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Thread: My dad "Pool Stored?"

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    My dad "Pool Stored?"

    I love this site. Plain and simple. I love free information from folks with experience that like to teach. I'm one of them. If I have info, I'll share it.

    My dad went to the pool store the other day. He's having some algae problems (yellow) and he doesn't really think that the BBB method would work so he goes to them for advice. He's easy to teach though, if I can just show him results doing BBB He'll be hooked. The thing is, he really only needs the Bleach. His PH and Alkalinity are at normal ranges. He just uses one of those tablet feeder jobs to chlorinate, and his levels of FC are always at 1 or less.

    I had him dump a couple gals worth of bleach in his pool, but he didn't maintain. He just did that initial dump which would have lasted a few days and then been eaten up by our hot sun already this time of year. Probably not very effective. So he tells the pool store lady about that, and she tells him NEVER to put bleach in his pool because it adds "phosphates" to the water. That is something that I've not heard addressed here yet. Is that true, and if so, what harm could it do?

    BTW, she then sold him two bottles of her liquid chlorine (not bleach) at about 5 bucks a gal. If I remember what he said correctly.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"


    Dad probably has astronomical CYA values from using pucks, so he'll probably never be able to get enough chlorine in there to kill mustard algae. But they won't tell him that. They'll feed him some line about the water losing it's elasticity or some other gibberish. Bottom line, they'll tell him to drain and refill about $600 from now....

    Phosphates are the new bogeyman for pool stores. I don't think bleach has any in it, nor does the stronger "chlorinating liquid" they sell. I buy my 12½% chlorine in returnable jugs from a local pool store. I calculated things last year and it worked out cheaper than costco chlorox. So the bleach may not be a total ripoff.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    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.
    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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    Isaac-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    SW Louisiana

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    Ask your dad to save one of those empty bottles of "liquid Chlorine" ask him to look at the active ingredient, then take a look the active ingredient on a bottle of standard Clorox bleach. You will see both are IDENTICAL, the only difference is the strength / inactive ingredient which is basically water. If he is concerned about the other ingredients tell him to take a look at the pool section of this pdf
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    Pool stored for sure, bleach does not add phosphates to the pool water. Nonsense.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner

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    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Glendale, CA

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    Bleach in no way adds phosphates. Now that the pool store has straight up lied to your father you can use that as a wedge to open the conversation.

    When you talk about BBB the thing your father hears is "Use laundry detergent in the swimming pool." It's not his fault, it's just a misunderstanding of what the BBB thing is really about. It's about reliable testing coupled with a true understanding of what these chemicals are and how they work.

    The only thing wrong with your father's pool is he has too little chlorine in it and the algae is able to persist. If you could get an accurate CYA test there would be more specific recommendations.

    Below is a few excerpts from posts from Chem Geek regarding various pool chemicals and their equivalents. Perhaps some of this information could help your father see through the misinformation he is receiving. Remember - BBB is about testing and science - the fact the grocery store happens to sell the chemicals we need at cheaper prices is just a bonus.
    ____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________

    Bleach and Chlorinating Liquid
    Let's take bleach and chlorinating liquid, for example. 6% bleach is 6% sodium hypochlorite by weight and is 4.7% sodium chloride salt. This relationship comes from the manufacturing process (called "chlor-alkali") which creates chlorine gas and sodium hydroxide via electrolysis and then adds the chlorine gas to (purer) water containing sodium hydroxide. This is done in two steps as described in order to reduce the amount of salt in the water since the water used for initial electrolysis has very high salt content.

    Cl2(g) + 2NaOH ---> NaOCl + NaCl + H2O
    Chlorine Gas + Sodium Hydroxide ---> Sodium Hypochlorite + Sodium Chloride + Water

    There is some excess sodium hydroxide (lye / caustic soda) leftover from the above process that varies by brand with Clorox Regular having around 0.63% by weight (using a pH of 11.9). Clorox adds a small amount of sodium polyacrylate (a polymer that prevents minerals in wash water from reacting with chlorine and yellowing the clothes) in an amount that they do not disclose but is probably very small by weight. The rest, 88.7%, is water.

    Other brands of bleach often have more excess lye in them with some having a pH of 12.5 implying 1% by weight of sodium hydroxide. Other than this difference (and some bleaches not having sodium polyacrylate), they are all the same. There are also weaker bleaches where most off-brand Ultra bleaches are 6% but off-brand Regular are 3% or less. Bleach and chlorinating liquid are the same except for strength and differences in the amount of excess lye.

    [EDIT] You do not want to use scented bleaches or specialty bleaches such as Clorox ProResults Outdoor Bleach Cleaner or Clorox Plus Splash-less Bleach which has thickeners in it. [END-EDIT]

    If you look at a bottle of Clorox Regular unscented bleach, you will notice that it says "5.7% Available Chlorine" on the bottle in addition to the ingredients of "6% Sodium Hypochlorite". This is because the product has been registered with the EPA not only as a pesticide, but has also been tested and approved for use in swimming pools (EPA registration number 5813-50 with MSDS here ). This process of testing and approval has little to do with the inert ingredients. It has to do with the efficacy of the product to kill bacteria as described in EPA DIS/TSS-12. You can read a bulletin from Clorox on the use of one of their bleaches in swimming pools here.

    Baking Soda vs. Alkalinity Up
    As described in this link, "ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda is 100% pure sodium bicarbonate." It is also used in baking so is ingested in food. If anything, it is of even higher purity and quality than an Alkalinity Up product, all of which are sodium bicarbonate.

    Washing Soda vs. pH Up
    As described in this link, "ARM & HAMMER® Super Washing Soda is 100% pure sodium carbonate." Many pH Up products are sodium carbonate, though some are sodium sesquicarbonate which is a double salt of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, while a few are sodium bicarbonate.

    Borax vs. Borate products
    As described in this link, "20 Mule Team® Borax is comprised of 99.5% pure borax, a naturally occurring mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. (The scientific name for borax is sodium tetraborate decahydrate.) The remaining 0.5% is composed of trace minerals."

    Products such as ProTeam Supreme contain Sodium Tetraborate Pentahydrate which is the same as Borax except it contains less water (hydrates are chemicals that contain water including those in solid form in a crystal). ProTeam Supreme Plus and ProTeam Gentle Spa do not disclose their "Proprietary ingredient", but it is most surely Boric Acid given that the product overall has a pH of 6-8, that it increases borates, and that the product also contains some sodium tetraborate presumably to make the pH more neutral (boric acid is slightly acidic).

    Muriatic Acid
    This is diluted Hydrochloric Acid where full-strength is usually 31.45% (see this MSDS) and half-strength around 15%-16%. There is no difference between brands and the inert ingredient is water.

    Calcium Chloride vs. Calcium Hardness Increaser
    Dowflake is around 96% Calcium Chloride Dihydrate. This MSDS gives 77-80% Calcium Chloride, < 5% Sodium Chloride, 2-3% Potassium Chloride, 15-20% Water. This MSDS gives some slightly different composition for this product (a little more calcium chloride content with less water).

    Peladow as described here is at least 91% Calcium Chloride Anhydrous with 4.5% Water, 2.5% Potassium Chloride, 1.5% Sodium Chloride. This MSDS gives some slightly different composition for this product.

    Hopefully this gives you some idea of how there really is no significant difference between grocery or big-box store vs. pool store chemicals, at least for the common ones used above and how their inert ingredients are truly not a problem.


    For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by ANY source or chlorine, it will also add 8.2 ppm salt when the chlorine gets used up since it gets converted to chloride (which is salt). In addition, bleach, chlorinating liquid, lithium hypochlorite and chlorine gas all add an additional 8.2 ppm salt upon addition whereas Trichlor and Dichlor do not (Cal-Hypo is in between adding 2-4 ppm extra salt). Salt is far less of an issue than the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) added by Trichlor and Dichlor or the Calcium Hardness (CH) added by Cal-Hypo and on a percentage basis it rises the least. The concentration of product is not relevant towards these numbers that are relative to the FC.

    The following chart shows how much the CYA, CH and Salt would rise after 6 months if there were 2 ppm FC per day chlorine usage and no water dilution:

    ........................ CYA ... CH ... Salt
    Trichlor .......... 220 ...... 0 .... 295
    Dichlor ........... 325 ...... 0 .... 295
    Cal-Hypo .......... 0 .... 255 ... 360
    Bleach* ............. 0 ........ 0 ... 595

    *Bleach, chlorinating liquid, lithium hypochlorite and chlorine gas all result in no CYA, no CH and the same amount of salt.

    Note that a rise in CYA of 220 ppm is much worse than a rise in CH of 255 ppm which is worse than a rise in salt of 595 ppm.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    Love it! I'm getting more education by the minute here then I ever did in college. Why is it that the sharing of info on the internet is far more applicable to my life than formal education ever was?????

    I've forwarded all these responses on to my dad. He's a conspiracy minded individual, so when he sees he's been taken advantage of he's going to quit that store cold turkey! I neglected to mention that she also sold him a 50 dollar container of those dang tri-chlor tablet things for his feeder! So now his CYA which was high already will only climb higher right?

    I also didn't tell you that I DID test his water with my kit. I don't have his numbers in front of me right now but I can tell you that his CYA was around the 100 mark IIRC. Mine was like less than 20 for my pool, and his was WAY higher. I remember that being a huge difference in our measurements.
    18,000 Gallons plaster, in ground. Pentair quad cartridge filter system charged w/DE. Built in the early 70's. Location: Bakersfield California. Summer temps from early May to late September, up into the 100'sF. Very low shade over pool, not until LATE evening. Palm tree drops pods from neighbors yard.

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    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Mount Airy, Maryland

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    Well at least you can use the tri-chlor tablets in your pool to raise your CYA. That's what I did this spring to increase my CYA gradually. That doesn't hurt anything as long as you quit using them once you get to your target.
    18 x 36 Inground Gunnite, White Plaster 21K gallon
    18" raised spa, 8' Diameter (620 gallon)
    Triton II Sand filter, Intellichlor IC40 SWG
    Pentair Pump, Max-E-Therm 400 BTU
    Lamotte ColorQ PRO 7-Plus test kit
    TFT-100 test kit

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    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    San Rafael, CA USA

    Re: My dad "Pool Stored?"

    The posts of mine that were referenced above are here and here. When copied into this thread, the links in the longer post were lost so looking at the original post you can follow the links for more info. It is always important to document sources.
    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"

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