Newbie Using TFP Chlorine Method On My Spa With Questiions

#1
First off Hello to everyone and thanks to those who have provided valuable information on this forum. I'm new to the world of Spa ownership and have had a Tuff Spa TT450 Platinum (350 Gallon) for about 4 months now. Over the last month or so I've been reading about the TFP Chlorine method and figured I'd give it a shot. I purged the spa with Ahh-Some, drained, cleaned and refilled the tub. Initial readings using a TF100 test set are as follows. CH 190, TA 260, FC 0 as I am on well water. Over the last 1 1/2 days I have added dry acid until I've gotten the TA to 60 PPM but the problem I'm having if it is a problem is that the PH has never gotten below 7.9. So I have a couple of questions that I was hoping some of you wizards might be able to answer for me.

1. Should I continue to drop the TA to see if I can get the PH to drop or leave it as it is. If I continue to drop the TA to see a PH drop how far should I go.
2. I ordered some Boric Acid to help stabilize the PH once I get it where it needs to be. In the thread How TO Use Chlorine it talks about adding Borates to 50ppm to help stabilize PH. Question I have is how do you know you have 50ppm (is there somehow to test for it) and if not how do you know you have enough.

Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated as I'm a holding point as I don't want to add any dichlor until I have the TA and PH where it should be. Thanks in advance.

Scott
 

Arobbert

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2016
101
Holland, MI
#2
First off Hello to everyone and thanks to those who have provided valuable information on this forum. I'm new to the world of Spa ownership and have had a Tuff Spa TT450 Platinum (350 Gallon) for about 4 months now. Over the last month or so I've been reading about the TFP Chlorine method and figured I'd give it a shot. I purged the spa with Ahh-Some, drained, cleaned and refilled the tub. Initial readings using a TF100 test set are as follows. CH 190, TA 260, FC 0 as I am on well water. Over the last 1 1/2 days I have added dry acid until I've gotten the TA to 60 PPM but the problem I'm having if it is a problem is that the PH has never gotten below 7.9. So I have a couple of questions that I was hoping some of you wizards might be able to answer for me.

1. Should I continue to drop the TA to see if I can get the PH to drop or leave it as it is. If I continue to drop the TA to see a PH drop how far should I go.
2. I ordered some Boric Acid to help stabilize the PH once I get it where it needs to be. In the thread How TO Use Chlorine it talks about adding Borates to 50ppm to help stabilize PH. Question I have is how do you know you have 50ppm (is there somehow to test for it) and if not how do you know you have enough.

Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated as I'm a holding point as I don't want to add any dichlor until I have the TA and PH where it should be. Thanks in advance.

Scott
You should continue to lower the TA. It won't stabilize until you get it in the 50 range. Lower the PH to 6 and aerate for about 20 min. Make a note of the amount the TA is being lowered or test. Don't let the TA get much below 50 until you are sure that the PH is not going back up. Once you get the TA to 50 let it sit overnight and complete the process slowly over a day or two. You can go as low as 40 if you need to. I usually do the initial lowering of the TA (in the 50 range) the day of the fill and complete the final adjustments the following day. Once you get a feel for it it will be easy. Take it slow towards the end. Once you get the TA right the PH will be stable unless you add more water. Also note that dichlor is acidic so if you're using it you will need to incorporate that into your calculations.
 
#3
You should continue to lower the TA. It won't stabilize until you get it in the 50 range. Lower the PH to 6 and aerate for about 20 min. Make a note of the amount the TA is being lowered or test. Don't let the TA get much below 50 until you are sure that the PH is not going back up. Once you get the TA to 50 let it sit overnight and complete the process slowly over a day or two. You can go as low as 40 if you need to. I usually do the initial lowering of the TA (in the 50 range) the day of the fill and complete the final adjustments the following day. Once you get a feel for it it will be easy. Take it slow towards the end. Once you get the TA right the PH will be stable unless you add more water. Also note that dichlor is acidic so if you're using it you will need to incorporate that into your calculations.
Okay bear with me as allot of this is new to me. I'm use to testing water as I've had fish for years so I don't have issues with that. Question I have is that with my current TA now at 50ppm will I be able to get the PH that low (6.0) without taking the TA lower then recommended. I still haven't added any Dichlor so should I add the Dichlor and see what happens to my numbers seeing as it is acidic.

Thanks
Scott

Also as mentioned earlier once I have my numbers where they should be I want to add boric acid to try and stabilize the PH. Trying to figure out how I'll know when I have it at 50ppm.
 

jseyfert3

Well-known member
Oct 20, 2017
222
Roscoe, IL
#4
I would not recommend trying to take it to 6. With a TA of 60, you're likely to overshoot and end up with a pH way too low. When lowering TA, I add acid to shoot for a pH of 7 (amount of acid calculated from PoolMath or Acid Demand Test), even from the start, and I start at a TA of 250, very close to yours. Once I'm as close as you are, I try aiming for a pH of 7.4 or so. It's better to take it in smaller steps then to completely crash your pH and have to bring it back up again.

Dichlor is a bit acidic. I'd probably recommend not dropping your pH much below 7.7-7.8 right now, see where it ends up after a couple weeks when you've added enough CYA to get to 20-30 ppm. That said, make sure you can actually see the color below the top range of the test. My test kit goes to 8.0 on the top end, but I can't really tell a color difference between 7.8 and 8.0. 7.7 and below is I can though. I just mention this because if you can't tell it's a shade below the max color, you don't know how far above the max color it is.

As to the borates, you have two options. You can buy some borate test strips, or do what most here do and use PoolMath to tell you how much to add. For example, my 290 gallon spa takes 17 oz by weight of Borax, so I just use a bowl and a kitchen scale and weigh it off. It's also 16 oz by volume, so I could have measured off 2 cups instead. PoolMath also then tells me I'll need 8.1 oz 31.45% muriatic acid to compensate the pH increase. Boric acid affects pH much less, slightly slowing it.

If you undershoot your pH target, add a little bit of baking soda and aerate to bring your pH back up. The baking soda will raise the TA, and the increased TA with aeration will raise the pH.

PoolMath
 

Arobbert

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2016
101
Holland, MI
#5
Okay bear with me as allot of this is new to me. I'm use to testing water as I've had fish for years so I don't have issues with that. Question I have is that with my current TA now at 50ppm will I be able to get the PH that low (6.0) without taking the TA lower then recommended. I still haven't added any Dichlor so should I add the Dichlor and see what happens to my numbers seeing as it is acidic.

Thanks
Scott

Also as mentioned earlier once I have my numbers where they should be I want to add boric acid to try and stabilize the PH. Trying to figure out how I'll know when I have it at 50ppm.
Once your TA is at 50 run your air for about 20 min. This will raise the PH out of range if your TA is to high. If the PH is in range then you have been successful. Wait a day before checking it again. If the PH is still high take the TA down another 2 ppm or so per adjustment. You can go as low as 40 if you need to, but you should see it start to stabilize soon.

What are you using for chlorine? You should use dichlor first so you can account for the changes in the PH caused by it.

I found using dichlor to get my CYA level makes it difficult to maintain the correct PH. It's so acidic that you should wait until the CYA level is up before getting too aggressive with the PH. Otherwise you are in a constant battle with high and low PH. This can take weeks depending on how much diclor you use. I prefer to use powdered stabilizer to get my CYA up to 40. It has a minimal effect on PH compared to dichlor. I add it before I do anything to the PH. I use liquid chlorine right away and skip the dichlor except for the initial dose to get a chlorine level in place (got to use it up somehow). This way you can keep your PH in balance. You will not be affected by the constant up and down caused by dichlor for the first few weeks. Note that stabilizer will dissolve too slowly if you dump it directly into the spa. The best way to add it is to put it in a nylon sock and place the sock in the skimmer. It will dissolve in a few hours this way.


I wouldn't worry about the Boric acid for now. It will just make things more complicated. I don't use it and my PH is solid since I started using the above process.
 
#6
Thanks to all for the valuable information. I'll add Dichlor for now to get my FC up and CYA level to around 30 and see where my TA and PH are after that. It seems like it will be trial and error for a while until I can get the actual amount of chemicals I need after drain and refill and then just tweak it accordingly. I'm sure I'll be back to ask more questions so please be patient with my ignorance. Thanks again for your help.
 

Arobbert

Well-known member
Jul 2, 2016
101
Holland, MI
#7
I would not recommend trying to take it to 6. With a TA of 60, you're likely to overshoot and end up with a pH way too low. When lowering TA, I add acid to shoot for a pH of 7 (amount of acid calculated from PoolMath or Acid Demand Test), even from the start, and I start at a TA of 250, very close to yours. Once I'm as close as you are, I try aiming for a pH of 7.4 or so. It's better to take it in smaller steps then to completely crash your pH and have to bring it back up again.

Dichlor is a bit acidic. I'd probably recommend not dropping your pH much below 7.7-7.8 right now, see where it ends up after a couple weeks when you've added enough CYA to get to 20-30 ppm. That said, make sure you can actually see the color below the top range of the test. My test kit goes to 8.0 on the top end, but I can't really tell a color difference between 7.8 and 8.0. 7.7 and below is I can though. I just mention this because if you can't tell it's a shade below the max color, you don't know how far above the max color it is.

As to the borates, you have two options. You can buy some borate test strips, or do what most here do and use PoolMath to tell you how much to add. For example, my 290 gallon spa takes 17 oz by weight of Borax, so I just use a bowl and a kitchen scale and weigh it off. It's also 16 oz by volume, so I could have measured off 2 cups instead. PoolMath also then tells me I'll need 8.1 oz 31.45% muriatic acid to compensate the pH increase. Boric acid affects pH much less, slightly slowing it.

If you undershoot your pH target, add a little bit of baking soda and aerate to bring your pH back up. The baking soda will raise the TA, and the increased TA with aeration will raise the pH.

PoolMath

I agree. since his TA is getting close it's better to take it slow, especially since he'll be adding dichlor.
 

Certified106

Well-known member
Sep 10, 2018
86
Athens, Ohio
#9
The first time I had to lower my TA and PH I took it slow. The next time I got a bit aggressive and went for it then ended up overshooting. I have found that if you track your additions at set TA levels it ends up being very close to the same additions the next time at that same TA level.