Spa Water 104, Clear, No Foam, Please

November 11, 2009 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Spa Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Yikes! You turn your spa jets on, and suddenly your spa becomes a giant foam machine–or a latte gone wild.  First, you scream at the kids asking who dumped soap into the spa.  But you don’t have any kids and your spa doesn’t smell soapy.

Spa water should be clear and without foam when the jets run.1) Now ask yourself, how long ago did I drain my spa?  Why?  High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) will cause foam.  If your TDS reading (which you can have tested at your local spa shop) is over 1500 ppm, it’s time to dump the water, clean your spa, and start anew again. 

2) Have you cleaned or replaced your spa’s filter in recent memory?  If you draw a blank on this question, go directly to your spa’s filter, check it out and if it is anything but lilly white, it’s time to clean it.  You can hose it off, but I recommend purchasing a filter cleaning solution from your local spa dealer, like Leisure Time Filter Clean.  

Also if your filter has been servicing your spa for over 18 months, it may be time to replace it.

3)  Calcium hardness is another cause of foam in your spa.  If the calcium hardness is less than 200 ppm, bring it up with a calcium increase product, like Leisure Time’s Calcium Increase. 

4)  Have you diligently shocked your spa’s water?  If not, the foam can easily be reduced with a good shock treatment using a non-chlorine shock, which you can find at your spa dealer.  Shock your water, at the very least, once a week.

5)  If you are missing a container of dish soap–well, it’s time to deal with the gremilins gone wild.

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Blue, Green, Yellow, Brown–All The Pretty Spa Water Colors

August 17, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Chemistry, Spa Chemistry | 2 Comments
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All the pretty colors.  Great when in a rainbow.  Bad when in your spa.  Spa water should be crystal clear. So when your spa water is yellow, what does that mean?

 Here’s a quick synopsis of what these colors mean:

Cloudy Green

Dude, you got  algae in the water. 

Treatment: Shock your water with chlorine.

See-Through Green or Emerald Green

Acidic Water.  The metals in your heating elements are being stripped. The average cost for a replacement heating element–$200-$250 big green dollars (includes labor).

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Treatment: Try a product like Metal Gon by Leisure Time–then balance your chemistry. 

Total Alalinity  80-120, pH 7.2-7.6, .  If this fails, drain and start all over.

Yellowish

 Indicates low total alkalinity and low pH.  It’s also  the precursor to damaging the spa’s heating element. 

Treatment: Balance your  total alkalinity and pH.  Also check your calcium hardness — should be over 250 ppm.  

Treat with calcium increaser.

Blue

Blue rarely happens in above ground spas.  But in-ground gunite spas– with gas-fired heaters–can experience bluish/turquoise water, as well as the same color stains on the plaster. 

Treatment:  Get the total alkalinity pH,   and calcium hardness balanced.  Also check  total dissolved solids (TDS) –not over 1500 ppm–  because that can also begin striping your heater.

 

Brown

Rare, but happens.  Usually indicates iron in the water. 

Treatment:  Metal Gon should cure it.  If it continues, drain, refill and add a bottle of Metal Gon when you refill.

Calcium Hardness–It’s Not About Your Bones

March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Chemistry, Pool Chemistry, Spa Chemistry | Leave a comment
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j0323833In the last post, one of the questions I asked the spa tech with a sludge-like spa water nightmare was “What is your calcium hardness reading?”

A proper test kit should contain a calcium hardness test mechanism.  Calcium hardness tests were once just for swimming pools–but we’ve discovered that it is also important for your backyard hot tub. The reason to test for calcium hardness in pool water is because a low calcium hardness reading is destructive to the pool’s plaster. (Priced plaster replacement lately?  Think second mortgage to pay for the replacement.)

All tap water has variable calcium hardness readings.   In that same seam, low calcium hardness in a hot tub is not only corrosive, but also interferes with disinfection, and low calcium hardness can also cause your water to become foamy.

Spa and pool owners often think that they have a lot of minerals in their water and equate that to calcium hardness.  WRONG.  Calcium hardness is a different measurement apart from total hardness (and that also has little to do with TDS) . 

So, the reason I wanted a calcium hardness reading on this sludgy spa was: 1) to determine the effectiveness of the disinfectant and; 2) to determine if  this was adding to the ‘green sludge’ disaster–in that it could cause the water to foam.

Maintaining your spa’s water can be like maintaining your own skeletal health, but this low-calcium hardness business can destroy your spa or pool’s skeletal well-being.  If your calcium hardness reading is below 250 ppms, then prepare for funky water, and a visit from your spa’s doctor for an expensive repair to the heater, pump seals and possibly more. 

Raise calcium hardness with calcium chloride.  You can pick this up at your local pool and spa store. 

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