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Thread: Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

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    Join Date
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    Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

    I've done some research here and other places as I'm thinking of moving away from the expensive products sold at my local pool store.
    Pool is IG-28K-Vinyl-Lazy L, in Southern New Jersey-15 Min from Philly.

    Tired of over-paying for Balance Pak 100's 200's etc., though don't get me wrong they seem to be great products and have worked well in my pool for years... just expensive.

    I will likely stick with my (am I allowed to say) SPARCO Chlorinator but am thinking of using Baking Soda (sodium hydrogen carbonate) for Alkalinity and Washing Soda/Broax (sodium carbonate) to increase PH and Muriatic Acid.

    Several years ago I started buying a 50lb bulk bag of Calcium from another pool store that has worked just fine to keep my CH levels in the recommended range.

    So my question(s) is/are any draw back, gotchas, etc. in using commercially available products like 20 Mule Team and Arm & Hammer.

    As suggested I will likely invest in a quality test kit.

    Any advice, lessons learned would be greatly appreciated.
    18x40x3-8 IG, 28000 gal, Lazy-L, Liner, (New 27Mil Liner 2013), Sand Filter, 1.5HP Pump, Auto-Chlorinator, Laars-Lite 325N Heater, Aquabot Turbo Industrial.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

    The primary chemicals you need to worry about the most are FC and CYA. Since you've been using pucks, powders and packs (all overpriced highly marketed grocery store chemicals), there's no telling where your water is at.

    So, the first order of business is to get a recommended test kit (either a Taylor K-2006 or a TF-100). Then, once you have the kit and are testing your own water, you can post results and we'll be happy to help guide you through the next steps.

    But, the first step is always cutting the cord with the pool storing and committing to doing it yourself. That is the hardest part of this entire process.

    Welcome!
    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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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

    Scooter, you can't go wrong with the TFP recommended chemicals. They're available at your local grocery store and for a much cheaper price. They also are safe for you and won't cause adverse reactions when used as directed. I would recommend taking a few minutes to read our ABCs of Water Chemistry page at our Pool School link (link below in my sig). You can also find our list of recommended chemicals/levels which is TFP's primary reference for balancing a pool. Check those out first and let us know if you still have questions.
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    Re: Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

    Matt, thanks!. As mentioned I had started cutting the pool store cord by using good old Calcium vice the balance pak stuff. Since I travel for work and usually get one day a week to work on the pool, I still like the idea of the over-priced chlorinator cartridges, slow and steady. But when it comes to (measuring and adjusting) Alkalinity, CYA, PH, FC, and CA hardness I'm ready.

    We'll be opening the pool in about 5 to 6 weeks, mid-May... Need to replace my heater (but that's another subject) so opening too early would be a waste. I have desired water temp. of around 82.

    So I see by you bio you have like 3 or 4 test kits? In your opinion, what's the best bang for the buck?
    18x40x3-8 IG, 28000 gal, Lazy-L, Liner, (New 27Mil Liner 2013), Sand Filter, 1.5HP Pump, Auto-Chlorinator, Laars-Lite 325N Heater, Aquabot Turbo Industrial.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on the BBB Method

    Quote Originally Posted by Scooter2U View Post
    Matt, thanks!. As mentioned I had started cutting the pool store cord by using good old Calcium vice the balance pak stuff. Since I travel for work and usually get one day a week to work on the pool, I still like the idea of the over-priced chlorinator cartridges, slow and steady. But when it comes to (measuring and adjusting) Alkalinity, CYA, PH, FC, and CA hardness I'm ready.

    We'll be opening the pool in about 5 to 6 weeks, mid-May... Need to replace my heater (but that's another subject) so opening too early would be a waste. I have desired water temp. of around 82.

    So I see by you bio you have like 3 or 4 test kits? In your opinion, what's the best bang for the buck?
    The test kits have different purposes.

    Taylor K-2006 FAS-DPD Test kit is the high quality, high accuracy multi-parameter test kit. It tests FC/CC, CYA, TA, pH and CH. It's what we ask all beginners to use as those test parameters give us an accurate snapshot of your water chemistry. I get my Taylor products online through Amazon. TFP has an associated retail webstore run by user OTpirate called TFTestkits.net. They sell the TF-100 test kit which is very similar to the K-2006 and uses the same Taylor reagents. It's just packaged differently and some of the reagent quantities are different so as to give you more of the tests that you will use the most often. Most folks on TFP love their TF-100's so, to me, it makes no difference what you use as long as it is one of those two.

    The Taylor K-1001 is a basic chlorine/pH test kit that is capable of measuring FC and pH (you can also use a reagent from the K-2006 to measure CCs). It's based on DPD-only chemistry and I use it for daily spot checking. I prefer the pink chlorine DPD test to the standard yellow OTO chlorine test as I feel it is more accurate. Some like the OTO test in the TF-100. Again, it's up to you but this type of test kit is totally optional. I use this simpler version because I have a good handle on my water chemistry and I can get away with only performing the precision testing once or twice per week.

    The K-1766 is a test for chloride concentration (salt test kit) as I have a salt-water chlorine generator pool.

    The mannitol test for borates is not a standard test you'll find anywhere on the retail market as it is something a few of us cooked up here on TFP to better test for borates as the only borate test available through retail are test strips which, you'll find out from reading here, is not something we endorse using. Test strips for borates are ok for getting a course range of where the borate concentration is at but it is not terribly precise. The mannitol test allows you to titrate a color change to determine the borate level much more accurately. Borates are an advanced topic and not something you need to be worried about in the beginning. Most TFP'ers don't bother adding borates to their pool...just a few of us backyard "cowboy chemist" types.
    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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