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Thread: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

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    Question Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Ok, so it would seem lately from some posts I've seen is that the Pool Stores have come up with new line of cow-pucky on why, oh why you JUST HAVE TO REMOVE PHOSPHATES!!!

    Lie #1 - Because it's ALGAE FOOD!!! Can't you see the sign in the bottom of your pool that says, "Please DON'T feed the Algae!"

    Lie #2 - Your pump will seize, your filter will explode and all of your warranties will be nullified....oh, and did I mention that the 7th sign of the Apocalypse will occur?

    NEW Lie #3 - Phosphates definitely, DEFINITELY mess up SWCG because it interferes with the chlorine production. All that good juicy chlorine just gets gobbled up by those nasty little phosphate ions....bad phosphates, BAD!

    SO in an earnest effort to combat the never ending BS that pool stores like to invent, can any of our chemical wizards out here in the inter-webs think of any side reactions in a salt water cell that involve the phosphate ion? Let's keep it simple and just consider a simpler inorganic phosphate like potassium phosphate or sodium phosphate.

    Yes, ChemGeek, I'm staring at you

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)



    Glad you started this because I just asked about Phosphates last week on here. Pool Store told me same thing.

    Thank you and ready to learn.............
    2014, IG 20,000 gl 18x34 Vinyl Liner / Waterfall / SWG / Sand Filter /
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    I can not address your question, but number 1 is true in some sense. But who cares.

    How much filet mignon and lobster are you going to eat in a room full of chlorine gas?
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    I think the answers are in posts 2 & 3 of this thread: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...arketing-claim
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I can not address your question, but number 1 is true in some sense. But who cares.

    How much filet mignon and lobster are you going to eat in a room full of chlorine gas?
    Hahahaha

    I'm more of rib-eye guy myself....



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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    I think the answers are in posts 2 & 3 of this thread: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...arketing-claim
    Thank you sir!!

    I shall bookmark that discussion thread and be sure to reference it to anyone who posts another, "...but my pool stores said phosphates are eeeeeeevil..." question.



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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    My pool store told me the same thing...I am a brand newbie and bought two bottles (to the tune of $80) of PhosFree. Boy did it ever gunk up my cartridge filter. Then in less than 24 hours with a brand new filter in, it started shooting the gunk right back into my pool. I need good, sound advice. So I joined TFP

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by JDSmith View Post
    My pool store told me the same thing...I am a brand newbie and bought two bottles (to the tune of $80) of PhosFree. Boy did it ever gunk up my cartridge filter. Then in less than 24 hours with a brand new filter in, it started shooting the gunk right back into my pool. I need good, sound advice. So I joined TFP
    Yeah. My pool builder (a good friend) absolutely made me swear to him that I would never put any of that garbage in my pool water. He has story after story of filter jobs he's been called to by owners who have put that junk in their pool. Same result - totally fouls up cartridges especially the Pentair Quad DE filters that he likes to install. They are a combo of cartridge filter and DE on top. There are four cartridges in each filter assembly and they cost $100's of dollars to replace when they get damaged. He's been able to save some the cost by cleaning the cartridge but typically he finds that the customers use so much PhosFree that it penetrates the DE layer and binds to the filter cartridge which totally clogs it up. Then he has to tell them the bad news and charge them $400 for four new cartridges.





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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by JDSmith View Post
    My pool store told me the same thing...I am a brand newbie and bought two bottles (to the tune of $80) of PhosFree. Boy did it ever gunk up my cartridge filter. Then in less than 24 hours with a brand new filter in, it started shooting the gunk right back into my pool. I need good, sound advice. So I joined TFP
    not to hijack the thread, but welcome to TFP!
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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I can not address your question, but number 1 is true in some sense. But who cares.

    How much filet mignon and lobster are you going to eat in a room full of chlorine gas?
    Now that's funny! lol
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    SO in an earnest effort to combat the never ending BS that pool stores like to invent, can any of our chemical wizards out here in the inter-webs think of any side reactions in a salt water cell that involve the phosphate ion? Let's keep it simple and just consider a simpler inorganic phosphate like potassium phosphate or sodium phosphate.

    Yes, ChemGeek, I'm staring at you
    Aww come on now.. ya went and scared him off.. some of us rather like his technical answer....
    Randy H.

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    +1

    Chemgeek rocks!


    Quote Originally Posted by one_knight4u View Post
    Aww come on now.. ya went and scared him off.. some of us rather like his technical answer....
    Divin Dave,
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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Richard320 posted the definitive ChemGeek thread on this subject. Anyone in need of smacking down some pool store lies can now easily refer to the info there.

    Many thanks again to Richard320 for his TFP search skills!!

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    I'm gonna print that ChemGeek thread & accidently tape it to the front door of my "use to be pool store"!!!
    Well it's a thought that made me laugh as hard as you all did & humor me I AM just kidding - thanks I needed that uplifting laugh as my POP ran out today! I needed to read that thread & so I really just wanted to say thank you SunnyOp & ChemGeek.

    The PB was out servicing my "air pocket" infloor cleaners were bubbling too much... - or so they say... & PB service tech mentioned I needed a phosphate test with all the dirt & possible horse manure in the air... I think the only manure I smelled was his off gassing mouth! ohhhh soooo sorry! no not really - as they have sold me the last horse hockey advise!!
    12/2012; 16K Gal. IG PebbleTec, Pool w/Spa attached, Pump Sta-Rite IntelliPro 4speed VS 3050 160gpm, Cartridge Filters Sta-Rite S8M150 450SqFt, Pentair IC60 SWCG, Turbo System 20 In Floor PopUp Heads Cleaner, Zodiac Auto Cover, Pentair EasyTouch 8 Controls & Screen Logic Interface w/APP for phone remote access, InterFab Slide, FiberOptic perimeter lites, TestKit TF100!!! The BEST & the Taylor Speed Stir - A MUST HAVE!!!

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    As noted from the formula in the linked thread, the phosphate level where calcium phosphate could precipitate is:

    PO4 = 10^[11.755 - log(CaH) - 2log(t) - (0.65 * pH)]

    where "t" is temperature in Celsius. So in the SWCG cell the pH at the hydrogen gas generation plate is very high, though we don't know exactly how high. 50 ppm Borates cut down such pH rise in half, but let's assume that without borates the pH gets to 8.5 at the plate. Let's assume high CH of 1000 ppm, and 85F (29.44C) then we have:

    10^[11.755 - log(1000) - 2log(29.44) - (0.65 * 8.5)] = 1.96 ppm = 1960 ppb phosphate

    If the pH at the hydrogen gas generation plate were higher, such as 9.0, then it's 0.927 ppm = 927 ppb phosphate

    So at high CH and high phosphate levels it is possible to get calcium phosphate scaling in an SWCG cell. My post in the thread wasn't talking about an SWCG, but about regular pool pH. So your "lie #3" is not a complete lie, just like "lie #1" isn't as well though isn't relevant if one maintains the proper FC/CYA level. For an SWCG pool, if CH is high then using 50 ppm Borates should be enough to prevent significant scaling in the cell.

    Phosphate removers should be seen in the same vein as algaecides. They are an insurance policy at extra cost and with some side effects (mostly cloudy water initially and getting lanthanum carbonate precipitate in the filter and of course high cost).
    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: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    I won't argue with your superb chemistry as it is always appreciated. But I will quibble with the insurance analogy - insurance is something you purchase at a nominal marginal cost as a hedge against a specific risk that would cost you more than you can afford otherwise.

    Algaecides and phosphate removers have very high marginal costs (retail price plus risk of damaged equipment) that do not offset the risk they intend to hedge. There's little proof that phosphates will do any real damage at all to your pool. There is very real proof that phosphate removers can damage your filter and Algaecides can foul your water and stain your pool surfaces.

    But, to each his own I suppose. If someone truly feels better pouring phosphate remover into their pool, there's no discounting the placebo effect as 30% of all test subjects will say they feel better when they take the sugar pill.

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    O man I have a bottle of phosphate remover on the shelf in the shed. One more thing that going to sit there forever.

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    Quote Originally Posted by SunnyOptimism View Post
    Algaecides and phosphate removers have very high marginal costs (retail price plus risk of damaged equipment) that do not offset the risk they intend to hedge. There's little proof that phosphates will do any real damage at all to your pool. There is very real proof that phosphate removers can damage your filter and Algaecides can foul your water and stain your pool surfaces.

    But, to each his own I suppose. If someone truly feels better pouring phosphate remover into their pool, there's no discounting the placebo effect as 30% of all test subjects will say they feel better when they take the sugar pill.
    By algaecides, I meant something like Polyquat 60 that doesn't have significant side effects. In fact, we recommend using it when doing an ascorbic acid treatment since the chlorine is zero during that treatment.

    As for phosphate removers, they do not always cause problems with a filter. It depends on how much you use which of course depends on how many phosphates you have. It's like adding filterable material to the pool -- that doesn't damage a filter unless you overload/overwhelm the filter without cleaning/backwashing enough. As you noted from your pool builder, it was the MISUSE of the phosphate remover product by using too much that caused the problems. The added lanthanum will combine with carbonates and caught in the filter even if there are no phosphates. Doing that a lot just overloads the filter for no reason.

    I had a phosphate remover experiment done on my pool years ago (see the thread Orenda Technologies PR-10000 and CV-700 Products) and ever since then my pool is no longer very reactive towards getting algae if for any reason the FC/CYA level got too low. That's what I mean by insurance (I didn't do the experiment because I needed to, but rather because Harold Evans was going to be in my area and wanted to try it at no cost). Of course, one can simply SLAM the pool if things start to go south and the sooner one does then it's fairly easy to handle. In my situation, I have a 4-cart cartridge (not DE) Jandy CL-340 filter system and they were cleaned eventually at the end of the season of the experiment. Though my fill water has 300-500 ppb phosphates, I have a pool cover on most of the time so have very little evaporation and I use winter rains to dilute the water every year mostly to keep salt levels in check.

    Ben Powell at The PoolForum has started to recommend phosphate removers for those who have recurring yellow/mustard algae and even here at TFP algaecides and related treatments are last resort approaches to persistent algae, especially yellow/mustard algae that would otherwise require higher FC/CYA ratios to keep away (typically a 15% ratio). So one weighs the cost of the extra chlorine usage from higher absolute chlorine loss if one were to maintain the higher chlorine levels against the cost of supplemental products. Sometimes it's too hard to completely eradicate the yellow/mustard algae especially if it is getting frequently re-introduced. You make it sound like these products are snake oil when they are not -- there are plenty of actual snake oil types of products and there are others that are of little benefit, but algaecides such as Polyquat and phosphate removers do actually do something. The trade-off is of cost and convenience and whether they are effective for the specific issue one is dealing with -- Polyquat doesn't do that well against yellow/mustard algae, for example.
    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: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    ChemGeek,

    I agree with your reasoned and logical approach and if I had a specific issue that needed phosphate removal, I would trust TFP's recommendations presented here on the matter given the thoughtful analysis. Perhaps my initial thread sounded as though I doubted the chemistry behind phosphate removal, I don't. My view of pool stores and their motivation to sell the stuff will remain dim at best

    My motivation for starting the thread was to get information regarding what kind of reactions are possible with phosphates and an SWG cell as a way of having an informed response should I ever get told I need to buy PhosFree. It is clear to me from the discussion that it is possible to get increased Ca scaling if phosphates are abnormally high, but it's not something that would motivate me to consider the use of PO4 removers on any regular basis as is often suggested by the pool stores. If persistent algae ever became an issue for me, I might consider PO4 removers as a secondary or tertiary response assuming the use of FC alone could not fully eradicate it.

    So I guess this thread can be ended by saying, "Thank goodness for TFP!" The crowd-sourcing that is available here allows all of us to be greatly informed and make much better decisions.

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    Re: Phosphates, Lies and videotapes...(don't worry, I know phosphates are baloney)

    I use a minimal amount (one capful a week) of PhosFree in my 18,000 gal in ground SWG pool in central Illinois. Not necessarily for the dreaded phosphate issue, but because we live in the middle of a farm field and have a sand filter that could use some help with small particle removal, which phosfree does. I do have to backwash more often, but if the gunk is in the filter and not my pool it is with it to me. Now that being said, I may try the adding a little DE to my sand filter truck when my phosfree is gone. And if you must use it, search online. I got two huge bottles for $50.
    30x20 vinyl IG, Hayward SD60 with Pentair Dynamo 340219 2HP pump, Compupool CPSC24 SWG, Hayward H200FDN heater. APC automatic pool cover.
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