Hot tub, sanitizers, and jet damage...

Hi,
We own a Vita Spa which is about 2.5 years old. Recently, I noticed some of the larger jets (which are removeable and interchangeable) have had their plastic "pitted". The part that is pitted is not the face of the jet, but a plastic tube that comes off the back and inserts into the jet housing body. Eventually, the little plastic clips on this tube that hold the jets in place wear down and break off allowing the jet to float out into the spa and it can't be put back into the housing because the clips are worn or broken so it won't stay in. By the way, I don't swap the jets around -- I normally never touch them -- I set them to a certain flow level and leave them be.
I took a jet to the dealer, but he said it was "chemical abuse", citing the fact that the plastic was all pitted. He suggested not using bromine and only using Nature 2, as he felt the bromine was eating away at the plastic (although it hadn't harmed the other parts of the jet face, just this plastic tube in back). To me it seems more like poor construction for this part.
I've had two other hot tubs in the past 12 years and always used bromine and never had it eat away at the plastic or anything else for that matter. I also make sure the pH is always balanced, and if anything, I try to keep it on the high side of normal (~7.6) to make sure I don't get any acid corrosion inside the plumbing, pumps, etc. I'm pretty strict about my water maintenance, so the idea of the water damaging the plastic is odd to me.
Has anyone else had any problems with their spas having jets or other plastic pitted or worn away from bromine or anything else?
PS: At the dealer's recommendation, I switched to Nature2 for the time being. Of course, when I asked the dealer if I needed to refill the tub with clean water (since mine has bromine in it) or if I could just put in the Nature2 cartridge, he said I could just put the Nature2 cartridge in without dumping the brominated water. Nature2 says I absolutely must dump the brominated water first and refill with new water before using their cartridge (which I did anyway). So, I'm not sure this dealer knows what he's talking about.
Thanks, -- Vinnie
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Yep, I think not. Tom Work at your leisure!
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If your using the tub a lot then I would say it is normal wear. My in floor pool cleaner used to do the same thing in 2-3 years. I would be off replacing parts. Do not have a clue about the chemicals your using. If Nature says dump the water then I would. It is not all that much.
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I would contact the manufacturer about the pitted parts. They may have used a bad material to make those.
My dealer told me I must change the water when switching to nature 2. Right now, 2 weeks later, my water is very cloudy. I'm not impressed with nature2 so far.
Bob
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I actually wrote to them twice so far with no response. I may go through the BBB -- that always seems to light a fire under most non-responsive companies. <g> I even told them I would buy the parts from them if their price was right. The dealer will only sell me the entire jet face/body, which is 80% parts I don't need. The plastic tube is all I need and it simply snaps onto the rest of the jet, so I don't really *need* to purchase the entire jet face/body. I was hoping the manufacturer would sell me just the tube part alone.

I had the same problem with Nature2 when my second hot tub was installed (several years ago). The dealer delivered it with a Nature2 cartridge and explained the usage. Within two weeks (and light/normal usage), it was cloudy. I put in the 2 oz. of MPS before each use, but it stayed cloudy.
Now with this tub, I've been using 2 oz. of MPS before each use, but I also hit it with 1 oz or so of regular dichlor (chlorine) about once a week. Keeping the chlorine residual seems to keep the water clear so far (about a month after changing to Nature2).
Even the dealer admitted that when switching to Nature2 in his tub, it go cloudy until he figured out the right regmien. He said normally when it starts getting cloudy, he can hit it with some MPS shock and it will clear right up. I don't know if that's true or not.
Thanks, -- Vinnie
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What is Nature2? I'm asking my skin's extremely sensitive to bromine. One hour in a hot tub or indoor pool and I end up with itchy spots all over that last for 2-3 weeks. Showering immediately afterward doesn't help.
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What is Nature2? I'm asking my skin's extremely sensitive to bromine. One hour in a hot tub or indoor pool and I end up with itchy spots all over that last for 2-3 weeks. Showering immediately afterward doesn't help.
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Nature2 is a cartridge (cost about $30) that you insert in your filter and it releases copper or silver ions into the water which acts as a constant sanitizer. You normally use it in conjunction with a non-chlorine shock such as MPS (monopersulfate) which is added in small quantities to the tub before each use. I was told you also add a very small amount of regular chlorine (dichlor granules) once a week as well to help keep the water clear.
There are also chemical systems for sanitization like BaquaSpa (or something like that) that are not chlorine/bromine based that you may want to look into.
Many people swear by Nature2 so that may be your best bet. You can look at www.spadepot.com if you're interested in the different sanitizers available or for some pricing ideas.
-- Vinnie
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Thanks! I just bought a house that's got a perfect spot for a tub, so I'm anxious to find a solution to the skin issue. What's interesting is that I get absolutely NO skin reaction to chemicals in outdoor pools. Do they require less chemicals, or different ones?
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I don't have a pool so I couldn't say for sure what all the differences are, but there's probably some similarity and some differences. For example, I remember our pool when I was kid used chlorine as a sanitizer, and some people use chlorine for their spas, but many use bromine instead. I think you can actually get Nature2 as a sanitizer for a pool as well. I think there are some other chemicals like algaecides that people use in pools that you generally don't hear about for spa use (at least I've never had to use them).
Also, how hot is the tub you went in? I've heard of people having more of a reaction to the water because it's set so hot. Here in Florida, I tend to keep our tub at 96 degrees, which is more like a very warm bath. When it's still 80+ degrees out at 11 pm, I don't want to get into a broiling hot tub <g>. I know some people keep their tubs between 100 and 102, which can feel quite hot to some people. Most spas should not allow you to set them above 104 for safety reasons. Maybe your skin becomes more sensitive to the chemicals due to the hot water, or maybe just the hot water. Does a plain old hot bath bother your skin?
Another factor could be the pH of the water. If it's too acidic, that might bother your skin as well. It's definitely critical for both you and the spa to keep the pH of the water at the "normal level" (between 7.2 and 7.8, I think).
Finally, if the tub that gave you trouble was low on sanitizer, that could also give you a skin reaction (or possibly an infection).
If you're pretty sure it's just the bromine or chlorine checmical itself causing your reaction, you may want to try Nature2. From what I've been told, it's supposed to be easier for skin to tolerate, although I've never really had any skin problems with our tubs, so I can't give a first hand testimonial.
-- Vinnie
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