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Thread: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

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    BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    I have a new pool startup, and came across the BBB method searching for help in what chemicals to buy. I'm all for how easy this sounds, and from the discussion here this really does work.

    However, using liquid bleach as opposed to chlorine tablets seems very cost prohibitive to me. I ran some math on what it would take to run my pool off bleach, as opposed to 3" chlorine pucks, using an estimate of 2.5 FC loss per day. Unfortunately, the bleach expense is nearly 4x at $21/week as opposed to $5.50 a week with pucks. (Feel free to run your own calculations using the specs in my signature!)

    Am I missing something here? Certainly this method can't be as popular as it sounds, and be 4x the cost of "the other way".

    Thanks for any help!
    --Michael
    33,000 Gallon, 20x40 Vinyl Inground, 500sq feet cartridge filter, 3/4 HP Hayward Super Pump, Installed 6/2013. Central Virginia, USA

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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    The hidden cost of other way is variable with water costs (to drain and refill) in your area to compensate for CYA or calcium that is introduced by the pucks.
    TFP Moderator Chris V. ~16K Pool & Spa, 48NSF DE, IG Plaster Circa 2000, Intermatic PE653, Challenger pump with a 2 speed B2984, 20gal stenner chlorine injection, Houston, TX
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Also not factoring in the impact the pucks have on pH and TA...
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Continued use of pucks will raise your CYA and turn your pool into a chlorine junkie. Which means you will have to raise your chlorine level higher and higher to maintain a FC level to keep your pool clean.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Those calculations have been done several times and bleach and an swg are the two least expensive methods, taking everything into consideration.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Well... besides just adding chlorine, you're also adding stabilizer, which means the FC level needs to be raised a little more to cover that, which adds more stabilizer, which means the FC level needs to be raised a little more to cover that, which adds more stabilizer, which means the FC level needs to be raised a little more to cover that, which adds more stabilizer, and so on until suddenly you have "chlorine lock" and "high TDS" and the pool store guy, having emptied your wallet, tells you you need to drain.

    Oh... and you're also lowering pH pretty substantially with every puck you feed the pool. Check out Effects of Adding Chemicals in http://www.poolcalculator.com/ Every pound (2 pucks) will lower pH in your 33000 gallon pool by .19. Which is fine if you have really hard water, but if not, don't forget to add the cost of the soda ash and baking soda you need.

    Here's a little comparison I wrote a few weeks ago
    We'll take a 16000 gallon pool, because that's what I have. On a fresh fill, prominent national pool chain recommends 2.5 pounds pf stabilizer per 10,000 gallons, which works out nicely to 4 pounds which brings CYA to 30.

    With an average loss of 2 PPM/Day or 14 ppm/week, I'll have added 8.6 PPM/CYA if I used trichlor pucks perfectly. And they recommend a weekly "shock" of dichlor between 5 and 10 FC.... 2-3 oz per 10,000 gallons. Split the difference; I'll add 4 oz. CYA went up another .9.

    So..by the end of week one, I have added 9.5 more CYA. It is now 39.5. Mimimum FC for that is 3, so I'm probably okay.

    Week two, up to 49 CYA.
    Week three, 58.5. Minimum FC should be 5, but they recommend 3 as ideal, so the pool looks a bit hazy. So I'll toss in a little extra dichlor "shock" to jack FC up to 10. Which adds another 6.4 CYA. Keeping count? We're up to 64.9 now.

    That caught the algae just in time.. we had two weeks of good luck. A steady diet of pucks and 4 oz. "shock" each week only added another 19, up to 73.9 now.

    Week 6 it started looking funky, so we "shocked"it once again. CYA is up to 99.3. But minimum FC to keep algae at bay is 8, and we're still holding things to 3, because prominent national chain's preprinted sheet shows that as ideal. So algae got a toehold and the pool has a bit of a tint. So we throw two whole bags of dichlor in which jacks it another 7.6 by the time week 7 is over, we're at 116.4, because we had pucks in the floater the whole time.

    So...in 7 weeks, from 30 to 116.4. Let's say there are no more algae outbreaks because they sold me a huge bucket of phos-free and another of yellow-out monopersulfate "shock" Nothing but the pucks and the extra 4 oz of dichlor "shock" weekly. So the next 7 weeks added 66.5, which brings the total to 182.9 CYA.

    Now if we didn't understand this and things looked a bit hazy, we might throw an extra puck or two in the floater every couple weeks, which will drive it over 200 easily.


    And then next year when you try to open, you're whining here how you "shocked" it and it's still green. And then you get indignant at the cost and bother to drain 3/4 of the pool. Seen it over and over and over and over here.

    You're certainly free to maintain your pool with whatever products you prefer - dichlor, trichlor, and Cal-hypo can all have their uses. The source of the FC isn't important; what IS important is understanding what is happening and not overusing the wrong chemical.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Certainly this method can't be as popular as it sounds, and be 4x the cost of "the other way".
    It's not. Your math has some flaws somewhere.
    Dave S.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Please retread Richard320 analysis. I purchased a house with existing pool and was pool schooled by a local pool store service person -- using trichlor pucks and dichlor shock without any education in CYA levels. I ran the circle of FC and shock and increasing CYA until all of a sudden, there was the beginning of algae. To make matters worse, we received enormous amounts of rain (> 5" in a day) over few days reducing the FC to zero an the algae to increase in patches. Corrective action: drained pool 75% and refilled, balanced pool water using pool calculator.com and began BBB method!! What a difference in my pool and much less maintenance. I again reference Richard320 signature. Thanks TFP and Richard!
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Locally, the $21/week in bleach would be about 16.3 96 oz. 6% bottles from Aldi. What FC levels are you hitting everyday that require the addition of 2.3 bottles of bleach each day? Or is your local bleach significantly more expensive than that?

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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Your bleach calculations seem close, but the puck calculations seem to be off. I calculated you will need 1.5 pucks for 12 oz of trichlor to get a 2.5 ppm raise in chlorine for your pool a day. If you can get 8 oz pucks for $1. each, then that is $1.50 per day which is $10.50 per week. With this info, bleach is closer to a 2X cost for you. Some places sell liquid chlorine cheaper than what you are using to close the gap some more. Like the others said, liquid chlorine is the cheapest source of chlorine once you add up all the effects of the other types of chlorine.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Pucks for $0.50 here if you buy 50+ lbs of them. (Right? 8oz/puck) http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 12439.html
    33,000 Gallon, 20x40 Vinyl Inground, 500sq feet cartridge filter, 3/4 HP Hayward Super Pump, Installed 6/2013. Central Virginia, USA

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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Has anyone seen a cost analysis spreadsheet comparing the two methods, BBB vs. traditional?
    33,000 Gallon, 20x40 Vinyl Inground, 500sq feet cartridge filter, 3/4 HP Hayward Super Pump, Installed 6/2013. Central Virginia, USA

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    cost-comparison-of-chlorine-sources-t1859.html

    Here is a summary:

    Cost per pound of chlorine:

    Trichlor Tabs/Pucks ......... $2.20 / 0.915 = $2.40 but $3.83 when accounting for Washing Soda to adjust pH
    Dichlor .......................... $2.60 / 0.554 = $4.70 but $5.73 when accounting for Washing Soda to adjust pH
    73% Cal-Hypo ................ $2.40 / 0.724 = $3.31
    Lithium Hypochlorite ....... $6.00 / 0.352 = $17.05
    12.5% Chlorinating Liquid . $0.336 / 0.108 = $3.11
    6% Bleach ..................... $0.15 / 0.057 = $2.63

    The tabs are a hair cheaper in purchase price, and are among the best options when you need the CYA, but in "total cost" they fall behind the other sources.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Richard's post is the key!!!

    You are not yet fully grasping the future complications and expenses that will result from exclusive puck use ... it is just not maintainable ... UNLESS ... you have a very short season and you do a major water drain to close the pool for winter.

    Pucks have their place ... like for vacation or intentionally adding CYA if you are a little low. In fact I have been supplementing with pucks for the last month or so to raise my CYA up. But I understand the effects or using the pucks ... adding FC and CYA and lowering pH and TA.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Quote Originally Posted by raterus
    Pucks for $0.50 here if you buy 50+ lbs of them. (Right? 8oz/puck) http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 12439.html
    Your math is wrong. You get 100 pucks in a 50lb bucket. One pound is 16 oz, each puck is 8 oz, so you get 2 pucks for a pound. Cost is $100 per 50 lbs which comes out to $1.00 per puck.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Quote Originally Posted by ping
    Cost is $100 per 50 lbs which comes out to $1.00 per puck.
    Hah, thanks for that correction, it makes me feel much better knowing where I messed up. Now bleach is only 2x the cost of pucks, and my guess by looking at what the pucks are doing to the pH the chemicals to correct for that are going to cost more than enough to make up the difference.

    Thanks for all your help everyone, I will continue to do my research and likely start another question when I'm confused again!
    --Michael
    33,000 Gallon, 20x40 Vinyl Inground, 500sq feet cartridge filter, 3/4 HP Hayward Super Pump, Installed 6/2013. Central Virginia, USA

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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    I'm in eastern Va (Richmond), and I get my bleach at Costco; a 3 pack of jugs (nearly a gallon each at 8.25%) is around $9. Granted I've only had my pool for a month, but other than the start up costs (CYA, Calcium, etc), I've only had to add bleach and a bit of acid to my pool so far.

    As the others said, keep in mind that when using pucks, the pool store will tell you to "shock" the pool once a week using those packets of powdered shock. If I recall a packet costs between $3-5 bucks each (not sure - never bought any), and one packet is good for around 10,000-12000 gallons, so you'd need about 3. I guess this is their way of keeping chlorine levels high enough to ward off algae, since you're adding cya to the pool every time you use a puck.

    eta - if you use this stuff (the cheapest shock), and buy the largest quantity, it comes out to $3.75 each. Per their rec, you would need about 2 per week.http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 14676.html
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Well said pool mum.........Mike
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    Richard's post above really does give you a fair idea of the hidden costs associated with pucks not only in money, but also in time, effort and frustration level, we can do the math and give you a ball park estimate of the financial costs, however that is what it is, a ballpark estimate, as it does not take into account all those hard to calculate figures like the chemistry of your fill water, how pH tends to drift in your pool, amount of water replacement you might have due to rainfall diluting your CYA level, and also what are your desired results, a pristine clear pool that does not sting the kids eyes, or a cloudy, but technically swimable pool.
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    Re: BBB = Inexpensive? I must be missing something...

    From what I understand if you don't want the day to day hassle of lugging around jugs of bleach and chlorine they do recommend swgs. Those are even less hassle then the pucks. Plus they don't mess up you pool like pucks.
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