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Thread: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

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    Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    We are about to purchase a pool and the Vision Nature2 system comes with it. I have not seen good reviews on this. We are trying to determine between a chlorine system or salt system. The more I read, the more I get confused. I read the BBB system but I really do not want to use bleach. Our skin soaks up so much, my kids have allergies & eczema already, I don't want to aggravate it. I understand salt produces chlorine but it has to be healthier than bleach?? Maybe I am misunderstanding - please help! Also, if we went with salt, could we convert to the BBB method down the road without having to drain our pool and re-fill?

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Welcome to tfp, mzogy

    Be aware that there are only three epa approved sanitizers...chlorine, bromine and bigaunide.

    Even the nature2 needs a sanitizer (usually chlorine) to properly sanitize the water. However, I strongly recommend skipping the nature2 since it adds copper (and silver) to the pool water and is not needed with a properly maintained chlorine pool.

    As to the allergy's and eczema, both should not be a problem in a properly maintained pool. For eczema, some users have reported improvement in their condition due to salt (and sometimes borates) in the pool.

    A saltwater chlorine generator (swg) sounds perfect for your situation. Swg's produce chlorine and pools using them can generally get by with a little lower level of chlorine and still kill bacteria, viruses, and algae.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Hi and Welcome.

    I will try to give you an answer from another newb (less than one year with a pool). I have a salt system and still consider myself a BBBer. BBB doesnt mean you have to use bleach as a means to chlorinate your pool. For my pool, I dont use bleach and dont see using bleach unless I need to shock. At that point the SWG will not produce enough to shock. I monitor my water and add recommendations (borax, baking soda, cya...) according to pool school and the pool calculator. I still have a ton of questions and come here to ask.
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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Welcome to the forum!!

    Before you get much farther, let's clear one thing up. Unless you use Baquacil (which almost everyone here will strongly recommend against) you are going to have a chlorine pool. Whether you put in pool store granules or pucks, laundry bleach, liquid pool chlorine, or use a salt water generator, you are creating hypochlorous acid in the water, and that is what keeps your pool clean. I'll reiterate, because it's important - the final sanitizing chemical is exactly the same.

    Chlorine gets its bad name from the countless pools, public and private, who are maintained by people who don't understand the chemistry. As a result, the water is dirty, cloudy, irritating, and sometimes downright gross.

    If you understand the chemistry and use bleach properly, you can have crystal clear water with very little work and low expense. I just posted on another thread how nice it is when my guests say "Wow, it doesn't even smell like a pool!" and "It's so clean and nothing is irritating my eyes or skin!" My father in law has pretty bad eczema, and he was commenting yesterday about how comfortable my pool is.

    I say all of this to discourage you from ruling out bleach for the wrong reasons. There are a lot of people here who use a SWG because of the convenience, though I think it ends up being more expensive than plain bleach. As for your question about salt to BBB, they are not mutually exclusive. A lot of SWG users start up their pool in the spring with bleach, and use the SWG for maintenance.

    Sorry for the long reply. Please ask more questions if any of that isn't clear.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Quote Originally Posted by mzogy
    We are about to purchase a pool and the Vision Nature2 system comes with it. I have not seen good reviews on this. We are trying to determine between a chlorine system or salt system. The more I read, the more I get confused. I read the BBB system but I really do not want to use bleach. Our skin soaks up so much, my kids have allergies & eczema already, I don't want to aggravate it. I understand salt produces chlorine but it has to be healthier than bleach?? Maybe I am misunderstanding - please help! Also, if we went with salt, could we convert to the BBB method down the road without having to drain our pool and re-fill?

    The chlorine generated by the salt water generator and the chlorine in bleach, and the cholrine in liquid pool store chlorine, are all the same thing once in your water.

    There is no "healtiher" bleach.

    When you use a non salt water generator your chlorine levels will go up and down, you add chlorine, it gets consumed, you add more, it gets consumed. To keep your chlorine level above the minimum, you have to dose it to higher levels. Because a SWG generates chlorine whenever it is running (along with the pump) you can keep the chlorine level in the pool lower, because it is more constant. But for those times when you are starting up a pool, adding new water, or have a large bather load (high chlorine consumption) guess what is the easiest wait to "help out" your SWG - you guessed it - bleach.

    The key to keeping the pool water easy on the skin (and eyes) is to check your chemistry. It is not just about chlorine, but about a number of other paramaters as well. When they are all correct, your pool will be clean, clear, and easy on the skin and eyes. My pool sits at around 5.0 ppm of chlorine and nobody complains about a chlorine smell, dry skin, or bleached hair or swimsuits - because it is the correct level for my particular water chemistry.

    The resources on this site are great for understanding how your pool chemistry works, and finding out what your particular chemistry should be.

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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski
    Whether you put in pool store granules or pucks, laundry bleach, liquid pool chlorine, or use a salt water generator, you are creating hypochlorous acid in the water, and that is what keeps your pool clean. I'll reiterate, because it's important - the final sanitizing chemical is exactly the same.
    Once you understand this and if you tend to trust the Federal Government read this

    http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants ... ctants.cfm

    and this

    http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants ... infectants?

    and i haven't read all of this article but it explains (in detail more than you want) the relationship of CYA and Chlorine.

    http://standards.nsf.org/apps/group_pub ... nt_id=5891
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    The chlorine smell typically associated with pools are chlorine by-products. You find these by products in heavy concentrations in in-door pools and public pools (lots of pee + chlorine = smell). These by-products smell heavily of "chlorine" and are skin irritants.

    In an outdoor residential pool the by product levels are very low and almost quickly broken down by sunlight and additional chlorine.

    I too can confirm that our pool - running the numbers found here - has 0 problems.

    We don't have any skin issues but I too have added salt (2500ppm) and Borates (about 40ppm) to the water and the feeling is almost amazing.

    The method of pool maintenance found here has very little to do with "BBB" really. What we're about is accurate and consistent testing coupled with exact pool water science. Bleach Borax and Baking Soda simply happen to be pure industrial chemicals that are available to consumers in the laundry isle. These chemicals have a VERY wide range of uses - laundry and pool maintenance are but 2.
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    I will second what the others have said and add that I have eczema and other skin issues. Mine improve in the summer and I believe part of that is due to my salt water pool. A SWG is also an easy way to maintain low chlorine levels.

    If you have a "bleach smell" you have issues as others have stated. I really have a hard time using other pools after enjoying mine with a SWG and the BBB method.
    18' x 36' saltwater inground vinyl pool

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    As others have said, it's all about maintaining the proper levels. I use a SWG and love it, it makes things easy and my chlorine levels stay even. Also cheap to run. I shock the pool in the spring with liquid or powder (powder if my CYA is low) and then my SWG takes it from there.

    My son has eczema and it usually clears up during the summer because of the pool. This site has made my family into pool snobs. We were at some friends yesterday and my son wouldn't go in their pool because it was cloudy and smelly. You rarely smell chlorine in our pool, just a hint of CYA smell.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Hi, another newbie here!

    When I first found this site, I read all the info and thought "bleach? seriously? That can't be safe to put in your pool."

    Then I read somewhere that bleach and chlorine are the exact same ingredient (chemical) and the liquid chlorine purchased at the pool store is a higher concentration than grocery store bleach. Sure enough, I checked under the sink and it said sodium hypochlorite 6%. I was at the store and looked at a bottle of HTH brand liquid chlorine and it was 10% sodium hypochlorite. Also at a substantially higher price.

    After that (and some more reading on BBB and looking at the actual chemical names on the packages at pool supply stores for PH increaser and PH reducer etc) I was a convert.

    The real key was knowing the CYA in my pool and how that relates to my chlorine. I have turned off the in-line chlorine feeder and removed the pucks and haven't looked back!
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Quote Originally Posted by ouachita
    I will second what the others have said and add that I have eczema and other skin issues. Mine improve in the summer and I believe part of that is due to my salt water pool.
    I'm not a doctor, so I don't know if the pool water is what's helping your skin issues. Could be the additional Vitamin D you get from the sun exposure you get because you're outside more, using the pool.

    Whatever the reason, I'm happy to hear you get those benefits from your pool. And I second the thoughts that Cl is Cl, no matter the source.

    Cheers!
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    I am a pool newb myself. I will say my son has severe eczema. I am in the process of perfecting my pool. He seems to be doing great. No skinflare ups from the water. Sunblock is a different story. we now have him in a swim shirt and a hat at all times. sunblock just on his face and shoulders. After swimming he takes a shower and is good to go. That is our experiance your may be different.
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Thank you EVERYONE for taking the time to provide all the very helpful information that you did! I really appreciate it. I love this site! I am sure I will have more questions after we get our pool but this is a great start.

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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    Quote Originally Posted by CUTiger78
    I'm not a doctor, so I don't know if the pool water is what's helping your skin issues. Could be the additional Vitamin D you get from the sun exposure you get because you're outside more, using the pool.
    The sun does help some but after we switched to chlorine it almost completely cleared up, not so much with the Baqua stuff. Search the web and you'll see others saying the same thing. I would think the salt would help too but I didn't have the SWG the first chlorine years.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    My wife has eczema as well, AND severe skin allergies to a great many things...latex, iodine, betadine, even steri-strips. Despite all that, and a target FC of 9 in our pool, she's experienced no ill effects at all.
    -Gordon
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    Remember, the Shock Process should be followed until : 1. CC is less than 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT shows a loss of 1.0 ppm or less and, 3. The water is crystal clear.
    --I didn't buy my pool to swim in it. I bought my pool to watch my wife swim in it. :wink:

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    Re: Newbie (not wanting to use bleach)

    I too have eczema (although some docs seem to call is Psoriasis), and it seems to have improved slightly since we bought this house with a pool (swimming 3-4 times a week for past 4 weeks). I was using tabs, now Clorox. I have not smelled typical chlorine smell that I usually smell at public pools. My FC is always between 10 and 15, and I haven't had to add any bleach since I took over from "the pool guy" (10 days ago).... my CYA is 65 and I'm waiting for the FC to drop to the recommended 7-8 range... just not dropping very fast (that's a good thing, right?). I can swim with eyes open, no stinging. I was very hesitant at switching from tabs to bleach since I have an auto-chlorinater, but happy I switched.
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