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Thread: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

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    No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I know, pour slowly.
    Was told by the pool store to never put Chlorine stuff down the skimmer.
    Had a flex pipe skimmer line clog then fold- HUGE plumbing project (under the concrete deck etc). Was told it was chemical damage & again by the plumbers told "no cl stuff down the skimmer"
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I will attemp to post the 2 photos of what I mentioned.

    What isn't shown is the lumen/opening of the flex pipe nearly corroded/clogged 50%, vs. the other end (that does show in the photo) in good condition.

    I am very new to pool care, so if the pros here say I was probably misinformed re the cause then I'd go w that.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
    Pentair Whisper Flow Pump 1HP. Winter safety cover w anchors.
    Sand filter, Pentair Sand Dollar Top Mount Model SD80; Effective Filtration Area 3.5SF
    - FlowRate 75GPM, 8Hr 36,000, 10Hr 45,000, 12Hr 54,000; Pressure Weight 50PSI
    BBB (Hayward Chlorinator when leave town). Polaris 360 cleaner.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I don't recommend pouring bleach into the skimmer, though some people do it without any problems. It is much better to pour bleach slowly in front of a return. Very high chlorine levels inside the pump, caused by pouring bleach into the skimmer, can in theory damage the pump seal. I have never heard of chlorine affecting pipes however.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I've done it both ways....mostly I pour slowly in front of the return. If I do pour it in the skimmer, I've switched the pump to high long enough for the bleach to be discharged rapidly into the pool, then I put it back to lowl.

    I guess my thoughts are that some people put a puck in their skimmer rather than a floater. When the pump is off, the puck dissolves in the skimmer and the chlorine concentration in the skimmer/pump area, with the water not flowing is very high....leading to damage, etc., I figure as long as the pump is running and the high FC water is not sitting there leading to damage it should be okay.

    I don't want to steer anyone wrong, so JB if you prefer not to put anything down the skimmer, then by all means, pour it in front of the return. Like I said, that's usually how I do it too.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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  5. Back To Top    #5
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    The only chemicals I would pour into the skimmer are baking soda, borax (if using small amounts for pH adjustment), and CYA. All others are added to the pool in front of a return, diluted or dissolved in a bucket of pool water and broadcast over the surfact or for salt or borax (to achive 50 ppm borated) dumped into the pool and brushed until dissolved.

    Certain chemicals are meant to be poured into the skimmer like some phosphate removers and sand filter cleaners but I would just follow the directions on the bottle in that case.

    BTW, your damage looks more mechanical to me than chemical. Flex pipe buried in concrete/dirt? Seems like not a good idea to me since flex does not have that long a lifespan and is prone to exactly the kind of damage that yours had. Your pipe looks like it was sucked closed at a stress point from the bend by suction from your pump.

    I hope it was replaced with rigid PVC.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Upon further reconsideration of my op, I had one of my famous brain farts and should not have recommended pouring into the skimmer. I admit I have done it on occasion, but I think in front of the return is the better method. So please forgive any confusion my post gave you. And I edited that post for clarity. I apologize!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Replaced w ridgid PVC as much as possible. Less flex pipe this time, too tricky a bend to eliminate it, ( I may be wrong- I’ll ask, heck I was there you’d think I’d remember) all on a bed of pit gavel & gravel then dirt on top of it.

    Yea I’m keeping chlorine out of the skimmer hereafter, only 1/3 went down & quite small increments over 2-3 minutes & the suction is excellent.

    “ your damage looks more mechanical to me than chemical. Flex pipe buried in concrete/dirt? Seems like not a good idea to me since flex does not have that long a lifespan and is prone to exactly the kind of damage that yours had. Your pipe looks like it was sucked closed at a stress point from the bend by suction from your pump.”

    Pretty much what the pros said. Chemical damage made it vulnerable to mechanical damage.

    “… some people put a puck in their skimmer rather than a floater. When the pump is off, the puck dissolves in the skimmer and the chlorine concentration in the skimmer/pump area, with the water not flowing is very high....leading to damage, etc.,”

    Just what they said.

    “I don't recommend pouring bleach into the skimmer, though some people do it without any problems.”
    I can assure they would stop if they had my problem
    “ I have never heard of chlorine affecting pipes however”.
    It will, flex pipe for sure, sitting long enough, concentrated, without circulation, perhaps even hard PVC?
    My advice, why risk it? It’s just as easy to pour it 1 place as another. Avoid the skimmer.
    19,800 gallons (closed/winter 18,654 gal); plaster; 18x34 Ft kidney bean shape, Depth 3Ft-5Ft. Built 1992
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Pretty much what the pros said. Chemical damage made it vulnerable to mechanical damage.
    Balderdash!

    I'll bet you a lot of money that flex pipe was kinked when it was put in....simply sloppy installation. Why didn't it fail immediately? That kinked part formed a venturi and slowly but surely that venturi applied inward pressure on that pipe and it closed up. Somebody making chemical excuses for poor workmanship in my very humble (but very strong) opinion.

    Now, I also have an opinion about pouring bleach in the skimmers. I have been doing it for 6 years without a hitch. My pump runs like it is brand new, my liner has no fading whatsoever and, folks, PVC pipe is one of the most widely used materials where harsh chemicals are involved.

    6% chlorine is probably immediately diluted to 1/10th of it's strength before it ever reaches your pump because of the high flow volume. In my case (the skimmer is about 60 feet from the pump), probably even more. Secondly, the chlorine (already heavily diluted) stays inside your pump about 1/2 second I would think....hardly enough time for any chemical reaction to effect the seal. I agree the seal is a vulnerable element but I just cant fathom how it could ever be in contact with strong concentrations of chlorine long enough to have anything but the most marginal, inconsequential effect.

    So, am I advocating that each of us go out and dump 15 gallons of 12% directly into the skimmer as fast as they can? Of course not. What I am advocating is that moderation is the keyword that I don't think has been discussed in this thread yet. In other words, If I trickled one cup of bleach every fifteen minutes into the skimmer does anyone realistically think there is harm in that?

    I'd be curious to know what kind of piping is used in a chlorine manufacturing facility. I know they put it in plastic jugs when they sell it to you and I know it can sit for years in the plastic jugs with no loss of strength (to the plastic) nor any apparent affect whatsoever.

    In my situation, chlorin in the skimmer is noticeably more convenient for me and gives me quicker, more even distribuution throughout the pool. I may have to wear a little egg on my face (it won't be the first time) but I believe chlorine into the skimmer is perfectly harmless if you use some common sense.

    PS - regardless of where you choose to put your chlorine, please have your pump running
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Aha! It was your fault Dave!.... I KNEW I heard this somewhere....LOL

    Where were you an hour ago when I threw myself on the coals and begged for mercy....hehehehe
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I have to agree with Duraleigh!
    Flex should not have been used in the first place for an installation like that. It's the lazy way.

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Yeah, that pipe was crushed from vacuum force. If the damage was related to chemistry it would have to eat through the PVC first in order to damage the coil that forms the structure of the pipe. You'd see leaks from little pinholes throughout the line.

    That being said, as a person who has to give blanket advice to lots of people, I advise against adding anything through the skimmer as a rule except CYA and tabs if necessary. I think adding chems directly (especially liquid) and then brushing is completely adequate.

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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    FYI Both PVC and CPVC are used to pipe harsh chemicals. This includes some things a lot worse than sodium hypo (bleach) .
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I follow the other sheep... CYA only in skimmer and bleach over deepend return.

    2003 Coleman MAAX Collection Model 706 - 400gal

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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    New to the forum and my first post. Very pleased I found this site. Alot of good information being shared and I'm going to try the BBB routine.

    But now back to the subject post. I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought I share my experience. I've owned an IG pool for 21 years and prior to that had an AG pool for about 5-6 years. When we purchased our first pool, the AG model, we were told to put all chemicals through the skimmer. So we did. Never had any problems. When we had the inground pool built (see specs below), the builder gave us the same advice. I continue the practice to this day - even with dry acid. Have never experienced problems and still have the original filter. I'm sure not everyone would agree with this method, but it appears to work for me.
    15x30 IG vinyl liner pool, pool cage
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    jagfan, welcome to TFP!

    Indeed, many people put chemicals in the skimmer and there are hardly ever any problems. About the only chemical that you really really shouldn't pour into the skimmer is muriatic acid. Muriatic acid into the skimmer can cause serious problems for heaters with copper heat exchange coils (which most have) and tablet chlorinators, and slower problems for the pump shaft seal.

    Every now and then, not at all often, pouring chemicals (other than muriatic acid) into the skimmer can cause problems. Here at TFP we discourage pouring most chemicals into the skimmer because we want your pool to be completely trouble free.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I started out putting my bleach in through the skimmer (6%) when I first learned the BBB (I think I read a Dave post as well). It's definitely more convenient. The only problem I had was that it ate holes in my skimmer sock. So I switched to either slowly pouring at return or walking around the pool and evenly distributing as I walked, THEN brush the pool down to make sure it all mixed. And I usually need to brush the pool anyway :P
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cherie
    The only problem I had was that it ate holes in my skimmer sock. :P
    That's understandable. Never tried a skimmer sock because I save my old knee high stockings and use them in my skimmer and on the Polaris. Sometimes I remove the skimmer basket before pouring in the bleach and many times I do not.
    15x30 IG vinyl liner pool, pool cage
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    Re: No worries re bleach down the skimmer?

    I had a project once at a municipal water treatment plant involving tests on chlorine vs bromine sanitization methods, and while my involvement was mostly limited to the pumps, motors, and controls, all of the piping conveying chlorine prior to the injection and dilution point was PVC. The bromine conveyance piping was PVC too, but I'm saving that for another thread
    I was told that they could not use brass or stainless, and that ONLY plastic pipe would survive.

    I think I remember the pumps having a lot of teflon and ceramics, too.
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