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Thread: Chlorine lock

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    Chlorine lock

    Posts moved from the thread Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?----Leebo.

    Quote Originally Posted by tonto View Post
    PoolMath says I should replace 100% of my water -- CH (500), CYA (180), Borate (15). However, in So. Cal. we have drought conditions and I would feel somewhat guilty if I replaced the water in my 10,000 gallon pool. What are the consequences of not replacing the water? I keep my chlorine and PH well in balance and I clean the pool frequently, but these other measures have been high for years. I have noticed no physical or health problems. What do you recommend?
    What are you using to test? Are you still needing to add chlorine? If the CYA reading is accurate you wouldn't have clear water, rather a more cloudy appearance now that you've reached Chlorine Lock. I would think CbC would be off the charts if the reading is accurate. Regardless, you can always dilute the CYA & CH levels by backwashing longer and vac'ing to waste rather than doing it all at once. Any suppliers carry unstabilized chlorine pucks?

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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolboyQ View Post
    If the CYA reading is accurate you wouldn't have clear water, rather a more cloudy appearance now that you've reached Chlorine Lock.
    Welcome to TFP! You can have clear water with that high of a CYA...once your water goes south it is much harder to fix. BTW, what is Chlorine Lock, sounds like pool store speak?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolboyQ View Post
    Regardless, you can always dilute the CYA & CH levels by backwashing longer and vac'ing to waste
    If the fill water has an elevated CH then it may not help...with the Calcium anyway.
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Welcome to TFP PoolBoyQ!

    You may want to read up the pool school and learn about the TFP methods. We generally do not recommend chlorine pucks and we don't recognize Chlorine Lock as anything more than marketing speak. The main difference for us is recognizing the effect CYA has on chlorine buffering and adjusting our recommendations based on that.

    I hope you will learn about the methods taught here and are able to bring your extensive experience to the forum. We may not do things exactly as you have learned, but your experience is very valuable and we hope you will allow us to learn from that knowledge!

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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolboyQ View Post
    What are you using to test? Are you still needing to add chlorine? If the CYA reading is accurate you wouldn't have clear water, rather a more cloudy appearance now that you've reached Chlorine Lock. I would think CbC would be off the charts if the reading is accurate. Regardless, you can always dilute the CYA & CH levels by backwashing longer and vac'ing to waste rather than doing it all at once. Any suppliers carry unstabilized chlorine pucks?
    Chlorine lock is a myth/complete misunderstanding. Do you mean the pool water wouldn't be clear with high Cya? If so, I'm sorry, but that isn't correct. Pool water can be crystal clear with very, very high Cya. Pucks are made from TriChlor or Dichlor, and those are both stabilized. These cannot be made un-stabilized. What do you mean by CbC?
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolboyQ View Post
    What are you using to test? Are you still needing to add chlorine? If the CYA reading is accurate you wouldn't have clear water, rather a more cloudy appearance now that you've reached Chlorine Lock. I would think CbC would be off the charts if the reading is accurate. Regardless, you can always dilute the CYA & CH levels by backwashing longer and vac'ing to waste rather than doing it all at once. Any suppliers carry unstabilized chlorine pucks?
    There is no such animal as "chlorine lock". CYa level has no effect on clouding water. You should know there is no such thing as an unstabilized in one form or other of a chlorine puck.
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    I would have to agree with you PoolboyQ i've experienced chlorine lock many times in the industry and believe that may be his problem in this case, with high CYA levels it would make his chlorine useless, or would take very high chlorine levels to actually "sanitize" properly. You can even switch to strictly using "shock" for a few weeks as that is not stabilized, you would be using a fair amount of it but in result it would not increase your stabilizer for the time being and that would give you the opportunity to be topping up with fresh water... again as PoolboyQ suggested.

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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Poolvet,...I'm gonna call you out and have you define, in your professional opinion, "chlorine lock" for us please. And what if this "unstabilized" shock, I assume you mean containing no CYA, has calcium with it and his calcium levels are already too high? Have you or PoolboyQ ever considering using plain old liquid bleach which contains none of the above? You two guys know each other?

    If you'll use our search function, I'm quite sure you can get a good education on this mythological chlorine lock from our own chemgeek, Give it a shot!
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    Chlorine lock is a myth/complete misunderstanding. Do you mean the pool water wouldn't be clear with high Cya? If so, I'm sorry, but that isn't correct. Pool water can be crystal clear with very, very high Cya. Pucks are made from TriChlor or Dichlor, and those are both stabilized. These cannot be made un-stabilized. What do you mean by CbC?
    I have to agree. Thanks,to the previous owner of my house my CYA was I. The neighborhood of 250 when I took over the pool. Through the use of liquid products only (straight laundry bleach) and aggressive back washing, a few small drain & refills and harvesting rain water I was able to work it down to 40. It was crystal clear the whole time. How did I do it? I maintained the proper ratio of FC to CYA at all times.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by poolvet View Post
    I would have to agree with you PoolboyQ i've experienced chlorine lock many times in the industry and believe that may be his problem in this case, with high CYA levels it would make his chlorine useless, or would take very high chlorine levels to actually "sanitize" properly. You can even switch to strictly using "shock" for a few weeks as that is not stabilized, you would be using a fair amount of it but in result it would not increase your stabilizer for the time being and that would give you the opportunity to be topping up with fresh water... again as PoolboyQ suggested.
    It will take more than a few weeks, plus "topping up" does nothing to the CYA level. When pool water evaporates it leaves everything behind in the water solution, including CYA. So, as your pool level goes down due to evaporation the CYA in solution actually goes up. When you "top up" the water you do nothing but return the solution to the original CYA level.

    To lower CYA you MUST introduce new water to the pool and pump some out, taking CYA with it.
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyp View Post
    Poolvet,...I'm gonna call you out and have you define, in your professional opinion, "chlorine lock" for us please. And what if this "unstabilized" shock, I assume you mean containing no CYA, has calcium with it and his calcium levels are already too high? Have you or PoolboyQ ever considering using plain old liquid bleach which contains none of the above? You two guys know each other?

    If you'll use our search function, I'm quite sure you can get a good education on this mythological chlorine lock from our own chemgeek, Give it a shot!

    By forming temporary bonds with the free chlorine,cyanuric acid will reduce the overall effectiveness of chlorine. The amount of time it takes to killbacteria lengthens as the concentration of cyanuric acid increases, meaning the higher your levels are when it comes to CYA the less affective your chlorine is... this has been proven all around the world and by various universities one of them being the " LincolnLancasterCounty Health Department" - you can look that one up. I was just trying to give the user asking question the right advice as i have been taught to do for years... 15 years to be exact. I would look further into the issue before you start sounding so confidant and talking down to people just trying to help....

    A "shock" does not contain a calcium buffer and if so minimal amounts... so just staying on a shock routine would be ideal for him... and a shock is essentially a plain old liquid bleach fyi

    this could have been discussed in a professional manner but instead your resorted to highschool keyboard warrior language... very childish for a "moderator"

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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    How'd I miss this?
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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    Just lucky I guess Richard...............
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    Re: Consequences of high Ch, CYA, Borate?

    Quote Originally Posted by poolvet View Post
    By forming temporary bonds with the free chlorine,cyanuric acid will reduce the overall effectiveness of chlorine. The amount of time it takes to killbacteria lengthens as the concentration of cyanuric acid increases, meaning the higher your levels are when it comes to CYA the less affective your chlorine is... this has been proven all around the world and by various universities one of them being the " LincolnLancasterCounty Health Department" - you can look that one up. I was just trying to give the user asking question the right advice as i have been taught to do for years... 15 years to be exact. I would look further into the issue before you start sounding so confidant and talking down to people just trying to help....

    A "shock" does not contain a calcium buffer and if so minimal amounts... so just staying on a shock routine would be ideal for him... and a shock is essentially a plain old liquid bleach fyi

    this could have been discussed in a professional manner but instead your resorted to highschool keyboard warrior language... very childish for a "moderator"
    @poolvet,

    It is obvious that you are someone in the pool industry and that your training is based on what is taught in the standard CPO training materials. While the CPO might be "industry standard", TFP (particularly through the mighty work of Richard Falk, aka chemgeek) has either amplified or debunked much of what the CPO teaches.

    If you wish to educate yourself on the TFPC Method and talk in the language that fits with this forum, you should read the following thread - Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not taught

    When the senior folks here and experts start seeing newbies using terms like "chlorine lock" and "breakpoint chlorination" and all the other suspect pool industry lingo, a defensive posture is taken because too often people in the industry just want to come on here and cause trouble. Your welcome to disagree with anyone here, but the methods that are taught are based on sound science that has not only been developed and studied in respected, peer-reviewed scientific journals but has been born-out in the tens of thousands of independent laboratories that we call Trouble Free Pools. We do not put much stock in industry trade papers or marketing documents that form the baseline of most of what the pool industry tries to push as "science". As well, many State and Municipal pool operator guidelines and health departments develop their regulations based on community/public pool standards and the CPO Training materials as well which applies very sparingly to the world of private residential outdoor pools.
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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    poolvet, I think what we are running in to here is simply a vocabulary mixup. Let me see if I can clear some of this up.

    Your use of "Chlorine Lock" seems to be synonymous with what we refer to as "Overstabilization". That is, CYA rising to a point where it can no longer be reasonably maintained. We recognize the FC/CYA relationship, it is in fact the basis of TFPC. You CAN properly chlorinate an overstabilized pool but it requires such high FC levels that it is not feasible. The phrase "Chlorine Lock" has become ingrained in the industry as a catch-all for "I don't know what is wrong so you need to drain your pool". Since it has so many different explanations from so many different industry members we do not use it.

    When we hear the word "shock" used as a noun then we assume that refers to powdered chlorine. It is very rare for someone new who says they added shock to their pool to mean they added liquid chlorine. We highly recommend liquid chlorine since it does not add calcium or CYA. Since if we told someone to add "shock" to their pool they will go out and buy powdered chlorine we never refer to it as such. In fact due to all of the different definitions of shock, the products and the procedures, we have struck it from our vocabulary for the most part.

    I hope this clears up some of the misunderstandings.
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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    See now we are getting some where! Those guys up their ^ im sorry but their "status" should be revoked... who talks down to people for making a general statement...?

    As you can tell I am new to the forums because i wanted to expand my knowledge to less knowledgable people as im sure many of you are on here for...

    I never once told him to drain his entire pool, but only told him to bring down his water levels slowly and top up with fresh water (free of CYA) because he clearly was way over the charts, which was the cause of the issue he was having

    In the company i have worked at for 15 years we never once just told a customer to drain his pool, if need be we would send in their results to our chemical distributer and they would analyze it for us, so im sorry i was not aware that the term "chlorine lock" was so missused and what i did mean by it was as you call it "overstabilization"... my apologizes but that is exactly what i meant, as im sure u noticed.

    I will refer to "shock" as liquid chlorine from now on.

    I appreciate your professionalism, and for clearing things up!

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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    [EDIT] I posted this before I saw your latest post, poolvet, so sorry if it repeats some of what you already wrote. I can tell that we are on the same page now. [END-EDIT]

    I wouldn't say that the CPO course is wrong, but more that it leaves out relevant facts or can be unintentionally misleading. The link given earlier by JoyfulNoise does give amplification and fills in the gaps to the CPO course.

    I also agree with Donaldson that we aren't in significant disagreement and that this is more about semantics. I don't like using the term "chlorine lock" because it implies something that cannot be overcome. A higher CYA level does not permanently lock up chlorine and the temporary bonds are just as relevant at lower CYA levels as they are at higher ones. It's a chemical equilibrium where 3 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA has the same active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level as 10 ppm FC with 100 ppm CYA or 30 ppm FC with 300 ppm CYA. I wouldn't call even 300 ppm CYA "locking" chlorine since one could readily have the desired active chlorine level with 30 ppm FC.

    Now, saying that high CYA becomes impractical due to the proportionately higher FC levels required would be a much better way of putting it than saying "chlorine lock". The reason we want to discuss it this way is so that people become accustomed to the FC/CYA ratio as being the relevant number to look at in terms of whether one has enough chlorine to prevent algae growth and have good disinfection and oxidation for residential pools and spas. We don't want people thinking there is some magical CYA level at which the chlorine becomes "locked". So you can't just look at FC alone nor at CYA alone and know what is going on in the water with regard to the rate of algae prevention, disinfection, or oxidation rates. You have to look at both numbers together and specifically it is the FC/CYA ratio that is most relevant.

    Again, I don't think we are in disagreement because you in fact said it "would take very high chlorine levels to actually "sanitize" properly". The issue we have is really only about the term "chlorine lock" because of what it implies and how the term is often interpreted. By the way, I should note that at high CYA levels in outdoor pools that you do not lose more chlorine at higher CYA levels even when the FC is raised proportionately. This is a non-intuitive result of an apparent non-linear CYA shielding effect of UV in sunlight. In other words, you use less chlorine with 10 ppm FC with 100 ppm CYA than you do with 3 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA. I'm not sure what 30 ppm FC with 300 ppm CYA would do since there may be a point of diminishing returns (and certainly those are ridiculously high levels), but the point is that the reason to avoid higher CYA is not to reduce chlorine usage because in an outdoor pool the opposite is true. The reason to avoid higher CYA is the practical effect of reducing risk because a SLAM (what you call and we used to call "shock") would require rather high FC levels so would then indeed require more total chlorine just to raise it to that level.

    I know of several pool services in very hot sunny areas that operate at 100 ppm CYA in an attempt to make it through the week using chlorinating liquid and/or chlorine gas dosing. They start at 14 ppm FC and end up at 4 ppm FC at the end of the week. They are only able to do this because of that higher CYA level. We don't recommend that high a level on this forum, but that's because homeowners can dose every day or two.

    P.S.
    Regarding the Fact Sheet on Cyanuric Acid and Stabilized Chlorine Products from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, it has some incorrect information. Namely, it says that CYA should not be used in indoor pools because there is no sunlight there. If you think about this, it makes no sense. Yes, CYA reduces chlorine loss from sunlight but it also significantly moderates chlorine's strength. So if you've tuned the FC/CYA ratio for your outdoor pool to provide sufficient algae prevention, disinfection, and oxidation, then that means in your indoor pool with no CYA you are significantly over-chlorinating because the minimum FC allowed in every state is 1 ppm.

    My wife has personal experience with this common misconception where her swimsuits would degrade (elasticity gets shot) in every single winter season that she used the indoor community center pool with 1-2 ppm FC with no CYA whereas in our own outdoor pool with 3-6 ppm FC and 40 ppm CYA her swimsuits would last for 7 years. There were also significant differences in the effects on her skin and hair as well. The active chlorine level in our pool was equivalent to around 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA so the indoor pool had over 10 times the active chlorine level and that explains the differences.

    In Europe, they understand how strong chlorine is without CYA which is why German DIN 19643 allows for 0.3 to 0.6 ppm FC (with no CYA) when no ozonator is used or 0.2 to 0.5 ppm FC when ozone is also used (offline, not in the bulk pool water). In that standard they don't use CYA but that is because they use coagulants (iron or alum) and activated carbon which over time would be incompatible with trying to maintain any organic in the pool including CYA.

    The Fact Sheet is also incorrect when it keeps talking about reductions in chlorine effectiveness over and over referring solely to the CYA level where, as I discussed before, it is the FC/CYA ratio that is relevant so one can certainly operate at the same chlorine effectiveness by proportionally raising the FC as the CYA level gets higher. As for "hot tub itch" in spas, I kept track of many such reports on another forum in this post and found that continued use of Dichlor-only that got the CYA above 100 and especially above 200 ppm may be responsible for some of the incidents. Others were due to use of "alternative" disinfectants. Some were due to letting the disinfectant level get too low (not just because of CYA).
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    Re: Chlorine lock

    As above "chlorine lock" has been shown on this forum to mean that pool stores don't know what is going on with your water and they want you to drain it. Most times that's what chlorine lock boils down to is "overstabilization" of cya and not having enough FC to compensate so you keep getting algae. I haven't seen on the forum where an expert blindly says to another person you have "chlorine lock". Overstabilization is a better term to use.

    unstabilized chlorine pucks? The only pucks that are made that does not have cya in them are the cal-hypo pucks and they dissolve far too quickly to be of any use. Cal-hypo will also add extra calcium to the water. Liquid chlorine (sodium hypochlolrite) is what is needed since it will only add a little extra salt to the pool.

    The term "shock" actually does not refer to any one type of chlorine but refers to superchlorinating the pool to remove organics and such. "Shock" is mainly on the labels of dichlor/trichlor/calcium hypochlorite bottles and this is why when one says "shock" the pool, those are the first things that come to peoples mind and not liquid chlorine. You can "shock" (Here it's now called SLAM) the pool with sodium hypochlorite, dichlor, trichlor, cal-hypo, or lithium hypo. Because the term "shock" can mean one of the powdered forms of chlorine to some people, that is why TFP calls it "SLAM" instead of "Shock".
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    Re: Chlorine lock

    I just wanted to add one thing to the clarification tat we're all actually on te same pag here for Poolvet

    Poolvet I'm betting that in YOUR experience, you may only end up diagnosing over-stabilization, aka in your terms, chlorine lock, when the water is CLOUDY because it is the first thing a homeowner notices, and the first sign of a nascent algae bloom

    So to your mind, CYA over 100 = cloudy water ....but its not directly the CYA causing the cloudiness....its the lack of adequate chlorination in ratio to CYA which has allowed algae to start (see the chlorine:cya link in my signature to see the chart.)

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    Re: Chlorine Lock

    Quote Originally Posted by poolvet View Post
    I never once told him to drain his entire pool, but only told him to bring down his water levels slowly and top up with fresh water
    well, no one told him to drain his entire pool, that was just an error on their part when they didn't use the pool math calculator correctly. no users here instructed to do a 100% drain, the original OP was just basing that on the output from pool math, which was not used correctly. just FYI.

    welcome to the forum by the way !
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