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Thread: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

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    TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    I've been maintaining my pool, which is just a 15' round Intex metal frame ABG with a sand filter, for several years exclusively going by knowledge that is promoted on this site and I've had varying degrees of success -- that is, I use liquid (12.5%) bleach to maintain FC @ around 4ppm with 40ppm CYA, I've tried Borates that have helped out here and there, etc. Only at the very beginning of the season is my pool crystal clear and sparkling, but near as I can tell I'm not doing anything wrong. However, yesterday, I went over to a relative's house and swam in the cleanest pool I've ever swam in, so I asked my Uncle what exactly he does w/chemicals and filtration...

    He has a larger pool (around 10K gal.), oval ABG with a large sand filter. He uses ZERO CYA(!) and maintains an FC of 1 ppm (!), and no borates. He claims he adds 1/3 of a gallon of chlorine a day, which, when looking on the Pool Calculator, should be bringing him up to about 4 ppm or more -- so that was somewhat of a head-scratcher. He does use a nylon bag over the screen on his skimmer that he cleans every day (I do not), but he only backwashes his sand filter about twice per season which seems odd. When I SLAM for algae, I'll backwash several times and use DE (which he also never uses) to help speed things along.

    He also uses a 90-day proactive algae treatment once per season, and has absolutely zero problems with algae... in my case, I occasionally get blooms that I have to deal with through SLAM'ing, but I'd prefer to not get them at all and I really want clearer water. The product he uses for algae is FROG Leap All-Out, and I can't even find any information on what type of chemical is in this product. He also said he uses Leslie Ultra Bright Water Clarifier about twice per season, which I know is frowned-upon on this site or deemed completely unnecessary (same with algaecide here, generally).

    Rarely he has to shock (only after very heavy use weekends), but when he does, he said he uses Cal Hypo and went as far to say that the calcium helps a vinyl liner, which also goes against conventional TFP wisdom... So I guess my question is, why does a guy who goes against so much TFP wisdom have the cleanest pool I've ever swam in, and why shouldn't I try his methods next season with my own pool?
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    Oh, I should also mention... I run my filter pump nearly 24x7. The only time I do not run it is if my FC levels are above 4 ppm and I haven't added any chemicals, then I'll usually turn it off overnight and fire it back up the following afternoon, but that is pretty rare. He's telling me I'm wasting energy/electricity, and that it only makes sense to run the filter pump enough so that it will cycle the water 4-5 times within a day and that anything else would be a waste. The reason I mention this is in case someone were to respond with "well he's probably running his filter pump a lot more than you are", but he's actually running his way less.
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    There is more than one way to skin a cat. But TFP will work for everyone.

    He is maintaining a much much higher advice chlorine level than you are. Which should keep the algae away, but is also much harsher on people in the pool. Also with no CYA, he is having to add more chlorine because of higher losses to the sun.

    CH is definitely not needed. But he is right you only need a couple hours of pump run time to mix chemistry. You might need more to remove debris though.
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    Can only speak for myself but other than adding chlorine regularly and running pump for 5 hours daily I've had to do very little pool maintenance other than the vacuuming and brushing the sides every now and again. My pool is so clear it looks like there's no water inside.

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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    and why shouldn't I try his methods next season with my own pool?
    There's no reason not to. It works in your local area and you have a built-in coach. By all means, give it a shot.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    You have an Intex pool that typically have undersized pumps and TERRIBLE bottom circulation and a sand filter that doesn't filter as well. I'd start there and forget the rest that really has nothing to do with a sparkling clear pool. See my pool at night -- can you tell if there is water in it? It looks like that all the time -- start of season, middle of season, end of season. Look at all the other pools on this site (we used to have a slide show working that would show you all the clear pools).

    You can't compare apples to oranges and when you do so you need to understand what makes an apple different than an orange. You have poor circulation and filtration in your pool, period. That is unfortunately the case with most small Intex pools. Some people get larger pump options that helps some, but in the smaller pools with only a single return and a single skimmer how do you think the water at the bottom of the pool is staying clean? You could try pointing your return diagonally downward to try and improve circulation. You could consider upgrading your pump if it isn't powerful enough. You could look at whether your sand filter is sufficient or try adding DE or equivalent fiber product to it to filter finer particles.

    If he has no CYA at all and is only adding chlorine once a day then he has virtually no chlorine at the end of the day unless his pool is not in full sun. 4 ppm FC will drop by half every hour in direct noontime sun. With 8 equivalent hours of such sun per 14 hour sunny day that's 0.25 ppm FC after 4 hours. Since it takes algae 4-8 hours to grow he is essentially shocking the pool every day and also using supplemental products to prevent algae growth, but his pool likely has much better circulation and filtration than yours. With no CYA in the pool and blasting with chlorine daily, he is wearing on his liner faster but if he doesn't have a medium blue shade that tends to fade with chlorine, he may not notice.

    If you don't want to try upgrading your hardware in your pool to improve circulation and filtration then if you want to use a supplemental product then just use one, either a phosphate remover (mostly a one-time dose) or using Polyquat 60 weekly, to help prevent or at least significantly slow down algae growth (the Polyquat 60 will also be a mild clarifier). As for water clarity, you have to do something for circulation. Even a water clarifier won't help if the water at the bottom of the pool is just sitting there. You could floc, but would then need to vacuum-to-waste and do that now and then. It would be much better to simply circulate the water better and filter it better.

    Again, you can't compare a relatively inexpensive Intex pool with a more standard pool with much better equipment. They aren't the same. It's not the chemicals. Water clarity is usually a function of circulation and filtration, not chemicals (unless one does in fact have algae starting or over-saturation with calcium carbonate). As I noted above, if you want to try one thing, just start with that -- say Polyquat 60 algaecide weekly which will help with both prevention of algae (in areas where the chlorine isn't getting well mixed yet breaks down in sunlight) and will mildly clarify the water (though this is really a circulation/filtration issue).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek View Post
    You have an Intex pool that typically have undersized pumps and TERRIBLE bottom circulation and a sand filter that doesn't filter as well. I'd start there and forget the rest that really has nothing to do with a sparkling clear pool. See my pool at night -- can you tell if there is water in it? It looks like that all the time -- start of season, middle of season, end of season. Look at all the other pools on this site (we used to have a slide show working that would show you all the clear pools).

    You can't compare apples to oranges and when you do so you need to understand what makes an apple different than an orange. You have poor circulation and filtration in your pool, period. That is unfortunately the case with most small Intex pools. Some people get larger pump options that helps some, but in the smaller pools with only a single return and a single skimmer how do you think the water at the bottom of the pool is staying clean? You could try pointing your return diagonally downward to try and improve circulation. You could consider upgrading your pump if it isn't powerful enough. You could look at whether your sand filter is sufficient or try adding DE or equivalent fiber product to it to filter finer particles.
    Well, I did upgrade to a higher-end sand filter instead of using the cartridge filter that came with the pool... I think it can cycle the water fast enough, but I think you've definitely hit the nail on the head with regard to circulation. His pool has a floor drain and a side skimmer, mine only has the skimmer that hangs inside the pool. I'm at the point where I'm ready to get a nicer pool, but I'm not sure how much longer I will be at this home so I am reluctant -- I'm just trying to get the clearest water possible out of the Intex without having to add clarifier or algaecide. In spite of the filter upgrade, I still get algae. I think if I can squeeze one more year out of this Intex, I will likely do the mods to the hose attachments that permit the higher width pipes that provide more flow... then again, that won't help anything at the bottom of the pool. Generally I just try to keep it brushed and vacuumed, and add DE to the filter when necessary like you mentioned.

    If he has no CYA at all and is only adding chlorine once a day then he has virtually no chlorine at the end of the day unless his pool is not in full sun. 4 ppm FC will drop by half every hour in direct noontime sun. With 8 equivalent hours of such sun per 14 hour sunny day that's 0.25 ppm FC after 4 hours. Since it takes algae 4-8 hours to grow he is essentially shocking the pool every day and also using supplemental products to prevent algae growth, but his pool likely has much better circulation and filtration than yours. With no CYA in the pool and blasting with chlorine daily, he is wearing on his liner faster but if he doesn't have a medium blue shade that tends to fade with chlorine, he may not notice.
    Yeah, the puzzling thing is that he mentioned 1ppm FC which simply cannot be right if he's adding 1/3 gal. each day. He just put a new liner in the pool this season, some sort of extra thick dark blue liner which he had to special order that actually looks like tile. It makes me wonder how much of a toll all the SLAM'ing I've had to do over the years to combat algae in my Intex has done though...

    If you don't want to try upgrading your hardware in your pool to improve circulation and filtration then if you want to use a supplemental product then just use one, either a phosphate remover (mostly a one-time dose) or using Polyquat 60 weekly, to help prevent or at least significantly slow down algae growth (the Polyquat 60 will also be a mild clarifier). As for water clarity, you have to do something for circulation. Even a water clarifier won't help if the water at the bottom of the pool is just sitting there. You could floc, but would then need to vacuum-to-waste and do that now and then. It would be much better to simply circulate the water better and filter it better.

    Again, you can't compare a relatively inexpensive Intex pool with a more standard pool with much better equipment. They aren't the same. It's not the chemicals. Water clarity is usually a function of circulation and filtration, not chemicals (unless one does in fact have algae starting or over-saturation with calcium carbonate). As I noted above, if you want to try one thing, just start with that -- say Polyquat 60 algaecide weekly which will help with both prevention of algae (in areas where the chlorine isn't getting well mixed yet breaks down in sunlight) and will mildly clarify the water (though this is really a circulation/filtration issue).
    Oh, it's not a matter of not wanting to try upgrading hardware, I just feel I have already done that by purchasing the sand filter... and as you've pretty much said, you can only make an Intel pool so good based on the fact that there's just a in-pool skimmer and the one return. I may try the PolyQuat to see what kind of results I get... although I had just completed SLAM'ing to get rid of algae and things are starting to look good again; it would be great to have some insurance that the last month or so of the season will be clear water wthout algae.

    Nobody really commented on the nylon bag aspect... is there any advantage to using that (and either rinsing/replacing it daily) over just backwashing your sand filter occasionally or at least more than twice per season?
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    The Frog Leap stuff is from King Technology. I found this -

    http://extranet.kingtechnology.com/pdf/MSDS/FrogLeap_AllOut.pdf


    The All Out stuff is a copper triethanolamine complex. So your uncle is just using a mineral system in his pool. The Frog systems use copper and silver "minerals" to act as algaecides and bacteriostats. Blonde haired swimmers beware!!
    Matt
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    I still believe that if I had a relative that had "cleanest pool I had ever seen" and it was as easy to take care of as described, I would follow him around like a puppy and do everything he did. How can you go wrong?
    Dave S.
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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    I still believe that if I had a relative that had "cleanest pool I had ever seen" and it was as easy to take care of as described, I would follow him around like a puppy and do everything he did. How can you go wrong?
    If only there was a "tongue-in-cheek" emoticon!

    I think what can be said is this - the OP's Uncle's method works for his pool.....and only his pool! If you look carefully at what he is doing, you'll note that -

    1. He's using bleach for FC;
    2. He's not using any CYA, so the bleach he uses is shock level chlorination;
    3. He's occasionally using cal-hypo....more shock;
    4. He's using supplemental algaecides (copper based);
    5. He's using clarifiers (for what purpose, no one can be sure); AND
    5. He lives in Michigan, aka, short swim season, so his pool is either fully drained or partially drained and refilled once per year.

    Under that scenario, sure your uncle's pool care method is great. Adapt it, fiddle with it a bit and it might even work in your pool as well as your neighbors' pools too. But here's the secret.....

    He could still have the "cleanest pool ever" AND do it all just using bleach and CYA. And, as an added bonus, it would likely cost him less money than he spends now (once you amortize the cost of a good TF-100 test kit). As has been said many times in many threads on TFP, you can certainly run a clean and sanitary pool using all the latest alternative sanitation methods but it will almost always cost you more to maintain and, when trouble strikes, it will cost you A LOT MORE $$$$ to fix.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: TFP Conventional Wisdom vs. The Cleanest Pool I've Ever Been In

    I had the Frog System and was not crazy about it. Not only does the mineralizer assist the pool daily in preventing algae, due mainly to small amounts of copper & other minerals being sent into the pool, but there is a 90 day algae BAM that King Technologies uses as well (Even more copper) and they must have other products as well.

    Your uncles pool and it's clarity, is definitely because of circulation as I notice my pool has crystal clear water. My circulation system is way oversized (350 lb. sand filter, 2 HP Pump, 2 " plumping, 2 skimmers, 2 main drains and 8 returns, 4 octal). My water moves so quickly that every 3 days I have to lower PH. The good news for me is that I walked away from the Frog and switched over to TFP last year before any real problems. Is it possible that CYA is added not even knowing. Most people who purchased liquid conditioner here locally believe it is designed to soften the water, and they have no idea it is Cyanuric Acid (CYA).

    Once in a while I will see a small spot on steps which is quickly removed, probably from something lurking in the water from the Frog. The pool company locally sells the Frog with new pools and most people have success for the first few years and then major problems, including hair color change, staining of steps, liner and the list goes on. I was talking to a professional the other day and most staining problems occur with either the Nature II or Frog System, again copper based, which at the end of the day keeps algae in check. In ground pool liners cost a fortune here in NJ, so I would rather have CYA than not to protect the liner.

    There was a pool party yesterday and the water looked clear, but when all the children came out of the pool, the odor on their towels, bathing suits, etc. was so bad that I walked away. I can not imagine what was lurking in that pool. I should have not allowed my children to even swim in the water, but they jumped in when I turned around. My oldest quickly came home and took a shower and was telling the youngest to get in quickly, as she understands. I have never gone swimming in another person's pool since joining TFPC. Maybe it is a good thing. I usually use the excuse of dry skin/rash (LOL). Would rather swim in the ocean.
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