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Thread: A brand new pool - chemicals

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    A brand new pool - chemicals

    Please help:
    What should be my next step to get chemistry under control considering that I would really like to minimize the chlorine amount that I have to maintain. I am not concerned with transferring infection between the members of my family or anyone urinating in the pool.

    My tests 2 days after filling it up and a couple swims:

    Temp - 76F
    CL - 0
    PH - 80
    TA - 300
    CH - 290
    CA out of scale

    Thanks much!
    Spa is used only by my family of 4 people daily with 78F water for swimming and exercising on a underwater bike.
    It is 7'Wx11'Lx4.5'D 1.6 Gallon fiberglass over wood swim-in-place (with a harness) indoor, 1.5-0.5 KW Pump, 1.5" plumbing, 220v heater, Ozone generator, 2x50 sqft cartridge filters, Spa Frog In Filter. There is a mechanically raised 5” thick insulated walk on cover for the whole surface and is closed most of the day when noone is swimming.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    How did you get those results?

    You should always be concerned about disinfection. You need some FC in there immediately.

    If by CA you mean CYA then is it 'out of scale' high or low?

    If you haven't already, you should spend a good amount of time reading Pool School.
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Thanks for your response, Dave.
    I was using the Taylor test set to get those results.
    I do mean CYA, sorry. It just never changed the color in the test I did for it - not sure what it means, but I did not add any so it is probably 0.
    How much is the minimum FC that I need and why? I have read alot from the Pool School and nowhere did I find any explanation about why I need chlorine if I would be the only one using a pool that I have and not concerned with algy. It's indoor, the slow rate of disinfection should not matter if there is only one person using it, correct? I am using silver and Ozone, shouldn't it be enough? I know the answer is NO under most circomstances but I would like to know why I need it in this particular situation if it is not too much trouble to ask.
    Spa is used only by my family of 4 people daily with 78F water for swimming and exercising on a underwater bike.
    It is 7'Wx11'Lx4.5'D 1.6 Gallon fiberglass over wood swim-in-place (with a harness) indoor, 1.5-0.5 KW Pump, 1.5" plumbing, 220v heater, Ozone generator, 2x50 sqft cartridge filters, Spa Frog In Filter. There is a mechanically raised 5” thick insulated walk on cover for the whole surface and is closed most of the day when noone is swimming.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    I'm not a proponent of metals because the kill times aren't acceptable, so I'll let someone else take care of that.

    Without any CYA you need to add 2ppm FC every day until you get some CYA in there.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    If you never swam in the water -- even though it is an indoor pool, it would eventually have things growing in it without some form of cleaning / disinfecting.

    Filtration and oxidation (ozone) would be sufficient IF you where to pass all the water through this oxidation process and move it into a fresh, sanitary tank, returning the water to the pool only after it has ALL been sanitized. In that scenario, everything in the tank would be sanitary, and you could then refill your pool from that HUGE tank. This isn't a practical approach because nobody wants to drain and fill their pool, nor do they want to have a holding tank that can hold the entire contents of the pool while they are sanitizing it.

    Since only very small portion of your water is sanitized and then returned to the rest of the water, it is impossible to maintain sanitary conditions in the larger body of water (the pool). For this reason, you need to introduce into the pool water a minimal amount of chlorine to prevent different types of growths.

    Chlorine has always gotten a bad rap! Unless you have a chlorine allergy, I think you would be hard pressed to detect the amount of chlorine needed for sanitation. What people don't like about chlorine (the smell, fading clothes, burning eyes...) is generally NOT caused by the actual free chlorine, but instead by the chemicals in the pool being out of balance.

    I keep a low (1-2ppm) chlorine content in my pool and the water tastes like drinking water.

    I suggest that you consider thinking differently about chlorine. It isn't so bad when you can't tell it's there!
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Please don't be offended as I will put this bluntly. If you are the only person useing your swim spa then by all means feel free to swim in your bodily waste.

    If your family of four will be useing it you need to put things in perspective. Your tub is about 2400 gallons. If 4 people use it thats 1 person per 600 gallons. That is equivilent to 30 people in a 18,000 gallon pool. Family or not there is a need for disinfection. people always carry fecal mater and urea into the water. Ozone and silver wont cut it. Those are meant to be used WITH chlorine but really they are USELESS with proper FC levels.

    I don't expect you to take our word for the need to keep FC in your swim spa. For the health of your family I would expect you to research why FC is necessary and not fall pray to alternative sanitizer marketing. I hope you don't have to learn to hard way, a doctors office or hospital visit. Waterborne illness is serious and deadly.
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Thanks for your responses! I am not offended at all. I would like to get a better explanation on where the bodily waste comes from if a person (let's assume only one using pool) takes a good shower every time before swimming. This situation might sound unrealistic but I think it would give me a clearer picture in case I am missing something.
    I understand the limitations of alternative sanitizers as I have read through many articles on this site (specifically by ChemGeek) on this topic as well as the Pool School. But everything I could find refers almost exclusively to public and/or completely uncontrolled pool environments. I would like to figure out the absolute minimum concentrations of FC that I need. It feels difficult for me to buy into “if you need any FC you might as well stop trying to minimize the concentrations of that” idea. Is it only because of the expenses required? There are multiple articles pointing to research on the harm that chlorine might cause which I read after ChemGeek mentioned links to them (mainly European research) in addition to some others that I have found. That harm might be less dangerous than absence of chlorine under some circumstances and might be more under others. The devil is always in the details when one tries to solve an optimization problem.
    I would like to thank EQArtimus in particular for really good explanation of how limited is the way ozonator functions in a pool and BBBliever for putting in perspective the impact of the small size of my pool. Although when you say 'It isn't so bad when you can't tell it's there!' it makes me chuckle a bit... There are possible long term bad effects that one does not notice right away, yes?
    I am certainly going to add CYA when I add FC.
    Thanks again,
    Koni.
    Spa is used only by my family of 4 people daily with 78F water for swimming and exercising on a underwater bike.
    It is 7'Wx11'Lx4.5'D 1.6 Gallon fiberglass over wood swim-in-place (with a harness) indoor, 1.5-0.5 KW Pump, 1.5" plumbing, 220v heater, Ozone generator, 2x50 sqft cartridge filters, Spa Frog In Filter. There is a mechanically raised 5” thick insulated walk on cover for the whole surface and is closed most of the day when noone is swimming.

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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Koni, use the google search link at the bottom left corner of the page and type in "indoor pool". There will be a bunch of links to various topics and the first link came up with some useful info from chemgeek. I believe you'll find a lot of your answers through this search.
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Even if you shower before you enter the swim spa you will be introducing fecal mater into the water. It may only be a microscopic amount but that can quickly multiply faster than ozone or silver can eliminate it. I personally don't like the thought of ingesting coliform bacteria.

    Also this water will be used for exercise. You will be shedding pints to quarts of sweat which is almost like urinating in the water. Plus the dead skin and hair cells that will be shed. All of this will turn into a bacterial soup in your tub.

    No one can say for certain what will happen if you do or do not use chlorine in your tub. There is a miniscule probabiltity of health problems associated with chlorine. Most of which can be minimized by educating yourself how to properly use it on this site. There is a high probability of waterborne illness if you chose not to use chlorine, those chances are greatly minimized by using chlorine.

    As stated chlorine gets a bad rap. Most of the problems associated with it are due to improper use. you will find all the help/info on this site how to use chlorine safely and effectively. I have to admit, after I educated myself about water chemistry, waterborne illness, and chlorine I do not feel comfortable getting into other bodies of water other than what I maintain. For me getting into a public pool would make feel like I was sleeping in a strangers bed or having unprotected sex with someone at the gym.

    It sounds like your set up is fairly new. Keep an eye on it. Soon you will feel the walls getting slipery. That would be algae growing on the walls. Silver kill times are slow, Ozone only disinfects the water it comes in contact with, it will not disinfect your plumbing or spa walls.

    Again dont take my word for it, Educate yourself. I have come to the conclusion that the benifits of chlorine far outwiegh the risk's.

    As you said the devil is in the details and we are faced with risk/benifit situations daily. Think about it, there is no doubt that seatbelts save lives. although is some cases they can trap you in your car and cause your demise. I still chose to put my seatbelt on when I drive.
    3500 gallon 14x42 Intex Ultra Frame
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    I've been answering PMs from tripledobe (Koni) on this subject, but wanted to clarify a few things in this thread so that the incorrect information doesn't get propagated.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripledobe
    I am not concerned with transferring infection between the members of my family or anyone urinating in the pool.
    Given that even fecal matter is found on many cell phones (see this article, among many), I can see where you wouldn't be concerned with ingesting your own or your own family's fecal bacteria and given the close contact among family members you are probably sharing many viruses anyway. On the other hand, at least in my family, my wife treats me as if I have leprosy when I have a cold and has me wash my hands as if I'm Lady Macbeth. The thing about warm water in a pool or spa that has organic material is that bacteria can use the nutrients to reproduce and grow hugely in number. They can then overwhelm your immune system when ingested and cause illness.

    So at a minimum you would want to prevent uncontrolled bacterial growth. The use of metal ions is often touted for that purpose, but if you look at the actual kill times such as those I compiled in this post, you will see that neither silver nor copper alone are sufficient to prevent uncontrolled bacterial growth. A combination of silver and copper is OK to prevent runaway growth of most bacteria, but does not handle most viruses nor protozoan cysts. Of course, silver/copper do not kill quickly enough to prevent person-to-person transmission, but that doesn't sound like a concern of yours. And, of course, metal ions can stain pool surfaces, especially plaster. Even a small amount of chlorine equivalent to 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA kills or inactivates most pathogens orders-of-magnitude more quickly than metal ions. Ozone isn't even a factor since it does not persist in the bulk pool water and most bacteria growth is on pool surfaces, not free-floating through the ozonator.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripledobe
    How much is the minimum FC that I need and why? I have read alot from the Pool School and nowhere did I find any explanation about why I need chlorine if I would be the only one using a pool that I have and not concerned with algy. It's indoor, the slow rate of disinfection should not matter if there is only one person using it, correct? I am using silver and Ozone, shouldn't it be enough? I know the answer is NO under most circomstances but I would like to know why I need it in this particular situation if it is not too much trouble to ask.
    As noted above, one needs something in the bulk pool water to kill bacteria and inactivate viruses and, to some degree (though less of a risk), protozoan cysts. It's a spectrum of risk with copper/silver lowering the risk but not nearly as much as chlorine. As far as the minimum FC/CYA ratio (FC level alone is meaningless unless you don't have any CYA in the water), this depends on the level of disinfection and oxidation that you are looking for. If you have an ozonator that is not as woefully inadequate as most residential pool ozonators are, then if you've got something to prevent algae from growing (copper ions or algaecides) then having the FC/CYA ratio be lower is certainly an option. However, even with an FC/CYA in the more normal range near 10%, the active chlorine level is equivalent to 0.1 ppm FC with no CYA so is very low -- far lower than any commercial/public pool in the world that isn't using any CYA. And, of course, if you are using chlorine, then you don't have any need for metal ions.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripledobe
    I would like to get a better explanation on where the bodily waste comes from if a person (let's assume only one using pool) takes a good shower every time before swimming. This situation might sound unrealistic but I think it would give me a clearer picture in case I am missing something.
    :
    There are multiple articles pointing to research on the harm that chlorine might cause which I read after ChemGeek mentioned links to them (mainly European research) in addition to some others that I have found. That harm might be less dangerous than absence of chlorine under some circumstances and might be more under others. The devil is always in the details when one tries to solve an optimization problem.
    Even if one showers and washes thoroughly before swimming, one still releases small amounts of fecal bacteria and around 100 ml of sweat (per hour) and 25-50 ml of urine. In warm water, the muscles relax and you don't even notice most releases. Read this link for many examples of waterborne illnesses in recreational water and how in treated water venues the lack of proper disinfection is the primary cause (the only exception being the protozoan oocyst Cryptosproidium parvum since that is very chlorine-resistant).

    As for Europe, their commercial/public pools in most countries use chlorine as that is required by the DIN 19643 standard (19643-1, 19643-2, 19643-3, 19643-4, 19643-5). This standard requires 0.2-0.5 ppm FC (with no CYA) chlorine to be used when an ozonator is used and 0.3-0.6 ppm FC when an ozonator is not used.

    As for balance, if you use chlorine with CYA in the water, then you will have a lower active chlorine level than the DIN 19643 standard. However, the expensive additional equipment such as microfiltration, activated carbon, flocculation, etc. is designed to minimize disinfection by-products (DBPs), but is there primarily due to the higher bather loads in commercial/public pools. If your ozonator is halfway decent, then it should oxidize much of the bather waste to reduce these DBPs though the slow turnover time will still have chlorine react with some of your bather waste and will react with your skin, though at a slower rate than in the European pools because of your lower active chlorine level.
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    Lershac's Avatar
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    Re: A brand new pool - chemicals

    Hmmm many many types of algae and molds are airborne and find their way into the pool by settling on the surface. Just boil a cup of coffee (to start with sterilized material) and set it on the windowsill

    Within a few days you WILL have visible growth in that cup.

    Now think about that pool and all the stuff you shed into it and what a wonderful growth medium it provides. Warmth, moisture, food, time. Those are the things necessary for bacterial growth. In your pool all are provided.

    I have yet to be convinced that the 1-2 ppm cl necessary could do you harm.
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