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Archive for the ‘spa chemicals’ Category

Beginner’s Guide to Spa & Hot Tub Care

April 7th, 2014 by

spa-care-and-maintenanceSpa and Hot Tub Maintenance – take a deep breath, this isn’t so hard. And if things get out of control, you can always drain the spa and start over. :-)

For the new spa owner, or for a person who is new to spa maintenance, I have some tips to maintain water chemistry and spa equipment, along with some regular maintenance and cleaning duties to keep your spa water clean and ready for use!

If you’ve seen my post on the Secret to Hot Tub Water Chemistry ~ you’d know the secret. In short, test the water and make small adjustments to pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and Sanitizer level – with regularity. ideal-spa-chemical-levelsRegular testing would mean testing the spa water 2-4 times per week, and making adjustments as needed, to keep your levels in the proper ranges. Keeping a log is a good idea, just writing down your test results, and any notes on adjustment.

Tap water is pretty good spa water, in most areas. But in some areas, and you know where you are – there is soft water or hard water or high alkalinity and pH, or high levels of chloramines, or metals and minerals. You can test your tap water with your test kit, or when testing after a drain and refill, you can measure the suitability of your tap water as spa water. Using a Spa Pre-Filter removes metals, odors and the finest silt from your spa fill water.

Back to the matter at hand, in addition to testing and adjusting the spa water chemistry 2-4x per week, there are other duties and tasks that need to be done to maintain overall spa health.

Clean the Spa Filter

spa-filter-assemblyThe spa filter can be located under the skimmer basket, and accessed from inside the spa, or it can be a small tank that is opened up underneath the spa, to clean or replace the filter. If underneath the spa, you may have a valve that can be shut to prevent water from rushing out when you open the filter. Loosening a large nut or just turning the filter body counter clockwise is the usual method to access the filter cartridge. Some water spillage is inevitable when opening it up, but if you are careful it can be very little.

If your spa filter has a pressure gauge attached to it, the cartridge needs cleaning when the pressure rises 8-10 lbs, or when flow is noticeably reduced. If you have no gauge on your filter, you should clean the filter on a regular schedule. hasta-la-vista-babyI clean my own filter cartridge every 4-8 weeks, depending on how often I use the spa. If my hot tub is being used a few times per week, I’ll clean the filter every four weeks, or monthly.

Replace your spa filter every 12-24 months, again depending on usage. Another way to do it is to change it every 10-15 cleanings, because that’s what really breaks down a cartridge. Every time it’s cleaned, fibers loosen up and it loses a little bit of dirt trapping ability. Keep track of your spa filter’s age or cleaning cycles, because at some point soon it’s gonna be Hasta la Vista, baby!

Clean the Spa

skimmer-netA full cleaning of the waterline and surfaces can be done when the spa is drained. Just be sure not to use any old household cleaner or soap. If you are going to use any chemical on your spa surfaces, use something like our Spa Cleaner, to keep out phosphates, nitrates and who knows what else.

Vacuuming the spa can be accomplished with small vacuums that are either battery powered, or garden hose powered. The Pool Blaster vacuums are battery operated and fast to use, or you can use the Grit Getter to suck up the little grains that gather in the corners. The Spa Vac connects to your vacuum hose for fast vacuuming of even large leaves.

Floating debris can be removed with a skimmer net, or if you left the cover off during a windstorm and it’s full of leaves, it can also be used to scoop up the larger leaves under the water.

Air-Out the Spa Cover

One of the most important things you can do to help your spa cover live a long healthy life of service is to remove it at least twice per week. Use the spa cover lifter to completely remove it, or gently place it off the spa if you don’t have a spa cover lift. Give your cover a few hours to breathe and shake off some of the constant heat and moisture. spacover-cleaner-and-conditionerThis is also a good time to add chemicals or shock the spa, if you aren’t using it at the time.

Another spa cover maintenance item is cleaning and conditioning the vinyl spa cover. Especially if your spa cover is outside, spa cover cleaner removes airborne oils and dirt, tree sap and pollen while cover conditioner replenishes the vinyl plasticizers that keep your spa cover vinyl covering soft, strong and looking great.

Add Fill Water

This is so often forgotten, and if the skimmer starts to suck air, in could damage the pump, in some situations. The water level should be in the middle of the skimmer intake, or a little higher. You don’t want it too high, and you never want to over-flow the spa, so keep a close eye on it while filling!remote-hose

Keep a garden hose close-by. If your garden hose is too far away, set up a sub-spigot by running a hose from a splitter on your current spigot, to a spigot that is mounted on a stake. Then you always have a hose right next to the spa for filling or topping off the hot tub water level.

To take care of 95% of spa care tasks, just remember to…

dont-forget-

  • Test and adjust your spa 2-4x per week
  • Clean the spa filter every 4-8 weeks, replace every 1-2 yrs
  • Keep the spa clean; drain & refill every 2-4 months
  • Air-Out the spa cover twice per week
  • Add water as needed to keep it full

 

Until next time;

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Fire up the Spa! How to Open a Winterized Hot Tub

March 27th, 2014 by

opening-hot-tub

 

Opening a hot tub is a lot easier than closing, and a lot less stressful, after you see that nothing’s leaking that is! Freeze damage on spa plumbing and equipment is a real possibility, especially with this brutal winter that gripped a lot of the U.S. this year.

If you read Jack Stone’s spa winterization instructions a few months ago to winterize your spa, then opening it back up should be a breeze.

Getting the spa ready for another season is something that I have done many times – and in most cases, it’s an easy hour long process.

 

CLEAN THE SPA

Since you have it empty, it’s a perfect time to polish up the hot tub interior. For wooden hot tubs, use a brush and baking soda to clean the interior. Don’t Ever use stain or sealer on the inside of the tub, but you can use it on the outside. Linseed Oil is a great product for wood, just wipe it on the outside. It’s also great for acrylic spa wood skirts – but it will darken the wood.

spa-care-cleaner-For acrylic spas, wipe down the inside with a moist, soft cloth. If you notice any stains or if you have a few small dirty puddles, use a spa cleaner like our Spa Care Cleaner to clean and polish your spa surfaces. Don’t Ever use household cleaners, they can damage your spa, and put strange chemicals into the spa water that could interfere with water balance or be harmful to your spa users.

Don’t forget to give your spa cover some attention too! While the spa is filling, place the spa cover on the spa and clean and condition to protect the vinyl with Spa Cover Clean, or one of our many other cleaners and conditioners, made specifically for marine vinyl exposed to the elements. Don’t Ever use Armor-All type automotive conditioners, which could damage your spa cover.

CHECK THE SPA

Open up the spa equipment access panel and inspect all visible pipes and equipment for any cracks or obvious damage. Check over any wires that are visible, looking for any rodent chewing damage. Replace any drain plugs that were removed, and check that the drain spigot is closed.

Inside the spa, check over the spa lights, jets and drain covers before filling the spa to be sure that they are all securely attached.

FILL THE SPA

pre-filter-Drop in a garden hose and fill her up! Most garden hoses flow at 5-10 gallons per minute, so a 300 gallon spa could fill as fast as 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it to be sure that you don’t overflow the spa. If your fill water could be improved, our Pre-Filter removes minerals, metals, contaminants, chloramines and odor.

START-UP THE SPA

With the filter cartridge in place and other parts such as a skimmer basket, you can fire up the system, or actually just push the button to start the circulation pump. Test all of your features, like lights, blower, waterfall, high speed pump mode. Check that the heater is on, and set to your favorite soaking temp.

BALANCE THE SPA

brom-booster-htwBalancing the pool water is super important to protect your spa and your spa users. In some parts of the country, tap water actually is pretty good spa water, in terms of the pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels. In other areas, major adjustments need to be done to all 3 to bring them to their proper ranges.

If you use Bromine, you’ll need to build up your bromine bank, to be able to raise the bromine level in the spa. Brom Booster is our most economical way to boost the bromides in your spa, necessary if you use bromine tablets, or you’ll have trouble seeing a bromine level for several weeks, until enough of the tablets dissolve.

You’ll probably want to also shock the spa, after you balance the pH, alkalinity and calcium levels. Just follow the label instructions for the right amount to add for your spa. Shocking the spa is also done to initialize spa mineral cartridges, like Frog and Nature2 when you first add them.

HOT TUB OPENING PROBLEMS

No Power: If the spa is dead – no power, check that the breaker for the spa is on, and check any GFCI outlets for a tripped red Test button. If still no power, check that the wires are intact and all connector ends are pushed firmly in place. Steps beyond these include tracing the power circuit to find the short or end point. The problem lies where the power dies.

Pump Hums: If your pump tries to start, but just hums and possibly trips the breaker, it may be ‘frozen’. With the power off, use straight pliers to turn the shaft of the motor. For pumps without an exposed shaft, the shaft can be turned at the rear of the motor. If the shaft spins freely, but the motor still just hums and won’t start, a motor capacitor is the usual problem.leak-seal

Leaks: Uh-Oh! Pumps that are leaking along the motor shaft likely need a new shaft seal. If there are visible cracks or leaks that you can see on the pipes or equipment, well – you’ll have to get the right materials for repair. Call us if you need assistance. If there are leaks from unseen locations under or behind the spa, they can be hard to find with the spa full of water, especially when they are very small. Try Leak Seal to seal up small spa and hot tub leaks.

No Heat: The first thing to check is that the pump is running and the spa filter is clean and properly positioned for best flow. Beyond that, spa heaters that don’t heat or don’t heat enough could have an issue with the thermostat, temperature switch, pressure switch or flow switch.

No Cover: If your spa cover is looking tired, or has become waterlogged, bent or broken – now is the time to order a replacement spa cover. Spring is when most spa covers are purchased, and after this winter, our spa cover designers sure are busy!

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara

 

Spa Foam: Eliminating Hot Tub Foaming

March 6th, 2014 by

foamy-hot-tubMy family and I took a short holiday recently, to a large theme park in Anaheim – I think you know the one I’m referring to. Well, we stayed in one of their theme hotels, which had a nice pool and spa. The spa water looked a little cloudy, but we got in anyway (after I checked the sanitizer level, lol). Turned on the bubbles, and whoa – did we get bubbles! Foam was nearly a foot high off the water. My kids thought it was hilarious fun and my wife didn’t seem to mind. I was disgusted, quite frankly.

Spa and Hot Tub foam is just plain nasty, when you know what has created the foaming water. A hot tub is not just a small pool – think of it as more of a large bath tub. When several people hop into a hot tub, the water becomes saturated with chemicals and soaps used on our skin, hair and bathing suits.

Causes of Hot Tub Foam

Every time you use your spa, the warm water absorbs dead skin cells, perspiration and dirt, and also lotions, oils, soaps, cosmetics and hair products. Over time, these invisible solids build up in the water, making the water ‘thick’.

Spa water chemistry also plays a role. A high pH and alkalinity and/or low calcium hardness levels creates an ideal condition for foaming. Add spa calcium increaser if you have soft water in your area, and your calcium hardness level is below 150 ppm. And, maintaining your pH level at 7.4-7.6 and your alkalinity in the range of 80-120 ppm will not only help prevent foaming, but has many other advantages.

Solutions to Hot Tub Foam

Spa Shock can break down many of these substances and reduce spa foaming in most cases, but spa shock has trouble removing oils and phosphates from the water.

Spa Enzymes can be used to break down oily, soapy substances, naturally. Enzymes actively seek and consume oils and scum which contribute to hot tub foam.

Spa Defoamer can be used to instantly remove spa foam. It’s a silicone solution that when sprayed on the surface, reduces surface tension, and spa foam disappears (if only temporarily).

Preventing Hot Tub Foam

The options above will do well to control a foamy hot tub, and keep the foaming to a minimum – but, it’s not really solving the problem.

Draining the Spa is the ultimate and inevitable solution to hot tub foaming. To prevent foaming caused by BioFilm, use Jet Clean before draining, at least once per year. If you can’t do a complete drain, you can drain half of the spa, and refill – and although it’s not a full drain & clean, you can fix a foaming spa problem, at least temporarily, in this manner.

Taking a shower before using the spa is always recommended, especially if you need to shower – and I think you know what I mean. Don’t use the spa as a bathtub.

Don’t Submerge if you have long hair, put your hair up to keep hair products out of the tub. Even those with short hair can bring in shampoo, conditioner and hair gel into the tub when they go under water.

Rinse your swimsuit in hot water if you have laundered them. Avoid wearing T-shirts or clothing that has been washed with soap. Trace amounts in your clothing or bathing suits will cause spa foaming.

Maintain Water Balance, with particular care to your pH, calcium and sanitizer levels.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

Spa Maintenance & Safety for Rental Home Hot Tubs

February 24th, 2014 by

cabin-spa

 

Do you own or operate a rental cabin or B&B with a hot tub for the guests to use? If so, you know that a spa can significantly increase the appeal of the property for renters, but that it also brings with it another layer of maintenance in between guest stays.

My husband and I have had a mountain home near Mammoth Lakes, Ca that we rent out when we are not using it, through a rental agency. Over the past 15 years, I have many stories to tell about our little mountain spa.

Like the time we found broken champagne glasses in the bottom, or the time we discovered it missing nearly 1/3 of the water, or the many times we have found it left uncovered, cranked up to the max and low on water.

Here’s a list of ways to improve management of your rental home hot tub, and reduce surprises and potential conflicts with your guests.

Signs

I’m a big believer in signs all around the house – small, tasteful signs that I print up and laminate. Here’s a sample of some useful signs around your spa:spa-rules-sign

  1. Spa Rules – Standard sign warning of potential health dangers.
  2. Spa Operation – Custom sign telling how to remove cover, turn on jets, air, heater, lights. How to add water if needed. How to shock if needed.
  3. Spa Closing – Sign by the door, reminding users to turn off the spa, replace the spa cover and latch it securely.
  4. Spa Heating – Tips on spa heating, troubleshooting checklist of simple fixes for the spa temperature.

 

Equipment

In order to be sure that our spa stays as sanitary as possible, we have a small inline brominator installed under the skirt, an ozonator, and we use a mineral stick. In most cases this amount of overkill is not needed, but it can be a little insurance against the occasional group of guests that really push sanitation to the limit, with heavy spa use.

The spa filter cartridge should be replaced every 6 months in a heavily used spa, or at least that’s the schedule we keep. We buy 6 at a time, and keep them stocked at the property. Same with the mineral sticks, which gets replaced at the same time.

Draining Schedule

We have a formula that we use to calculate when to drain the spa, based on the number of guests, but we also try to tell whether or not the spa has seen heavy use. The water level is always a good indicator, since most guests will never add water. If the water level is close to the level where we always leave it at, and other indicators don’t point to heavy spa use, we don’t drain the spa after each guest, but we vacuum, clean the filter, balance the chemistry and shock the spa.

However, in order to maintain a sanitary spa in your rental, you should drain and refill the spa if it looks like your guests really enjoyed it! Our spa gets drained about every month, but sometimes twice per month, if the unit has seen heavy usage, or if we rent to snowboarders (jk, lol).

Spa Safety

First off, the spa should be isolated on your property. If there are adjacent town homes or condos, a safety fence should be built around the patio, to cordon off the spa, and also add some privacy.

Secondly, a covered spa is always safer than an uncovered spa. Make sure your cover clips and straps are in good shape. A spa cover lifter should be installed to protect your spa cover and prevent guest injury.

Third, our Spa Rules sign makes these specific restrictions:

  1. Children under 14 with Adults only
  2. No single use, 2-4 people only
  3. No alcohol or drugs
  4. No pregnant women
  5. No Hypertensive people

Fourth, keep all spa chemicals safely stored, and out of the reach of children.

Fifth, make sure that your spa is in good electrical condition, without any chance of accidental electrocution.

What’s a Spa Worth?

Adding a spa or hot tub to your rental property will add another recreational element to your offerings, and will allow you to charge a premium – to at least cover the additional costs and maintenance involved. In our case, our property management company raised their price a set amount, and we have figured out our annual expenses for the spa. From there, we were able to figure out a fair amount to add to a night’s rental, which has by now, over the last 10 years ~ paid for the spa many times over!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Your Hot Tub Cover Stinks!

February 10th, 2014 by

smelly-spa-coversHey, no offense, but your hot tub cover smells bad. Maybe you’ve gotten used to it?

Don’t worry, it happens to most spa owners at some time or another; water is one of nature’s most erosive substances. Moisture seeps in and becomes trapped between the outer vinyl shell and the plastic wrapped foam cores. The warm, moist environment is perfect for mold and mildew and other forms of smelly stuff.

If moisture has penetrated further into the plastic wrapped foam core, the cover becomes waterlogged, which can quickly grow all sorts of dark and smelly slime, but also make the cover really difficult to remove, and not as effective at keeping the heat in the spa. Time for a replacement spa cover.

 

Smelly Hot Tub Cover ?!?

  • Broken or damaged. Cracked foam cores, ripped or worn spots, torn seams. A spa cover that loses it’s arched roof line, to keep water draining off correctly, will eventually begin to puddle water, which is probably time to buy a new spa cover! A spa cover with threadbare spots in the vinyl is also bad news, and although you can stave off the inevitable with a duct tape repair, the water will win, eventually.
  • Not Removed Regularly. Remove your spa top weekly for 2 hours of airing out. A better cover can withstand longer periods, but it’s a good habit to remove the cover and let it get some air on a weekly basis. If you can easily open the zipper to allow moisture to escape do so, but don’t remove fragile foam panels unless absolutely necessary.
  • Poorly Made. It’s easy to make a spa cover with tape and staples, but it won’t stop moisture very well. The best spa covers have foam panels vacuum-wrapped in 6 mil PE, with a single, continuous heat welded seam. Some covers don’t even try to keep the intense moisture from your spa from reaching the foam core, but a better spa cover uses a thicker vinyl cover, backed in 3 layers to keep outside moisture out, and on the inside, thick vinyl scrim heat welded to a thick internal barrier.
  • Bad Spa Water. If the spa water is not maintained regularly with sanitizer and filtering, or is not shocked often enough, bacteria and algae can take advantage of a hospitable environment to flourish. Low pH, high chlorine or high ozone levels can also deteriorate the underside of your spa cover. Because the cover is so close to the spa, it absorbs the chemistry of the spa. Clean, clear and sanitary water is the best environment to prevent smelly spa covers.
  • Not Cleaned / Conditioned. For outdoor spa covers, unless your back deck is covered or your spa is in a gazebo (which if it is, I’m jealous!), you have sun, rain, pollen, dust, pollution, and animals to contend with. If you have a partial roof, that can be worse than no roof at all, if an overhanging eave drains water onto the spa cover. Clean and condition a spa cover 2-4 times per year, so that it always looks great, and is protected from the elements.

Fix Your Hot Tub Cover!

  • Remove to Safe Location: This first step may seem obvious, but you need a good place to allow the cover to sit undisturbed from pets, wild animals, and winds. It should be a sunny location if possible, or a dry indoor location with low humidity can also be used.
  • Deodorize & Disinfect: You may not need to do both, it’s best to be as gentle as possible. Don’t use household cleaning products on your spa cover, strange chemicals can end up in your spa water. Gently clean all exterior surfaces with spa cover cleaner, and allow the panels to dry.
  • Remove the Panels: Again, this should be avoided if possible, because the panels could become damaged during removal or cleaning. But if you determine that there is something slimy inside, you can usually unzip and remove the panel for a cleaning inside and out. spa-cover-cleaner

Use a Spa Cover Cleaner to gently clean and deodorize your spa cover without phosphates, bleach, alcohol or who knows what. Follow label to gently clean with a soft cloth or dish sponge, rinse clean and dry. It removes most anything, from tree sap and berry stains to bird poop, pollen and pollution. Used regularly, it also protects against stains and repels dirt.

For extreme mold and mildew stains, a stronger disinfectant may be needed. If the initial cleaning has still left dark spots of mildew or mold on the inside surfaces of the spa cover vinyl, or on the outside of the wrapped foam core, you may try a diluted mix of bleach. Pour 1/2 cup of bleach into 1-2 cups of water, and use a sponge to apply bleach to small areas. Quickly wipe dry with a paper towel, rinse off and dry again.

spa-cover-conditioner-It’s best to use as little water as possible on the spa cover during cleaning, and to do it as often as needed. How often? If your spa is protected from most sun and rain, maybe twice per year. If it’s out in the open like mine, it should be 3-4 times per year. It only takes a few minutes to do honestly.

I clean my outdoor spa cover every 3-4 months, and then I let it dry. I come back a few hours later, put it on the spa and rub on the Spa Cover Conditioner, which goes on in under a minute. It always looks great!

And, I do remove my cover regularly, twice a week usually – and, I do keep my water balanced and sanitary. So, I’ve been lucky to have no odor problems with my spa cover lately!

Sometimes, the easiest cure for a smelly spa cover is to just buy a new spa cover – especially if the cover is 5 years or older.  A smelly spa cover simply means that your cover is taking on moisture, and things are beginning to grow!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

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

 

 

6 Month Chemical Kits for Spas and Hot Tubs

January 30th, 2014 by

image purchased from PM

Spa chemistry should be simple, not a guessing game like a Rubik’s cube. Today’s topic is chemical care – and how to make it Simpler. Our 6-month spa chemical kits are designed as an easy to use system. They are complete while at the same time not over-complete, with no chemical leftovers that you don’t need or won’t use - I like that!

We have Bromine and Chlorine kits, which are both very similar. We also have two non-halogen spa chemical kits, our Nature2 kit for use with an ozonator, and our Leisure Time Free kit. For areas of the country (like us!) with hard water problems, we have our kits available in Hard Water versions, containing 3lbs of Balance Plus to help control hard water minerals.

 

All of our 6-month spa chemical kits contain a Pre-Filter, to be sure that your fill water is as fresh as can be. Also included are two bottles of 50 ct spa test strips, let’s see, that works out to one strip every 1.8 days – that’s just about right!

You’ll also find a similar blend of spa water balancers, clarifier, filter cleaner and enzymes, which all work to assist the sanitizer. To help disinfect the water, each kit also includes a spa shock treatment, enough to shock it 2.1 times per week. Works for me!

Our 6-month spa and hot tub chemical kits are based on a spa size of 300-500 gallons, and so for my 400 gallon Beachcomber – that’s perfect!

 

6 Month Chlorine Kit

Uses chlorine tabs in a small floater or inline chlorinator
bromine-chlorine-6month-spa-chemical-care-kit1 Pre-filter
1 Leisure Time Chlorine (5lb bottle)
2 Leisure Time Renew Shock (2.2 lb ea)
2 Metal Gon/Defender 2-pak (1 pint ea)
1 Leisure Time Bright and Clear (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time pH Balance (1 quart ea)
1 Leisure Time Spa Filter Clean – Overnight Soak (1 quart)
1 Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time Spa Test Strips Chlorine (50 strips ea)

 

 

 

6 Month Bromine Kit

Uses bromine tabs in a small floater or inline chlorinator
bromine-6month-chemical-care-kit1 Pre-filter
2 Leisure Time Bromine Tabs (1.5 lb ea)
2 Leisure Time Renew Shock (2.2 lb ea)
2 Metal Gon/Defender 2-pak (1 pint ea)
1 Leisure Time Bright and Clear (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time pH Balance (1 quart ea)
1 Leisure Time Spa Filter Clean (1 quart)
1 Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time Spa Test Strips Bromine (50 strips ea)

 

 

 

6 Month Nature 2 Kit

Use with a salt chlorinator or spa ozonator
nature2-6month-spa-chemical-care-kit1 Pre-filter
2 Nature 2 SpaMineral Sanitizer
4 Zodiac Cense – Shock / Aromatherapy – 4 scents (2 lb ea)
2 Metal Gon/Defender 2-pak (1 pint ea)
1 Leisure Time Bright and Clear (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time pH Balance (1 quart ea)
1 Leisure Time Spa Filter Clean (1 quart)
1 Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (1 quart)
2 Nature2 Test Strips (50 strips ea)

 

 

6 Month Free Kit

Non-Chlorine Biguanide Spa Care System
leisure-time-free-6month-spa-chemical-care-kits-21 Pre-filter
3 Leisure Time FREE (16 oz)
2 Leisure Time BOOST (32 oz)
2 Leisure Time CONTROL (32 oz)
2 Leisure Time CLEANSE (16 oz)
1 Leisure Time Spa Up
1 Leisure Time Spa Down
2 Metal Gon/Defender Two pack (1 pint ea)
1 Leisure Time Bright and Clear (1 quart)
1 Leisure Time Spa Filter Clean (1 quart)
1 Leisure Time Spa Enzyme (1 quart)
2 Leisure Time Spa FREE Test Strips (50 per bottle)

 

 

What could be Simpler? Choose a particular sanitizer you like and follow the simple daily-weekly-monthly instructions included. It’s best to choose a sanitizing method and stick with it. I use the Nature2 6-month kit, but I also supplement with bromine tablets. The Nature2 spa kit is also great for ozonator equipped spas, or spas that use a salt chlorinator.

Using a 6-month spa chemical kit saves time, money and worry about the spa. It’s all in the box!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

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

 

6 Embarrassing Spa Problems to Avoid

January 2nd, 2014 by

spa-problems - image purchased thru PresenterMediaWhen you own a spa or hot tub, you want it to be in tip top shape, especially if friends come over to enjoy it. They may not understand all of the complex mix of water chemistry, filtering and heating that is going on – they just magically expect the hot tub to be… magic!

A spa or hot tub is not that much work, maybe 30 minutes per week, to keep the water clean, and all systems go, ready for any spur of the moment entertaining you may do.

Based on my years of being a spa owner, and just as many years working for spa companies in customer service, I have curated this list of the Top 6 most embarrassing spa problems.

Smelly Spa Cover

Woo-Wee! What is that smell!?! If your spa has a smelly, musty odor of mildew, chances are – your spa cover is to blame. Remove it from the tub completely so that you can give it a good whiff, away from the spa. If the smell is coming from the spa cover, you have some cleaning to do. Spray the inside plastic and vinyl with a diluted bleach solution, to kill any external mold and mildew. Then allow it to dry, with the spa cover off of the tub, for several hours. For extreme cases, you may need to gently remove the inner foam panels, and apply the treatment to the panels and to internal surfaces. If you have any rips or separations that is allowing moisture to get inside your spa cover, patch them properly, or start thinking about replacing your spa cover!

Foaming Spa Water

cloudy-spa-water-smWith the jets on full blast, a small amount of surface foam is nearly impossible to avoid, and is completely normal, like the white caps on ocean waves. What I’m talking about here is when the foam begins to build on itself, and become noticeable. Hint: When children begin giving themselves foam beards in your hot tub, it’s reached a problem stage; time to take action. First, check your pH and Alkalinity and adjust if necessary, to 7.5 and 100, respectively. Be sure that your test strips are not expired, old strips can give false readings.

Second, use a spa filter cleaner to will remove oils and grime. Advanced spa foam can be caused by excess biofilm – use a spa purge like Jet Clean to strip the pipes and jets clean. Afterwards, drain the spa, refill and balance the water. If your spa is used heavily, begin using an enzyme like Natural Clear to control organics. I don’t believe in using Foam Out, by the way – that just covers up a problem.

Noisy Equipment

When something doesn’t sound quite right, just like in your automobile, that’s a good clue that something is wrong. Loud spa pumps are the most common noisemaker, and this usually means that the bearings are shot. At this point, you can have a motor shop rebuild the motor, or you can replace with our spa motors. You could also replace the entire pump, for a simpler, but more expensive repair. Spa blowers can also become noisy over time. They also have motor bearings and brushes, internal to the motor. Most blowers are inexpensive to replace, so they aren’t usually repaired, but some motor shops will work on them. A loud chattering is usually the sound of a contactor and a quieter clicking is often a relay. This could be a connection or voltage problem, or these spa parts could be defective.

Privacy Problems

namarata privacy panel

If your spa is visible from other people’s houses, that’s kind of a bummer. There are a few spa cover lifters that will hold the spa in an upright position, providing a nice bit of privacy, but only on one side of the spa. Other ideas are cheap window treatments, like bamboo blinds, or using lattice wood, to block some light, but still allow a breeze to blow through. Using a pavilion or a pergola around an above ground hot tub helps to design more privacy around the spa. It goes both ways remember – your neighbors want their privacy too, so make efforts to block noise from the spa – like loud laughter, music and other sounds of frivolity. Having the Police called to your hot tub at midnight, by a tired and sleepless neighbor, is definitely best to avoid!

Heater Problems

No one likes a cold spa, and even worse is a spa that’s only 95 degrees or so. Most spas will begin to lose temperature when the cover comes off, and people enter the spa, soaking up the heat. If your spa heater is having trouble maintaining the heat in your spa, it could be a problem with the thermostat, or some other part. Daniel wrote Top 5 Spa Heater Problems, which covers some common mechanical failures, and some embarrassingly easy fixes to the problem.  Low heat could also be caused by a very cold night, and a very small spa heater. Some spas just don’t seem to hold their heat in very cold weather. If this spa problem happens to you, consider upsizing your heater element (call us for help). Another cause of heat loss in the winter, is the lack of sufficient insulation under the spa, around the tub. Some spas are packed in with insulation, and some have barely nothing.

Itchy Rash

spa-rashes-
Uh-Oh! If your guests complain to you hours or days after using the spa, of a red, pimply rash on their skin, your spa may be harboring some recreational water illnesses. We go into it in much more detail in our article about waterborne illnesses in spas and hot tubs. Essentially, you want to drain the spa and do a complete and deep clean. Use Jet Clean in the pipes, and replace your spa filter. Most importantly, to prevent it from happening again, maintain good water balance and keep enough sanitizer in the water – at all times. Shock weekly, or at least every other time you use the spa to kill such things as pseudomonas aeruginosa in your spa.

Don’t sweep spa problems under the rug, these symptoms are your hot tub’s way of telling you there’s a problem. If we can be of any help to you sorting out your spa problems, give us a call or send an email – spa techs are standing by!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

The Secret to Hot Tub Water Chemistry

December 9th, 2013 by

snake-oil-salesman

 

The secret to spa and hot tub chemistry? It’s not sold in a bottle, or a fancy egg shaped container. It’s not a magical potion that you drop into the spa, or pour in once a month.

My friends, listen closely – the secret to clean and clear hot tub water is a multi-faceted approach. It’s may not be easy, and it’s not especially rapid, but it’s truly a miracle.

Come closer, I want to whisper the secret to hot water perfection. The secret is …

“TEST AND BALANCE YOUR SPA WATER CHEMISTRY WITH REGULARITY”

 

Of course, you also need good filtration, with a relatively new spa filter cartridge. Replace every 12-24 mos. And, you also need to run the filter pump every day. I run my spa circulation pump 24 hrs per day.

Testing Spa Water?

Most people just use spa test strips, and they are a lot simpler to use than the dropper type of spa test kits. If you want greater accuracy, you can use the Tru Test digital test strip reader, which is great for those with poor eyesight or some level of color blindness. Use a spa test strip that will test not only for pH and bromine, but also for calcium hardness and total alkalinity. I recommend the 6-in-1 test strips by AquaChek.

Balanced Spa Water?

“Balanced” spa water essentially means that your pH, Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness are within the proper range. Adjusting the levels should go hand in hand with testing. Use a pH decreaser if your pH or alkalinity is too high. If your calcium hardness is too high, as it is in many parts of the country, use Calcium Control.

Sanitation is also a very important part of water balance. Keep a consistent sanitizer (bromine or chlorine) level in your spa. Augmenting it with minerals or ozone will make the water more forgiving of slip ups or occasional low sanitizer levels. Use spa shock after every use to kill bacteria.

That’s it – that’s the secret. Test and Balance, with regularity. But you probably knew that already…

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works