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Thread: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleach?

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    Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleach?

    I'm trying to make economic sense out of TFP's preference for bleach and I can't see it so far. Was BBB born in a past era when bleach was more cost effective? I looked at the great thread on Bleach Prices 2013, and it looks like everyone is struggling to make the bleach idea work. An older but related thread is Chem Geek's Cost Comparison of Chlorine Sources.

    The Pool Calculator is telling me that a 100-lb tub of Cal-Hypo 65% gives FC equivalent to 125 gallons of 6%. I can get 100-lb Cal-Hypo 68% for $195. That means I gotta get 6% for less than $1.56 per gallon to start taking bleach seriously. But I don't know of a way to get 6% at that price.

    JasonLion has advised me to focus on 12.5% from pool stores. It would take 60 gallons to equate to the 100-lb tub of Cal-Hypo. I'd have to get 12.5% for less than $3.25 per gallon. That's hard enough to do, but the task is made even more difficult when every pool supply I contact thinks I'm nuts to consider using bleach.

    Perhaps BBB makes more sense in high Calcium Hardness regions? I'm in western NC and our make-up water has very low CH, so Cal-Hypo's contribution to CH is welcome.

    But I really am interested in BBB because, frankly, Cal-Hypo scares me. It's really potent stuff, and is made even more dangerous by the need to handle it when pre-dissolving before adding to the pool. That 100-lb tub in our community pool's storage room is an accident waiting to happen. Pouring a gallon of bleach into the pool seems so much safer.
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    I use cal-hypo. As long as you don't have high calcium in your water to begin with there isn't much of a disadvantage. The amount of calcium it adds to the water is very unlikely to require a partial drain and refill. In my area I need to add 70lbs of calcium chloride to get hardness to an ideal range on a fresh filled pool. BBB is somewhat focused on not really needing to step foot into a pool store for chemicals (excluding cya). Bleach fits into that ideal unlike cal-hypo.
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    Plain unscented liquid bleach is the best source of chlorine for a majority of pools. Its main advantage is that it adds chlorine without adding anything undesirable to the pool that could build up and cause problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shocking
    I'm in western NC and our make-up water has very low CH, so Cal-Hypo's contribution to CH is welcome.
    In your specific case, Cal-Hypo may make sense for you to use, especially if you have a plaster pool. I would still test the CH levels at least once a month to make sure that the CH level does not get too high and put you at risk for scaling.

    BBB is really about understanding and managing your water chemistry and knowing what chemicals/dosages are needed and their effect on the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shocking
    ...but the task is made even more difficult when every pool supply I contact thinks I'm nuts to consider using bleach.
    Disregard their comments. They would much prefer to sell you more expensive chemicals.
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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    Not at all. As I posted in another thread, 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.

    Every 10 ppm FC you add with Cal hypo adds 7.2 ppm CH. At an average of 2 PPM/day FC, that's 14 FC, 10 CH per week. If you enjoy rain during the summer, you'll have dilution, so it won't build up too bad. Or if you live somewhere where it freezes, so you drain the level down every winter, it also minimizes the accumulation. You have nice soft water, so you have plenty of room for Calcium.

    But not where I live!!! My pool gets maintained 365 days a year. It never closes. Never freezes. Frost one day last winter. that was gone ten minutes after the sun rose. 5" rainfall last season. And tap water that starts about 130 CH when they are using a good source, but can be as high as 220 at times. Just from evaporation and topoff, I gain about 25 ppm CH a week during the summer.

    Now, if you've ever been in a supervisory or teaching position, you know that people only read or hear part of what you're saying. So...if we start telling some people they can use Cal-hypo to shock or dose their pool, everyone will. I invite you to try a search - no, I'll do it for you - 61 threads with "scaling" in the subject line, 96 with "scale", and I don't even want to know how many that ask "what is this discoloration/roughness on my wall." THAT's why we encourage bleach - no CYA buildup, no scale buildup.

    /end rant.
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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    Bleach and cal-hypo have similar costs. Most of the time bleach is less expensive, but now and again cal-hypo goes on sale and then it costs less than bleach ever costs. All of this assuming you make an effort to find a good price on each. Still, in all cases the prices remain similar, that is assuming you don't count the cost of water replacement to maintain a constant CH level. Once you add that in, bleach is far less expensive. On the other hand, if you actually need CH, then cal-hypo is far less expensive.
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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    I'm trying to make economic sense out of TFP's preference for bleach and I can't see it so far.
    Bleach is the closest to perfect vehicle for adding chlorine to your pool.

    As JasonLion says, it is usually also the the cheapest or close to it but, PLEASE, do not use it for that reason.

    Use it because you understand that the first sentence is true.
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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    BBB is just a handy acronym that means understanding what your pool needs and providing it accordingly, my pool for example gets the first B all the time, the second B rarely and the third B never. There is nothing wrong with using any of the common methods of chlorination, the key part is understanding what is happening in your pool and keeping it balanced. For me that means using bleach as a regular chlorination source, but I also may use dichlor and trichlor on occasion when my CYA needs minor tweaking. If it were not for the fact that cal-hypo violently reacts when placed in contact with dichlor or trichlor I would probably also keep it on hand, but I don't because there is a real chance that a family member that does not understand this danger might mix the two.

    If I had an outdoor pool in my area I could likely manage it with any of the common chlorine methods without too much trouble as long as a maintained a correct CYA/FC ratio, this is because not only do I live in an area with low CH fill water (mine is around 30 ppm), but we also average nearly 5.5 feet of rain per year. Again the key here in what we teach is balancing, and when one first gets started out bleach is the simplest choice since it does not add CYA or CH in addition to the FC, this means no sliding scale of correct CYA/FC ratio, and no worrying about CSI and calcium scaling, etc.

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    Re: Does Cal-Hypo's Low Price Undermine TFP's Focus on Bleac

    Just wanted to say thanks to all responders. I've been working with your ideas for a week now, and I've benefited from them all. A very valuable thread for me, though forum experts might see it as ridiculously simple.

    Thanks!!
    50-Yr Old, 50,000-Gal, In-Ground Plaster-Covered Brick

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