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Thread: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

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    Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Thanks in advance for your time and any insight. I've already learned more than my fair share from following this forum, it's been a wealth of information. Luckily I found this site when we first built our pool, so I've been fortunate enough to apply these pool care methods from day 1 and my pool has been a breeze to take care of.

    And I think the ease of my pool's maintenance is what motivated me to start a small pool service route. My main profession is as a city firefighter, and like many other firemen I wanted a part time job on the side to help supplement my income. I started the business 6 months ago and I really enjoy it. I have 8 pools now with the goal of having 20, keeping it small and local. Most of the pools I have acquired were from clients who were dissatisfied with their previous provider, saying they were gone within 10 minutes and they didn't feel like they were getting their money's worth. They said they just vacuumed out the debris and threw in a couple of chlorine pucks. And after testing the pool's water I believe them because the CYA levels would be way over 100, beyond what my kit could read. I'm assuming it was due to the constant supply of stabilized chlorine in the floaters.

    It makes sense to me why service guys use the pucks, because if not you have to get the FC levels really high with liquid chlorine so that they don't bottom out before your next visit 7 days later. But how do you compensate for the creeping CYA levels? Do you just have to explain to the client they will have to drain and refill every 6 months?

    I really want to incorporate the methods I use in my own pool and the methods taught here on this forum, but is there a reasonable method to accomplish this with as a paid pool service guy? I generally am at each pool for approximate 30-40 minutes once a week.

    I have 3 clients that add liquid chlorine to there pool 3-4 days after my visit. On the door I leave a hanger with instructions of how much to add and when, and I leave the chlorine next to their pool pump. This seems to work ok, but I know I'm having to make an educated guess about the amount of chlorine to add without being there to test the water. And for some clients it won't work because they're either not willing or not able to add the chlorine themselves. And sometimes I've returned the following week and the homeowner has forgotten to add the chlorine.

    I'm open to the idea of visiting each pool twice a week, once for the full service and once for just a chemical test. I understand an added day for each pool hurts the productivity and profit margin, but I can possibly charge more to help compensate for the added time. My goal is to have 20 clients that are willing to pay a little more in order to get more (my services compared to the competition).

    Also, I've read on this forum about the time limits in between chemical additions. For example, we're supposed to wait approximately an hour in between the addition of chlorine and muriatic acid. How is this accomplished as a pool service guy? It's not reasonable to spend that much time at each pool.

    I know there's a lot of questions in the post, but if there are any service guys/gals reading this can you please tell me how you go about your route? Thanks again for your time.



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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Welcome to TFP!

    There are a few solutions that pool service companies use to prevent algae.

    You can use phosphate removers, algaecides, and dose the FC to a high level each week. This is not a TFP method but it is a service method.

    For your customers that can add the FC during the week you are covered. If you need to make a second trip during the week to cover those that don't want to add the chlorine then they get charged more for your time.

    You can add automated chlorine sources to the pool. If they want to stay with liquid chlorine then install a Stenner pump and tank. The other automated system would be a SWG. With an automated chlorine source you could follow TFP recommendations.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Just an idea. Can you add the bleach to the skimmer, that way it get distibruted immediately the broadcast the acid. What do the experienced folks think?

    Never mind. Bad idea to add bleach to skimmer per the following posts.
    Last edited by WASP; 12-09-2015 at 08:58 PM. Reason: Bum advice.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    NO to the bleach in the skimmer! It is NOT good for the pump or filter parts.

    There HAS to be time between the two-MA and bleach. They do NOT play well together!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    You do not want to add bleach to the skimmer as all the equipment will be exposed to high chlorine levels and things tend to fail in those situations. There is a reason why all SWG manufactures say to plumb SWG's last.

    As far as putting acid and chlorine in the pool in under an hour I personally find it not to be a problem. I always add acid first then brush the pool. This will mix the acid enough to not cause a problem when adding chlorine after brushing the pool.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Never add chemicals to the skimmer, that is just asking for trouble and will damage equipment.

    Look, it's a pool, not a chemistry class beaker. It's tens of thousands of gallons of water so the important point is this - distribution. So, if you want to add bleach and acid in short order of one another, the best way to do it is perhaps this way -

    1. Turn the pump on highest speed possible
    2. Add chemical #1 (eg, bleach) in front of a fast moving, deep-end return.
    3. Brush the pool vigorously for 10mins. Be sure to sweep the bottom of the pool and agitate the water as much as you can.
    4. Wait an additional 5 mins
    5. Add chemical #2 (eg, acid) in front of a different deep-end return
    6. Brush vigorously again to ensure good mixing

    I have actually done this in my pool and my hair did not catch on fire nor did my pool sink into the depths of the earth never to return again. When adding chemicals, you need to be smart and add them allowing for the appropriate amount of time and mixing.

    The reason why TFP suggests waiting an hour between chemical additions is because these are residential pools. There is no need to go fast and add lots of chemicals. The expectations are totally different. As well, users of this site range from complete chemical novices to Ph.D. trained chemists. Therefore, the recommendation covers the broadest number of people possible. Also, for testing purposes, you can not add chemicals and test. You have to wait at least an hour for the chemicals to distribute evenly enough to get a good measure and, in the case of some granular chemicals, it can take as much as 24 hours to ensure good mixing.

    This is why the TFPC Method of pool care is not very compatible with a weekly or even twice-weekly commercial service schedule. We teach patience, consistency and careful evaluation. Those are not goals that are going to be easily achieved trying to service 20 pools per week for less than 30mins per pool. So you can certainly apply the chemistry knowledge we have here to your dosing and testing regimen, but as for service, I'm pretty sure we all believe that a pool is best taken care of by regular, daily attention.
    Matt
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Thanks for the responses, I really appreciate it.

    Of the 4 options mentioned, the "Weekly Blast" approach seems to me to be the easiest and most cost efficient method. However, would the high FC levels (14ppm) affect bather comfort for those first few days after my weekly visit?

    And would my location (sunny and humid FL) require that FC level to be any higher than 14ppm? During the summer we're in the high 90's with afternoon rain showers almost everyday.

    Would a combination of the Weekly Blast and Supplements be my best approach to guard against algae for a once a week service route?

    I'll need to do some more research as far as the install of automation equipment. I definitely understand the benefit (my personal pool has a SWG and I think it's more than worth the expense). But at this point, installing those systems is a little above my pay grade.



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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    There's a pool service called PoolChlor that does this (or used to do this) where for some pools they use a combination of chlorine gas and chlorinating liquid (but for chlorine gas you need special permits). 14 ppm FC with 100 ppm CYA has an active chlorine level of roughly 0.14 ppm FC and is the same as around 4 ppm FC with 30 ppm CYA. Some people will notice more chlorine (as a faint chlorine bleach-like smell) while some will not.

    For automation, some people don't want chlorine chemicals on-site in their pump room so don't want a tank of chlorine -- concern for children though if the tank were locked I would think it would be fairly safe. The irony is that they don't seem concerned with the Trichlor pucks though in some pools they are in a locked in-line chlorinator that kids cannot (easily) open.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    I toyed with the notion of a true TFP pool service as a retirement job, but about two minutes with a pencil convinced me it is an undertaking only viable as a charity.

    Calculate the hours per month you would devote to a particular client, then divide what you think a client would pay by that number. Factor in who pays for the chemicals and you will arrive at a number that is so low you probably would be unwilling (or unable) to crank the truck.

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    I wouldn't mind doing this in my neighborhood. I'd do it just to fill time and my love of pools, especially clean pools. I only work 2 days a week anyway.

    As far as you raising CYA to 100ppm n adding FC of 14ppm in FL weather, it may be enough, it may not. You're also going to have to calculate in all the rain fall which will dilute the CYA. I think it could get tricky n may need an extra weekly visit if heavy rains persist. Just thinking out loud.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    It can and is being done

    Use Richards guidelines and you will have nothing but smiling clients. Do not only focus on maintenance but upgrades and replacement of equipment.

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    As far as rainfall diluting CYA, shouldn't the following day's evaporation remove the excess water and leave the CYA...which would eventually bring the levels back to where they started? I thought I remembered reading that somewhere.

    And if I used the weekly blast (14ppm FC with 100ppm CYA), would the addition of borates to the pool (50 ppm) or an algaecide (Polyquat 60) give me the best chance to avoid algae? And is there one of the two (borates vs algaecide) that would work better?

    And would I have to raise the FC level above 14ppm due to the addition of these other chemicals? I thought I remembered reading that Polyquat 60 for example can eat up some available FC on its own.



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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Quote Originally Posted by rainsworth View Post
    As far as rainfall diluting CYA, shouldn't the following day's evaporation remove the excess water and leave the CYA...which would eventually bring the levels back to where they started? I thought I remembered reading that somewhere.

    And if I used the weekly blast (14ppm FC with 100ppm CYA), would the addition of borates to the pool (50 ppm) or an algaecide (Polyquat 60) give me the best chance to avoid algae? And is there one of the two (borates vs algaecide) that would work better?

    And would I have to raise the FC level above 14ppm due to the addition of these other chemicals? I thought I remembered reading that Polyquat 60 for example can eat up some available FC on its own.


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    As long as the dilution from rain does not result in water lost to spillover or drainage, then the CYA will be unaffected by rain/evaporation.

    Borates should only be added with the pool owners consent. While 50ppm does not represent any human health risks, a sufficiently untrained dog that drinks from the pool can potentially be exposed to adverse health effects. Borates are still relatively safe even for pets but you should only add them with the pool owners consent and full disclosure. This is all covered in the sticky on adding borates.

    Polyquat-60 can be degraded by high, SLAM level FC, but if you are running up high CYA then the active chlorine levels should be sufficiently moderated so as to not cause too much Polyquat degradation. There will be some trial and error here. There are Taylor test kits for quaternary ammonium compounds so if you plan to use them you should test for them so you can properly maintain levels.

    Borates do not create chlorine demand as there is no interaction between borates and chlorine.


    Matt
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Quote Originally Posted by rainsworth View Post
    As far as rainfall diluting CYA, shouldn't the following day's evaporation remove the excess water and leave the CYA...which would eventually bring the levels back to where they started?....
    Yeah, but.......

    Some of us are forced to ruin our perfect chemistry by having to pump out water to keep the pool from running over. Then, rainwater does have the effect of dilution.

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Again I wanted to say thanks for the words of advice. I'm going to definitely use a lot of this info moving forward. I already take care of 8 pools, so I am going to transition them all to the "Weekly Blast" method and I'm going to start adding algaecides to each of them when the weather warms up again. I'll increase their current CYA levels slowly over the next few months with Trichlor pucks, and once I get them to 100 ppm I'll switch over to liquid chlorine. And every week, I'll bring he FC levels back up to 14 ppm.

    After the summer, I'll report back and let everyone know how it went. Chemical costs, time at each pool, or any issues with algae due to daily rainfall or increased bather load. I'll keep records of revenue vs expense as well so you can determine if it's worth your time. Maybe there's some other guys out there who could use the info to start up there own small pool route.




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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    I am late to this dance but want to mention a reasonably simple method to be a once-a-week pool route guy and still practice the simple TFP method.

    In a nutshell, involve your customer. Here is a sample way to make this work very smoothly without the massive doses of chlorine, use of algaecides, etc.
    FRIDAY - I have tested your pool today and made any necessary adjustments to keep your parameters where they need to be.

    Per our agreement, on Sunday, I would like you to put in one and a half jugs of the chlorine I have left for you. (Pump running)

    Again on Wednesday, please add the remaining 1 1/2 jugs of chlorine.

    I will test and report back to you next Friday with any changes to this routine. With your help, your pool will be crystal clear.

    Thanks,

    Your practically perfect pool partner.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    I LOVE Dave's plan!

    I do have to ask why 100ppm for the CYA? That seems too high to me. I am sure you have a reason for picking this number.

    Kim
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    Yes, and why the weekly blast? I don't understand that approach, even for a "route" pool.
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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    In my eye's the idea of a Pool Route has came up based on TFPC and time again it proves that it's likely a failed approach. Just as Pool Store methods and TFPC don't "mix" nor does a "hands off" approach. TFPC is based on knowledge and testing, this mindset is SO strong it is even in the forums mission statement.......
    We emphasize the importance of self management, self testing and a willingness to learn.
    There simply is no one way that a member can likely "dial" in a large amount of pools and maintain them on a short visit once a week. The end user MUST be the one to take control of their own pool to truly practice TFPC.

    With that said, there are many ways that one "can" maintain a pool using pool chemicals such as algaecide, phosphate removers, high CYA levels and so on. These methods however don't seem to work as well for the majority of users nearly as well as self management. Doesn't mean it can't be done.........just means it's likely not as effective.

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    Re: Trouble Free Method and Pool Service Route

    3-5 jugs of liquid chlorine is a lot of garbage to add to our landfills every week. Find a supplier that can sell you refillable containers and do the environment a favour. Problem with doing a pool route with this idea is these clients do not want to do anything to their pools, you might be doing that yourself. Finding out their swimming schedules could allow you to raise levels on your visit, then mid week adding again with a Weekly dosing of poly 60. Pucks can work in these situations, but CYA has to be watched and client made aware that if levels rise, partial drain/refill will be needed.

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