Best Way to Maintain Hot Tub while away

#1
Hey. Just joined the forum after lurking for a while. This place is great. It is amazing how much conflicting info there is out there. I've learned a ton from you guys about maintaining my 6 month old Marquis Hot Tub, and am appalled at how clueless my dealer was (not to mention the dozens of commercial sites that just want to sell you chemicals). I have found Nitro's guide to be incredibly useful and informative and have really enjoyed learning about all the chemistry.

That said, my tub is in a vacation house in Tahoe and I am often not there for 2-3 weeks at a time! While I am really drawn to the dichlor/bleach method, I simply can't provide the maintenance required to keep FC at the right levels and, frankly, I don't trust the local dealer to do it for me.

My tub came with the Frog @ease SmartChlor/Mineral system which delivers FC when needed while keeping Total Chlorine in reserve. I know this group dislikes Frog and I get it (it's pretty dang expensive), but I find that I can leave the tub for 3 weeks and when I return everything is sparkling and everything tests out. I shock it with MPS when I leave and when I return, and thats it. I did notice the water getting a bit cloudy after 4 months so I changed it, which is the recommended interval anyway.

Other than the cost, the biggest issue with the @ease system is that it requires a fairly narrow ph range (7.2-7.4) which can be hard to maintain, although Borates have helped. And it works best above 98 degrees so I can't really turn heat down that much (although I don't want to anyway because reheating in the often very cold Tahoe region will be costly). Also, the SmartChlor cartridge barely lasts 3 weeks, so if I am gone for a month (which doesn't usually happen) I assume I will have a problem, but that hasn't happened yet.

Anyway I am just offering this to add to the conversation because there isn't a lot of clear info posted for people who have vacation tubs. I am very open to alternative ideas or even comments that I am making a big mistake! Still very much in learning mode.
 

AndrewFH

Active member
Jul 30, 2013
30
#2
I've had good success by using a Saltron mini in my swim spa/hot tub. I probably don't leave as often as you do, but we do travel a good bit and I can leave it for long periods of time (have gone for six weeks with no real issue) and it keeps the chlorine level up. I usually add a little extra bleach before a leave so that the chlorine level is a little high, since we are not going to be using the spa for a while and if it drifts down a little bit, it is still high enough to keep the water clean. I do still need to add bleach when we are using the spa regularly, but it can go on "autopilot" when it is not being used.
 

pooldv

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#3
:goodpost:

I agree that a saltwater chlorine generator is a great option. I would also lower the temp down to 85 or 90 to significantly reduce the bacterial activity. Another option would be lowering the temp, raising FC to shock level and floating a trichlor puck in a floater with the adjustment mostly closed.

Another problem with "mineral" systems is that most of them add copper to the water which will build up over time and cause staining problems in the tub and also turn hair, fingernails and dogs green. And cats too if your cats like hot tubbing. :)
 
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TahoeTub

New member
Mar 13, 2017
3
Tahoe City, California
#4
Thanks guys. I like the idea of the Saltron or something similar to produce Chlorine, but I am not a fan of draping a cord over the side like these aftermarket SWGs make you do. (I kind of wish I had bought the Hot Springs with ACE rather than the Marquis as a result). I've looked but I don't think I can get a SWG I can install in to the plumbing since my pump isn't meant to run 24/7/. Is that correct?

As for copper staining, I am pretty sure the mineral cartridge contains mostly silver so maybe the copper staining point be a problem? In any case, I will be changing water regularly so hoping that won't be problem.
 

pooldv

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#5
The biggest problem with mineral systems is that the they don't sanitize the water. None are recognized as a pool/spa sanitizer and all are legally required to state that chlorine or bromine must be used in addition to their product for proper sanitation. Stains are just a fringe benefit. :) I think silver does have the potential to stain also, but I can't remember for sure. Certainly nothing like copper stains that we hear about all the time.

I don't know of any retrofit SWG systems for hot tubs.
 

RichTJ99

Gold Supporter
Sep 16, 2016
188
Katonah NY
#6
I am in the process of getting parts together but what about a Stenner style pump? I am working on one for my hot tub after using pucks, dichlor & bleach my CYA level was at close to 100 & I had to empty half the tub & refill (CYA is closer to 50 now).

I am using 8.25% Clorox bleach & I think (i am still figuring the math) I will use about 10oz per day of LQ. I am going to use a 5 gallon container with about 4 gallons of bleach (or 512 oz). At 10oz per day with heat at a constant 102f it 'should' handle lq for 50'ish days (maybe less).

Not sure exactly what happens with PH though. I am heading out of town for 10 days in about 2 weeks so I will let you know my results when I get back.
 

pooldv

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#7
With the cover on and aeration off pH shouldn't move much, especially if your TA is at 50ish. Lower it to 7.2 and go.