New Tub Owner...sanitation methods...argh HELP

Carski78

Member
May 3, 2020
7
London
Apologies in advance for my babbling, many questions post…I am completely new to hot tubbing and bought a tub on the internet at the start of lockdown with no research, guidance etc. So I am reading and reacting. Here’s where I am at.

I have bought a Be Well Canada Spa – 0782 Elite and we are based in the UK and live in a hard water area, I think the tub is 1700l (375gal). It was delivered with little instruction, a ‘sparkle’ liquid (still don’t know what chemicals are inside it) and some chlorine tablets (Trichloroisocyanuric Acid), this is supposedly a chemical start up pack. We filled it up, heated it, added some liquid and put in 1 tablet and thought that was it! First 2 days were great, then a waterline appeared, then sandy feel, then it starts to go green…I’m already on the web researching and panic buying chemicals but it’s the weekend and I need to wait for delivery – Outcome, put in Swirl Away. Drain, clean and start again!

So I’ve now got test strips, some chemicals and have read Nitros water maintenance guide a million times but with these crappy test strips I can’t quite be sure what levels I have from my source water although I know TA is high and pH 7.2. I start adding dry acid at 100g at a time and aerating, in the end I add 550g of dry acid but think I over cooked it slightly and didn’t do the process quite as Nitro explained as I didn’t know what the **** I was doing!!! But that’s another story.

I feel fairly confident now with my pH and TA levels (ooh I bought a better testing kit). So my fill water is TA 300+ (highest scale goes too), Cal Hard (300+), pH 7.2.

So since getting the TA down on the first day, generally my pH is sitting between 7.2-7.4 and TA 80-120. I have to add a little dry acid (20-40g) every 2-3 days and TA one day dropped to 65 but I had to do my weekly maintenance schedule and topped up the tub with tap water, so this raised the TA to 125-140. We are using the tub most days, twice on some. 2 Adults and 3 kids, so I imagine this is a very high bather load.

On the first day of heating the tub I added 30g of Chlorine granules (Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate Dihydrate) to shock tub to 10ppm, since then I pretty much am adding 15g per day to try and keep FC levels ok. So in a very long way here are my questions about sanitising but any other information anyone can provide will be very appreciated.

  • I have been trying to measure FC before and after going in the tub, but often when I test after its 0. How bad is it to have FC at 0 even for an 1hr after bathing?
  • Should FC at least be over 1 at all time…what is an easy/manageable way to achieve this? For example could I have 1 or 2 Trichlor tablets in there, providing a base level of sanitiser and then top up with granules?
  • Is it normal to add Chlorine every single day?
  • Should I be getting my FC to somewhere like 6-8ppm before we all go in the tub for an hour, what do I want my FC to be after an hour after getting out of the tub, 1ppm or closer to 3ppm?
  • If I had a hot tub party, where do you start your water at 10ppm? And add Chlorine through the party?? Obvs I haven’t done this with lockdown but I would like to be prepared and know what others do.
Chlorine - FC, CC and TC - Argh

Now I am reading about CC & TC but getting very confused. On Saturday when checking my FC was 2 and TC 5. Today my FC was 2 and again my TC 5. At the moment I am adding chlorine granules to increase the FC but then I read about Cyan Acid & Sulphates and don’t know which way to turn. Cyan Acid was 20ppm when tested today (but think it should be more from all the chlorine I had added so far 145.2g), so I know I’m getting closer to a crunch point with sanitising and sulphates etc (I think).

I have purchased a Non Chlorine Shock, Ingredients: (Pentapotassium Bis (Peroxymonosulphate) Bis (Sulphate). Also contains Dipotassium Peroxodisulphate) but am also reading about bleach methods.
  • Can someone please help me with an easy method of sanitising my tub, keeping a base level. Do people in the UK use the Dichlor/Bleach method as I haven’t found much info on the web here? If so, what bleach are you purchasing?
  • Should I be using the Dichlor and non Chlorine, would this work ok? How much do I use, daily, weekly? Or do I use a combination of everything above?
PLEASE HELP and thank you in advance for all comments.

ps. How much filtering should the tub water be doing, as well as being in there and the kids turning on all the jests all the time. I have it set to come on 2 times a day for 2hrs?
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,178
Cabool, Mo
I am not even sure where to begin.
Does your spa have an ozonator? Ozone burns off chlorine (fc) and chloramines (cc, think "used chlorine"), which together make up total chlorine (TC). If you have one, it may only run during filtration cycle, or it may run almost constantly. Ozonated spas often have low chlorine, that is the point of ozone. You add chlorine after each use to sanitize (kill contaminants) then the ozone gets rid of your high chlorine levels so you aren't sitting in a chemical bath next time you use it. MPS (non-chlorine shock) will oxidize cc, which is the very definition of shock, as will high fc. But adding chlorine in small amounts does not oxidize cc, only raises fc and therefore tc.
MPS and liquid bleach have high ph, trichlor is low ph, dichlor is near neutral ph. Dichlor and trichlor contain cya, which is like sunscreen for your chlorine but does not stop oxidation from shock or ozone. You generally do not need cya in a portable spa, as it is covered when not in use, but can suffer from too much of it with ineffective sanitization. Thus the recommendation of liquid chlorine (bleach) which does not contain cya.
Even one person in a spa is high bather load in pool terms. You should be raising your fc to shock levels after each use, then let the ozone bring it down overnight. Longer filter cycles (and therefore more ozone) and more sanitizer for heavy use. Chlidren are ALWAYS heavy use! At least mine are...
Dichlor/ MPS is a common system in ozonated spas. They even sell a premix called "enhanced shock", which is just dichlor and MPS. But cya buildup can lead to frequent water changes, which may be problematic depending on where you are.
In my spa I have ozone, use a mineral purifier, add chlorine after each use, and change water frequently (3-4 times a year) I use dichlor (because of ph), and shock with liquid if things get funky (rarely unless I spill my drink)
Here is an article on alk/ ph. I am sure TFP has similar info but am not sure myself how to find it quickly.
If I failed to answer any of your questions please ask them again!
I know it is confusing at first, but so was driving a car. You get used to it pretty quick. In no time it will be nothing to it.
 

Carski78

Member
May 3, 2020
7
London
Hi RDSpaguy,

Thanks for replying, I do not have an ozonator in my spa.

So what is generally a good system to use for me with no ozonator. I don't mind doing things daily but I want to keep on top of the bugs and not be over filling the tub with chemicals when they are not really needed or the most efficient method.

When you say 'You should be raising your fc to shock levels after each use'. What shock level are we talking about? 5ppm, 10ppm and do I do this with Dichlor everytime? (At the moment I have Trichlor tablets, Dichlor granules and MPS in my locker). I haven't used MPS yet, so not sure how much or how often this should be used in conjunction with Dichlor?

I'm not quite sure what bleach I would purchase in the UK, I found one that said 'Sodium Hypochlorite 14/15% Liquid Chlorine, Unstabilised liquid chlorine with 14%-15% available chlorine' but on TFP forums I've seen they should be 6%, when I search for 6% I'm not confident in the results. So was also hoping someone in the UK that uses this method might be able to help too?

Thanks
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,178
Cabool, Mo
With no ozone to drop it down, I would go to 5ppm and see how that does. This method is countering contamination, but we can't test contamination to know how much is actually needed. Sure wish we could! So you have to play with it a bit to find the right levels for your use. With ozone you simply overdo it and let the ozone handle the excess.
Dichlor is going to lead to frequent water changes, and with your balance issues that might not be ideal.
Liquid chlorine for pools in the USA are 10%, so a higher % just means you use less, and 6% is household clorox bleach.
Shocking with mps eliminates cc without raising fc, and is a good idea in spas without ozone.
 

Carski78

Member
May 3, 2020
7
London
I'm not sure Joe Bloggs (random person) is legally allowed to purchase liquid chlorine this way, as I can't find it as an option on loads of pool & spa websites in the UK that I've looked at today. (unless I'm going mad!) And don't want to purchase household bleach as that has other ingredients in, that I'm not sure will go with a tub?!

So lets presume I'm just using Dichlor and MPS for sanitising. Then after every swim I take the FC to 5ppm using Dichlor.

1) Is it ok to get in a tub that has 0-1ppm FC in and then add Dichlor after use to raise it to 5? Or should it be closer to 1-3ppm when I first get in?
2) When do I use MPS??? Every day, every week? How much? What ppm should I try to get it to?
3) Do I need to worry about Cyan Acid levels rising to silly levels in 3 months when I'm using Dichlor everyday?

Thanks again!
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,178
Cabool, Mo
Shipping liquid chlorine is problematic as it is a hazardous chemical. Household bleach is fine, just get the basic unscented non-color safe variety.
1) 1-3 ppm is fine.
2) Any time tc exceeds fc by 1ppm
3) Yes, you do. That is the reason to use bleach.
 

Spiers

Member
Jun 2, 2017
16
Wales
I'm not sure Joe Bloggs (random person) is legally allowed to purchase liquid chlorine this way, as I can't find it as an option on loads of pool & spa websites in the UK that I've looked at today. (unless I'm going mad!) And don't want to purchase household bleach as that has other ingredients in, that I'm not sure will go with a tub?!

So lets presume I'm just using Dichlor and MPS for sanitising. Then after every swim I take the FC to 5ppm using Dichlor.

1) Is it ok to get in a tub that has 0-1ppm FC in and then add Dichlor after use to raise it to 5? Or should it be closer to 1-3ppm when I first get in?
2) When do I use MPS??? Every day, every week? How much? What ppm should I try to get it to?
3) Do I need to worry about Cyan Acid levels rising to silly levels in 3 months when I'm using Dichlor everyday?

Thanks again!
There are quite a few suppliers of Sodium Hypochlorite in the UK, I use allianceonline and it’s quickly delivered next day. The price has shot up though as it’s more than doubled from what it used to be.

Also use it on your patio to clean it, much better than any of the expensive cleaners.
 

Carski78

Member
May 3, 2020
7
London
Thank you for your replies. Spiers - I'm not sure I will need 20l?? how long will that last for?

The products I have bought really have very little explanation of quantities that are needed to dose correctly so I have been using the 'effects of adding' from the app. What chemical addition do I select for 'MPS'? - (Ingredients: (Pentapotassium Bis (Peroxymonosulphate) Bis (Sulphate). Also contains Dipotassium Peroxodisulphate)

Please can you put me in the right direction for the kind of quantities I should be looking at when I need to add MPS and also bleach @14% ?

lets presume I have 1ppm of FC. Then 1 adult goes in the tub for 1 hour. (1700l tub)

How much bleach would be required in ml afterwards?
or
How much MPS would be required in ml afterwards?

I know there are lots of variables, just a ball park so I know/feel I'm in the right area, oh also If there were 2 adults would this quantity be doubled.
 

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RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,178
Cabool, Mo
There is no ballpark. It is on an individual basis. How dirty is the person? Did they shower before use? Have they been sweating? Did they get out and grab a drink barefoot, or with shoes? Are they having bowel issues (diarrhea)? Did a bird fly by and drop a gift in the spa? Is the wind blowing dust or pollen into the spa? Do they use fabric softener, lotion, conditioner, makeup? Did anyone sneeze? The list of variables is endless. That is why you have a test kit.
Even then, with mps there is no test method and no dosing chart. Most manufacturers say to add 2oz and retest in a few hours. Your goal is FC and TC are the same.
If shocking with chlorine, you want to raise fc by 10x the difference between fc and tc. So if your fc is 1 and tc is 5, you need to increase fc to 40, that's right, 40. You obviously won't be using the spa for a while after that. Hence non-chlorine shock, or ozone to reduce that fc quickly. With a 15% liquid bleach, 1/2 oz will raise fc 1ppm in a 400 gallon spa.
If you try to follow a formula (X amount every X days) you will have trouble sooner or later. Once you get a feel for your usage needs, you can come up with your own formula, but that formula will probably not work for your neighbor.
 

Spiers

Member
Jun 2, 2017
16
Wales
Thank you for your replies. Spiers - I'm not sure I will need 20l?? how long will that last for?

The products I have bought really have very little explanation of quantities that are needed to dose correctly so I have been using the 'effects of adding' from the app. What chemical addition do I select for 'MPS'? - (Ingredients: (Pentapotassium Bis (Peroxymonosulphate) Bis (Sulphate). Also contains Dipotassium Peroxodisulphate)

Please can you put me in the right direction for the kind of quantities I should be looking at when I need to add MPS and also bleach @14% ?

lets presume I have 1ppm of FC. Then 1 adult goes in the tub for 1 hour. (1700l tub)

How much bleach would be required in ml afterwards?
or
How much MPS would be required in ml afterwards?

I know there are lots of variables, just a ball park so I know/feel I'm in the right area, oh also If there were 2 adults would this quantity be doubled.

I have a pool so i needed a large amount, It’s totally worth it as using the calculations from this site and you will have a clean pool/spa.

The hardest part is trying to source a Taylor test kit, it’s going to cost you a lot of money for one but its the most important purchase I think you will make. £200 ($240) is my cost for this year for a K-2006C.
 

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,759
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
You’ll definitely figure out approx how much to add when u get out according to your bather load if u keep testing. & definitely switch to bleach after u have used approx 40 ppm of dichlor that will leave u with about 30 ppm or so of cya (conditioner) [enough to keep the chlorine from being too harsh but not so much it drives up chlorine demand]in the water .
I have a swg that hangs over the side (saltron mini) that keeps my fc up pretty well unless we have an extended soak then i just raise to shock level with bleach. Every few weeks or so i may use a little dichlor to replenish my cya from splash out.
 
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