Chlorine Alternatives for Spas & Stinky Hot Tub Covers

February 25, 2009 at 12:26 am | Posted in Chlorine-Alternatives, Hot Tub Chemistry, Hot Tub Covers, Spa Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Roger  from Los Angeles asks, “I read your piece about chlorine-free pools.  What about my hot tub?  Can I have a chlorine-free hot tub and not get the heebie-jeebies?”

Roger Screams For Chlorine-Alternatives in His Hot Tub

Roger Screams For Chlorine-Alternatives in His Hot Tub

Answer: Roger, if you don’t breathe LA’s air (just kidding), and if you don’t use tea tree oil, crystals, prayer or no disinfectant at all, yes you can use chlorine-free alternatives.

 That said, my first question is, are you ready to perform more maintenance on your hot tub’s water than you do using either chlorine or bromine (bromine is chlorine’s kissing cousin)?  If you are not interested in micro-managing your spa’s chemistry, then stick with the forty-year-old technology.

Some of your chlorine/bromine-free options are:  Ozone, UV, biguinide, or minerals.  Regardless of your alternative choice, you absolutely must maintain a perfect chemistry balance, a clean filter, and drain the spa when necessary.  Check your local pool and spa store, see what they stock, then email me with your choices and I’ll go into more detail.

 

Sally in Portland says, “My hot tub cover stinks.  What can I do about it?”

 Answer:  Sally, is mold growing on the north side of your spa as well?  I mean, you are in Oregon and it can get a tad moldy there.  Fortunately, that has nothing to do with a smelly hot tub cover.  Give your cover the following test:

1)      Is it heavy when you lift it?  If so, your cover is waterlogged and you need to replace it.  Once it is waterlogged it no longer can offer the same insulation it did when it was new.

2)      Is your cover slimy on the underside?  This is a simple fix.  Wipe it down with a ¼ cup of bleach mixed with 2 gallons of water.  Be sure to remove the cover from your spa while cleaning the slimy beast.

3)      Still got gag?  It could be that the foam core’s plastic envelope and the covering inside the cover have mildew or mold.  You can probably fix this by, folding the cover in half, unzip the cover at the fold, remove the foam core in its envelope, turn the cover inside out, and spray both the envelope and the inside-out cover with the same bleach mix as above.  Let it sit for 20 minutes, and then thoroughly rinse the cover off.  Let it dry, reassemble, and gag-maker should be bleached away.

4)      If these ideas fail, I can get some clothespins for your nose—real cheap too.

 ….Okay kids, go ahead shoot me those questions…and yes, Bill, I will answer your question about the safety of luv in da tub!

 

Chlorine-Free Alternatives For Your Pool

February 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Swimming

Swimming

It’s warm in some parts of the country today.  And soon enough we’ll all be complaining about the unbearable heat, and we’ll be ready to jump into the swimming pool.

The biggest complaint about swimming pools: Chlorine.  Is it safe?  As opposed to no disinfectant in the pool, I’ll take chlorine.  But I don’t like it and I’m highly sensitive to it.  So, my personal job became to find something that actually disinfects pool water without chlorine.

Disinfecting without chlorine is tricky business because you are fighting wind, rain, and organic material (including what our bodies leave behind), that daily alters pool water chemistry.  So, earth-friendly ideas like using green tea, bacteria eating bugs, and salt water are a huge failure AND likely to INFECT you with pseudomonis, eye and skin irritation, ear infections, and digestive complications–for starters.

 So, you must disinfect with stuff that kills bacteria.  That leaves you with bromine (which is chlorine-based), and a plethora of chlorine alternatives already on the market.  (But do you really like orange film on your water?)

Ozone is not a bad idea, but it was originally designed for drinking water, not water that we sweat in and muck up.  Ozone’s disadvantage is it is a gas and it wants to leave the pool water and not stay in the pool water.  The only effective way to use ozone in the pool is a series of contact chambers that compress and force the O3 ozone gas to mix with the pool water before it gets back to the pool.  Got lots of money???

 Collodial silver is another alternative.  It is packaged under a variety of names.  Collodial silver does disinfect  pool water.  This will require, copious amounts of shock, and algaecide.  Particular attention must be spent on your water chemistry.

 So, now I’ll flip into blatant self-serving advice–the Riptide Pool Sanitization System–my system.  It is computerized, and once it is set up for your unique pool needs, and the filtration durations are maintained along with balanced  water chemistry,  clean filters, and a simple once a week oxidizing, the Riptide Pool Sanitization System takes care of disinfection and algae-stat simultaneously.

 It requires little space and is an easy retrofit for most pools. 

 More blantant self serving news: You can buy it off my website  www.riptidealchemy.com  and I’m always available for your questions.

Thanks for reading this.  Questions about spas arrive in email box daily, and I’ll have them posted asap.

Spa is Not Hot Enough, and Ross & Carlos are Coughing & Itching. Plus No Pool Chlorine.

February 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Chemistry, Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Here are a few questions I was recently asked about spas and pools:

Question.  My spa won’t get any hotter than 105 degrees.  It’s not hot enough.  The company I bought it from refuses to adjust the thermostat to make it reach 108 degrees.  I’m very disappointed.

Mary in New Mexico

 Answer.  Mary, your spa dealer has done you a favor by not adjusting the thermostat.  Here’s why:  As a consumer protection, hot tub safety experts have determined that water temp over 105 degrees is dangerous.  It raises your blood pressure, and could cause you to faint in the hot tub.  That’s not a pretty picture. Following the inevitable wrongful death lawsuits that would likely (or have been) filed against spa manufacturers, the industry has set the 105-degree standard.

Personally, I’d recommend 102 to 104 degrees as optimum water temperature so that you can comfortably enjoy your hot tub’s hydrotherapeutic features for a longer length of time. 

Question. Why do I cough when I turn the jets on my spa?  Ross in Nevada.

Answer.  Ross, when was the last time you changed your hot tub’s water or checked the full range of your hot tub’s chemistry?  If you have to pause to answer this question, that’s the red flag.  This tells me that your chemistry or total dissolved solids (TDS) is off the charts. 

First check the TDS.  You probably don’t have a meter for this, so take at least 8 ounces of your spa’s water to your local pool store and ask for the TDS test.  If the TDS reads over 1500 ppm, dump your water and start all over again.

If your TDS is below 1200-1500 ppms, then check your total alkalinity and pH.  Get your total alkalinity to 80-120 ppm.  Then bring your pH to 7.2-7.6 ppm.  Also OXIDIZE (‘shock’) your water.

Next, Ross, enjoy a good long soak with lots of jets and no coughing.

Question.  Why does my skin itch after being in the hot tub?  Carlos in Chicago.

Answer.  Carlos, there are several reasons why your skin itches after a hot tub soak.  1) dirty filter, 2)chemistry imbalance, 3) old water (high TDS), 4) too much disinfectant, 5) too long of a time in the hot tub, and 6) you may just have sensitive skin.

So, troubleshoot the cause by running thru this list.  Let me know what happens.

 Finally, a pool question from Marsha in Phoenix:  “Why am I adding chlorine every couple of days and still getting a low chlorine reading?”

Answer.  Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, first of all, you are in Phoenix.  It’s hot there.  UV is chlorine’s worst enemy.  You can buffer that UV action by testing your chlorine-stabilizer reading (cyanuric acid).  This keeps UV from breaking down the chlorine.  You want between 40-50 ppm of stabilizer.

When the weather's hot and your pool is heavily used, check your chlorine readings more often. You can also find non-chlorine alternatives. Check out www.riptidealchemy.com

When the weather's hot and your pool is heavily used, check your chlorine readings more often. You can also find non-chlorine alternatives. Check out http://www.riptidealchemy.com

Also what kind of chlorine do you use?  If it’s liquid chlorine, it is about 6 to 8-percent available chlorine.  (How do you spell weak chlorine??)  Liquid chlorine is also without added stabilizer.  I’d recommend “stabilized chlorine” (with cyanuric acid) as well as, the available chlorine ranges between 90 to 100-percent available chlorine.  This will make your pool, test kit, and YOU much happier.

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