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Thread: Why does this method work?

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    JohnA902's Avatar
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    Why does this method work?

    So I went to a pool party today. The pool was cloudy. I couldn't see my feet. I also couldn't believe I got in. I kept telling my wife and kids to NOT LET THE WATER GET INTO YOUR MOUTH!!!!

    Luckily no one at the party was a pool chemistry nerd like myself so the topic didn't come up.

    But if someone said to me "why is your pool clear and amazing and "Jim's" pool is cloudy?" What would my answer be?

    I have trouble with this bc my answer is "I account for CYA levels and therefore I have my chlorine levels at 5ppm".

    Then they might hypothetically say "5 ppm!? That's double the recommended level!!!"

    So basically this method is just saying "I know you test your CYA but apparently you don't increase your chlorine high enough"

    That's where I start to lose my hypothetical argument. The pool store knows their CYA. I know my CYA, but I am doing double the chlorine that the pool store consumer uses. My mom, for example, asked about my chlorine and I said 5ppm. She immediately said "you'll rust your pump." Haha.

    So that's my dilemma. And I've tried tackling this concept with quite a few posts here but it must not be sinking in and I'm too much of a dork to just "accept it."

    So why are we able to increase our free chlorine to almost double what the "regular pool" has and get away with it. A "regular guy" might just think that we are living halfway to shock levels.

    By the way I've been a TFP forum member for I think 40 days. Pool has been open for 35 days. Every day has been clear amazing perfection. I'm adding a boatload of bleach but I think i have a high demand with my wooded lot and solar cover at night debris. I aim for 6 and let it ride down to 3 at the end of day. Works perfect.


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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Ah, such a dilemma!

    I guess I'd say that "I just test frequently and only put in my pool the chemicals it needs and in the most basic form available which is a lot cheaper than what the pool store tells me to buy".

    For example, a lot of folks are downright afraid to put household bleach in their pool, yet have no problems using chlorine from the pool store that comes in a pouch. It is the same chemical in a different, more expensive form.

    Sounds like you have it all figured out with such clear water
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    I've had this conversation a few times...usually when someone's asking me how I keep my pool so nice, since there's is ___________.

    Eventually, the answer is pretty simple :

    "Look, I'm not busting your chops here, but your pool is cloudy/green/smelly/whatever, right? I mean, that's why you're asking me this stuff, right?"

    "Yeah"

    "Alright...so you have 2 choices. Keep doing what you've been doing, and hope this time all that money and effort and time will magically turn your pool into mine. Or...think about how mine's looked every time you've ever seen it, go read the site I've told you about, accept the fact there's a bunch of misinformation out there, and take control of your own pool."
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    But more specifically, this hypothetical discussion is just for my deeper understanding. Basically, our method works because we are doubling "their" chlorine levels right? They are following the pool store's 2ppm number and tossing in all sorts of other stuff and we are, per our CYA level, adding 4-6ppm of chlorine.

    That's really the basis right? We are going high on the chlorine to keep a solid disinfection level that is based on bound chlorine/CYA ratios. But in simple terms we are just adding more chlorine than the pool store customers.


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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnA902 View Post
    But more specifically, this hypothetical discussion is just for my deeper understanding. Basically, our method works because we are doubling "their" chlorine levels right? They are following the pool store's 2ppm number and tossing in all sorts of other **** and we are, per our CYA level, adding 4-6ppm of chlorine.

    That's really the basis right? We are going high on the chlorine to keep a solid disinfection level that is based on bound chlorine/CYA ratios. But in simple terms we are just adding more chlorine than the pool store customers.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Nope, we are not necessarily doubling anything. We are adding the specific amount of chlorine the pool needs based on the amount of CYA in the water. While we talk about adding things to the water, we only add what it needs when it needs it. That is why we discourage folks from using most forms of solid chlorine as a regular chlorinating method. So, why or why not solid chlorine? In it's natural state, chlorine is a gas. Many large commercial pools actually use gas injection systems to chlorinate their pools. Now, to change chlorine into something we can use at home it needs to be bound to something. The "somethings" that are commonly used are stabilizer (also known as CYA), calcium, lithium, or --- get this water. All of these add a little salt to your water, but they add something else. Cal-Hypo add calcium, Tri-Chlor and Di-Chlor (tabs and most granules) add stabilizer, Lithium hypochlorite adds lithium and liquid chlorine adds - water.

    All of these things can be bad for your pool (except the water) in large quantities. The stabilizer helps shield the chlorine form UV degradation, but at higher levels it also impairs the ability of chlorine to do it's work. The higher the stabilizer level you have the higher the amount of chlorine you need. Too much calcium and you start to get scaling on the walls and floors of your pool.

    The pool industry refuses to recognize the connection between CYA/Stabilizer and the ability of chlorine to do it's thing sanitizing the water. others here can give you the scientific details if you want, but lets just say CYA locks the ability of chlorine to sanitize. The more CYA you have the more chlorine you need to keep in the pool to keep algae at bay. I took over my pool with a CYA of about 250 (CYA tests above 100 are just a guess, not very specific contrary to what the pool store says). With a CYA of 250 I had to keep my chlorine level at around 20 just to keep algae away.
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    This method works because we account for a chemical reaction that has been documented for 40 years but not fully accepted by the industry at large. To say we use higher chlorine levels is quite an oversimplification, rather we use enough. For an indoor pool that is only maintaining 20 CYA the normal 2-3 FC level is quite enough. But trying to use that little CYA in an outdoor pool causes fairly high losses to sunlight, so we up it and are forced to up the FC level to compensate.

    We learn how the chemicals work, what they do, and relearn years of bad information from pool stores that goes far beyond CYA issues. In simple terms this method works because it allowed us to understand our pools.
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Ok so maybe saying "more chlorine" is an oversimplification but it seems to be correct. Here is a small example.

    Let's say I'm testing at the pool store and my CYA is 50ppm. They are still going to tell me that my free chlorine shouldn't be over 4ppm. However, the CYA/chlorine chart here tells me that my minimum is 4 and I should target 6 (for plaster). So ignoring all the other testing, bc my confusion here is solely chlorine related, (TA, pH, etc) it seems that we are pushing the chlorine higher bc we are understanding the chemistry of the CYA interaction with the chlorine and how it is essentially bound in a reserve and not actually functional.

    I think that's the concept here. My only problem is that is while we can say our chlorine is bound and held in reserve by CYA, so is the "other guys."

    So if my non TFP friend has CYA of 50ppm (leslies recommended max) and is no more than 4ppm (leslies recommended max), if he hears me say my chlorine is 6, with the same CYA level of 50, then yes, my method uses more chlorine, which is why it works.

    Is that the bottom line here?


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    I see a couple things that are possibly being missed in this discussion.

    The cloudy pool will require more chlorine to be added to maintain the FC level. By maintaining the right level, less chlorine needs to be added to keep the pool safe.

    The objective is to maintain a safe pool. If a pool owner believes that chlorine is more dangerous than pathogenic bacteria like E.coli and Staph, then cloudy or green is fine for them. We may not choose to swim in it, but it's their pool. To compare the methods used to maintain an unsafe pool with methods used to maintain a safe pool is not a reasonable comparison.

    And sadly, it is really hard to help people overcome a paranoia about chemicals. We're always going to use acetic acid to make pickles. We buy acetylsalicylic acid tablets because they are handier than chewing willow bark for a headache. The fact that chlorine is a plant nutrient seldom makes them believe it's OK, and most people won't try to understand the difference between free chlorine and the so-called "harsh" part, hypochlorous acid. I know very few people who have any idea how high the active chlorine is in the water streaming out of their shower head and into their eyes. It's complicated and people prefer simple because it's easy to think "I don't like chemicals" as we rely on 2,2,4-trimethylpentane to go pick up a prescription for a child.

    We just want safe pools! And that means sanitizing properly so disease is not transferred from person to person in our pools.

    As far as what to say: "A pool that is cloudy or green is likely to have unsafe levels of pathogenic bacteria, and should be closed and cleaned up. That is part of why commercial pool regulations require that you be able to clearly see the bottom of a pool at the deep end, in addition to the necessity of being able to easily see anyone swimming near the bottom of the pool."
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Thanks needsajet. That's not what I'm getting at at all,though. I'm not chemical paranoid at all. I'm merely interested why this method works compared to the pool store analysis of "you need to lower that chlorine"

    This isn't an anti TFP thread at all. I just want to understand why this works.


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnA902 View Post

    So if my non TFP friend has CYA of 50ppm (leslies recommended max) and is no more than 4ppm (leslies recommended max), if he hears me say my chlorine is 6, with the same CYA level of 50, then yes, my method uses more chlorine, which is why it works.

    Is that the bottom line here?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    There's been a lot of discussion going on here. I'd like to just focus on the quote above regarding chlorine use in our pools.


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Edit: It took me a while to type this up so it posted after your last post. I'm leaving the content for you and others who may see this later. Yes you are using more chlorine but it important to understand why this is what we recommend.

    In your hypothetical situation are you using more chlorine than your friend? Yes, you are. You understand it is safe and important to do so because you understand the CYA/Chlorine relationship and that CYA and Chlorine must be kept in the proper ratio to keep the water properly sanitized. Your friend who follows pool store recommendations is getting their information from clerks who receive the bulk of their training from chemical vendors and sales representatives. The training they provide does not teach the CYA/Chlorine relationship, instead to keep things "simple for the consumer" they have static recommendations that take only one variable into account at a time. The vendors and sales representatives instead rely on other products to "correct" the problems that arise when the CYA/Chlorine relationship has been ignored. Algaecide, phosphate removers, cal-hypo, mineral systems, Green to Clean, Yellow Out, and non-chlorine oxidizers are all pushed as solutions for "chlorine lock", "old water", and any other euphemisms the pool industry creates to describe a pool with high CYA. Eventually non of these solutions will be sufficient to correct the problem and the water must be replaced.

    I think the most important take away from this is that CYA/Chlorine must be kept in the correct ratio to each other. There is not one CYA range that is correct and one Chlorine range that is correct and that one has nothing to do with the other. You could keep your FC at 3ppm which is within the recommended range by pool industry standards, but if you have no CYA that 3ppm is going to fade swimsuits, irritate skin and eyes, and make hair brittle. By the same token if you have CYA of 90 which is within the recommended range of 30-100 by pool industry standards, that same FC of 3ppm is like having no chlorine at all and algae will soon take over the pool.

    You could show your friends this website, you could print out all the articles and posts we have citing scientific studies that detail the CYA/Chlorine relationship and show those to your friends, but ultimately they have to decide for themselves whether to believe what we know is true, or to follow the recommendations of pool industry experts. Its almost like debating religion and politics, people are going to believe what they want to believe no matter how compelling the argument may be.
    Last edited by zea3; 06-12-2016 at 08:37 AM. Reason: add explanation
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Awesome Zea. Thanks. That's the key here. We have learned it is ok to break the mold of "don't exceed 2ppm!" Based on the ratio and proven success this clearly works, I just wanted a strong understanding of that. You know, to make it click.

    I just found this publication from a state govt so it's starting to catch on.

    https://dphhs.mt.gov/Portals/85/publ...forwebsite.pdf

    Where they say:

    ---------
    What is the downside to cyanuric acid? – By forming temporary bonds with the free chlorine, cyanuric acid will reduce the overall effectiveness of chlorine. The amount of time it takes to kill bacteria lengthens as the concentration of cyanuric acid increases. For this reason, it is essential that all outdoor pools using cyanuric acid as a stabilizer maintain the required free chlorine residual of 2.0-8.0 parts per million (ppm).
    ---------

    So clearly some places are doing this too.

    Thanks, I thought this was interesting.


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    I'll dive in here. At the risk of repeating, we only add the chemicals needed, in the ratios needed.

    Now, I don't think you can simple boil down TFP method into Chlorine. After all, we understand the water chemistry IN TOTAL is the key to your beautiful water, not just the chlorine ppm.

    For your purpose, think of Chlorine:CYA as a ratio. If your buddy goes to the pool store and their test (if even accurate) shows 2ppm & 60CYA, they will tell your buddy to add chlorine. He dumps in some chlorine powder/puck to - hypothetically - get another 3ppm; however, he is not adding the correct amount / correct ratio because the puck is changing *both* the chlorine AND the CYA. He is now at 5ppm:80CYA, which is below the target! Now he's getting algae even though he just added chlorine! This vicious cycle leads many to stop the pool store insanity and learn to manage their own water, just as you have!!!

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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Your method does not use more chlorine. You will consume less chlorine than he will, if you both maintain safe pools. Each time he has the cloudiness, he would need to close his pool and add chlorine to neutralize or lessen the source of the problem, if keeping the pool safe is his objective.

    You do maintain a higher level of free chlorine to keep your pool safe, and he maintains a lower level for his own reasons.

    The deep stuff is in this thread Pool Water Chemistry

    With respect to maintaining a higher level of FC as compared to your friend with the cloudy pool, in my own simplified understanding (albeit surely wrong on some accounts), your method is working because there is enough hypochlorous acid to do the required sanitation. If he maintains 2 PPM FC, and he chose to have a safe pool, he would have to lower his CYA to less than the level that can be reliably measured to stop his pool from becoming unsafe. So it's a practical issue. How do you test for 20 PPM CYA? How do you avoid falling below 2 PPM FC when 3 or 4 PPM can burn off every day at 40 PPM CYA, and there is exponentially less protection of FC at lower levels. How do you maintain 2 PPM FC if you can't go past 4 PPM FC, and weather conditions and bather load are unpredictable, and FC sensors tend to get fouled by CYA? That's how I see it, but there's much better explanations, I'm sure of that.

    One great thing about this forum is that the experts here will correct anything I've said that's wrong or misleading, and I love that about TFP!
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    I didn't take your post as anti-TFP at all. You warned your kids not to get any of that nasty water in their mouth!

    Chlorine is an amazingly safe sanitizer and serves us well in terms of ever-longer life expectancy. I get wound up about how bad simple things like safe water are for most of the world, and it made me rant a bit. Please accept my apology for anything I said that appeared personal or negative toward you in any way.
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Needsajet, no problem at all! I'm enjoying learning about all this so much. No apology needed.


    Yes, I also agree that a total analysis is critical to this method, but I was focusing on the daily routine, which is chlorine chlorine chlorine!

    Great forum, so happy I finally downloaded tapatalk.


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    I stand by my statement that TFP methods use less chlorine to maintain a safe pool.

    I do use a higher FC level than non-TFP methods, so there may be a semantics issue, but I'm entirely convinced that less chlorine is needed in a TFP pool than in a pool with CYA at 50 ppm, FC at 2 ppm, and periodic shocking to eliminate cloudiness and algae blooms.
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Quote Originally Posted by needsajet View Post
    I stand by my statement that TFP methods use less chlorine to maintain a safe pool.

    I do use a higher FC level than non-TFP methods, so there may be a semantics issue, but I'm entirely convinced that less chlorine is needed in a TFP pool than in a pool with CYA at 50 ppm, FC at 2 ppm, and periodic shocking to eliminate cloudiness and algae blooms.
    I completely agree. I'm a newbie but within the 38 days of having this pool opened I have added nothing other than a little CYA and bleach. Not expensive and wasteful at all.

    And compared to where i swam yesterday (where I couldn't see my feet), I can see my Polaris crystal clear in the 8 feet deep end.


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    Re: Why does this method work?

    Let me start by saying I am much like JohnA902. I too am fairly new the TFP method and find myself wanting to advise people on their pool chemical methods (who by the way have had pools far longer then I have).Thanks to this site and the great info and members here I have a great understanding of my pool chemistry. I often wish there was a social media account to link on Facebook to spread the word of this great resource. I feel like a pool super hero trying to battle the pool store evils . When it is all said and done it is not all that time consuming to maintain. If there was just a simple way to get people hooked like we all are it would be great. It can be overwhelming reading through all the info here at first. I find myself bitting my tongue for the most part as to not come across as a know it all or offend someones pool. Great post!!
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    Re: Why does this method work?

    TFP water is amazing isn't it. I picked two of my grandies up from a birthday pool party last summer. Green tinged pool, couldn't see their feet when they were standing, and I cringed. Took 'em back to our place for a shower right away!!
    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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