at 20F is much easier and warmer!

I am such a wimp I want it to warm up 8-10F or so to change the water on it. I used to deal with the snowstorms you are going to probably see this weekend, but then I got an offer I couldn't refuse and I don't miss it one bit! If I never see below zero F even again it will be too soon!
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
681
South-Central WI
I could pull a hose. It wouldn't be that hard.

The house also has a whirlpool bathtub in one of the bathrooms, but those get expensive if you start using them all the time due to water and heating costs. However, it is an option for very cold days we might not want to use the outdoor spa.

Yeah the weather this weekend isn't great. Glad we aren't moving this weekend. Hopefully the weather isn't bad on an upcoming weekend we are moving. We've visited our Uncle who lives in California near SF a few times, and while soaking in his hot tub as the sun set, watching the fog rolling over the hills with zero bugs it made perfect sense why people like living there, expensive and crowded as it may be.
 

Rattus Suffocatus

Silver Supporter
Jun 5, 2019
941
Corona de Tucson, AZ
Well, I suppose I am lucky. Compared to Iowa where I was last at for 20 years, the cost of living here in Tucson is only about 10% higher. I was offered about 40% more money here, and though it takes some getting used to the weather is 3/4 of what you'd get in Cali. The income taxes are, for now, much lower than in Iowa too, believe it or not. Property taxes are a little lower too. My kid's community college is half as much as in Iowa. I wanted to eventually retire to someplace a little warmer (as you get older, you tend to not mind the heat as much as you did but the cold bothers you). I also decided that it was time to downsize on the responsibilities of the 35.6 acre farm I owned in Iowa. I do miss it but having an actual day off once in awhile is sure a bonus.

The year or so I spent in Wisconsin was in Delavan, so not too far away from you. The are there is pretty nice but the winters can be brutal, and the summers humid. My mother still owns a summer house there, but at age 85, it's probably time to think about selling it. I had a lot of fun on the lake there as a teenager, I used to be a avid waterskiier. You'd never guess that now.

Anyway.. I'd see about doing multiple Ahh-somes on the jetted tub or even pulling lines on it (which may be far harder than the hot tub, I've never had one). The good thing is once you clean all of that out well, you will maintain it properly from then on, so you shouldn't have to ever do it again except to fix issues. Good luck with the move. Enjoy.