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Thread: In the Olden Days...

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    In the Olden Days...

    ...it was a little over 40 years ago, and I was a lifeguard at community pools and apartment complexes in my hometown during my college summers.

    Some of the pools were large, some were immense (acres of water), and a round one even had tile-line arcing jets that met at a central fountain atop a post that rose from the pool floor (a dangerous obstacle to swimmers) and was colorfully illuminated as it shot a plume of water about 8 stories into the air. Wet, wild and wacky.

    Swimming forward about 35 years, buying a home with my first residential pool several years ago, becoming a member of TFP, and reading so many posts here discussing Pool Store Products recently got me thinking back....

    40 years ago, in most of those pool equipment rooms there was:
    A huge sand filter or two.
    A 200-500 gallon vat of chlorine, thick and viscous, with a tube connecting it to a
    Timed chlorinator pump, and an outgoing tube plumbed into the return water pipe(s).
    Jugs of Acid to lower pH.
    Covered bin of Soda Ash to raise pH.
    A pool brush.
    A vacuum hose, head and pole handle.
    A skimmer net.
    Buckets, cleaning rags, and towels.

    A test kit and a first aid kit were kept in the pool office.
    And these rooms would be inspected by the health department.

    No algaecide, no clarifier, no floc. No fancy products. None.

    We were essentially using the BBB Method, only without the Borax and Baking Soda.

    That was how I was taught by professionals to maintain pools efficiently and inexpensively in 1971.
    With additional knowledge about Borax and Baking Soda these days, it's how I maintain our pool now.

    So, Thanks to TFP for keeping it simple.

    I don't mess with success, and I don't waste our $$$ on fancy products.

    And our pool sparkles.

    BTW, when we refurbished the pool 7 1/2 years ago, we received some Products. Those containers are still gathered in a bucket, in our pool box, because I can't see putting them into a landfill, let alone into our pool!
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    And we thank you for helping to pass that knowledge along

    It really is simpler than most people think ... although my in-laws think something is wrong with me when I am freaking out about a higher than expected FC loss with a crystal clear pool. Meanwhile they are paying a company to maintain their green cloudy pool.
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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...


    Thanks, alanpaul
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    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    And about the Pool Service:

    A friend of the family has a pool service take care of her pool. Of course, on top of the monthly maintenance fee, they charge double for every product they bring to her house.

    I stopped by her place in the morning to put in a new cartridge filter (at cost) for her, just 3 days after the pool tech was there to clean this week.

    The old filter was brown. There was an algae-looking shaggy fibrous clump laying on the bottom of the pool, and green growing on all the sides of the pool (uh-oh). The skimmer was nearly empty (odd), but the water wasn't moving very well (not good). Oh . . . the skimmer was empty because the water wasn't moving (not good at all).

    I checked the pump, and found the strainer basket was filled with debris, compressed all the way up to the lid.

    I cleaned it out, twice, put in the new cartridge, and immediately called the pool service.

    They were embarrassed by their tech's lack of maintenance, and rightly so. They said they'd come by that same day, correct everything, and check again a few days later. Also they promised to credit a month's service back to my friend, the homeowner.

    I'll drop by again soon to make sure the pool's improving. Unfortunately, I don't expect it to be in tip-top shape within just a few days.
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Just for fun, photos of the pool/fountain combo, 'cause otherwise you'd never believe me!
    I believe the pool is about 48 feet in diameter.
    In the walls and center floor are 12 full-size lights, and the central fountain post has a grab bar around it for swimmers to hang on.
    Originally, 36 perimeter jets arced to the center, the water plume rose 80 feet, and as it lowered again, the water vase rose up about 10 feet to surround it.
    Swimming was not to occur when the fountain was running, but of course it did anyway!

    [attachment=2:3qcbcprj]highfield house pool.jpg[/attachment:3qcbcprj][attachment=1:3qcbcprj]highfield house pool night.jpg[/attachment:3qcbcprj][attachment=0:3qcbcprj]highfield pool 3.jpg[/attachment:3qcbcprj]
    Designed in the mid-1960's by world famous architect Mies Van der Rohe ["Less is more." & "God is in the details."], this 'floating' glass and concrete slab structure is now an historic building.

    Highfield House Condominium, Baltimore, Maryland. Pictures courtesy of the internet.

    Surrounded by mansions, museums and universities, it was still new when I worked there in 1971, and was then home to many of the city's top artsy and chic people.
    (To me, at age 18, working there was very cool.)
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    I haven't been here very long, but what you described about the pool "service" appears to be rather typical for home pools. Commercial pools quite different because the health dept is always looking over the shoulder.

    How many threads here describe that same scenario? Too many!

    I feel like dropping a note at each house in town I see with a backyard pool, referring them here. A few of the pool owner are using a local service. The guy works out of his van, and you can just guess how low that 3/4 T van sits due to the amount of chemicals he packs around.

    Sad. Very sad.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Your story of pool maintenance reminds me of how my dad maintained our 16x32 pool in the late 70's/early 80's, with good ole liquid chlorine (that he bought at KMART), a bit o' acid and a bit o' soda ash. Simple and effective. So glad I can now carry on his tradition. Thank you for bringing back the memory!
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    I like these old stories of Pool maintenance. I plan on the old way when I finally get mine. There is no question it will work and have the benefit of simplicity. No Salt, no automation, no chemical pumps, nothing except a timer for the filter. Thanks for sharing, and I believed you on the crazy pool RP. Cool stuff though.
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    A big difference between "the olden days" and now is Cyanuric Acid (CYA). One had to add a lot more chlorine in outdoor pools as roughly half was lost per hour in direct noontime sun. Also as a result of not having CYA in the water but still having an FC that was a few ppm, the pools were essentially over-chlorinated. Those were the days of fading swimsuits (you can still get that in today's indoor commercial/public pools that don't use CYA). This changed when CYA was introduced in the 60's, but really didn't take off until the 70's. The downside was that too much CYA was a bad thing and the lie that "CYA doesn't matter; only FC matters" has been perpetuated for over 40 years.
    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"

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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    A big difference between "the olden days" and now is Cyanuric Acid (CYA). One had to add a lot more chlorine in outdoor pools as roughly half was lost per hour in direct noontime sun. Also as a result of not having CYA in the water but still having an FC that was a few ppm, the pools were essentially over-chlorinated. Those were the days of fading swimsuits (you can still get that in today's indoor commercial/public pools that don't use CYA). This changed when CYA was introduced in the 60's, but really didn't take off until the 70's. The downside was that too much CYA was a bad thing and the lie that "CYA doesn't matter; only FC matters" has been perpetuated for over 40 years.

    I almost posted a question on this the other day...about when CYA came in and how was it discovered. I talked to and older guy once who told me pretty much the same thing you just wrote about. He didn't know when it came in, or how it came to be on the market, but remembered he started using the "new Chlorine" it in the late 70's.
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    This is stapled to the wall of my pool equipment room. I wonder how old it is.

    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Robbie, that test is exactly what I did to test boiler chemical level when the program was a "polymer" program. We called it a target test as the stick had a black/white bull's eye target to see when you lowered it. Two reagents, but the same turbidity test principle. Very cool to see that, but I guess the testing equip is long gone by now huh?

    Looking at your sig, I have to look up your posts and photos on it. I don't know what it is, but I always love seeing pics of the older pools for some sort of weird nostalgia thing.
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    I LOVE the deck around the pool. It's hot and slick, but I just love the old look. The plaster and border tile (the blue tiles inside) were done either in 1989 or 1991, and I can't wait to redo them. I want to make the inside tile look like it's from the 50s again, not the 80s.



    I replaced my A/C unit last summer, check out what we took out, the date came back from Carrier to also be 1957. Note the compressor is 3 phase. Yes, this house has 3 phase!

    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Thanks for your comments! I didn't know when CYA became part of the regimen. Good to know.
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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    redhdgirl417's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    A big difference between "the olden days" and now is Cyanuric Acid (CYA). One had to add a lot more chlorine in outdoor pools as roughly half was lost per hour in direct noontime sun. Also as a result of not having CYA in the water but still having an FC that was a few ppm, the pools were essentially over-chlorinated. Those were the days of fading swimsuits (you can still get that in today's indoor commercial/public pools that don't use CYA). This changed when CYA was introduced in the 60's, but really didn't take off until the 70's. The downside was that too much CYA was a bad thing and the lie that "CYA doesn't matter; only FC matters" has been perpetuated for over 40 years.

    Thanks CG for the history lesson CYA...love that I learn something new EVERY day from the forums.
    13,900gal 24'x52" Backyard Leisure Heritage AGP
    20ml All Swirl Flat Liner
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    As described by Wojtowicz in the paper Cyanuric Acid Technology:

    Cyanuric acid was identified as a chemical substance over two centuries ago. However, it was not until the late 1950's that it attained industrial significance with the introduction of chlorinated isocyanurates by Monsanto and FMC. Although the majority of cyanuric acid production is used in the manufacture of chlorinated isocyanurates, some of it is also used as a swimming pool available chlorine stabilizer.
    The earliest date I have for swimming pool use of cyanuric acid and chlorinated isocyanurates is 1958 as mentioned in this paper. There were several papers in the 1960's looking at chlorine effectiveness in the presence of CYA including this one in 1965, this one in 1966 and this one in 1967.
    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: In the Olden Days...

    Quote Originally Posted by alanpaul
    Thanks for your comments! I didn't know when CYA became part of the regimen. Good to know.

    Great post Alan, and quite a conversation starter. I enjoyed all the history and current info you wrote about.


    Robbie, I can't believe it...3 phase! Cool pic again with the data plate. I love your pool and the deck is incredible, hot or not. The guys who put that in were true craftsmen. You mention re-doing tile so I was curious about re-plaster. If you want that look I guess you will go back with white, but modern "plaster" if you re-do that? If there is another thread about it I'll look it up. If not, you have to keep us aprised of the re-tile Very cool old pool man, it definately has the nostalgia factor for me.
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    When we first bought the house, the pool inspector said the same thing, that the people who installed it were true craftsmen.

    I'm considering something other than white plaster, but I have not made up my mind. I hate that 80's tile around the plaster, and my plaster is in bad shape. It was either applied in 89 or 91, I am not sure which.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    As described by Wojtowicz in the paper Cyanuric Acid Technology:

    Cyanuric acid was identified as a chemical substance over two centuries ago. However, it was not until the late 1950's that it attained industrial significance with the introduction of chlorinated isocyanurates by Monsanto and FMC. Although the majority of cyanuric acid production is used in the manufacture of chlorinated isocyanurates, some of it is also used as a swimming pool available chlorine stabilizer.
    The earliest date I have for swimming pool use of cyanuric acid and chlorinated isocyanurates is 1958 as mentioned in this paper. There were several papers in the 1960's looking at chlorine effectiveness in the presence of CYA including this one in 1965, this one in 1966 and this one in 1967.

    Your wealth of Pool Chemistry knowledge never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Richard.
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    alanpaul's Avatar
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    Re: In the Olden Days...

    @ RobbieH
    What does appropriate 1957 pool water-line tile look like...?
    I was age 4 then, and don't remember pools from that era.

    Our current home's pool was put in in 1988. Uhhh-gly (by today's standards) tile and degrading painted surface, courtesy of a previous owner, TYVM!
    We bought the place in 2005. Hope to resurface and retile in a year or two.
    [attachment=0:iryol1rx]pool tile.jpg[/attachment:iryol1rx]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Alan in Wellington, FL - near West Palm Beach
    15,200 gal IG, painted plaster, 1988; 200 SqFt cartridge filter, 2013; 1.5 HP 1-speed pump (uprated), 2005; heat pump, 2005;
    soon to repair (dead) SWG AquaRite T-15 cell, 2005, and replace (dead) suction-side cleaner, 2005.
    Almost everything died this winter 2012-'13, and I know we shouldn't complain... but, Arrgh!

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