Vacation/Leaving hot tub

Chiefblue

Active member
Oct 6, 2018
27
Bay City, MI
I have a question about leaving a hot tub while going on vacation. What does everyone do with there chemicals. It seems that I normally add about 1-2 oz of chlorine every night after checking with test kit to get my level back up to around 7ppm of FC. If I were to go away for a few days or a week what do I do while I’m gone. Is there a floater I can use? Just looking for some suggestions. Thanks in advance
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
983
Stuart/FL
What about using a floating chlorine dispenser with a chlorine stick in it? And if so how do you regulate it?
Chief,

You can deal with vacations several ways:
  1. Raise your FC using liquid bleach to much higher level such as SLAM level and let it come down naturally each day. When you do this the relationship is not linear. It is closer to a fixed percentage per day so it will drop a lot more per day when you have 20 ppm than 5 ppm. My pool usually drops 2 ppm per day or so at peak season and normal FC levels. If I take it up to 24 ppm though it will be back to normal in much less than 12 days, closer to 5 days.
  2. Use trichlor tablets in a floater. Beware this will increase your CYA level. To avoid this I let the CYA level drop before I go on vacation. In your case one 1" tablet will increase FC level by 21 ppm and 13 ppm CYA. Keep this in mind.
  3. Use a combination of 1 and 2.
I had my pool in liquid chlorine treatment for 3+ years. For vacations I was conservative to avoid algae problems. So I would take the FC level up to 20+ ppm for 5 day vacations. I would also add several 3" tablets when I was gone longer. When I got home the FC level was always on the high side. I would then just take out the remains of the tablets and let the FC drop to normal. The amount of time you can do this depends on temperature. In Florida winters I've done this up to 3 weeks. In your case the volume is much lower than mine so I would try one or two 1" tablets max. If this gets your CYA too high you can always replace some water... much better than dealing with algae when you get back.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 
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DDGMAN

Bronze Supporter
Oct 12, 2016
20
Wadsworth/OH
A floater would be a good choice. Use one for a week before you leave at lowest temp setting to see how to maintain your FC level. Top it off before you leave. If you want more peace of mind, ask a neighbor or friend to check it with a test strip every few days then call you if it is out of whack to get guidance.
 
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tmm1

Gold Supporter
Dec 21, 2018
29
Santa Barbara, CA
A hang-over SWG like the Saltron Mini or ChlorMaker is also a great solution. I got one for my last vacation and haven't had to worry about chlorine even after coming back home.
 
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Chiefblue

Active member
Oct 6, 2018
27
Bay City, MI
Thank you all for the replies. Greatly appreciated. I am leaning towards using a floater or raising the chlorine level high like setsailsoon said and letting it come down naturally over the coarse of a few days. My question is two parts, if I raise the level is there a rule of thumb for how much to raise it vs. how many days I will be away (it seems on average I loose around 4 ppm per day) second question, if I were to use a floater, which I have some Bioguard silk guard complete trichlor tablets, could this damage/discolor the the spa shell and/or be hard to regulate? Sorry if all this sounds kind of dumb but I just want to make sure I don’t screw it up and damage equipment or who knows what else. I would also like to say that I appreciate all the time people take to answer questions and the depth of the answers given on this forum. Everything I know and use to maintain my spa has come from members here. This is truly a great community of good people who I believe enjoy taking the time to help teach others. Thank you. P.S. sorry about the long post
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
983
Stuart/FL
Chief,

Can you please post a set of test results? I like the idea Dogman mentioned to check this out in advance. Bring your spa up to SLAM level and see how long that lasts. You won't be able to test the tablets so easily since even the small ones add 20 ppm CYA unless you are very low in CYA. TFP method eliminates additives for a lot of good reasons including potential staining. If you use tablets only use 99+% triclor with no "other ingredients" on the list. There are guidelines for % drop in your FC level but every spa/pool is a little different so watching your pool react would be the best approach. Do you have time for this approach?

One last thing, there are no dumb questions here. We all are here because we want to share a methodology that works for ordinary pool owners. The best way to pass this along is to answer any questions you have. So please, please ask any questions you have especially the ones you think might be dumb.

I hope this is helpful.

Chris
 

Chiefblue

Active member
Oct 6, 2018
27
Bay City, MI
Thanks Chris for the reply. I can post some test results tomorrow. The last time I checked my cya level about a month ago it was 38. At that level my shock level should be close to 16 according to the chart. Is a chlorine level that high hard on the equipment or the spa shell? Is it safe to use the spa at that level or is there a level that is considered to high to go in, if so what is that level (just curious). Thank you in advance for your time
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
4,505
Northern NJ
Thanks Chris for the reply. I can post some test results tomorrow. The last time I checked my cya level about a month ago it was 38. At that level my shock level should be close to 16 according to the chart. Is a chlorine level that high hard on the equipment or the spa shell? Is it safe to use the spa at that level or is there a level that is considered to high to go in, if so what is that level (just curious). Thank you in advance for your time
You always round up CYA tests. You can’t eyeball values in between. Your CYA is 40.

Any chlorine level up to shock level for your CYA is safe for people. Any higher chlorine level is fine for equipment and shell.
 
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setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
983
Stuart/FL
Chief,

I completely agree with Allen's above. If it were my spa this is exactly what I'd do and have done in my pool. Please do keep us posted on your results and any other questions that may arise.

Chris
 

Chiefblue

Active member
Oct 6, 2018
27
Bay City, MI
Thank you Allen and Chris. I think I will go the route of raising the CL level before I leave. I would assume that if I raise the level to the shock level of 16 and on average I loose around 3 to 4 ppm of CL a day if I were to leave for three days when I get home the level should be around 4 to 7 ppm. Am I correct in my thinking? This would be the loss rate if I left the temp at 101. If I lowered the temp the loss rate would be less I would assume? My test results are CL - 4.6ppm. CC - .8 to 1.0 ppm. PH - 7.8 TA - 90. CH - 190 and CYA is 0. Not sure how the cya is 0 because a few months ago when I tested it was 40 ppm. I always thought was cya level was up it never dropped. I have added a few inches of water a couple of times since last tested. Maybe that’s why it’s down. Thanks again in advance for your help.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
4,505
Northern NJ
FC loss is not linear. High FC lose CL quicker. You really have to do some experiments before you leave and see what the daily CL loss is at the temp you want to lrave the spa. Raising the FC above shock level will not hurt anything if no one is going into the spa.

I believe CYA is lost at hot spa temperatures.
 

setsailsoon

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
983
Stuart/FL
Thank you Allen and Chris. I think I will go the route of raising the CL level before I leave. I would assume that if I raise the level to the shock level of 16 and on average I loose around 3 to 4 ppm of CL a day if I were to leave for three days when I get home the level should be around 4 to 7 ppm. Am I correct in my thinking? This would be the loss rate if I left the temp at 101. If I lowered the temp the loss rate would be less I would assume? My test results are CL - 4.6ppm. CC - .8 to 1.0 ppm. PH - 7.8 TA - 90. CH - 190 and CYA is 0. Not sure how the cya is 0 because a few months ago when I tested it was 40 ppm. I always thought was cya level was up it never dropped. I have added a few inches of water a couple of times since last tested. Maybe that’s why it’s down. Thanks again in advance for your help.
Chief,

As Allen pointed out FC loss is not straight line. It is more like a fixed percentage per day. So when you start at 16 ppm you're going to have more than 4 ppm drop with everything else being equal. That's why it will be helpful to do the test. CYA does oxidize over time just much more slowly than FC. I'd do the test with 16 FC to start and measure FC each day. You will definitely lose less FC at lower temps. And the trichlor tablet will help a lot. Also, once you get your CYA up your FC drop will be reduced.

Your chemistry looks pretty good other than the low CYA. You'll partially improve this during your vacation and you can always use another tablet or two to get it up to the optimal level.

Hope this helps.

Chris
 
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