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Archive for the ‘spa chemicals’ Category

Your Hot Tub Cover Stinks!

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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

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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

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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

 

 

6 Embarrassing Spa Problems to Avoid

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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

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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 a calcium control product.

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

 

 

Bio-Film in Spas & Hot Tubs ~ How to Deal

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biofilms-in-spa-plumbing

Bio-film – if you’ve ever had to clean out internal parts of a dishwasher, you know what biofilm is, a multicolored, gross and slimy film.

That rough film over your teeth and gums, when you haven’t brushed your teeth for an entire day? Also biofilm.

Or, not to get really gross, but how about that stuff inside a toilet bowl that hasn’t been cleaned in months, or the gunk inside of a sink drain trap – what is that stuff? It’s all biofilm.

Bio-films are a mixture of organic materials, minerals and bacteria. Germs mixed with oils and dirt. Real nice. The bacteria feeds on the organics and such things as CO2, phosphates, nitrates and sulfates. Sorry to geek out, but I was a biology major in college!

biofilmVery soon after attachment to a spot inside a pipe, fitting, hose or jet, biofilm begins to form a chemical resistant layer that resists your spa sanitizers and also allows for growth without the water flow knocking it loose. It’s like a walled city!

Bio-films are living things, that grow by cell division. When a colony matures, it spawns new ones that break off into the flow of the water, and establish themselves somewhere else in your spa pipes and jets. Then the cycle begins anew in another place – an ingenious cycle of propagation and colonization.

CAUSES OF BIOFILM IN SPAS & HOT TUBS

  1. Poorly filtered spas, that don’t run the filter enough. Stagnant water breeds bacteria! Run the spa on low all the time, and on high every day for at least 2 hours. Replace your spa filter every 6-12 months, to trap as  much free flowing biofilm as possible.
  2. Poorly sanitized spas, that don’t maintain proper pH and always have a good level of sanitizer in the water. Shocking the spa is also important, to continuously oxidize the water, which removes contaminants that could build into biofilm.
  3. Spas that are neglected and either sat unfiltered for weeks or months, or were drained and kept empty, but there was still enough moisture, condensation and existing biofilm in the pipes to grow the colony. Even while empty!
  4. Spas that are used frequently, with many users, have higher levels of the gunk that bacteria builds on and feeds on to begin establishing a biofilm colony. High use spas should accelerate drainage and shocking schedules.
  5. Spas that don’t purge the pipes with a product that cleans the inside of pipes, hoses, jets and all of the other little hidden places behind the walls of your spa. Use a spa pipe cleaner chemical twice a year to remove biofilm.

PREVENTION OF BIOFILM IN SPAS & HOT TUBS

  1. Never let the bromine or chlorine residual to drop to zero, even if you use ozone or minerals.
  2. Maintain the best water balance you can, check the chemistry at least twice per week.
  3. Use spa shock regularly, maybe every other time you use it, otherwise weekly.JetClean
  4. Replace your spa filter every 6-12 months, or after 10-15 cleanings.
  5. Use Jet Clean twice per year, to remove build up that you can’t see.

Don’t let Biofilm ruin your day. Keep a clean spa, and start using Jet Clean every 6 months. They should have called it G.R.O.S.S. – “Gets Rid of Slimy Stuff”! It really works, and you get the satisfaction of actually seeing all of the ‘gunk’ float to the surface after treatment.

For more bio-tastic information see Daniel’s post “Is Bio-Film Lurking in your Spa?”

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Cleaning Tools to Make Spa Maintenance Easier

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pleatco-cartridge-guyCleaning your spa or hot tub can be a bit of a chore. In my house, I was only able to pawn off some of the spa duties when I brought home some of these spa cleaning tools and supplies. Such as vacuuming the spa or cleaning the spa cover.

If you’re tired of certain spa maintenance tasks, and you are having trouble pawning them off on others, or making the spa off-limits until the spa is taken care of – take a look at some of these workload reducing hot tub tools.

Spend more time enjoying your spa, not cleaning it!

 

Easy Clean Filter Spray Nozzleeasy-clean-spa-filter-spray-nozzle

Some pool cartridge spray tools are too large for small spa filters. I always used my regular multi-purpose spray nozzle, and would have never thought to use anything else, until we had a manufacturer’s sales rep come to our office, handing these out.

I told him that I really didn’t need it, but he insisted, and left it on my desk. I took it home about a week later, and finally used it several weeks after that. I was so impressed, that I called him up to thank him. It makes an adjustable sharp or fan spray, which really gets in between the pleats.

Grit Getter

grit-getter-spas

This is the simplest little device, one of those things that I kick myself for not inventing. Squeeze the Grit Getter and it pushes out the air and water, and creates a strong suction that’s perfect for grit like sand or dirt.

The debris gets trapped in the body, just twist it to open, and dump out the grit. Made of a soft rubber-plastic, it floats when not being used, and is pretty much indestructible. Easy to use, and even kind of fun, everyone wants to give it a try. Also available with an extension pole, for use when you’re not in the spa.

 

Pool Blaster Spa Vac

spa-vac

For something beyond the manual vacuum power of the Grit Getter, this vacuum power vacs your spa, operating on 3 “C” batteries, which gives about an hour of cleaning time, which should last for several months, assuming you keep your spa covered, and your guests are clean!

There are several types of spa vacuums on the market, this one is the most maneuverable and easiest to set up. It also has an internal valve to keep debris inside, should you begin to lose battery power, a feature not shared by other spa vacs.

Comes with 3 extenders, which can extend the spa vac up to 8 foot in reach.

 

Spa Fill Water Filter

spa-pre-filterIf you pre-filter the water that you use to fill your spa, your spa water will be pure to start. This puts less demand on your spa filter and sanitizers, and mineral control chemicals. Helps reduce foaming and staining by removing impurities, minerals, salts and scale. It also removes organic contaminants, chloramines, and sulfides, which make water smell bad.

Just attach the hose water pre-filter to your garden hose, and turn on the water. You’ll notice a difference immediately if your water contains silt, is colored or has a strong odor. Each pre filter lasts for 3 spa fills, plus as many top offs to the water level as you need.

A must to use if you are using well water, or if your water comes from old systems or travels very far to reach your home.

 

Spa Skimmer Net

spa-skimmer-netIt’s tempting to think that you may never need a skimmer net for your spa or hot tub. After all, it’s covered most of the time, and probably out of the way of most large trees. But, a skimmer net can be a handy tool to have on hand. Leaves, bugs, fibers or dust can be quickly swept from the surface.

You might use it to scoop off loads of foam out of the spa, retrieve tossed toys or the floater. It can also be used to scoop leaves or items from the floor or benches of your spa. Our spa leaf skimmer has a large head and a telescopic pole that extends from 3 to 8 feet. Frame is weather resistant plastic, with urethane handle and polished aluminum tubing.

Earlier this summer my spa skimmer nets kept disappearing. After my third replacement, I found them down by the creek behind my house. Apparently these also work great for catching tadpoles and turtles, as my grandsons taught me.

 

Tub Rub

hot-tub-scrubber-pad-tub-rubThis is like a Magic Eraser for hot tubs and spas. You can use it by itself, or along with a spa cleaning chemical (never use household cleansers to clean your spa shell). It has a textured surface and is soft enough to get into the many grooves and curves of spa surfaces. Can also be used for your spa cover, although I normally prefer to use the 303 Spa Cover Wipes for cleaning the spa cover.

Textured sponges could be too harsh for some delicate spa surfaces, and may scratch like steel wool. Tub Rub is a textured fabric – not plastic, so it’s always gentle, and works great for scum removal, or for high gloss polishing.

 

These are some of the most useful tools and hot tub accessories that I use around my spa, to reduce the maintenance, or at least make it more manageable. It may even help you pawn off some spa duties to others! Or you could start charging admission, to use the spa! Yeah, right.

 

– Jack

 

Tips to Avoid Chemical Damage to your Hot Tub or Spa

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DOS-AND-DONTSYour spa is beautiful, but to keep it that way you have to be careful. Spas are much less forgiving of chemical mistakes than pools, being up to 50 times smaller.

Part of the problem is you, and other spa users. 4 people in a 400 gallon spa is an equivalent bather load to 200 people in a 20,000 gallon pool. Spa users bring in loads of oils, body wastes, perspiration, cosmetics, soaps and hair care products, which your spa filter and spa chemistry have to deal with, since you don’t drain the spa after every use.

Here’s my tips on carefully managing your spa chemistry. Take care of these things, and your spa or hot tub will stay looking good, and you’ll avoid damage to the spa equipment, spa shell and spa cover.

DON’T USE CHEAP CHEMICALS

Cheap spa chemicals have been flooding the market in the last few years. These products are made in countries with lax environmental and product controls. Labeling is usually proper, but the ingredients are always cheap. Low grade clays, gums and oils used as binders. Cheaper derivative bases can have a reduced shelf life or create ‘side effects’ in your spa water chemistry. I liken it to the pharmaceutical industry. A generic drug may be OK, but there are other options out there you’d be best to stay away from. Cheap spa chemicals can be damaging to the spa filter, pump seals, and spa surfaces.

DON’T USE POOL CHEMICALS

Many spa manufacturers will void their warranty if you use pool chemicals in your spa or hot tub. The first problem is that the dosage rates are for pools, usually in 10,000 gallons, so it’s easy to screw up the math. Secondly, the big containers and scoops don’t allow proper measurement. Pools take pounds of adjustment chemicals, but in spas, we work in ounces. Third, Trichlor tablets (pool tablets) have a very low pH, and will give you trouble with your pH. Other pool chemicals are not made for the rapid dissolve rate that is necessary in spas, to keep harsh chemicals from contacting your shiny spa surfaces.

DON’T USE BIGUANIDES

Biguanides are a product that replaces bromine or chlorine in a pool or spa. I might get in trouble saying this, because we sell spa biguanides – but the truth is that they can gum up the filter, dry out the hoses, and attack some spa surfaces. Despite these side-effects, those users who are very careful in their dosage and water balance can avoid most of the downside, and enjoy the benefits of biguanides. How’s that for double speak? 🙂

DO TEST & BALANCE WEEKLY

Test your water at least weekly, with a good set of test strips or a liquid test kit. And then – add the chemicals needed to adjust the range of Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness and pH. Low pH and Alkalinity can become corrosive and damage shiny spa surfaces, or weaken soft hoses and seals. If you have hard water, use calcium and scale control, and for soft water, with low calcium hardness, add some calcium increaser. Keeping balanced spa water not only protects your spa shell and equipment, but allows your sanitizer to work more effectively at removing the loads of contaminants in the spa.

DO DRAIN & CLEAN REGULARLY

Draining and cleaning the spa is recommended every 3-4 months for spas that get used 1-3 times per week. For heavier use, drain the spa more frequently. Before draining, or at least twice per year, use a spa pipe cleaning product, like Jet Clean, to remove film and funk from inside your tubes, hoses and pipes. Once drained, use a spa friendly cleaning product like Spa Care cleaner to clean the spa surfaces. Don’t use household cleaning products, they can contain abrasives or phosphates. After cleaning the shell, restore the gloss to your spa with a spa polishing product like Citrabright.

DO SHOCK & SANITIZE CAREFULLY

Use anyone of our spa shocks, either chlorine or non-chlorine shock, according to directions and you’ll have no problems. Always use the measuring scoop, and add spa shock to the water with the jet pump on and circulating. To protect the spa cover, leave it half open or completely remove it for an hour after shocking the spa. Continuous high levels of bromine or chlorine in the spa can be very corrosive. Use a floater or feeder for tablets and monitor the level closely, so that it stays above 1.0ppm, and below 3.0ppm. If the level goes to high, turn on the jet pump and open the cover. Adding fresh water also helps dilute high sanitizer levels.

 

Daniel Lara
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Guide to Hot Tub and Spa Chemicals

by

bogus book, photoshop invention, not for sale, lol

 

Hot tubs and spas would be so much more fun if they didn’t need any guides! One of those important care areas is managing the spa water chemistry.

Spa chemicals are used for water balance (pH, alkalinity and hardness), and then there are the sanitizer chemicals, and oxidizers for shocking the spa. And there’s minerals, and ozone, enzymes and clarifiers. And half a dozen other spa chemicals.

 

It’s enough to make you dizzy. To make it easier, we group our spa chemicals into five groups:

leisure-time

 

Spa Sanitizers

Bromine is the usual method, although you can sanitize with chlorine. Sanitizing a hot tub usually means adding sodium bromide, to establish a bromine bank, and then using enough bromine tablets to reach 2-3 ppm. Shocking the spa with an oxidizer is used to help reactivate the bromide ions. This is known as the 3-part system.

Free is a non-chlorine sanitizer by Leisure time that is completely chlorine or bromine free. If you want to operate a spa without either of these halogens, you can use this biguanide based system to sanitize the spa water.

Minerals can help reduce the necessary bromine level to 1.0 ppm in most cases, and provide extra power to fight and kill bacteria, viruses and pathogens in the spa water. Silver and copper ions will seek out and attack these contaminants, and they work continuously, just replace the cartridge every 4 months. We have 3 major brands, shown below, plus Mineral cartridges for Hot Spring and Sundance Spas. spa-mineral-sticks

 

MPS / Shock

MPS, or MonoPerSulfate, is a non-chlorine type of spa oxidizer, an option to using chlorine granules in the spa to remove contaminants and to boost up the bromide bank on a brominated spa.

Most people I know – will shock the spa after a group of people use the spa, but maybe not if it’s just a quick single person dip. Shocking a spa is not like shocking a pool, in such a small vessel, only tablespoons of spa shock is used to quickly do the job.

We carry many types of spa shock, all are either MPS or chlorine granules. A few of my favorite spa shocks are shown below. spa-shocks

 

Clarifiers

Clarifiers are helpful for small, marginal spa filters. If your water ever gets hazy or cloudy, or if you can see particles floating around in the water, above the spa light, you may want to use a clarifier to coagulate and improve filtration.

Algaecides work by invading the algae cells directly and disrupting their processes. An algaecide can be a good back-up to your spa sanitation, helping to reduce effects of low bromine levels or inconsistent chemical maintenance.

Foam Out is used when your spa becomes foamy, although it can also be an indication that it’s time to drain the spa! If you have already drained it, and still get sudsy, adding a small amount will remove surface spa foam.

Enzymes are a great way to eliminate spa foaming. They also digest oils and suds, making your sanitizer more effective with less oily organics and detergents to deal with.

Metal Out is a chemical used to lock up minerals in the spa water, to keep them from staining or attacking shiny spa surfaces. Hard water areas, or spas filled from an untreated well should use a metal sequestering agent.

 

Balancers

Balancers will help you control the water balance of your spa. Test your spa water at least weekly and make any needed adjustments to keep your spa water in balance. This is important for important for sanitizer effectiveness, protecting your spa components and for bather comfort.

spa-balance-chemicals-htw

 

Cleaners

The cleaners category has everything you need to clean your spa, top to bottom. Cleaners for spa covers, cleaners for the inside of your spa shell, spa pipe cleaners, spa filter cleaners.

Don’t use household cleaners on your spa, you don’t want any residue from kitchen, bathroom or automotive cleansers to mix with your spa water. Use only products designed for use with spas.spa-cleaners

 

And that’s all there is to it! 5 categories of spa chemicals. You’ll need to use at least some of these spa chemicals from each category at certain points during your spa maintenance.

I hope that this guide to spa chemicals was useful, and has made the plethora of spa and hot tub chemicals more manageable to think about and work with.

 

Happy Hot Tubbin’Daniel Lara

 

5 ways to Improve your Spa Filtration

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water-animated-6

 

Is your spa filter too small? Having the best spa filtration you can get will not only make your water cleaner and clearer, but will make it safer and easier to manage, with fewer chemicals.

Without further ado, let’s get on with it – here are 5 ways you can improve your spa or hot tub filtration. If you have tips of your own to add, leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

 

 

Spa Filters with more Square Footage

Some of the more popular spa filters we sell are available in two different square footage. For instance, the HTF-2370 has the same dimensions as the HTF-2390, but the former is 25 square foot of filter surface area and the latter is 50 square feet. This is accomplished by adding more pleats to the cartridge – double the pleats and you double the square footage! Spa filters with more square footage are more expensive, but doubling the surface area will give you longer filter cycles and better overall filtration.

Clean Spa cartridge with Filter Cleaner

Cleaning your pool filter cartridge is an important task that shouldn’t be rushed. Cleaning between each pleats with a garden hose to flush out the dirt and work loose debris in the fabric. To loosen the dirt trapped in the spun polyester fabric, use a filter cleaner before hosing the cartridge clean. Just add the recommended amount to a bucket of water, and soak your cartridge for the time specified. Then hose it clean. Spa filter cleaners loosen mineral deposits, dirt and oils, to allow your cleaning to be much more effective.

Replace your Spa Cartridge on Schedule

I usually recommend that people replace their cartridge on schedule, every 12 – 24 months. The wide range depends on how often you use your spa, and how often the filter needs cleaning. Spa cartridge filters are not meant to last forever. The fibers loosen, and allow particles to begin to bypass over time. It’s a generally accepted notion that you should replace your cartridge after 12-15 cleanings. I have a reminder set on my Outlook calendar that helps me remember when to replaced my spa filter, which helps me keep on schedule.

Drain your Spa on Schedule

I usually recommend that people drain their spa on schedule, every 3-6 months. Here too, the range depends on how often you use the spa, how large the spa is compared to usage, and how well the overall water quality and water balance has been. Over time, total dissolved solids can build up which interferes with water balance. Draining the spa also gives you a chance to use a biofilm remover, like Jet Clean to clean the pipes and hoses of bacteria and polish up the spa with a cleaner like Citrabright.

Use Enzymes or Clarifiers

Spa enzymes are a natural product that digests body oils, make-up, soaps and other sticky substances. Added to your spa, it will reduce sanitizer demand and increase your filter cycles while making your filter more effective. These are the same type of enzymes used in cleaning up oil spills in the ocean, so it can handle your little spa or hot tub oil problem. Using a spa clarifier is another way to increase your spa cartridge filtration, by coagulating small particles into larger, more easily filtered clumps.

Some spas and hot tubs have woefully undersized cartridge filters. If you can’t upsize the filter, you can use these tactics above to improve your filtration, or to compensate for poor filtration, without resorting to heavy doses of sanitizer.

– Jack