Quickguide to spa Management


           WARNINGS:

  • ALWAYS READ PACK INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE DOSING SPA CHEMICALS.
  • NEVER MIX CHEMICALS IN THE DRY STATE OR IN CONCENTRATED SOLUTIONS. THIS ALSO APPLIES TO DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHLORINE.
  • CHEMICALS MUST BE DOSED SEPARATELY, AND IN THE CONCENTRATIONS RECOMMENDED.
  • NEVER PLACE MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF TABLET PRODUCT IN THE DISPENSER OR SKIMMER BASKET AT THE SAME TIME.
  • ALWAYS PRE-DISSOLVE GRANULAR PRODUCTS IN WARM (NOT HOT !) TAP WATER.
  • WHEN PREPARING A SOLUTION, ALWAYS ADD THE CHEMICAL TO THE WATER, NEVER THE WATER TO THE CHEMICAL.

The most important item you will add to your spa is a 'sanitiser' - a treatment agent which will eliminate bacteria and other micro-organisms which would otherwise contaminate your water. Chlorine and bromine are the most popular sanitisers in spa pools - these agents are economical, safe and effective, but it is important to control the overall 'balance' of the pool water to ensure that chlorine and bromine can work to best effect.

Chlorine is added to pool water in the form of chlorine-based chemicals, in either granule or tablet form.

Bromine is generally added as slow-dissolving tablets. Bromine is less to likely to irritate than chlorine, and because of this, bromine tablets are often more suitable for use in the higher temperatures of spa baths. In addition, because they do not contain calcium, bromine tablets can be used to sanitise hard water without increasing the calcium hardness; this makes bromine potentially more useful in hard water areas. Bromine tablets have little effect on pH. The main disadvantage with bromine is its higher cost.

Simple tests will help you to decide what chemicals should be added, and we give easy dosing advice throughout the Quickguide and on all of our product containers.

Spa water should be drained and changed at least once every 180 days. With heavy use, it may be necessary to drain and refill every month or so. The following rule-of-thumb might help you decide how often to change your spa water; take your spa volume in litres; divide by the average number of bathers who use it each day; divide by 12; this will give you a guideline to work to; eg. 1,000 litres divided by 2 bathers divided by 12 = 42 days.

The most important item you will add to your spa is a 'sanitiser' - a treatment agent which will eliminate bacteria and other micro-organisms which would otherwise contaminate your water. Chlorine is by far the most popular sanitiser in all types of swimming spa - this agent is economical, safe and effective, but it is important to control the overall 'balance' of the spa water to ensure that chlorine can work to best effect. Chlorine is added to spa water in the form of chlorine-based chemicals, in either granule or tablet form. Simple tests will help you to decide what chemicals should be added, and we give easy dosing advice throughout the Quickguide.




SPA VOLUME

Calculate the volume of water in your spa. Base the dose calculation for adding chemicals to YOUR spa on the general dosing recommendations in the Quickguide below. Read the instructions on the containers for further information.

SPA WATER MAINTENANCE, STEP BY STEP

These basic guidelines assume a spa volume of 1,000 gallons. Adjust all dose recommendations for the volume of water in YOUR spa.

Step 1:
Read the spa owners manual first !

Step 2: Clean the spa surface with a general purpose cleaner such as EasyChemicals Tile and Liner Cleaner. During initial filling of the spa with fresh water, add an anti-scale agent such as EasyChemicals No-Scale if you live in a hard water area. When the spa is full, run the pump on high speed for 30 minutes without air controls open. This will give the anti-scale chemical time to mix well with the water. Allow No-Scale 12-24 hours to properly mix in the water before proceeding with any further steps.

Step 3: Test water for pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness. The pH should be 7.2 - 7.8 and the total Alkalinity between 80-150 ppm. Calcium hardness levels should be maintained between 150 and 250 ppm.

Step 4: Adjust pH, Total Alkalinity and Calcium Hardness, using EasyChemicals pH Increaser or Reducer, and Total Alkalinity and Hardness Increasers, following the directions on the containers.

Step 5: If you intend to use chlorine as your sanitiser, add 2 oz of EasyChemicals Stabilised Granular Chlorine 55% per 1,000 galls (12.5 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) on initial start up to begin sanitising the spa water. It is important not to add the Chlorine Granules until the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness have been adjusted to their proper levels. We recommend that a minimum level of 2 ppm free chlorine be maintained at all times.

If you have chosen to use bromine as your sanitiser, add EasyChemicals Bromine Mini Tablets to your bromine feeder or dispenser, following label directions. If you are using a dispenser system follow the instructions provided with the dispenser. As a general guide, use one Bromine Mini Tablet at a time for each 1,000 galls (4.5 cubic metres (4,500 litres)). With the pump running on high speed, add a Bromine Mini Tablet, and then shock the spa with 4 oz per 1,000 gallons (25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) of EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine Oxy Shock. It may take several days adjusting the bromine feeder to obtain a free bromine reading of 2 to 4 ppm. A bromine reading may not be obtained on the first day.

 

ROUTINE MAINTENANCE, STEP BY STEP

BEFORE EACH SPA SESSION: Test for free chlorine or bromine. If the free chlorine or bromine level is below 2 ppm, adjust accordingly. Add 1 oz per 1,000 gallons (6.25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) of EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine (Oxy) Shock or 0.2 oz per 1,000 gallons (1.25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) of Chlorine Shock Granules 65% to the spa.

ONCE A WEEK: Test for free chlorine or bromine. Add 1.2 oz per 1,000 gallons (7.5 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) of EasyChemicals Chlorine Shock Granules 65% (chlorine based spas only) for each increase in chlorine of 5 ppm; aim to raise the chlorine level above 8 ppm and preferably to 10 ppm; this means that you will have to calculate the amount of Shock Granule required to reach this level. If using EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine Oxy Shock (for chlorine OR bromine based spas), use 4 oz per 1,000 galls (25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)).

3 TIMES A WEEK: Test water for pH, chlorine/bromine, and total alkalinity. Adjust sanitiser levels, pH and total alkalinity accordingly. If using chlorine, add EasyChemicals Stabilised Chlorine Granules or Mini Tablets following label directions to maintain a free chlorine level of 2 to 4 ppm. If using bromine, adjust feeder/dispenser to maintain a free bromine level of 2 to 4 ppm. Add EasyChemicals Bromine Mini tablets to the feeder/dispenser as necessary, following label and dispenser directions.

ONCE A MONTH: Soak your filter elements overnight in a bucket with EasyChemicals Spa Cartridge Cleaner and then rinse with clean water before re-inserting. If your spa is heavily used, consider changing the spa water every month or so.

EVERY 180 DAYS: Drain and refill your spa, repeat start up procedure.

AS NEEDED: If the water looks hazy, shock treat with 4 oz per 1,000 gallons (25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine Oxy Shock (if your spa is chlorine or bromine based) or 1.2 oz per 1,000 gallons (7.5 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) of EasyChemicals Chlorine Shock Granules 65% (chlorine based spa only) for each increase in chlorine of 5 ppm. If you are using Chlorine Shock, aim to raise the chlorine level above 8 ppm; you will have to calculate the amount of Shock Granule required to reach this level. Wait 15 minutes then use EasyChemicals Granular Flocculant or Spa Sparkle as directed.

EasyChemicals No-Foam may be used when excessive foaming occurs. Over-use of No-Foam will result in cloudy, milky water.

Depending on bather load and frequency of use, drain and refill times may vary as well as the frequency of cleaning your filters.

 
Action Aim

1. Control pH Your sanitiser can only work properly if the pH of your spa water is correct. pH is also important for the comfort of spa users.
2. Sanitise A good sanitiser will eliminate harmful micro-organisms which will otherwise colonise your spa water, and might even harm users.
3. Shock Contaminants in your spa combine with chlorine or bromine sanitiser to form ‘combined' chlorines or bromine, or chloramines/bromamines. These need to be removed for bather comfort and in the case of chlorine to eliminate unpleasant chlorine smells.
4. Control Water Balance Keep the water ‘balanced' to make it easier to maintain good water quality. Better balance will help protect spa finishes and equipment.
5. Maintenance Regular water testing and treatment will keep your spa looking its best. Regular cleaning (vacuuming, brushing) and optimal filtration should form part of your routine maintenance programme.
 
 


Control pH
  Back to Top

Explanation: pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your spa water. Low pH can lead to skin irritation and corrosion of equipment. High pH can reduce the effectiveness of your spa sanitiser, as chlorine-based products only release the optimal amount of free ‘active' chlorine when the spa water pH is between 7.2 and 7.6. Bromine also works best within a narrow pH range, but is more tolerant of pH changes than chlorine; spa pH should be kept between 7.2 - 8.0 when using bromine.

pH Values Below 7.2 7.2 - 7.6 Above 7.6 (8.0 for bromine)
 
Ideal

To correct Add EasyChemicals pH Increaser (pH+)   Add EasyChemicals pH Reducer (pH-)
Dose Rate 1.5 oz per 1,000 galls (10 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres))   1.5 oz per 1,000 galls (10 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres))
Frequency Dose daily until the pH reading is correct

Comments: Always add EasyChemicals pH Reducer by pre-dissolving it in warm tap water and spreading the solution widely over the entire surface of the spa.

Test frequency: Test pH daily.

 


Sanitise
     Back to Top

Explanation: Sanitisation kills the micro-organisms which would colonise your spa if left unchecked, turning the water green and cloudy and possibly infecting bathers. Chlorine- and bromine-based sanitisers work by oxidising the contaminating organisms.

EasyChemicals offers rapid dissolving granules with 55% available chlorine and slow dissolving chlorine and bromine Mini tablets. EasyChemicals Chlorine Mini Tablets can be used in a dispenser system, or placed in a skimmer basket or floating dispenser. Chlorine Maxi Tablets should not be used for sanitising spa pools. Bromine is generally used in tablet form only. The material is slow to dissolve and may take a few days to develop a ‘reserve' or stable reading in the water.

If you are using bromine, add one EasyChemicals Bromine Mini Tablets per 1,000 galls via the spa skimmer, or floating dispenser, or the feeder/dispenser fitted to your spa, following the instructions provided with the dispenser. It may take several days adjusting the bromine feeder/dispenser to obtain a free bromine reading of 2 to 4 ppm. A bromine reading may not be obtained on the first day.

The amount of free chlorine in your spa should always be between 2 ppm and 4 ppm, even when the spa is not in use.

Sanitise Values, Chlorine Below 2 ppm 2 – 4 ppm
 
Ideal

To correct Add EasyChemicals Stabilised Chlorine Granules 55% or Chlorine Mini Tablets.  
Granules 0.2 oz per 1,000 galls (1.25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) to raise chlorine by 1 ppm.  
Mini Tablets Base dose rate on test results.  
Frequency

As required, aiming to maintain free chlorine above 2 ppm.

 

Sanitise Values, Bromine Below 2 ppm 2 – 4 ppm
 
Ideal

To correct Add EasyChemicals Bromine Mini Tablets.  
Mini Tablets Base dose rate on test results.  
Frequency

As required, aiming to maintain free bromine above 2 ppm.

 

Comments: Always pre-dissolve EasyChemicals Stabilised Chlorine Granules in warm tap water before adding to the spa, and add the solution near the spa inlet(s) so that the high flow will help disperse the sanitiser.

It's a good idea to add chlorine in the evening instead of the morning, as this can reduce your chemical costs. During the day, chlorine is lost to the UV in the sunlight. Even with stabilised chlorine, losses can be substantial. At night, ALL of the chlorine used is sanitising your spa, and losses are minimal.

EasyChemicals Mini Chlorine or Mini Bromine Tablets should be added via a feeder device or placed carefully in the spa skimmer basket or in a floating dispenser; never put the tablets directly into the spa or allow them to rest on the spa shell surface. The tablets will dissolve at a rate which will depend on water temperature and flow rate.

Whether you are using granules or tablets, adjust the dosing frequency to maintain correct chlorine or bromine readings - if you need to raise free chlorine quickly, granules have a more rapid effect.

High chlorine or bromine levels are not usually a problem for spa owners because even stabilised products are consumed as they work. This means that a high level will normally be corrected naturally within a day or two.

Test frequency: Test for free chlorine or bromine daily.
 

Shock     Back to Top

Explanation: The purpose of ‘shocking' or your spa water is to break down chloramines or bromamines. ‘Shocking' is a rather confusing term which is used to describe the process of adding either extra chlorine (superchlorination) by raising the chlorine level above 8 ppm, or by adding a non-chlorine shock agent (eg. potassium monoperoxysulphate or potassium monopersulphate) to ‘burn off' the chloramines or bromamines.

A non-chlorine shock agent acts by releasing oxygen into the water, which essentially serves the same function as shock chlorine. The advantage to using non-chlorine shock in spa pools is that users can enter the water within 15 minutes after shocking. If you are using chlorine-based shock agents, it is wise to wait until the total chlorine reading falls below 5 ppm before entering the spa.

It is important to remember that non-chlorine shock will not kill bacteria or disinfect, while chlorine based shock agents are sanitisers in their own right.

Chloramines and bromamines are formed when your sanitiser combines with organic (nitrogen-containing) compounds introduced into the pool by bathers (in the form of urine, sweat, sunscreen, soaps, hair products and cosmetics) instead of oxidising micro-organisms.

Chloramines are undesirable in your pool because they reduce the effectiveness of chlorine as a sanitiser, because they can irritate the eyes, and because they have a characteristic unpleasant 'swimming pool' smell.

Chloramines can be controlled by ensuring that free chlorine levels are always at least twice as high as combined chlorine, and by keeping combined chlorine below 1 ppm. This is achieved by regularly ‘shocking' or ‘superchlorinating' your pool with non-stabilised EasyChemicals Chlorine Shock Granules 65% to raise free chlorine to around 10 ppm.

Bromamines are thought to be reasonably effective sanitisers in their own right, and don't suffer from the same level of odour as chloramines. Nevertheless, it is advisable to shock a bromine based spa regularly to keep free bromine levels within the target range. Use EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine Oxy Shock Granules for shocking a bromine-based spa.

Shock Ideal Values  5 - 10ppm
To Shock, chlorine Add EasyChemicals Chlorine Shock Granules.
Dose Rate, chlorine 1.2 oz per 1,000 galls (7.5 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) will raise the free chlorine by 5 ppm.
Frequency Every two weeks or after heavy use of your spa.

Shock Ideal Values  5 - 10ppm
To Shock , non-chlorine Add EasyChemicals Non-Chlorine Shock Granules (Oxy).
Dose Rate, non-chlorine 1 oz per 1,000 galls (6.25 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)).
Frequency Every two weeks or after heavy use of your spa.


Comments: Chlorine Shock Granules should not be used to shock a bromine-based spa.

Always pre-dissolve EasyChemicals Chlorine Shock Granules 65% or Non-Chlorine (Oxy) Granules in warm tap water before adding to the pool, and add the solution near the pool water inlet(s) so that the high flow will help disperse the sanitiser.

EasyChemicals Chlorine Granules 55% should NOT be used for shock purposes as this will add unnecessarily to stabiliser levels. Mini Chlorine or Mini Bromine Tablets contain lower amounts of stabiliser, but dissolve too slowly to give the desired increase in free chlorine or bromine.

Test frequency: Daily, especially if bathers complain of stinging eyes
 

Control Water Balance     Back to Top

Water balance is critical for the maintenance of good water quality and for protecting the spa finishes and fittings from scale or corrosion. This means keeping an eye on total alkalinity, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid levels.

4a. TOTAL ALKALINITY

Explanation: Total alkalinity is a measure of the actual amount of alkaline substances (particularly bicarbonates, but also carbonates and hydroxides) in the water. Do not confuse Total Alkalinity with pH (which is a scale measuring acidity or alkalinity), though the two are closely inter-related. The difference is that Total Alkalinity quantifies how much alkaline material is present in the water.

Low Total Alkalinity levels can result in rapid fluctuations of pH (known as pH ‘bounce') and may result in corrosive conditions for spa finishes and equipment and eye irritation for users.

High Total Alkalinity may make it difficult to adjust pH (because the water is able to 'buffer' itself against changes in pH). High Total Alkalinity at the same time as high pH can result in cloudy water and an increased tendency to form scale.

Total alkalinity Values Below 100ppm 100 - 200ppm Above 200ppm
 
Ideal

To correct Add EasyChemicals Total Alkalinity Increaser   Add EasyChemicals pH Reducer
Dose Rate 3.2 oz per 1,000 galls (20 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres))   1.6 oz per 1,000 galls (10 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres))
Frequency Dose daily until the total alkalinity is correct.

Comments: Total Alkalinity cannot be increased by adding pH Increaser – make sure you use EasyChemicals Total Alkalinity Increaser for this purpose. However, high Total Alkalinity can be reduced by adding EasyChemicals pH Reducer.

If you need to reduce the Total Alkalinity, dose the pH Reducer (pH-) by dissolving in warm tap water and dosing daily in one fixed spot in the spa until the correct level is achieved.


Test frequency: Test at least once a month.

4b. CALCIUM HARDNESS

Explanation: This is a measure of the amount of dissolved calcium (plus several other less important minerals including magnesium) in the water. It is wise to keep an eye on calcium hardness as water tends to balance itself, and calcium can be leached out of tile grout, cement and concrete if levels in the water are low. As spa pools are usually operated at relatively high temperatures, considerable evaporation occurs, leading to more frequent addition of fill water. This causes fluctuation in mineral content, and can lead to cloudy water, scum marks at the water line, and scale formation. This can be reduced by the use of EasyChemicals No-Scale, but it is also important to control calcium hardness.


Calcium hardness Values Below 150ppm 100 - 200ppm Above 200ppm
 
Ideal

To correct Add EasyChemicals Hardness Increaser   Dilute the pool water. Lower water level by around 30 cm (1 foot) at a time and top-up with fresh water.
Dose Rate 2.4 oz per 1,000 galls (15 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres))    
Frequency To raise hardness, dose daily until the reading is correct.   As required.

Comments: High calcium hardness is not a significant problem unless pH and Total Alkalinity are also high. The best way to lower it is by partial water replacement as described above - the effect of this will be roughly in line with the proportion of the spa pool water replaced.

Test frequency: Test two or three times a season.

4c. CYANURIC ACID (STABILISER)

Explanation: EasyChemicals Stabilised Chlorine Granules 55% and Mini Tablets are stabilised with cyanuric acid, which means that when you add more of these sanitisers to the spa, you are automatically increasing the levels of stabiliser. This reduces the loss of chlorine to sunlight in outdoor spas (always providing that cyanuric acid levels are above 30 ppm).

In many outdoor spas, backwashing to refresh the filter medium will result in some loss of spa pool water to waste – this is often replenished by rain water, or by topping up in dry weather. However, these losses may not provide sufficient spa water turnover to keep cyanuric acid levels within the desired range. This can sometimes lead to a build up cyanuric acid levels to a point at which the chlorine is ‘over-stabilised'. This could actually reduce the sanitising efficiency of the chlorine.

The level at which this becomes a problem is thought to be above 200 ppm, so it is worth checking cyanuric acid levels occasionally – once or twice a year or even just at the start of the season should be sufficient.

It is unlikely that you should ever have to add stabiliser alone (ie. not in the form of stabilised chlorine), but some dosing advice is given below.

Cyanuric acid Values Below 30ppm 30 - 200ppm Above 200ppm
 
Ideal

To correct Add stabiliser   Dilute the spa water. Lower water level by 1 ft (30 cm) at a time and top-up with fresh.
Dose Rate 0.13 oz per 1,000 galls (0.8 gram per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) to raise the stabiliser level by 1 ppm    
Frequency Add the required dose at the start of the season.   As required.

Comments: There is sufficient stabiliser in EasyChemicals Chlorine Granules 55% and Mini Tablets to provide the cyanuric acid levels required.


Test frequency: Test once or twice a year.
 

Maintenance  Back to Top

Introduction:

A little further maintenance will help keep your spa water free from algae and crystal clear throughout the season.

Although EasyChemicals chlorine and bromine sanitisers are effective at killing algae , some strains can be resistant. In addition, occasional problems arise if the effectiveness of your sanitiser has been reduced because of problems with water balance.

There are other potential causes of cloudy water - spa water can become cloudy because some particles are so small that they can pass through the filter without being trapped.

These problems - algal attack and cloudy water - can be managed by using the EasyChemicals range of algaecides and flocculants.

Some physical maintenance is also necessary from time to time. .

5a. CHEMICAL MAINTENANCE

Explanation: EasyChemicals' specially formulated Algaecide acts on algae cells not by oxidation (as with chlorine), but by attacking them directly. In doing this, our Algaecide not only works with chlorine to provide a two-pronged attack on algae, but also reduces some of the sanitising burden from the chlorine so that it can act more efficiently on other micro-organisms.

Dead algae and other tiny particles can be captured by your spa filter with the help of a flocculant. By using EasyChemicals Algaecides, Flocculant Granules and Spa Sparkle, you can keep your spa clear, blue and inviting.

  Product Dosing and dose rate
To help prevent algae EasyChemicals Algaecide When filling the spa initially, use 0.3 fl oz per 1,000 galls (2 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)).
EasyChemicals Algaecide Dose weekly at a rate of 0.1 fl oz per 1,000 galls (0.7 gram per cubic metre (1,000 litres)).
To clarify the water EasyChemicals Granular Flocculant Fortnightly after a backwash at the rate of 3.2 oz per 1,000 galls (20 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)).
EasyChemicals Spa Sparkle Add 8.5 fl oz per 1,000 galls (56 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)). Use twice weekly for spas in regular use, and daily if spa is in heavy use.


5b. MANUAL MAINTENANCE


Explanation: This covers such tasks as checking the efficiency of the filtration and removing decaying vegetation and debris from the spa to maintain water quality and help prevent staining. Use the following checklist:

FILTER Check filter pressure and backwash regularly in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Use a proprietary filter cleaner if necessary to remove calcium from the filter sand. If you have a cartridge system, clean cartridge filters regularly and replace them when they are no longer effective.

SKIMMERS Clean skimmer baskets once a week, removing all debris which may have accumulated. Use a long-handled leaf net or a surface cleaning device to remove floating debris. This will help keep the skimmer basket(s) clear.

BRUSHING Use a long-handled pool brush to sweep dirt towards the bottom drain (if you have one) where it can be drawn into the filter. Check filter pressure, backwash if necessary and then clean the pump strainer basket which may have collected much of the debris. If you have no bottom drain, consider investing in a spa vacuum cleaner. It is also possible to obtain automatic spa vacuum cleaners – these are not cheap, but hand-vacuuming can be tedious !

VACUUMING Vacuum weekly to remove particles which may have sunk to the bottom of the pool (by hand, or with an automatic cleaner).

SCALING In hard water areas, scaling may be a problem. This can be reduced with the regular use of EasyChemicals No-Scale. Add 17 fl oz of No-Scale to 1,000 galls (112 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) when filling the spa, and 8.5 fl oz per 1,000 galls (56 grams per cubic metre (1,000 litres)) per week for routine maintenance.

TIDE MARKS After prolonged use, a dirt line may appear around the sides of the spa along the surface of the water. This is usually due to use of sun block and cosmetic preparations. This tide mark can be removed with the help of EasyChemicals Tile and Liner Cleaner.

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