Helping a friend with spa startup


Nov 8, 2021
Sacramento, ca
My friend moved into a house with a spa and I'm helping him out getting things going. I figure I have enough info to get somebody started in a simple situation. I've done it 1x before with another friend and it went swimmingly.

This friend lives 1.5 miles away, is on the same city sewer water, but his house is older (50's) vs. mine ('80). He has Cast Iron pipes. Not sure if that matters.

Spa is a Marquis. 2015 Signature Series. E-Series. 170 gallons capacity.

It was 3/4 full when he bought the house. I had him fill it up and see if the heater and stuff works. All good.

He did Ahh-Some and - super weird - the foam was completely clean. Maybe a little bio residue when draining, but was strangely ok.

He's refilled now, cleaned out filter, etc. I had him go to Leslie's to get a baseline and he had these numbers on tap water:

FC: .23
TC: .23
PH: 7.9
TA: 130
CH: 60
CYA: 5
Iron: 0.1
Copper: 0.3
Phosphates: 376
TDS: 200

Again, this is water out of the tap. Water from my tap always has zero for metals. What gives? Do we need to worry about it / do something or just proceed?

Also, an additional question: do you guys like to Borate after CH adjustment, or wait until TA is down and PH is stable before adding borates? I've done each and didn't seem to notice a difference.

Last edited:


Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
If u add borates before lowering ta every ph adjustment requires more acid than it would have without borates. So it is recommended to wait.
Low ch in a non plaster spa isn’t a big deal - I don’t add any unless there’s a foaming issue - which has been never. My ch is 50.
If u do decide to add calcium chloride, 150 is sufficient.
If there’s a metals issue you will likely see it when chlorine is introduced. You can go down that road then.
Here’s the info incase 👇
Theres no cya in tap water - sounds fishy…
Send your friend here & have him read the sticky 👇
And the ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry
& Get him a proper test kit (Taylor k2006 or tf100) of his own or he’ll be calling u when things go awry expecting u to fix it.
I wouldn’t make any adjustments based on those test results. Pool store testing can vary wildly - depends on who’s working that day…
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