Hot Tub Serum, anyone?

dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
101
denver, CO
Greeetings all,

I haven't posted here for a while but some of you may be familiar with my work in testing various purge products, and this has grown to a data-driven understanding of how these products work. Those who have seen my posts know that I have done head-to-head comparisons with several products and every time the same product comes up as the winner. guessing you all know what that is.

anyway, I have just completed a two-part blog post on a relatively new product called "Hot Tub Serum", from the same mfg. Essentially Serum is a QUAT-based maintenance product (weak, compared to ahh-some) that still goes after bacteria that are chlorine resistant. I found, for example, that using this stuff substantially improves the sanitizer decay rate, and delays the onset of "bad water" after chlorine goes to zero. anyway I think I may have posted part 1 already, but it now refers to part 2 as well, where I put the 'Serum through another round of tests, including the two just referenced.

Here is the first set of Serum experiments
Here are the follow-up tests and results

Has anyone used this stuff?
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,701
Tucson, AZ
Nice set of experiments! A couple of thoughts -

1. Bromine is a weaker oxidizer than chlorine. So when using ADBAC compounds (Quats, as you call them), bromine is less likely to break them down into less active components than chlorine will. This is why traditional pool algaecides that are based on linear quats are not recommended - chlorine quickly turns them into compounds that cause a lot of foaming. Polyquat-60 is a pool algaecide that is useful because it is a quat and it's a polymerized quat so it's much more resistant to chlorine degradation and the oxidation by products also act as quats as well.

2. Quats are mild bacteriostats and algaecides BUT they are also clarifiers because of the positive charge on the nitrogen atom(s) of the molecule. This is why your water "clarified" when using the spa purge even though no sanitizer was present. The quats will cause suspended solids and bacteria to clump together and then the filter will load up faster. As the quats breakdown, the clarifying effect is lost and the water will start to revert to it's cloudy state.

3. Using a spa purge product regularly to clean out a tub is always a great idea and one can even use them in a maintenance-dosing method. Given their clarifying effect, one should clean their filter media more often simply to get rid of the "gunk" that gets trapped. Having a second set of filters is always useful in keeping tub maintenance to a minimum.

Appreciate you sharing your information. Thanks.
 

dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
101
denver, CO
Yea im well aware that adbacs have a clarifying property but its evident that, while there is no claim of sanitizing properties i don't think you can conclude that no bacteria was harmed lol during the experiment.

Good to see that ADBACs have some airtime finally. Ahhsome itself ive shown to be superior back in 2016
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
16,701
Tucson, AZ
Yea im well aware that adbacs have a clarifying property but its evident that, while there is no claim of sanitizing properties i don't think you can conclude that no bacteria was harmed lol during the experiment.

Good to see that ADBACs have some airtime finally. Ahhsome itself ive shown to be superior back in 2016

Quats are considered sanitizers and are often the main component in disinfecting wipes and many non-alcohol based foaming hand sanitizer. At low concentrations, quats act as a bacteriostat that ceases replication. At high concentrations, the quats disrupt the cell walls of bacteria which lyses their intracellular enzymes.

The reason why they are not considered sanitizers for recreational water bodies is that their residual concentrations must be maintained at such a low level that their kill times are inadequate for stopping disease transmission.

Borates act in a similar manner. Their main benefit is as a pH buffer but they area a mild algaestat at the concentrations recommended by TFP. You can’t clear a green pool using borates but they are good insurance policy if your FC drops below minimum values.
 

dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
101
denver, CO
Of course. Good stuff ! Man its good to see good science. Hot tub serum is epa registered for its intended purpose and due to its concentration cannot be considered a sanitizer. Disinfectant wipes and restaurant surface ckeaning solutions are orders of magnitude stronger concentrations in the 10s of ppm
 

Wbrownejr123

New member
May 4, 2020
3
Georgetown, TX
Thank you both for the information. I am brand new to hot tubs and after only three days of usage, we had green water so my chemicals were way out of balance. I am now back in balance but I do like the idea of the Serum for additional assistance with my bromine system and I will use the "aah some" for the first drain and clean out to get rid of any lingering films in the pipes. When I do the purge and drain, do you suggest to leave the filters installed so that they can be cleaned too? Many thanks and stay healthy.
 

dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
101
denver, CO
first of all -- the makers of ahh-some clearly know their stuff, and especially for the first drain/purge it is VERY important to remove the filters from their normally-installed locations. this is because ahh-some will/can remove large amounts of material which can clog up your filters and starve your pumps. What Ahh-some label directions suggest is to put the filters into the vessel itself so that they benefit from the purge. I find it is necessary to "install" them on a length of PVC pipe that prevents them from banging around in the spa and getting damaged -- and plugging up the skimmer weir.

the ONLY time I install filters into an ahh-some dosed spa is when ahh-some has done its work and I am doing a 2nd or 3rd purge with no new release. this is the cleanest spa known to man
 

Wbrownejr123

New member
May 4, 2020
3
Georgetown, TX
Good day folks.

I read through Doug's write up on Ahh-Some and after having the new spa for a month decided to do a purge and deep clean on the spa. I would get some foaming when all the air jets were turned on and thought that there might be some slime or buildup in the lines. There was also a noticeable film below the water line on some of the spa wall.

The Spa was manufactured on 4/19/19 and was shipped to the dealer in Austin on 12/19 so it sat in their warehouse for 8 months. It was running on the floor in the showroom in April so hard to say how well it was cleaned.

I removed the two filters and placed them in the lower part of the tub and then added the Ahh-Some per the instruction on the container. I turned on all the pumps and opened all the jets and let it run for 30 minutes. There was some foaming and green algae and gunk on the top of the water line just like in Doug's review (see pictures below). I drained the tub, rinsed off the tub surface, removed all the jets, cleaned them in Dawn and let them dry. I then took rubbing alcohol and cleaned the entire surface of the tub. I rinsed out the filters and let them dry.

Once all this was done, I rinsed the tub again and drained it and then filled it up, placed the filters in the footwell to let them good and wet, and then fired it back up.

The water looks great and the tub surface is very smooth and really looks great. PH is Austin is always high for some reason and today it was at 8.0 so I had to add some dry acid. I also added three packs for the Bromine from Leisure Spa as my tub is about 450 gallons.

I will probably do a purge once again this year unless it gets really gunky later on but I do plan to drain the tub monthly. Water is very cheap where we live north of Austin, TX at $1.50 / 1000 gallons so adding a lot of $$ with chemicals is more costly.

I also have the autofill feature on this tub so we should be getting some fresh water at each usage.

Thanks again Doug for your tutelage on spa chemistry. I feel much better knowing that my spa is safe and clean for my family.
 

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dlleno

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2016
101
denver, CO
congratulations! you have completed the rite of passage that many have not! Its just sad that mfgs don't get it. even worse -- that they (and the customers who believe them) are operating spas with this stuff hidden in the pipes, blissfully unaware. I talked to one mfg who specifically said they don't believe this (biofilm stuff) happens, and that when it does they treat it as a rescue situation, that is rare.

You have joined that select group of spa owners who have seen the evidence for themselves.
 
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