WATER CHEMISTRY

 

Fresh Start

  • Balancing the water on a fresh fill is the most important thing in being able to maintain proper water chemistry
    • The water needs to be warm (at least 80 degrees) the chemicals being added are much more effective at doing their jobs with the higher temperatures.
    • Test the pH and Alkalinity levels and add either a Decreaser (Spa Down) or an Increaser (pH & Alkalinity Increaser) depending on your results. You'll want the water to circulate for at least 12 hours before retesting. A good trick so you don't overshoot the amounts is to go with half the amount you think is needed, and see if there's a change.
      • Eventually you want your test to read in the range of pH 7.2-7.8 and the Alk to be 80-120. If the pH reading is in that zone and the Alkalinity is just above you should be just fine, because the Alkalinity level acts as a buffer for the pH level so it won't bounce around tremendously when other chemicals are added to your spa.
    • After balancing the pH/Alk you'll want to go after the Total Hardness (Calcium) count in the spa. The proper range is between 150-250 ppm. It's important to know the level because a reading that's either too high or too low can seriously damage the equipment and overall life of your spa if it's left for long periods of time. Your source is water is the main thing here, soft water can be boosted with some Increaser and
      • For slightly higher readings you can add a calcium controller (Pristine Check) to slightly decrease the value but it can't be relied on to dramatically drop the total.
      • If you're way over 800ppm you may want to consider a hose filter to deal with the excess minerals and then increase it to the proper zone so the soft water doesn't eat away the equipment running in the spa.

Clean Water

  • Everything's all Balanced the next you'll need to Sanitize the water. The most common tools for this are either Chlorine or Bromine in some form. Depending on the type of spa you have there may be a some different options to consider.
    • For Marquis spas, their FROG System uses inline cartridges to maintain Bromine levels in the spa. Just make sure the cartridges aren't open, or remove them when the spa is filling up with the cold water.
    • The Pristine Blue System can be used on many spas, the bi-weekly maintenance program uses less granulated chemicals and more liquids to help your water stay clearer and last longer than standard chlorine and shock treatments.
    • Spa Marvel uses a liquid enzyme mixture to keep your water's oxidation rate at a premium for a few months and all you need to concern yourself with is that perpetual chlorine/bromine level reading.
  • As you use the spa you'll want to use an oxidizer of some sort to help remove extra/used up chemicals and other wastes that can build up in the water. How much you need all depends on the size and usage of your spa
    • Ozonators are an effective tool at this. It's a piece of equipment that injects 03 (Ozone) into the water after the filtration process. These unstable molecules split apart and bond with the leftovers effectively oxidizing them, thereby creating larger and more complex molecules which can be easily filtered out on the next loop. This does a wonderful job at cutting down your overall chemical usage in the spa, but it shouldn't be relied on to do it all by itself.
    • There's also a few different Shock Oxidizers that can be added to the water in the same fashion as the Chlorine/Bromine. These work the best on an almost weekly basis and should be used after you're done using the spa. Many of the Non-Chlorine shocks are safe to swim in, but it just works much better when it's used after.

Clear Water

  • Water clarifiers help clear up cloudy water. Whether it's small floating particles that aren't getting filtered out or a top layer of scum on the water, a clarifier fixes this problem. The solution helps coagulate (clumps up) the particles or the oils in the water so they will be caught by the filter and removed when the filters are cleaned.
  • Waterline stains/Chemicals that change color when they're added/Too much or not enough sanitizer left in the water can be caused by a few different things.
    • Metals, Iron or other minerals can leave "rusty" waterlines from orange to a pale yellow. Also it can cause the water to change to those colors when you add chlorine to it. It's a combination of factors that causes this but the root of the problem can be high metal content. A Metal & Stain Remover can be added to the water either during your initial fill up or after to fix the problem. If you know that your source water is hard then it's a great idea to put that into the water after balancing.
    • Algae causes a lot of problems and can be the cause of cloudy water as well. It can be suspended in the water which would give an overall green tint to it and even cause chemicals like chlorine to become a funky color when they're added. There can be a slimy buildup on the walls, the headrests, or even on the underside of the cover. Algae flourishes in the warm temps of a spa so it's important to keep it under control.
      • A Mineral cartridge of some sort is usually a good preventative measure for spas, unless your using the Pristine chemical systems which uses a copper liquid as an algaecide. The cartridges can either be in-line like the Marquis FROG system or the kind that are placed inside the filter. The Nature2 cartridges screw into the housing and allow the filter to be placed over the top.
      • For cleaning up those stains there are products specifically designed for spa usage. Marquis's Spa Bright has the ability to clean up grease stains, water line stains from metals, and even break down that moldy buildup underneath the cover. It doesn't affect the water so there won't be any foaming.

Complete Care

  • Preventative Maintenance can easily stretch out your spa's lifespan. Cleaning the Filters/Tracking pH/Maintaining the Water Level/Cleaning the Cover are all simple chores that can keep your spa running an acting like it was the day you saw it on the showroom floor.
    • Cleaning the FIlters is a simple as rinsing off accumulated debris every week. If it's not clean it can't clean.
      • If rinsing isn't removing stains that have shown up you can soak it in a filter cleaner for several hours. Spraying it on the cartridge instead and letting it dry a bit before rinsing it off is a second option with this product. This helps remove the oils and other wastes that attach to the filter and can't be just rinsed away.
      • Another trick is to get another set of filters so you can tag-team, bouncing between the two, it makes them all last longer than they normally would because of it.
    • Add more water to your spa. It is important to keep it at the proper level. You can lose some of it through evaporation because of how warm the water is compared to the air.
      • Make sure it's filled up a few inches above the filter level. It's important to not let air inside the plumbing which can lock up the pumps. Also, too much is also a problem many of the gadgets and valves on the edges aren't water sealed and can cause water to leak inside the spa where it normally wouldn't have the opportunity.
        • If after you've added water and the level drops to the level it was before rather quickly there may be some sort of leak, which should be checked out by a professional if you can't seem to find out where the water is going.
    • Tracking the pH/Alk levels is critical. Every week would be amazing but just remember that when you add other chemicals or even just add fresh water it might have an effect on these readings. It may just go up/down a little bit at each time but eventually the reading will have skewed out of the proper zone and operating your spa under those conditions can damage the equipment and have other gnarly effects that'll ruin the overall experience of owning a spa.
      • Just remember when you retest to make sure the water has had a chance to circulate.
    • Cleaning the cover is another simple thing that can keep your spa running efficiently and looking great.
      • You can use a vinyl/UV protectant cleaner to help stop the fading from the sun and make the material go further under normal wear and tear.
      • Remember to leave the cover off the spa when adding chemicals like Chlorine. This produces gas that can ruin the foam insulating it. It expands and allows the water to get trapped in the new gaps, eventually making it incredibly heavy.