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Thread: New Pool Owner - Bromine

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    New Pool Owner - Bromine

    Hi Everyone!

    We bought a house in March and inherited a 27' round AG poo (18,000 gal) that is filled with well water - oh, and we're surrounded by farm fields (I feel like this could be part of my struggle).

    Anyway, we opened the first week in May and immediately started struggling, first with finding power to the darn thing. It took HOURS spread out over several weeks to find all the missing parts, hook it all up and figure out which combination of light switches and breakers would turn the darned thing on. By the time we got it turned on, we knew we had a problem - it was a swamp and a "beautiful" shade of emerald green.

    Working with a pool store has left us poor and frustrated - we've shocked three times, we've tried stabilizers, conditioners, chlorine, bromine, clarifier, algaecide, flucculant, blah blah blah. I don't even want to add up the amount of money we've literally dumped in this thing in the last few weeks. After all that, our pool is STILL stupidly cloudy. And I'm about to cry. I'm tried and frustrated and don't even want to look at my pool.

    I bought the Taylor test kit suggested here and have the following results from a few minutes ago (as well on questions because I hate chemistry and have no idea what I'm doing):

    CYA - this didn't even register. I followed the directions and it never got cloudy and the black dot never disappeared. Does that mean that I have no CYA? Is my test faulty??

    CH - I have a question, do you add the reactor until the sample stays blue after several seconds or just until it turns blue (even if it turns purple again in about 10 seconds)? If its the first, my CH 130ppm, if its the second scenario, its 70ppm.

    Alkalinity - I think I actually did this one right - its 160

    pH - 7.1

    FC/C - We're using bromine. That said, after adding 10 dippers of R-0870, the sample was still clear and I got worried that I was just wasting the reactor. What am I doing wrong?

    POOL PARTS:
    We have a sand filter and a single jet. I also have a brominator on the highest setting and filled with bromine tabs.

    ****At the time of the sample, my pool pump had been off for 24 hours to allow the flocculant to work (3 pounds). It did nothing but make my pool cloudier. I vacuumed it with the filter set to waste and emptied a decent amount of water from the pool. I have it running again with the brominator on, filter set to filter and a robot vacuum going. I'm back washing every couple hours right now (and really have been backwashing several times a day since we opened it). We have brand new sand.

    Please let me know what other info you need - I'm really open to any suggestions that can get us to a clear pool!
    LaBux
    27ft Round Above Ground Pool. Sand Filter, Bromine (with Brominator)

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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    I forgot to add - I know now not to go to the pool store.

    That said, I've got my wallet open to figure out what I need to fix this. I promise I won't follow any more store suggestions
    LaBux
    27ft Round Above Ground Pool. Sand Filter, Bromine (with Brominator)

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    You did the tests correct. You probably don't have any CYA. If pools are left to get green in the fall or the spring, frequently the CYA degrades into ammonia. Creates a large chlorine demand in the spring.

    -----EDIT- Forgot you have a bromine pool. It likely wouldn't have any CYA as it's insignificant for bromine sanitation.-----

    CH test should be continued until it STAYS blue. Keep adding drops until the last drop doesn't change the color any more. Subtract that last drop that doesn't produce a color change and that's your number. This is true for ALL color changing tests.

    TA sounds right.

    pH - that's a good place to start

    FC/CC - One heaping dipper is enough to test for FC/CC up to 50 ppm. Adding more won't change anything. The fact that it didn't change to pink means you have 0 ppm FC. You could have added 5 drops of the DPD reagent to test for CC at that point, but unless you've added some bleach recently, your CC is likely low too.

    Going forward... I would ditch the bromine and switch to a chlorine pool. The reason is, bromine has no form of stabilizer to shield it from getting burned off by UV light from the sun. With chlorine, you add cyanuric acid to the pool to act as a sunscreen for your chlorine. It holds most of your FC in reserve so it isn't burned off quickly to the sun. Bromine is poorly suited for outdoor pools. It's best used only with spas and indoor pools where UV light isn't an issue.

    Here's the hard part... once you have a bromine pool, it's always a bromine pool unless you completely drain. Once there is a bromide reserve in the pool, if you add chlorine (bleach) it will instantly oxidize the bromide to bromine so you still have a bromine pool. Bleach is routinely used to maintain bromine spas in this way. You could limp through the rest of the summer, trying clearing the pool with bleach and switch next year when it's not such a huge refill. The difficult part is that there are no guidelines here for how to SLAM a bromine pool. It works and there are step wise procedures on how to do it with chlorine because of the knowledge of the CYA/Chlorine ratio needed to clear algae. Best guess for a bromine pool would be to SLAM assuming 0 ppm CYA, meaning your shock level would be 10 ppm.

    Perhaps other experts or guides with have a better handle on how to approach, short of a full drain and refill.
    Last edited by JVTrain; 06-10-2016 at 06:16 PM. Reason: CYA...
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    Ugh, not what I wanted to hear- we chose bromine because I'm sensitive to chlorine.

    LaBux
    27ft Round Above Ground Pool. Sand Filter, Bromine (with Brominator)

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    Your post makes me want to stand in front of that pool $tore with a sandwich board hanging over my shoulders that say "Run, do not walk, away from this pool store" and I really feel for you.

    If it were me, I would be investigating how to drain the water responsibly, refill and switch to chlorine as the sole sanitizer.

    - - - Updated - - -

    There's quite a lot of good information here about chlorine sensitivity. I've seen many threads where people ultimately learned that their sensitivity was related to poorly operated pools, and their discomfort was related to other things, such as combined chlorine arising from inadequate free chlorine and/or incorrect pH, among other possibilities. Not saying that yours is, but it may be worth some further reading here.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    I'll echo that chlorine sensitivity is actually pretty rare but certainly possible. Usually it's a sensitivity to poorly managed chlorine pools over the chlorine itself.

    Sent from mobile device. Beware of brevity and spelling errors!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    Thanks for the info. I'm definitely frustrated the pool store never mentioned that we could never go back. Ugh, and the bucket of bromine tabs that we have now makes me kind of want to vomit thinking about the price.

    Any advice knowing that we probably won't empty this year (the wall of the pool that the filter and pump are on is "soft" so we will likely need a new pool in a year or two anyway)? What levels should I strive for to at least keep it safe to swim in? And what advice should I ignore from the pool store? I feel like I've created a bigger mess now...

    LaBux
    27ft Round Above Ground Pool. Sand Filter, Bromine (with Brominator)

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    Don't be hard on yourself. It's logical to go to the pool store for advice as you'd think there would be some expert advice there. Sometimes there is, but more often it's a minimally trained employee who can't give great advice, only test your water and try to sell you what they've been trained to do.

    What I would do is use bleach to target 10 ppm FC. Use Pool Math: http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html I would guess that your pool volume is about 13000 gallons if it's 4 feet deep. Continue to test and dose, bringing the FC up to 10 as often as you can. Be sure to use the 10 mL sample size when testing FC/CC to save on reagents. 1 drop = 0.5 ppm FC or CC for the 10 mL test. Continue to do this until the algae and cloudiness is gone, your aren't measuring more than 0.5 ppm CC and overnight, you lose 1 ppm of FC or less. See the SLAM link in my signature for more details. You're going to use 0 ppm CYA (or less than 20). Keep in mind this is not an official TFP method or procedure with bromine but it should work to clear your pool so you can move onto maintenance over the season.

    Once you've passed those criteria, refer to this sticky thread: How do I use Bromine in my spa (or pool)? Maintain your bromine levels and routine maintenance with these guidelines. I would read this thread even before you do the modified "SLAM" on your bromine pool. Because you have been using bromine tablets, you already have a bromide bank in your pool, provided you've been using them for at least a few weeks.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    Thanks so much! Should I try DE in my filter too?

    LaBux
    27ft Round Above Ground Pool. Sand Filter, Bromine (with Brominator)

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated - New Pool Owner

    You could, but I wouldn't add DE to your sand filter until you're not seeing as much pressure rise in your filter gauge, ie- when most of the algae is dead and water is pretty clear or just slightly cloudy. Every time you backwash, the DE goes out with it too. You should backwash when your pressure rises 25% above what the pressure is immediately after backwashing, rinsing then putting back on Filter (called your "clean" pressure).
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Bromine

    I wanted to add this because it is an excellent summary of some other concerns you should keep in mind with your bromine pool:

    From here: I use bromine

    JoyfulNoise:
    JamesW has given you the best advice, you likely need to partially drain and refill your pool. If you have been exclusively using brominating tablets in your pool, then your water is in a similar situation to people who use chlorinating tablets exclusively - namely, you're water is over stabilized with too much dimethylhydantoin (DHM). Bromine tablets are typically a mixture of 1-Bromo-3-chloro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin (BCDMH) and some acid buffers. The DMH part of the compound acts like a bromine buffer in that it lowers the active bromine (hypobromous acid) levels down to reasonable concentrations. Like too much CYA in a chlorine swimming pool, too much DMH in a bromine swimming pool will lower the active bromine levels too low and allow pathogens to flourish. This then leads to same phenomenon where you can't seem to register any bromine no matter what you add (because it is all being used up by algae). One normally adds an oxidizer to a bromine pool (such as chlorine or MPS) to convert the inactive bromide back into bromine.

    The problem with bromine pools (and there are many), is that there is NO WAY to practically test your DMH levels unlike chlorine pools where you can test for CYA. Since you have no idea how much DMH is in your water, it's hard to know how much you will need to drain. Normally, in a bromine swimming pool, you want to build up your bromide bank using a combination of sodium bromide and brominating tablets and then, once you add enough DMH to the water (determined by simple record keeping), you stop adding anymore tablets and you simply use an oxidizer to keep the bromine levels up. Unlike a chlorine pool where CYA protects chlorine from UV, DMH has little or no UV protective properties and so bromine pools tend to suffer form higher rates of bromine to bromide UV photolysis than a similarly sanitized chlorine pool. SO this makes it important to use a solar cover on a bromine pool. Add to this the much higher costs associated with bromine and you have the reasons why bromine is no longer used much in swimming pools. Spas are a different story because they are much smaller bodies of water with different characteristics than a swimming pool.


    Now... your pool may not be overstabilized at this point but it is a good summary of the chemistry of bromine tablets and long term usage without using bleach to reactivate bromide.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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