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Thread: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

  1. #1
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    pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Should I pour bleach into the skimmer or slowly over the return jet on my AGP?
    24' x 52" AGP = 13.5k gallons
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    return jet. Leave the pump running for a few hours to make sure it completely circulates.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    I take a minority position on this point. For me, it is most convenient (and I truly believe it to be totally harmless) to pour my bleach (liquid chlorine) directly into the skimmer. It's a matter of convenience for me and I have yet to read anything definitve to "prove" the harm.

    That said, I must admit it has become a minority position.....most folks prefer the returns.
    Dave S.
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    I am a skimmer guy, Because i don't like to pull back the solar cover..
    I don't see any harm in it...
    Jim
    live in eastern washington state
    18x36, Vinyl inground 24k
    Hayward 1 hp filter pump
    1 skimmer/2 returns
    24" sand filter, polaris 280 with booster pump.

  5. #5
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    At normal CYA levels it should be fine, and many people have been pouring bleach into the skimmer for years without problems. However, if your CYA level is very very low there can be some minor damage to the pump shaft seal and/or a copper heat exchange coil in a heater. That doesn't normally come up, but once you are in the habit of using the skimmer, you might not remember to switch to another approach when your CYA has dropped to zero one spring.
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  6. #6
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    I take a minority position on this point. For me, it is most convenient (and I truly believe it to be totally harmless) to pour my bleach (liquid chlorine) directly into the skimmer. It's a matter of convenience for me and I have yet to read anything definitve to "prove" the harm.

    That said, I must admit it has become a minority position.....most folks prefer the returns.
    Let me add to your minority position Dave,
    I have a safety fence around my entire pool and found it very difficult to pour through the fence, so last year someone here told me it was ok to pour the liquid in through the skimmer as long as it was clean and there wasn't residual of anything else there that it might react with. So that is what I was doing. This year I took that section of fence down because it makes it easier to vaccume and I have been pouring it in front of the return...I see no difference between the two ways and never had a problem last year.
    Beave
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  7. #7
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    I too, pour liquid bleach, granular chlorine, Borax, and clarifier directly into the skimmer. Have never had a problem. My thought is that by time the chemicals make it through all the equipment and out the inlet jets in the pool sidewalls, that the chemicals will be well dispersed. Also my thoughts with pouring the granular chlorine into the skimmer that the granuals will disolve in the filter and won't have to worry about any granuals settling on the bottom of the liner. Main reason that I do this is because I have a safety cover that I leave on all the time except for when we are using the pool. It is just easier putting everything through the skimmer basket.

    However DON'T put acid into the skimmer. I did that a couple of times, and the rubber seals in the pump were damaged immediately and the pump began leaking. Had to put an entire new seal kit in the pump. Learned my lesson on that one.
    18' X 36' X 4.5' vinyl oval in-ground 17K gallons, 250K BTU Pentair Master Temp NG heater, 1HP Hayward Super Pump, Hayward S200 sand filter, Hayward Pool Vac

  8. #8

    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Thanks for the info. I'm switching from tablets to bleach when I run out of tablets, and I have a brand new liner. I have been reading the preferred method is pouring in front of the returns. I've been told (by the pool store) not to put tablets in the skimmer, and to use a floater. Now, my buddy (who used to work for a pool store) told me the tabs in the skimmer was best since I just replaced the liner, and I didn't want a floater settling against the wall and bleaching a spot on the liner. I was also concerned about possible clumsiness and splashing clorox against the top of the liner and bleaching it. (not sure if it will bleach that fast) I was wondering about using the skimmer and hearing others have done this makes me feel better.

    My only question here is if the CYA can be low in the spring, why should I stop using tablets? I figured I'd stop since they build up your CYA, but if the CYA lowers over the winter, why stop using the tabs again?

    Now, I'm very new to pool ownership, spent a lot of money to fix the former frog pond into a beautiful pool, and I'm trying to keep it that way for a long time. I want to take care of it right. It seems to me that I'm not needing very much chlorine right now, but as the summer progresses, increased usage and increased heat and sun will start using a lot more chlorine, and that is when I can develop a CYA problem?

    Even if CYA does lower over the winter drain, I will still switch to Chlorox because of the price difference. By my calculations, it seems I can save at least 25% by using bleach.
    20k inground vinyl oval, Hayward super pump 1.5 HP, Pacvac 36 DE filter, Hayward inline chlorinator, Brand new liner 2009. 1st pool ever owned.

  9. #9
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    If you run the pump 24x7 then tabs in the skimmer probably doesn't hurt anything. Letting the tabs sit with no water flow will get you a localized low pH and high FC that could potentially do some damage. In my experience the most likely places for the floater to park are (1) against the skimmer when the pump is on, (2) whatever the most leeward point of the pool is when the pump is off. I have plaster not vinyl, but I never noticed any problem when I was using a floater.
    --paulr
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  10. #10
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    I have a plaster pool and 6 years ago when I was using Trichlor pucks in a floating feeder it parked itself near stainless steel bars in the pool and the mounts closest to the feeder rusted. So it can certainly be a problem and would be very bad for vinyl. So the pool store is right about a floating feeder staying in one place too long.

    As for pucks in the skimmer, the key is continual water movement. However, that gets expensive unless one has a very low speed pump. There are some tablets you can buy that are specifically made for use in the skimmer -- see BioGuard Silk Smart Sticks.

    Just keep in mind that for every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm. The CYA will build up over time, sometimes rather quickly depending on your specific situation, and will make the chlorine less effective leading to higher chlorine demand, then dull water, then visible algae growth. Also, the acidity of Trichlor requires pH Up or equivalent products and this costs extra. If you want to prevent algae as the CYA climbs and not raise the FC proportionately, then that requires the use of a weekly PolyQuat 60 algaecide or possibly a phosphate remover, but these are extra cost and/or hassle. So there are options, but the somewhat less convenient, but less expensive and more straightforward approach is to use chlorinating liquid or bleach as the main source of chlorine. The main downside is that you have to add it every day or two unless you have a pool cover or automated dosing system.

    So if you want to use Trichlor in the spring when the CYA is on the low side, that's perfectly fine, and either running the pump 24/7 or using the Smart Sticks would be an option for putting the Trichlor in the skimmer. All of these are simply choices you can make, at least now knowing the consequences of each choice.

    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
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  11. #11
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    While it would certainly make it more convenient for me to put the bleach in the skimmer, I'm afraid to do it.
    Having had to replace a corroded heat exchanger last year, which we think is due to the previous pool man putting pucks in the skimmer all summer long, I want the bleach to be as diluted as possible by the time it reaches the pool equipment.

    I would guess, though, that putting 6-12% bleach in the skimmer is far more dilute than trichlor pucks, correct?

    I, too, hate having to peel back the solar cover every time I had bleach.

  12. #12
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Pouring bleach in the skimmer is more concentrated than having a trichlor tablet in the skimmer while the pump is running. But having a trichlor tablet in the skimmer while the pump is off creates a dramatically more concentrated burst of chlorine and low PH when the pump first starts up.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    I have used the skimmer for my bleach applications for many years without experiencing any problems with the pump seals; but that it is a relatively minor fix if the problem does crop up. If that still gives you concerns about using the skimmer, simply pour a gallon of 6% bleach into a water filled 5 gallon bucket, mix it, then pour it into the skimmer. By the time that mixture reaches the seals of your equipment it should be thoroughly diluted enough to pose no danger no matter what your cya levels might be. I have used this method early on in the season before I have had a chance to properly monitor and adjust cya levels.
    27,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

  14. #14
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    If your CYA level is really zero, there will still be a signficant risk when pouring bleach into the skimmer, even if you substantially pre-dilute it.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    If your CYA level is really zero, there will still be a signficant risk when pouring bleach into the skimmer, even if you substantially pre-dilute it.
    As a matter of personal preference, I really don't care what the risk might be. I would rather replace a relatively inexpensive item in the pump motor assembly, than having to replace a much more expensive vinyl liner damaged pouring chemicals directly into the pool. The return will not dissipate all the substance and some will find it's way to the bottom of the pool. I probably ruined my previous liner by doing so under the advice of a previous (not so knowledgeable) pool maintenance person. The installer of my current liner does not recommend pouring any chemicals directly into the pool, but to rather dilute them and introduce them through the skimmer. Of course, if you do not have a vinyl lined pool, then no need to worry.
    27,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

  16. #16
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsjets
    ...I really don't care what the risk might be. I would rather replace a relatively inexpensive item in the pump motor assembly, than having to replace a much more expensive vinyl liner damaged pouring chemicals directly into the pool. The return will not dissipate all the substance and some will find it's way to the bottom of the pool. I probably ruined my previous liner by doing so under the advice of a previous (not so knowledgeable) pool maintenance person. The installer of my current liner does not recommend pouring any chemicals directly into the pool, but to rather dilute them and introduce them through the skimmer. Of course, if you do not have a vinyl lined pool, then no need to worry.
    I have a vinyl liner and I have no problems whatsoever adding 6% bleach into the return stream/jet.

    I'm one of those "you have to prove it to me" type people and mixed some food coloring with water in a 3 gal. bucket. I poured the colored water mixture into the return stream then dove to the bottom @8.5': The water/color was so dilluted that I couldn't tell that where the stream was! The dillution was so dramatic that I didn't expect it.
    It may make a difference that I leave my main drain open so the supply water to the pump is ~65-75% skimmer and 35-25% main drain.

    I'm still very careful with MA (paranoid about HCL), but don't worry about 6% bleach. Do I just dump it in? No, a carefull pour and I'm done.
    Triad Region of NC
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  17. #17
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Being that I have a fiberglass pool, and a brand new exchange heater after the previous pool care guy kept trichlor in the skimmer, I'll never take a chance on that.

    I guess it all depends on your equipment and past experience.


    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy_dba
    Quote Originally Posted by johnsjets
    ...I really don't care what the risk might be. I would rather replace a relatively inexpensive item in the pump motor assembly, than having to replace a much more expensive vinyl liner damaged pouring chemicals directly into the pool. The return will not dissipate all the substance and some will find it's way to the bottom of the pool. I probably ruined my previous liner by doing so under the advice of a previous (not so knowledgeable) pool maintenance person. The installer of my current liner does not recommend pouring any chemicals directly into the pool, but to rather dilute them and introduce them through the skimmer. Of course, if you do not have a vinyl lined pool, then no need to worry.
    I have a vinyl liner and I have no problems whatsoever adding 6% bleach into the return stream/jet.

    I'm one of those "you have to prove it to me" type people and mixed some food coloring with water in a 3 gal. bucket. I poured the colored water mixture into the return stream then dove to the bottom @8.5': The water/color was so dilluted that I couldn't tell that where the stream was! The dillution was so dramatic that I didn't expect it.
    It may make a difference that I leave my main drain open so the supply water to the pump is ~65-75% skimmer and 35-25% main drain.

    I'm still very careful with MA (paranoid about HCL), but don't worry about 6% bleach. Do I just dump it in? No, a carefull pour and I'm done.

  18. #18
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzy_dba
    I have a vinyl liner and I have no problems whatsoever adding 6% bleach into the return stream/jet.

    I'm one of those "you have to prove it to me" type people and mixed some food coloring with water in a 3 gal. bucket. I poured the colored water mixture into the return stream then dove to the bottom @8.5': The water/color was so dilluted that I couldn't tell that where the stream was! The dillution was so dramatic that I didn't expect it.
    It may make a difference that I leave my main drain open so the supply water to the pump is ~65-75% skimmer and 35-25% main drain.

    I'm still very careful with MA (paranoid about HCL), but don't worry about 6% bleach. Do I just dump it in? No, a carefull pour and I'm done.
    As I said it's a matter of personal preference from personal experiences.
    After about 3 years with my previous liner (having used the "dump into the pool" method), I began to notice some "puckering" of the liner especially around the corners. By the sixth season I had a "free floater" on my hands. I am now into my fourth season with my current liner, and it's as tight as the day it was first installed. The only change I made in my pool maintenance habits was to introduce the chemicals through the skimmer instead of dumping dirctly into the pool. Is this empirical evidence that it was the change in this procedure that has preserved my current liner?
    Maybe not, but you will never convince me otherwise. I guess you just choose your sides and take your chances.
    27,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

  19. #19
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Dumping into the pool vs. slowly pouring into a return flow aren't the same thing. Also, I usually recommend lightly brushing the side and bottom of the pool in the area where chemicals are added, just to ensure thorough mixing in a vinyl pool. I wouldn't add acid in the skimmer under any circumstances. You simply cannot dilute it enough -- Muriatic Acid starts out at a pH of -1 so even a 100:1 dilution only gets you to a pH of 1. So the safest is to dilute and pour very slowly into a return flow at the deep end with the pump running and then brush to mix.

    I wonder which chemical it was that caused the problem with the vinyl in your pool. It is true that chlorinating liquid and bleach are denser than water so can settle to the bottom of the pool unless mixed, but it's pretty easy to get it mixed in a return flow. What sorts of chemicals were you adding when you had the puckering problem? What kind of chlorine? Any acid?

    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"

  20. #20
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    Re: pour bleach in skimmer or directly in pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Dumping into the pool vs. slowly pouring into a return flow aren't the same thing. Also, I usually recommend lightly brushing the side and bottom of the pool in the area where chemicals are added, just to ensure thorough mixing in a vinyl pool. I wouldn't add acid in the skimmer under any circumstances. You simply cannot dilute it enough -- Muriatic Acid starts out at a pH of -1 so even a 100:1 dilution only gets you to a pH of 1. So the safest is to dilute and pour very slowly into a return flow at the deep end with the pump running and then brush to mix.

    I wonder which chemical it was that caused the problem with the vinyl in your pool. It is true that chlorinating liquid and bleach are denser than water so can settle to the bottom of the pool unless mixed, but it's pretty easy to get it mixed in a return flow. What sorts of chemicals were you adding when you had the puckering problem? What kind of chlorine? Any acid?

    Richard
    The liquid chlorine was introduced at the deep end near the return. Dry acid products were diluted in a ratio of 1lb. per 5 gallon bucket of water, mixed for several minutes and emptied along the deep end of the pool. As previously stated, I have switched my method of chemical introduction via skimmer only. I do not use hcl, instead preferring the dry acids and introducing them in small batches at the skimmer utilizing a filter sock while running the filter round the clock until thoroughly dissolved. Now into it's fourth season, the liner looks as good as the day it was installed.
    27,000 gallon ig vinyl solar heated (panels and cover) zeolite filtrate

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