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Thread: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

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    Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    I just purchased a house with a swimming pool and decided to keep the pool guy that has been caring for the pool for the previous (and original) owner while we got settled in. It has been 9 months and I am ready to part ways to try to save some money. He comes once a week around 5 PM and spends 20 minutes vacuuming, emptying the basket, skims the top, and tests/adjusts water chemistry (Also, he cleans the filter every 4 months and the pump runs about 1-7:30 PM everyday). I want to make sure to mention, I have never had any problems with the pools water chemistry, it has always been perfectly crystal clear since being here. Swimming has always been enjoyable and we never had a bad experience with the water chemistry affecting us.

    With that being said, my questions is this: How does he maintain a perfect swimming pool and all he has uses is a huge (maybe 5 gallon) blue container (no label) that he says is liquid chlorine (which he only really uses in the summer), 3 inch tabs in the floating dispenser and Orange gallon bottles of liquid Muriatic Acid (Hydrogen Chloride 31.45%) using about a bottle per week in the summmer and around every 2-3 weeks lately? He works for a commercial pool company so the chemicals are likely wholesale and I won't be able to obtain them. I just don't understand how he can do it this way after all the research I've done refers to many other different chemicals, i.e. shock, algaecide, etc.

    Any thoughts or input on this would be greatly appreciated. I know I don't have the water testing numbers, but I feel that they are all within range. He definitely knows whats he is doing, and I am just thinking although he makes it look so easy, I won't be able to maintain the amazing quality of pool water he creates without him.
    30,000 gallon concrete IG pool with attached Spa, built in '79. Pentair Plus FNSP48 DE Filter, 1.5 HP Pump, Hayward H400FDN Universal Gas Heater.

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    bridgman's Avatar
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Quick answer is that what you'll see here as recommended practice will be pretty close to what you're seeing the pool guy do, maybe even simpler. Liquid chlorine covers the "shock" and "algaecide" functions, for example.

    Click on the "Pool School" button in the top left hand corner to get started...
    Cedar hot tub, 680 US gallons - Snorkel wood-burning heater, canoe paddle, "offline" Intex 1000 GPH pump/filter with skimmer

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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Welcome to TFP joeyjoe!

    From your post I'm thinking you have a darn good pool boy who understands which chemicals to use to make your pool Trouble Free just like the way we teach here. Before you get rid of him, I suggest you read all you can in Pool School which will teach you how to keep your pool sparkling year round.

    The most important part of taking over maintenance yourself is having a proper test kit. Look for the articles in Pool School and you will find out that we like the TF-100 and Taylor K-2006 test kits. Start reading and ask questions as they come up, we are happy to support you in taking control of your pool. Pool maintenance is as simple as your pool guy makes it seem and you can learn how to do it if you put in the effort to learn what we teach here at TFP.
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    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Sounds like you had a pretty good pool guy. Mine drove the CYA levels super high and started having regular algae blooms. Your big advantage over the pool guy will be in testing and adding chemicals more often. Once a week really isn't enough. Have fun. I enjoy managing my own pool and never feel it's a chore.
    20,000 gal in-ground plaster pool with sand filter. Replastered recently. Mostly adding bleach and acid. CYA was high when I took over.

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    It is hard to say without knowing a bit more about your pool, but typically weekly dosing liquid chlorine results in a roller coaster effect of FC levels, it HAS TO, how bad this effect is depends on the conditions at the pool, CYA levels, sun exposure, etc. Typically if done well this means boosting then FC VERY HIGH so that it will drift down to an ideal range around day 5 then not get below the minimal levels by day 7. This is typically best achieved by running the CYA higher than we suggest, the downside to this is if it is ever misjudged and gets low due to higher than expected bather load, rainfall debris, etc. and something starts growing then that high CYA level will make it almost impossible to clear up.

    In addition to the studying pool school advice mentioned above before getting rid of him, I would strongly suggest getting one of the suggested test kits (I use the TF-100) check your CYA level (remember do the test outdoors with your back to the sun for best results) and track / chart your chlorine levels for a week or two, to see for yourself what is going on. I suspect you will see the FC will swing way outside our suggested ranges every week.

    Ike
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Welcome to the forum!

    He keeps the free Chlorine up with the pucks while he is gone, then elevates it with Bleach when he comes. Long term this will elevate the CYA to an un manageable level because the pucks or "tabs" contain it. As they dissolve CyA is added along with chlorine. Eventually this becomes a problem, particularly when you get an algae bloom.

    We follow a philosophy of knowledge, testing, and adding only what our pools need with minimal side effects. Our routine of frequent testing and dosing accordingly can't be utilized by a service that comes once a week or less.

    If you wish to do this you'll have to get a good test kit, gain some knowledge, and stay with it. We are here to help if you need it, so don't be shy about asking questions. It really is easy once you get the hang of it.

    You absolutely can do as well as he does, and before you know it you will be doing better.
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Thanks guys, for all the prompt responses. I really appreciate all the great advice. It all makes perfect sense. I will be getting a good test kit as recommended to follow what is going on for a couple weeks and report back.

    Meanwhile, how would you suggest I replicate the commercial chemicals he using since I will be buying from a regular store? Since at least June of last year he has only used liquid chlorine, pucks and muriatic acid. That tells me I will likely only need pucks, powder shock, and muriatic acid (which I've only seen the 15% HCl vs the 33% he has). Again, I guess this depends on what the tests say so I will post those numbers soon as I get them. It is just amazing to me how he can do it with only those 3 things.. through the hot summer and this winter...

    Others seems to indicate the CYA levels maybe be building up which is what I was also thinking based on my research and something may be on the horizon in terms of algae.. but wouldn't something have happened within the last 9 months or could this take more time? I thought that would be enough time to see if he would use any other chemical, but he hasn't. I literally sit out there with him every time he is over since he's a great guy to talk to and that is where I thought, I'm out here anyway, I might as well do it myself and save the $1000+ a yr. It seems pretty straight forward
    30,000 gallon concrete IG pool with attached Spa, built in '79. Pentair Plus FNSP48 DE Filter, 1.5 HP Pump, Hayward H400FDN Universal Gas Heater.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    All you want is liquid chlorine / bleach ... no pucks, no powdered "shocks"
    And you may need the muriatic acid ... I get the 31% at Leslies, Home Depot has the 15%, Lowes may have the 31%

    Anything else depends on your test results. If the CYA is too high, then you will need to replace water.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    The Chlorine has been high enough to keep algae at bay. You will likely save quite a portion of that 1 K doing it on your own. Once you get a kit, you'll have a better Idea of your true levels, especially CYA. I would suggest NOT using pucks, but Bleach and Acid you will need. Perhaps little of anything else at all.
    TFP Moderator
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Plain household bleach and the liquid chlorine that the pool guy has been using are the exact same thing, the only difference is the strength. Bleach was traditionally 3-6% (3% being the cheap stuff), but for the last year or so 8.25% has became the new standard (you have probably seen the new smaller more concentrated containers). By comparison Liquid Chlorine is typically 12% or above, making it a lot easier to haul around (less water to carry around). The higher the concentration of chlorine the quicker it breaks down, buy a gallon jug of 12% and let it sit outside in a big box store garden center for a year and you will have overpriced weak bleach, so watch out for sale prices on old inventory. CYA, dichlor, and trichlor powdered chlorine products can be bought at most big box stores (avoid HTH from wal-mart though as it mostly contains copper also) for those rare times that you will need it.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Here is a link to help you with the chemicals, http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...pool-chemicals.

    I have found the cheapest place to buy full strength acid and 12.5% liquid chlorine is the little pool store closest to my house. Being in So Cal you should have plenty of options from big box stores to pool stores to find your chemicals. The full strength acid in the box stores is usually kept in the paint aisle, but they charge almost twice as much as my pool store.

    Like others have said, you might only need liquid chlorine and acid for your pool. Proper testing and only adding what the pool needs is the "secret" to pool care, we are here to help you out.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
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    Test Kits . Pool Math . Chlorine/CYA Chart . The SLAM Process

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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Wait.... $1000 for 52 weeks service? that is $19/wk.

    I would gladly pay someone that to vac my pool, clean the filter when it needs it, and pay for chemicals!

    When I was gone last time I paid the kid next door $10 per visit just to come clean the skimmers and add water.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    Sorry for the confusion. The 1K I was referring to was roughly what I figure to be saving (which I hope actually comes out to a bit more). That is what I pay him now minus what I expect to pay in chemicals, etc if I do it on my own. He comes out to about $32 a week for all that you mentioned. Do you think a little over $650 a year is a reasonable estimate for what I can expect to spend in chemicals and the other little things?
    30,000 gallon concrete IG pool with attached Spa, built in '79. Pentair Plus FNSP48 DE Filter, 1.5 HP Pump, Hayward H400FDN Universal Gas Heater.

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    Re: Question on pool chemicals used by our pool maintenance man.

    With a 30k pool, I would say you are quite safe.

    Use $650 as a planner but, if you manage your water and keep adequate chlorine all summer, you will likely come out less.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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