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Thread: Why is Copper so frowned upon

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    Why is Copper so frowned upon

    Those Cl levels seem so high for safe swimming.

    I had a very similar problem this year fighting some green algae that seemed to be unable to be killed by Cl well above 10 and all other numbers in the "normal" range. My solution was to create a 3% solution of Copper Sulfate and add 500 mL to the pool. The next day the pool looked great - a little cloudy (Calcium Sulfate is all but insoluble). Cl over the week fell to 3 and water was beautiful. After a month of shocking and vacuuming daily, this was such an easy fix.

    Why is Cu so frowned upon when it can keep chemical usage so low?? To me this seems safer than high Cl levels.

    Sincerely,
    Belly

    20k volume vinyl inground pool, sand filter, 1hp pump

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Copper so frowned upon

    How safe high FC levels are depends on your CYA level. At higher CYA levels, most of the chlorine is held in reserve by the CYA, so the active chlorine level is far lower than a FC test would suggest. Typical outdoor pools with FC levels around say 6 and CYA levels around 50 have far far less active chlorine than an indoor pools with a FC level of one and a CYA level of zero.

    Copper can help prevent algae, but at copper levels that are high enough to be effective you are right on the edge of getting copper stains. In addition to be unsightly, copper stains can be extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to remove. Copper completely flunks the "trouble free" test, so we don't recommend it.
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    Re: Why is Copper so frowned upon

    Hi bellyjb,

    I follow your thinking too, If its possible to keep all the other parameters of water in balance then one more should not be a problem.
    People with years of experience have been, there seen it and written the book. I cannot find any information via the web on exactly how little copper it requires to turn hair green and stain pools. It seems to be PH variations that cause the problem more than a few PPM.

    If you read the BBB section especially Borax, not only will this stabilise the PH but has the benefit of working as an algicide without the short commings of copper.

    If a simple cheap algicide does it's job then there is more chlorine available to oxidise the rubbish from the water. The high chlorine figures on the face of it raise an eyebrow but if you read Chem geeks posts it is cleverly arranged to provide The FC/CYA ratio from equilibrium chemistry. The correct amount of free chlorine both as hypochlourous acid and in reserve with Cyanuric acid.

    I find more mentions on the web about chlorine by products and health issues. With the drop in chlorine that people suffer whilst trying shock algae out of the pool I wonder over a number of days how much of this is damaging to the environment. BBB is designed to be effective and cheap not necessarily good for the environment IMO.

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Copper so frowned upon

    Quote Originally Posted by teapot
    With the drop in chlorine that people suffer whilst trying shock algae out of the pool I wonder over a number of days how much of this is damaging to the environment. BBB is designed to be effective and cheap not necessarily good for the environment IMO.
    can you explain this better? what do you mean about environmental damage in a pool?
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Why is Copper so frowned upon

    Quote Originally Posted by teapot
    If its possible to keep all the other parameters of water in balance then one more should not be a problem.
    The difference is that with copper, if you let the PH get high you have a thousand dollars of damage. While with FC levels and algae, if you let the FC level get too low you have $20 to $50 worth of shocking the pool to do. It is possible to use copper, but the level of control you need to keep on the PH level is so strict and the cost of screwing up is so high that it isn't a good tradeoff.

    Copper starts to cause problems around a level of 0.3 ppm, which is the same level that it starts to be effective against algae. Fiberglass pools are especially easy to stain. Vinyl liners can go to slightly higher levels before there is a risk of staining, but there is no reliable way to remove copper stains from vinyl.

    Quote Originally Posted by teapot
    I find more mentions on the web about chlorine by products and health issues. With the drop in chlorine that people suffer whilst trying shock algae out of the pool I wonder over a number of days how much of this is damaging to the environment. BBB is designed to be effective and cheap not necessarily good for the environment IMO.
    If you follow our recommendations, chlorine byproducts are minimal, almost undetectable, while in public pools they seem to be quite common. Chlorine does have some minor risks, but most of them are easy to avoid if you follow our procedures. The risk from swimming in an un-sanitized pool are clearly far worse.

    As for environmental damage, chlorine breaks down very very quickly, and has minimal environmental impact. The amount of chlorine used in swimming pools is trivial compared to the amount of chlorine used in tap water, which many many people drink all of the time. The only thing we recommend that does have a detectable environmental impact is borates. While the damage from borates being released into the environment is not significant compared to many things that people do, it is the only chemical we recommend using that has environmental impact based restrictions anywhere in the US (currently only in a couple of places).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  6. Back To Top    #6
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    Re: Why is Copper so frowned upon

    copper is forever. it's your pool, do what you want but when you have stains or green hair I will say I told you so (and you will).

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