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Thread: Question about Phosphates

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    Question about Phosphates

    As I understand the issue regarding Phosphates (and I was on the phone with Pentair just today regarding this) is that you want to keep your phosphates less than 125 as phosphates eat chlorine! So I guess if your phosphates are in check then your FC is better able to be stable. Also, as I understand it, when you add the PhosFree or PhosX to your pool it drops the phosphates to the bottom and then you should vacuum your pool. I gather a robotic cleaner would be ok to use...anyone have an answer to this?
    Rhonda
    My Pool: 23k Gal IG Vinyl / poured concrete walls, steps/ swim (no metal frame), 53 sf Pentair Sta-Rite D.E. filter,3 HP 3.2 kw 230V Pentair Intelliflo 3050 VF, IC 40 SWCG, Gulfstream HE 125 TA Heat and Cool Heat pump, Hayward electric robotic cleaner Tiger Shark, Easy Touch Control Panel. Test Kits: Taylor K-2006, Taylor K-1000, K-1766 salt.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda001 View Post
    As I understand the issue regarding Phosphates (and I was on the phone with Pentair just today regarding this) is that you want to keep your phosphates less than 125 as phosphates eat chlorine! So I guess if your phosphates are in check then your FC is better able to be stable. Also, as I understand it, when you add the PhosFree or PhosX to your pool it drops the phosphates to the bottom and then you should vacuum your pool. I gather a robotic cleaner would be ok to use...anyone have an answer to this?
    I'm sorry to say you have been given bad information.

    * Phosphates do not "eat" chlorine.

    * When using phosphate removers it does not cause the phosphate to come out of solution in the pool water and "sink".
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    As Tim said, you were given some bogus info. Seems that phosphates are the current fear tactic that the pool industry is using to make money.

    In reality, if you maintain proper levels of FC (which is a function of your stabilizer (CYA) level), see the FC/CYA Chart, the algae can not grow, regardless of the amount of "food" (phosphates) available. TFP generally sees no need in testing for phosphate levels or worrying about them at all.

    If there were a room full or your favorite foods, lobster, fillet mignon, etc (phosphates), how much of it do you think you (algae) could eat before the poisonous gas (chlorine) that fills the room kills you off?
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    AMAZING!!! Thank you for your thoughts. Looks like I will be doing some research.
    Rhonda
    My Pool: 23k Gal IG Vinyl / poured concrete walls, steps/ swim (no metal frame), 53 sf Pentair Sta-Rite D.E. filter,3 HP 3.2 kw 230V Pentair Intelliflo 3050 VF, IC 40 SWCG, Gulfstream HE 125 TA Heat and Cool Heat pump, Hayward electric robotic cleaner Tiger Shark, Easy Touch Control Panel. Test Kits: Taylor K-2006, Taylor K-1000, K-1766 salt.

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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Yeah, I recommend drinking the TFP Kool-Aid and researching only here. Your results will be consistent and practically guaranteed. A testament to the amazing resources that have assembled here.

    Trying to mix manufacturer, pool store, neighbor and/or other website advice/opinions with TFP advice will only lead down a path of failure, frustration and frankruptcy (needed another "F" word).
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Amazing! And that info I had was given to me from a phone hotline worker at Pentair! Looks like more research to do. BTW, what exactly does the PHOSFREE or PHOS-X do to the phosphates in your pool? and why do they say it is important to keep the phosphates below 125ppm? You mean we can just ignore phosphates altogether and never need to worry about this..ever?
    Rhonda
    My Pool: 23k Gal IG Vinyl / poured concrete walls, steps/ swim (no metal frame), 53 sf Pentair Sta-Rite D.E. filter,3 HP 3.2 kw 230V Pentair Intelliflo 3050 VF, IC 40 SWCG, Gulfstream HE 125 TA Heat and Cool Heat pump, Hayward electric robotic cleaner Tiger Shark, Easy Touch Control Panel. Test Kits: Taylor K-2006, Taylor K-1000, K-1766 salt.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Yes. Ignore it completely.

    They say that so they can sell expensive chemicals. Really, it should be looked at as more of insurance. People going to pool stores are not like the typical TFPer. They are not testing and adding chlorine on a near daily basis AND they have no clue about the FC/CYA relationship. So since the owner is likely to let their FC get too low which would typically result in algae starting to grow, by having them spend $$$ to lower the phosphates, the algae growth will be much slower and the owner will ignorantly think their water is safe and keep going back to the pool store to spend more $$$.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    I'd like to first off welcome you to TFP! We're glad to have you!!

    I think this article ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry will help you out greatly. Phosphates are a topic that you really can simply "skip" for now. There are THOUSANDS of pools on TFP that ignore phosphates all together and have not ran into an issue once. Maintain a proper amount of chlorine in your pool and you will have great success. Start with the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and go from there.

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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    I never have and never plan to consider phosphates No idea what my phosphate level is. Someone else can give you some technical details on what a phosphate remover does, for knowledge sake.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    I have NEVER even tested for phosphates and have NO problem with my pool looking like a jewel!

    So yeah you can ignore them.

    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: Question about Phosphates

    Thank you. I agree about the FC/CYA relationship thing. When at the pool store I had said I had been doing a lot of research and was feeling very confident about my pool water testing. I mentioned the 7.5% CYA to FC....he looked at me with deer eyes in headlights...and said he didn't know about that. the 7.5% sounds logical to me and my testing proved right on target.
    Thanks for your comments and help. I really appreciate it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you Leebo!
    Rhonda
    My Pool: 23k Gal IG Vinyl / poured concrete walls, steps/ swim (no metal frame), 53 sf Pentair Sta-Rite D.E. filter,3 HP 3.2 kw 230V Pentair Intelliflo 3050 VF, IC 40 SWCG, Gulfstream HE 125 TA Heat and Cool Heat pump, Hayward electric robotic cleaner Tiger Shark, Easy Touch Control Panel. Test Kits: Taylor K-2006, Taylor K-1000, K-1766 salt.

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Rhonda, we're all about owner control, knowledge, and saving a few $$. Remember, those pool stores are staffed with the same people (many of them seasonal temps) who will encourage you to buy chlorine tablets and numerous bags-of-shock, then later, when those very products elevated your CYA too high, tell you to drain your pool. With TFP knowledge and the correct test kit, YOU are in control and know for sure what your pool needs. You'll soon forget all about phosphates and high-priced items after learning/using TFP. Welcome to TFP! And say .... don't forget to add your pool info to your signature when you get a chance.
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda001 View Post
    Amazing! And that info I had was given to me from a phone hotline worker at Pentair! Looks like more research to do. BTW, what exactly does the PHOSFREE or PHOS-X do to the phosphates in your pool? and why do they say it is important to keep the phosphates below 125ppm? You mean we can just ignore phosphates altogether and never need to worry about this..ever?
    Rhonda, welcome to TFP

    Allow me to answer the technical questions you have and clear up some of the misinformation you have been provided by that ever-so-helpful Pentair "tech"...

    Phosphates are a nutrient needed by all living organisms for proper growth, biochemical regulation and reproduction. Without phosphates, life on earth would not exist. If you ever garden, any gardener can tell you that fertilizer always displays three numbers - nitrogen content (as urea and nitrates), phosphorous content (as phosphates) and potassium content (as potash). Those three components are absolutely essential for plant life. Algae, is a form of plant life and, as such, needs phosphorous in order to thrive and grow.

    Phosphate removers are a chemical compound that reacts with the phosphate ion (PO4) in water. All commercial and retail phosphate removers use an inorganic salt called lanthanum chloride (LaCl3). The lanthanum chloride dissolves readily in pool water and dissociates into lanthanum ions (La3+) and chloride ions (Cl-). The lanthanum ions react with carbonate and phosphates in the water and forms insoluble precipitates of lanthanum carbonate and lanthanum phosphate. The lanthanum carbonate is also not stable chemically and will further react with phosphates transforming from lanthanum carbonate into lanthanum phosphate. As I said, these compounds are insoluble in water at typical pool water pH. So that is how phosphate removers work - they convert the dissolved phosphate ions into an insoluble salt that precipitates out of water.

    Where the Pentair tech got it all wrong is in two areas - first, phosphates do not react with chlorine at all or to any degree that can be measured and have no direct effect on chlorine levels. Second, the insoluble phosphate salts created by products like PhosFree do not typically sink to the bottom of the pool but tend to remain suspended in solution making the water look cloudy. This is actually a desirable effect because you want your filter to be able to catch these suspended particles and filter them out. This is how, ultimately, the phosphates are removed - they transform into an insoluble, suspended compound that your filter then removes and you backwash away. Some of the remover products contain a clarifier as well as the lanthanum chloride in order for the clarifier to cause the lanthanum phosphate particles to stick together and form larger, easier to remove particulates. However, this is not always necessary and, depending on the filter type, a pool filter can usually clear the suspended solids within 24-48 hours. Sand filters do not filter fine particulate very well, so in those types of pools, using a clarifier with a phosphate remover can speed up the removal process. Cartridge and DE filters typically do not need clarifiers.

    To first order, you do not need to focus on phosphates at all. A pool can be properly chlorinated and easily managed without ever having to treat for phosphates.
    Matt
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Very good information and I appreciate all that. Since I do not and have not had in the 4 yrs of having my pool, any algae issues I will put aside any thoughts of clearing phosphates and using any product for it. YAY...one less thing to think about. Now, I am trying to figure out how to edit my signature to put in my pool stats..LOL
    Rhonda
    My Pool: 23k Gal IG Vinyl / poured concrete walls, steps/ swim (no metal frame), 53 sf Pentair Sta-Rite D.E. filter,3 HP 3.2 kw 230V Pentair Intelliflo 3050 VF, IC 40 SWCG, Gulfstream HE 125 TA Heat and Cool Heat pump, Hayward electric robotic cleaner Tiger Shark, Easy Touch Control Panel. Test Kits: Taylor K-2006, Taylor K-1000, K-1766 salt.

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda001 View Post
    Very good information and I appreciate all that. Since I do not and have not had in the 4 yrs of having my pool, any algae issues I will put aside any thoughts of clearing phosphates and using any product for it. YAY...one less thing to think about. Now, I am trying to figure out how to edit my signature to put in my pool stats..LOL

    Try this link,
    Edit Signature

    It also can be found by clicking Quick Links > Edit Signature

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Question about Phosphates

    My first alarm went off when you wrote that it was the Pentair tech on the phone who told you this. I *thought* Pentair just made equipment......??
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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