Hot Tub Maintenance purging and cleaning

ahh-some vs Proline and Leisure Time

This post describes my October, 2019 test of two additional purge products against the product which is currently the most effective in my tests, “Ahh-some”.  As readers will note, my normal protocol is to purge my spa with one or more “under test” products and then purge again with Ahh-some to see what the others leave behind. So far, this has proven to be an effective test methodology.

For more background information, please see the three-part foundational materials referenced on the Hot Tub home page

Leisure Time “Jet Clean” and ProLine “Jet-Line Cleaner

Both of these products recommend a three-month usage interval (which I find ill-informed),  and refer to the removal of only one “filter” (singular) — a finding that is disturbing in its own right, since a great many spas these days have more than one filter.  Maybe the copy editors just have poor English skills I don’t know.  One could be directly plagiarizing the other or there could be a cross-licensing thing going on but, that aside, the fact is that these two products have absolutely identical, word-for-word instructions!  At the time of this writing Anyway:

  1. Turn pump ON and run the Jets for 15 minutes (ensure that filter is not in spa)
  2. Turn pump and Jets OFF and let set for 1 hour
  3. Turn pump ON and run jets and blower for 15 minutes
  4. Drain the spa, hosing off the inside spa walls while draining

Let the tests begin

My first step was to add the Leisure Time product to my spa water, which was well maintained and approximately five months old.  After 15 minutes of “jets on”, per label directions there was no result.

 

Exceeding  the label directions, I let the spa sit for well over four hours, and then fired up the jets again for another 15 minutes.   I then turned off the jets to see if anything was deposited along the water line or in the filter compartment:  there was nothing.  The  photograph below shows the location on my spa where deposits normally form, if there is a release – there was none:

The Leisure Time product results were so anti-climactic I was left wondering how to complete the test.  Instead of draining the spa I decided to add the 2nd product, ProLine “Jet Line Cleaner” directly to the spa water, to see if it would release anything.  To my astonishment, the combination of both products in my 5-month old warn-out water produced the same result:  nothing

if you are reading this, you probably know that “Ahh-Some” is the standard by which I measure all the others. This is because it works better than all of the others I have tested thus far,  and is the only purge product verified to be effective in killing “Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”, along with a handful of other pathogens that can find their way into your plumbing.  I have found, over the years, that the company responsible for manufacturing Ahhsome knows what biofilms are and how to control them.

The previous tests showed that both Leisure Time and ProLine cleaners are worthless, even with tired, old water. I will also note that the reason these  products produced no result could have been because I used a product called “Hot Tub Serum Total Maintenance” throughout previous  5-months of use.    “The Serum”, as I call it, allowed me to recover nicely (on one particular occasion)  from neglected water — by mistake I let chlorine go to zero and the water go bad/cloudy.  See I’m not that perfect after all…

I will acknowledge that my tests are severe:  Virtually any product will do “something”, especially if there is a problem to solve, but it takes a seriously good product to deep clean a spa that has been meticulously cared for.

Ahh-some bats clean-up

To continue the tests, as has been my protocol for many years, I drained my spa and filled with fresh water before testing ahh-some.  One  doubt in my mind was left unresolved, however:   Did the previous tests “fail” because I had taken such good care of my water or because the products themselves are just useless?    The answer was about to form on my vessel walls, after dosing with ahh-some and 15 minutes of “jets on”.  Consistent with the previous test, I photographed the location where deposits normally form on my spa — this time I got a result.

Clearly, even good water maintenance is not enough to avoid the  build-up of gunk that is either biofilm or a food supply for it — and Ahh-some is the only product on the market today that is capable of releasing it.  The other products tested in this post probably do “something’,  if there is a problem to solve, but they don’t “deep clean” like ahh-some does.

What about the filters?

You may recall that in previous experiments I  demonstrated that filter media itself can also harbor biofilms, and that it is good practice to clean the filters in the vessel itself while dosed with ahh-some.  This is because standard filter cleaners are not effective at releasing biofilms!  My previous work also found that using the “Hot Tub Serum” product adds a profound amount of biofilm protection – and this time I repeated the same step as before, by adding the filters to my already-clean spa (dosed with ahh-some). As before, there was no incremental release from the filters.  Not many spa owners have achieved this:  a fully functioning spa, dosed with ahh-some, with filters in the vessel, producing no knew material release.

Conclusions

Here is a summary of my findings from this experiment:

  • Leisure Time “Jet Clean” and Pro Line “Jet Line Cleaner” probably do something useful, but they are ineffective and worthless as products to control biofilms, especially in spas that are well taken care of.  In short, they are not worth the packaging they come in, and are probably just high mark-up profit makers that sell to people trying desperately to solve a problem.
  • “Hot Tub Serum” is a very effective product . It kills biofilms when used regularly and helps prevent biofilms from setting up shop in the filters.  (In a different post I  have also shown that Hot Tub Serum also improves the sanitizer decay rate).
  • My previous conclusion remains the same and is restated here:  “Ahhsome remains the only product that really ‘deep cleans’.  Its manufacturer also understands biofilms and how to control them, and this is evident by the label directions:  Unlike the others I have tested, Ahh-some prescribes a chlorine dose to supplement the killing power of the product itself, which is absolutely the right thing to do.  Think about it:  Suppose a contamination of Pseudomonas had found safe harbor within a chlorine-resistant layer of biofilm (see previous articles referenced on the Hot Tub home page).  If any of the other products really expected to release such biofilms, which would release  the Pseudomonas pathogen itself, it would be unthinkable to ask consumers to purge without sufficient chlorine resident in the water to kill them!  That’s just dangerous. In my book, these two products deserve a big raspberry.
  • The proper way to deep clean a hot tub is to follow the label directions on the Ahhsome jar:  elevated levels of Chlorine are required!

Happy soaking

-doug

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