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Thread: Chlorine ONLY?

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Chlorine ONLY?

    I am having a brand new 16x26 AGP installed in a couple of weeks. I have a friend who is in the business of selling his company's waste water treatment services to cities. I had a verv brief discussion with him regarding pool chemicals. He also has a 21 or 24 ft. round AGP. He tells me that as long as you don't plan on "drinking" the water in any significant quantities that the ONLY thing you need to treat or add to pool water is chlorine as long as you circulate it and keep the pump clean. Everything else is a waste of time and money and doesn't matter. No algae growth to worry about or anything else. PH, alkalinty, water hardness doesn't matter. I'd love your opinions on this. The only thing he puts in his pool is the charcoal briquet style chlorine tabs, and I believe he said he maintains chlorine at 1ppm? And NO! I haven't been in his pool!

    What are the effects/downsides of using ONLY chlorine? What else would happen if the PH, alkalinty, and other factors were all over the board using only chlorine? He swears his water stays crystal clear. Dying to hear your responses to this approach.

    Thanks in advance,
    Woodyp(newbie)
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    Hey, Woody,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Well, I'd rather be lucky than good and your friend is very lucky but not very good at pool chemistry.

    1. He is adding more than just chlorine with the pucks. He is also adding stabilizer which, in excess, can cause a lot of trouble.

    2. Not knowing the correct pH is again a sign that he is quite lucky but not very good.

    3. If it were that easy, you would see no posts on this forum....we'd all be out by the pool, drinking beer!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    I'm curious, does he empty the pool each winter? If so, the system he's using could work.
    - He's using stabilized chlorine all year, but starting from zero each spring so stabilizer is probably not getting out of hand until it's time to drain for the winter.
    - In a vinyl pool, low hardness doesn't matter, and if the fill water is not hard, the pool's hardness won't get high enough to be a problem in one season.
    - The pH is the biggest question mark. If the fill water is a bit alkaline, the acidity of the chlorine tabs is probably keeping it under control.

    But, as duraleigh says, he succeeds by being lucky rather than being smart.
    --paulr
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    His pool is NOT emptied every year. It is 24 ft. round with vinyl liner. It is also on well water which he said is on the hard side, and according to him--doesn't matter. The chlorine briquets are just that with nothing else added to them such as stabilizer. It is shocked when needed as I understand it with granulated chlorine. It is monitored for chlorine level only. None of this CYA or XYZ stuff!
    With that said, if the chlorine level is monitored correctly and maintained--------how much does all this stuff matter? I mean, will bad ph, alkalinity, CYA and the like cuse an ozone hole over the poles or anything! Or are all these other additives just designed to aid in making it easier to maintain the correct chlorine level? Im not trying to go against the tried and true advice here----just trying to get a better understanding of the interrelationships of all these chemicals especially when he has zero problems.

    Thanks in advance for all your "chemistry" inputs and help.
    Woodyp
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    Woody,

    A better understanding of what we teach here is in Pool School. You might go through some of the articles to see if it makes sense. Nowhere in there will we advocate the use of XYZ. It's all pretty simple, really.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    I thought that XYZ was Granny's super secret corn squeezin's recipe that is a basic requirement of all pools!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    Well, whether he thinks so or not, his chlorine "briquets" are combined with something else. It may be calcium, CYA, or copper. This is because chlorine is too unstable in its elemental form. As a solid, it must be combined with something and on this forum, we know what those somethings are.

    As duraleigh said, these things do matter and without these things pools would be, oh, I don't know, pick any or all: dirty, damaged, unsafe, smelly, gross appearing, broken, condemned, evening news fodder, or money pits. Rarely are they perfect on their own and if they are, it's luck, or it's because they haven't operating long enough to have a problem.

    If these things don't matter to him, then what does it matter at all really? So he says that his chlorine is maintained at 1 ppm. I wonder how he knows this and if his solution is perfect anyway, why would he even test the water? What is he testing it for if chemical components don't matter?

    I would invite you to read the articles in Pool School. There, you can see the problems listed that can occur when pool water is out of balance, when pH is high or low, when CYA is high, low or absent, when chlorine is high, low, or absent, and when hardness issues lack their due attention. There is too much to list in the course of one thread. And these aren't opinions. These are scientific facts and can be ignored at anyone's peril or expense.

    This forum exists largely because the members arrived here looking for answers to a problem. Many came here thinking they thought they had all of the answers too, only to learn that they were sorely mistaken. Many ended up here because year after year, they went to the pool store and plunked down hundreds of dollars per trip on "chlorine briquets", dutifully added them to their pool, and couldn't understand why 2 years later, even when they followed the 18 year-old pool store "expert's" advice to the tee, they have a green pool, calcium scale on the plaster and clogging up their pipes, and chronic swimmer's ear.

    Time will tell whether your friend does or does not have problems with his pool. Sooner or later, things tend to catch up with you when you don't pay the attention to details that is due. Kind of like buying a new car. You can say that your car never has problems. You just put gas in it and it goes. It's been going great for 3 or 4 years. Who needs to change the oil or transmission fluid? Tell me if that makes sense.

    I will tell you that if you are having a pool installed and you are looking for information on how to care for it, you have come to the right place. Here, you will learn how to take care of it the right way and it will be a beautiful, sparkling oasis as long as you learn some basic water parameters and use a good test kit. The information within this forum is not quackery or some sort of way-out-there-in-left-field approach. It's just basic science combined with thousands and thousands of hours of combined experience. We know it saves us money and we know it works 100% of the time. The best part is that we are happy to share it with you, free of charge. Gratis!

    Your friend no doubt knows a bit about wastewater treatment. The thing about that though is that once wastewater is treated, it leaves the facility. It doesn't stick around for months or years to cause scale or corrosion, or any of those things. Treating wastewater and managing a pool are two completely different things. Chlorine is involved, yes. But that is about the only similarity that exists between the two.

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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    I thought that XYZ was Granny's super secret corn squeezin's recipe that is a basic requirement of all pools!
    Pretty close! Granny's stuf is XXX. Remember how it's on all the moonshine jugs in the old cartoons? You are correct in that it is pretty essential to many of us pool owners!!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    Pretty close! Granny's stuf is XXX. Remember how it's on all the moonshine jugs in the old cartoons? You are correct in that it is pretty essential to many of us pool owners!!
    I'm sad to admit that I agree and knew that Granny's corn was marked as XXX on the bottle and used a corn cob to stopper the bottle.

    duraleigh, I think that we have just dated ourselves.

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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    If that's all he does and he never monitors PH and TA he's risking his pool liner and equipment...but if he doesn't mind spending a few thousand to replace it all....
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    If he has solid pucks of some sort then that is either Trichlor, which adds to CYA, or Cal-Hypo, which adds to CH. The only other solid form of chlorine is lithium hypochlorite, but I've never seen that in pucks -- it's always in powdered form.

    If he uses Trichlor pucks, then without significant water dilution the CYA level will rise making the chlorine less effective over time and increasing the risk for algae. Also, these pucks are very acidic so the pH will drop (as will the TA) and the low pH can be corrosive to metal as well as dissolve plaster surfaces.

    If he uses Cal-Hypo pucks, then this doesn't change the pH much over time, but without significant water dilution the CH level will rise making it more likely to get scaling. Since he has an AGP that probably has a vinyl liner, then if his CH level in the fill water is low, this could be a reasonable approach for a while. For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases CH by 7 ppm. If his daily chlorine usage is 2 ppm FC per day, then the CH will increase by over 250 ppm in 6 months, so not a problem if the CH starts out at 50-100 ppm or so. He would need to change or dilute the water each year, possibly using rain overflow.

    However, if he does not initially add any CYA (stabilizer/conditioner) to the water and if his pool is exposed to direct sunlight, then his chlorine consumption will be very high since the UV in sunlight will break down half the chlorine every hour in a pool without CYA. So either his pool is not exposed to direct sunlight or he initially adds some CYA to the water. I suspect from the above that he is using Cal-Hypo which would explain why his pH tends to be stable. Even if it were to rise somewhat over time, it would slow down as it neared 8.0 and with a lower CH the risk of scaling is low. The only problem would be if there were metals in the water since the higher pH increases the risk of staining, though that's less of an issue in vinyl pools.
    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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    Re: Chlorine ONLY?

    Thanks to everyone so far who has responded, especially with in depth answers. To me, his approach sounds "gimmicky" at best. I'm looking for reasons to "disprove" his operational theory rather than support it. It just goes against everything I have ever heard. I managed pools waaaaay back in my highschool and college days. We're talking bottled gas chlorine! We once had a line pop off of a bottle. The pumps and equipment were located down on a riverbank across the street. It killed all vegetation for a dang good ways. I still remember calling a pool board member who was largely responsible for operations--national guard guy. He handed me a gas mask and told me to go into the concrete enclosed bunker and turn the bottle off. Smartest thing I ever did was tell him to go straight to "you know where". He didn't do it either!

    All we had back in the day was a cheapie color changer 3 item tester for chlorine, ph and something else. I don't recall having any major problems. Wish I had some pics of that pool. It was built be the original city high school and later bought by the VFW post so the local kids had a public place to swim. I believe it was the largest public pool in MS back when. It had a hadite block wall added to seperate the deep from the shallow end without about an 8 foot portion left open. Just the deep end was right at olympic size. 3 main drains in 12 feet of water, 3 diving boards, 4 life guard stands and someone always walking the perimeter. Dang thing was surrounded by ancient oaks. I remember opening that monster for the season. We drained it, used a fire hose to wash everything to the deep end, and then wheeled everything out in wheelbarrows to a ramp in the shallow end.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

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