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Thread: Warnings about bleach

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    Warnings about bleach

    I have been consulting this site since we reopened an old gunite pool that came with our house earlier this summer. At the beginning of the summer I was equipped with tablets and cal hypo, so I used that pretty successfully but stopped when my stabilizer reached about 50 ppm. Since then I have been using household bleach, and based upon the results I get with my Taylor K-2005 kit, I think things have been going pretty well.

    Just today, I was warned by the local contractor (the one who replaced our pool piping and pool deck) about using bleach in a pool. He is supposedly basing this on experience where he has seen bleach weaken grout and the gunite, as well as vinyl liners (which doesn't apply to me). I argued politely with him a bit on the basis that when it comes down to it, free chlorine is free chlorine, but I just wanted to see if anyone else has received warnings about using bleach.

    BTW, I am new to this forum, but it has been a lot of help this summer! I'm sure I'll be back with more questions soon!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Congratulations!!! You are now more knowledgeable than your local contractor

    BTW, to have the equivalent to the test kits we recommend, you would need to add the FAS-DPD Chlorine Test to your kit
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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    I'm sure if you applied full strength bleach to grout or gunite with a brush and scrubbed it in or didn't rinse it off, it wouldn't be so good for the surface. Neither would dichlor, trichlor or cal-hypo left sitting directly on a stone or plaster surface. However, when used properly (added slowly in front of a return) it's the best way to chlorinate your pool (aside from a SWCG). Bleach is actually less harsh than dry forms of chlorine and easier to use, aside from recycling lots of containers!
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post

    BTW, to have the equivalent to the test kits we recommend, you would need to add the FAS-DPD Chlorine Test to your kit
    Oops, I gave the wrong test kit. I did get the Taylor Kit with the FAS-DPD test, and like it sooooo much better.

    Thanks for reassuring me that I'm not harming my pool with bleach. That is exactly how I apply it - right in front of the return in slow stream.

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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Yeah, I liked (sic) the face I got when I was last in the pool store and I mentioned it to the employee behind the counter. He told me it wasn't a good idea to add bleach and I pretty much just left it at that.
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Quote Originally Posted by Xexys View Post
    Yeah, I liked (sic) the face I got when I was last in the pool store and I mentioned it to the employee behind the counter. He told me it wasn't a good idea to add bleach and I pretty much just left it at that.
    It isn't a good idea to use bleach. It cuts down on his profit margin, all the way to "0"
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Pool store employee's are a unique lot. Overheard one on the phone with someone. "No we don't have Hydrochloric Acid, All we have is Muriatic Acid." Last time I looked at the box, they are the same thing.
    Last edited by jmbradwell; 08-19-2014 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Kant Speel
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Here's more anecdotal evidence on just how "harsh" bleach is: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ts-and-Goggles
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    The local contractor is an idiot. Chlorine is chlorine is chlorine. It does not matter what form it arrived in at poolside as it all turns into a mixture of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite.

    Yes, pouring straight chlorine bleach on tile or stone work is probably not a good idea. But the minute you pour liquid bleach into your pool, it dispersed quite rapidly. Solid forms of chlorine are worse in my opinion as they take longer to dissolve. Cal-hypo goes right to the bottom of the pool and if you don't mix it up fast, you'll have a massive chlorine concentration sitting in one spot.

    Just ignore the circus clowns and move on....



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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    I think the contractor is right. I had 6 tiles fall off my wall within 6 weeks of starting to use bleach and had never seen one fall off before. Can't get anymore proof than that.

    I'm kidding of course. Not that the tiles didn't fall off...they did. But I'm pretty sure it was because my pool is 26 years old. It did seem strange that they all decided to fall off within a 2 week period. The good news is it helped me convince the wife its time to renovate so soon I will have new tile all around and a pebblesheen bottom. Going to sign the contract today.
    Thanks,
    Gil

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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    It is okay to place Bleach or Cal hypo directly onto white pool plaster, for example to remove old algae stains. Those sanitizers are alkaline - and so is plaster - so there wouldn't be any harm in applying that type of chlorine product to that type of finish.
    Trichlor and Dichlor are acidic and would etch plaster and is not advisable to use for this purpose.

    If "organic" pigmented colored pool plaster (including quartz and pebble pool finishes) is used, then no chlorine product should be applied directly, as bleaching may occur. Non-organic color pigments may be able to withstand direct chlorine treatments, but is also not advisable.

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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Here's an appropriate warning on bleach:
    http://www.thecloroxcompany.com/down...leach0809_.pdf
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    The local contractor has a possible point if he means that ONLY bleach or any other unstabilized chlorine is used with no CYA in the pool. In that case, the chlorine is much, much stronger. Even so, I don't think that would affect plaster and grout surfaces unless they were colored (as onBalance noted), but it would make for a much more harsh swimming experience and would increase the rate of metal corrosion. Of course, with CYA in the water, the active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) level is lower by at least a factor of 10 or more.

    There were a LOT of contractors who claimed that using bleach in a vinyl pool was terrible, but it's now been so many years both at TFP and at The PoolForum without having all these vinyl pools fall apart that we can say not only the chemistry says its OK but so does real-world experience.
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    I was experiencing a minor algae bloom and needed to shock the pool. It would be my first time shocking it since getting rid of the pool guy and starting to follow the Trouble Free methodology. I went into the local pool store (part a large regional chain) and asked about buying chlorine for shocking my pool. The clerk took me over to the wall with all of the dry products. When I told him I just wanted to use liquid chlorine to shock he said "I've never heard of anyone using liquid chlorine to shock a pool. Our customers like to use the dry product packets." When I asked him again, he told me they keep the liquid stuff in the back and would go get me a box (2 x 1 gallon containers). He brought it out and right on the box, in large bold lettering, it said "Pool Sanitizer and Shock". Anyways I now buy my liquid chlorine elsewhere (usually Lowe's) and only buy my muriatic acid at the pool store (they sell the 30% stuff vs. everyone else locally seems to carry the 15% stuff). Moral of the story? Educate yourself using resources like TroubleFreePool.com and other similar sources and don't rely on the pool store who really just wants to sell you high margin chemicals and over-priced equipment!!!
    First time pool owner. IG pool & spa combo. Approx. 18,000 gal. White plaster.
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in SoCal View Post
    Anyways I now buy my liquid chlorine elsewhere (usually Lowe's) and only buy my muriatic acid at the pool store (they sell the 30% stuff vs. everyone else locally seems to carry the 15% stuff).
    When you are at Lowes check out the paint department. Most stores have two kinds of muratic acid, green label "lo fume" and blue label full strength 30% stuff. Most folks don't see it because its hidden with the paint supplies (usually on the floor).

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in SoCal View Post
    Moral of the story? Educate yourself using resources like TroubleFreePool.com and other similar sources and don't rely on the pool store who really just wants to sell you high margin chemicals and over-priced equipment!!!
    Agree, most push one line of chemicals and try to scare you into using theirs because the other ones are bad for some reason. They seem to make the excuse that their prices are higher because they have a limited selling season and have to make all their money during the summer.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    [QUOTE=tim5055;721483]When you are at Lowes check out the paint department. Most stores have two kinds of muratic acid, green label "lo fume" and blue label full strength 30% stuff. Most folks don't see it because its hidden with the paint supplies (usually on the floor).

    Thanks for the tip. Next time I'm at Lowe's I'll check out the paint department for their MA offerings. Fortunately, the local pool store's price on their 30% MA is fairly competitive (still a bit higher, but not dramatically so). I'd rather just buy at Lowe's and avoid the pool store entirely. Even when I go in an specifically ask for MA, they still try to sell me on other chemicals. Lately it's been "Phosphate Remover", even though they don't have a clue what level of phosphates I have in my pool!
    First time pool owner. IG pool & spa combo. Approx. 18,000 gal. White plaster.
    Free-form(ish), roughly 30' x 15'. Titan RPM D.E. Filter (48 sq. ft. filter area).
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    Dolphin Nautilus robotic cleaner. Plaster & all equipment age: 5+ years.
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in SoCal View Post
    ... they still try to sell me on other chemicals. Lately it's been "Phosphate Remover", even though they don't have a clue what level of phosphates I have in my pool!
    Wow, if that doesn't tell you something....
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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Warnings about bleach

    MA is also sometimes stocked in the concrete materials area. It's used for cleaning or doing exposed aggregate concrete as well.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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