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Jack Stone's Posts

When to Replace a Spa Pack

May 9th, 2014 by

spa-packs-hot-tub-worksThere comes a time – in the life of every spa or hot tub, when the gears stop turning. It’s usually a minor glitch, something a new pump, or new heater element or relay can fix fast.

But then there are those times when it makes sense to replace the entire spa pack, and take advantage of modern spa pack features and efficiency.

For those of you who aren’t hip to the lingo, a spa pack is a self-contained unit, that contains the controller, heater, pump and sometimes a blower, all mounted on a skid to slide neatly under your spa or hot tub.

When should you replace your spa pack? There are several situations that make it more cost effective or a better long term decision, to replace the entire spa equipment pack.

  1. Your spa pak is old, and it develops a mechanical problem. It could be an inexpensive fix, but soon after, there’s another repair expense. When packs reach 7-10 years of age, they start breaking down.
  2. Your spa controls operate with air buttons, and you would like to have a state of the art digital controller, with backlit display board and function controls and status.
  3. Your heater is broken, again! Breaker is tripping or there are other annoying electrical nuisances.
  4. Your spa system runs continuously without filter cycles; runs only on low speed or only high speed.
  5. A repair company came out for a diagnosis; gave you an estimate that could reach $500. Ouch!

 

SELECTING A NEW SPA PACK

Buying a new spa pack can be confusing, here’s some questions to ask yourself, or call us – and we’ll ask you the questions!

SINGLE OR DUAL PUMPS?

Some spas or hot tubs have a single pump, usually a dual speed (low and high), to accomplish circulation, filtration and high pressure jet action. Other pumps have a low speed circulation pump, and a separate jet pump for the jet action.

PIPE SIZE?

Most spas and hot tubs have 1.5″ plumbing, which has a 1.9″ OD, or outer diameter to the pipe. Larger spas, or custom hot tubs may use 2″ PVC plumbing, which has an OD of 2.375 inches. When ordering a new spa pack, we need to know which pipe size you have – 1.5″ or 2.0″.

INLET ORIENTATION?

Is your spa pack a lefty or a righty? As you look at your current spa equipment pack, is the pump inlet on the left or right side. Put another way, is the wet end of the pump facing to your right or to your left, as you look at the spa pack?

VOLTAGE?

110V or 220V – that is the question – regarding your pump. You may have a 220v spa pack, but have 110V pumps. Check the label closely (with a flashlight and magnifying glass if necessary), to be certain of the voltage for your spa pack pump(s).

HORSEPOWER?

How many horses is your spa pump packing? This is another label check, look for the abbreviation HP to indicate the pump motor horsepower. Spa packs can have pumps with a small 1.0 hp, all the way up to 5.0 hp. Don’t buy a spa pack with a larger hp pump, without speaking to one of our spa techs first. An overpowered spa pump can be worse than an underpowered one.

BLOWER?

Some spa packs have a blower mounted on the skid, and other spas will have a blower mounted elsewhere under the spa skirt, or even in a remote location. If your blower is located on the skid, select Yes – to add a blower to your spa pak, or No – if it’s mounted elsewhere, or you prefer to soak without bubbles.

DIGITAL OR AIR?

A digital spa pack has an digital display of the water temperature, and probably a few status lights. An air system or pneumatic spa control operates with air buttons on the control panel, and you will also see thin air hoses connecting from the  control panel to the control unit. You can switch from air to digital. Contact one of our spa techs if you have any questions.

spa-pack-

 

With the information above, you can buy a new spa pack online, or if you’d like to be sure that you’ve selected the right spa pack, and maybe want to ask a few installation questions, please call our spa techs at 800-772-0292, or send an email with your questions.

 

- Jack

 

Bromine vs. Chlorine for Spas & Hot Tubs

May 1st, 2014 by

chlorine vs. bromineFor the hot tub or spa owner, a thought gets put into their head, “Hey, why not use pool chemicals for the hot tub? They’re a lot cheaper!”

So, why not just use 3″ chlorine tablets and powdered pool shock to sanitize your spa? Isn’t it the same thing?

Bromine vs. Chlorine – two challengers will fight for the title of best spa and hot tub sanitizer.

ROUND ONE: COST

Trichlor chlorine tablets, the 1″ size, are about 20% cheaper than bromine tablets. And the 3″ tablets, are over 40% cheaper, when you buy in bulk. Chlorine does have a shelf life however, and after about a year, depending on the temperature it is stored at, it can lose half of it’s power. Cal Hypo or dichlor shock, two types of pool shocks, are also cheaper than non-chlorine shock, Angel Tabs, or our specialty spa shocks.

Round One goes to chlorine – definitely a cheaper alternative!

ROUND TWO: CONVENIENCE

brom-booster-htwBoth challengers are fairly convenient. Purchase a small quantity of 1″ tablets (3″ tablets are too slow dissolving for hot tubs), and put enough in a floating dispenser to give a good reading when the water is tested.

Bromine however, requires a bank of bromides to build up before you can register a reading on your test kit. Another small step in the process, after draining a spa, you can shake in a little Brom Booster, or use the 2 oz. sodium bromide packets.

Chlorine comes out slightly ahead in Round Two.

ROUND THREE: STAYING POWER

Bromine is not as easily protected from the sun as chlorine is, by adding stabilizer, or cyanuric acid. But then, most hot tubs are covered and out of the sun. Although bromine lost the first round, and can be more expensive than chlorine, it has the curious property of reactivation.

Bromide salts can be reactivated into bromine by adding a small amount of chlorine shock or MPS shock. This allows you to reuse the bromide again and again, and you use less bromine tablets. With chlorine however, once the killing work is done, the chlorine molecule becomes inert.

Bromine wins this round, with an amazing ability to regenerate.

ROUND FOUR: KILLING POWER

bromine-has-an-extra-layerWhich is stronger, chlorine or bromine? Chemically speaking, chlorine is a stronger halogen, with a quicker oxidation reaction, but bromine has a larger atomic size, with an extra valence shell.

Bromine has a big advantage over chlorine in killing bacteria and viruses, whereas chlorine has an advantage in killing algae more rapidly. Bromamines continue to be an active sanitizer, in contrast with chloramines, as we will see in the next round.

Bromine wins Round Four; it’s stronger in more water conditions and molecular states.

ROUND FIVE: STABILITY

Bromine comes out swinging! At a high pH, say of 7.8, only about 25% of chlorine is active. Bromine is not affected by pH swings as much, and continues to be effective, when a full hot tub can quickly raise pH levels.

Being stable at high temperatures is another characteristic of bromine. Chlorine becomes really active at high temperatures and tends to quickly gas off, at temperatures around 100 degrees.

Third, when bromine or chlorine combine with nitrogen or ammonia, they form bromamines or chloramines. In chlorine, the compound formed becomes an ineffective sanitizer, and is responsible for red eyes, itchy skin and that awful chlorine smell. Bromamines, on the other hand, continue to be active sanitizers, without smell or irritation.

Bromine wins Round Five!

ROUND SIX: OTHER

  • ODOR – Chlorine smells similar, but the bromine odor, in the container or in the water, is softer.
  • IRRITATION – Skin irritation can occur with bromine or chlorine, but bromine is less irritating.
  • pH – Trichlor has a very low pH, Bleach has a very high pH, Bromine has a pH level of 7.5. Perfect!
  • ADDITIVES – Cal hypo adds calcium to a spa, and Trichlor and Dichlor will add cyanuric acid.

Bromine has chlorine against the ropes, and in the sixth round, has delivered a knockout blow!

 

bromine-winsIf you have a spa, bromine has a lot of advantages over using chlorine. It may cost a little bit more, but it lasts longer and does a much better job than chlorine at killing bacteria, especially at high temperatures and high pH levels.

Which is better – bromine or chlorine? Bromine is best for spas, use Chlorine for pools.

- Jack

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs as Tax Refund Purchases!

April 13th, 2014 by

hot-tub-tax-return

April 15 is tomorrow – tax day!

If you’ve given the government an interest-free loan over the past 12 months – you have a tax refund coming your way!

The average tax refund for this year is $2831 – that’s enough to get you into a 4-5 person spa!

Our Aquarock line of rotomolded spas start at just $2399, for the Bliss Spa, or for a few dollars more, you can step up to the Aquarock Serene Spa, currently priced at $2699.

Expecting a larger refund? Treat your friends and family to hot water therapy, in our larger, more powerful Acrylic spa, with all the bells and whistles. Here’s a few of my favorite spa models…

AquaRock Xanadu Spa

aquarock-xanadu-spas

 

The Xanadu Spa is a round, roto-molded tub for up to 6 adults. Comfortable seats include an interior step/cool-down Seat. Features a durable resin cabinet, the and a backlit digital topside control, underwater LED light, 1kW/4kW stainless steel heater, and comes in eye-catching Cobblestone, Millstone, and Gray Granite cabinet colors.

The Xanadu Spa is sold complete for $2999.

 

AquaRock Tranquility Spa

aquarock-tranquility-spa

The Tranquility Spa can seat up to 6 people in its comfortable roto-molded seats, and includes a lounger. Features a super-strong resin cabinet, the AquaRock Tranquility Premium Spa includes a waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, and an Ozonator. The AquaRock Tranquility Premium Spa comes in eye-catching Cobblestone, and Gray Granite cabinet colors to enhance any backyard décor.

The Tranquility Premium Spa is sold complete for $3999

 

AquaRock Mykonos 50 Spa

aquarock-mykonos

The AquaRock Mykonos 50 Spa can seat up to 5 people in its smooth and soft Acrylic seats that include two Captain’s chairs, and also has an interior step/cool-down seat. Features a super-strong DURA-LAST resin cabinet, the Mykonos 50 Spa includes a backlit LED waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, blower, 50 Jets, and an Ozonator. Available with different cabinet colors – Cobblestone, Gray Granite, and Millstone.

The Mykonos 50 Spa is sold complete for $5499

 

AquaRock Morocco 90 Jet Acrylic Spa

morocco-spa

The AquaRock Morocco Acrylic 90 Jet Spa can seat up to 6 people in six comfortable seats that include a lounger and 2 Captain’s chairs. The Captain’s chairs have rollover neck/shoulder jets for soothing your joints, and there is also an interior cool-down seat. All Resin cabinet, the AquaRock Morocco Spa includes a backlit LED waterfall, underwater LED light, backlit digital topside control, 4 kW stainless steel heater, 90 Jets and an Ozonator. It’s a Top-of-the-Line spa!

The Morocco 90 Spa is sold complete for $6499

 

Now that you know what to do with your tax refund, you can relax – in your own hot tub! You’ve worked hard – you deserve it ! See our full line of spas >>> here.

 

- Jack

 

Installing a New Spa Pump

April 3rd, 2014 by

spa-pump-installation

 

I have heard that the industry average for spa pump motor is about 8 years. When the motor goes, you have a choice – replace just the motor, or buy the entire pump.

The same with the wet end, or the opposite end of the pump, you could just replace a new wet end onto the existing motor. We have a large inventory of parts for spa pumps, to fix almost any pump problem.

But…if you’d rather not get your hands dirty, and prefer to just replace the entire pump – motor and wet end, then this post is for you. Here’s how to replace a typical spa pump, wired into a spa pack.

 

1. Check the Frame, Horsepower, Voltage & Speed

You don’t want to install the wrong pump, so get out your reading glasses and a flashlight, and inspect the label on the pump motor. Look for FR which indicates frame type (48 or 56), HP for horsepower(1 – 5), Voltage (115 or 230) and Speed (single or dual). Replace your existing pump with the same size and type spa pump. adjustable spa-pump-volute

Also pay attention to how the pump discharge is oriented, is it on the side, or on the top center? These are two different wet ends. The side discharge spa pump can be rotated to different locations by loosening the volute screws, but the center discharge is top dead center – 12:00.

If you have questions on selecting the correct spa pump, please call or email us!

2. Shut off the Power

Don’t take chances, find the correct circuit breaker that feeds the spa and shut it off. Use a piece of tape over the breaker so that no one accidentally turns it back on. After shutting off the breaker, test to be sure that power is off, then you can proceed to disassemble and remove the existing pump.

3. Disconnect Old Spa Pump

Start with removing the bare copper bonding wire that is attached to the pump. Now, assuming that the spa is drained, or you have valves closed to prevent the water from running out, slowly loosen the union nuts on the incoming and outgoing water connections of the spa pump. 1-10 gallons of water will drain out, so be prepared if your spa is located indoors.

If your spa pump is bolted to the floor, use a wrench or socket to remove the bolts on the motor footpad.

Once you can move the pump, position it to give you easy access to the wires coming into the rear of the motor. Open up the cover plate and you will find 3-wires for a single speed pump, and 4-wires for a two-speed spa pump. With a screwdriver, nut driver or needle nose, you can remove the wires from their terminal screws, and after loosening the cord clamp on the motor, gently pull the wire cable out from the existing motor.

spa-pump-replacement

For a two-speed motor, note or label the high speed and low speed wires, to wire correctly to the new motor. Get out your glasses and flashlight again, you’ll find the terminal screws are labeled in very tiny print.

4. Connect New Spa Pump

You’ll find it easier to wire the motor before you slide the pump underneath the spa. Make identical connections to the new pump. For two-speed motors, low speed is usually Red, common is White and high speed is Black, and green is of course green. However, if the wires are not an actual spa pump cord, the colors may be different. Match up the wire color to the markings on the terminal board.

Remove the pump cord clamp from the old motor and screw it into the wire access port of the new motor. Insert the pump cord through the clamp, and connect the wires to the terminals. You can either wrap the bare wire around the post, underneath the screw or nut, or use spade connectors crimped onto the end of the wire. Make sure that your connections are tight, and no wires are touching each other.pump-cord-clamp

Tighten up the pump cord clamp where the wires enter the rear of the motor, and replace the motor end cap or cover.

Next, you can thread on the union nuts to the new spa pump, making sure that the o-ring is still intact, and has not fallen out. Hand tighten the union nuts firmly. The final step is to re-secure the bolts that hold the motor foot pad to the floor or base. This helps cut down on vibration noise. Using a rubber pad beneath the pump can help reduce it even further.

Finally, reconnect the bare copper bonding wire to the bonding lug on your new spa pump.

5. Testing a New Spa Pump

spa-pakOnce the plumbing on the pump is tightened up, you can begin to fill the spa. Once you have the spa about half full, open the valves and loosen the incoming spa union to allow any air lock to escape, and tighten up firmly when water begins to drip. Continue to fill the spa full, while looking for any leaks around the new spa pump.

When the spa is full, turn on the breaker to test your spa pump, running through it’s paces. Make sure that your heater kicks on and that everything looks and sounds proper.

A fairly simple procedure, but if you need any assistance in replacing spa and hot tub pumps, we have spa techs standing by waiting for your call or email !

 

- Jack

 

Spa & Hot Tub Owner’s Manuals

March 17th, 2014 by

spa-owners-manualsYour spa owner’s manual is an important piece of literature, detailing safety information, installation instructions, and covering every aspect of use, care and maintenance for your spa or hot tub.

Spa manufacturers write some of the most detailed owner’s manuals that I’ve ever read. I’ve been curating spa and hot tub owner’s manuals for many years, but now they sit dusty on the shelf, as most manufacturers have their owner’s manuals listed online.

 

Here’s an extensive reference sheet on where to find owner’s manuals for a spa. Use these as guides for use, care and troubleshooting information. They also usually contain the spa warranty policy, in the appendix of the owner’s manual.

Amish Spas

Arctic Spas

Artesian Spas

Baja Spas

Barefoot Spas

Beachcomber Hot Tubs

Bullfrog Spas

Cal Spas

Caldera Spas

Catalina Spas

Centurion Hot Tubs

Clearwater Spas

Charisma Spa Operation & Installation Guide

Coast Spas

Coyote Spas

Coleman Spas

Costco Spas

Diamante Spas

Dimension One Owner’s Manuals

Dolphin Spas Use & Care Manual

Dreammaker Spas Owners Manuals

Down East Spas  Owner’s Manual

Dynasty Spas Operators Manuals

Emerald Spas Owners Manuals

Freeflow Spas Owner’s Manuals

Garden Leisure Owner’s Manual

Grecian Spas Installation Manual

Great Lakes Spas Owner’s Manuals

Gulf Coast Spas Owner’s Manuals

H2O Spas Owners Manual

Hot Spot Spas Owner’s Manuals

Hot Spring Spas Owner’s Manual

HydroPool  Hot Tubs Product Manuals

Infinity Spas Owners Manual

Jacuzzi Hot Tubs Owner’s Manuals

LA Spas Owner’s Manuals

La-Z-Boy Spas Owner’s Manual

Maax Hot Tubs Owner Manuals

Marquis Spas Owners Manual

Master Spas Owner’s Manuals

Pacific Spas Owner’s Manual

Persona Spas Owner’s Manuals

PDC Spas Owner’s and Installation Manual

Phoenix Spas Owners Manual

Pinnacle Spas Owners Manual

Polar Spas Operator Guides

Polynesian Spas Owners Manual

Saratoga Spas Owner’s Manuals

Shoreline Spas Operator’s Guide

Softub Manuals and Instructions

Solana Spa Owner’s Manual

Sonoma Spas Owner’s Manual

Spa-N-A-Box Installation Guide

Sundance Spas Owners Manuals

Sweetwater Spas Installation & Owner’s Manual

Sunbelt Spas Owners Manual

Thermo Spas Owner’s Manual

Tiger River Spas Owner’s Manual

Viking Spas

Waters Edge Spas Owner’s Guide Book
wow


Wow!
– that was quite a list of spa and hot tub owner’s manuals – not the most attractive layout, but easy to find the spa owner’s manual that you need. If you need help finding an owner’s manual for your spa that is not listed here – it may not be available. Feel free to send us an email anyway – there is a small chance that we can find it, maybe sitting dusty on a shelf in my office!

- Jack

 

 

 

Spa Safety: Keeping Kids Safe around Hot Tubs

March 13th, 2014 by

spa-covers-newDrowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for young children, and spas and hot tubs account for 5-8% of all drownings nationwide. Other statistics, from a National Institutes of Health 26-year study:

  • 70% of spa drowning victims were 10-24 months of age.
  • Most incidents occurred during the months of May-August.
  • Half of hot tub drownings occurred between 4-8pm
  • 2/3 of hot tub drownings occurred Friday-Monday

 

Hot Tub Safety

Keeping your hot tub safe from small children is a combination of constant supervision and effective barriers to entry, and making sure that your spa has no unintentional hazards to small children living in, or visiting a home with a hot tub.

Hot tub hazards – There are two main concerns, drowning and entrapment. Entrapment is when hair, body or limb becomes suctioned down onto the spa drain. Single drains with flat grates can be unsafe, with some powerful pumps able to hold even an adult underwater. There are two other concerns for spa and hot tub safety, namely exposed electrical hazards, and poor water chemistry that can be unsanitary for young children.

Hot Tub Barriers – In the study referenced above, the authors concluded that locking hard spa covers were an effective barrier, and soft covers were certainly not. They also suggested that fencing ordinances be enforced for outdoor spas, and that spa drains be multiple (more than one), and low suction grates be installed. It is unlikely that a small child would have the strength or height needed to remove a hard spa cover, especially one that is strapped with clips. For added protection, use hurricane straps or a come-along type of ratcheting strap across the top of your spa cover.

In Ground Spas – No mention was made of inground spas during the study, but I think we can safely assume that they can be less safe than aboveground models – and most certainly when they are uncovered. Hard spa covers can be secured to the pool deck or floor surrounding a sunken spa in a variety of ways, making them non-removable by children, or even adults. Small spas can be more attractive to small children than a large swimming pool. They are so easy to cover safely, and should always be – covered safely.

Most Importantly…stay-super-safe

  • Keep your spa tightly covered with a hard cover when not in use.
  • Lock doors or gates that lead to the spa area.
  • Keep your spa electrical power dry and tidy.
  • Check that your spa drain covers are in place.
  • Test spa drains with a kitchen sponge for entrapment hazard.
  • Practice constant supervision of children (I know…)

 

Keep your Spa Safe!

- Jack

 

Spa Cover Factory Tour

February 20th, 2014 by

spa-cover-factory-tourI’m mighty proud of our spa and hot tub covers, and there’s many reasons why we make the best spa covers, and now you can witness the quality construction for yourself.

Below is a nice video with Jerry, one of the owners of Hot Tub Works, taking you on a tour of our state of the art spa cover manufacturing facility. Below that, is the complete transcript of the video.

I hope you enjoy the tour ~

- Jack

 

Hi, welcome to our state of the art spa cover manufacturing facility. My name is Jerry and I’m going to take you on a tour of the facility today. This factory can produce over 1000 spa covers per week, and uses the latest technology and has decades of hard earned experience to make quality spa covers.

I’m going to start with the process of how we receive orders. Now we’re standing in customer service, and literally hundreds of calls come in to this room per day, from people looking for help with their hot tub.

We make it really easy for you to order a new cover, you can order a new spa cover online, you can call us, or you can even fax it to us. No matter how you do it, we try to make it easy, and we’re all experts here at getting you a perfect cover every time. Once the order comes in, it goes to Production Management – let’s take a look at that process and then we’ll go into manufacturing.

hot-tub-works-factory-tourProduction Control takes every order that comes in and produces what’s known as a CAD file, which is basically an automated drawing which is fed to the manufacturing floor. That produces a perfect cover every time, specific to your order.

We use absolutely the best marine grade vinyl on our hot tub covers. This vinyl is 30 oz weight, it’s made for outdoor use. It has UV and mildew inhibitors built in. As you can see, we have a lot of vinyl here in our facility – we offer 10 different colors, all of them on our website for your choice.

Our sewing team has the latest equipment that they use to sew every cover by hand. They have decades of experience, and there are 27 points of reinforcement sewn into every cover.

This big block of foam that you see here, that looks kind of like a giant piece of tofu, is actually EPS foam. EPS stands for Expanded PolyStyrene. Now, EPS foam is often used in floating docks and buoys, and it’s also an excellent insulator product, and it’s what we use for the inside core of the hot tub cover.

We offer three different densities of foam, 1 lb. density, 1.5 lb. density and 2.0 lb. density. And basically what that means is, as the weight changes, the foam gets harder – the insulation value goes up and the cover gets stronger.

The big block of foam you just saw then gets cut down into sheets. This particular piece of foam is made for our Ultra Cover, where it’s 6 inches thick on this side, 4 inches on the other side. Each piece of foam is actually cut, specific to your order.

After the foam is cut into a taper, it is then cut into the shape of your hot tub cover. This machine here is fed the same CAD file that the sewing room is using to sew your cover. The foam is being cut with a red wire, cutting through the foam, creating the perfect shape to meet up with the vinyl skin that has been sewn. After the foam is cut to it’s final shape, a steel reinforcement channel is placed into the foam to add strength to the product. At this point it’s ready for final assembly, so let’s head over to that department.

One of the last stages and a very important one is where we vapor seal the foam. We use a 6 mil plastic to wrap the foam with, and it’s vacuumed down and heat sealed, so moisture can’t get to the foam core. You can even order a double wrap, which is two layers, to give you a longer lasting spa cover.

Now the final step of inserting the foam into the vinyl skin. It’s zipped up, and then final quality control inspections are done, making sure every measurement is accurate and correct. Then it’s wrapped into a protective plastic and placed in a box ready for shipment.

We’re now standing in distribution, and as you can see, I’ve got hundreds of covers around me. This is the last place we touch them before they get shipped out to you. They come in here to get direct and efficient shipment to your home.

We appreciate you watching the video, hopefully it’s answered some questions, and we appreciate your time and consideration of our spa and hot tub covers.

 

Mineral Purification for Spas and Hot Tubs

February 7th, 2014 by

spa-mineral-sanitizersIt’s perhaps the biggest thing since bromine – silver and copper minerals used to purify spa and hot tub water. It’s been around for over 20 years, so it’s not new in the world of spas and hot tubs, and copper and silver ions have been purifying water for eons, so it’s not new to the world.

But maybe it’s new to you – if you haven’t tried mineral purification before, here’s why you may want to start.

  • Use less bromine – up to 50% less
  • Less work required of your spa filter
  • Improved water sparkle and clarity

There are several different manufacturers of spa mineral sanitizers, which all employ an erosive bits of silver and copper ions, packed in activated charcoal.

copper-silverAs the water moves through the 4-month mineral cartridge, ions are released which attack algae and bacteria. The result is that more than half of your sanitation needs are taken care of by natural minerals, leaving less for your bromine and spa filter to deal with.

And unlike bromine and chlorine, metals like copper and silver don’t just kill once and then become useless, they continue to sanitize, attracting and killing contaminants, until the particle becomes large enough to be filtered out.

 

nature2-stickNature2 Spa Stick – Drop the 4-month stick inside the center of your spa filter cartridge, and it goes to work immediately, with enough power to run your spa without bromine, when shocking weekly with MPS.

 

frog-floater-for-spasSpa Frog Floating System – This is a combination bromine floater and mineral cartridge. Both attach easily to the floating pod. The mineral cartridge lasts four months, and the bromine cartridge will last for up to 4 weeks.

 

leisure-time-spa-stickLeisure Time Spa Stick – Eventually the patent expired, and along came some pretty good copy cats of  Mineral spa water treatment. The leisure Time is actually a copy of the very similar looking Filter Frog, but for a buck or two less.

 

sunpurity-mineral-purifierSunpurity Mineral Purifier – Made by Nature2 to fit Sundance spas, the mineral purifier pack locks in place inside of the bromine chamber.

 

Each of these requires replacement every 4 months, and they average about $20 each . So, a year’s supply is about $60 – a small amount to pay for such a huge improvement in water quality. And, if you reduce your bromine or chlorine level to 1-2 ppm, you can cut the amount you use in half, which could possibly pay for the cost of the mineral sticks.

If you have any questions on mineral spa treatment, give any one of our folks here a call, or leave a comment below!

- Jack

 

 

10 Reasons Why Your Spa Water is Cloudy

January 23rd, 2014 by

cloudy-spa-hot-tub-waterWhy is my spa water cloudy? If I’ve heard that question once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. It may be the number one spa water problem plaguing spa owners.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about cloudy spa water – such as, “Bromine will make your spa cloudy”, or “Metals in the water cause cloudy hot tub water”, or the constant sales pitch – that if you just had this super-special-magical spa water treatment, your spa water problems will disappear.

If your spa or hot tub water is cloudy, hazy, milky – turbid, as I sometimes call it, your problem will be one of these situations below, or a combination of more than one.

1. High Calcium Hardness or Total Alkalinity

Your spa water chemical balance may be to blame, and it’s the first place I would check. Take an accurate reading of your calcium hardness, alkalinity and pH levels. In areas where hard water is common, calcium can easily come out of solution and cloud the spa water. If your calcium hardness levels are greater than 300 ppm, use Calcium & Scale Control to tie-up minerals in solution, and keep them from making your spa water cloudy.

If your test for Total Alkalinity shows high levels, in excess of 150 ppm, excess carbonates can come out of solution, and make the spa cloudy. High TA levels will also make it hard to control your pH, or keep it in range. Use pH decreaser to lower TA to around 100 ppm. If your spa pH level is outside of the range of 7.2-7.6, adjust accordingly for easier control of cloudy water.

TDS, or total dissolved solids, is not usually a concern in spas and hot tubs – but, if you have not drained your spa in years, for whatever reason – you may have a very high level of dissolved solids in the water. When water reaches it’s saturation point, where it can absorb no more solids, frequent bouts of cloudy water are the result. Time to drain and refill the spa.

2. Low Spa Sanitizer Levels

Some people are sensitive to bromine or chlorine, and try to operate the spa with as little as possible. That may be OK, if you have other sanitizers working, such as an ozonator, or a mineral cartridge, and your water chemistry is balanced, especially your pH level.

Otherwise, spas should always have a level of 2-3 ppm of bromine, or slightly less if using chlorine. When sanitizer level drops below 1.0ppm, particles and contaminants in the water begin to run rampant or grow at a rate faster than they are being destroyed.

A proper sanitizer level should destroy the particles that induce cloudy water. To help it out, shock the spa water regularly, especially after a several people have used the spa, or if sanitizer levels have mistakenly dropped to very low levels. If a chlorinated spa shock is clouding your water, try using MPS shock instead.

3. Cloudy Fill Water

Maybe the problem is not with your spa, but in your fill water. Nonetheless, balanced and sanitized spa water with proper filtration should be able to self-correct, and clear the water within a day or so. A spa clarifier can help coagulate suspended particles for easier filtration. In most cases, it may be better to use a spa pre-filter, to remove particulates that cloud your spa water. Just attach it to your garden hose when adding water or refilling your spa or hot tub.

4. Air in the System

Small particles of air, tiny bubbles – can make the spa water appear cloudy. If your spa has bubbles coming into the returns, but your air blower and spa ozonator are turned off – you may have an air leak, on the suction side of the pump. The suction side is anything before the spa circulation pump. A loose union fitting before the pump, or a loose pump drain plug can pull air into the system.

Low water level in the spa can also bring air into the spa, and give the water the appearance of being cloudy or hazy. Inspection of the pipes and equipment before the spa pump can reveal the source of the air leak, which can then be sealed up with sealants or lubricants.

5. Spa Filter Problems

This is a common cause of cloudy spa water. A spa filter cartridge may be positioned incorrectly, allowing for water to bypass the filter cartridge. Make sure the cartridge is fully seated on both ends to force the water to go through the pleated spa filter material.

A spa filter cartridge won’t last forever, and each cleaning reduces it’s efficacy a little bit more. After about 15 cleanings, replace the spa filter and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in water clarity. Depending on how much the spa is used, and how much is asked of the filter, you should replace the spa filter every 12-24 months.

Spa filter cartridges can also become gummed up with oils or minerals, drastically reducing their filtration ability. These substances can be very difficult to remove with a garden hose alone. Spraying a cartridge in spa filter cleaner before cleaning will break down greasy or crystallized deposits, and restore full flow to your filter.

DE filters are more commonly used on inground spas, and if a DE filter grid develops a hole, it will allow DE filter powder to come into the spa. This will cloud the water, and leave deposits of a light brown powder on the seats and floors of the spa.

6. Spa Pump Problems

There are a number of pump problems that can lead to cloudy spa water, the first being the amount of time the spa filter is running each day. You may need to increase the amount of time that the spa pump operates, to increase your daily filtering time. Running a pump only on low speed can also contribute to ineffective filtration. Run it on high for at least 2 hours every day.

Another issue could be with the spa impeller. It could be clogged – full of pebbles, leaves, hair or any number of things. The vanes on a pump impeller are very small and can clog easily, which will reduce the flow volume considerably. Another possibility is that the impeller is broken – the pump turns on, but the impeller is not moving, which will reduce flow rates to zero.

If you have no flow from your pool pump, there could be an air lock, especially if you have just drained and refilled the spa. To fix an air lock, shut off the pump and loosen a union on the pump and allow air to escape, tightening it when water begins to leak. If the pump doesn’t turn on at all – well, there’s your cloudy spa water problem. There could be a tripped GFI button, loose wires, bad contactor or relay, or another control problem.

Air leaks before the pump, as discussed above, also makes the pump less efficient by reducing the overall water volume. Water leaks after the pump is also a problem, in that your water level will soon drop below the skimmer intake, begin to take on air, lose prime and stop pumping your water through the filter.

7. Biofilm Problems

Biofilm is a slimy bacteria that coats the inside of pipes and fittings. In extreme cases, it will cloud the water, and you may notice slimy flakes floating on the water, or have severe issues with spa foaming. Biofilm forms quickly in a spa that has sat empty and idle for some time. If you suspect a biofilm contamination, lower the pH to 7.2 and use spa shock to raise the chlorine level above 10 ppm. Follow this up with a treatment of Jet Clean, to remove biofilm deposits.

8. Salt System Problems

Salt systems are becoming more popular with spa owners, although they are much more prevalent on swimming pools. The issue with salt systems is that it is possible to place too much reliance on them, and never check your chlorine level. Spa salt cells also need occasional cleaning to maintain chlorine output.

Adding salt to your spa when needed may cloud your spa temporarily, until the salt becomes fully dissolved. When adding salt, be careful not to overdose, and run the jets on high for greater agitation of the water.

9. Biguanide Problems

If you use a non-chlorine, biguanide sanitizer in your spa, and have difficulty with cloudy spa water, you are not alone. This is the main complaint of using a PHMB sanitizer. You may find relief by draining and refilling the spa, and changing the spa filter, which is probably gummed up with residue. Using spa chemicals with any amount of chlorine, or using algaecides or any non-approved chemical will not only cloud the water in a biguanide treated spa, but can also create some wild colors, too!

10. Soaps, Lotions, Cosmetics and Hair Products

This problem is common to just about every spa, unless you are careful to shower well before using your spa. Everything we put on our body and in our hair can end up in the spa, and can bring oils, phosphates and detergents into the water, and a hundred other undesirable chemicals. These can consume sanitizer, clog spa filters and make the spa water cloudy and foamy. If your spa has a high bather load, or is used as a giant bath tub, you can expect issues with water clarity. Adding spa enzymes can help control greasy gunk, and reduce sanitizer demand and clogging of your spa filter.cloudy-spa-water

Cloudy spa water is not so difficult to find and fix – but remember that you may have more than one of these issues working against you. Consider each cause of cloudy spa water carefully – it’s likely one or more of these situations above. Draining the spa regularly is one more piece of advice to prevent cloudy water – depending on how much the spa is used, draining it every few months is a good preventative way to keep your spa water from becoming cloudy in the first place!

 

- Jack

 

Hot Tub Parts: Spa Jet Repair & Replacement

January 10th, 2014 by

lighted-spa-jets are way cool

Spa and hot tub jets – the nozzles where the water and air comes out are really are for me, the distinction in a spa and a hot tub. The jets used in most traditional round wooden hot tubs are neither fancy or numerous. They may not even have a blower, and are more about the hot soak.

A spa on the other hand, can have dozens of spa jets. Some newer spas can have as many as 80 or 100 different jets. Even lighted spa jets, shown here. If you have that many jets, or even far less – eventually you’re going to have some maintenance issue with a few of them.

Full disclosure; we carry over 100 different Spa Jets and over 250 Spa Jet Parts for names like Waterway, Hydro-Air, CMP and many others for easy spa jet repair by the spa owner. Shameless plug complete, moving on…

 

spa-jet-body-jet-insertWHAT IS A SPA JET?

Most jets consist of a Jet Body, which seals up to the backside of the spa wall with a large lock nut ring and lots of silicone. It has the pipe connectors for air and water lines. The inside of the Jet Body houses a Jet Internal, which includes the diffuser insert, escutcheon (bezel or beauty ring) around the jet, and the nozzle or eyeball.

 

IDENTIFYING SPA JETS

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of spa jets, and newer spa jets come in endless configurations of jet type, eyeball type, size and color. Most modern spa jets will allow you to remove the Jet Internal, or Thread-In Jets, as Waterway calls them, by turning counter clockwise on the outer ring, and pulling outward. Inspect the Jet Insert for any part numbers or stampings that would indicate manufacturer. If you need help, give us a call.

Group of 10 different spa jetsMost spa jets are identified by Make – Model – Jet Type – Hole Size – Pipe Size – Color, and other variances. Measuring the outside diameter of the bezel is sometimes sufficient on simple spa jets, while more information may be needed for more advanced jets.

If you don’t know any of the manufacturer information on your spa jet, you could always browse our spa jet pictures to help you visually ID your spa jet. If you still don’t see it, please call us or send a picture by email, with spa jet measurements, and any other information you have about the jet.

TROUBLESHOOTING SPA JETS

By my count, there are some 5 problems affecting spa jets today; and these are Low Flow, No Flow, Broken, Leaking and now a new one – No Lights.

low-flow-spa-jetsLOW FLOW SPA JETS: Check that your pump is on high speed and the jet is not closed by a diverter valve. Many spas have knobs on top that allow you to change the flow between banks of jets. You also need to have air intakes open, especially for spinning jets. If you can remove the spa jet internal, pull it out to inspect the diffuser or mixer assembly for any obvious clogs, from hair or lint. Leaving the most obvious for last, make sure that your water level is high enough and your spa filter is clean.

NO FLOW SPA JETS: Same here, check that the jet pump is on high speed and the jet is not closed by a diverter valve or knob. If you have just drained the spa, and you have a no flow situation, you probably have an air lock in the plumbing system. This can be released by loosening a drain plug or union to allow air to escape. When water begins to leak, tighten up again and retry the tub.

spa-jet-problemsLEAKING SPA JETS: If you have traced a wet spot under the spa as originating from one of your spa jets, there is a fix for that. It may need a new gasket, or sometimes just a dab of Boss silicone will fix it up. Repairs can be made in the front or rear of the jet, to keep water from getting in between the jet and the hole in the spa shell. Check that the ring on the back of the spa jet is very tight. You can use a strap wrench to tighten the lock nut ring on the back of the spa jet, but it’s best to use a lock nut wrench,which also allows you to do the job without a helper.

BROKEN SPA JETS: The eyeball fitting on the inside can become damaged, or can pop out, or be unable to hold position. The threads on a insert spa jet could become stripped, or the bezel ring can become cracked. If you can’t turn the eyeball to a direction you want, try twisting it first to loosen it. Some spa jets have particular methods of adjustment. If you can locate the owner’s manual, in print or online, these can be a big help in some cases.

first-world-problems - spa jet lights not working :-(

NO SPA JET LIGHTS: Spa jet lights not working? My, you really have some first world problems. These are LED and it’s unlikely that the bulb has burned out. More likely to have a problem with the power wire, or the end connectors. Find the cord, and inspect for damage, and be sure that the end plugs are firmly seated, and in the correct spot.

 

SPA JET REMOVAL TOOLS

spa-jet-tools-spa-jet-wrenchesRemoving and replacing the jet body from the shell of the spa, for resealing or replacement, can be accomplished with one specific wrench, made specifically for your spa or hot tub jet. Spa jet tools or spa wrenches are important to make removal easier, without damaging soft plastic edges. For installing a new jet, or resealing a leaking spa jet, they are absolutely essential, to give you the leverage to tightly fit the spa jet body against the spa wall.

Other Spa Jet Tools help you to remove eyeballs or retaining rings. It can be confusing to know which spa wrench to use on your particular spa jet, there are over 30 different tools, and each one works with specific spa jets. Please contact us if you need any help.

1000 words about spa jets. I hope this was helpful to whatever spa jet problem you are having. Most issues are small, and can be fixed quickly.

If you’re having larger problems, and need help identifying which spa jet part or spa jet tool to use – please call our tech department, or send a photo/info by email. You’ll find out team happy to assist in your spa jet repair.

- Jack