Getting tired of the cloudy

Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
54
South County, Rhode Island
Good Day, All. I am trying very hard to bring my water back to the "new water sparkle". Which, by the way, I have never, ever had since the very first day of filling it each time. I have been following TPF rules for the past 5 years and have all of you to thank for keeping me on the right path. However, I have strayed lately and am in need of a kick in the pants. So, I am diligent on keeping my bromine between 2-6. Last nights numbers were:

Bromine: 6
Ph: 7.4
TA: 40 (usually runs at 30)
CH: 80 (was 30, I added calcium booster)

My questions today are: 1. Is it time for drain and refill? Been 5 months exactly.
2. Why oh why cannot I ever keep the sparkle in my water?
3. What exactly is the frequency I should clean my filter and with what??? I have been soaking them in a solution of Trisodium Phosphate.
4. Correct me if I am wrong, but did I read where someone used Ahh-Some and did NOT drain the tub? I cannot imagine adding a bio (me) to a tubful of bio killer.

Thanks in advance for all of your help.

Lyd
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,768
Houston, Texas
This is for your spa, correct? Have you used the Ahh-some before? If not it may be time to give the spa a good deep clean by flushing out the pipes with Ahh-some. How old are the filter cartridges? You shouldn't have to do a Trisodium Phosphate soak more than once a year in normal conditions. You should be able to keep an eye on filter pressure and hose them off after a 20% pressure increase.
 

Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
54
South County, Rhode Island
Hi Zea, Thank you for your reply. I have used Ahh-Some for years and love it. I buy 2 new filters every year and rotate them out. I don't know what you mean by a 20% pressure increase....increase where? I have no meters. Yes, this is for a hot tub. I see I was remiss in even stating that!!! OK. So you suggest a drain and refill. Now, I would still like to know why I lose my sparkle so quickly and what is the best way to clean filters and how often please?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,768
Houston, Texas
I'm going to see if I can get someone with more bromine experience to answer your questions. I was assuming you have a pressure gauge on your spa filter, but I realize that is not the case. How often are you using the spa? How often do you test the water?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,121
Tucson, AZ
How are you adding bromine to this tub? Also, what method are using to “activate” the spent bromide back into sanitizing bromine?

5 months is too long for most hot tubs, especially a 180 gallon tub. You need to change your water out quarterly, at least, if you use it year-round.
 

Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
54
South County, Rhode Island
Thank you, Matt! I follow TFP rules and add the bromine at start up and activate it with the bleach. I add 1-2 ounces of 6.25% bleach nightly. I will do a complete clean and refill this weekend. Can you advise me on proper cleaning techniques for the filters please? I would really like to keep sparkling water after the refill.
 

pooldv

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Moderator Emeritus
Aug 10, 2012
25,412
FL panhandle
A cloudy tub needs more sanitizer in almost all cases. Is there still bromine in the tub an hour later and the next day? We use bleach in our tub and I find raising the FC level will always clear everything up.

Running some Ahhsome through it and refilling will make it easier to maintain. Cleaning the filter isnt the problem, filters are there to catch debris not make water sparkly. Sparkly water is created by good water chemistry.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,121
Tucson, AZ
Ahh-some suggests throwing the filters into the tub while purging it to clean them. That’s not a bad idea. In between Ahh-some purges you shouldn’t need to do much more than hose off the filters. Make sure the filters are seated properly and making a good seal to the tubs plumbing.

You signature says “very hard water” but your tub chemistry says otherwise. Your TA is also too low. At 30ppm TA and a low pH, your water is very corrosive towards metal surfaces and the biggest hit will be taken by your heater as they are very often Incoloy metal heater elements. TFP suggests keeping your tubs TA around 50ppm at a minimum. I’d also aim for a CH above 100ppm just to ensure that no foaming happens.

My guess is similar to Danny’s, your water’s sanitizer levels are dropping too low. Bromine can be difficult to maintain without a constant activation source like ozone. Also, your test kit is measuring Total Bromine (active bromine + combined bromine), so your water could be low on active bromine. Even though bromamine acts as a sanitizer, it is not as effective as bromine so you could be having problems there. Bromine is also a weaker oxidizer than chlorine, so you might need supplemental oxidation to help control the bather waste load.

As I said, 180 gallons is quite small so your water isn’t going to last long. Anyone using the tub should shower first to ensure that they are not carrying in any contaminants like skin lotions or shampoos, hair products, etc.
 
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Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
54
South County, Rhode Island
Thank you, Matt and Danny, Yes, my bromine levels are always between 4-6 when I check the next night. After tubbing for about an hour, I add in an ounce or two of bleach and I have a floaty with the bromine tablets. The next night, before tubbing, the bromine is about a 6. I have tried adjusting the TA but that drives the PH out of this world so I quit doing that. It seemed to like to stay between 30-40 so I stopped chasing it up. My bromine levels are never below 4, but it was taking more and more bleach to get to 6 (water probably should have been changed months ago, as you said). I usually do shower first as the tub is 3 feet from the shower.

I have used Ahh-Some in this tub since day 1 and I drained and cleaned it today. There was no dirty foam whatsoever. This tub was clean, clean, clean. I did, however, remove considerable dead skin cells from behind the jet pack. I always follow Ahh-Some directions to the letter and yes, I let the filter soak in the tub with the Ahh-Some.
Upon refilling, I added 2 ounces of Defender anti-scale and a bottle of Metal Gon. Let it get to 97 degrees, the PH was 7.4 and added a tablespoon of Sodium Bromide and 3 ounces of bleach and put the floaty back in. Tomorrow I will address the CH and the TA. I ordered a PH meter from TFTestkits.net and will use that instead of the drop test. Great price and you can buy a new one every year! Like I said, I hate fooling with the TA because it skyrockets the PH, but I will follow your directions diligently! I will replace the water quarterly as you said. I will simply hose off the filter (what? Weekly?)

I read Waterbear's (I think it was Waterbear) posts on bromine and bromamine years ago and digested it thoroughly then. I didn't think there was a test for active bromine, if I am remiss, please correct me. I just tried looking for it here, but could not find it. Thank you all for your help!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,121
Tucson, AZ
The bromine tablets contain dimethylhydantoin (DMH). DMH build up in a brominated hot tub has a similar, negative effect like CYA does in a chlorinated swimming pool - the excess DMH eventually reduces the effectiveness of the bromine. There is no test for DMH, so water exchange is essential for maintaining a clear tub. The tablets are also quite acidic and will consume TA just as trichlor tablets do in a chlorinated pool. So you need to add alkalinity back to the water to keep the pH from crashing.

The tablets are likely causing some of the issues you are seeing with cloudiness. The water has simply become over-stabilized. I suggest you only use the tablets when you are not going to use the tub for a few days or if you have to travel. Otherwise, stick with sodium bromide and bleach activation.
 

dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
90
denver, CO
Looks like you are getting close to a solution but I'll offer my perspective. I ran a bromine spa for 20 years and only recently switched to chlorine just to try it out. I find essentially no difference between the two as regards maintenance.

Bromine is very easy... What i have found is that you can treat it exactly like a chlorine spa, complete with dichlor/ bleach method and avoid all the floater tablet cya happiness

* add bromide at startup. That's the only difference!
* in a separate container, set aside the volume of dichlor that yields 30 ish ppm CYA. When you use it up, switch to bleach
* oh, and dont chase TA. Let it fall with use of dry acid as you control upward pH drift. Watch it to avoid going too low...

Happy brominating !
 

Lyd

Well-known member
Jul 24, 2015
54
South County, Rhode Island
Thank you, Matt and dlleno for the detailed explanations, I appreciate it. I just crawled out of bed to remove the floaty. I use the tub daily and have not been off the farm for years so no worries there! So basically I am going to a 2 step system.

I will keep daily detailed records on this for learning purposes. I wanted to get my hot tub squared away asap as I am tackling a neighbors pool opening tomorrow as well as my own this week. Thanks again and have a magical week. Lyd