I like to experiment, have a background in chemistry (though not my profession), and am interested in anything infintely renewable or cheap. My pool probably costs $500-$1,000 year in chemicals which I routinely fork over without much thought. Until now. I should add I like to ask embarassing questions.
The older gentleman at the local pool store now shudders when I enter. He tested my water 2 days ago saying "Hmmm, pH 6.8, alkalinity low". He puts 2 - 10lb bags of "Alkalinity" on the counter, then says "I'll get you some pH Up". As he walked away, I noticed the Alkalinity bag reads "100% Sodum Hydrogen Carbonate" - which I knew was baking soda. When he comes back, at the register it says $21.95/bag, so with tax 20lbs comes to $47.50. I said "For baking soda?" He then says "No, there's other chemicals in there". I then hold up the bag and run my finger under the 100% Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate. I've only seen the look on this 60-something year-old man's face once before, when catching teenagers stealing. I then said "Baking Soda make a pretty strong base; won't that bring the pH up?" He nods, takes the pH Up off the counter and says "Just give me $35", and then adds "If you're going to read the labels, you'll have to talk to my son". This wasn't a victory as much as it was confirmation that I have been ripped off for years and didn't know it.
So, I'm reading the BBB with interest as fast as I can. What I'd like to know is:
- Can I buy what I need in powdered form and mix when needed?
- Can I buy it in large quantities? Like where do you get 100lbs of baking soda, or borax?
My goal here is to bring the cost of pool chemicals under $100/year. I had a fleeting thought that people who live by the ocean could actually make bleach & baking soda from sea water, having only to buy borax. But maybe I'm taking it too far