New owner overwhelmed

Trp3383

Member
Nov 7, 2019
19
08210
Hey everyone, I'll start off by stating that I've never owned a pool or spa and therefore have never had to deal with balancing water levels. I purchased a new caldera hot tub with the freshwater salt system, and it's being delivered in a few weeks. I've been reading and plan on purging it with ahh-some when I get it. Do I need to balance the water before purging the tub? And as far as testing and maintaining the water, what do I need for this particular tub see that its using salt to create chlorine? Thanks in advance
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome to TFP! :wave: You'll want to do the Ahh-some first (good choice). Follow the advice in the links below and you should do great.




For testing, we recommend the TF-100, or you can use a Taylor K-2006C. Either of those will provide the bets results. As a slat owner, you'll probably also want the K-1766 salt test kit. Of course a certain amount of salt will be required for the SWG to create the chlorine, so you'll want to refer to the owner's manual for how much to use. Make sure to get acquainted with our PoolMath tool and/or the APP to help you with dosage amount and stuff. Great tools!
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,793
Bedford, TX
T,

It would be a waste of time to balance the water before you purge, because after the purge, you have to drain it anyway..

For me anyway, I like purging the water when it it hot.. So I would add city water and then heat it up to 104 or so and then purge.

A "freshwater" salt spa is exactly like a normal saltwater spa except that your salt level is lower and.... they want you to use their expensive chemicals..

I have an after market saltwater system for my spa and it works great...

I drain and purge every three or four months.. When I fill it back up I do the following..

Add CYA
Add Liquid Chlorine
Add Calcium
Add Salt

Maintenance wise.. I add a little MA every few days to keep the pH in line and run my salt system about 5 hours a night.

That is about it...

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,221
Fresno, CA
Not sure how many gallons your new spa holds but I would bring the FC above 5ppm just before you add the surfactant and begin the purge.
The goal is for the purge product to remove any biofilm buildup and expose microorganisms to the FC.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,793
Bedford, TX
Tub is 350 gallons. I have sensitive skin so that's why I went with the salt system. Did I get hosed going that route?
T,

I don't think so... I believe that a saltwater chlorine pool or spa is the best type of sanitizer to have..

I was poking a little at the word "Freshwater", which it is not.. It still uses the salt in the water to make chlorine..

My understanding is that the manufacturer wants you to use their "special" salt, but I have not fully researched this and could well be wrong.. What does the dealer or manual says about maintenance?

I have a small Caldera spa and would buy another one tomorrow.

I don't see where you did anything wrong..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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Ahhsomeguy

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Jul 26, 2016
124
Vero Beach, Florida
There is no need to balance the water prior to doing an Ahh-Some decontamination. We strongly recommend that there is sanitizer in the tub at purge time. You really don’t know what may be in the detritus gunk that may be released. We want to be sure that when the bio gunk releases from the biofilm colony into a planktonic, “free floating” state, they are oxidized so there are no health issues. Warm or hot water would be great so the gel dissolves quickly and warm or hot water seems to provide a more effective purge.
 

Backcountryski

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
46
WA
Tub is 350 gallons. I have sensitive skin so that's why I went with the salt system. Did I get hosed going that route?
No, you did great. I have a new spa with a "freshwater salt system". I love it. you just have to figure out what settigns to run to make sure you are making the proper chlorine levels, and get the other parameters sorted. After two weeks of tinkering, my hot tub is mostly maintenance free. If I have heavy bather load I add a touch of liquid chlorine....other than that it does great.
 
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Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,793
Bedford, TX
@Backcountryski

Tell us more... Do you use regular pool salt or something special? Do you just add the salt to the spa or does the system use a cartridge?

Does your system also have some kind of mineral cartridge?

Did you add CYA or not?

Just trying to get some good feedback from an actual user of a freshwater system.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

Trp3383

Member
Nov 7, 2019
19
08210
There is no need to balance the water prior to doing an Ahh-Some decontamination. We strongly recommend that there is sanitizer in the tub at purge time. You really don’t know what may be in the detritus gunk that may be released. We want to be sure that when the bio gunk releases from the biofilm colony into a planktonic, “free floating” state, they are oxidized so there are no health issues. Warm or hot water would be great so the gel dissolves quickly and warm or hot water seems to provide a more effective purge.
Any particular sanitizer and amount?
 

Backcountryski

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2019
46
WA
@Backcountryski

Tell us more... Do you use regular pool salt or something special? Do you just add the salt to the spa or does the system use a cartridge?

Does your system also have some kind of mineral cartridge?

Did you add CYA or not?

Just trying to get some good feedback from an actual user of a freshwater system.

Thanks,

Jim R.
Jim- I used the salt that they told me to use, mainly because they supplied it included with the purchase price. I have enough to fill it twice, so I have not compared price to other sources yet. I do not believe that there is anything special about the salt, but I will take a look at the bag to double check. It does use a cartridge that has to be replaced every 4 months or so. I believe it is silver, but not 100% sure. I could try to upload a picture of the package if you would like. As for CYA- the first two weeks I added di chlor when it needed a little chlorine, and now have switched to liquid chlorine. So far I really like the system. I work shift work, so I can go a few days without being home to check on the tub. When I get home it is usually spot on. The water feels soft, and you can keep the chlorine levels relatively low (I shoot for 2-3). If it is just my wife and I, or just myself, I do not need to add anythign after I use it. If the kids join in, then I dump in a couple ounces of liquid. Tub is still new to me, but so far I am happy with the system.
 

Trp3383

Member
Nov 7, 2019
19
08210
Jim- I used the salt that they told me to use, mainly because they supplied it included with the purchase price. I have enough to fill it twice, so I have not compared price to other sources yet. I do not believe that there is anything special about the salt, but I will take a look at the bag to double check. It does use a cartridge that has to be replaced every 4 months or so. I believe it is silver, but not 100% sure. I could try to upload a picture of the package if you would like. As for CYA- the first two weeks I added di chlor when it needed a little chlorine, and now have switched to liquid chlorine. So far I really like the system. I work shift work, so I can go a few days without being home to check on the tub. When I get home it is usually spot on. The water feels soft, and you can keep the chlorine levels relatively low (I shoot for 2-3). If it is just my wife and I, or just myself, I do not need to add anythign after I use it. If the kids join in, then I dump in a couple ounces of liquid. Tub is still new to me, but so far I am happy with the system.
So your using actual salt and not the salt cartridges? Do you have the ace system and not freshwater system?
 

dunginhawk

Bronze Supporter
Jul 10, 2018
471
CLIVE/IA
I was new and VERY green last year. Since then ive swapped my water about 6 times.
Here is how I start new (its not what everyone here says, but the order works for me).

1. Test Salinity and use pool math to determine how much salt to add.. for my tub its 9 lbs. I then add half of it. Wait an hour, test again. Then determine what pool math says to add, and add half. Repeat til you get salt dialed in.. about 2800 for me.
2. CYA - use pool math, get to about 50 ppm cya, roughly.
3. Now start dialing in PH. I like in an area where PH elevates easily, so im constantly dropping it. For instance my normal water will register around 8.1. So I do pool math for TA, and PH and whatever it says to add for PH down, i double it. Aerate for 30 minutes, test again. PH still high? do it again, double it. After twice of doubling it, i go down to recommended levels each time. You will get stable to the point where aerating wont raise the PH and you are set.

DO NOT USE CLARIFIER. I learned this the hard way, thrice. It will gunk up things, bad. A little defoamer is fine once in a while though. The only thing I ever do to clean a cloudy tub is Chlorine. It may take a day or two, but it will get there... I learned this through a lot of experimentation and failure.
 
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Oly

Gold Supporter
Jun 28, 2017
1,221
Fresno, CA
I target 30ppm CYA. Expect it to drop in the hot water so test every 30 days and bump it up using dichlor. Dichlor will also lower your pH so figure that in as well.
 

Trp3383

Member
Nov 7, 2019
19
08210
I used dichlor as an initial shock to bring the chlorine up to 5ppm to help the saltwater system get started. I didn't test cya yet, but I wouldn't want to bring the chlorine up past 5ppm correct? I'm so new to this.....