Chlorinated Pools, Your Child and Allergies

October 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Chlorine-Alternatives, Health Risks of Chlorinated Pools, Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Chlorinated pools--worse than second-hand cigarette smoke????

Chlorinated pools--worse than second-hand cigarette smoke????

I’m glad that chlorine has saved many folks from around the world from water-born infectious diseases.  But, after being around chlorine for 39-too many years, I’m allergic to it. Ask my wife what happens when she tosses some bleach in with her laundry.  It’s not pretty. The sheets and towels are white, and so am I–pale white from a chlorine-allergy dotted with lovely red spots up and down my body.   This is one of the reasons why I think the Riptide Pool Disinfection System (TM)  is the all-that for pool sanitization.  I can even show that it’s excellent for commercial pools too. 

But this is not about my allergy, this is some recently released news about chlorinated pools and childhood allergies.  Read on:

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Swimming in an outdoor or indoor chlorinated pool has more impact than secondhand smoke in increasing the chances that a child susceptible to asthma and allergies will develop those problems, according to a new study, Reuters Health reported September 15.


Dr. Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, told Reuters Health, “These new data clearly show that by irritating the airways of swimmers, chlorination products in water and air of swimming pools exert a strong additive effect on the development of asthma and respiratory allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.”


Bernard added, “The impact of these chemicals on the respiratory health of children and adolescents appears to be much more important — at least by a factor of five — than that associated with secondhand smoke.”


The researchers found that the risk of asthma and allergy was not influenced by swimming in pools sanitized with a concentration of copper and silver and that children without allergic tendencies were not at increased risk of developing allergies in those pools.


The researchers said the current findings “reinforce” the need for further study on the issue and to enforce regulations concerning the levels of these chemicals in water and air of swimming pools, Reuters Health reported.



Hot Tub Cover Weighs a Ton

July 24, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Covers | 1 Comment
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Dear Mr. Pool and Spa Master:  My hot tub cover weighs a ton.  It used to be easy to lift with one arm.  Now my wife can’t lift it, and I have to give it a good heave-ho.  What’s wrong?   Richard in Boulder City

Richard, Your hot tub cover is toast–a big slice of closed-cell foam that is water saturated.

1)  It can’t be repaired–it’s not like a sponge and squeeze-dried

2) It’s probably harboring nasty bacteria.  I’d bet the cover reeks

3) Say hello to mold. (Got more yucky smell?)

4) It no longer properly insulates your spa’s water temp–and now you’re paying more to heat the water

5) A sprained back is in someone’s future as they try to lift the beast

Your options? 

1) Live with the 5 negatives listed above or

2) Replace it with a new cover.

Yes, that’s an expensive proposal, but your only choice.  I recommend that you order it through your local spa dealer mainly because they should be purchasing covers from a reputable manufacturer that provides a year’s warranty, and they will also assure that you get the right size cover for your spa.  It will likely be custom-made for you.  Why?  There are thousands of spa sizes, shapes and styles.  It’s too risky for a spa dealer to keep every size in stock.

To assure you get the right cover, do the following:

1) Measure the length and width of the cover and the corner radius

2) Measure the skirt length (the part that hangs down)

3) If you know your hot tub’s manufacturer, bring that.

4)  AND some hot tubs have a serial number.  That slam-dunks the right cover.

There are alternatives to the standard cover.  They cost more, and don’t have the features that, say the Sunstar manufacturer provides:


  1. UL Classified.
  2. Full 3-Year Warranty.
  3. Marine Grade Vinyl. Treated with mildew and UV inhibitors for year-round beauty.
  4. Vapor Lock Seal with Antaeus 2000™. State-of-the-art equipment is used to heat seal cores with Antaeus 2000, a scientifically formulated plastic developed exclusively for Sunstar to inhibit moisture absorption.
  5. Twenty-Eight Points of Internal Reinforcement. Every stress point is reinforced, including the hinge, handles, straps, corners and skirts.
  6. Tough ’N Sturdy Hinge. Four layers of vinyl add strength to this high stress area.
  7. Super-Strength Padded Handles. Five layers of added strength were it’s most needed.
  8. Premiere Skirt. An additional seal to keep heat in and dirt out.
  9. Tie Down Straps. Triple-reinforced straps secure the cover to the spa or hot tub with locking fasteners.
  10. Secure-Loc Fasteners. Lock with a key for extra safety.
  11. Plastic Drain Grommet. Aids the release of moisture trapped under the vinyl. Will not corrode or scratch spa.
  12. Double-Ply Poly-Laminate. Industrial grade vinyl with durable polyester fabric reinforcement. Mildew resistant.
  13. Tapered Foam Core. Standard covers come with 3 1/2” – 2 1/2” taper to keep heat in and allow rain to run off.
  14. Steel Reinforcement. Non-corrosive, strengthens center of Spa Top™
  15. Commercial Grade Nylon Zipper and Protection Flap. Heavy-duty nylon zipper is corrosion resistant. Protective flap for easy replacement of core.
  16. Hidden Zipper Pull Protection. Protects zipper pull. Adds quality finished appearance.
  17. GHSG™ Super Heat Seal Gasket. A revolutionary insulating hinge seal that saves heat and prevents moisture loss. Critical to long-term energy savings. Pays back through energy savings typically in less than 12 months, according to independent testing. Also protects bottom from abrasion.


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!


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