I Just Bought a Hot Tub, Now What?

Confused about how to properly maintain your hot tub? You are not alone. The number one thing recommended for those buying used or inheriting a spa is purging the lines. Airborne diseases such as legionnaires disease can hide in the lines of the spa if not properly treated over time. Hot tubs that have not been maintained properly by previous owners are a cause for concern and can lead to death! There are also pre filters that can be attached to your garden hose that will prevent metal, minerals, and other outside contaminants from entering into the spa, this is highly recommended for those with well water. Most all reputable Pool & Spa stores in your area should be able to test your water for you while also providing advice on how to maintain your spa over time…Keep in mind, there are many different ways to chemically treat your spa which we will handle in the next blog.

The number one complaint that I hear about is skin irritation, along with lung irritation, and burning eyes. This could be for a number of reasons, lets start with Bio-Film. Bio-Film which is resistant to all sanitizers and is difficult to remove, can cause high demand on sanitizers causing you to add more products which in turn raises TDS levels in the spa. Higher sanitizer levels can cause this irritation, It is important to at least purge your lines once a year to prevent Bio-Film build up. Usually the reason for rash’s and irritated eyes are due to a Alkalinity/PH issue. Hot Tub manufactures recommend draining and refilling the spa every 3-4 months to make balancing the water chemistry a little bit easier for users causing less issues down the line.

Cleaning your filters is also an important part of hot tub maintenance. They make many different types of instant cartridge cleaners as well as overnight soaks. It is recommended you clean your filters with the instant cartridge cleaner monthly with an overnight soak every time you drain and refill, this will get off any built up oils, grease, and minerals. Allowing the filters to completely dry before placing them back into the hot tub is an important part of the process, this allows the fibers of the pleated fabric to expand and fluff up to provide a larger filtration area. This can be inconvenient if you have only one set of filters. It is NOT recommended that you power wash your filters, this can actually rapidly age your cartridge filter and downgrade the filtration flow.

Although the pleated filters are a simple design, they are seriously worked, which is why it is recommended that you chemically clean them. Hot water therapy in a spa causes pores on the body to expand allowing oils and dead skin cells, debris from the skin and sometimes the protective oils on your skin which cause the spa user to complain of dry skin patches. To put this into perspective, 2 people in a 500 gallon spa release the same amount of body oils as 80 people in a typical backyard pool. ONE BATHER in a spa produces 3 pints of perspiration in ONE HOUR, think about that for a minute without wanting to throw up in your mouth. Another problem that can come from being in a hot tub for too long is dehydration. With the amount one perspires without even being aware, it is extremely important to stay hydrated…Alcoholic beverages do not count :). There are products such as natural enzymes that can help break down the bodily oils and debris so that your sanitizer does not get used up so quickly trying to attack those items and can work on killing bacteria instead! These enzyme products also help with filtration cleanliness and the reduction of water line rings.

Water chemistry can be a bit of an over load for some people. Chemistry was never my favorite subject either. The main thing spa users need to keep in mind besides their sanitizer levels are Alkalinity, PH & Hardness levels. A weekly test should be done to the spa water to insure the best user experience possible. Most people who complain of skin irritation believe it is because of the Sanitizer they are using, it’s usually caused by low alkalinity and PH levels making the water acidic and an unfriendly environment for your skin! Not only does the acidic water harm your skin and eyes but it can also be detrimental to the acrylic or fiberglass shell and the internals of the spa itself while also depleting your sanitizer levels. Calcium being too low can cause corrosive water which will break down metal fittings, heat exchangers and the spa shell itself as well as causing foaming issues. Too much calcium can lead to cloudy water, scaling on the spa surface as well as the internal spa equipment. There are sequestering agents that can be used which bonds to the calcium not allowing them to fall out of solution. This is even more important when it comes to hot water, the hotter the water is the easier it is for the calcium to fall out of solution.

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Soft Touch

This product could really change your pools over all look, quality, and feel when given the chance.  It is a powerful formula that is not impacted by sunlight or evaporation like many other chemicals on the market today for your swimming pool. Maintaining a level between 30-50 ppm (Dosage is 5 lbs per 5,000 gallons) can improve your sanitizer level efficiency between 35-50%. We are not just promoting it for this huge benefit alone, it gets better.

1.) Will work with ANY sanitizer system.

2.) Reduces eye and skin irritation.

3.) Water will feel softer & silkier, regardless of your salt or water hardness levels.

4.) Water will sparkle like never before!

5.) Maintain an ideal PH throughout the pool season which can be huge for those who         own Chlorine Generators (Salt System).

6.) Reduces filter cleaning time.

7.) Algaestatic properties helps prevent algae from producing.

8.) Acts as a natural buffer in the water helping prevent corrosion, another huge help for those with Chlorine Generators (Salt System).

Going into a little more detail, Soft Touch actually stops the algae cell from producing food (photosynthesis) while also stopping it from eating it (metabolizing). This happens due to the locking of special molecules in the cell called nucleotide co-enzymes. Soft Touch can also act a bit like a chelating agent with calcium by locking it up and not allowing it to cause scaling from precipitations of salts crystalizing on the spool. This process can be sped up with high PH levels which is also something Soft Touch can control.

There are many pool companies out there that may be trying to sell you unnecessary specialty products, this is not one of them. We have experimented and tested this product in not only our home pools, but also the 15 display pools that we have. We will never go without it again!

 

 

Soft Touch

Winterizing

This time of the year is a sad time for many pool customers in our area. With winter around the corner and the kids back to school, many are looking to close their pool down for the season. Sometimes a heat pump can extend the swim season in this area, but with no heater, the water temperature drops quickly this time of the year. There is no perfect time to close the pool. Keep an eye on the weather in your area. Indian summers are a possibility in this area. To avoid any issues when opening, close later then you think you may need to. Add liquid Chlorine or Algaecide again if you see the weather is hot after you close the pool down for the season.

There are many different ways to close down a swimming pool for the year chemically. What we have found works best is balancing the water chemistry, a dose of a natural enzyme, shock, Scale & Stain control, as well as an Algaecide. Some of these chemicals can die quickly due to high chlorine levels in the water. It is best to have your chlorine level brought up to an acceptable range so that you can shock with a non chlorine shock, allowing the enzymes and Algaecide to work to their full potential. Generic closing kits typically contain a non chlorine shock and a low percentage Algaecide.

Pillows, water tubes, plugs, pool covers and cover clips… Pool pillows are meant to go under Above Ground pool covers to produce a trough around the pool to allow for easy removal of water on the cover itself. Some find them to be a nuisance, if you prefer no pillow, you may just have to drain the water off the cover more often. It is extremely important to drain the water off of the pool cover, not just for the life of the pool walls, but also for the life of your winter cover. There are instances where if the water isn’t drained off the cover, the weight from the water on the cover will push the water inside your pool up and over the pool wall causing most customers to think they have a leak in their pool over the winter.

Water tubes are typically for customers who have In Ground Pools. They are used to secure the cover to the deck surrounding the pool. Above Ground pools could also use these if they have decks around their pool. Do not fill the water tubes all the way, water expands when it freezes and will cause the water tube to burst over the winter. It is important to use the proper plugs to close your pool properly. Your closest pool professional should be able to assist with this, there are different sized plugs for different openings. Pool Covers are usually 3-5 feet larger than the pool size, this is to ensure there is room for draping. Cover clips are used on Above Ground pools to connect the cover to the coping. If you are doing this all the way around the pool then typically a cable and winch is not needed. This stops too much wind from getting up underneath the cover. Cover Clips are ideal for those in windy areas.

Be sure to adjust your Alkalinity and Ph; Leaving the water too acidic can wreak havoc on your pool surface over the winter.

Salt Water Swimming Pools

 Just think about being on the beach, walking along the sand…then looking up at all the houses that are being pounded by the salt water. Think about winter storms and the importance of cleaning your car after the salt adheres to the finish.  While most people want Salt Systems AKA Chlorine generators attached to their pool, they do not realize the future damage being done to the surface and the underlining of the pool, which is caused by the 100’s of pounds of salt being added to the water. Most Above Ground pools actually void the warranty if the home owner attaches a chlorine generator.

     If you are thinking about salt, ask yourself why? Do you think it is non chlorine? Because it’s not. Do you think it is better for the environment? It’s not, some states actually prohibit pool owners from draining their salt pools because they are afraid of salt getting into the streams, rivers, and creeks. Do you think it’s maintenance free? Because it’s not. Do you like the way the water “feels”? There are other products that can give you that same feel, without spending thousands of dollars on a salt system. A chlorine level still needs to be maintained and typically a higher one than just straight Chlorine. Battling PH is also another issue salt customers run into due to the High PH of the liquid Chlorine the generator is making. Concrete/ Gunite customers, not only will you be fighting a high PH with a concrete pool, but now you will also be fighting PH fluctuations due to the Chlorine you are generating. You also need to stay away from Calcium Hypo shocks which can cause scaling on the generator. Scaling can also be caused by high PH levels and phosphates! Even fiberglass pools can be affected by Salt pools, scaling can end up covering the fiberglass shell if proper levels are not maintained. The cells need to be cleaned and a monthly maintenance product should be used as well to help prevent any scaling. The pool will still need to be shocked with either a liquid chlorine or a non chlorine shock when organics start building up in the water. Just be sure you are aware of all the options as well as the pro’s and con’s before making a decision. 

     There are so many different options for chemically maintaining a pool that do not involve the maintenance and corrosiveness of salt/chlorine generators. 

  1. UV/Ozone systems, you treat your drinking water with UV/Ozone, why not your pool water?
  2. Pristine Blue, which is a liquid copper based product added every other week and a non chlorine shock is also used weekly.
  3. The Frog Mineral system, which allows you to use less Chlorine than public drinking water to sanitize the water along with a non Chlorine shock.
  4. Baquacil, which is a soap based sanitizer and a Hydrogen Peroxide shock. 
  5. Bromine, which is slightly less harsh than straight Chlorine.
  6. Good old fashioned Chlorine tablets! 

     Regardless of what you choose to sanitize your water, it is always important to also oxidize/shock your pool every 7-10 days, after heavy bather loads, and heavy rainfall. Outside contaminants get into the water and will eventually build up over time causing some people to wish they never owned a pool. Even if the water is clear, SHOCK. A non chlorine shock can be used, this will still oxidize the water without raising your chlorine level. 

   Below are a few examples of the damage Salt can cause to a pool surface. 

First blog post

We as a pool store wanted to do something different. As a home owner it is hard to know if you are getting the best information possible when it comes to maintaining your pool that you and your family swim in summer after summer. We proudly have employees who have been with this company for many years and who have a plethora of knowledge. Some that was learned through experience and some that was obtained through experimenting and research. We hope that through this blog consumers can be given unbiased advice by pool professionals!