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Thread: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Just returned from spending a couple of weeks on vacation in Alaska. This was the first time my pool was left unattended (for part of the time anyway) since switching to BBB. It was left unattended for much of the first week. Had someone come by the second week to add bleach and top off water level.
    Before leaving, I did the following:

    • • Backwashed filter

    • • Filled pool until it barely started draining into the overflow drain

    • • Added Polyquat 60 algaecide (22 oz. in a 23,000 gal pool) as extra insurance against algae if FC dropped below target.

    • • Added liquid chlorine to the low end of shock range

    • • Added six 8 oz. trichlor pucks to the feeder, plus two 8 oz. Trichlor pucks to a floater in the pool along with one 7 oz. Trichlor puck to a floater in the spa.

    • • Ran pump 5 hrs/day while I was gone


    Weather-wise, the first week was seasonal with air temps in the 90’s with rain for part of 1-2 days then partly sunny/cloudy on the other days. Had a heat wave the second week where air temp was over 100F each day with full sun & no rain. Pool temperature ranged from 79 – 87 F while I was gone. Pool is in full sun (no cover).

    The person who topped off the water level & chlorine the second week was not familiar with pool testing so none were performed. To make things simple, I asked her to simply add 72 oz. of 6% bleach to the pool each day while filter was running and top off the water level as needed. With no testing being done, I had to SWAG the amount of bleach addition factoring in the spiked dosage level of liquid chlorine I did before I left, the amount of chlorine added by the pucks, and the estimated daily chlorine demand.

    Admittedly, I wondered from time to time what I would come home to. Came home to a crystal-clear pool. FC was 5.5, CC = 0, pH = 7.5, CYA = 38. This trip was planned, so I knew I had to manage the CYA level to account for the puck usage. Kept CYA around 30 for much of the summer, but let it drop into the high twenties before I left (backwashing & splash-out took care of that). The pucks in the floaters had completely dissolved while the pucks in the feeder were partially dissolved.

    This goes to show that a well-maintained pool can occasionally be left unattended for extended periods of time with a bit of planning. Although I use liquid bleach as my primary chlorine source and have no need to add algaecides when I’m physically here to manage the pool, trichlor pucks and algaecides (namely Polyquat 60) do add value in particular circumstances when used properly based on your pool’s chemistry and environment. The BBB method gives you that knowledge so you are not indiscriminately dumping chemicals in the pool. To me, that knowledge is the biggest benefit of BBB.

    Hope this info helps some of you breathe a little easier when you go on vacation.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Great job! Knowledge is indeed power and is the cornerstone of BBB.
    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: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    great story Bodarville
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
    1 large fountain 1 inch sch 40 pvc,shut off ball valves on all

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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Good job. Way to plan ahead. Same thing for me too. I had my neighbor dump in 1 gallon of chlorine daily.
    23,000 gal IG Plaster 1989
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    To me, that knowledge is the biggest benefit of BBB.
    Just repeating for emphasis what you and chem geek already said.....BBB is knowledge.

    Nice work!
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Thanks everyone.

    One thing I should have mentioned is that I keep a weekly log of my test results, water temperature, and any relevant notes. This helped in estimating the amount of liquid bleach I requested that my friend add to the pool during the second week.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Great report! I'm relieved to know that with the right preparation, you won't come come to a swamp! Good job!

    Can I ask what do you think attributed to keeping your PH at a decent level? My PH gets high after a few days where I have to add MA. Thank you in advance!
    Helen
    Dallas Area, 16,000 gal IG, Easytouch 8 computer, Intelliflo 3HP Variable Speed pool pump, Pentair Smart Pump 4x160, Pentair 3/4 HP Booster Pump, FNS 60 DE 60, Mastertemp 400, Rainbow 320, Dual Timer w/ freeze protection, Intellichor SWG, TF100 Test Kit, POOL FILLED AUG 3, 2012, ORDER YOUR TF100 KIT FROM http://tftestkits.net
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/under...ie-t49936.html

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    imrodee:

    The trichlor pucks are a more acidic form of chlorine than the liquid bleach I normally use. This helped keep the pH from creeping up. I have a spa with a spill-over waterfall into the pool. The aeration from the spill-over waterfall tends to increase the pH. Like you, I normally need to add MA a few times per week to counter this. The pucks provided a dual benefit of chlorinating the pool and countering the pH rise without needing to add MA.

    Although the trichlor pucks are a great alternative for chlorinating the pool for those occasional times when it will be left unattended for a while, the convenience of using pucks to chlorinate & mitigate the pH rise comes at a price of adding stabilizer (CYA) to the pool. The higher the CYA level, the more free chlorine (FC) is needed to get an adequate sanitizing effect. If the FC level is not increased to compensate for the rise in CYA, the risk of an algae outbreak or other organic contamination is increased. If I were to use pucks as my chlorine source all season, the CYA would rise to a point that would require a partial drain & refill to lower the CYA level as CYA does not "burn off" (with very rare exceptions). As a result, I'm back to using liquid bleach as my chlorine source along with the occasional MA additions now that I'm physically here to dose the pool. Liquid bleach is a better long-term chlorine solution as it has the least amount of side-effects compared to other chlorine sources.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    I have a similar situation and use trichlor tabs as my primary chlorine source. Very low bather load and screened-in pool with spa spillover. As Bo mentioned, the trichlor have a dual-benefit - add chlorine and are acidic to keep pH in check. The added CYA isn't an issue in S Florida as we have so much rain I am draining the pool a couple of times a month at least.

    15x30 inground concrete pool w/spa and spillover, all under screen enclosure
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Thanks Bo, that makes perfect sense. I have a spa spillover and a grotto waterfall so I suppose those both help drive the pH higher. There should be a way to turn those off with the computer, but that's a whole different issue.

    Hof - I can see where the pucks would be beneficial in your situation. We don't have enough rain here. In fact we are filling our pool up due to the evaporation from the heat. Not complaining tho!!
    Helen
    Dallas Area, 16,000 gal IG, Easytouch 8 computer, Intelliflo 3HP Variable Speed pool pump, Pentair Smart Pump 4x160, Pentair 3/4 HP Booster Pump, FNS 60 DE 60, Mastertemp 400, Rainbow 320, Dual Timer w/ freeze protection, Intellichor SWG, TF100 Test Kit, POOL FILLED AUG 3, 2012, ORDER YOUR TF100 KIT FROM http://tftestkits.net
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/under...ie-t49936.html

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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Interesting ... Doesn't someone make "pucks" that contain NO stabilizer (CYA) ??? It just seems that it would be so much simplere to be able to add pucks that are nothing more than slow-release Chlorine for those 1-2 week vacation trips. It sounds like the Polyquat 60 was one of the KEYs to all of this.
    30,000 Gal FIBER GLASS (over Gunite Plaster) Pool, Dolphin Nautilus PLUS Robot, (2) Cartridge Filter System (old), 1/2 HP Pump, Full Sun, Solar Heated, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Quote Originally Posted by cody21
    Interesting ... Doesn't someone make "pucks" that contain NO stabilizer (CYA) ??? It just seems that it would be so much simplere to be able to add pucks that are nothing more than slow-release Chlorine for those 1-2 week vacation trips. It sounds like the Polyquat 60 was one of the KEYs to all of this.
    Unfortunately, the chemistry of chlorine doesn't have a practical slow-dissolving solid form that doesn't add anything you don't want to build up in the water. There are Cal-Hypo tabs, but not only do they increase CH, they tend to fall apart too quickly when they get smaller and they are held together with binders that tend to leave a residue. Dichlor and Trichlor both add CYA. Lithium hypochlorite is the only other solid form that releases chlorine in the water, but it's very expensive and like Cal-Hypo it doesn't form slow-dissolving pucks unless one were to use binders so no one does that.

    Pure chlorine is a gas. Cal-Hypo described above is calcium hypochlorite. Sodium hypochlorite is only stable diluted in water and is what is in chlorinating liquid and bleach. There is a magnesium hypochlorite but it is not pure and is dibasic, Mg(OCl)2•2Mg(OH)2, so would substantially raise the pH requiring acid to be added (i.e. it is not net pH neutral). If you go down the list of possible metals with hypochlorite, you run out pretty quickly for those that are stable or practical in cost.
    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: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    thanks
    30,000 Gal FIBER GLASS (over Gunite Plaster) Pool, Dolphin Nautilus PLUS Robot, (2) Cartridge Filter System (old), 1/2 HP Pump, Full Sun, Solar Heated, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: My vacation experience-Came home to crystal clear pool

    Interesting ... Doesn't someone make "pucks" that contain NO stabilizer (CYA) ??? It just seems that it would be so much simplere to be able to add pucks that are nothing more than slow-release Chlorine for those 1-2 week vacation trips...
    A word of caution to all...Although CalHypo tabs (which have no stabilizer) do exist, never use CalHypo tabs in an inline chlorinator that uses or has used trichlor tabs. Aside from the fact that most pools do not need more CH than they already have, bad things will happen very quickly if these two forms of chlorine are mixed in a feeder.

    This should hammer the point home: http://www.chemaxx.com/pool_chemical_explosion2.htm. Grab on to your chair at the 6 second mark of this video!

    The keys to my success in coming home to a crystal clear pool were mainly managing the CYA so I had the option to use the trichlor pucks while I was gone as well as supplementing with Polyquat60 (as cody21 adroitly noted). Trichlor pucks have their place in water chemistry management when they are used prudently (such as when on vacation) as long as you know your starting CYA level and the expected increase in CYA from using the tabs. As long as the CYA is kept within the recommended range, there's no harm in using the tabs for such occasions. The key is understanding the effect on water chemistry that is the main take-away here.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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