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General Chlorine & Bromine Care

My wife and have a 500 gallon Elite by Maax Spa.  We use the spa about once a week.  I check the chemical balance about three times a week, and make corrections (with the filter on) as needed.  I shock the spa with a non-chlorine shock, as we use bromine tablets.  I change the water about once every four months, and I have now started to clean the filter out every two weeks or so.

 Here are some questions:

1.  When putting an anti-foam agent in the spa, is it necessary for bathers to be out of the spa?

2.  Sometimes, after I have put a few squirts of the anti-foam agent in the spa, my wife notices some bubbles collecting that look to be dirty.  I notice some hairs collecting as well.  Is this caused by the anti-foaming agent?  Or is it that we notice this thing after the foaming subsides, which is almost instantaneously?  These bubbles are concentrated near where my wife is, which I think indicates that the lotions or other things that she has on her body are being collected and moved to the filter.

3.  What water replacement routine would you recommend, given the usage as indicated above?

The short answer is ONLY using antifoam when the spa really needs it.  Really needs it means "beer head" which typically appears only when the water is so icky, it needs to be changed.

If the water is properly balanced (pH 7.4 - 7.6, total alkalinity 125 - 150 ppm, calcium hardness about 200 ppm), foaming should normally not occur. Soft water (CH under 175 ppm) adds to foaming.  Now, if you use the spa with a lot of body stuff on (oils, lotions, etc) un-filterables will build up & foaming will develop sooner.  Showering before using the spa is always a good idea.

"Dirty" bubbles are "normal" because the antifoam is breaking the surface tension & any oils that are floating on top.  I also wouldn't (believe it or not) recommend cleaning the filter more than every 5 or 6 weeks.  The "dirtier" (to a degree) a filter is the finer particle it will filter.

The antifoam is not "hazardous" to bathers.

As far as your regular maintenance schedule goes, it sounds as if you have a good timetable.  With 500 gallons, used once or twice a week, 4 months is good.  As an added step, I would recommend using SpaGuard Natural Enzyme about every 2 weeks to "eat up" un-filterables. That will further help & prevent the foaming situation.

Follow Up Question:
We are not noticing foaming, in the sense of “beer-head” foam.  This is more like bubbling.  Is this normal, or should we expect that there will no bubbles in the spa (this question sounds almost self-explanatory, but bear with me).  I will adjust my filter cleaning regimen as per your guidance.  As for the SpaGuard Natural Enzyme product, can it be purchased at stores here in California, or do we have to order it online? 

Follow Up Response:
Bubbling is very normal.  Foaming, like shampoo lather or beer head, is a sign that the water is either needing to be changed or close to it due to the build up of stuff (non-filterable waste) in the water. 

As far as the Natural Enzyme goes, you'll need to look for a SpaGuard dealer in your area or you can order it online from us.  Orders normally ship the same day & you will receive your products in about a week's time.


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