Spa Water Mold is a growing problem, especially in spas that are not maintained properly and/or are used infrequently. Many of you have been asking about this problem, so here is some information about Spa Water Mold, as well as how to treat it and how to prevent it.
What it is & what it looks like:
A naturally occurring fungus (this is NOT a form of Algae; it is animal not vegetable) white mucous or tissue paper-like looking substance forms a heavy, protective coating providing the organism with an unusually high level of protection that is very resilient against halogen-based (chlorine, bromine) & non-halogen sanitizers or germicides. It can remain a contaminant even after treatment exists on the surface of PVC plastics, inside piping, filter cartridge housings, jet nozzles, etc. If you see it on the inside surface of your spa, it is well established in all of the plumbing lines & air blower lines of your spa or hot tub. It can re-contaminate long after it appears that it has been destroyed (includes pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, fountains, automatic pool cleaner parts, skimmer baskets, weirs, directional fittings, garden hoses, etc.) Small quantities can lead to a re-establishment of the problem caused by improper water & pool maintenance, environment, poor circulation. It prefers areas that are “dark” (not exposed to direct sunlight) & with “slow moving” water (behind jet nozzles, the back of the motor impeller, etc., areas that you would think have a lot of water motion)
Prevention of “white water mold” is preferred over treatment. Follow these steps to help prevent white water mold:
1. Physically brush & clean ALL Spa surfaces weekly, including steps, jet recesses, & behind pillows
2. Expose ALL pool surfaces to as much sunlight as possible (sunlight & UV are natural oxidizers)
3. Remove the lid from the skimmer to allow sunlight into the basket for several hours each day ** INGROUND POOLS MUST USE EXTREME CAUTION in doing this in order to avoid a person falling into or otherwise injuring themselves due to an open skimmer.
4. Regularly add oxidizing chemicals into the skimmer to purge & clean the filtration lines of any bio-film*
5. When adding make-up water from the garden hose, allow the water to run for 2 to 3 minutes before putting the hose into the pool.
6. Regularly clean spa & hot tub toys & floats (use BioGuard® Stow Away)
7. Regularly clean pool solar blanket (use BioGuard® Stow Away)
8. Chemically clean pool filter every 4 to 6 weeks (use SpaGuard® Filter Cleaner or SoftSoak® Filter Cleaner)
9. Add regular Maintenance dosages of “Shock” (SpaGuard® Spa Shock, SpaGuard® Chlorinating Concentrate, SpaGuard® Brominating Concentrate) every week as prescribed
10. Run the filter a minimum of 6 hours daily to prevent “dead spots” in the pool
11. Remember to clean & rinse the brushes, hoses & vacuums that you use to clean the spa
12. Leave as much of your spa equipment exposed to the sun
13. Keep the water balanced at all times. Recheck after heavy usage or rain or large “top-offs” of new water. Water balance refers to Free Available Sanitizer level, pH, Total Alkalinity, Calcium Hardness.
Treatment of “white water mold” MUST BE QUICK AND TOTAL! DON’T SKIMP!
1. Clean all spa or hot tub surfaces as prescribed above.
2. Physically clean & remove all visible “white water mold”
3. Clean the interior of the filter cartridge area & as much of the spa pak as necessary
4. “Shock” the pool with a triple or quadruple dose of the proper shock treatment for your spa or hot tub.
5. Drain & refill the spa. Use Spa System Flush to help remove the built-up bio-film in the lines prior to draining. If the situation is very bad, refill the spa, shock it with chlorine, allow to circulate for 1 day, then drain & refill again using Spa System Flush just before draining.
6. Chemically clean the filter using SpaGuard® Filter Cleaner or SoftSoak® Filter Cleaner; if the cartridge is more than 1 year old, throw it away & start fresh with a new cartridge.
7. Test the water & properly balance it.
8. Maintain good water balance of pH, Total Alkalinity & Calcium Hardness
Once you have got rid of it do your best not to let it come back!