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Thread: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Before y'all get all testy, I'm a liquid bleach kinda guy thanks to all of you!

    My question concerns people who constantly use pucks for their chlorine levels. I know the pucks constantly raise the CYA levels in your pool. My understanding is that the only downside of using pucks is that the more CYA they add---------the more chlorine demand on the pool should be. So when CYA reaches levels of say 120 to 150 or even higher, why don't I see any stories here saying like,........"When I started using pucks it only took one a day but now my CYA level is so high that I have to use 10 a day to maintain a safe chlorine level." (which raises the cya level even more).
    How could you possibly maintain good chlorine levels at that high of a cya content, and why don't I see anyone complaining about it? Is the additional chlorine requirement for a higher level of cya content the only downside to higher cya levels?

    Just curious and hope it helps others here as well that are considering the BBB method. Thanks folks!
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    They go to the pool store, which sells them a product called "shock," which they recommend you use weekly. So the pool gets a massive dose of chlorine and calcium. Algae dies. Pool gets saturated with yet another chemical compound. Eventually they recommend a drain and refill. Oh, and you'll need this startup kit for the fresh fill water....
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    My 2 cents is that they really don't know what is happening. I used pucks exclusively up till this year. Never knew any different. I just thought what was happening was the norm and we adjust accordingly.
    The typical pattern is early in the season I had the chlorinator on medium or low and pump ran 8-12 hrs a day. Then as the the season continued the chlorinator went up to high, I filled the pucks more often, I had to shock more often, and the pump ended up running 24 hrs a day. I posed the question to the pool store as to why I was running through tablets so fast and they just said 'oh it's cuz its more hot and humid.' Now I know it's not so much that as it is my CYA was soaring because of course I had to add stabilizer in the beginning of the year as well. I vividly remember having CYA numbers well over 100 toward the end of the year.

    I've talked to some folks who use tablets from the get go at opening, don't add CYA separately, and don't have too much trouble or are fine with throwing the shock bags in once a week and not worrying about it. Great...but for me, it just wasn't working.

    To me personally, the proof is in what's in my back yard.
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    I haven't bought any (haven't needed any) so I forgot all about using shock to jump those chlorine numbers back up into the stratosphere. Good answers folks. Thanks. Just had a neighbor down the street put in a doughboy 12x24 half buried a month after I had my AGP done. Told her all about this site and wrote it down for her. Then she showed me her standard pool chemical rack with around $250.00 of just "setup" stuff. They didn't even give her a cheapie water testing kit! Already have her putting algaecide in the thing right off the bat. Got her attention when I asked her is she had any algae coming out of the taps in the house. I'll work on her! A couple of my neighbors who have had pools in the past marvel how clear and clean mine is with just clorox and muriatic acid on hand. Thanks TFP!
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    I have used pucks for the two months since I've owned the home/pool. My CYA and FC are higher than the test kit will measure, but I still get the beginnings of algae if I don't shock.

    I have a cartridge filter, so I don't back wash and replace water ever. There is only evaporation and replacement, which makes the CYA concentration even more extreme (not to mention off-the-chart calcium). I'm going to dump 2/3 of my water next week, refill, and get off the pucks.

    So when folks say that high CYA requires more chlorine to get the same sanitation, I think (at least it seems to be in my experience) that you still have high FC readings, but you don't get the same cleaning at the same level. Hence the presence of algae in my pool even though I have very high FC.

    Jim.
    In ground Pool, 13,000 gallons, Cartridge filter (big), Single pump, Hayward Goldline Aqua Rite
    Central Florida
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Somebody needs to design us a logo like the "No Smoking" signs....................a puck in a red circle with a diagonal red line through it!
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    If someone makes the logo or i might I have a vinyl cutting machine and will make some up for you guys so you can put them close to your pools
    18' x 4' intex pool, 7600 gallons, 2500 GPH intex pump with sand filter...

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    You know, I sorta like that idea of some sort of logo that we could maybe use on the Home Page of TFP. It might be a little difficult to replicate the pucks so they would be instantly recognizable.....What about a big picture of Clorox?

    Any other thoughts?

    (Hey, bamapool)
    Dave S.
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaPool
    If someone makes the logo or i might I have a vinyl cutting machine and will make some up for you guys so you can put them close to your pools
    [attachment=0:3jhwj785]nopucks.gif[/attachment:3jhwj785]
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Excellent way to convey it Richard. Can't get much more plain than that.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Richard - nice job!
    POOL: Intex ultra new in 2014 (32 x 16 x 52) (seasonal; on concrete pad covered with 1.5" extruded or whatever foam insulation sheets - ugly, but comfy); added a through-wall skimmer; I add salt for feel. EQUIPMENT: Pentair SuperFlo pump (1HP, 2SPD); Pentair cartridge filter (200 sq. ft); Pentair MasterTemp natural gas heater (400,000 btu) Climate/Location: Eastern Nebraska

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    I think trichlor pucks are a growing problem with more and more people are either installing cartridge filters that don't need backwashing, or have some other form or water restriction so they don't drain and refill as much as people in the past. Combine this with other things that extend the traditional swim season (solar blankets, solar heaters, etc) and we are getting away from what was the fairly common, start in the spring with a mostly fresh water fill, add enough stabilizer to get it into the suggested CYA range, add pucks all summer slowly raising the CYA to insane levels, doing weekly preventive "shocks" that get less and less effective as the CYA raises, finally ending in a crisis around the time the swim season ends. Thereby justifying the drain and refill prior to starting the cycle all over again the next spring.

    Ike
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Another contribution to the puck wars.....................
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Yeah, hockey should be outlawed...
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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    OK Give me a couple of days and i will have some stickers made like the one in richards post...then i will just need a size if it is small the pucks prolly will not show though...
    18' x 4' intex pool, 7600 gallons, 2500 GPH intex pump with sand filter...

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by BamaPool
    OK Give me a couple of days and i will have some stickers made like the one in richards post...then i will just need a size if it is small the pucks prolly will not show though...
    Wait a few days, and I'll make a better looking larger drawing. That was a rush job. And you may get other submissions, too!
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Ok I will do that maybe we need to start a thread with all this..
    18' x 4' intex pool, 7600 gallons, 2500 GPH intex pump with sand filter...

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Great Logo! I like it.
    My pool is a 10,500 gallon (420 Sq Ft ) kidney shape. A hand made sheer decent waterfeature. STA-RITE HRPB30, Sand filter 30" 98 GPM,
    1 HP Maxi-Glas 2 pump, BBB Method, Taylor K-2005 test kit, 50 Watt 12V low-voltage pond light illuminates the pool at night for a nice soft glow.
    250 gallon stand-alone hot tub. Got it FREE!

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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbolo
    I have used pucks for the two months since I've owned the home/pool. My CYA and FC are higher than the test kit will measure, but I still get the beginnings of algae if I don't shock.

    I have a cartridge filter, so I don't back wash and replace water ever. There is only evaporation and replacement, which makes the CYA concentration even more extreme (not to mention off-the-chart calcium). I'm going to dump 2/3 of my water next week, refill, and get off the pucks.

    So when folks say that high CYA requires more chlorine to get the same sanitation, I think (at least it seems to be in my experience) that you still have high FC readings, but you don't get the same cleaning at the same level. Hence the presence of algae in my pool even though I have very high FC.

    Jim.
    Jim,

    From your post here your FC level is above 5 ppm (the limit of the K-2005 test) and the CYA well above 100 ppm, probably around 200 ppm or more. So there is no wonder that you still have algae. If the CYA were at 200 ppm and if your pool was rich in algal nutrients, then the any chlorine level below around 15 ppm FC and certainly below 9 ppm FC (which is still higher than the 5 ppm your test can read) is likely to have algae grow faster than chlorine can kill it.

    I don't understand how you got your CYA level to 200 ppm in two months since pucks alone would not do that. Did you add a lot of stabilizer/conditioner when you first filled the pool? Did you inherit this pool (say, by buying this house)? Have you been shocking with something like Dichlor powder?

    The fact is that you do get the same algae prevention level when you maintain the appropriate FC/CYA ratio. In your situation, you simply are not doing so, mostly because you can't measure the FC accurately since it's just "above 5 ppm" in your case, though you could try diluting with distilled or filtered water to get a better FC reading (or better yet, buy a FAS-DPD chlorine test kit such as the one here at tftestkits.net). Also, you need to get way ahead of already-existing algae growth by shocking, but that is impractical with your high CYA level.

    It'll be a good move to do the partial drain/refill and get off the pucks and start using chlorinating liquid or bleach.

    My own experience with pucks was as others have described. All was fine for a while, but after 1-1/2 years, my CYA climbed from 30 ppm to around 150 ppm and I started to get a higher chlorine demand requiring more pucks. This was in spite of using PolyQuat 60 algaecide, but I was only adding it every other week. I was getting nascent algae growth even though it was not yet visible. Soon the water started to get dull and then cloudy before I gave up on the pool store and decided to figure out pool water chemistry, found The PoolForum, and the rest is history. Haven't had any such problems since switching to chlorinating liquid and maintaining an appropriate FC/CYA ratio.

    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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    Re: Pucks VS. chlorine usage conundrum

    I currently have a CYA level of near zero (as per my cheap strip test but "confirmed" by tests at the pool store) and am using pucks in the hopes of raising it to an acceptable level. Since I have the blanket on very often I have to put the chlorinator on a low setting otherwise it's up to shock level in a week.

    Would I be better off just putting stabilizer into the pool? How long would it take otherwise to raise the CYA using 2-3 pucks per week and periodic backwashes? (hopefully not in years!)

    thanks!

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