Just Bought a 26' Intex - Looking for suggestions on upgrades as I start the planning/build process

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,623
NY
We had some paper towels but it's sticky and sometimes hard to wipe with paper towels. I should have brought my cleaning rags
I was getting it right in the foam by scooping with my pool net, and wiping the tub wall several times while running a cycle per their website. The stuff dries quick and is hard to clean after that.
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
Preview, filling after first dump and wiping all walls with Ahh-some in a spray bottle. My hair is a bit wet as snow is falling. Supposed to get up to 6 inches tonight and tomorrow.
IMG_20200124_191529712_1.jpg
This is a really nice spa. The dirt anf cloudy water was hiding some of that beforehand.

I don't have filters in right now. Previous owner had none installed, and one of the two had ripped. Went to a local store and got two new ones, I'm not planning on putting them in until all this purging is complete.
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
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Tallahassee, FL
You are a new home owner with a going to be clean spa and a pool just waiting to be put up!!! It does not get any better than that!!

Ewwww on that mess that came out! Thank goodness for aww-some! They ran it without filters??? OH wait I bet it was so yucked up in the pipes the filters clogged so they took them out! :roll:

Kim:kim:
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
Ewwww on that mess that came out! Thank goodness for aww-some! They ran it without filters??? OH wait I bet it was so yucked up in the pipes the filters clogged so they took them out! :roll:
Just wait, I have better pictures...

No I think they used filters. They don't use it in the winter, plus they've been trying to sell their house for a while, move across the US, and build a new house all at the same time. They've had a lot going on. I think when the one filter ripped he decided to not put the other one in place, since they weren't using the spa anyway at the time. Of course the spa was still on, so...
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
Let's see if I can max out the attachment limit. What is the limit anyway?

...10 pictures per post. I put a thread up here asking the best way to handle picture heavy posts. I love making picture heavy posts. I wanted to make a post with 20 pictures showing the purge! Anyway, once I figure out the best way to handle pics, I'll post showing the purge I did today on the spa.
 

BMK

Bronze Supporter
Mar 29, 2016
359
SW PA
Haha, man after my own heart.....a zillion things to do after closing on a new house, and your no.1 priority is getting the hot tub going...👍!

Just to circle back for a minute, the fact that the water level was so low during the walk through merits just a little attention. Not alarming, but it does make me raise an eyebrow. It could very well be nothing, but with no use, and a decent cover, water level shouldnt fall that much. The only time I have to top off my tub is after heavy use of kids running in and out of the tub and splashing around in there.
The water probably isnt in the tub long enough during your purging regime to notice anything. Just saying at some point open any and all access panels and with a strong flashlight look for any signs of dripping, wet spots, wet insulation, etc. Do it with jets, etc, on and off. If nothing, great! Enjoy!
But if you do find a little something, better to catch it now before it becomes a big something.
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
The water probably isnt in the tub long enough during your purging regime to notice anything. Just saying at some point open any and all access panels and with a strong flashlight look for any signs of dripping, wet spots, wet insulation, etc. Do it with jets, etc, on and off. If nothing, great! Enjoy!
But if you do find a little something, better to catch it now before it becomes a big something.
I will certainly do this here at some point! I'm still leaning on long time of no use. The cover isn't 100% air-tight but I agree it should stop most of the water. I figure though if he wasn't maintaining the level at the recommended height of halfway up the skimmer, it might not take much to go from "okay" to "sucking air and shutting off".

The spa store we bought new filters at had this fancy electronic spa lid/roof. It's peaked, and with a key it lifts up to form a roof over the spa. There were retractable blinds on three of the sides so various neighbors couldn't see in, lights in the ceiling. And when closed, a custom applied rubber strip sealed better than the lid we have now. Only $7000....

To all: I'm working on writing up my post with a ton of pictures of the process right now!
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
He is going to love having that tub up and running right away so he can enjoy it after a long day of moving! Well done!

It looks like they are going to set you up for the pics. I can't wait to see them!

Kim:kim:
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
It looks like they are going to set you up for the pics. I can't wait to see them!
Yeah I've been chatting with Leebo in PM's. I wrote up my entire post in a word editor on my computer. All it needs is the 20 pictures I have sorted out and lined up and we are good to go!

~960 words with those 20 pictures. Trying to give @Dirk a run for his money on post lengths, though he left this thread cause it's too gross. 🤣
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
IT'S TIME! Thanks to @Leebo for getting working on fixing some things in the background while also running around today doing non-TFP stuff!

After we closed yesterday we wanted to begin purging the spa right away. As I mentioned before, it’s a 2008 Cal Spa Legacy Atlantic, 5 seats plus 1 lounger. Typical wood style outside, hard cover with lifting hinge support. We tested, and my wife can lift it off completely by herself, which is good.


Here is the spa before any purging started. Nice cloudy water. They had no filters installed at the moment and as far as I’m aware, were not adding any sanitizers over the winter as they were not using it, but were maintaining it at 80 °F. Perfect for all sorts of nasties to grow. There is ozone installed on the tub, and it smells like it’s working, but it only runs when heating or filtering, and as we all know, ozone is not a sanitizer. (I will be disabling the ozone “soonish”)


The spa is listed at 450 gallons, so we added 3.5 teaspoons of Ahh-Some and fired up all the jets. I positioned the big water diverter valves so that all jets had waterflow (assuming individual jets were open) and opened all the air inlet valves. Just minutes after starting, blackish junk started building up on the white foam as the Ahh-Some went to work.


I can’t remember the exact details, but we let it run most of a jet cycle (15 minutes), then I restarted the cycle and we left for 40 minutes to grab some new filters. I suppose I shouldn’t have left the spa open, as we don’t have a fenced in yard. Oops. I will learn for next time!

I’m not certain if we ran another 15 minutes of jets when we got back or not. In either case, after ~25 or ~40 minutes of jets, this was the result. The water had cleared up (which was a surprise), and there was a nasty, nasty ring of greenish-black junk around the entire edge of the spa at the waterline.






We wiped it off with paper towels as best as we could, as that was all we had. It was very sticky. We should have worn gloves (as the Ahh-Some says to do). We washed our hands extremely well after this!


Without draining, I added more Ahh-Some and started the jets for round #2. As with before, more stuff started coming out almost immediately, though it was less than before, and less black and more green.


This shot shows the color difference really well. I think I forgot to wipe off inside the skimmer the first round.


All the blacker bits were leftovers from the first wipe. Paper towels are pretty weak to be wiping this off, it’s really sticky stuff!


After running the jets for the recommended minimum of 30 minutes, we ended up with a bunch of greenish junk on the edges and floating around in the water.




The “ad shot”, as I thought of it. Really, really gross stuff, but the Ahh-Some undoubtedly works! People soak in spas with this junk in their pipes! :puker:


I put my utility pump to work pumping out the spa, then closed the lid (I learned!) and ran off to our old house. We grabbed the work light, our cotton washable rags, rubber gloves, and some food, and ran back. The pump was sucking air by the time we got back 40 minutes later.

You can see flecks of junk around the edges of the spa, both at the waterline and down the seats as the floating junk started sticking to the walls as the water dropped.




I wiped all the seat water into the bottom, sprayed the walls with ~1/4 teaspoon Ahh-Some in a spray bottle, and wiped them off with the heavy duty washable cotton rags we have (and some gloves).


Entire tub after cleaning.


I rinsed down the walls with a hose with running water, while at the same time sucking out water with the pump to pull out as much of the debris in the water at the bottom of the spa as possible. Then, using the manual as a guide, I “opened” all the jets...BIG MISTAKE. I ended up closing all of them, because the manual got the turn direction for open/closed wrong.


All filled up. Doesn’t that look so inviting now!?




So now that I listen to the manual, I had to go reaching my arm up past my elbow into 46 °F water to re-open all the jets I closed trying to make sure they were all open! That was NOT FUN! With all the jets open (except maybe some of the 5 floor jets, cause I can’t reach those without entering the spa), I left the spa to heat overnight.

Oh yeah, and I added 0.5 oz of dichlor, which should give 5 ppm FC, just so the new water wasn’t sitting without any sanitizer until I get back to it this evening or on Sunday to start purge #3!.

The spa does not have a circulation pump. The main pump is a two speed pump. If it needs to filter or heat, it runs the pump on low speed and you cannot shut it off. Otherwise, you can run this pump on low speed manually with a 4 hour timeout (so you have some circulation and the waterfall while sitting and talking to people) or high speed for jet action. This pump appears to be connected to about half the jets. This pump is controlled by the “jets” button. The other half of the jets are connected to a second, single speed pump controlled by the “options” button, with a 15 minute timeout.

My plan is to climb into the tub before starting the next purge (water should be okay for that now) to make sure all 5 of the floor jets and the two side jets near the floor (not shown) are open before the next purge starts. That way I know all the jets are open, so I don’t finish the purging and find out that one or more of the jets was closed the entire time.

I'm also going to continue to try and not kill myself, as my winter boots slipped twice while walking around in the empty tub. Luckily I didn't fall, but I have to keep being careful!

Purge #3 starts tonight. Hopefully less junk this time!
 
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kimkats

Mod Squad
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Jul 10, 2012
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Tallahassee, FL
I have already learned something--------no paper towels........cotton cloth for the strength.

That was some nasty stuff ewwwww but man it does look much better already! You are going to love having it! It will be fun learning about it with out the manual LOL

Kim:kim:
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,116
Tucson, AZ
If you weren’t able to blow out all the lines with compressed air and suction from a shopvac, don’t be surprised by foaming once you get the tub running. Any leftover Ahh-some in the nooks and crannies of the plumbing system will contain a low concentration of Ahhsome. The main component of the cleaner will break down under chlorine oxidation but the by-products can cause foam. It’s not a big deal, just something to be aware of so you don’t freak out and think there’s a problem. It will subside over time. You may even notice a slightly higher chlorine demand. Given all the gunk you pulled out of the tub, it will take time for the chlorine to destroy it all.

Have fun with the tub.....and buy some really thick terry cloth bathrobes because it looks like it will be chilly out there when you get in and out of the tub 🥶
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,623
NY
and buy some really thick terry cloth bathrobes because it looks like it will be chilly out there when you get in and out of the tub
full toe slippers are key too. Regular flip flops / slides just don’t cut it after a few steps in the snow. Got purple toes by the time you get inside.
 

Pv2

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 14, 2013
532
south east Arizona
nice tub! love those neck/shoulder jets. that would be my seat for sure!

don't know if you have come across this anywhere, but a square of regular pool solar blanket cut to fit and float on the water will give your main cover many extra miles. the rigid foam eventually absorbs water and it will get heavy enough to bend your lifter rack (or kill your back) so if it is already heavy, know that replacing is in the cards pretty soon. there is a reasonable on-line source - spa-cover guy . com or something like that.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
42,519
Tallahassee, FL
Something else you can do to keep warm from the tub to the house is to throw the robes or towels in the dryer for a few then put them in a cooler (in this case being used as a keep it warmer).
 

jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
So, I need to update. Been a while, we've been busy. The worst is over though, as our main moving time was this weekend. We only have to grab a few random things that can fit in a car (vs a truck) that we were too tired to grab when we had the truck, and do some cleaning, and we're done for good. Just under two weeks left on the lease so no rushing.

Okay, so I had planned to start purge #3 Saturday the 25th (the first purging and drain/clean was performed on Friday the 24th). However we had some friends unexpectedly come up that Saturday. We didn't have room at our old place for them to stay due to the packing, but we ended up renting a trailer and moving our mattresses and bedframe and some furniture so we could start living at the new house a week early and they'd have a place to stay. Get where this is going yet? :unsure:

So my friend's wife and my wife started asking about using the spa. I didn't want to, because I wanted to get the purging done, but they asked why. I explained about the biofilms and whatnot, but after they pointed out that commercials spas would have those too and they had been in those before. They asked what exactly would make it unsafe to be in the spa. I tested it and it had held FC without detectable drop over the prior night, so there was no FC demand and the water was crystal clear....so I couldn't think of a logical reason why it wouldn't be safe to get in the spa....so we got into the spa. And again like every night since. The only thing I did was because I hadn't had time to do acid/aeration and our fill water is ~350 ppm TA, we just kept all the air turned off to minimize pH rise.

So, the spa is pretty awesome. I'm too tall to fit properly in the neck jets. I realize now why the modern spas at the store we picked up filters have neck jets that slide up and down. However I can slouch a bit to fit if I want to, at least for a little bit. I am a bit tall for the lounger but that just means my shoulders stick out, it's actually pretty comfortable still.

After moving the jets were amazing for sore back and leg muscles!

Anyhow, I will definitely finish the purging here shortly. And by that I mean in the next week or two. Obviously there's more stuff left in there to get out. I will include more pictures to finish documenting the process.

I do think there is a leak. The water level was dropping. It seemed too be too quick for even a bunch of drunk people getting in and out all the time 😁, but I'm not sure. Now that we're a bit more relaxed with most of the move done I'll finally pop that access panel off and check for leaks. I'll also document the pumps/control board/heater for future reference for when something inevitably breaks. There is some air coming in the jets when the pumps are on even with all the air valves closed. Not sure if an air valve is leaking or it's pulling air where it's leaking water (or some side effect of the ozone system that lets air in, even when the ozone is off).

Our next door neighbor (the dad anyway) stopped by really quick to say hi and welcome us (really I suspect his daughters sent him to scope out if we had any kids, which we don't yet). He mentioned that he saw we got the hot tub running, and that in the 5 years he's been there he's never seen the previous owners of our house use the hot tub! They must have either not barely used it, only used it when the neighbors were gone, or they really should have drained it and added antifreeze rather than keeping it at 80 °F for years!

In any case, I'm thinking some arborvitae by the edge of the patio/house between the spa and the neighbor's house would be nice. :)

Have fun with the tub.....and buy some really thick terry cloth bathrobes because it looks like it will be chilly out there when you get in and out of the tub 🥶
It's was 30 °F most of the nights. Honestly not bad at all after you've been soaking a while. It's only like 6 steps to the house anyway. I legit didn't get cold getting out and going into the house.

The cover straps get wet from the cover dripping on them and freeze, which makes it hard to re-latch the cover though. :D

Good thing is the spa had no issues keeping the water temp at 100 °F, which was our preferred temps for extended (hour plus) soaks. Not looking forward to my electric bill though. It was already 60 kWh just to heat those 450 gallons from 45 to 100 when we filled it. Standby losses are hopefully low, but using it every night with jets running at 30 °F is certainly a bit power hungry!

full toe slippers are key too. Regular flip flops / slides just don’t cut it after a few steps in the snow. Got purple toes by the time you get inside.
Snow yes, a few quick steps on bare concrete? Eh, not bad. Going to the house isn't bad barefoot, but I do need some slippers or flip flops for re-covering the spa (especially when the straps freeze) or adding chemicals.

don't know if you have come across this anywhere, but a square of regular pool solar blanket cut to fit and float on the water will give your main cover many extra miles. the rigid foam eventually absorbs water and it will get heavy enough to bend your lifter rack (or kill your back) so if it is already heavy, know that replacing is in the cards pretty soon. there is a reasonable on-line source - spa-cover guy . com or something like that.
Something else you can do to keep warm from the tub to the house is to throw the robes or towels in the dryer for a few then put them in a cooler (in this case being used as a keep it warmer).
That sounds like a great idea if I have to stand out there and add chemicals after use or mess with the frozen cover straps. Otherwise though it almost seems like it would take longer to put on a robe then it would to get inside the house! Side benefit of fencing the yard means we won't have to buckle/lock the spa anymore (so long as there isn't a storm forecast anyway).

What I had been doing to add the required after-soak dose of chlorine was to run into the house, pour some chlorine into a container (dichlor or bleach), then run out, sit back in the spa to warm up, get out, throw in the chlorine, slap the lid closed and run back inside. :D
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
1,623
NY
Otherwise though it almost seems like it would take longer to put on a robe then it would to get inside the house
I know y’all thought I was nuts for using mine through the harsh winter, but upon getting out there was a good 45 second buffer of full blown steam coming off me that was plenty of time to get back in the house. I would spend 30 seconds (or so) wiping off the big drips and then just make a run for the house. I never once felt cold.
 
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JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,116
Tucson, AZ
Definitely check the plumbing when it's warm and daylight and with the system running. If the previous owners did not properly winterize the tub of left it for extended periods with no use, there could easily be leaks somewhere. Plus, you never know what they were doing chemistry-wise so internal components might have a shorter life. You're biggest hit will be taken by the heater. If you do eventually replace it, try to find a compatible electric heater that has titanium elements instead of steel or Incoloy. Titanium elements will last a lot longer.

Your wife was right (try to repeat that mantra to yourself as much as you can, you will need it if you intend to have a happy life....), there was no reason to stay out of the tub. The first purge probably eliminated 99% of the biofilm issues and you were holding FC overnight so that means the contamination levels were very low. You probably added more biofilms using the tub than you would have removed with the additional purging.
 
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jseyfert3

Bronze Supporter
Oct 20, 2017
487
South-Central WI
don't know if you have come across this anywhere, but a square of regular pool solar blanket cut to fit and float on the water will give your main cover many extra miles. the rigid foam eventually absorbs water and it will get heavy enough to bend your lifter rack (or kill your back) so if it is already heavy, know that replacing is in the cards pretty soon. there is a reasonable on-line source - spa-cover guy . com or something like that.
Quoted you earlier but forgot to actually reply. It doesn't seem terribly heavy, but I have never had a new cover so I have no point of comparison.

Not certain I'd want to mess with two covers though, especially right now when it's new and we're using it almost every day.

Definitely check the plumbing when it's warm and daylight and with the system running. If the previous owners did not properly winterize the tub of left it for extended periods with no use, there could easily be leaks somewhere. Plus, you never know what they were doing chemistry-wise so internal components might have a shorter life. You're biggest hit will be taken by the heater. If you do eventually replace it, try to find a compatible electric heater that has titanium elements instead of steel or Incoloy. Titanium elements will last a lot longer.
Yeah I will do that. I may have time this weekend.

Your wife was right (try to repeat that mantra to yourself as much as you can, you will need it if you intend to have a happy life....), there was no reason to stay out of the tub. The first purge probably eliminated 99% of the biofilm issues and you were holding FC overnight so that means the contamination levels were very low. You probably added more biofilms using the tub than you would have removed with the additional purging.
Hmm, okay. So then this begs the question: Is it worth it to continue purging the tub now (especially as I've now nearly got the TA in line), or just wait until the next water replacement in 3 months, run a purge, then drain, clean, and refill?

And then a follow question: I see a lot of people here purging or saying to purge until nothing comes out. Is this overkill? Seems like it is, based on your comments, if the first purge cycle or two could get 95-99%, vs continuing to purge for many more cycles until absolutely nothing shows up. Curious to know as right now the tap water is 45 °F, so every time I heat from 45 °F to 100 °F it's 60 kWh. 😲 And that doesn't count the heat lost by multiple cycles of jets with bubbles running.

In essence, is the only reason to purge biofilms to reduce FC demand, since you always have some biofilm, or are there other reasons to purge biofilms besides FC demand?

P.S. She will love hearing she's right. As an analytical guy who tends reads just ridiculously amounts of information on tons of random subjects and so tends to "know it all" (and let others know they are "wrong"), she absolutely takes great joy when I say "I was wrong" and she had it right. Like in this case. :)