Proper Care, Storage & Shelf Life of Reagents

Reagents that are stored properly maintain have a much longer shelf life and maintain their maximum effectiveness than those that are improperly stored. This includes all reagents including liquids, powders, crystals, tablets and test-strips.

Reagents should not be stored in moist or damp areas and should be kept dry and moisture free at all times. Powders, crystals and acids are very stable and have an excellent shelf life if kept dry and aren’t exposed to sunlight.

The date of manufacture is not the controlling factor when it comes to reagent shelf life; the storage conditions are much more important. As with all perishables, reagents are sensitive to environmental influences and will last longer under controlled conditions.

Taylor Technologies Recommends the Following Care for Reagents

Storing reagents at a consistent temperature in the range of 36°–85°F (2°–29°C). Dramatic temperature fluctuations, such as being stored near a refrigerator or in the trunk of a hot car, causes reagents to rapidly deteriorate.

Avoid exposing reagents to prolonged direct sunlight. Most manufacturers use brown plastic bottles to help protect light sensitive reagents for this very reason, but prolonged overexposure to direct sunlight will quickly deteriorate any reagents effectiveness.

Keep reagents separate from other non-reagent water treatment chemicals.

Replacing reagent caps immediately after use and tighten them carefully to limit their exposure to air and humidity.

Don’t switch reagent bottle caps. Placing bottle caps on soiled surfaces, re-pouring reagents into possibly contaminated containers and touching test strip pads can easily contaminate reagents.

The experts at Taylor formulate their reagents to remain fully effective for a minimum of one year, with very few exceptions.

As a general precaution and rule of thumb, you should replace any reagents that are more than one year old or at the beginning of each new testing season.

Scientific Facts About Ozone Use in Hot Tubs

What is Ozone?

 

• Ozone is “active oxygen”, nature’s special element. Each ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms.
• Ozone is a natural purifier.
• Ozone is created in nature by the combination of oxygen in air and the ultraviolet rays of the sun or by the corona discharge during a lightning storm.
• Ozone has a clean, fresh scent noticed after a rainstorm.
• Ozone is the most powerful oxidizer safely used.
• Ozone is the alternative water purifier to traditional chemicals such as chlorine and bromine.

What Does Ozone Do?

• The Ozone layer in the atmosphere protects the earth from deadly radiation.
• Ozone destroys bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew.
• Ozone eliminates spores, cysts, yeast and fungus.
• Ozone oxidizes iron, sulfur, manganese and hydrogen sulfate.
• Ozone eliminates oils and other contaminants in water.
• Ozone eliminates odors in air, such as smoke.
• Ozone keeps water clean and sparkling clear.
• Ozone keeps water fresh.

Ozone is Healthy

• Ozone leaves no chemical by-products in water.
• Ozone leaves no chemical taste or smell.
• Ozone will not burn eyes or make them red or irritated. Ozone will not irritate or dry out skin, nose, or ears.
• Ozone will not leave a chemical film on material or skin.
• Ozone will not discolor or damage hair or clothing.
• Ozone adds no contaminants or by-products to water. Ozone rids water and air of unhealthy microorganisms.
• Ozone is NOT a carcinogen.

Where is Ozone Used?

• Nice, France built the first water purification plant to use ozone in 1906
• Los Angeles has the largest ozone drinking water treatment plant in the world.
• Most bottled water is purified by ozone.
• Ozone is used to clean waste water and toxic waste.
• Ozone purifies water in wells and home drinking water systems.
• Ozone systems have brought life back to “dead” contaminated lakes and pools.
• Ozone is used to purify air in hotel rooms, boats, RVs, cars and smoke/fire damaged structures.
• Ozone is used in thousands of residential and commercial pools, hot tubs and spas all over the world.

How is Ozone Made?

 

Ozone Is Safe for the Environment as well as Spa & Pool Equipment

• Ozone will not explode.
• Ozone is not a fire hazard.
• In the dose required for excellent purification, ozone does not produce harmful fumes.
• Ozone will not damage plumbing fittings or pipes.

Ozone Is Convenient for Hot Tubs, Spas & Pools

• Ozone does not have to be purchased or stored. Ozone is generated “on site” and is introduced into the water or air automatically.
• Ozone does not affect the pH balance of water, thus minimizing pH adjustments.
• Ozone helps reduce total dissolved solids in water so that the water does not have to be changed as often.
• Ozone eliminates much of the routine maintenance because it does such an effective job keeping the water clean.

Information About Chloramines

When any type of chlorine is added to water, it usually forms hypochlorous acid (HOCl), the most powerful killing form of chlorine in water, and hypochlorite ion (OCl-), a relatively weak form of chlorine in water.

The percentage of HOCl and OCl- is determined by the pH of the water. As the pH goes up, less of the chlorine is in the killing form and more of the chlorine is in the weaker form. The total of HOCl and OCl- is the free available chlorine.

Chlorine can combine with ammonia and nitrogen compounds in the water to form chloramines, sometimes called combined chlorine. By combining with ammonia and nitrogen, free chlorine in the water is disabled.

Chloramines are 60 to 80 times less effective than free chlorine. Chloramines are formed any time ammonia and nitrogen are in the water. Some of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds are introduced into the water by swimmers and bathers in the form of perspiration, urine, saliva, sputum and fecal matter.

An active swimmer sweats one pint per hour. The average person sweats three pints per hour in a heated spa. Ammonia and nitrogen compounds are also introduced into the water by rain. Each drop of rain has some dissolved nitrogen from our atmosphere and from automobile emissions.

Chloramines smell bad. This is the smell most often associated with pools and spas in health clubs and YMCAs. Chloramines are eye and skin irritants, and they cloud the water.

Chloramines can be removed from the water by the following three methods:

1. Chlorine Shock Treatment or Super-Chlorination: By adding a mega-dose of chlorine. Usually 3 to 6 times more chlorine than a normal dose is added to the water, or the level of chlorine is raised to 5 to 10 ppm and held there for 4 hours.

This is called super chlorination. To remove chloramines, the ratio of chlorine to ammonia must be at least 7.6 to 1. If this ratio is not obtained, then more chloramines will be produced. Swimmers and bathers should not enter the water until the level of chlorine has dropped to 3 ppm or less.

2. Non-Chlorine Shock Treatment: By adding a non-chlorine shock to the water. The most common chemical used for this is potassium peroxymonosulfate.

3. Adding Ozone to the Water: If an ozone generator is installed on a pool or spa, then oxidation of the ammonia and nitrogen compounds will take place whenever the ozone system is operating. The longer the system operates, the more the ozone can destroy the ammonia and nitrogen.

Ozone oxidizes soap, deodorant, hair spray, cologne, makeup, perfume, body lotion, hand cream, sun tan lotion, saliva and urine. In addition, ozone kills all pathogenic bacteria, germs and viruses.

Ozone takes care of the big job of oxidizing all these organic contaminants. Ozone frees up the combined chlorine, thus leaving the chlorine free to provide a residual. Ozone ultimately enhances the performance of chlorine and bromine.

Less chlorine or bromine will be needed to maintain a residual. Commonly, ozone reduces chlorine or bromine use by 60-90 percent. The quality of water will be dramatically better with the combination of ozone and chlorine or the combination of ozone and bromine than with chlorine or bromine alone.

Non-Chlorine Shock Treatments

Non-Chlorine Shock

For years, hot tub and spa owners have been keeping their water crystal clear by “Shocking” it on a weekly basis with Chlorine or Bromine.

Shocking your hot tub or spa quickly raises the sanitizer level of the spa water, killing off any of the bacteria that may be present.

Unwanted bacteria in spa water can cause skin irritation, rashes, odors and cloudy water. The down side of “shocking” your hot tub or spa with chlorine is that it leaves a strong chlorine-like chemical odor, causes skin and eye irritation and can wreak cause bathing suits and hot tub covers to prematurely fade.

The folks at DuPont have come up with a great alternative product called Potassium Monopersulfate or more commonly referred to as “Non-Chlorine Shock.”

The benefits of Potassium Monopersulfate is that it is easy and convenient to use, it maximizes your existing sanitizer efficiency of Chlorine or Bromine by killing and eliminating contaminating waste and it doesn’t produce irritating and foul smelling chemical odors.

It restores sparkle and clarity to dull water and doesn’t bleach or fade bathing suits or spa covers. It also assists with the bacteria killing, with no unwanted side effects.
Potassium Monopersulfate is a powerful, odorless oxygen-based versatile oxidizer that works in conjunction with chlorine, bromine and most alternative sanitizing systems including ozone.

Sanitizers are used in hot tubs and spas to protect soakers and bathers from harmful pathogens, but sanitizing alone is not enough.  Soaker and bather waste, along with external factors, contribute to the buildup of organic contamination, especially in residential hot tubs and spas.

Two people in an average hot tub holding 250-350 gallons of water is equivalent to 200 people in a 20,000 gallon swimming pool! Regular oxidation is necessary to eliminate these contaminants and promote maximum sanitizer efficiency and water clarity.

Potassium Monopersulfate is ideal for oxidizing spa water because it reacts very quickly to eliminate bather waste, increases existing sanitizer efficiency, enhances water clarity and soaker comfort. It also eliminates the need to shock the spa with heavy chlorine-based products which cause foul odors, skin and eye irritation and prematurely fades clothing.

Chlorine Only Shocks also have a few other significant drawbacks. When used in heavy doses, chlorine can react with contaminants in hot tub water to produce foul smelling and irritating combined chlorine compounds called chloramines.

Chloramines can be simple compounds like monochloramine or they can be complex like the organic chloramines. Organic chloramines actually resist oxidation by free chlorine and persist long after chlorine shocking.

Chlorine shocking also raises chlorine residuals, which are not wanted in a brominated hot tub or spa. This can be a real problem if your hot tub is inside, where air circulation is a problem.

One of the big reasons that people use bromine as their main sanitizer is to reduce the chemical odor, both in the water and in the indoor air around the unit. Potassium Monopersulfate will not cause these unwanted odors when used on a weekly shock.

When used properly, it eliminates chloramines, ammoniated compounds, oils, soaps, perspiration, urine and odors as well as enhances the disinfection and sanitation of your hot tub by regenerating some of the existing chlorine and most of the bromine in the water.

*Please Note that Potassium Monopersulfate should not be used during the initial fill up of your hot tub or spa. It is not a disinfectant when used alone and a normal level of sanitizer must already be present in the water for Potassium Monopersulfate to react correctly.

Chlorine Shock Treatment Alternatives

Potassium Monopersulfate from Dupont

The use of Potassium Monopersulfate, a non-chlorine shock treatment, has significantly increased in both use and popularity among hot tub and spa owners over the last 10 years.

The benefits of using a non-chlorine shock like Monopersulfate instead of a chlorine or bromine shock include reduced odor, less irritation to your eyes and skin and it requires only a short waiting period before soakers and bathers can re-enter the water.

MPS was developed by DuPont and acts as a highly effective oxidizing agent when used in hot tubs and spas. When used at full strength, many hot tub and spa owners refer to MPS as the Non-Chlorine or Non-Bromine “Shock Treatment Alternative” because of its effectiveness to destroy and remove contaminants and bacteria.

Chlorine Shock

Chlorine is the most widely used water shocking sanitizer for hot tub, spa and pool owners because of its ability to quickly and effectively sanitize pathogenic disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Surprisingly, only 10 per cent of the chlorine added to spa water goes on to kill living organisms. The other 90 per cent of the chlorine oxidizes (destroys) waste products in the water, such as sweat, skin particles, and sun screen introduced into the water by bathers. Chlorine also has to oxidize dust, bugs or grass, which always seem to find their way into the water all by themselves.

The byproducts of chlorine oxidation are chloramines, also known as combined chlorine. Chloramines have a very strong chlorine odor, and they cause nasal and eye irritation. Shocking the water with chlorine will eliminate excessive chloramines, but it requires raising the spa chlorine level to approximately 10 ppm.

After super-chlorinating the water, bathers must wait until the chlorine residual comes down to the acceptable range, between 1 ppm and 5 ppm, before getting back in the water. This can take hours, depending on how high the chlorine level gets. It is difficult to add just the right amount and the higher the level gets, the longer bathers will have to wait to get in.

Non-Chlorine Shock

The negative side-effects of using chlorine as a sanitizer have many hot tub, spa and pool owners turning to non-chlorine or hybrid chlorine/bromine sanitizing and shocking alternatives. Monopersulfate is a non-chlorine shock treatment that has become very popular with hot tub and spa owners and requires only a short waiting period before soakers and bathers can re-enter the water.

It also cuts down on the odors and irritation caused by elevated levels of chlorine. With the rising popularity of mineral purification systems, the increase of hot tub and spa owners switching from chlorine to non-chlorine shock treatments is growing faster than ever before and shows no signs of slowing down anytime in the near future.

Using Monopersulfate With Chlorine

Monopersulfate can eliminate wastes in hot tubs and spas without the unpleasant side effects of chlorine. While it cannot effectively sanitize or kill all bacteria in a hot tub or spa, monopersulfate can effectively be used to shock the water.

This allows soakers and bathers to return to the water much sooner than with chlorine shock, typically less than 30 minutes after the monopersulfate shock has been added to the water. Monopersulfate eliminates impurities through oxidation, while conserving the chlorine residual for killing bacteria.

Another added benefit is that monopersulfate doesn’t leave behind any irritating or unpleasant byproducts when it oxidizes wastes.

Using Monopersulfate With Bromine

Another popular choice for sanitation in hot tubs and spas is bromine. Bromine is a good alternative to chlorine because it’s more stable in hot water, doesn’t produce the same strong chlorine odor and is still an effective sanitizer.

Bromine is slightly more expensive than chlorine, but the benefits are worth it to many hot tub and spa owners.  In a bromine system, Monopersulfate is an activator for the bromine that has been used up and converted into a non-active form.

Monopersulfate oxidizes waste as in the chlorine system, but it also has the capability of reactivating the bromine. This allows it to begin sanitizing and oxidizing your water all over again, whereas chlorine is not capable of this type of reactivation.

As with chlorine, using monopersulfate with a bromine system has the added benefit of allowing soakers and bathers to return to the water faster than with Chlorine or Bromine only shock, typically less than 30 minutes after the monopersulfate has been added to the water.

Using Monopersulfate with Mineral Purification Systems – Another popular and growing form of non-chlorine alternative sanitation is Mineral Purification Systems. These systems use dissolved minerals such as copper to kill algae and silver to kill bacteria.

Minerals can keep your hot tub or spa water safe from pathogenic organisms, but minerals are incapable of destroying waste products and debris. Using monopersulfate with your mineral purification system solves the oxidation problem and leaves a residual amount in your system to oxidize future wastes and debris.

Monopersulfate dissipates very quickly in the presence of high levels of chlorine or bromine, but the residual levels stay in place much longer in mineral purification systems where the levels of chlorine and bromine are much lower.

Testing Monopersulfate Levels – In order to maintain clear, clean water, the Monopersulfate level should be measured after each use, especially if it is being used as the primary shocking agent. This ensures proper oxidation of wastes and safe clear water for soakers and bathers.

Testing Tip – Since chlorine is a strong oxidizer, the readings on most monopersulfate testing kits are tainted due chlorine interference and can cause false positive test results. The trick to getting an accurate reading in the presence of chlorine is to use a subtractive testing method.

Buy a test kit that allows you to measure both the water chemistry’s total oxidized value and the chlorine level. The total oxidized value measurement includes both chlorine and monopersulfate.

The chlorine level test measurement detects the chlorine, but not the level of monopersulfate. Subtract the chlorine level from your total oxidized value measurement and you will get an accurate reading for your hot tub or spas monopersulfate level.