Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    80

    Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    I'm not really sure where this goes, so please feel free to move it if needed. I've just had something that's been kinda bugging me ever since I came across the whole BBB ideology. When I had my pool built recently, my builder included a Rainbow inline chlorinator. It seems that trichlor pucks are the most common way that people add chlorine to their pools unless they have a SWCG.

    We know from being on TFP that maintaining a pool is definitely not rocket science. It's nothing more than a whole bunch of common sense. We know that trichlor adds CYA. We know that CYA is good up to a certain level, and bad if it gets too high. We know that pucks keep adding CYA and that it doesn't go away unless you drain water. So why the heck does the pool industry keep pushing trichlor on people? How can pool stores not realize the damage that they're doing to consumers through gross misinformation? Why aren't there other sources of good information out there like this site? I just don't get how people can be so wrong about maintaining pools. Are pool store employees incapable of simply saying, "I don't know" so they instead make everything up as they go along? Why hasn't anyone done anything to stop this madness? I just don't think I've ever come across a situation in my life where an entire industry was so wrong about so many things. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    Jose
    17x34' 13400gal freeform gunite IG pool, DB Tahoe Blue, cartridge filter, Rainbow 320, ClearO3 ozonator, 1.5HP 2sp Whisperflow, Intellibrite 5G Color LED, pavers, screened enclosure, Liquidator, 6x Fafco SunSavers, SolarTouch

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California Central Coast
    Posts
    74

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    I chalk it up to:
    1. It has the illusion of extreme convenience, which people tend to fall head-over-heals for without much thought.
    2. It is very "marketable" in that it is a nice convenient packaging, ships easily, and has that "just pop it in the pool and forget about it" marketability.
    3. Most people are scared to death of even the slightest amount of science/chemistry being thrown their way, so they just don't choose to educate themselves.
    4. Conspiracy theory alert! They end up creating CYA problem that the pool owner doesn't even know about and so they end up having to become reliant upon the countless other %$^# additives for pools to try and manage their water. Which means an endless purchasing cycle of chemicals and money in the pockets of the product manufactures. Without the CYA issue, the pool supply industry would have hardly any need to exist!
    Test Kit: Taylor K-2006
    Pool:In ground/Pebble/16,000 gal/Cartridge Filter/Pool Built appr. 1995-2000

  3. Back To Top    #3
    mas985's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pleasanton, CA
    Posts
    11,482

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Trichlor will only create issues when CYA is allowed to accumulate but this doesn't happen to all pools. For example, a pool with a small sand filter that is backwashed frequently or a pool in a winter zone that is used only 3 months out the year where CYA degrades over the winter may not have a problem with high CYA levels so they can use the pucks without as much worry. Also, the pucks can be a great way to add CYA at the same time adding chlorine. So I still think they are very useful to the industry but they must be used properly. I think the biggest issue is educating the public about some of the downsides of using trichlor.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

  4. Back To Top    #4
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Mint Hill, NC
    Posts
    2,589

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    As a guy who has previously helped a neighbor maintain his 30' AGP using Trichlor, and a new TFP convert for an Inground pool I am maintaining - I can attest to the fact that TFP takes more daily work. TFP isn't conducive to absentee maintenance of a pool or someone who cannot be near the pool daily unless SWG or Liquidator is added to the picture.

    The truth is (as pointed out above) many people have enough water change and loss of CYA due to loss of FC over the winter to keep the CYA from going so high that they cannot maintain the pool. Additionally people are willing to spend money on algaecides, phosphate removers, etc.

    TFP is cheaper, leads to fewer issues over time, but it takes more work each day than pucks. It's like not taking care of your teeth - don't brush and you have more time available for other things - but eventually it's going to catch up to you - however not everyone has the same level of problems and not everyone will lose their teeth...
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  5. Back To Top    #5
    topher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    136

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    also you gotta think.. if all those people would use bleach, the demand for bleach would go up therefore causing the price to go up and costing you more money to buy it for your pool.
    13500 gallon AG, build late 90's, Hayward S220T sand filter,1Hp aqua coastal
    Gasser BBQ broilmate 155154 LP, Smoker CGK (akorn)

    ,

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    80

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Great answers, it makes a lot of sense. Being a new pool owner in Florida, the concept of wintertime CYA loss never even occurred to me!

    Jose
    17x34' 13400gal freeform gunite IG pool, DB Tahoe Blue, cartridge filter, Rainbow 320, ClearO3 ozonator, 1.5HP 2sp Whisperflow, Intellibrite 5G Color LED, pavers, screened enclosure, Liquidator, 6x Fafco SunSavers, SolarTouch

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    653

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    I was a happy puck user for 30 years, starting pretty much when the pucks were first invented. We had an unlined steel pool that needed rust spots repaired every year and cheap water. We emptied every year so CYA would never build for more than six months. It was only when I got a plaster pool in 2004 that the puck system caused problems starting in the second year.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    424

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    I suspect that most pool store sales people get their information from the chemical companies who want to push sales. Also it's a good business model. The more problems people have the more they come in to the store and the store has the opportunity to sell stuff.
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

  9. Back To Top    #9
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    The order things were discovered in makes a large difference. Chlorine is inherently unstable. There are very few ways to stabilize it enough for shipping and have it still work in a pool. When trichlor was discovered it was a huge breakthrough, a reasonably stable easy to transport form of chlorine that has reasonable manufacturing costs. It wasn't until many years later that it was really understood what CYA really does in a pool. In the mean time an entire industry had grown up manufacturing and selling trichlor tablets.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    San Antonio
    Posts
    424

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Thanks Jason for that explanation
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    80

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    That makes sense Jason, but what I don't get is how so few people in the pool industry still don't really understand how CYA works. Are they really that ignorant? Or do they know better but continue to push it just to make a buck? I couldn't believe what I was reading in the "craziest pool story" thread, and it seems like this is pretty common everywhere.

    Jose
    17x34' 13400gal freeform gunite IG pool, DB Tahoe Blue, cartridge filter, Rainbow 320, ClearO3 ozonator, 1.5HP 2sp Whisperflow, Intellibrite 5G Color LED, pavers, screened enclosure, Liquidator, 6x Fafco SunSavers, SolarTouch

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    334

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    This is a good thread and I had the same questions as Jose. Before discovering this site, I bought a 40 pound container of those pucks. The professional I paid $1200 to drain my pool and clean it out told me to always leave a puck in the skimmer basket so I figured I should buy bulk. Well, thankfully, I learned here about CYA and what those pucks would do to it. Fortunately, my CYA is still a bit under 30, but I just leave it there so I can use a combo of bleach and still have room to work with the pucks if I am away for a few days. I am sure I'm being overly conservative with the CYA, especially now that I have learned it will drop in the winter.

    But still, you cross that CYA line and there is no easy way back.
    Dedicated TFPer since 2012 with recommended test kit
    Above ground, 30 foot round pool, 21,000 gallons
    Hayward 150 sq foot cartridge filter, 1HP Waterway pump
    Raypak 400K BTU NG Heater!
    Installed in 2006? (just a guess, pool came with house I purchased in June 2012)

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    413

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985
    Trichlor will only create issues when CYA is allowed to accumulate but this doesn't happen to all pools. For example, a pool with a small sand filter that is backwashed frequently or a pool in a winter zone that is used only 3 months out the year where CYA degrades over the winter may not have a problem with high CYA levels so they can use the pucks without as much worry. Also, the pucks can be a great way to add CYA at the same time adding chlorine. So I still think they are very useful to the industry but they must be used properly. I think the biggest issue is educating the public about some of the downsides of using trichlor.
    +1

    My father maintained our pools through the 70's-80's on trichlor tabs. We had enough rain and he backwashed/refilled quite often and we never had a problem with algae and the pool was always sparkling clear.
    9,200 gal. Gunite Luna Quartz French Grey pool with spill over spa, two fountains on tanning ledge (rarely used)
    Pentair Whisperflo 2HP, Pentair CCP Cartridge 420 Sq. Ft., Polaris 280 with booster pump
    Pentair EasyTouch 4, RayPak LoNox 266k Natural Gas heater, Aqua Rite SWCG T Cell 9, Borates, TF-100 test kit

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California Central Coast
    Posts
    74

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Jason: interesting history lesson there. There are so many cases out there like this; an industry becomes based around existing scientific knowledge, and it doesn't keep up with the changes in current scientific understanding, or it does keep up, but chooses not to change anything. Guess we will never know which one it is.
    Test Kit: Taylor K-2006
    Pool:In ground/Pebble/16,000 gal/Cartridge Filter/Pool Built appr. 1995-2000

  15. Back To Top    #15
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Keep in mind that very very few people in the pool industry really understand any meaningful amount of chemistry. They are just doing the same things they were taught to do by people who came before them. Professional pool operators learn from the previous generation of professional pool operators. Pool store clerks mostly learn from the previous set of clerks and by reading product labels. There isn't really any source of reliable information.

    Meanwhile, very little scientific study is done on swimming pool chemistry. Pool chemistry research in an academic setting isn't likely to get grants and tends to require specialized equipment that there isn't any budget for. The only major corporate sponsors are going to be the chemical companies that depend on maintaing the status quo.

    Politically, it takes deaths before anything happens. Someone died because of a defective drain cover, so we have very aggressive laws about drain covers. But tens of thousands of people having minor respiratory problems from airborne CC in indoor pools, or pools turning green because no one taught home owners how to maintain their water chemistry has no political impact and will likely never be addressed by legislation.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,082

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    There's also the statistical factor where some pools can have high CYA levels yet not get algae because their water is low in algae nutrients (usually phosphates). So with enough Trichlor-only users seeing no problems with their pools, that's enough for an industry to continue to claim that it certainly couldn't be CYA that is the problem. Of course, that doesn't do much good for the rest of the pool users unfortunate enough to not have enough dilution to keep CYA in check and to have higher algae nutrient levels in their pools. It's really hard to know the actual percentages, but based on reports on this forum and observations of their neighbors and other pools, I'd guess that in any given year around 20% of Trichlor-only pools may have problems (i.e. unusual chlorine demand, cloudy water or visible green algae). Maybe it's higher than that, but some pools don't show problems while others show them nearly every year. We're somewhat biased here since people tend to come to forums when they have problems, but we do get additional reports from service folks and others as well. 20% of 10 million residential pools is 2 million pools. That's a huge market for "shock" products, algicides, phosphate removers, clarifiers, flocculants, etc. where such products have higher margins than standard Trichlor pucks/tabs. It's not intentional built-in obsolescence since it's just the way the chemistry worked out, but the effect is similar.

    One really needs to understand both chemistry and biology to see the big picture of what goes on between the race of algae growth limited by temperature, sunlight and algae nutrients vs. the rate of killing algae determined by the active chlorine level (related to the FC/CYA ratio).
    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"

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Herndon, VA
    Posts
    419

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Where is it documented that CYA levels decrease over the winter?

    Everything I've read on this site (other than this thread) states that the only way to lower CYA is by draining and refilling.

    So?

    CYA levels will, in fact, lower over the winter, if you live in a place that gets freezing temperatures?
    8,000 gallon, in ground, fiberglass pool with a cartridge filter.

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    37,389

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    Well, sometimes the CYA goes down a little. Sometimes it goes down a LOT when a bacteria converts it to ammonia. Sometimes it does not go down.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    San Rafael, CA USA
    Posts
    12,082

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    The conversion of CYA into ammonia or nitrates or nitrogen gas by bacteria is not a predictable or controllable event, but it occurs in some pools and is described technically in this thread. If bacteria convert it to ammonia or to nitrites, then there can be a huge chlorine demand upon spring opening. If the bacteria convert it to nitrates or to nitrogen gas, then there is a far smaller chlorine demand upon opening (just enough needed to kill the bacteria and possibly algae if present).
    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"

  20. Back To Top    #20
    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Mount Airy, Maryland
    Posts
    560

    Re: Why do trichlor tablets exist?

    I like using the trichlor tablets at the beginning of the year with my SWG pool since it doesn't work until it gets up to 70 degrees. Each of the two years I opened my pool, my CYA was ZERO, so I added minimum of CYA to get it up and then used the trichlor tablets for a month or more until my CYA was where I needed it OR my temperature was high enough to kick on the SWG and if so, added the appropriate amount of CYA. Real easy chemical balancing.
    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

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •