bredwrd

Member
Sep 8, 2021
16
Waterloo, Ontario
Pool Size
420
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
From my friendly neighbourhood Jacuzzi dealer, after hearing about the dichlor-to-bleach method. There's so much wrong with it that I was flabbergasted and decided not to reply, lest they use my arguments against me in a warranty claim. Please feel free to tear it apart as you will, and share your experiences - good or bad - with spa dealers and pool stores.

I received word back from our product specialists about the muriatic acid and bleach and they strongly advise you not to use them in your tub.

Muriatic acid will damage your acrylic. The reason that you would need to use the acid is because you are using bleach which is a chlorine, but around 1%. This means that it will be a lot more expensive to use than diclor which is 65%. Bleach is also VERY high PH which is again why you would need the acid while diclor is PH neutral. Its important to note that bleach is not approved by Health Canada as a sanitizer for hot tubs.

Muriatic acid has a pH between 1-2. Bleach has a pH of around 11-13. Your hot tub is designed to operate with a pH of 7.2-7.5

Bleach contains a lot of ingredients other than chlorine. This will result in you needing to drain and fill your tub fairly frequently and will need to use about 50% more bleach than dichlor to sanitize properly. As a result, your total dissolved solids will rise rapidly with the use of chlorine. When total dissolved solids goes up, it's more difficult to keep the water clean and clear. The industry recommendation is when your total dissolved solids goes up 1500ppm it's time to get new water. Bleach will make this happen pretty quickly.

I hope that explains things for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Muriatic acid will damage your acrylic.
How? Unless I spill on the shell, does dry acid (sodium bisulphate) as you recommend dissolve any more quickly than muriatic acid?

bleach which is a chlorine, but around 1%. This means that it will be a lot more expensive to use than diclor which is 65%.
Even run-of-the-mill laundry bleach is around 4-6%. Besides, it's only more expensive if you're paying way too much for your bleach!

Its important to note that bleach is not approved by Health Canada as a sanitizer for hot tubs.
You just said that bleach is chlorine, albeit at a lower concentration. So, isn't it an approved sanitizer for hot tubs if chlorine is?

Muriatic acid has a pH between 1-2. Bleach has a pH of around 11-13. Your hot tub is designed to operate with a pH of 7.2-7.5
My hot tub does operate in a safe pH range, since alkalinity can be adjusted to stabilize pH for given conditions. Who cares about the pH of muriatic acid and bleach, if the pH is stable in the safe range?

Bleach contains a lot of ingredients other than chlorine.
OK, bleach can contain additives which are harmful, which is why I (and everyone else who follows this forum) uses additive free, pure bleach.

This will result in you needing to drain and fill your tub fairly frequently
Question: how should I mitigate ever-increasing levels of CYA as a result of only using dichlor, without re-filling "fairly frequently"?

[You] will need to use about 50% more bleach than dichlor to sanitize properly.
Two things:
1. Make up your mind: Is bleach not an approved sanitizer, or is there a certain amount of bleach that will sanitize properly?
2. If bleach is "1%" chlorine vs. dichlor which is 65% chlorine, then how is it that I only need to use 50% more bleach than dichlor? Do you mean 50 times?

The industry recommendation is when your total dissolved solids goes up 1500ppm it's time to get new water. Bleach will make this happen pretty quickly.
What solids, exactly are dissolved in bleach? Wouldn't using dry acid add more dissolved solids than muriatic acid, for the same change in pH?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
50,853
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
What solids, exactly are dissolved in bleach?
Salt. Same with muriatic acid. It results in salt (chlorides)

TDS is a meaningless value. Calcium, CYA, and salt are the only items you need to be concerned with. And the salt does not effect water chemistry.
 

Newdude

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
17,315
NY
Send them this.

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If it makes you feel any better, my pool store told me that they wouldn't have CYA for 2 weeks but I didn't need it for my fresh fill. (0 CYA). For you see, even when you lose some CYA, there is still some left so I'd be fine for those two weeks until they got more.
0 - 10 = 50 ???? I'll stick with pool math because pool store math is like toilet paper roll math.
 

ghall6292

Bronze Supporter
Jun 10, 2018
265
North Central PA
Pool Size
13500
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Having worked over 50 years in the retail supermarket industry, from entry level to management, I can attest that most retail businesses train their new hires to know what they think they need to know. Thankfully, our industry was ever-changing, (sometimes too much and too fast) or else we'd still be buying potatoes and flour from a bin, eggs from a box on the counter, and beef whenever someone butchered a steer to sell. All rung up on a cash register with a big crank on the side.

Soooo, if my boss learned from his boss, who learned from his boss.... all of us are probably only going to know what we were taught, for the most part. Probably won't agree with it all, but when at work, you drink the kool-aid. Doesn't matter how old the kool-aid is, you drink it.

"But they have new kool-aid that's much easier to make, doesn't clump together, and tastes better." Nope! Not what you were taught. Welcome To the Pool Store! :brickwall:
 
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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,585
Cabool, Mo
🤣 I love this forum.
For starters, "product specialist" means "manufacturer". They called Jacuzzi. Jacuzzi said "our warranty does not cover damages caused by chemical spills". And yes, they turn down a bunch of them. It turns out that your average spa owner would never even look for this forum, much less follow it's advice. They don't usually even read their owners manual, and do all kinds of things to their spa that they then expect the warranty to cover. I had one lady say "It has a filter?" 3 years in. So for the "average" spa owner I'd say not to use liquid chemicals as well, because when you spill it and mess up your tub finish, cabinet, or equipment it won't be covered. Yes, you'll struggle with chemistry a bit more and refill more frequently, but your $15k spa will be fine.

How? Unless I spill on the shell,
Yes.

bleach is around 4-6%.
I suspect a typo, and they meant 10%, not 1%.

Who cares about the pH of muriatic acid and bleach
I'm no chemist and don't want to argue this with the gang here again, but it is standard pool maintenance practice to add acid when using liquid chlorine. Public pools and water parks have 5-figure automation systems to do it continuously, so I do not understand how liquid chlorine can be called "net neutral" when so much is spent to combat the rising ph from liquid. Dichlor is nearly ph neutral in solution, but "net acidic", again something explained to me that I have not witnessed in 26 years in this business. But the bottom line is simply the manufacturers warranty terms, which they have for a reason even if we don't know or agree with it. They exclude that because it's been a problem in the past. Simple as that.

My hot tub does operate in a safe pH range,
If true, you are among the few. Everyone SAYS their chemistry is good, and some even believe it, but very few are right. 26 years in the field has taught me that almost everyone is bad at water chemistry. The fact that you are on this (or any) forum learning about it puts you in the 1%.
which is why I (and everyone else who follows this forum) uses additive free, pure bleach.
Again, the 1%. People hear "use bleach in my hot tub" and go buy splashless colorsafe lemon-scented bleach and wonder what happened. Common sense IS NOT common.
Is bleach not an approved sanitizer, or is there a certain amount of bleach that will sanitize properly?
Not mutually exclusive. Many things are effective but not government approved. I have no idea if bleach is or is not "approved".

What solids, exactly
Again, not a chemist, but I have a tds meter in my toolbag and, when confronted with a complaint that the chemicals aren't working right and they have to constantly add more, I check tds. If it's high, I do at least a partial dump and the problem is solved. I don't know the science, I just know it works.

I will also point out that most pool store employees make less than $15 an hour and only have manufacturer training classes for education. They aren't chemists, and aren't paid to be. If they were, you couldn't afford to buy stuff from them anyway. I worked for a guy that DID hire a chemist, fresh out of college, and she was clueless on water maintenance too. I had to teach her what I had learned from leisure time chemicals and Sundance spas. It's not like there's a "pool and spa maintenance and repair" class at the community college. Most pool store employees don't last 2 years.
And old (and sometimes bad) info does get passed down, since your co-workers are often the only go-to for answers.
And only a few at any given store actually know what they are talking about anyway, the rest are just repeating, and you generally aren't finding those few at the counter or answering emails.
 
Jul 6, 2022
16
Idaho Panhandle
I just bought a Sundance spa. The owner (for the past 30 years). For setup and maintenance, he gave the instructions, "Just add the following and forget about it. You never need to test the water."

The chemicals:
pH Balance Plus (98% Boric Acid, 2% Sodium Carbonate) - 3 pounds which works out to 170 ppm Borates according to PoolMath
Dichlor to shock - 3 tbsp of 58.2% dichlor every other week
Frog @Ease (Blue Mineral Dial on 7, Silver Chlorine Dial on 3)

In my mind I'm thinking, "Right - never test the water - then you'll never know if things are out of wack". I guess this is one way to go, but it seems like the head in the sand method. I'm most concerned about the level of borates. What do you think?
 

Newdude

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
17,315
NY
The borates are only harmful to dogs if they drink the water. And 170 may not even be high enough for that. An old Chem Geek post said that eye wash solutions are up to 3500ppm borates and you soak your eyes in it. Your skin should be fine. :ROFLMAO:

As far as the rest of the advice goes.... oof. I can't fathom them not caring about use, where you will burn through your sanitizer of choice like you are making people soup. Which, by the way, you're making people soup. :puker:

2 people in a 400 gallon spa equates to 175 people in my 35k gallon pool. (Do whatever maths you need, 400 gallons per person, 100 gallons, etc) And the pool folks aren't being simmered and exfoliated.

The residuals after use will need just as much sanitizing, based on the use, not the dial settings. So testing is of utmost importance.
 
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VinnyinNJ

Well-known member
Jul 20, 2022
291
New Jersey
Pool Size
13500
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
First thing I'm going to say is that all stores are there to sell product and non knowledgeable people believe in what is being said by the dealer. The pool/spa store dealers are fed stuff by the companies and go with it; if what they tell you is against the "rules" of the company they represent they can be in the middle of Crud. Dealers are dealers in whatever field they are in; they are there to make money.
When I bought my AG pool 20+ years ago the dealer was pushing Baqua. I thought it might be a good idea, sounded easy and then came the price! No way!! I went into pool ownership using chlorine, mostly Cal Hypo and Trichlor Pucks. As I got more involved with researching I started seeing issues with Baqua use that wasn't happening with chlorine use. Then I found the BBB way and it was an eye opener.

The second thing I'm going to say is that years ago Chem Geek and someone else from TFP and Poolforum (the first site that enlightened us about BBB) came onto a hot tub forum which I was on and started talking up the BBB method. That forum was full of dealers who were giving out their knowledge to help others with tub problems, usage or whatever else. When the idea of using bleach in the tub was suggested the dealers wouldn't accept the idea at all. Since I was already using the BBB method in my pool, I listened to what Chem Geek said, asked some questions and understood what was being said. One of the misconceptions of using bleach is that heat destroys bleach - true - but once in the water it is chlorine the same as Dichlor, trichlor and Cal Hypo. I used bleach successfully in the tub, never had an issue with the tub shell and always had a pre measured amount to bring to the tub when I was ready to dose.

Personally, I would never tell a dealer you are using "unauthorized" chemicals in the tub. That will void your warranty just like using "unauthorized" parts in a car.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,585
Cabool, Mo
- never test the water - then you'll never know if things are out of wack".
If he had it for 30 years he knows what it needs for his usage. Your usage is likely different, so use that as a starting point and adapt it to your situation as needed. Or chuck his method and start your own if you don't like it.


Personally, I would never tell a dealer you are using "unauthorized" chemicals in the tub. That will void your warranty just like using "unauthorized" parts in a car.
This.
 

Jaffles

Well-known member
May 4, 2022
78
Gold Coast Hinterland Australia
Pool Size
22500
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral Viron eQuilibrium EQ35
First thing I'm going to say is that all stores are there to sell product and non knowledgeable people believe in what is being said by the dealer. The pool/spa store dealers are fed stuff by the companies and go with it; if what they tell you is against the "rules" of the company they represent they can be in the middle of Crud. Dealers are dealers in whatever field they are in; they are there to make money.
Very true and as a business owner and sales person you like to think the relationship between the company Rep and yourself is truthful and genuine. Any industry will do. It took a long time for me to realise Reps are just peddling BS so I buy their stuff. When I was looking for a truth to educate myself and better service customers. My gullible ignorance I guess. It takes years to work through what is real, what works, what doesn't. Often one never returns by requirement or ones own interest to see if the advice given is any good. Trade shows or meetings are often like a convention of business owners acting as Reps, peddling their own wisdom and BS to go one up on a room full of strangers.