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Thread: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

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    Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Hi All

    New pool owner here. I'll be testing my water w/ a Taylor test kit and will post the results next week.

    We just bought our house and the prior owner left a large jug (50 pounds) of 3" Chlorine tabs. They are "Jumbo Tabs" from Leslie Pool.

    If I decide to go ahead and use the tabs this summer, can I still get advice on the forum here in terms of water chemistry/testing etc or is this forum really only for those owners who use the BBB method?
    16 x 32 In-Ground vinyl, 21,000 Gallons, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward Tiger Shark robotic cleaner, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    We are happy to give advice about nearly any system of pool care. However, people do tend to assume you are following our approach so you might have to remind us now and then that you are doing something else.

    There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using trichlor tablets. First, they are acidic, so you will need to add soda ash/PH Up regularly to compensate. Also because of the acidity, you generally want to keep your TA around 120 to 150, instead of our usual recommendations. And the final issue, which is by far the largest issue, is that trichlor tablets constantly add CYA. Eventually your CYA level will get too high and cause problems. The only way to avoid that while using trichlor is to replace water.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    No. We will refuse to help!!! ... just kidding.

    You can be a BBBer too ... The BBB method is really just about understanding your pool’s chemistry and through accurate testing, adding only what the pool NEEDS and not what someone wants to sell you.

    As long as you understand ALL the effects of using the tablets (adding FC, adding CYA, lowering the pH), you can use them.

    Which kit did you order? Would be best to get a full set of test results BEFORE you decide on a plan. If your CYA is already too high, then using the tablets is a bad idea. But if it is low, the tablets can be used to raise it ... {Confession ... I have the same tablets in my pool now }

    And the tablets will last for years in the bucket, so you can likely eventually use them.

    Please add your pool details and location as described HERE as it will help us help you.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Sure you can, but you need to be aware that the tabs drive your CYA up to the point that your first mistake may cost you a lot of swimming time and chlorine trying to deal with algae. Algae treatment at high CYA levels can be very frustrating, and drives a lot of new pool owners to get rid of their pool.

    The BBB method is an answer to the problem of using tablets. It really isn't about the chemicals, but is about knowing what your water needs from the test kit, and knowing how the chemicals you add will affect your water. I use trichlor in my pool every year when I need both chlorine and CYA. I use bleach when I only need chlorine. It's a fairly simple system.

    You'd be better off to base your decision on your test results. You can just save the tabs for when you need the CYA.

    The Chlorine CYA Chart shows you the effects of high CYA.
    In our recommended CYA range, you shock your pool at about 15ppm of chlorine. At 100ppm CYA, the shock level increases to 39ppm of chlorine. The amount of chlorine to reach shock level increases because the chlorine becomes less active at high CYA levels. The most negative aspect of high CYA is that there is no simple way to get rid of it once it's in the pool.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    You may use any source of chlorine you wish with the BBB method. It's not so much where you get the chemicals, but understanding your pool's chemistry and only adding what it needs. We push the Bleach over other forms because it doesn't have unwanted side effects and the grocery store is cheaper than the pool store generally.

    Without a decent test kit, you're working blind. Without test results, no one can say of you can use the pucks or not. I'd wager large sums of money that your pool's CYA level is already way over anyone's recommended level.

    Have you studied pool school?
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Wow! Thanks for the quick responses.

    I ordered the Taylor Kit (K-2006). It will be here on Saturday.

    I'm on the fence about starting off with the BBB Method - I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I have lots of friends with pools and they all use Chlorine tabs. Not that it makes it the best way to approach things! I just feel like I'd be flying blind (without the forum here of course) if I did go the BBB route.

    I'm going to post my results next week. I still need to determine how many gallons I have in the pool since it's new pool to me. I'm thinking I may just take your recommendations from there on in (even if it doesn't involved the Chlorine tabs) and hope for the best.

    - Quick follow up question: When I do pull the cover off - should I just go ahead and start the pump and the filter right away and let it run for a day or two right off the bat? No harm in that right? I have an electric vac (Hayward Tigershark) that I will throw in for a few hours on day one as well.

    Thanks!
    16 x 32 In-Ground vinyl, 21,000 Gallons, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward Tiger Shark robotic cleaner, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    With some pool details/pictures we can help estimate the volume.

    You need to run the pump for at least an hour before you start testing. Depending on the condition of the water, you may be clogging up the filter (what kind?) very quickly. We recommend cleaning the filter when the pressure rises 20-25% over the clean pressure.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Quote Originally Posted by dschribs
    I just feel like I'd be flying blind (without the forum here of course) if I did go the BBB route.

    I'm going to post my results next week. I still need to determine how many gallons I have in the pool since it's new pool to me. I'm thinking I may just take your recommendations from there on in (even if it doesn't involved the Chlorine tabs) and hope for the best.
    Don't worry, we were all flying blind when we first found this site. You will get plenty of help. I'm obviously biased, but I strongly recommend BBB from the start. They said it above, but I'll reiterate: BBB is not about telling you what to put in your pool, it's about understanding pool chemistry so a YOU can decide what goes in your pool based only on what it needs.

    Frankly, your alternative is the pool store method, where you'll be flying blind forever, and paying a fortune for the priviledge.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Something else to keep in mind is that you have a cartridge filter (as stated in your signature) so you will not be doing any backwashing. Many people who use tabs have a sand filter, which means they do a lot of backwashing to clean the filter, which also helps to keep their CYA levels in check because backwashing drains water from the pool. Since you don't backwash a cartridge filter, you'll have to periodically do a partial drain and refill to lower your CYA if you choose to use the tabs.
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Quote Originally Posted by dschribs
    I'm on the fence about starting off with the BBB Method - I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I have lots of friends with pools and they all use Chlorine tabs. Not that it makes it the best way to approach things! I just feel like I'd be flying blind (without the forum here of course) if I did go the BBB route.
    Go to the home page and check out the extreme lower right corner where it says: "Total members 44985" We are a small city of BBB users.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Also, there are a lot of people who visit the site who are not registered. TFP has over 300,000 unique visitors (well, IP addresses) in each of the peak months of May, June and July.

    As for managing a pool using Trichlor and dealing with the increase in the CYA level, you have the following options each with various pros and cons:

    • Raise your FC to at least follow the minimum for the CYA level based on the Chlorine/CYA Chart. If you have a short swim season, then this may be all you need to do and is close to BBB.[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]
    • Do a partial/drain refill to reduce the CYA level to keep it from climbing. This can waste a lot of water.[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]
    • Shock the pool with chlorinating liquid or bleach weekly. This will kill off some algae that may get started and is what many pool services do when Trichlor pucks/tabs are used in between visits (shock levels for such pool services are usually 10-15 ppm, not the shock values found in the Chlorine/CYA chart), but this approach only works for a while and at some point the CYA gets so high that algae grows too fast between such shocking.[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]
    • Use an algaecide such as Polyquat 60 added weekly to inhibit algae growth. This is extra cost and not a cure-all, but may let you go higher in CYA before you run into problems, perhaps double or triple the CYA level for a given FC compared to the standard shown in the Chlorine/CYA Chart. Variants of this approach that have more single dosing are the use of 50 ppm Borates and using a sodium bromide product (turns the pool into a bromine pool).[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]
    • Use a phosphate remover such as PhosFree (that has a clarifier as well since otherwise it would make the pool quite cloudy). This is usually a very expensive option, especially if your phosphate levels are high. It is not a cure-all, but may let you go higher in CYA before you run into problems. It will also form precipitate in your filter that you will need to backwash/clean. If your fill water does not have phosphates in it and you don't have fertilized landscaping nearby or fertilizer blown into the pool, then the one-time treatment may be the biggest expense and phosphate removal maintenance not required the rest of the season.[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]
    • Then one gets to options with more serious side effects than just high cost, such as using copper ions to inhibit algae growth. The problem is that you risk staining pool surfaces if the copper level or pH get too high.[/*:m:3d6y3qhh]


    As an example of costs, for the Polyquat 60 approach for your size pool which I presume to be 17,000 gallons you would use 9*(17/10) = 15 ounces initially and 3*(17/10) = 5 ounces weekly for maintenance. Based on prices at poolgeek.com (not including shipping), that would cost $0.523 per ounce so the initial dose is about $8 while the maintenance is around $2.60 per week. Polyquat 60 is also a clarifier so as the chlorine becomes less effective oxidizing bather waste it will still tend to move some of this to the filter to keep the pool clear. Your chlorine demand (daily chlorine usage) will go up somewhat since chlorine will break down the Polyquat.

    For the phosphate remover, if your phosphate level was 1000 ppb then you would need around 27 ounces of commercial strength PhosFree at $0.502 per ounce would be around $13.50. But if your phosphate level was 5000 ppb, then it would be five times as expensive. Maintenance depends on the rate of phosphate accumulation in your pool.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Thanks All!! I think I'm sold. Yikes!!

    I'll post my results in a new thread next week and we'll go from there. In the meantime, I'll but a few gallons of bleach just to have on hand.
    16 x 32 In-Ground vinyl, 21,000 Gallons, Hayward Cartridge Filter, Hayward Tiger Shark robotic cleaner, Taylor K-2006 Test Kit

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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    First, what they all said,

    As to the neighbors all using trichlor pucks, most of us have experienced this from the before and after discovering BBB

    Before Neighbor X says pool maintenance is easy, I just toss a some pucks into the floater every few days, let the automatic vacuum run and clean out the filter every once in a while, when I run low on chemicals I take a water sample into the pool store and they tell me what else to add.

    After you discover BBB, those same neighbors are asking you, how do you get your pool water so clear, you must scrub it all the time and it must cost you a fortune in chemicals, Why do the kids say their eyes burn when they are swimming in my pool and not yours, .... And you say, no its cheap, it just requires 5 minutes testing the water every couple of days, and making small adjustments mostly using bleach, baking soda or acid.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    First, what they all said,

    As to the neighbors all using trichlor pucks, most of us have experienced this from the before and after discovering BBB

    Before Neighbor X says pool maintenance is easy, I just toss a some pucks into the floater every few days, let the automatic vacuum run and clean out the filter every once in a while, when I run low on chemicals I take a water sample into the pool store and they tell me what else to add.

    After you discover BBB, those same neighbors are asking you, how do you get your pool water so clear, you must scrub it all the time and it must cost you a fortune in chemicals, Why do the kids say their eyes burn when they are swimming in my pool and not yours, .... And you say, no its cheap, it just requires 5 minutes testing the water every couple of days, and making small adjustments mostly using bleach, baking soda or acid.

    I didnt find that to be the case at all. Two years ago, when i,tried the bbb method, my daughters hair was horrible. I cant remember all my levels, but since switching back last summer to 3 inch pucks in skimmer, weekly or twice weekly shock when pool has heavy usage, and the occasional clarifier or phos free, it was a great summer! My only complaint was overshocking july 4th and having cloudy pool w guests. Lesson learned! But i have not have had same experience as you folks. Plus, handling all those jugs of bleach gets annoying vs buying 1 50 lbs tube of pucks and leaving it near my pool.
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluefin646 View Post
    I didnt find that to be the case at all. Two years ago, when i,tried the bbb method, my daughters hair was horrible. I cant remember all my levels, but since switching back last summer to 3 inch pucks in skimmer, weekly or twice weekly shock when pool has heavy usage, and the occasional clarifier or phos free, it was a great summer! My only complaint was overshocking july 4th and having cloudy pool w guests. Lesson learned! But i have not have had same experience as you folks. Plus, handling all those jugs of bleach gets annoying vs buying 1 50 lbs tube of pucks and leaving it near my pool.
    I don't know what you mean by your Daughter's hair being horrible, but if you were following the methods we teach here, nothing would have happened to anyone's hair. I'm curious why you came back here if you feel like the results of TFPC were so bad?
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    TFP/BBB is the ONLY way to go! Saves you SO much money and time!

    I just tested my pool for the first time since last fall. All of the levels were spot on! Once the weather turned cold/cool I stopped testing. I added chlorine every other day just in case.

    I only add 6 cups of chlorine each evening. I test 2 or 3 times a week unless I see that the water looks different.

    Now before I found TRP I was NOT a good pool person. I had NO idea what I was doing so had to use and trust the pool store. I spent SO much money and time is was not even funny. I used the tabs/pucks. It was easy UNTIL things went way wrong.

    Turns out my CYA was WAY high! The pool store told me to drain "some of the water" and things would be fine. Yeah right-NOT! The water felt "bad", eyes hurt, algae grew, just over all bad. I shocked, drained, brushed, shocked, spent money on this and that. NOTHING did any good for long.

    The liner got ruined. It dry rotted with water in it from the high CYA It just started cracking all over. I was so over the pool I just let it drain out and sold it.

    My husband really missed the pool and talked me in to trying it again. I told him ONLY if we could find a better way to take care of the pool. He did quite a bit to searching and found TFP!

    I bought the test kit BEFORE I let him buy the new pool LOL Once I saw I COULD do the tests and found a great place to buy the chlorine close to home it was on.

    He bought the new pool and I have not looked back! It has been going on three years and I have spent LESS in the 3 years with TFP than I spent in one summer using pucks/tabs (and everything the pool store told me to buy).

    Kim
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  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    If one uses supplemental algae prevention products such as algaecides or phosphate removers, then if one maintains a lower FC/CYA ratio as would normally be the case when using Trichlor pucks/tabs since they increase the CYA level, then the active chlorine level is lower so the rate of oxidation of skin, swimsuits and hair will be even lower. So if one compares possible overdosing when using the TFPC method (say, if you don't dose regularly so have larger swings of FC level or if the CYA level isn't high enough) compared to low dosing with Trichlor and algae-preventing supplements one might notice a difference. However, this would usually be a subtle difference unless one was at the extremes of each method.

    Remember that the TFPC recommended levels are set to prevent green and black algae growth using chlorine alone regardless of algae nutrient (phosphate, nitrate) level. They are also at a level that provides a fast bacterial kill to prevent person-to-person transmission of disease (roughly 99.9% kill of fecal bacteria in around 1-2 minutes so a 90% kill in 15-30 seconds).

    As was noted, most people don't notice a problem with TFPC recommended levels. If one wants to minimize chlorine damage to hair when swimming in any chlorinated pool, then one can use a shampoo with reducing agents after using the pool. This is what my wife does as described in this post since she uses our pool every day for about an hour for swim therapy exercise. She most definitely notices the difference between using our pool vs. an indoor commercial pool that has 1-2 ppm FC with no CYA since that has roughly 10-20x the active chlorine level compared to our pool and resulted in swimsuits needing to be replaced nearly every year compared to our pool where they last for 7 years and the differences in skin and hair effects were also significant.
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  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    One thing to realize is that you can eventually use up those tabs even if you follow the TFP method. So hold on to them, they keep really well. Just understand that you will need to consider them a luxury, instead of an everyday thing.
    You may use them for adding chlorine in the spring, when you find CYA is low and you want to raise it 10 or 20 ppm. I sometimes do this following a wet winter when rain has reduced the CYA level.
    You may use them when you go on vacation, if you have kept the CYA a bit low and can afford to let it rise by 10 or 20 ppm. I try to do this, to make it easier on whoever tends the pool while we are away.
    Tabs add 10ppm CYA per week to my pool. You can find this info for your pool at the Pool Calculator.
    My pool had been freshly filled and balanced when we bought the house. For about 5 months, over winter, I had been using tabs and weekly powder stocks like the pool store told me. Ás the weather started to warm up, the pool was turning green here and there. All that money and I'd never been in the pool and it was already messed up. The test strips didn't say anything was really wrong but the pool was getting algae.
    When I got my test kit I saw what had happened. The CYA was 160 and i was keeping FC at 2 and the strips said that was OK but it wasn't. In a few weeks, a bit of drained water and TFP help and the pool was under control and looking great.
    Now the pool is easy, looks great, simple to run. I have a pool store that I trust, for they are really helpful when I ask, and they are happy to sell me "liquid shock" and acid. I do buy cal-hypo and calcium increaser and tabs on occasion but not those other products on the shelves.

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    Listen to these guys. I found out the hard way, although not as hard as having to replace my liner. Thank Goodness.

    Last year we bought a home with a pool, it had fresh water and was ready to go. I didn't know any different so I used tablets to chlorinate and the pool was EASY last summer. Little did I know that the CYA was climbing weekly. This season, I bought 50lbs of Tablets ($100). Started chlorinating again, getting the pool in shape. I was struggling to get it clear. It had the FC Really high and it was being so stubborn. I started scanning the internet for help and I found TFP. After joining this site, I purchased a K-2006 test kit and found my CYA was off the charts. I was probably around 160 as well. The Pool Calculator told me I needed to drain 77% of water to correct this! And this is after I've spent Hundreds on chemicals and snake oils trying to get it in shape. It looked great, I thought it was ready to go But man I was wrong. Once I tested the CYA level I my false hopes went away fast. I asked about it here and was told it was caused by the tablets. How could this be? This is what they are made for, No? Frustrated, I took these guys advise and started draining. It has been an absolute nightmare because with a Vinyl liner, I can only do pieces at the time and that process dilutes the water and slows the CYA drop.

    I have finally got the CYA to about 65. Which I was told is ok as long as I run pretty high FC, which also works for me because I'm in South GA and get sunlight in my pool if the sun is out. No shade in my pool at all. Needless to say, I have Bleach, Borax, Baking Soda and Muriatic Acid in my garage and that's it. I'm looking forward to saving some money in the future and enjoying the pool more. The past 2 months have been so UN-fun, I almost gave up on it.
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  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Can I use Chlorine Tabs??

    You can definitely use pucks, but your CYA levels will eventually become too high and your chlorine demand will become much higher than the pucks will provide.

    I'm in Houston so I don't close my pool over winter. I used pucks over the winter because I was too lazy to deal with testing my water and pouring in an occasional jug of bleach. I'm really regretting it now because my CYA went from 70 to 90 from using trichlor pucks in my inline feeder. My chlorine demand is higher and I'm not really sure if I can keep it from growing algae once the temps go up and the kids start swimming every day.

    I did heat the pool to 93 degrees over spring break and my pool chewed through a ton of liquid chlorine. It was difficult to keep free chlorine at 7-10ppm. I'm contemplating draining part of my water but I'm honestly not sure how to do that.this could have been prevented by sticking to the TFP method!
    17,000 inground gunite pool finished June 2013. Pentair variable speed something or another. Polaris cleaner, inline rainbow chlorinator. Using trichlor until CYA reaches 50-60.

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