Using Bleach instead of Chlorine?

gorilla_xFebruary 24, 2009

I used chlorine tablets in our feeder our first season with the new pool. This season I want to use bleach instead of tablets... mainly because the tablets have stabilizer in them, and do not want to increase the stabilizer level any higher than it is now.

I have a 30K gallon pool, and if I add a large bottle of 6% bleach (Target has them at 187 ounce I think) the chlorine level will increase an additional 3 ppm.

I'll use 5 ppm in my example as the standard desired chlorine level in summertime. Having said that, I have a few questions:

#1. Is it better to add a little bleach every few days or so such that the chlorine ppm level is fairly stable (i.e. try to keep the level at or near 5 ppm)?

#2. Or is it safe to add a full bottle of bleach that will raise the level to 8 ppm, and then add another bottle once the level comes back down to 5 ppm?

Option #2 is less maintenance obviously, and requires less preciseness in measuring bleach, etc. Any feedback is welcomed. What would you do?

-Gorilla

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poolguynj

5 ppm of free cl is higher than most. 2 to 3 is usually where I target my pool. Add some daily.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 6:42PM
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Ron Natalie

You want to do what you can to keep the free Cl above 2. With unstabilized hypochorite it's going to be a continual challenge in an uncovered outside pool.

I get the three jug packs at Costco, but my pool is covered (and inside).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:17AM
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keithw

If you are considering switching to Chlorine for sanitizing your pool, I would recommend getting a Liquidator. It is a very affordable and almost foolproof way to adding liquid Chlorine or Bleach to your pool. It is made by HASA and if you Google it you should be able to find a site that sells it. I've had one for three years and it works great.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 8:28AM
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poolguynj

The web site is kind of lame. How is it plumbed in? Would you post a pic of yours? I've heard good things in the past about them on another site.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:12AM
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racket

Pool center... Spamming isn't allowed on this site.

I'd rather see a peristaltic pump installed over the "liquidator" any day. Chlorine is an oxidizer and I wouldn't want liquid chlorine going through my heat exchanger constantly.

As many pool guys know, float valves can and do fail.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 9:56AM
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azbabs

Here is a link to trouble free pools. It has a ton of info on using bleach, borax, and baking soda to maintain your pool. Nice forum with nice people.

Here is a link that might be useful: BBB pool care

    Bookmark   February 25, 2009 at 3:07PM
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keithw

The Liquidator is plumbed in through two holes in the plumbing, one before the pump and one after the pump. Most people use the drain plug on their pump basket housing for the first hole and then only do a single hole after the pump. The kit comes with saddle clamps that go over the hole and the water flows through a small diameter tube. The LQ (Liquidator) works without power by using the suction of the pool's pump. water is forced into the LQ from the tube that is installed after the pump. In the LQ, it mixes with CL and then exits the LQ through the other tube into the basket of the pump to be redistributed into the pool.

The is no not a high concentration of CL distributed by the LQ. The design of the LQ delivers a low concentration of CL any time the pool pump is running. Bleach is heavier that water and the LQ houses 8 gallons of bleach and probably an additional 16 gallons of pool water. Bleach settles to the bottom of the LQ and the water that is returned to the pool comes from the very top of the LQ. So it does not deliver a straight dose of CL. And certainly floats could fail, but a float valve is a much more simple mechanical device that a pump and less likely to fail IMO. I am not knocking pumps for CL distribution as I have never tried one. But I have to say that the LQ has worked flawlessly for me for a few seasons now and at $130ish was a great value.

One bad aspect of the LQ is that HASA's customer support is very poor. It you are interested in pictures and more info, Troublefree pool has a forum dedicated to chemical automation here:
http://www.troublefreepool.com/chemical-automation-and-the-liquidator-f81.html

And HASA's site is here: http://www.hasapool.com/
They do list one reseller of the LQ.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 7:38AM
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poolguynj

Racket is right, freshly chlorinated water is not a good thing to be running through a heat exchanger.

Tablet feeder manufacturers learned that long ago.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 11:06AM
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mas985

"Racket is right, freshly chlorinated water is not a good thing to be running through a heat exchanger.
Tablet feeder manufacturers learned that long ago."

There is a big difference between tablet PH and liquid chlorine PH. Tri-Chlor tablets have very low PH which tends to be corrosive to metal. Even though mixed with water, the PH tends to be quite low and would cause corrosion in the heater. This also why pools run on Tri-Chlor tend to have lower PH.

However, bleach aka liquid chlorine, has a high PH. Mixed with water in the liquidator, the PH is slightly higher than the incoming water but is not corrosive and won't damange the heater. However, it might cause scaling if the PH, TA and CH are not kept in check.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:48PM
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poolguynj

While what you say about the pH of both types is correct, even ith the higher pH of liquid, the chlorine is still not a copper heat exchanger's friend.

It is why salt cells are still set after the heater, usually with a check valve preceding it.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 1:57PM
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mas985

No doubt that a high concentration of chlorine will dissolve copper but what the liquidator injects is on average only about 1 ppm higher than what enters the pump (depending on what needs to be added each turnover). If the chlorine level of the pool is 2 ppm, then what goes through the heater is only 3 ppm. That shouldnÂt have much of an impact. In fact, most heat exchangers today are made from either cupronickel or titanium which have much better corrosive resistance than copper.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 3:36PM
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el_duderino

I would also have to agree with those who have already pointed you to the trouble free pool forums. They have an entire forum dedicated to this topic and a wealth of information, including what types of bleach to use and where to get it cheaply.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Pool Build...currently in process

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 4:23PM
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huskyridor

I can assure you that bleach is AWESOME.

I use 10%, it costs me more but is well worth it. During the summer if the weather is really hot I'll use 20% so I don't go through as much.
I have a very large pool and everybody always comments on how clear the water is, most especially at night when the pool lamps are on.
When you have a large body of water (50000 gallons plus) micro filtration and a very soluble sanitizer is a must.
I use 3 60sq/ft DE filters with filtered bleach and have no problems. Household bleach is good but isn't as well filtered.

Gorilla,

I'll attempt to answer your questions.

quote" #1. Is it better to add a little bleach every few days or so such that the chlorine ppm level is fairly stable (i.e. try to keep the level at or near 5 ppm)? "quote

Add a little daily to maintain your desired level. You'll get a feel of how much you need as you work your pool chemistry over a month or two.

quote" #2. Or is it safe to add a full bottle of bleach that will raise the level to 8 ppm, and then add another bottle once the level comes back down to 5 ppm? "quote

You can do this but it isn't my favorite way to deal with a pool during swim season.
BUT, and this is a big but; I do this all winter long when the pool isn't being swam in. I back my hours down to 12 hours twice daily in the week. I saves me the electricity of running what is essentially 3 pools of average homeowners because of the multiple equipment sets.

I'm curious what do you attempt to keep your stabilizer level at?

I strive for 50 (+- 10). It seems to help hold my chlorine level on the very very hot sunny Texas summer days, and does really well the balance of the year. I also strive to keep my alkalinity as close to 100 (+-20) and my ph as near to 7.5 (+-.2) as possible.

See ya,
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 26, 2009 at 10:17PM
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landmark218

Kelly,

Where do you get 10% or 20% filtered bleach in the Houston area?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 2:14PM
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gorilla_x

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I kept out for a bit since there was a lot of discussion. I am familiar with trouble free pools, and use the BBB as much as I can.

Kelly:
My stabilizer is now at 50 ppm. The PB started me off at 20 ppm in July 2008, and it was as high as 60 ppm in early Feb 2009 by using the 3" stabilized tablets. So I drained the pool a bit while simultaneously feeding in fresh water to get the ppm down to 50 ppm. I was using a lot of chlorine since the pool hits 89 in summer (unscreened pool) and I had an algae problem. So I keep chlorine at 5 ppm in summertime.

TA is currently 120 ppm, but I usually have it at 100 ppm. I keep PH at 7.5. And I'll keep stabilizer at 50ppm +/- 10 ppm.

-Gorilla

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 7:22PM
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huskyridor

Landmark,
I get 10% from my pool products wholesalers SCP or FWP.
They don't sell direct but can provide your retailer with the gallon jugs. You can also purchase it from Home Depot in the pool supply section of the lawn and garden dept.
I purchase 20% from a wholesaler in the restaurant supply business, I'm not sure it would be available to a homeowner.
No matter which bleach you choose, keep it out of the sun while storing it.
See ya,
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 12:23PM
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