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"Bio-film"  - click here for the complete bio-film article
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White Water Mold in spas & hot tubs is for all practical purposes, the covering for the real problem - biofilm.  If you think your hot tub water is clean and sanitary just because it looks clear, think again.

Yes, you may have shocked the water and even maintained a good chlorine, bromine, biguanide (Soft Soak or BaquaSpa) level, or installed a new Nature2 or Spa Frog cartridge but you've only controlled about 1% of the bacteria present!

As we look for the root cause, we see more and more that there are real "problems" that are often undetected.

Bio-films in spas & hot tubs can and often do lead to cloudy water, foaming, odors, scale build-up on the heater (prevents efficient heating), and even corrosion (certain biofilms can have a pH of about 1.0 - very acidic) of any metal surface of the circulation system including heaters, filter parts, rails, etc.  Even degradation of pillows, covers & other spa accessories will occur over time.

By the way, if you have a jetted bathtub, this information is for you too!

First, what is a biofilm? A biofilm is a film or large quantity of bacteria that is living in and as a vast colony in the microscopic world. In the "big" world, you could call a coral reef a "bio-film." All bio-films are self-perpetuating and can be difficult to remove. Worst of all, biofilm love virtually any surface, especially wet or damp ones. But beware, even after drying out, the biofilm will not necessarily be dead but simply dormant. Did we mention that biofilms are relatively resistant to chlorine, bromine or other sanitizers?

Second, how do biofilms form? As just mentioned, biofilms form on any surface. In your spa or hot tub.  That means the seats, walls, bottom, skimmer baskets, filter cartridge and filter well, tank bodies, pump bodies and impellers, jets, handles, lights, air holes, heater plumbing, and especially the piping. There is a 5 steps process as to the formation of biofilms: Attachment, Colonization, Protection, Growth, and finally what I call Distribution.

Attachment is just that; the bacteria attaches to the surface. It wants a place to call home and grow. Bacteria want to be in relationships, so they find a nice surface to settle down and join up with a few of their closest friends.

After attaching to the spa or plumbing surface with their friends, Colonization takes place as bacteria multiply and divide, growing in number. According to studies, it is at this crucial point that this attachment is "irreversible." The bacteria colony is there to stay unless purposefully removed. This stage is typically accomplished in a matter of minutes or hours at most.

In the Protection stage, the bacteria colony or biofilm begins protecting itself against invasion. Invasion from environmental factors, "lethal" chemicals (such as chlorine or bromine), predators, anything that want to destroy it. In technical terms, the bacteria begins to excrete a protective coating called an "exopolysaccharide" film. The film is sticky or slimy and very hearty. Now the biofilm is ready to experience explosive growth.

Growth of biofilms is like a coral reef, the biofilm gets bigger and tougher. Super colonies of biofilm are actually absorbing certain chemicals that were meant to destroy them.

Now we come full circle to Distribution where these broken parts begin to attach to other surfaces or different parts of the same surface. And the cycle begins anew.

By the way, biofilms are everywhere. Pools, spas, bathrooms, kitchens, the funky look to your patio furniture, on your teeth (plaque is a biofilm), wherever there is a surface that can be damp.

What to do? Resistant to chlorine or bromine. Bonds with biguanides. Ionizers have no effect. You have to remove it. The picture to the left shows a brand new spa having the bio-film removed over several hours. But how?

Learn how to remove biofilms here.


If you still need help, here's how to reach us:

Telephone (during store hours): Shelton  203-377-0100


Email: techhelp@parpool-spa.com

 

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