Total Dissolved Solids going up - Hot Springs salt system

SallyD

Member
Oct 8, 2020
8
Chaska, MN
I have a new Hot Spring Limelight with their Freshwater Salt System. Long story short, but my total Dissolved Solids go up mysteriously over 2 weeks and shuts the saltwater system off. Then I have to drain/refill start over. I've refilled 3 times since Labor Day. My dealer "expert" just says "there's a lot of 'junk' dissolved in the water making the meter read high". I'm trying to figure out where this junk is coming from and why a fresh refill starts fine, then boom, TDS starts go up. There's only 2 of us, we use it midweek and weekends. we rinse off in the shower before getting in. When the saltwater system IS working, I don't need many chemicals which is nice and I'm not dumping lots of stuff in it. But it's approaching a high reading again and I anticipate it will go over the limit within the week. And now it's cold here in Minnesota so draining/refilling isn't an option until spring.

Any ideas where the "junk" is coming from since my dealer has given up? I am asking for a refund of the saltwater system. Thank you!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,199
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
How are you measuring TDS?

What chemicals are you adding to the water?

How much salt are you adding?

I suspect you are adding too much salt and are using test strips. Get the K-1766 Taylor Salt Test for accurate measurement of the salt level.

Are you following these instructions...

 

SallyD

Member
Oct 8, 2020
8
Chaska, MN
Thank you for responding.

I'm measuring TDS using the saltwater system display itself and salt test strips from the dealer. The salt test strips indicate between 750 and 1000 ppm. The saltwater system indicator is just a colored bar on the electronic display that doesn't show actual numbers. It went from low in the OK range to high in the OK range in roughly 5 days with just me soaking in it for about 45 minutes on day 3. I had to drain my first fill 4 days after because the meter on the saltwater system display went high and shut itself off. So on my second and third fill, I only added 1 cup of salt. User guide recommends 5 cups. 290 gal tub.

I have to hammer it with phMinus right after fill. Then the saltwater system comes online. When that is working (before TDS goes too high), I only need to add small amounts of the non-chlorine sanitizer and my 5-point test strips look good. I'm using the product they gave me which is potassium peroxymonosulfate.

Yes, I used those instructions (not that web site specifically, but the instructions they gave me match that web site).

However, I did not have my fill water tested first. The service guy said my soft water would be fine. I'm beginning to think that's not true.

I'm beginning to think my fill water has issues for two reasons:
- on fresh fill, only 1cup of salt is needed
- if I add a few gallons of fill to top off the tub, my saltwater system indicator bumps up.

I will get the Taylor salt test. Is there a test for TDS I could use on my fill water? Other suggestions?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
21,199
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Maybe @RDspaguy is familiar with your system.

TDS should not matter to your spa. It is the salt PPM level that matters.

Does your spa display differentiate between TDS and salt levels?

TDS in pool water includes Salt, Calcium Hardness, Free Chlorine, TA, and CYA and any other soluble substances that have been dissolved in the water.

 
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SallyD

Member
Oct 8, 2020
8
Chaska, MN
Thanks for responding! I'm told the spa displays TDS. And the salt test strip shows salt as a little low. That makes me think there's non-salt factors making the TDS measure high.
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
1,004
Cabool, Mo
only need to add small amounts of the non-chlorine sanitizer and my 5-point test strips look good. I'm using the product they gave me which is potassium peroxymonosulfate.
I have heard that mps (monopersulfate, non-chlorine shock) reads as a salt to the cell, and should not be used with a salt system.


The service guy said my soft water would be fine. I'm beginning to think that's not true.
I have always heard that you do not want to use softened water in your pool or spa. I have no basis for this from personal experience, and have had customers who use soft water with no issues.
I would say fill with hard water and stop using mps.
Unfortunately, I am not at all familiar with the hot springs salt system, having never seen one, but I hear that they are problematic and many people have issues with them.
 

jseyfert3

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,245
Southern WI
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
And now it's cold here in Minnesota so draining/refilling isn't an option until spring.
While a properly maintained tub shouldn't need draining and refilling every couple weeks, and I'm a couple hours south of you, I present a January drain/clean and refill. Snow on the ground as snow was falling. ;)


You can't leave it drained but you certainly can do a drain and immediate refill if not done over a super cold snap. (I'd also avoid doing it right before ice or a winter storm that may knock the power out while it's reheating still)
 

SallyD

Member
Oct 8, 2020
8
Chaska, MN
While a properly maintained tub shouldn't need draining and refilling every couple weeks, and I'm a couple hours south of you, I present a January drain/clean and refill. Snow on the ground as snow was falling. ;)


You can't leave it drained but you certainly can do a drain and immediate refill if not done over a super cold snap. (I'd also avoid doing it right before ice or a winter storm that may knock the power out while it's reheating still)
What pump are you using there? And where are you pumping out to? I'd have to pump the water up and into the house to a drain. Can the pump do that? (I'm a super newbie here...)
 

jseyfert3

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Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 20, 2017
1,245
Southern WI
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Just a common utility pump from Farm and Fleet. Can get them at any hardware store too. Most of the smaller ones have a garden hose connector. I just pumped it into my yard but you can certainly pump water up as well, so pumping into a drain shouldn't be an issue.