$60.00 worth of chemicals every week?

lindamarieJune 17, 2010

I took a sample of our new (1 week clean and refill) water to the pool store. They wanted me to buy 5 pkgs shock at $30 and algae stuff at $18 bottle. These products were at 1/2 the strength of those at Home depot or Walmart.

I did get some shock at HD at $16.98. Box has 4 pkgs. I only need to use 3 of them. Walmart agea stuff is about $12 a 1/2 gal

My #'s are:

TH 100

TC 0

FC .5

PH 7.8

TA 40

CA 0

The Pool Calculator says

3 oz bleach

5 oz baking soda

2 oz stabilizer

5 oz calcium choride?

I just can't see $60 worth of chemicals every week

So I have been searching info on Ionizers and Ozonaters


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Some of the above numbers don't make sense (typos?).

TC=total chlorine=free chlorine + combined chlorine
FC=free chlorine

TC has to equal or exceed FC.

What is CA? Is that CYA? Your should have some if this is an outdoor pool, amount depends on location, sun, SWG or not, etc.

Ionizers and Ozonators can reduce the level of chlorine required. Note - "can" - you must still maintain enough chlorine in the pool to prevent algae since the devices only attack something in the water that passes through (but not the semi-stagnant water in the corners, next to a rail, etc. In general they have a rather poor cost to benefit ratio as you must still use chlorine. That's my $0.02 anyway.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Those numbers are not typos. They are from my test strip container.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 4:42PM
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OK, then your test strips are not accurate - they cannot be if TC is less than FC, that's just not chemically possible.

You should look for the TF100 test kit on troublefreepool.com or purchase the Taylor K-2006 kit.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Do the Pool School at TFP please. You will find it very eye opening and informative.

Please, many HTH products contain copper, like their tabs. Eventually, copper can become a problem.

Algaecides are not all created equally. There are different types, some intended for general use and some are more specific. Some stain. Some are nearly useless.

Strips are notoriously subjective and subject to misinterpretation. This results in the wrong amounts of pool food the water is fed, never a good thing.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 4:52AM
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Probably worth noting that the OP is on to something - shopping at a pool store for chemicals is expensive. Using acid, bleach, borax, etc from Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-mart, etc is very much a better deal. And even in those stores you can generally avoid "pool" chemicals and use the generic base ingredient for less. The PoolForum and TroubleFreePool are both sites that explain the processes/procedures involved.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 6:59AM
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Buying chemicals at pool shops is expensive and until recently I didn't know Home Depot or Lowe's had them. I'm intrigued by using generic bleach and such -- especially since my small pool seems to get a build up of stabalizer, requiring us to drain off water every year.

I've seen HTH at Walmart, but had been advised against them. I haven't seen a big difference in pool chemical costs between the pool stores and Walmart or even Sam's. They are all high and get higher every year, but I don't spend $60 a month on chemicals, much less a week. Buying single packages of shock is the most expensive way possible, and you shouldn't be using 5 packages a week. If you need more than one or possibly two packages, I would buy it in bulk. I usually use one a week and buy it by the bucket and pay between 2 and 3 dollars a lb. Bulk would be less, but it doesn't keep as well in my humid environment.

What is your primary sanitizer? Chlorine tabs or salt? Are you in start-up (that will not be your weekly experience)? And from what I am gathering, salt and ozone may have less cost on an ongoing basis, but it will catch up with you when you have to replace cells every so many years.

BTW, even with the rising cost of chemicals, absent a problem like the black algae we got after Hurricane Ike, our chemical cost is probably closer to $300, maybe $350 per year -- bought at a pool shop for a 13,000 gal pool.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 11:05AM
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I have not used the chemicals yet.
I have been using the BBB method.
The pool store wanted me to put those chemicals in every week.
I will be looking at the TFP site again.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2010 at 4:02PM
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lindamarie, something is not right. While I have a small pool and a SWG, I only add muriatic acid weekly and some bleach when my numbers call for it. I may spend a couple of dollars per week. Go back to TFP and read pool school and ask questions there. The folks there are very knowledgeable as their goal is to maintain you pool with the BBB method. Hope this helps

    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 7:39AM
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FWIW, BBB and pool store wants are typically two different things. Pool stores want you to buy their stuff. They want your money.

Example: 25 Lb bucket of Alk Increaser at Leslie's is $24.99
2 14 Lb bags of Arm And Hammer Baking Soda is $14 plus tax at Wal-Mart. Same stuff!

Dense Ash, aka pH Increaser, 8 lb container $15 in the Pool Store
A&H Washing Soda, $3.38 for a 3 1/2 lb box at PathMark $3.38

BBB does not require borax. If you don't have toddlers or pets that go in or drink, it's use is somewhat discouraged. I never used it and will likely not ever use it even though it does have some other beneficial properties besides helping with the pH control.

It's about taking control and knowing exactly what goes in your pool water and keeping it simple so you don't have problems. It will prevent problems and keep the maintenance costs down substantially.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2010 at 9:51AM
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I was intrigued by the idea and simplicity of it as well as the ability to reduce pool costs -- the chemicals have gone up every year. I used to pay half or less of what we do now. We were considering salt or ozone, but this blinking new pump has me thinking I don't want any more new stuff -- just work out how to make a more energy efficient pump work for me to reduce those costs and get try the BBB method to reduce chemical costs. I also want to avoid stabalizer build up and doing partial drains on the pool -- another cost. Those are all the things that had me considering changing to salt without a big start up cost. Seems I'm in Home Depot or Lowe's more often than the pool store anyway. I have to get kids off to camps this next week, and then I may give it a try.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 2:26AM
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If yours is a chlorine pool, then you would be pleasantly surprised by the addition of a salt water generator or ozonator. The water quality will vastly improve and your need for chemicals will be greatly reduced with either system. Depends on what part of the country you are in and whether you have natural stone for coping or moss rock. I prefer Ozone after doing a couple of years of salt pools and finding the salt to be too corrosive on the stone. Now I use an ozone generator combined with chlorine. You don't need much man made chlorine (but you still need some). There are more than one variety of ozone systems. I like the type that produces UV light. It works better in humid climates. My customers love it and it is less expensive for me to install than salt. A lot of people, though, still prefer salt. Just be sure to seal any natural stone and plan on resealing annually.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Bet you're in the Super Market more frequently too. A & H Baking soda and Washing Soda are available there too for alk and pH increases. Clorox or other 6% bleach is also available.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 11:36AM
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This is a gunite pool that I resurfaced about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I have always used the BBB method.
I read the pool school again. I didn't see anything I was doing wrong. I added a whole 96 oz bottle of 6 % bleach last night. It looks better this morning. I thought I saw a slight greenish tinge to the water. I am brushing. The combined chlorine was up. If I have to add a jug a night, I will.

I would be interested in knowing which ozone system Womanowned is using.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 2:47PM
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If I remember right, while the brand name escapes me, she uses a UV generator style so she doesn't have a humidity/output concern. If you have frequent high levels of humidity, this is the direction to go.

Until you get a higher quality test kit, YMMV. Part of following BBB is knowing that strips, certain ones for iron, salt, copper, etc... have some value at times.

While there have been many discussions regarding OG, some I might add have been fairly spirited, until you really find out what your water chemistry is, whether you need or really want.

How big is your pool?

How many gallons?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 4:52PM
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I certainly have humidity here in MS!
I am using the same test strips as the pool store, Aquachek 7, HACH. I never did like them because they do not line up with the pool calculator.

I have been interested in a ozone system. We have typed about that before.

My pool is 35.000 gal

I am now at
TH 200
TC .5
FC .5
PH 7.2
TA 50
CA 0

    Bookmark   June 20, 2010 at 6:37PM
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Find a different pool store that does drop based testing until you get your own. Even then, since some stores don't train the staff well, results will vary. With your own test kit, you will have results you can trust and take action with.

For now, the FC is way too low. You want to shoot for 10% of the CYA/Stabilizer level normally but yours is at 0. As soon as the sun hits the pool, bye bye to the FC and hello to the green stuff and any other bio-baddies that want to land in the pool.

First add :

If the water is still clear, 2 lbs of dichlor or 2 gallons of bleach. In your case, if the strips consistently show no stabilizer, the dichlor will help with both CYA and chlorine.

If the water is hazy, double up on the above quantities.

Next, 10 lbs baking soda, 2 lbs of a pH increaser such as dense ash or A & H Washing Soda. The pH and alk levels are also currently low.

Retest in 4 hours.

Expect to add about these amounts this weekly if you normally use a trichlor tab sanitizer delivery system such as a Rainbow, Hayward, or Frog feeder. Trichlor tends to push the alk and pH levels down. Salt systems and bleach tend to push the pH up.

I hope this helps.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 4:47AM
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Which drop test kit do you suggest?
I am having a issue in choosing the color match on the test strips. They are so close, I looked at them again and they can be

TA 200 OR 500
TC 1
FC 1
PH 7.8
TA 80
CA 0

I am not using any trichlor
I have 3 lbs of baking soda. I can get some more today.

PC suggests washing soda or borax. Borax I have.
and 2.18 oz 6% bleach


The water is clear.
I am adding bleach when the sun is off the pool at 5 pm.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 1:30PM
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With Ionizers and Ozonators you will still have to keep a balanced pool. Obviously, you need chlorine in your pool based on your readings and you have to test that every day until you get into a routine. Chlorine will get used up based on many factors such as use/bather load, water temperature, and weather (hot, sunny days burns up the chlorine vs. colder cloudy days chlorine doesn�t dissipate as much). Unfortunately, to keep a clear pool you will need to adjust your readings to recommended levels. Based on what you are using, stabilizer is important because liquid chlorine is not stabilized and has a high pH- so you will save money and get more out of your chlorine with the use of cyanuric acid (stabilizer/conditioner). Also, liquid chlorine is not pH neutral, it has a very high pH, so a dry (sodium bisulfate) or muriatic acid is usually required. A combination of a high pH (7.8 is border line high) and Low Alkalinity is fairly difficult because the baking soda (alkalinity up) will raise the pH further in which case acid will have to be added. Ozonators and Ionizers will only allow you to keep a lower chlorine level will not eliminate the need completely.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 6:34PM
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Uh Paul, yer a bit late. heheh

Ionizer add metals. Metals will cause stains eventually.

Ozonators do not reduce the levels of FC needed but can augment the oxidizing of suspended organic waste as the water passes by. They aren't usually needed in a residential pool since chlorine is also an excellent oxidizer.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 7:02PM
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