Spa Care Advice
Maintaining your spa: Once your spa is fitted and filled with hot water and running correctly it is ready to use but you must keep your spa water in excellent condition, and there are two basic elements required:-
Disinfection: Proper disinfection is essential to ensure the spa water is safe for bathing in. This sanitising process removes harmful bacteria and any other possible sources of infection from the water. Traditionally, chlorine has been used for disinfection. This comes in the form of granules and must be added to the spa water on a daily basis. (STABILISED CHLORINE GRANULES). A chlorine level of between 1-2ppm should be maintained for safe spa water. PPM is a measurement of a given product in a volume of water. 1 ppm of chlorine in water is equivalent to 1 millionth part of chlorine in 1 litre of water.
The most widely used disinfectant chemical in spas today is bromine (BROMINE TABLETS), a less aggressive sanitiser. Bromine levels should be maintained at between 3-4ppm.
Active oxygen is also rapidly gaining popularity. It is much gentler on the skin than traditional chlorine treatments and doesn't leave the odour that chlorine does. It's also a lot more environmentally friendly!
The choice of disinfection is yours.
Controlling the pH of your spa: The degree of acidity or alkalinity of water is measured by its pH value. A pH of 7 is neutral; a fall below 7 indicates increasing acidity, and a pH rising above 7 indicates an increasing degree of alkalinity. For healthy spa-water, a pH of around 7.2 - 7.6 should be maintained. The pH of the water should be measured regularly and adjusted accordingly.
Alkaline Conditions - High pH
A pH of above 7 indicates the presence of alkaline substances. If the pH value rises above 8, the effectiveness of the disinfection process is reduced and the water has an increased tendency to precipitate hard salt. The water can become cloudy and the filter capability reduced, due to blockage.
Acidic Conditions - Low pH
A pH value below 7 indicates the presence of acidic substances. If the pH falls, the water becomes increasingly corrosive to metals and the chlorine level decreases, weakening the disinfection process. Finally, and most importantly, if the pH is too low or high, irritation of the eyes and skin may be caused by the water.
A pH in the range 7.2-7.6 is the ideal value for healthy spa-water. In practice, it is sufficient to keep the pH value within an optimum range for each different disinfectant
Water hardness: Tap water may not be ideal spa-water for the following reasons:
The quality and properties of tap water depend on the area that you live in. For example, water in Scotland is very "pure" due to the ground consisting of predominantly hard, granite rock. Hard rock does not readily dissolve on contact with rainwater. So, the water remains relatively unaffected, only collecting minor material after it hits the ground. This is given the term soft water and will have a slightly low pH value (acidic). If left untreated, this will lead to corrosion.
In Kent, with the chalky white rock, the rainwater picks up "impurities" such as calcium salts that increase the alkalinity of the water. This hard water can be cloudy and cause limescale formation.
The "Total Hardness" (calcium hardness) of water is a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium salts such as the carbonates, bicarbonates, sulphates and chlorides present. This is usually expressed in parts per million (ppm).
Water hardness is aided by water evaporation. If water evaporates, the dissolved minerals in the water remain behind and thus, the concentration is increased. Water hardness is important due to the water's "hunger" for calcium. If there is a lack of calcium (below 200ppm), the water will seek it out from the spa's surroundings and fittings. This causes erosion problems.
An excess of calcium, however, leads to scale formation (calcium deposits). The ideal calcium hardness level is between 200 and 300 ppm.
The "Total Alkalinity" of water is a measure of the amount of carbonates, hydroxides and bicarbonates present. This has an essential role in the control of pH in your spa. The higher the alkalinity, the more resistant the water is to changes in pH: the alkalinity "buffers" the water.
Common problems are limescale and cloudy water. When the total alkalinity drops too low, rapid changes in the pH can occur which could cause corrosion and harmful or disagreeable bathing conditions.
You can monitor the total alkalinity with a test kit. The alkalinity should be maintained within a range of 80 to 120 ppm. If alkalinity is too low, add some sodium bicarbonate (T.A. PLUS). This increases the alkalinity without affecting the pH value. If the alkalinity is too high, add sodium bisulphate (PH MINUS). Full instructions are on the labels of these products to help you.
Temperature and aeration will cause the total alkalinity of the spa water to rise naturally.
Total dissolved solids (T.D.S.): This is the amount of solids dissolved in the spa water and if allowed to increase will cause problems such as cloudiness and the inability to maintain the correct chemical levels. The recommended level is less than 1800 ppm (mg/l). The water should be changed if the T.D.S. reaches 1800ppm or four times the original mains water T.D.S.- whichever is less.
Filtration: The filter is the most important part of the spa's circulation system. Spa water cannot be regarded as satisfactory for use however adequately disinfected if it contains small particles, dead bacteria and fine debris. The filter removes these, keeping the water clean and clear.
The most commonly used in spas are cartridge filters, which are very effective, but like most filters need regular maintenance. On some of the larger spas, sand is used as a filter media. These consist of finely graded silica sand and with proper use the sand will remain in the filter tank for many years, although it is recommended that the sand be changed on a regular basis.
Dirt, scale, grease and other contaminants will build up on your filter. Regular cleaning of the filter using a special cleaner will prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
The spa water will at times become cloudy due to small particles in the water that were too small for the filter to remove. To restore your spa water simply add SPA CLARIFIER. The water will soon be clean and sparkling again so that you can relax and enjoy!
Waterline cleaning: A tide mark, due to any cosmetics, body oils and dirt in the water may build up on the waterline of your spa. Regular cleaning with Tile & Liner Cleaner will keep the sides of the spa dirt-free, but if there is stubborn staining then the use of Tile/Liner Cleaner Paste will help. The use of household cleaners may lead to an adverse reaction with existing spa chemicals.
Special chemical treatments: A high level of chlorine or bromine in your spa is easily corrected by the addition of CHLORINE REDUCER.
A build up of metal or scale impurities can sometimes result in a cloudiness or discolouration of your spa water and surroundings. If these problems exist, then it is recommended to use Stain Scale Inhibitor.
Due to excessive build up of body lotions, cosmetics and soaps from bathers there will be from time to time, foaming in the spa. This is best controlled through the introduction of Spa No FOAM as per the instruction on the bottle.