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Thread: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

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    Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Here's a good story. Today I just went to my local Leslie's Pool Supply to pick up some chemicals.

    I needed some liquid chorine (and acid) to shock my pool as I've accumulated some algae (that's another topic I'll probably post). Any ways, I asked for some standard bottles of liquid chorine (10% bleach) and the guys asks me what I'm trying to do. I told him I wanted to shock my SWG pool. He first told me I need calcium-hypochlorite to do the job, but I told him I had a SWG and didn't want to elevate my calcium levels more than they needed to be. So then he insisted I use "powder chlorine" tri-chlor and/or di-chlor packets. I told him my CYA was reading around 60-70 which is what Goldline Aquarite recommends. So I didn't want to add more CYA. But he tells me not to worry. "It's not a big deal and it's much easier and cheaper shock with powder chlorine." I told him I didn't agree and insisted on the liquid chorine.

    So what am I missing here? Are all the local pool shops run by drones? When I mentioned having to adjust your shock level according to your CYA level, he looked at me like a deer in headlights! I told him the problem with running your CYA too high was that it wasn't necessary since FC levels around 4-5 was perfect for my pool type and if I went higher I'd need to shock with even higher levels of chlorine to be effective against things like algae and the like. .... another blank stare.

    So what am I missing? Am I saying this right or making this up? How do you guys deal with these stores? Do we just ignore their ignorant advice, talk to the store owner and see if they know what their employees are teaching, or just shop someplace else?

    I hate come across as difficult or arrogant when insisting on what I want from these guys, but sometimes it just gets ridiculous!

    Marc
    20,000 in-ground pebble-coat pool with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG, Dolphin Premiere robot, passive solar heating.

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    MJCP's Avatar
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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    I Quit listening to the pool store as soon as I found this site.

    I am now in my third year of pool ownership, and I now swim in my pool instead of working on it.
    15x32 Lazy L Inground / Concrete - 25,000 US Gal 1979 build
    1.5Hp/ Sand Filter, 7th season with Pool
    Painted cement finish repainted 2011
    BROMINE - (Purchased Home that way) Bleach shock
    400,000 btu Pentair Master Temp NG

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Marc,

    Don't blame the pool store. They simply don't know. They only get information from manufacturer's reps and sometimes from courses such as NSPF CPO and APSP TECH and such courses do not teach the chlorine/CYA relationship nor even the non-controversial chemical facts about chemical side effects (i.e. "For every 10 ppm FC added by Trichlor, it also increases CYA by 6 ppm") in spite of my writing to such organizations to do so. The manufacturers of chlorinated cyanurate products (i.e. Trichlor and Dichlor) say that CYA doesn't matter and that only FC matters and when confronted with facts such as those I describe or link to in this post they say that they understand the chemistry but that it does not apply to real pools. They are either ignorant or intentionally deceiving -- there is no middle ground here.

    The new "American National Standard for Water Quality in Public Pools and Spas" ANSI/APSP-11 2009 just got published recently and has a paragraph in section A8.3 on Cyanuric Acid under the sub-heading of "Effect of cyanuric acid on chlorine kill rates" that has many references to scientific studies, but they wrote a paragraph that (paraphrasing) said that the effect of CYA on oxidation of organics and on disinfection (kill rates) for bacteria, viruses, algae and protozoan (oocysts) has been shown in scientific literature and they footnote references for each of these. They also go on to say that some people or organizations/standards have suggested adjusting FC for CYA and they footnote multiple references for this as well. However, they then go on to say that studies aren't comprehensive enough nor applicable to real pools and specifically that there is no evidence of any disease outbreak linked to CYA in a pool with sufficient FC (minimum of 1 ppm). I would quote the actual paragraph, but that is not allowed without permission. [EDIT] One can usually quote in critiques as "fair use", but I don't want to take any chances. [END-EDIT]

    I wrote extensive comments when this standard was being developed (I found out about it rather late, however) and nothing I suggested was incorporated into the document. Now that this standard is published, I'll write more about my comments in a separate thread.

    (NOTE: Politically incorrect personal opinion follows.)

    Note that what I paraphrased above in the standard is not actually incorrect because they are mostly referring to disease, not to algae growth. It's sort of like a "well, no one has died" argument. High CYA levels probably don't matter that much for sanitation in practice since most pathogens are so readily killed with low levels of active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) and the exceptions aren't as common, at least not in pools (hot tub itch in spas may be a different matter). There may be faster transmission of disease from person-to-person, but that wouldn't lead to an outbreak large enough to be noticed or obvious. Of course, when it comes to green algae (which is much harder to kill than most bacteria) we've got over 20,000 members at The PoolForum and over 10,000 members here at Trouble Free Pool plus many others who haven't registered that show that the chlorine/CYA relationship does work in "real pools", but because we aren't an official study it won't matter if we even get all 8 million or so pools in the U.S. using appropriate FC/CYA levels -- it will never be enough as "proof". Also, in commercial/public pools that have higher bather loads, they probably have enough monochloramine in them to help inhibit algae growth in many cases in spite of higher CYA levels.

    The definitive paper defining the chlorine/CYA relationship was published and presented in 1973/1974 so that's around 35 years ago. It took the tobacco industry almost 40 years before they started to acknowledge the links of smoking to cancer and even then it was only because an insider Jeffrey Wigand exposed the controlled use of nicotine in cigarettes to increase addiction and the states started suing to pay for medical costs related to health issues made worse by smoking. Since the health issues in pools are far less severe and since it's mostly algae prevention where the chlorine/CYA relationship becomes most obvious in residential pools, it is unlikely that any government agency is going to care about this ever. As for what appears to be the intentional withholding of materially important information that consumers and pool professionals need to know to make informed purchase and operational decisions, there is always the argument of ignorance or insufficient expensive field study data to shield one from liability.

    What is most amazing (at least to me) is how people's conscience doesn't seem to get to them and how people sleep at night knowing that part of their paycheck comes from deceiving people so blatantly and for so long. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the industry really shot themselves in the foot since part of the reason there was such a fairly rapid drive towards SWG pools is due to the many algae problems and algae-prevention product expense with pools using stabilized chlorine as their sole source of chlorine.

    Richard
    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
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgianzero
    How do you guys deal with these stores?
    I avoid them - if I have to go in, I have as little conversation as possible.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Marc,

    As you manage your pool more and more, your confidence grows in BBB and you, like most of us, will probable just ignore the ignorance that exists in pool stores.

    Don't look for too much help from the Pool Store Management, either......they're often as misinformed.

    Having found BBB prior to building my pool, I have never purchased anything from a pool store and never plan to. (Except I bought a leaf net at a very, very good price once and got.....you guessed it, exactly what I paid for)
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Thanks so much for all your help and detailed explanation as to how this industry works. It makes me better understand how things work and when to bud in or not.

    I DO try to avoid local pool stores and maintain my pool myself. But even with this website for advice and online chemistry kits that we can order here, I still find that I NEED to go to the local pool to get the basics like chlorine and acid. Don't you? These are caustic chemicals that I don't think ship too well. Don't you agree? Or is there a place to get these supplies easily and safely?
    20,000 in-ground pebble-coat pool with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG, Dolphin Premiere robot, passive solar heating.

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    I get my muric acid from Tractor Supply or Home Depote, its also in the paint departments at some other stores that carry everything. After I get the wanted cya levels built up by using pucks in my floater I get the 10%(sanitizer) bleach from Walmarts pool department or in a pinch or on sale the regular 6%Clorox. But then we only have our pool open a few short months here in Michigan.

    I hate going into pool stores. I do my research right here and shop on line. I have had to go to the local Doughboy dealer for replacement parts and they are ok as long as I don't have them test my water. Then it gets messy as they tell me what they think I need, but I know better.(Thanks to this awesome group of people) It all depends on who you talk to there. They all have to make a living too, but I don't want their chemicals just the replacement parts... Good Luck with the pool, Kimrst
    5 years 18' Intex Frame pool, July 2009 upgrade, 28ft rnd used Doughboy, 1hs Hayward Power Flow pump, Doughboy DE filter.TF test kit

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    I have a pool store story I would like to share. When I discovered TFP this summer I was having an algae crisis. It was so great to finally get some real information, and I was valiantly working to clear up my green swamp using bleach and trying to get good testing supplies. I realized the pressure gauge on my filter wasn't working too well, so I called my local pool store simply to ask if they had one and how much it was. Somehow the lady got out of me (my fault, I know) what I was dealing with and what I was doing about it. At one point she asked me if I currently had a chlorine tablet in the skimmer. When I said no, she informed me that my pool would never clear up unless I put in a chlorine tablet, and that that must be why it went green in the first place. She said she didn't care what my computer was telling me to do, laughing as she said it. I managed to get off the phone, and I was more determined than ever. To end the story, I got my pool cleared up, having not used a single chlorine tablet, which, of course, surprises no one here.

    I also was able to get by just fine without buying a pressure gauge.
    17,000 gal. 28 ft. round AG doughboy, about 15 years old. 1.5HP Hayward pump, Doughboy Silica II filter.

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by joykens
    When I discovered TFP this summer [...]
    joykens, welcome to TFP!
    Every discovery story I have read here is similar, but all are distinctly interesting...


    I've actually come to feel a bit sorry for the manager at my local Leslie's store. To use a pool metaphor, when it comes to water treatment & chemistry he's in way over his head. His pimply-faced protégé faithfully follows the pool store drill, enthusiastically hyping the high-margin chemical concoctions and dubious "cleansing" agents (especially when the boss is around!) but when pressed his answers line up more with the common sense advice dispensed here. The difference? This kid has been taking care of the family pool for years; the owner swims at a health club.
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
    __
    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgianzero
    When I mentioned having to adjust your shock level according to your CYA level, he looked at me like a deer in headlights! I told him the problem with running your CYA too high was that it wasn't necessary since FC levels around 4-5 was perfect for my pool type and if I went higher I'd need to shock with even higher levels of chlorine to be effective against things like algae and the like. .... another blank stare.

    Marc
    I have never heard this before finding this site. LOL. I know all about those blank stares.
    19000 gallon inground fiberglass pool
    Hayward Pro Series Sand filter S244T 62 gal/min
    Whisper Flow WFE-2 / 011511 1/2 hspr pump
    Aqua Rite AQR Pro SWG, T15 cell for 25000 gal

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Try going into Leslie's and asking for CYA. That alone had the kid giving me a "blank stare". The manager quickly came over and showed me to the product. He said he was afraid the kid might think "Cover Your *****" and make a rude comment LOL!!!
    10,000 gallon in-ground pool, Jandy AquaPure 1400 SWG, Jandy Purelink Water Purification System, AquaLink RS Pool Digital Assistant, Jandy Stealth Series Pumps, Polaris 380, 3/4 hp booster pump, DE Filter, Lucayan Blue River Rok aggregate innerds

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    If chlorine pucks was the only thing Leslie's misdirected me to buy I'd be happy. Last year we burned hundreds of dollars on their phosphate treatments, and each employee had a different theory about why this miracle cure wasn't working. We even had them dissing their fellow employees.

    My favorite was that we had "old water". I tried to get details about what that meant, and of course there was no explanation. Thanks to the exceptional information on this site I know know that super high CYA levels from floating chlorine pucks for years was causing my issues. Their "solution" to not being able to keep chlorine in the pool was to add more chlorine. I even had one kid tell me a story about his days as a pool service tech where he dumped 25 gallons of bleach in one pool one day, and when he checked it the next day it was all gone. His solution... yep, another 25 gallons of bleach.

    We still shop at Leslie's for certain things only because there's few alternatives. But we get our 6% Clorox bleach at Costco, $7 for three 182 oz jugs. Muriatic acid from Home Depot. Borax and Baking Soda from Safeway.

    If I haven't posted it before... THANK YOU SO MUCH for the help this website has given me and for all of the resources it has provided. After owning a pool for 12 years I finally feel like I understand it.
    27KGal IG Plaster Pool (used to be Tahoe Blue, but still pretty dark)
    IntelliFlo VF-3050 pump, running at 25 GPM
    Hayward DE-6020 Filter with Fiber Clear filtration medium

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    I suspect that "old water" means water with too high CYA.

    Given that most typical advice from pool stores is to use pucks then use cal-hypo for a one-time shock weekly, most pools will have excessive CYA and begin to "not respond" to the usual advice.

    Exchanging "old water" for "new water" is actually the correct advice and ought to fix the problem, if they happen to dump the correct volume of water, without damaging the pool in any way.
    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: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    shooter57,

    Their "solution" to not being able to keep chlorine in the pool was to add more chlorine. I even had one kid tell me a story about his days as a pool service tech where he dumped 25 gallons of bleach in one pool one day, and when he checked it the next day it was all gone. His solution... yep, another 25 gallons of bleach.
    Assuming a high CYA and an incipient algae bloom, the above advice sounds just about right to me.
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Yes, I've been perusing the local supply stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart for some of my pool supplies as well. Just be aware that certain stores sell certain concentrations of both bleach and muriatic acid. I believe pool store bleach is around 10%, whereas the grocery store type is about 6%. Also, acid comes is several concentrations. The ones I found at Home Depot are diluted down by about half from what you buy in a pool store so you need twice as much.

    Essentially, don't be like a pool store worker and buy things blindly. Read the labels and calculate out your needed amounts according to things such as TFP Pool Calculator.

    I didn't realize that Walmart now sold pool supplies. I'll have to check that out.

    Perhaps we should post some of the "best deals" on these basic pool chemicals so as to help everyone out. That is, assuming that's okay with the website operator rules and no one is trying to "sell" you something. Can we do this TFP webmaster?

    Marc
    20,000 in-ground pebble-coat pool with 60sf Jandy DE filter, Pentair Variable-Flow pump, Goldline Aquarite SWG, Dolphin Premiere robot, passive solar heating.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    There have been several threads discussing the various places to find various products at the best prices. They pop up from time to time.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Quote Originally Posted by mgianzero
    I didn't realize that Walmart now sold pool supplies. I'll have to check that out.

    Marc
    Stick to the laundry aisle. The pool products aisle is a disappointment. Mainly it is the HTH line and not that cheap. Pucks and algaecides and powder balancers. The pucks (which I use sparingly when I travel) are made with copper algaecide in them and therefore useless to me. Presumably HTH figures the algaecide will keep people happy when their pucks drive people's CYA levels into the stratosphere.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
    Previous: 40,000G 20'x40' I/G Koven unlined WWII salvage 5/8" marine steel; Lomart Stainless Sand Filter; 3/4hp Hayward SuperPump; 1946-2003 (managed by me from about 1964)
    Ancient Taylor K-2000, upgraded with Taylor CH, TA, and FAS-DPD, and TFT CYA tests.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Am I missing something or is my local pool supply confused?

    Our local HEB grocery store carries store brand 6% bleach $1.49 for 96 oz jug. That beats our Walmart by about .10!
    TFP Moderator
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    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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