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Thread: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

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    If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Say you just started working at a pool store a couple of weeks ago, have mostly exhausted the usefulness of their training materials, and now you've just surfed troublefreepool.com's forums for six hours.

    In this alternate universe, you don't have access to 12% liquid chlorine or the grocery store bleach. You have 73% cal hypo powder shock, dichlor shock, a non-chlorine oxidizer, and trichlor tablets. Also about 10% of your customers have SWGs but the vast majority use tablets and either floating chlorinators or plumbed-in ones.

    Also, your chlorine test only tests to 5 ppm and bleaches out above 10ppm.

    What would you do to make sure that the poor souls in this universe have (mostly) trouble free pools without losing your job? What numbers and maintenance procedures would you recommend? The main problems are constantly rising CYA levels and the fact that your non-CYA chlorine (the cal-hypo) is concentrated in such a way that it is dangerous for vinyl liners, which most of your customers have. Blegh.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My brain is melted so I am going to go to sleep and have nightmares about algae infestations combined with 200+ ppm CYA.

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    Water_man's Avatar
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Pool stores I know carry both CYA (stabilizer) and 12.5% chlorine.
    Unfortunately, you will suffer from cognitive dissonance if you continue to sell chems as you are supposed to at the store, and believe in the truth you read here. Suggestion: Ask the pool pros here (waterbear, waste) how they handle the situation.
    This is my ticket for Heaven (when all's working..) :
    22k Gal gunite IGP, 38 SF Anthony DE filter, 1 HP Hayward Super Pump
    380k BTU Raypak Natural Gas Heater (Model RP405A) and solar cover
    8 gal Liquidator w/ 12% bleach, Dolphin Diagnostic Advantage robotic cleaner. 3800 ppm salt, 50 ppm borates.

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by seilsel
    Say you just started working at a pool store a couple of weeks ago, have mostly exhausted the usefulness of their training materials, and now you've just surfed troublefreepool.com's forums for six hours.

    In this alternate universe, you don't have access to 12% liquid chlorine or the grocery store bleach. You have 73% cal hypo powder shock, dichlor shock, a non-chlorine oxidizer, and trichlor tablets. Also about 10% of your customers have SWGs but the vast majority use tablets and either floating chlorinators or plumbed-in ones.

    Also, your chlorine test only tests to 5 ppm and bleaches out above 10ppm.

    What would you do to make sure that the poor souls in this universe have (mostly) trouble free pools without losing your job? What numbers and maintenance procedures would you recommend? The main problems are constantly rising CYA levels and the fact that your non-CYA chlorine (the cal-hypo) is concentrated in such a way that it is dangerous for vinyl liners, which most of your customers have. Blegh.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. My brain is melted so I am going to go to sleep and have nightmares about algae infestations combined with 200+ ppm CYA.
    I'm moving this to the Deep End, FYI.

    Welcome to the forum.

    I have to say I've been quite the bitter critic as a result of being "Pool Stored" one too many times, so I can say I'm quite impressed with your sincere post and it gives me hope for mankind.

    I think the biggest obstacle you are up against is industry attitudes and your testing limits. You'd be golden if you could test above 5.

    Pool owners CAN make their pool system work using tablets/inline chlorinators - provided they understand what the impact will be on their water chemistry. So in many cases it will be up to YOU to help them understand that. "Can you handle the truth?" ... Tabs lower PH and raise CYA. So as long as the pool owner closely monitors these levels through routine testing, they can make it work.

    So if I were in your shoes, I would advise folks

    a) if their CYA is too high they need to drain/refill to bring the CYA down to 30. They need to check the level again once a month to keep it in check, and they need to understand the FC/CYA relationship. It does NO ONE any good to repeat the industry standard of 1-3 FC - that is totally irrelevant and meaningless if one's CYA is over 100. The ONLY practical way to lower CYA is thru fresh water replacement, which then means all the other numbers are in range.

    b) stop selling CH increaser to people with vinyl pools. Ask them FIRST what kind of pool they have. (Yes, personal issue here.)

    c) Can you tell them to order/purchase a good test kit, like the TF100 or Taylor K2006? If your store doesn't sell kits will you get in trouble for recommending one? Too many are relying on strips and that is causing grief nationwide this Memorial Day weekend. "Everything looks good on the strips, why isn't my water clear?"

    d) If a user is using pucks, they need their TA higher than 120 and they need to monitor the PH and keep it at 7.5. You can even sell them your PH up product, but make sure they understand that many PH products also increase TA. IF their TA is very high, and they use tabs, recommend they periodically use a fountain to keep the PH in range, then they'll just require the occassional PH UP or TA Up.

    d) Shocking....a properly maintained pool does not require routine shocking. You don't sell liquid chlorine, yet you are restricted from telling them to go buy a jug of Clorox? Why wouldn't they have access? (read: whisper it to them... ) Cal-Hypo can be fine, depending on what their CURRENT CH level is. Just instruct them to make sure it dissolves and CH too must be monitored, because like CYA it CAN get too high and draining/refilling can correct that. - Dichlor is o.k. in certain situations, but you shouldn't recommend it to people with high CYA...and if you do recommend it, they need to understand it increases CYA. Brush after application. - non chlorine oxidizer, better for indoor pools...

    e) chlorine levels. Unfortunately low FC is the biggest problem, and can be easily prevented. So they need to increase their FC level before a swim party, check it after. The best way to clear up algae bloom in the spring is with liquid chlorine, so if you can't recommend it I don't know what to tell you. In some cases upon opening, the PO will have no CYA, so then I would recommend Dichlor. Remember that for every 10 FC, Dichlor will increase the CYA by 9.

    f) Print out the CYA chart and keep it in your pocket as a cheat sheet.

    Knowledge is key, too many pool owners are sheep being led to slaughter. I think it's great you want to help them, unfortunately you are limited with the restraints of the job.

    Can you hand out little notes with "troublefreepool.com" written on it?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by seilsel
    Say you just started working at a pool store a couple of weeks ago...You have 73% cal hypo powder shock, dichlor shock, a non-chlorine oxidizer, and trichlor tablets...about 10% have SWGs but the majority use tablets and either floating chlorinators or plumbed-in ones...your chlorine test only tests to 5 ppm and bleaches out above 10ppm.
    The main problems are constantly rising CYA levels and the fact that your non-CYA chlorine (the cal-hypo) is concentrated in such a way that it is dangerous for vinyl liners, which most of your customers have. Blegh.
    Kind of between the rock and the hard place, right? Follow FPM's recommendations. She's been 'pool-stored' and DOES NOT LIKE IT!

    The best thing to do is to train the people about their pool chemistry, or attempt to. Some will listen, some will not.
    Shock is what you do to a pool, not a true name for a product, no mater what the package says!
    Cah-Hypo can be used, water replacement/change each year will be required due to the calcium buildup.
    Trichlor can be used <cough, cough>, water replacement/change each year will be required due to the CYA buildup.
    PH MATTERS!
    Even simple drop test kits (chlorine/PH/etc.) are better and faster than strips.

    You have to have a job, and being a teacher can be rewarding... Go For It! 8)
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Seems to me that chem geek is a bit more tolerant of high CYA than some others on the forum, although he cautions that you need to augment the chlorine with an algaecide such as Polyquat 60. Certainly the preferred approach is to keep CYA steady around 50 +/- 20 (depending on the circumstances) and maintain an appropriate FC.

    If you're feeling a bit confident about your relationship with the boss, maybe ask why you don't carry liquid chlorine.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    There is a real challenge for the pool store employee, even if they do carry liquid chlorine. I think the largest challenge is getting people to pay any attention to their pool. Most people probably walk in and want a magic cure. "Buy this and dump it in and all your problems will be solved!" That approach doesn't ever work. Even the people who spend hundreds of dollars in the short run will get upset eventually because the magic cure doesn't always work.

    Here at TFP, we try to teach people to pay attention to their pool, to do their own testing and to watch what their water looks like day by day. A pool store would do well to sell high end test kits and teach people how to use them, teach people how to watch their water and catch problems early. Not everyone wants to pay that kind of attention, but many people can pick it up it given just a little guidance.

    I think of a pool as a pet. Pets need to be feed every day and you come to care about them emotionally. Apply that attitude to a pool, start to care about it and worry when the water doesn't look right and you are well on your way to having a trouble free pool. Even if you are selling over priced chemicals to such a person you have made a fundamental shift it their thinking and can gain their loyalty.

    ---

    I know that there are pool stores that teach BBB, complete with the grocery store chemicals part, and use that to create fantastically loyal customers. Loyal customers will come back and purchase the big ticket items, like cleaning robots, from you. Going this far is probably only possible for owner/operators, but it is good to keep in mind that it is possible.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    All great advice here. As Paul mentioned, I do sometimes talk about the more expensive, but sometimes more convenient, alternatives. Basically, unless one has a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) or automated chlorine dosing system (peristaltic pump, The Liquidator, etc.), then one usually has two general choices (and, of course, one can do various combinations for a hybrid approach):

    • Use chlorinating liquid or bleach as the primary source of chlorine (Cal-Hypo can be used in some cases if the CH is low and one pre-dissolves the Cal-Hypo in a bucket). This requires daily or every other day addition unless one has a pool cover (which usually allows for twice a week addition). This is the least expensive, but also less convenient approach. It is what most people on this forum (including myself) do. One can also carefully operate the pool at higher CYA (around 80 ppm) in sun-intense areas for lower chlorine loss and can often get away with adding chlorine every 3 days, but if the chlorine level gets too low then shocking the pool to get rid of algae takes a much higher chlorine level.[/*:m:33ct9r9v]
    • Use Trichlor pucks/tabs in a floating dispenser or inline chlorinator/feeder as the primary source of chlorine. This is more convenient since pucks usually last around 5 days (or more, depending on number of puck and "dial" setting). Since the CYA will usually climb, one needs to manage this somehow through a combination of water dilution (including backwashing) and use of a supplemental algaecide (PolyQuat 60 weekly) or a phosphate remover. Also, you have to add product(s) to raise the pH and TA as well. All of these "products" are extra cost.[/*:m:33ct9r9v]


    In fact, you may notice that some chemical manufacturers offer "algae-free guaranteed" programs that usually consist of a combination of Trichlor pucks for chlorine with an algaecide or phosphate remover. They also throw in other chemicals such as clarifiers but these aren't needed, especially if PolyQuat 60 is used since it is both an algaecide and a clarifier.

    The latest wrinkle is the use of 50 ppm Borates in the pool which appears to act as a mild algaecide. It certainly seems to help, but we don't have enough info to know if it can be used by itself in Trichlor puck/tab pools to prevent algae or up to what FC/CYA ratio this works. With PolyQuat 60 algaecide used weekly, my hunch is that you can get at least 100 ppm CYA and probably around 150-200 ppm CYA with FC at around 3 ppm before the algae overwhelms the low active chlorine amount. You HAVE to use the alagecide weekly without fail as it does breakdown from chlorine and some will get caught in the filter (so will get backwashed, if that is done). With a phosphate remover keeping phosphates below [EDIT] 150 ppb [END-EDIT], there is no CYA limit, but I'd avoid going above 200 ppm CYA in any event just because sanitation is a lot lower as well. For plaster pools, one needs to take the high CYA into account for the saturation index, keeping a higher TA target level as a result.

    Whatever you decide to do, remember the following chemical facts independent of concentration or pool volume that make it easier to figure out the side effects of chlorine products:

    For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
    For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm.
    For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases Calcium Hardness (CH) by at least 7 ppm.

    You should definitely get a better test kit using a FAS-DPD chlorine test. With a magnetic stirrer, you should be able to do all the tests relatively quickly. And please, never, ever, sell Dichlor for shocking a pool.

    As Jason said, educating pool owners so they can make their own rational choices/decisions will earn loyalty and trust -- something that should have them come to you for their larger purchases. Of course, if you were able to convince your bosses to carry chlorinating liquid in your store, then that would be even better, especially if you reuse the containers since that's better for the environment (compared to recycling the bottles). I buy 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my local pool store. I also occasionally buy Muriatic Acid, Cyanuric Acid (once a year) and all accessories such as pool brushes, pool cleaner bag replacements, etc. I don't mind paying more than online for those products because I appreciate my pool store offering chlorinating liquid at a decent price and I don't buy those accessories that often. If the pool store had offered Boric Acid, I would have bought it from them, but they should source that directly rather than have a double-priced Proteam Supreme Plus (which they didn't have).

    Your pool store might even consider sourcing products directly from alternative manufacturers or at least bargain to get better prices for the following products:

    pH Up -- see if you can get Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (sodium carbonate) directly from Arm & Hammer or their distributor at less than the pH Up products
    Alkalinity Up -- see if you can get Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) for less
    Calcium Hardness Increaser -- see if you can get Dow Peladow (calcium chloride anhydrous) or Dowflake (calcium chloride dihydrate) for less
    Proteam Supreme, etc. -- see if you can get 20 Mule Team Borax (Dial brand by Henkel) (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) for less
    Proteam Supreme Plus, etc. -- see if you can get Boric Acid for less

    Though clearly your markup will be higher than a grocery store or big-box H/W store that has low margins, you shouldn't need to charge twice as much (or more) as such stores. If you can get better pricing, then you can pass that on to customers for a real win-win for everyone (except for the manufacturers of the pool products that are simply re-branding common chemicals at higher prices).

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Wow, thanks everyone for the quick and in-depth replies. If I quote
    something that someone wrote, anyone please feel free to respond, not
    just the original poster. I have a few questions, but first:

    1) In my state the 12% liquid chlorine is not legal, apparently. I
    have no idea why but that's what my boss said. Also, if I started
    whispering to people to go buy 6% bleach then I would certainly lose
    my job =P. I have told people to use baking soda a few times when
    their TA is incredibly low, however.

    2) There is no way around the fact that I have to sell our company's
    brands. I know that our customers will be paying far more than they
    need to in order to maintain a healthy pool. The best I can do is
    try to make sure that when they spend those absurd amounts of money
    on marked-up grocery store chemicals that they do at least actually
    end up with a healthy pool. As it is, the advice that we are trained
    to give ends up placing our customers in a cycle where their water
    appears healthy for a couple of weeks, then it goes to **** and they
    spend 2 weeks getting it back to adequate. I know that I can at
    least avoid this.

    a) if their CYA is too high they need to drain/refill to
    bring the CYA down to 30.
    I have read about draining/refilling on the forums. However, what
    do you think would be a quick guideline that I could give to a
    customer that is basically foolproof? For example, drain 3-4 inches,
    refill, test, repeat? How much would each drain/refill cycle lower
    their CYA? It must be safe, simply because if someone's pool pops
    out of the ground from overdraining or something I'll be screwed.

    Can you tell them to order/purchase a good test kit, like
    the TF100 or Taylor K2006?
    My store does not carry FAS-DPD tests, nor do we use them when
    testing customers' water! However the company does market one that
    can be ordered online, which I can push. I believe it is a repackaged Taylor K2006.

    I'm not sure if I could get away with using a different test when I do customer samples - ours is
    the DPD test where you use five drops, then another five drops to measure
    FAC. It turns pink and our gauge reads to 5 ppm. Three drops of
    another reagent will reveal TAC. Could I bring some distilled water
    to work and somehow use this test with diluted pool water to
    determine PPM above 5?

    So far, based on all of your wonderful advice, my plan is thus:

    The vast majority of my customers use trichlor tablets in an in-line
    chlorinator, have a sand filter, and a vinyl liner.

    So for those people:

    0) Encourage customers to monitor their own water.
    1) Keep TA at 120ish.
    2) Keep PH at 7.4-7.6.
    3) Try to keep CYA under 100 through draining/refilling.
    4) Use pucks to keep FAC at 3-5 ppm.
    5) Use a polyquat 60 algaecide as preventative. (we do sell it)
    6) Use 73% cal-hypo when shock-level FAC is required.
    7) Once pool is kicking heiny, recommend/explain DE or cellulose
    fiber as a filter aid.

    A couple of other questions:

    1) What should I expect PH & TA to do when they drain/refill?
    2) Will the pucks be able to hold a 5ppm FAC?
    3) At what copper/iron levels do I need to sell our $25 sequestering
    agent before adjusting PH, TA and superchlorinating?
    4) Our water here comes out at 50-150 CH, so the 73% cal-hypo should be okay, right?
    5) Will the 73% cal hypo be completely safe for vinyl if pre-dissolved? The package actually instructs one to
    broadcast it directly into the pool and claims to be 100% safe for vinyl. Lies?

    Whew! That's it for now! I hope that you all are enjoying this
    little exercise - I can't tell you how much of a relief it would be
    to know that I am always giving sound advice. I don't even own a
    pool! Yet this company advances its employees quickly and is the
    best career opportunity I am likely to get. I want to do as little
    evil as possible =P. I will be a store manager at some point, and
    then there will be at least one chain pool store location in the
    world that doesn't entirely suck.

    Thanks again, you guys are the awesome.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    This is a great thread....

    #4 on your advice to the good folk.... "Keep FC at 3-5 " Not necessarily - refer to the CYA Chart - the minimum level must be kept to avoid algae, and the higher the CYA the higher the FC. That's why you should carry a cheat sheet.

    As for your 1-5 questions - I'll defer to the real experts - I just pretend to be one sometimes.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    There has been some really good advice and information given here and you'll do well to respect it but don't lose sight of the facts that you're new to the store, and your boss considers you to be a benefit to the business as long as you are a benefit to the business. Be careful coming in the door as an 'informed authority' countering the business model. You'll quickly find yourself on the other side of the counter again.

    I agree with what's been said here, and the tenants of pool maintenance practiced here, but you may be better served by trying to help your customers maintain their pools (non-swg) with their pucks and polyquat, and whatever else may be necessary to give them a good season with their pools. They will probably be ok for a season, and after they reach the high CYA levels which cause them to start seeing algae blooms, you can suggest that they drain/refill and start over. Occasional advice for BBB products may be good, but try to keep a good recollection of your relative position in the company hierarchy in the process. After a while, you will emerge as an obviously enlightened resource, and your freedom to follow your own course should increase. In other words, do your best, but remember that you are an employee. If you begin having moral issues with what you are doing, you may want to think of it as a means to an end - you can always try your hand as an independent, but experience "in the field" will only help you in the long run.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    #4 on your advice to the good folk.... "Keep FC at 3-5 " Not necessarily - refer to the CYA Chart - the minimum level must be kept to avoid algae, and the higher the CYA the higher the FC. That's why you should carry a cheat sheet. :wink:
    This is true only if one is not using a supplemental algaecide (e.g. PolyQuat 60 weekly) or phosphate remover (or possibly borates). It may be difficult to convince someone that they need to maintain at least 6 ppm FC when their CYA hits 80 ppm, and even higher FC when the CYA gets even higher. I know that we all "get it", but remember that these customers only have inexpensive test kits, possibly DPD measuring only up to 5 ppm. Though the use of an algaecide is extra cost, it's like insurance and will prevent algae problems. seilsel, the difference between your pool store and others is that you can explain the necessity of using the algaecide weekly without fail, due to the higher CYA that builds up from the Trichlor tabs/pucks and the low FC that the cheaper test kits can measure.

    Keep in mind that the CYA builds up pretty quickly and the amount of drain/refill is substantial. For example, let's say that the daily chlorine demand is a reasonably low 2 ppm FC per day. This means that the CYA builds up by 30*2*0.6 = 36 ppm every month. After 6 months, that's an increase in CYA of over 200 ppm. Of course, there will be dilution from splash-out (not much), backwashing (some), and rain overflow (perhaps a lot depending on region). Remember that evaporation and refill do not change the amount of CYA in the pool. So at 100 ppm CYA and 36 ppm added in a month, it would take a dilution of 100% - 100/136 = 26% of the pool water volume or about 8% per week to keep the CYA in check. That's usually more than even a weekly backwashing, though certainly the backwashing helps (especially if the pool volume is smaller so the backwashing amount is a higher percentage of pool volume).

    As for the other parts of the plan, it sounds reasonable except if an algaecide is used then the FAC target can be around 3 ppm which should result in a lower chlorine usage per day and that can help lower the rate of CYA rise. If someone is going to spend money on an algaecide, then they might as well maximize that benefit by keeping the chlorine usage as low as possible.

    The TA isn't a hard and fast rule. If the TA is higher and results in the pH being more stable, then that is fine.

    You just need to have them retest the pH and TA after some drain/refill. It will move towards whatever the values are in the fill water, but it's not easily predictable.

    As for metals levels, that's a good question I've never seen answered definitively, but any copper or iron above 0.5 ppm is probably too high -- certainly anything above 1 ppm is definitely too high and likely to stain. Most fill water, except from wells, has reasonably low copper and iron (< 0.2 ppm).

    The Cal-Hypo should be fine for occasional use given the lower CH of the fill water and the use of vinyl pools that don't need a higher CH. HOWEVER, evaporation and refill will increase the CH level and this can be substantial in some parts of the country. See this map for evaporation rates in inches per year in various parts of the continental U.S. Of course, if you are diluting the water for CYA, that will somewhat dilute it for CH as well. As for dosing Cal-Hypo, it isn't perfectly fast dissolving so pre-dissolving/mixing it in a bucket of water would be better. You don't want any sort of concentrated chemical to get dumped into a pool and settle towards the bottom onto vinyl.

    Speaking of which, you should warn your customers about using floating chlorinators that park themselves near the sides of pools, especially vinyl pools. Trichlor pucks are very acidic and acid is one of the worst things for vinyl. The use of inline chlorinators is better, but if one has a floater than one should make sure it stays away from the pool sides (I'm not sure how best to do that, however). In my own plaster pool years ago when I used a Trichlor floating feeder, it parked itself near stainless steel bars and rusted the mounts.

    Quote Originally Posted by seilsel
    1) In my state the 12% liquid chlorine is not legal, apparently. I
    have no idea why but that's what my boss said.
    What state are you in? I've heard this before, but when tracking it down it turns out to not be true. Instead it's just that there is no local source for chlorinating liquid (i.e. no chlor-alkali plant). The hazardous transport regulations vary from state-to-state and can also account for your situation. This is also why you won't find borate pool products sold in California yet 20 Mule Team Borax is, because they are willing to deal with the extra regulatory requirements.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    This may have been covered, as I did not thoroughly read all the other posts

    If you are telling folks things contrary to what your store advocates, and a customer comes in on your day off and says, "But that guy Seisel told me to do XYZ..." you could very quickly find yourself looking for a new job!

    But kudos for trying to do the right thing by your customers!

    8200 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, manually chlorinated with 10% liquid, salt added to ~2000, 12" sand filter, 1600gph pump, TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, Chlorine/CYA Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

  13. Back To Top    #13

    In the Industry

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Howdy, my new friends.

    Be careful coming in the door as an 'informed authority' countering the business model. You'll quickly find yourself on the other side of the counter again.
    Trust me Ohm_boy, I keep a low profile =). Also, VERY fortunately for me, my immediate superior (Store Manager) is intelligent and well-informed, with a few exceptions. He has a lot of very loyal customers. This post was mostly intended to give me the help I needed to do exactly what you are suggesting: do the best I can while staying brand loyal and within the framework of the company's sales policies. I enjoy selling non-chemical frills like toys and pool sport sets.

    seilsel, the difference between your pool store and others is that you can explain the necessity of using the algaecide weekly without fail, due to the higher CYA that builds up from the Trichlor tabs/pucks and the low FC that the cheaper test kits can measure.
    Inspiring! I will, and most people around here wouldn't bat an eye paying $26 for 12 weeks or so of polyquat60.

    Keep in mind that the CYA builds up pretty quickly and the amount of drain/refill is substantial.
    Unfortunately, maybe 1 out of 10 customers would be willing to go through that much trouble. They might even think I was incompetent =P. The normal response for 150 ppm CYA algae bloom from the store would be: Sequestering agent, adjust PH, 10-15 ppm worth of cal hypo FAC, copper algaecide.

    As for the other parts of the plan, it sounds reasonable except if an algaecide is used then the FAC target can be around 3 ppm which should result in a lower chlorine usage per day and that can help lower the rate of CYA rise.
    Okay, thank you for pointing that out. Assuming that they have this running well, what kind of conditions could arise that warrant shock-level FAC? Not algae - so what about cloudy water from high bather load?

    What state are you in?
    Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'd rather not say. You never know. But I found out today that it's true that no one carries it and cannot do so, for whatever reason.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    One thing to keep in mind is that many pool stores do bad testing and give bad advice, bad not just for the customer but also for the pool store. The more you understand what is going on, understand the limitations of the test kit you have, understand what the options are, the more likely you are to be able to help the customer.

    I know people who are willing to spend a lot of money at pool stores if and only if the advice they get really works. A lot of the people who come here would never have come here if the advice they got at the pool store actually worked. Cost is not what drives most people away from the pool store.

    I was willing to spend $80+/week to keep the pool looking good back when I didn't know any better. Three different pool stores and a weekly pool service all failed to get my business because they didn't have the first idea how to fix my problem. And my problem was high CYA and algae, which we see, and solve, all the time here.

    The pool stores ought to have know how to fix a common problem like that one. They actually have expensive products in stock that would have worked (for a while), but none of them suggested those solutions. If they had, they would have kept my business and I wouldn't have found BBB.

    ---

    By the by, there are a number of places where pool stores are not allowed to sell bleach above 6% concentration. Most of them choose not to bother if all they can sell is 6%.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    HI and welcome to TFP!!

    GREAT THREAD!

    I often find myself in a similar situation My boss wants to sell chems that I knowcan (and will) eventually harm the pool I have been specifically told "don't tell owners that baking soda is acceptable to use [over our 'Buffer Plus']" - The sad part is that my boss blindly follows what the chem salesman says and won't listen to me that it's the same f**king chem, only food grade and less expensive

    I try to 'feel out' the customer for their commitment to the pool and will give them this website if they seem interested in PROPERLY maintaining their pool with a little day-to-day checking/ dosing and a relatively minor investment in a good test kit - of ~ 1/2 dozen folks I've given this website address, I haven't seen any of them here The customers I work for apparently care about unnecessary algae blooms or wrecked heat exchangers for relying on trichlor and NEVER testing the water

    The folks who come into your store don't want to do anything with their pool but swim in it and add chems when things go wrong We know how easy it is to have a trouble free pool, but these folks want a bottle of "Magic Pool Fixer" and there just isn't any of that available 8)

    Again, I give you my welcome here for actually caring about folks pools, but I can tell you from 29 years experience that most pool owners just don't want to be bothered with caring for their $20,000 + investment (those that do find their way here )
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by seilsel
    The normal response for 150 ppm CYA algae bloom from the store would be: Sequestering agent, adjust PH, 10-15 ppm worth of cal hypo FAC, copper algaecide.

    Assuming that they have this running well, what kind of conditions could arise that warrant shock-level FAC? Not algae - so what about cloudy water from high bather load?
    A copper algaecide is effective at killing algae as well as protecting against future blooms. If it were not for one problem, it would be a perfect product. Unfortunately, copper will stain when it gets to a higher level and/or the pH gets high. Note that chlorine will slowly break down a sequestering agent releasing the copper. So overuse of copper algaecide or insufficient maintenance dosing of a sequestering agent can lead to staining. I didn't mention it in my options for that reason.

    Normally, when one maintains a sufficient FC relative to CYA that prevents algae growth, then this is usually sufficient to oxidize bather waste and keep the water clear. Most people on this forum do not shock their pools regularly, nor do they need to. You bring up a good point that one could see cloudy water from higher bather load and that shocking the pool with chlorine will clear it more quickly, but the higher CYA levels (without proportionately raising the FC) will also slow down oxidation by chlorine and that can lead to water getting cloudy or dull earlier. The use of a clarifier (such as PolyQuat algaecide) helps to delay this problem (actually hiding it by moving things to the filter).

    The other source of cloudiness and use of shocking is when algae growth begins. This is the more typical case when Trichlor pucks/tabs are used without an algaecide so shocking the pool weekly helps extend how long one can go with the "low FC, high CYA" situation.

    Since your customers won't want to do intentional partial drain/refill on a regular basis, you can at least have them get some benefit by more frequent backwashing or doing backwashing longer, though this does waste more water. If there are rains, then rain overflow will dilute the pool water without wasting fill water. Even though I don't use stabilized chlorine, I use winter rains to dilute my pool water to keep it fresh and to lower the salt levels (I have a cartridge filter so have very little water dilution during swim season).
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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  17. Back To Top    #17
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    As someone who has worked in the retail end of pools and spas I feel your pain. Remember the store is bascally trying to sell as many chems as possible to each cusotmer and keep them coming back so it is against their best interests to really tell people how to maintain a 'trouble free pool'!
    BTW, your testing can test above 5 ppm by doing dilutions (you are using a Taylor DPD test, right?)

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Just in case anyone was interested in an update...

    Things are going very well. I have already seen great results applying the advice that you all gave me in this thread. It's a very nice feeling when customers call to see if I'm there before bringing in a water sample after only a few weeks on the job. I find that I can help people while still maintaining a good per customer sales average. The Polyquat60 helps with this, since it's a high-margin item and I don't feel bad pushing it on people with 100+ CYA who don't want to drain/refill.

    Another nice thing I've gleaned from the forums concerns helping people who remove their covers to find swamps. I show people how to get things right without just throwing money into the water - how to use their filtration systems correctly and convincing them that some heavy lifting with a vacuum is the best way to go. You'd be amazed (or maybe not) at how many pool owners don't have any equipment to manually vacuum their pool. Fortunately, we sell vacuums =). Over the 10 days or so that it takes to turn their swamp into a crystal paradise, you can see people really getting interested in taking care of their pool, which is great.

    Not trying to resurrect the thread - I mostly just wanted to thank you all for taking the time to help out, chem_geek in particular for providing such specific and practical answers. Everyone enjoy your pool season!

    [EDIT] Also, I thought some of you would find this amusing. I've had several customers with vinyl liners INSIST on buying calcium hardness because our little analysis forms say that it should be between 200-400 ppm =). "Well...I just think that it would be best to go ahead and get it, since it's recommended on the official looking printout..." [END EDIT]

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    And we thank you for the update. It's comforting and encouraging to get to see someone taking a genuine interest in the well-being of the customers in addition to their own careers, and I'm sure that I speak for many here when I say that it makes the forum membership as a whole very proud of what you've chosen to do. You have taken the time and concern to learn your craft and ways to apply the best knowledge to your profession's best practices, which speaks volumes about your integrity and you will doubtless do quite well.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: If you have the time, a hypothetical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ohm_Boy
    And we thank you for the update. It's comforting and encouraging to get to see someone taking a genuine interest in the well-being of the customers in addition to their own careers, and I'm sure that I speak for many here when I say that it makes the forum membership as a whole very proud of what you've chosen to do. You have taken the time and concern to learn your craft and ways to apply the best knowledge to your profession's best practices, which speaks volumes about your integrity and you will doubtless do quite well.
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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