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Thread: Chlorine usage with TFP method

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    Teald024's Avatar
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    Chlorine usage with TFP method

    I'm just starting to learn the TFP / BBB method from reading all this info on the site. This is my first pool and it was installed about 4 weeks ago. Water is looking great so far, but I have not started the TFP method just yet! I just bought my first supply of liquid Chlorine.

    When I bought the pool package, it came with what they called the "lazy mans package". That's not to say that I plan to be lazy, because so far I've tended to the pool daily as needed. I will admit that I told the wife that pool care was her job since she wanted to pool, but I've willingly and graciously accepted the responsibility. The package came with an Aqua Smarte trichlor tab method for adding chlorine automatically and a silver mineral add-on and that is what is currently installed & running. I've read about this method here and how many feel it is an unfavorable system (in the eyes of TFP users), but so far it hasn't failed me. The dealer raves about it, "set it and forget it, adjust with testing" From what I have read the only real downside is the increasing CYA and cost of the canisters.** ** now that I look back on previous notes about trichlor dropping pH and TA, this may explain my low pH and why my pool "wants" to be at 6.8 even after dosing twice with A&H soda ash. pH rise to 7.8 then drop to 6.8 within 2 days. Maybe/hopefully the liquid chlorine will remedy this.

    Each canister has lasted me about a week, so 2.5 lbs of trichlor a week with a 3-5 ppm average of chlorine. Based on this, I'm burning through +/- 3ppm per day. I'm not really seeing the CYA creep up beyond 40ppm. Don't laugh at me too hard, but I'm still using the supplied Aqua Chem Yellow test strips. ..... OK stop laughing. Perhaps I haven't been using the pool long enough to see any real rise, I don't know for sure. I've heard that winter kills the CYA levels, SO how high can the CYA levels get using the trichlor tabs at my usage rate? If I remember correctly the trichlor is 0.6 CYA per 1.0 Chlorine. Will the winter reset CYA to low enough levels?


    I couldn't find answers to these questions in the Pool School. IF / Once I decide to switch over to TFP method, how much and how often should I expect to add liquid chlorine? I know testing needs to be done to check & verify what the pool needs, but is this testing & adding Cl something that you guys have to do daily? Or once things get going in the Spring, I would test every couple of days and just add the expected usage amount of chlorine on days without testing? Based on 3ppm per day burn, I'd have to add ~50oz per day of 10% bleach. Does this sound about right? If I have to add Cl every day from a bottle, surely there has to be a trade-off to what your time is worth and what CYA levels are tolerable. One of my biggest concerns is that I would have to test and/or dump Cl every day. There will be times where this just isn't practical. What do you do about this? keep the baseline a bit higher and add 100oz every other day?

    I know many on here will just chime in to "just use the vetted TFP / BBB method" but I'd like to hear opinions on my questions above.
    Dave - Aqua Leader Elegance AGP 15'x30'x 54", 12k gallons, vinyl liner ... Hayward/SwimPro Voyager pump SW159412STL, 2hp, 2spd, Hayward/Voyager 175sf element filter SW175MDDVPAKS, Installed August 2016 ... Liquid Chlorine, Stenner, Woods 50015 timer ... TF-100 .... CYA/Chlorine Chart ... Recommended Levels ... Basic Care Schedule ... Extended-Test-Kit-Directions ... ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Welcome to TFP.

    As long as you keep chlorine in the water nothing much bad can happen in a month. Plus, using test strips you are flying blind. They are only slightly better than tasting the water to try to figure out the chemical,levels.

    People have the misunderstanding that using the TFP method we are AGAINST ever using solid forms of chlorine. We are not. What we are against is lack of knowledge. Without the proper test kit you have no idea what is really happening with your water. You need one, period. As an example, we have had a wet year here in SC. Because I have been pumping out so much water I have had a tab floater in the pool most of the year to keep the CYA level up. Knowledge is the key.

    Now, with a test kit can you continue using the methods you are using? Sure. But....... (There is always a but)

    I would stop using the mineral packs. With the proper amount of chlorine you don't need them. They are nothing but an added cost with a couple of big downsides. First, the metals slowly,build up in the water and can cause staining issues down the road. Second, all they kill is algae. To be honest, the least of my worries is algae. I'm worried about nasty stuff that causes people to get sick or even die. Metals don't help with these type of critters. You need chlorine to kill them. The people who push mineral systems say you can keep your chlorine level lower using metals. If all you worry about is algae, that is true - but what about the other stuff?

    So, how much are you going to drain your pool to winterize each year? How much rain do you get? You ask if the CYA "resets" each year. It only goes away when you pump out water. So, if you empty half your pool each winter to winterize then half hour CYA will go away.

    Thousands of pools are operated with no knowledge of TFP and operate so that their owners are happy. You could be one of them. We just believe that following our methods will result in a cleaner, clearer pool for way less money.

    It's your pool, maintain it as you see fit. I will just caution you - don't try to mix and match parts from our recomendations and parts from your pool guy. That is a recipe for disaster. Pick one or the other.
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    FC usage for most pools in summer is 1ppm to 3ppm every pool is different so no way for us to tell you but it will become clear to you in short order when you switch a week or 2 tops. You are late in the season so whatever the number is now it will be more in the peak of summer.

    Pool Math can be used for the amount of CYA per tab if you go to the bottom of the page there is an effects of adding chemicals area that will do the math for you based on weight per tab.

    A hard winter can eliminate CYA but it is not guaranteed to happen and if it does happen you will usually be dealing with other problems, from what I have seen it is rare and not worth talking about unless it happens. In most pools the numbers I have seen for CYA loss is 3 to 5 ppm per month so winter likly will not drop it low enough if you are more than say 20ppm over where you want to be.

    You can overshoot your target FC and get a couple of days out of it but if that is going to be the norm not just for a day away from home its probably better to get a dosing system or switch to SWG.
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method


    Quote Originally Posted by Teald024 View Post
    ... IF / Once I decide to switch over to TFP method, how much and how often should I expect to add liquid chlorine? I know testing needs to be done to check & verify what the pool needs, but is this testing & adding Cl something that you guys have to do daily? Or once things get going in the Spring, I would test every couple of days and just add the expected usage amount of chlorine on days without testing? Based on 3ppm per day burn, I'd have to add ~50oz per day of 10% bleach. Does this sound about right? If I have to add Cl every day from a bottle, surely there has to be a trade-off to what your time is worth and what CYA levels are tolerable. One of my biggest concerns is that I would have to test and/or dump Cl every day. There will be times where this just isn't practical. What do you do about this? keep the baseline a bit higher and add 100oz every other day?

    I know many on here will just chime in to "just use the vetted TFP / BBB method" but I'd like to hear opinions on my questions above.
    Once you know the appetite of your pool, you can relax to every other day, maybe a little more. After about a month of testing (*cough* with a proper kit *cough*) you'll know how much your pool goes through.

    If there are lots of times you are away from the pool for days, you sound like a SWG candidate. That is about as set-it-and-forget-it as it gets.
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Look at the ranges for CYA on the test strips..... You have to jump by about 30 to get it to change from one color to the next. Knowing that it's "50-100" isn't all that helpful, in reality, is it?
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Teal,

    I have a 3 yr old pool I started servicing myself almost a year ago. Friends told me about this site and it has worked brilliantly for me. I don't do everything strictly by "the rules", mostly because I'm not always home. But the basic principles of FC, pH, CYA, scrubbing have been easy to manage. My pool is roughly same size as yours and I test plus add liquid cl 2-3 times per week... usually 64 oz at a time. I test FC with the FAS-DPD method and a pH "pen type" tester with ease (red shades for pH test are hard for me to detect). They're less than $20 from Amazon. I keep CYA low ~40 so I can use tablets when I travel... many if not most on here do this. For trips less than a week I just add liquid cl to a few ppm above slam level. When I get home its still above the lower end of the range. For trips up to 2 weeks I do the same plus 3 tablets and remove the tablet remains when I return. My pH gradually rises each week so I add about 25 oz muratic acid about twice per week also. For trips, I adjust pH to the low end before I add cl.

    I tested a lot when i first got started, almost daily but soon reduced to a couple times per week as I got to the point I could predict accurately what the results would be I've also checked my test kit with strips and they're just not close. I doubt my adaptation of tfp would work with strips so I'd encourage you to get the kit. You can bend the rules to deal with realities of life but you can't fly blind.

    I use the TF-100 kit and only run all the tests every 2 months now. CYA barely changes but it's important to be sure the pool is safe. TA changes very slowly an requires a little baking soda every 3 months. CH stays 300-325 with no adjustment.

    Lastly, get to know the pool math calculator. See if you can predict what's going to happen then test to see if you're right. Once you do treating and keeping in balance is much easier. And until you're very comfortable the people here are a tremendous confidence booster plus problem solver resource.

    Each pool is different due to materials in contact with the water, water source, usage, contamination sources, and sunlight but once you get to understand your pool and tfp principles, pool maintenance becomes a piece of cake. Took me 6 months and 3 friends were so amazed at this they're now using the same technique.

    Good luck! And I hope this helps.

    Chris

    P.S. I'm currently on a 12 day trip to Italy.


    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    You asked so, here it is the big 3 strikes against all mineral systems for pools

    1, They are effective at killing algae, this may sound good, but in reality it is BAD, because they have little to no effect against bacteria and viruses, vs Chlorine when used without a mineral system is more effective against most viruses and bacteria than it is against algae, so with a Chlorine pool we can use the absence of visible algae as a proxy for a safe and sanitized pool as viruses and bacteria are not visible to the naked eye.

    2, You will have a build up of metals in your water which can cause green hair (copper systems anyway) as well as stains on the pool finish that are very difficult or impossible to remove, worse yet these stains can appear nearly instantly all that is required is a critical shift in pH

    3, These mineral cartridges are not cheap, and the best thing that can be said about them is they make people confuse clear water with safe water (think about all those nature shows that warn against drinking clear water from streams)
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    The number 2 thing that helped me be in complete control of my pool was keeping a log of my test results taken with the number one thing for my pool-good test kit.

    I go as far as writing down any big weather events-all day sun, clouds, heavy rain, lots of leaves, etc.

    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    The number 2 thing that helped me be in complete control of my pool was keeping a log of my test results taken with the number one thing for my pool-good test kit.

    I go as far as writing down any big weather events-all day sun, clouds, heavy rain, lots of leaves, etc.

    Good one Kim. I forgot to mention that one. I keep it all on a spreadsheet... helped me a lot to learn how my pool reacts. Kim was one of the early helpers/encouragers for me too.
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Quote Originally Posted by PAGirl View Post
    Look at the ranges for CYA on the test strips..... You have to jump by about 30 to get it to change from one color to the next. Knowing that it's "50-100" isn't all that helpful, in reality, is it?
    Hey! Its the difference between A+ and an F in school. Pool School too!
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    I'd like to correct the record a bit as this was mentioned twice and yet is not technically correct. The OP describes the mineral system as silver based. Silver based mineral systems do not really kill algae very effectively; copper based mineral systems are more effective against algae. Also, silver by itself is a very poor anti-microbial agent unless it is at relatively high concentrations. Silver + chlorine improves the anti-microbial properties of silver alone but typically requires silver concentrations much higher than the scaling limit. See this post by Richard for details -

    converting my ecosmarte system to chlorine

    Also, while copper stains can be treated (although quite expensive to do so), silver staining is incredibly difficult to fix and often requires draining and acid washing to remove. Being an AGP with a vinyl liner, your chances of developing metal scale are lower than plaster pools.

    The bottom line to all this is as others say - the mineral ion system is really not doing anything but draining your wallet. Chlorine alone is sufficient to keep a pool clean and A LOT cheaper. If you're worried about having to add chlorine everyday, then you can simply use a Stenner liquid chlorine injection pump to do the work for you...
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Quote Originally Posted by All posters
    You asked so...
    Yes I did ask for opinions. However many missed a major part of my questions. Aka I'm new to TFP methods and have no idea what to expect other than what is written in the school material.

    I do see the benefits of TFP and that's why I'm investing time trying to learn the system. Unfortunatly us noobies don't know the system yet and questions that seem simple & obvious to you may still be questions in our head, at least mine anyway.

    I want to try to sumerise from above: ( for my benefit in one post)
    1. I'm trying to get an idea on how often you test?
    Daily, then if the results become consistent or predictable, perhaps cut back to every 2or3 days for chlorine & pH, weekly for others.

    2. Do you add chlorine daily or how often? Obviously if a test shows you need it, then you add it. See point #1
    Yes daily consistently. Occasionally could overshoot a bit if you know that you can't do it the next day. Alternate is to use a SWG or liquid chlorine injection. Save trichlor tabs for when it's vacation time to prevent CYA buildup. Can use trichlor if lots of water draining is required due to rain. Don't let CYA get it of hand.

    3. Do you add chlorine without testing because you know what the pool needs based on history? See point #1
    Maybe, if usage becomes consistent or predictable, but be careful not to go near or above shock levels if going to be using the pool.

    4. How much chlorine per day?
    Tough one to answer and can be highly variable. Will have to just have to test and add as necessary.

    5. CYA loss in winter?
    Perhaps will reset, likely not unless draining a significant amount of water. CYA loss could be 3 to 5 ppm per month in winter, maybe. Most likely drop due to draining/ refill water during closing & opening.

    6. Using mineral packs?
    Stop using them. At best they are unnecessary, at worst the can cause issues over time (mineral buildup/ scale/ staining/ cost
    ( I was actually going to not replace next season regardless of TFP due to high cost (~$99), now I have a legit justification)

    7. Test strips v. Test kit
    Get a PROPER test kit.


    Sound about right? Suppose I should a disclaimer that these are in no particular order, lol!

    Thanks - Dave -
    Dave - Aqua Leader Elegance AGP 15'x30'x 54", 12k gallons, vinyl liner ... Hayward/SwimPro Voyager pump SW159412STL, 2hp, 2spd, Hayward/Voyager 175sf element filter SW175MDDVPAKS, Installed August 2016 ... Liquid Chlorine, Stenner, Woods 50015 timer ... TF-100 .... CYA/Chlorine Chart ... Recommended Levels ... Basic Care Schedule ... Extended-Test-Kit-Directions ... ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Yep, that looks pretty good. You will get a pretty good idea of what your daily usage is. It will go up as the days get longer and hotter and then down as the days get shorter and cooler. Lots of swimming will create more chlorine demand. Normal daily chlorine usage is 2-4 ppm.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Tealdo you nailed it! Very well done! We try to hit all of the areas when there are a lot of questions. As you have seen some of us know more about X and some know more about Z...........We hope in the end YOU end up knowing about X and Z!

    I hope you have a TFP and a full wallet! Maybe you will stick around and help other newbies! I like your writing style and think everyone would benefit from your new eyes.

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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Hi Dave,

    I am a newbie - pool done this past spring. There is a LOT to learn, so don't go crazy, take your time and read. Get good test kit and do not rely on pool stores, which can be inaccurate and make money selling the chemicals. Get you levels in good ranges.

    I have a swg as I do travel and did not want to test as much, but getting the SWG setup to right value does require testing as well. My original SWG would not keep up once temps rose this summer - hot one - upper 90s and into 100s with heat index, and I get 8+ hours of direct sun. So I supplemented with chlorine. I was testing a couple times a day, as this was all new. I found by the 2nd week, I tested once/day for free chlorine. By the 3rd, every other day as I had a very good feel for what the pool was using. So you can limit your testing once you get to know your pool.

    To be clear TFP method is not a method to eliminate work, but to make it easier to manage pool so you don't run into trouble.

    For me, I wanted the SWG so I can spend less time on the chemical side, but the methods learned here are invaluable. So it can take time just to read and absorb it.

    Welcome.

    Gary
    38'x16' Fiberglass pool - 3.5' - 8' deep - 19,000 gallons. AutoPilot Total Control SWG (RC-52 cell), Pentair SuperFlo VS, Pentair SD70 Sand Filter, Coverstar Automatic Cover, 10' board, PAL Treo lighting, Polaris 9550 Sport robot, Lamotte ColorQ Pro 7 test kit.

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    setsailsoon's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine usage with TFP method

    Quote Originally Posted by Teald024 View Post
    Yes I did ask for opinions. However many missed a major part of my questions. Aka I'm new to TFP methods and have no idea what to expect other than what is written in the school material.

    I do see the benefits of TFP and that's why I'm investing time trying to learn the system. Unfortunatly us noobies don't know the system yet and questions that seem simple & obvious to you may still be questions in our head, at least mine anyway.

    I want to try to sumerise from above: ( for my benefit in one post)
    1. I'm trying to get an idea on how often you test?
    Daily, then if the results become consistent or predictable, perhaps cut back to every 2or3 days for chlorine & pH, weekly for others.

    2. Do you add chlorine daily or how often? Obviously if a test shows you need it, then you add it. See point #1
    Yes daily consistently. Occasionally could overshoot a bit if you know that you can't do it the next day. Alternate is to use a SWG or liquid chlorine injection. Save trichlor tabs for when it's vacation time to prevent CYA buildup. Can use trichlor if lots of water draining is required due to rain. Don't let CYA get it of hand.

    3. Do you add chlorine without testing because you know what the pool needs based on history? See point #1
    Maybe, if usage becomes consistent or predictable, but be careful not to go near or above shock levels if going to be using the pool.

    4. How much chlorine per day?
    Tough one to answer and can be highly variable. Will have to just have to test and add as necessary.

    5. CYA loss in winter?
    Perhaps will reset, likely not unless draining a significant amount of water. CYA loss could be 3 to 5 ppm per month in winter, maybe. Most likely drop due to draining/ refill water during closing & opening.

    6. Using mineral packs?
    Stop using them. At best they are unnecessary, at worst the can cause issues over time (mineral buildup/ scale/ staining/ cost
    ( I was actually going to not replace next season regardless of TFP due to high cost (~$99), now I have a legit justification)

    7. Test strips v. Test kit
    Get a PROPER test kit.


    Sound about right? Suppose I should a disclaimer that these are in no particular order, lol!

    Thanks - Dave -
    Teal,

    Sounds pretty close from my limited, less than one year experience. I run my FC up to the max for my CYA level then let it drop over about 3 days to the minimum level then repeat. I'm adding liquid cl about every 3 days. I started testing every day but now only do it about 2-3 times per week. It's always very close to my estimated FC level but I always test before adding anything. Starting out I'd advise you add what pool math calculator estimates for liquid cl addition and about half the MA. You can check pH next day and see where you are. Even if you over-run cl it won't take long to get down. We have grown kids and grand kids that visit and my primary issue is making sure it's safe for them. Also we swim ourselves almost every night.

    Since we've been doing this almost a year I've seen the difference in cold vs hot. My FC demand drops dramatically when the temp decreases into the 60's. Only a short time but it does happen for a month or two in S FL.

    Nice thing about this method is it's simple, pretty flexible and there's a wealth of super smart, experienced people here to help. Sometimes I just wanted to describe my test results and my treating plans just to see if it made sense. There's always somebody that will chime in with a friendly suggested tweak to the plan or just a confidence-boosting "sounds good to me".

    I bought a big bucket of 3" trichlor before I started here and I think I've used about 5 tablets. I get my MA from Home Depot for abut $6/gal and my 10.5% cl from Leslie's or Pinch a Penny. My chemical costs are well under $10/mo. and I have the best looking water on the block!

    Best regards,

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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