Monthly newsletter with great information for spa owners or prospective spa owners. Every thing from spa construction to the most modern water care methods.

published on the web by
Havenmade Inc.

The Spa Specialist Newsletter

 Broomfield, CO 80023
(303) 404-AAAH! (2224)
copyright 1997 through 2008

You may down-load this for your personal use. Duplicating or publishing any
part of this document for commercial use without written permission is strictly prohibited.

Update;   We no longer recommend the use of bromine as a standard spa treatment.  It has proven to be difficult for spa owners to maintain without damage to their skin and to their spa, and because there are two other ways which are much nicer on both human skin and
on the spa equipment and materials.  CLICK HERE

Standard Spa Care

with Bromine or Chlorine

This edition is a response to a reader's letter. I tried to Email this back to him, but the letter got returned.

David wrote:
> Hi,
> Two weeks ago we installed a spa and are having trouble getting the
> correct bromine levels. The alkalinity is also somewhat difficult to
> control and has resulted in cloudy water. we live in Northeast Pa,
> temperature is beginning to drop. Any suggestions. I may have gone a
> little overboard with the defoamer and think it might be contributing to
> the problem.
> Thanks, Dave


The first step is TOTAL Alkalinity (different from pH) which should be
between 80 and 120 PPM (parts per million). Aim for 100 PPM with bromine.
This helps to stabilize the pH. If you are using test strips, you may be
getting inaccurate results. You must keep the strips from being
contaminated. Never open the bottle near the spa, and never stick a wet
finger in the bottle. Just opening the bottle near the spa, or in a
high humidity environment can mess them up.

I recommend a good test kit, using reagents. The Taylor complete is the
best with the least steps and best accuracy.

Once your total alkalinity is adjusted, then adjust the pH.

The best way to put bromine into a spa is with a floating feeder. You
will need some bromine concentrate to augment the bromine tablets. If
you have a new spa, the use is erratic and hard to stabilize. If the
spa is used every night, the bromine feeder may not keep up, making it
necessary to add some bromine concentrate. I always use bromine concentrate
to jump start the bromine. It instantly gets a bromine level. The feeder with
tablets will take days to get the bromine levels up.

The best place to put the feeder is opposite the filter, and about one
foot from a jet at a 45 degree angle (not directly in front of the
jet). Keep the feeder in the same spot or you will never get the levels
stabilized. The feeder will never be consistent if it is not kept from
floating around. Feeders in the filter or in the filter door have the most trouble
getting the bromine under control. Never go into cloudy spa water, until you know exaclty what is
in it.  If it is low on sanitizer then you can get a rash or get sick.

The foam down should not have an adverse effect on the pH.

Here is our standard bromine instructions:

What we offer for a standard spa bromine system is as follows:

Bromine Concentrate 2Lb
Bromine 1 inch tablets 4.0 Lb
Taylor test kit  complete
2 Lb Oxybrite shock
4Lb Ph Down
4Lb Alkalinity Increaser
1 Qt Calcium Hardness
Spa Defender
Foam Down
Floating feeder

If you have iron in the water use Metal Gone.

You will also need some GLB Filter Cleanse.

Filling Instructions for Bromine.

1. When either draining or filling your spa, always turn off the
electrical power by switching off the breaker or switching off the

2. Fill the spa with a garden hose, using either cold or warm water
(max 115 degrees F.) . Never fill straight from a hot water faucet,
which can exceed the manufacturer's recommended temperatures. If you
have a filter/skimmer combination housing, fill the filter housing
first. If your spa is made with ABS backing, absolutely never put water with a
temperature higher than 25 degrees above the air temp. The thermal expansion
can cause hair-line cracks Check our shell construction site

3. If you have a dial thermostat, turn it down all the way. This is to
protect the heater in case there is an air pocket. (Not necessary on
Reflections Spas.) If the heater comes on with no water in it, a meltdown can

4. Turn on the power. Run the jets on full to allow all of the air to
be removed from the lower plumbing. Once you have good jet circulation,
turn up the thermostat, or set the digital temperature. I recommend 102°
to start.

5, Set the filter pump to circulate for 8 hours per day (low speed),
either continuously, or in two separate filter times of 4 hours each. On
smaller spas, (under 250 gal.) as little as 6 hours per day is
sufficient. More than two cycles shortens the pump life.

6. With the jets on high, add 2 ounces of Spa Defender TM. Follow
instructions for your particular brand of metal and stain protection
product. This is very important with high calcium!

7. With the jets on high, add one level tablespoon of bromine
concentrate; let circulate for 5 minutes. Put jets on low speed or turn
on only the circulation pump. Fill Bromine feeder with 4 or more
tablets of bromine and adjust to match your gallons (see below). Place
bromine feeder in spa opposite from filter housing, and in between the
jets, so it does not receive a lot of agitation. Don't let it float
free; tether it in place. It takes a while, three days or more, for
the bromine level to rise with just the feeder.
400 Gallons or more set to 5
300 Gallons set to 4
200 Gallons or less set to 3.

8. Using the Taylor Test Kit, test for Bromine level, Alkalinity, pH,
and Calcium Hardness. Consult the charts in the Taylor booklet (or on
the back of the bottle) for amounts of products to add. Run jets on high
while adding products to cold water. Once the spa is warm, you only
need to run the jets on high when adding pH Decreaser.

The test levels you are to adjust you water to are as follows:

Bromine to start* 3 to 5 parts per million (PPM)
Alkalinity 80 to 120 PPM (aim for 100)
pH 7.2 to 7.8 (aim for 7.4)
Calcium Hardness 180 to 220 PPM (aim for 200)

* After ozonator has been working, gradually reduce to 1 to 2 PPM. (I
keep mine about 2 PPM) Make sure your water stays clear and smells good.
That is the true test of ozone. Never let your sanitizer drop so that
it doesn't show on the test kit. If the water is so cloudy you can't
read a quarter on the bottom, test it to find out why, call us or email
us, if you can't figure out what the problem is. You can get a bacteria skin
infection, if the cloudiness is caused by bacteria.

9. Place the floating thermal blanket cover and hard cover on the spa,
and let it heat on the filter pump.

10. Enjoy your spa!!!. Call with any questions and also to sign up for
the next Spa care class.

Weekly Maintenance

This guide is a reference for spa owners. The schedule below reflects
an average use of the spa which is three times per week in a 350 gallon
spa, with four people. If your individual use is more or less, you can
adjust the frequency of the maintenance to fit the actual volume of
water and usage. If the spa gets more use than the above, adjust the
maintenance to fit the use.

Suggested Scheduled Maintenance bromine or chlorine

€ Once a week;
Add a stain and scale control product (Spa Defender) to the water
approximately two ounces per 400 gals. If you are using a different
brand of stain and scale protection, follow the instructions that came
with the product.

Using your Taylor test kit ,or a kit that accurately tests adjust the
pH, total alkalinity, and bromine or chlorine levels.
If your filters are over one year old or you are having trouble with
water clarity (when all other factors are accounted for) add 2 ounces of
a water clarifier for 500 gallons.

€ Every Two Weeks;
Shock the spa water with a non chlorine shock, 2 oz. GLB Oxy-Brite,
which will remove organic wastes and reactivate the bromine or chlorine.
This cleans out the water for you. Be sure to shock first then wait one
hour to do the rest of weekly tests and adjustments.
The shock has the
effect of lowering pH. Don't go in while shocking spa water. It is a good idea to
leave the cover off for at least ten minutes while shocking the water. This
keeps the oxydizers from burning your pillows. (Keeping a thermal blanket on the
water will greatly reduce the pillow and metal oxydation.)

€ Every Three to Five Weeks;
Spray the filter cartridge with a high pressure COLD WATER nozzle.
Use Minute Rinse if dirty. Spray in between each pleat in a up and down

€ Every Three to Six Months;
Exchange the filter for the spare one. Spray off and then place the
dirty filter in a GLB Filter Cleanse solution for at least 12 hours.
Remove and THOROUGHLY rinse the filter. Let it dry, so the fibers have a
chance to normalize.

€ Every One to Three Months;
Treat your spa cover with a recommended conditioner ( 303 Protectant ).
With inside use, treat 6 months to one year. Do not use Armorall, Son of a
Gun or other cheap products. They dissolves your cover and have very little UV
protectant. (Also will invalidate your cover warranty.)

€ Every Six Months ;
Stain your spa cabinet with an appropriate color stain. Super Deck is
an excellent brand of stain,( or use a high quality stain with UV
protectant and tung oil.) This protects your wood against the weather,
high UV sunlight, and dry air.
We treat all of our spas with Superdeck Transparent 1901 Natural color.

The above is exactly what I teach in my spa care class every week.
If you can follow these instructions exactly, you will get maximum enjoyment
with the least amount of problems! If you have any questions, please email or
call us.

If you discover skin irritations or rashes from using this method with
bromine, try a chlorine concentrate. If
rashes continue, you are allergic to chlorine and bromine.

If you want the absolute best in non chlorine/bromine we offer the Spa Specialist Inc.
Silver/Copper ionizer. There is no one allergic to this! It works wonderful and
is safer than chlorine or bromine,(stronger disinfectant) and is soft on
your skin! We love it!

See the ionizer

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