Water Treatment Guide

Introduction

Many softub spa manufacturers leave the water treatment aspect of spa ownership to independent softub chemical companies that have no interest in the long-term effects of their products on your specific spa. Because we care about the life of the spa, the warranty, and your ultimate happiness, we have developed the Easycare line of water treatment products specifically for vinyl lined spas.

Our involvement in the production of these softub chemicals allow us to control the quality, strength, and formulation in order to provide a superior product at a good price. All Easycare products meet or surpass EPA requirements.

Important Safety

  1. Always keep softub chemicals out of reach of Children
  2. Read product labels carefully prior to use
  3. When dissolving, always add chemicals to water. Do not add water to chemicals. Dry chemicals should be dissolved prior to adding them to the softub spa. Using a clean container, dip some water from the spa. Mix until dissolved, then add to circulating water.
  4. CAUTION: Do not add chemicals together. Add them separately to the spa water.
  5. All chemical products should be stored in a cool, dry, well ventilated area where the average daily temperature does not exceed 90°F. Keep storage area clean of debris such as rags, newspaper, or combustible materials.
  6. Keep chemicals away from open flam or other heat source. Do not smoke near chemicals. If a dry chlorine chemical fire should occur, use water only. Do not use a dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
  7. When adding chemicals, always have the water circulating in the spa with jets in a downward circular pattern for better chemical distribution. Add chemicals to the spa water one at a time. Allow several minutes between any new chemical additions using the jet action to evenly distribute throughout the spa.
  8. Wait approximately 15 minutes after adding chemicals to the spa. Retest before using.
  9. If you have any questions or concerns about the correct procedures for handling chemicals, please call your spa dealer.

Water Treatment Overview

balance is an interrelation of factors which determine the quality of the softub spa water. The effectiveness of softub chemicals and additives is dependent on all these factors working together or "balancing”. Water characteristics also vary depending on the local water supply. You may have to "fine tune” the spa water because of these variances. Following is an overview of sanitizing and other factors necessary to "balance” the water.

Sanitizing

The sanitizer of choice for a vinyl lined spa is SoftChlor. SoftChlor is a chlorine based, granulated product that is added directly to the spa water. Chlorine should be maintained at a level of 3 - 5 ppm (parts per million) and can easily be tested using a water test strip to determine the level of sanitizer in the water. You may also use a mineral purifier to reduce your softub chemical usage significantly

Shocking

Softub spa water may become dull, cloudy or hazy even though the water is properly balanced. If it is not time to drain and refill your spa, you may need to "shock” the spa water. Shocking is performed by adding SoftShock to the spa. This will burn off or "oxidize” the old, used up chlorine that can cause cloudy water and chemical odor. Important: Always have the lid off and jets on for at least 15 minutes after adding SoftShock.

AlkaIinity

Alkalinity refers to the concentration of alkaline materials in the water and is directly related to the stability of the pH. The total alkalinity should be between 80 - 120 ppm. Alkalinity levels below 80 ppm or above 120 ppm can affect your ability to properly maintain the recommended pH. Always balance the alkalinity before attempting to balance the pH.

pH Level

The pH level measures the relative acidity and basicity of the water. It is measured on a scale of 0 - 14. The ideal pH level is 7.2 - 7.8 When the pH level falls below 7.2, it can damage metal in the equipment pak, pump seals, and most importantly cause irreparable wrinkling of the vinyl liner. A pH level above 7.8 will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine or bromine. pH is measured using a water test strip and can easily be adjusted if necessary using SoftRise or SoftDown.

Maintenance Routine

Initial Start-Up

  1. Familiarize yourself with the EasyCare Guide.
  2. Review all EasyCare label directions and instructions regarding the use and storage of chemicals.
  3. Fill your spa according to the directions in the Owner’s Manual. It is recommended that you use a Great Start Filter” on the end of the garden hose to filter out sediment and other debris that can be found in the water supply. Mineral concentrations and other sediment can damage a vinyl liner and clog the softub filter.
  4. Depending on your local water supply, some of these products may be necessary each time you fill the spa:

Relieve — This product is only needed if you have high concentrations of minerals in your water. Add Relleve according to the directions on the label.

pH Lock — This product can be used to "lock-in” your pH for 2 - 3 months so that frequent adjusting is not necessary. pH adjustments can also be made as needed using SoftRise and SoftDown. Follow label directions.

Important: Low pH levels will cause permanent damage/wrinkling to a vinyl liner.

Calcium Up — Spas filled with soft water quickly stain from corrosion of the metal parts in the equipment pak and cause wrinkling of the vinyl liner. Calcium Up is necessary to increase the hardness if you have filled the softub spa with soft water.

Daily

Although softub chemical additions are not normally required on a daily basis, certain use and environmental factors can cause more frequent water treatment needs. We recommend that you test daily and prior to each spa use.

  1. Test the water with a Water Test Strip.
  2. Test your sanitizer level. Depending on your sanitizing method, you should add SoftChlor or SoftGuard as directed until the sanitizer level has reached 3-5 ppm (1 ppm if also using a mineral purifier).
  3. Circulate the water for at least ten minutes and test the water a final time to confirm all properties are balanced.

Weekly

  1. Test the water using a Water Test Strip. Make any necessary adjustments to pH, alkalinity, or sanitizer.
  2. Add SoftShock per label directions. When sanitizer combines with bacteria it becomes ineffective, can cause cloudy water, and create an unpleasant chemical odor. SoftShock oxidizes used sanitizer and eliminates the potential for these problems. Note: Always remove the spa cover for at least 15 minutes after adding SoftShock to allow proper oxidation. Do not add other products during the 15 minute oxidation process.
  3. Add Refresh and Spa Perfect for Vinyl Spas’ per label directions. Used in a once-a-week regimen, these products will keep the water sparkling clean, filter out microscopic particles that create cloudy water, and breakdown scum and body oils before they form a ring around the water line.
  4. Circulate the water for at least ten minutes and test the water a final time to confirm all properties are balanced.
  5. Remove any debris from the suction intake strainer on the inside of the spa.
  6. Depending on the location of your spa, it is recommended that you use SoftClean Vinyl Cleaner weekly (or as needed) to keep your vinyl exterior clean and conditioned.

Monthly

  1. Remove the filter cartridge from the spa. Follow the directions on the EasyCare Renew. Allow to sit the recommended time, rinse thoroughly with water, and place filter back in tub.
    Important: Replace the cartridge filter at least once a year.
  2. Your dealer offers a selection of spa vacuums to suction away grit, sand and other debris that can get tracked into the spa. It is recommended that your spa be vacuumed whenever debris accumulates to avoid damage to the vinyl liner.

Every Three Months

When the water becomes difficult to manage, drain the spa and refill. The average spa needs to be drained approximately every three-four months.

Prior to Draining:

  1. Remove the cartridge filter and clean with Renew Filter Cleaner. The filter cartridge should be replaced with a new one at least once per year. Replace filter after spa has been refilled.
  2. Use Swirl Away as per label directions. Swirl Away removes build-up
    in the plumbing lines and cleans the interior spa surface.
    Important: Always have air control closed when using Swirl Away.

As Needed

These products are only used if needed:

FoamAway — If foam appears in your tub, the action of the jets will keep it from dissipating. The use of FoamA way will instantly get rid of the foam.

SoftRise and SoftDown — Both of these products are needed whenever the Alkalinity or pH are not within the proper range shown on the Water Test Strip. Low pH or alkalinity, add SoftRise. High pH or alkalinity, add SoftDown. Both SoftDown and SoftRise adjust pH faster than it adjusts Alkalinity. Therefore, a two-step adjustment process may be needed to get both properties in the "ideal range”.
Important: You must make any needed Alkalinity adjustments prior to making needed pH adjustments.

Note: Be sure to dissolve SoftRise and SoftDown prior to adding to the spa. The
Easycare Kit Bucket is perfect for dissolving dry chemicals prior to adding to spa.

Trouble-Shooting Guide
Cause (C) and Solution (S)

CLOUDY WATER
C: Inadequate filtration or dirty filter.
S: Check that the filter is securely attached. Clean or replace filter.
C: Water isn’t in balance.
S: Test water with a Water Test Strip. Adjust sanitizer level, pH and/or alkalinity levels as needed.
C: Unfilterable particles in water or overused/old water.
S: Use Refresh to combine particles; or draln the spa, clean and refill.

MUSTY ODOR
C: Not enough sanitizer in water - bacteria or algae in water.
S: Add sanitizer as necessary.

YELLOW WATER
C: Low pH.
S: Adjust pH with SoftRise.

FOAMING
C: High concentrations of body oils, lotions, or soaps as well as high temperatures and excessive contaminants can cause foaming.
S: Use FoamAway and adjust pH and sanitizer levels as needed.

SCUM RING IN TUB
C: Body oils and dirt.
S: Use Spa Perfect once a week to breakdown oils and lotions to prevent scum from forming.

FAILURE TO GET A CHLORINE READING
C: Sanitizer level is too low.
S: Add chlorine until the sanitizer tests in the recommended range.C: Too much algae present.
S: Dirty water will eat up the sanitizer as soon as it is added. Add more sanitizer until the sanitizer tests and stays in the recommended range.
C: If the sanitizer level is extremely high it can bleach the reagents on the test strip and give a false reading.
S: See "TOO MUCH SANITIZER” below.

TOO MUCH SANITIZER IN THE WATER
C: Too much sanitizer in the water.
S: Drain half of the water and refill. Test and balance water; or leave the lid off with jets and air on until level reaches the normal range.

EYE OR SKIN IRRITATION
C: Contarrinants or excessive amount of chlorarrines in water.
S: Adjust sanitizer level. Shock per the directions on the SoftShock bottle.
C: pH level is low.
S: Adjust pH and sanitizer levels as needed.

CORROSION OF METAL
C: Low pH.
S: Adjust pH level with pH and Aikailnity Increase.

GREEN WATER/ALGAE
C: Low sanitizer level or high pH.
S: Adjust pH and sanitizer as necessary.

ERRATIC pH TEST COLOR
C: Sanitizer level is too high.
S: Test pH again when sanitizer level is below 5 ppm.

Glossary of Terms and Product Definitions
(Product Names are in Italic)

Alkalinity — The concentration of alkaline materials in the water. Proper alkalinity is directly related to the stability of the pH. High alkalinity will make the pH impossible to adjust. Low alkalinity will make the pH unstable and difficult to maintain.

Bacteria — The germs that contaminate your spa water.

Balanced Water — The correct balance of alkalinity, pH and sanitizer.

Calcium Hardness — The amount of dissolved calcium in the spa water. This should be approximately 250 - 500 ppm. High levels of calcium can cause cloudy water and scaling. Low levels of calcium can cause permanent harm to the equipment pak and wrinkling of the vinyl liner.

Calcium Up — Increases calcium levels in your water to avoid damage to the equipment seals, metal in your spa, and the vinyl liner. Especially needed if using soft water.

Chloramines — The result when chlorine combines with bacteria and becomes "used”.

Chlorine — The recommended type of sanitizer for a vinyl lined spa. It is granular with a nearly neutral pH that dissolves rapidly.

Chlorine Demand — The amount of chlorine that must be added to the spa to destroy existing bacteria and algae and establish a chlorine residual.

Chlorine Residual or Free Chlorine — The available chlorine left in the spa water to destroy harmful organisms after the Chlorine Demand has been met. The correct amount of free available chlorine is 3 - 5 ppm.

FoamAway — Instantly rids the spa of undesired foam.

pH — pH level is the measure of acidity and basicity of the water, it is measured on a scale of 0 - 14. The ideal pH level is 7.2 - 7.8. When the pH level falls below 7.2, damage to the metal in the equipment pak can occur and wrinkling of the vinyl liner. A high pH level above 7.8 can reduce effectiveness of the sanitizer, and cause cloudiness and scale formation. Improper pH levels can be irritating to the eyes.

pH Lock — Locks in the pH level in freshly filled spas.

ppm — Parts per million. The measurement of chemical concentration in the water.

Refresh — Restores clarity to dull water by combining unfilterable microscopic particles into larger particles so that they can be trapped in the filter.

Relieve — Rids spa of minerals and metals that can interfere with filtration, affect sanitizer efficiency and stain spa surfaces. Necessary if you have well water or water with a high metal/mineral concentration.

Renew — Keeps your filter operating efficiently by removing grease, grime and other build-up that can impair the filtration process.

Sanitizer — Any product or device that kills bacteria living in the water.

SoftChlor — A fast dissolving, granular product used for sanitation of the spa water. Dispensed manually into the water as needed.

Softclean — A vinyl cleaner which safely cleans the exterior vinyl components. SoftClean helps keep vinyl looking sparkling new.

SoftDown — Decreases the pH and Alkalinity level of the water in your spa.

SoftGuard — A bromine based tablet that is used to sanitize in lieu of chlorine. SoftGuard is used with a floating dispenser that allows the tablets to gradually dissolve.

SoftRise — Increases the pH and Alkalinity level of the water in your spa.

SoftShock — Rids the water of chloramines or bromamines through oxidation (shocking). Should be added once per week.

Spa Perfect — Naturally biodegrades body oils and grime that can cloud water, clog filter and produce scum lines.

Swirl Away — Removes build-up of oils and other debris in plumbing lines and jets. Makes the interior of the spa sparkle.

Water Balance — The interrelation of factors which determine the quality of spa water.

Water Test Strip — An accurate dip test that measures the spa water for sanitizer, pH, and alkalinity levels.

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