Spa Essentials Spa

Water Care Guide


Starting Up Your Spa

Just follow the simple steps below - and then enjoy a relaxing, soothing soak.

  1. Fill spa with water and add 2 tablespoons (4 capfuls) of Spa Essentials Stain and Scale Control per 300 gallons during filling. This establishes initial protection against staining and scaling.
  2. Test spa water and balance as needed. Maintain proper water balance factors to help protect spa equipment and ensure comfortable water. Water Balance Factor Proper Range pH 7.2 - 7.6 Total Alkalinity 100 - 150 ppm Calcium Hardness 150-300 ppm
  3. To establish an initial sanitizer reading, add chlorine or bromine and maintain at recommended levels to kill bacteria and keep spa water clean.

If you prefer to use chlorine:
Add Spa Essentials Chlorinating Concentrate at a rate of 1/2 teaspoon per 100 gallons. Repeat additions every 15 -20 minutes until a 3 - 5 ppm chlorine residual is established. Use water test strips or test kit to check sanitizer level.

If you prefer to use bromine:
Add Spa Essentials Brominating Concentrate at a rate of 1 teaspoon per 200 gallons. Repeat additions every 15 - 20 minutes until a 3 - 6 ppm bromine residual is established. Or add Brominating Tablets to an automatic feeder or floater to establish bromine level. Use water test strips or test kit to check sanitizer level.


Maintaining Your Spa

Invest a few minutes each day to take care of your spa. The time will be well worth it. There's nothing like regular maintenance to help avoid any kind of problems.

Daily Maintenance

  1. Run spa pump and filter at least 8 hours per day to circulate water and help keep spa clean.
  2. Test sanitizer level and maintain in proper range. Maintain bromine level of 3 - 6 ppm or chlorine level of 3 - 5 ppm. 3. Test pH and adjust if needed to maintain reading of 7.2 - 7.6.

Weekly Maintenance

  1. Shock spa to remove organic compounds and keep water clear. Add 1 oz. of Spa Essentials Spa Shock per 500 gallons every week. Or use Brominating or Chlorinating Concentrate per label directions to shock spa.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons (4 capfuls) of Stain & Scale Control per 300 gallons to prevent stains and scaling on spa equipment.
  3. Apply Surface Cleaner to a sponge or soft cloth and wipe along waterline and spa surfaces to remove oils, grease, and other debris.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons (4 capfuls) of Enzyme Cleaner per 100 gallons to reduce waterline build-up and help keep filter clean and operating properly.

Periodic Maintenance

  1. Drain and refill spa every 60 - 90 days for moderately used spas.
  2. Clean spa surfaces thoroughly with Surface Cleaner while spa is drained. Rinse well before refilling.
  3. Remove the spa filter and clean with Filter Cleaner every 4 - 6 weeks to remove grease and oil from filter.

Spa Essentials Troubleshooting Guide


ALGAE
BACTERIA

WATER BALANCE PROBLEMS

LOW CALCIUM HARDNESS
HIGH CALCIUM HARDNESS
HIGH pH
LOW pH
SANITIZER
TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS)
HIGH TA
LOW TA

CLOUDY WATER
CLOUDY GREEN WATER

COLORED WATER

CLEAR, LIGHT BROWN WATER
CLEAR GREEN/BROWN/REDDISH WATER
CLEAR YELLOW WATER (IN BROMINATED WATER)

DISCOLORATION/COBALT STAINING
SCALE BUILD-UP
SCUM
FOAMING
CHEMICAL MAINTENANCE
PHYSICAL MAINTENANCE
METALS
ODORS / FUMING


ALGAE
These unwanted microscopic plants appear in a variety of colors such as green, mustard, yellow and black. They can grow on the walls and floor of your spa.

SOLUTION :
Algae growth in spas is fairly uncommon, unless the spa is outdoors and not used often. To prevent algae growth, maintain the sanitizer level at 1.0 ppm or higher and circulate the water several hours daily. If algae is present, shock the spa with Spa Essentials Chlorinating or Brominating Concentrate, depending on the sanitizer. Circulate several hours. Clean the filter after treatment. More than one treatment may be necessary.


BACTERIA
Is there white, tissue paper-like material floating in the spa or coming from the jets? Have any bathers developed a rash? If the answer is "yes," you probably have a bacteria problem

 SOLUTION:
Bacterial growth is spas is fairly common due to the temperature, moisture, and frequent introduction of bacteria from bathers. If it increases, the water will cloud, take on a rank odor, feel slimy, and a white, tissue paper-like build-up may be evident. Occasionally, bathers may develop a rash, (the most common being pseudomonas ó an infection of the hair follicle). A regular shock treatment may not clear up the bacteria.

Perform the following procedure:

1. Drain the spa and refill just above the jets. Remove the filter and soak it in a solution of Spa Essentials Chlorinating Concentrate and water during treatment.
(2 Tbsp. of Chlorine/5 gallons of water)

2. Shock with four times the normal dose of Chlorinating Concentrate.

3. Turn on the jets and circulate for 2 - 3 hours. The bacteria usually builds up in the lines, so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly.

4. Drain the spa again and refill with fresh water. Rinse and replace the filter. Rebalance spa and shock.

Do not enter spa until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.

Other possible causes of skin rash are:


WATER BALANCE PROBLEMS

LOW CALCIUM HARDNESS
SOLUTION:

Calcium hardness in a spa should be maintained over 100 ppm. Under 100 ppm, the spa may have a tendency to foam. If a water softener was used when filling the spa, replace the calcium as soon as possible. Softeners eliminate calcium from the water and can cause equipment damage and surface corrosion.

Follow label or computer recommendations for amount of Spa Essentials Calcium Hardness Increaser to use.


HIGH CALCIUM HARDNESS
SOLUTION:
If the calcium level is too high, scale can form very quickly on surfaces and equipment due to the higher water temperature. Apply Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control weekly to prevent scale build-up. Follow dosage instructions on label or computer recommendations.


HIGH pH
Many things about a spa cause the pH to stay or appear high. There are several things you can check for if youíre not able to lower pH.

SOLUTION:
You may be getting a false pH reading. Bromine discolors Phenol Red test reagent and causes the pH reading to look higher than it actually is. It is uncommon for pH to be high in a bromine spa. When checking pH, use test strips or 5 drops of chlorine neutralizer for a more accurate pH reading.

The pH can rise if you're running the blowers or air jets. Whenever air is mixed with the water in a spa, the pH will rise.

Other causes for pH increase are algae or bacterial growth in the water, or addition of other high pH products.

To lower pH, use Spa Essentials pH Decreaser according to label instructions or dealer recommendations with aeration off.


LOW pH
Low pH is usually due to low total alkalinity and/or use of bromine or chlorine tablets for sanitation. Both products cause pH to drift down rapidly.

SOLUTION:
If bromine or chlorine tablets are being used, check pH frequently to avoid equipment damage.

To raise pH, apply Spa Essentials pH Increaser according to label instructions or dealer recommendations.


SANITIZER
You need to know the proper sanitizer levels in order to balance your spa properly.

SOLUTION:
If youíre using Spa Essentials Brominating Tablets for your sanitizer, keep your level at 2 - 4 ppm. If youíre using Brominating Concentrate, keep level at 3 - 6 ppm. With Chlorinating Concentrate, the level should be 3 - 5 ppm.


TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS)
How to balance TDS in your spa.
SOLUTION:

Total Dissolved Solids in a spa should not exceed 2500 ppm, or 1500 ppm over the level naturally occurring in the fill water. If it is higher than this, a drain would be appropriate.


HIGH TA
SOLUTION:

To lower TA in a spa, hold the pH at 7.2 using Spa Essentials pH Decreaser. Holding the pH at 7.2 will lower TA over the course of several days. Do not leave aeration on while adding pH Decreaser.


LOW TA
SOLUTION:

To raise TA in a spa, use Spa Essentials Total Alkalinity Increaser according to label instructions.
NOTE: Use of bromine or chlorine tablets can quickly lower total alkalinity. TA should be checked every 3 - 4 weeks if one of these sanitizers is being used.


CLOUDY WATER
SOLUTION:

There are a number of possible causes for cloudy water. They include:

To prevent cloudy water, balance spa water, clean filter, and shock spa regularly to eliminate undesirable compounds.

CLOUDY GREEN WATER
 SOLUTION:

Cloudy green water is an indication of algae growth. This is a fairly uncommon condition in spas, unless the spa is outdoors and not used often. To prevent algae growth, maintain the sanitizer level at 1.0 ppm or higher and circulate the water several hours daily.

If algae is present, shock the spa with Spa Essentials Chlorinating or Brominating Concentrate, depending on your sanitizer. Circulate several hours. Clean the filter after treatment. More than one treatment may be necessary.


COLORED WATER

CLEAR, LIGHT BROWN WATER
SOLUTION:

The most likely cause for this problem is manganese in your spa water. Follow the steps below to treat for manganese:

  1. Slowly chlorinate/brominate the spa water with tablets, a floater, or granular product until the manganese falls out of solution (you will see the water discolor).
  2. Continuously filter the spa until the water clears.
  3. Chemically clean the filter media.
  4. Remove any stains with Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control.

CLEAR GREEN/BROWN/REDDISH WATER
SOLUTION:

You need to treat your spa water for copper and iron. These metals can discolor water or stain the surface. Metals can sometimes enter spas through fill water or, more often, through corrosion of the heater in the spa itself. Treat with Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control according to label instructions.

To prevent metal levels due to equipment corrosion, maintain proper water balance. Staining on spa surfaces from metals can be removed by draining the spa and cleaning with a light acid bath or other acidic surface cleaner. Consult manufacturer recommendations for treatment of the spa surface.


CLEAR YELLOW WATER (IN BROMINATED WATER)
SOLUTION:

Clear water with a yellow tint usually occurs in bromine systems. The water can take on a slight discoloration if the bromine level is too high and the pH is too low. Make sure that an accurate pH reading is obtained by using up to 5 drops of chlorine neutralizer when testing pH with Phenol Red test reagent. When the pH is raised and the bromine level drops, the discoloration should go away.


DISCOLORATION/COBALT STAINING
SOLUTION:

Surface discoloration in spas usually indicates the presence of metals or - in fiberglass spas - cobalt staining. Use of Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control will remove some fresh stains. If the stains have been present for a long period of time, it may be necessary to drain the spa and perform a light acid wash. If the spa is fiberglass, cobalt staining can be temporarily faded by an application of oxalic or citric acid. Usually, the discoloration will reappear. This has to do with a problem within the fiberglass itself, and there is no way to prevent its return.

For growths and build-ups, you first need to determine the nature of the problem. If the build-up is dark-colored and can be removed fairly easily, the problem is likely black algae. This can be treated with a topical application of Spa Essentials Chlorinating Concentrate. If the build-up is rough - like sandpaper and white or tan and is difficult to remove - the problem is scale build-up. This can be removed by draining the spa and applying a light acid wash. (Also, see next screen.)


SCALE BUILD-UP
SOLUTION:

Scale can sometimes form on the spa surface, causing a gritty, sandpaper-like feel to the seats and walls. This is caused by poor water balance (i.e., high total alkalinity, pH, calcium hardness, and/or water temperature). To remove the scale, apply a light acid wash to the surface when the spa is drained.

To prevent scale build-up, use the recommended maintenance dose of Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control.


SCUM
SOLUTION:

Spas often get an accumulation of scum and other oils around the waterline due to the number of bathers. The spa should be shocked often to avoid the build-up of this waste. Once it occurs, however, it can be removed with Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control.


FOAMING
SOLUTION:

Foaming in spas is somewhat common. There can be a variety of causes:

Poor water balance. If the calcium hardness is less than 100 ppm, the water may foam.

Insoluble compounds. When compounds such as perspiration, cosmetics, etc., build up in the water, foaming can occur. Spas should be shocked frequently and drained periodically to prevent this build-up. Hereís a formula for calculating how often to drain your spa:

Spa volume ' 3 ' Average daily bather load = Number of days between drains

Use of algaecide. Most algaecides foam unless specifically stated otherwise. If you add a foaming algaecide, it may be necessary to drain the spa.

Use of biguanide. We do not recommend using biguanide as a spa sanitizer; it foams heavily.

Foreign substances. Soaps, oils, and sometimes even vandalism can cause foaming. Investigate the possible source and act accordingly.


CHEMICAL MAINTENANCE
SOLUTION:

Just like pool water balance, spa water balance must be maintained. Total alkalinity, pH, and calcium hardness should be tested and adjusted accordingly.

Chlorine levels should be consistently maintained at 1 - 3 ppm. Bromine levels should stay at 4 - 6 ppm.

Due to higher bather to water ratio in spas, shocking should be quite frequent. A shock treatment should be applied following each spa use. If the spa is not being used for a long period of time, shock weekly. Spa Essentials Spa Shock, Brominating Concentrate or Chlorinating Concentrate may be used, depending on the type of sanitizer used in the spa. An ozonator will also help eliminate some insoluble compounds.

PHYSICAL MAINTENANCE
SOLUTION:

The filter should be run several hours each day. Most spas now come with smaller booster pumps, which allow quiet water circulation without using the jets. Rinse the cartridge off periodically, and chemically clean the cartridge when the spa is drained and cleaned. The following formula is a good rule of thumb for estimating when to drain the spa.

Spa volume ò 3 ò Average daily bather load = Number of days between drains

When cleaning the sides of the spa after draining, use a cleaner such as Spa Essentials Surface Cleaner that has been specifically designed for spa use.


METALS
SOLUTION:

Metals such as copper or iron in spa water can discolor water or stain the surface. Metals can sometimes enter spas through fill water or, more often, through corrosion of the heater in the spa itself. Treat with Spa Essentials Stain & Scale Control according to label instructions.

To prevent metal levels due to equipment corrosion, maintain proper water balance.

Staining on spa surfaces from metals can be removed by draining the spa and cleaning with a light acid bath or other acidic surface cleaner. Consult manufacturer recommendations for treatment of the spa surface.


ODORS/FUMING
SOLUTION:

All bodies of water release gases. Spas will release more fumes than most because the water is heated. Coupled with the fact that most spas stay covered the majority of time, this adds up to a fairly high level of harmless gases under the spa cover. When the cover is removed, these fumes are released and will sometimes cause throat and eye irritation and coughing.

Ventilate spa room well if indoors. Periodically remove cover to release gases and prevent extensive build-up.

If you experience a musty or unpleasant odor, add a freshener and deodorizer. Leave the cover off for a few hours a day if possible. Clean the cover with a disinfectant.


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