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Thread: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

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    I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I did this for years and didn't have any problems, with a heater. The pool original came with a chlorine tower but I could never get it to work right so I just through a tablet in every 3rd day and ran the pump for 8 hours. I live in Fort Worth, hot summers.

    I have recently gone to a floater, after reading all of this, but I have serious doubts about some of what is being said. The tower, the floater...etc, are all made of pcb tubing and plastic and they don't get brittle and break as many have claimed here. The floaters deterioration is usually from sunlight and weather. My basket is the original skimmer basket I have had for 10 years. I have no stains (not in the pool anyway). But, fear has lead me to discontinue this practice for now. It was a lot easier to just throw a tablet in on the 3rd day than chasing down a floater.

    I'm not sure if it was this board but someone compared it to driving your car at 90mph and how you "are taking a chance" by putting cholorine talbets into a skimmer. . There is no comparison there. Chemicals breaking down pcb aren't by chance (if it happens) and the car doing 90mph depends a lot on the driver, the car, the road and conditions. Some people are as comfortable in a car doing 90 as others are at 50.

    Anyway, thanks for the insite.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    Hi, welcome to TFP! You may see less impact of keeping a chlorine tablet in the skimmer if you keep the pump running 24/7. When the pump is off and the tablet is just sitting, the water in skimmer becomes very highly chlorinated and the pH in the skimmer drops as the tablet dissolves. While it may not cause problems for some pools, the overall potential for harm is great enough for us to discourage the practice overall.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    Welcome to the forum. I would never suggest to anyone who is having the success you report with their pool to change anything. 10 years and no problems.....that would be good enough for me.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I'm with Dave and say the proof is in the pudding. 10 years with no issues is a good run but now that you know its a possibilty its something you can add to your maintenance list and check it to make sure its not brittle or cracked. Or put it into a replacement cycle say every 8 - 10 years.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    The problems with Trichlor are primarily when the pump is not running. In my own pool with Trichlor in a floating dispenser 9-10 years ago, the dispenser parked itself near some stainless steel bars in my pool and rusted the mounts closest to the dispenser and I still live with that rust to this day. For pucks in a skimmer, when the pump is off they continue to slowly dissolve and if the local acidity gets to the copper in the heat exchanger in the gas heater or to the pump seals, then there can be serious problems. We have quite a few reports of people with copper and associated stains in their pool from doing this so even if the copper pipes didn't get to the point of leaking they can still cause problems.

    The advice not to put Trichlor pucks in the skimmer is simple and general. It's similar to advice for the amount of chlorine relative to CYA to prevent algae. Sure, some pools may be poor enough in algae nutrients to not need as high a chlorine level, but it's far simpler and safer to set the limit so that it works in thousands upon thousands of pools regardless of algae nutrient level. However, it's your pool and all we can do is provide information. If you keep the pump running until the pucks dissolve or if you remove them when the pump is off then you minimize the chance of damage.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    My dad used to do the same thing. Pool was run in the day and off at night. I went out one morning to turn the pump on and there was an air bubble in the pump's basket. So I had to remove the cover to let the air out and when I did I got a huge breath of chlorine gas. I almost passed out, no kidding. After I chewed his bum, he started putting them in a floater. Never will forget that smell, so believe me when I say it does collect down the pipe into the pump when the pump is off. Since trichlor has a pH of 3, it can eat away at the metal and pump seals.

    I suppose if you wanted to see for yourself, you could do the same thing I done, but I really hope you dont.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I have some pretty bad plaster damage in my skimmer. Now I know where it came from. I had been putting pucks in the skimmer basket for years. Thank goodness I switched to liquid chlorine.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I strongly support and agree with the comments of Zea3 and Chem geek.

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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    We became pool owners last August when we bought our house. The previous owner said to drop the tabs in the skimmer. I realize this is probably not the best idea, but one pool guy said there are "special" tabs that are the only ones that are approved for the skimmer. Something about needing moving water to dissolve - Know idea if this is BS - but if true, can you tell me what they are?

    I would rather use the skimmer method as it is easiest for me - if I go with floaters - the pool is almost 40k gallons - would I need more than one?

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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    First, are you aware of the of the side affects of the tabs? Plopping tabs in the skimmer is probably easiest for everyone, but there are some issues with it.

    All the tabs are made identical (almost).

    Putting them in the skimmer is STILL not a good idea, even though "uncle Jim" seems to think so (his post is a year old almost). My uncle used to cross his quiet street without looking. It worked fine until he got hit by a car.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    You are referring to BioGuard® Silk Smart Sticks® that as you indicated are designed to not dissolve (as much) when there is no water flow. It's unclear how well this works. You could test this out pretty easily by putting a tab in a large bucket of water and seeing how the pH of the water changes. For a regular tab, the pH will change pretty quickly. You could also weigh the tab after it is in still water for 24 hours as that will also tell you how much dissolved.

    As Dave wrote, you probably don't want to be using only Trichlor tabs since that increases the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level which lowers chlorine effectiveness. At some point, algae is able to grow faster than chlorine can kill it and you get dull/cloudy water or a full-fledged green algae bloom or can get black algae to grow.

    40,000 gallons is a large pool so will need a lot of chlorine in any event. 2 ppm FC per day for one week would be 4-1/2 gallons of 12.5% chlorinating liquid or 6-1/2 gallons of 8.25% bleach or 5.1 pounds (10 8-ounce tablets) of Trichlor or 6-1/2 pounds of 73% Cal-Hypo.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    The acidity build of of those tabs just sitting in an uncirculated skimmer basket and that sudden rush of built up acidity to the pump itself worries me the most.

    But if he's happy, I'm happy!
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I used those smart sticks for two years. The acidity ate up my skimmer baskets.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    I'm unsure what state you are in, but In the state of South Carolina it is illegal to put chlorine tabs directly into the skimmer. Tabs must be added to the chlorinator.
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    This PDF file has the state code for public swimming pools. Where does it state that one cannot put chlorine tabs in the skimmer? I don't believe there are residential codes for swimming pools beyond construction -- nothing regulating homeowners use of swimming pool chemicals (beyond what is put on the bottles as required by the EPA).
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    Re: I have used chlorine tabs in skimmer basket for years

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek View Post
    This PDF file has the state code for public swimming pools. Where does it state that one cannot put chlorine tabs in the skimmer? I don't believe there are residential codes for swimming pools beyond construction -- nothing regulating homeowners use of swimming pool chemicals (beyond what is put on the bottles as required by the EPA).
    I just looked at the wording and you are correct that directive was issued to commercial pool operators not residential.
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