Black gunk in home spa/whirlpool bath?

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This is essentially the same question that someone else ("Justin") asked in this group two years ago -- still looking for an answer:
Jacuzzi indoor whirlpool bath, 4 jets, often stands empty (tub drained) for several months between uses, in a generally cold climate (house temperature 50 F or so).
The first 6 to 10 times the tub is filled and used after each such interval, turning on the jets causes them to spew out small flakes (1/4" to 1/8" in size) of a translucent brown polymeric-looking crud. These flakes have random shapes and appear to be slightly curved as if they came off the inside of a pipe or fitting.
Anyone have any suggestions for a cleaning agent that would inhibit the formation or growth of whatever causes this? (Just filling the tub with clean hot water and running the jets for a prolonged period before draining the tub doesn't seem to do the job.)
Email answers appreciated; I don't always get to read this group.
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When you drain the tub, some water may remain in the pipes where mold and bacteria can grow. It is possible that the crud you see is this. John
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Try running some liquid diswashing detergent through and rinse before closing down or during the first use.
Do you have hard water. Nothing will inhibit the deposition of minerals from evaporating water except to prevent the water from standing in there in the first place.
Do these flakes dissolve? perhaps the impeller of the pump is deteriorating
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AES wrote:

Newsgroups are open forums, emailing you would prevent future searchers from finding answers. You found Justin's question, so it would be polite of you to allow others to benefit from yours.
In technical terms, you have shit growing in the pipes. Water-jet tubs never completely drain and the standing water, sloughed off skin cells and bacteria are a veritable petri dish of a breeding ground. Every whirlpool manufacturer has instructions on how to clean their tubs, and you'll find that information on their web site. Basically you'll be shocking the system with either bleach or pool shock chemicals.
R
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wrote:

Actually, she and Justin have been seeing each other for the last two years. That's how she knows about his problem. It's nothing romantic. They just get together and discuss their flakes.
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This was on a news group posting yesterday.....
Scary News About Your Home's Bathtub
If you have one of the very popular whirlpool bathtubs in your home, beware! You could be sitting in a simmering pool of toxic bacteria.
A study by Texas A&M University microbiologist Rita B. Moyes shows that whirlpool bathtubs can be a breeding ground for dozens of types of bacteria, many of which are potential pathogens, making such water ground zero for infectious diseases. That's right, the water in which you're leisurely soaking could be some of the filthiest and nastiest in the world.
Moyes tested 43 water samples from whirlpool bathtubs--both private and public--and found that all 43 had bacterial growth ranging from mild to red-level dangerous. A whopping 95 percent showed the presence of fecal derived bacteria, while 81 percent had fungi and 34 percent contained staphylococcus, which can cause deadly staph infections.
"Whirlpool baths are almost always a prime area for potentially harmful microbes," Moyes explains. "The main reason is the lining of the pipes. They are full of inaccessible air, and water in these pipes tends to get trapped, often for long periods of time. When the jets are then switched on, this water with harmful bacteria gets blown into the tub where a person is soaking and then trouble can start."
How much bacteria are in whirlpool tub pipes? Moyes says that a normal teaspoon of tap water contains an average of about 138 bacteria, with many samples not having any bacteria at all. But the same teaspoon of whirlpool tub water contains an average of more than 2.17 million bacteria. "The stagnant water in a whirlpool bathtub pipe is a great place for bacteria to grow and grow," she says.
Such harmful bacteria can lead to numerous diseases, including urinary tract infections, septicemia, pneumonia and several types of skin infections. Because of the aerosol mist created by the whirlpool action, microbes are forced into the lungs or open cuts, she explains. One type of bacteria, L. pneumophila, can cause Legionnaires Disease, of which 90 percent of all cases can be traced back to bacteria developed from a warm environment.
Moyes says that as long ago as 1972, studies were done to test the bacteria levels in whirlpool baths and hot tubs, but evidence collected has often not shown sufficient reasons for concern. "That's probably because a hot tub or whirlpool as a source of infection can't be clearly distinguished from other sources," she adds. "An example might be when you develop a respiratory infection. The doctor can tell you that you do have a respiratory infection, but he or she can't tell you how you got it.
What can you do? Clean out the pipes! And it's not easy. They need to be scraped. It's probably best to hire a professional to do the job at least once a year.
The lesson learned: Enter a whirlpool bathtub at your own risk, and it may be a considerable one.
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Just keep filtering, then clean your filters, and keep the sanitizer levels up. Tom
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Fortunately most of the bacteria in Your tub comes from You and your body already knows it.
The real nasty stuff is in those foot baths used in spas and nail salons. That is a well known source of serious infections not just a potential one.
I stopped going to the commercial hot tubs a few years ago when I pulled up a nasty clump of hair and my girlfriend said that was the last visit there. (tip to guys, if you find something nasty, don't let her see it)
I said it already, dishwashing detergent works great. It excells at breaking down oils and organic contaminants. The enzymes they put in the stuff are quite effective. Cuts through soap scum faster than Ajax or soft scrub, I don't buy tub cleaner anymore just use that stuff.

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Bunk. Properly chlorinated pool or hot tub water is sterile. Furthermore, it does not support microbial growth because any microbe food will have been oxidized to outgassing end products or inorganic minerals.
Untreated or improperly treated water, then you deserve what you get. Don't swim in yesterday's cheek wash.
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Well, you would be right if you weren't so wrong, Richard. The microbal growth in hottubs happens in the myrid of tubing that feeds the jets on the spa. Some of them sit for weeks or months at a time without being operated. In a typical spa, there are multiple circuits for the jets, and some rarely get turned on. These are fabulous breeding grounds regardless of how well you maintain the water in the tub itself.
Then... The post to which you replied was regarding whirlpool BATHTUBS, which are drained after every use and are never, to my knowledge, clorinated at all. I'll bet the tubing in those can grow enough stuff to eventully become clogged.
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Mys Terry writes:

Nonsense. No nutrients, no microbial growth. 10 ppm free chlorine for a few hours will destroy the nutrients and the microbes.
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You are 100% incorrect on this one Richard. The clorine never gets there.
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Mys Terry writes:

Never gets where? You fill the tub with superchlorinated water and circulate it.
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Try and follow along, Richard. I am clearly talking about hottubs. Most have more than one pump. The filter and heater are usually both routed together through what is referred to as the "primary pump. The jets on the opposite side of the tub run off of the secondary pump. Tubing to the jets in a hot tub often loop around, up and down, all around. If the secondary pump doesn't get used often, none of your "superclorinated water" will ever reach the stagnant water in those tubes. "superclorinating" a hot tub also shortens the intervals at which you have to change the water.
Take the side covers off of the average hot tub after a couple of years of use and you will find that the clear tubing on the primary side of the tub is still clear, and the "clear" tubing on the secondary side is often black.
<http://www.thermospas.com/accessories/hot-tub-maintenance.aspx#linecleaner
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Mys Terry writes:

So superchlorinate and turn on the jets.

Don't be a troll.
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Clearly you have never done this on a real live hot tub. For openers, superclorinating a hottub is not such a great idea. It's a relatively small amount of water, and the need for water changes is dictated by how much chemistry has been used as anything else. The water gets saturated to the point where the chemistry is no longer effective. If you have a hot tub that you feel needs "superclorinating", then your best option is to drain, clean and re-fill.
There are special magic liquids that you can put in the water an hour or two before you drain it that will loosen the animal farm in the stagnant tubes so that it can then be flushed out with a hose. A hose alone will not do a very good job of this. The black junk will come out in clumps and sheets.
I won't acuse you of being a troll, although, over time you have established that you prefer to say "up" when everyone else is saying "down".
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Mys Terry writes:

You post anonymously. Earnest people worth of reply do not.
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Richard J Kinch writes:

Sorry, that should be "worthy of reply".
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That has to be the lamest response of them all. You have been proven wrong and so you resort to a personal attack, and try to claim moral superiority.
The overwhelming majority of people on usenet use an alternate identity and a fake email address. Those who post using their real names and email addresses are not superior in any way, and in fact are probably sort of stupid. Then again, I could easily post with what "seems" like a real name and you wouldn't know the difference. How do I know that YOU are not posting anonymously? Maybe your real name is Rhonda Swartz and you are a beautician from Tacoma. This is usenet, Kinch. Smart people don't post personal information here for good reason. It has nothing to do with veracity.
Meanwhile, the reason you are now trying to attack me personally is because I was right and you were wrong, and you are too emotionally small and intellectually dishonest to deal with that.
Why not just step up like a man and truthfully admit that your advice was based on something other than actual firsthand knowlege of hottubs and you were mistaken?
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Mys Terry writes:

The term is "anonymous coward". You're afraid, you fear being known. You're worse than wrong: you're not worth listening to. You're a troll picking fights with knowledgeable and respectable persons, with pantyhose over your head. In real life, it is literally a crime to disguise yourself in public.
If you think I fake my identity as you adumbrate, you're a fool.
If you cannot confirm my purported identity with a few mouse clicks, you're inept when it comes to first-grade Internet-based research. If you would rather insult me than take the trouble to confirm my identity, you're contemptibly inconsiderate.
If you enjoy spewing your abuse at honest efforts of people of good will to discuss material subjects, you're sick.
Even if we were to grant you the petty argument at hand, things still look grim for you.
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