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How often to use shock? When to replace water? Freshwater system questions


So Iíve had a Vanguard with the freshwater system that got delivered in Feb. I struggled for the first 2 months getting the system balanced then did a purge with ahh-some in early April and itís been working great ever sense. I clean my main filter on the standpipe monthly and rotate a new one in.  But Iíve got a few questions

1) Shock: when and why?
Even with the system set on 4 and two people using it 4-5 nights a week, the chlorine smell is a little higher than Iíd like when I open the lid and the Taylor kit shows Iím about 5+ ppm. My dealer told me to shock it to get rid of the smell but that just jacked the chlorine to 10+ ppm. The shock I used was SpaGuard Enhanced Shock. They seemed confused I wasnít shocking more often but my chlorine levels had been fine. I guess I donít understand when or why to use shock.

 2) When to replace water?
I replaced my water in early April and am coming up on 6 months of water in there (which barely got used in June/July due to heat wave). When do I know itís time to dump the water and replace?  I know the dealer says 12 months but I think I am seeing early signs. When I open the lid the water is very clear but it takes the water about 20-30 seconds to clear up after the jets are off (itís almost immediately with new water). Also I get mild to moderate (but not excessive) foam with jets on high, but itís mitigated by anti foam chemicals.

Thank you in advance for your replies and advice.

I'll provide some feedback on your questions and ask your feedback on one of my own.  After all having had a freshwater system on my Caldera for a year now I think it's trial and error and time that figures things out.

1) If I'm using the tub (theres usually just 2 of us) several times a week I add the oxidizer (Enhanced spa shock non chlorine) at least once every 7 days and spray off the filter when I do.  Every 21 to 30 days I use the spa filter cleaner.  My experience has been the shock is specifically for helping the water to rid of the body oils, soaps, finger nail polish etc... break down and vent into the air as a gas or create particles the filter can catch.  So with heavy use it helps to use it once or twice a week.  The smell you refer to I think is the stinky foot or rank odor that hits the nose when you lift the cover is chloramines the byproduct of chlorine sanitizing after use and sometimes low sanitizer (chlorine levels) like .5ppm to 1ppm.  The shock helps to convert the chloramines back to free chlorine or the original state so when the freshwater system is working efficiently you'll get a spike in chlorine ppm from the reaction.  My suggestion, and what I find has worked well, is to turn your output down so your Chlorine ppm drops to 2 to 3 naturally before adding any shock.  That may be enough to eliminate the odor alone.  A few hours after shock I test the water and if chlorine has risen I adjust the salt output down to maintain the 2 to 3. If still low I either add a little dichlor or turn up the output depending on the time of day and our use to hit the right levels.  It's always an ongoing process. 

2) I'm coming up on 4 months for my current fill and I'm starting to notice more film on the surface water after use and more time to clear up.  I highly recommend finding a local pool supply company that provides water testing and use them once a month.  You get a specific number on each of your levels and I've found my freshwater sticks tend to be a little on the high side from what my water test printouts show.  I keep them all for warranty purposes too for proof my water is being kept balanced and acceptable.  I think the freshwater system says "up to 12 months" and I'm more comfortable with every 7 to 8 months personally which is still double what a traditional non salt tub would need.  I had phosphate issues during my first fill and was using phosphate remover and clarifier and I realized that adding these things starts to get the foam/bubble effect when using the air valves like what your experiencing.  For now on if I have a test come back with high CYA's or phosphates I'm going to drain and refill and just start fresh if the water is over 6 months.

Hope that helps.  My question is how much bio film did you see from using the ahh some.  I used some flush from the dealer when I drained and couldn't really see any reaction to the water and I've read that ahh some really helps to get the most life out of the salt cartridges.

I feel like I got a noticeable amount of bio film/foam with the ahh-some. I watched a few YouTube videos and it looked just like what they had on there. Iím glad I did it. Thanks for your answers.

I've had my Envoy for 3 months now. I really struggled with getting the salt system set up properly at first due to high phosphates and metals. I caused me to burn out a cartridge in 1 month. I was going to purge with ahh-some and drain but I decided against it because the water looked really clear and the pH and alkalinity were finally coming into balance. I just added the new salt cartridge and it's been working well since then. The salt system dial has stayed at 12 o'clock and use the enhanced oxidizing shock once or twice a week when the chlorine levels look at little low to boost them back up. I will say that it doesn't really seem to maintain chlorine very well on it's own. I keep the system at 7 or 8 and add oxidizing shock once or twice a week, but it's working a lot better than it was before.

I also notice the smell but when I do, I find that my chlorine reading on the test strip is like 1 ppm. I then use the non-chlorine shock which boosts it back up and it smells better for a few days until I need to do it again. I'm also noticing that film stays on the water longer and it looks a little less clear in general over the past week or so. The water is 3 months old at this point. Not anywhere near the 1 year they say you should get. I'm tempted to do a refill soon but I'm afraid I'll have the same salt system issues I had initially if I do.


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