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Thread: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    I was reading about SWG since i was looking at moving away from using bleach.
    I came across this site, and a couple others like it.

    Does anyone know anything about using a chlorine free method?
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    There are only three EPA approved sanitizers: chlorine, bromine, and baquacil. If you aren't using one of those three chemicals then the pool isn't sanitized and is not safe to swim in.

    I would stay especially far away from EcoSmarte, see this discussion for more information. Don't get taken in by misleading and false statements.

    Chlorine is by far the best possible choice for sanitizing your pool. Only the miniscule number of people with a true chlorine allergy should be looking at chlorine free systems. Chlorine is the safest, simplest, least expensive, and most reliable choice.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Thanks for that link.
    I was searching for something like that, but didn't locate it.

    I'll continue looking into a SWG.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    ^^^ is all true. However, there is an alternative that wasn't mentioned in the above, that might be something that you might be interested in. It's made by King Tech, and there are several variations on it, but in laymans terms, you have a 2-part feeder. Part 1 is a mineral reservoir that pumps in low-dose silver, copper, and zinc into your water, these minerals are natural bacteriacides and algaecides, and will naturally seek and destroy harmful bacterias. The second part is basically a small container of NA-CL3..Tri-chlor, which are in the smaller 1" tablets, mind you these are in a pre-packaged container, that is sealed, so you really have no exposure to the chlorine tablets. Using this system reduces the amount of chlorine that needs to be maintained in the pool. You are looking at .5-1ppm of chlorine maintenance, and the shocking with liquid 1x a week. Hope that helps =]
    Manager of retail pool location in Ohio

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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by knick_mike
    ^^^ is all true. However, there is an alternative that wasn't mentioned in the above, that might be something that you might be interested in. It's made by King Tech, and there are several variations on it, but in laymans terms, you have a 2-part feeder. Part 1 is a mineral reservoir that pumps in low-dose silver, copper, and zinc into your water, these minerals are natural bacteriacides and algaecides, and will naturally seek and destroy harmful bacterias. The second part is basically a small container of NA-CL3..Tri-chlor, which are in the smaller 1" tablets, mind you these are in a pre-packaged container, that is sealed, so you really have no exposure to the chlorine tablets. Using this system reduces the amount of chlorine that needs to be maintained in the pool. You are looking at .5-1ppm of chlorine maintenance, and the shocking with liquid 1x a week. Hope that helps =]
    How does this circumvent the problems presented with high or low pH precipitating the silver, copper etc?

    The trichlor is the oxidizer/stabilizer, then? So, what is in the liquid shock? Sodium hypochlorite?
    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.
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    The copper will strongly inhibit algae growth, but metal ions (at levels high enough to be effective) can stain the pool if concentrations of metals are not controlled or if the pH gets too high (or TA or CYA get too high) which is why we don't recommend that on this forum. Also, keep in mind that with Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water, the active chlorine level is very low. With a Free Chlorine (FC) level that is 10% of the CYA level, this is roughly equivalent to 0.1 ppm with no CYA which is far, far lower than found in most indoor pools, for example.

    Maintaining 0.5 to 1.0 FC can be hard to do. Some extra chlorine demand from any source and you can wipe out this amount of chlorine faster than the tablets can dissolve. Also, don't forget that the chlorine is used not just for algae prevention and not just for killing pathogens, but also for oxidizing the chemicals introduced into the pool from your sweat and urine and from leaves, pollen, etc. At very low FC with a growing CYA from Trichlor, the pool can get cloudy from the buildup of such organics. Then, you'll be down the path of adding clarifiers, shocking the pool, etc. which gets more costly. These are other reasons why this approach is not recommended on this forum. Perhaps the "shocking with a liquid" once a week that you refer to is to make up for this lower oxidation.

    If someone wants to have a very low chlorine level and wants to use something to prevent algae growth with minimal side effects, then one can use PolyQuat 60 algicide weekly which might let them have a lower FC for a given CYA. One still probably won't use only Trichlor since for every 10 ppm FC added by Trichlor it also increases CYA by 6 ppm. However, one can't go too far with this approach unless their bather load is very low since the issues of needing sufficient rates of oxidation still apply, so may need to shock weekly. Another approach to minimizing disinfection by-products would be to minimize the organic precursors through flocculation/filtration and supplemental oxidation (ozone, UV, non-chlorine shock) though that is usually only done in some commercial/public pools due to the higher bather loads.

    Basically, just maintaining a consistent FC/CYA level works best, prevents algae, kills pathogens quickly, and has an extremely low levels of disinfection by-products in residential pools (especially outdoors).
    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: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by knick_mike
    ^^^ is all true. However, there is an alternative that wasn't mentioned in the above, that might be something that you might be interested in. It's made by King Tech, and there are several variations on it, but in laymans terms, you have a 2-part feeder. Part 1 is a mineral reservoir that pumps in low-dose silver, copper, and zinc into your water, these minerals are natural bacteriacides and algaecides, and will naturally seek and destroy harmful bacterias. The second part is basically a small container of NA-CL3..Tri-chlor, which are in the smaller 1" tablets, mind you these are in a pre-packaged container, that is sealed, so you really have no exposure to the chlorine tablets. Using this system reduces the amount of chlorine that needs to be maintained in the pool. You are looking at .5-1ppm of chlorine maintenance, and the shocking with liquid 1x a week. Hope that helps =]
    The Pool Frog is one of the most expensive methods of pool care in existence (aside from SWGs) and trust me, from personal experience, is not in the least trouble-free (it's what led me to find TFP.com in the first place). I would never recommend this product to anyone.

    IMHO People searching for chlorine-free pool maintenance simply need guidance to do more research on the topic of chlorine and pools and the many misconceptions that exist - a Pool Frog is simply not the answer to that situation.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    As a former Pool Frog owner myself, I can attest to it being the most expensive maintenance system I've ran across.

    Here in South Alabama where we don't close our pools, the frog runs 12 months of the year, and at about 1 canister per week that comes to about $1000.00 per year. A little over a years use would pay for a nice SWG and I didn't even take into account all the "shock" you'd have to buy. Nor did I talk about the issues with metals and increasing CYA you're going to encounter.

    I use the liquidator to inject liquid chlorine into the water and it's worked well. I haven't shocked my pool at all since I've been using liquid chlorine and I don't forsee the need to shock it in the future.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    As a former Pool Frog owner myself, I can attest to it being the most expensive maintenance system I've ran across.

    Here in South Alabama where we don't close our pools, the frog runs 12 months of the year, and at about 1 canister per week that comes to about $1000.00 per year. A little over a years use would pay for a nice SWG and I didn't even take into account all the "shock" you'd have to buy. Nor did I talk about the issues with metals and increasing CYA you're going to encounter.

    I use the liquidator to inject liquid chlorine into the water and it's worked well. I haven't shocked my pool at all since I've been using liquid chlorine and I don't forsee the need to shock it in the future.
    Yes, a weekly shock (using the bags - which is what the pool store told me to use) start at $2.99 for one bag, for my sized pool I used to throw in 2.

    I feel like the avg pool owner will gravitate towards the bags of "shock" because they are convenient. No one ever told me the bags of shock contain different ingredients. I would look for the words "available chlorine" and toss it in. No wonder I had issues with CYA, LOL

    What I used to spend just on the shock bags alone monthly, is about twice what I spend now on my total costs to maintain my pool.

    Factor in chems to adjust the ever dropping PH/TA too....
    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
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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    All of this sounds like so much fun for when its time to re-open the pool

    While researching into SWG's, I'll probably just stick with chlorine tablets this year since i still have them left from last, and continue to buy liquid chlorine to shock on a weekly basis etc.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    You'll do yourself a huge favor by not using the tablets. They raise the CYA level and will cause you problems.

    I've looked through your posts and didn't see where you've posted a set of numbers. Please post a set and let us know how you go them (own kit, pool store, etc.).

    Here's what we like to see.
    FC
    TC
    CC
    pH
    TA
    CYA
    CH

    If you'll post these, we can give you good advice about how to proceed.

    Save the tablets for vacations or raising CYA if you need to.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    After using ionization for many, many years, every since the Nature 2 came out (how many years is that??) (and then switching to the Floatron which is much cheaper in the long run) I can attest to how easily the pool can get metal stains when things get even slightly out of balance for more than short periods of time. Running the pool year round, at least 12 hours a day, usually more, with big pump, using commercial size Nature 2 cartridges, I had to change them out at least 3 times a year, usually more, at $100 plus per cartridge. Then there was the freezing of the vessels during especially cold weather even with water running through them. I had to replace at least three from freeze damage. Add in the cost of running pump so long and the money really mounts up. During this time I had virtually no algae when most others in this area were battling it. Yellow algae is a particular problem in the Texas area with sizzling summer temps and extremely high UV.

    Then you add in the cost of powder for shocking. I went through at least 50 lbs a year for the weekly (sometimes more often) Spring/Summer/Fall shocking but, as I remember, the pool was probably frequently on the verge of an algae bloom when it got near time to shock again.

    BUT...........

    The main thing, though, was how safe was my water????? It would go from very high chlorine to none in the period of 4-8 days between shockings. On the high end, right after shocking, we were swimming in chlorine levels much, much higher than I would ever choose to swim in now that I'm going totally manually liquid chlorine (I don't have an auto chlorinator). Those high levels of chlorine for shocking really defeats the purpose of "low chlorine" sanitization, yes? Now, after learning my pool I can just go out daily and pour an estimated amount in with testing only every few days. Our loads are heavy (dogs, dust, sand, silt, much plant debris, birds) and pretty consistent.

    I tried non-chlorine shocking for a while but it really didn't do the job.

    And I haven't even mentioned the staining.......

    I switched to BBB last summer and won't go back for any reason...... well unless chlorine becomes impossible to find, which is highly unlikely.

    If someone insists on using ionization my advice for pool finish would be one that closely matches metal staining colors.

    {EDIT} A little over a year after we moved here my swimming show dogs were getting bleached out coats from the chlorine and sun using the in-line chlorine tab feeder. Also, DH did not tolerate the chlorine and chlorine smell well so rarely swam. I switched to an in-line Bromine tab feeder. Although it is reported that Bromine cost more I remember that the costs were less, in the long run, because the Bromine lasted much longer tabs and less lost to UV. The bleaching of dog coats reduced singificantly and there was little Bromine odor. I switched to ionization as soon as I found out about it but I was, yet, another person who didn't realize all the disadvantages of ionization. Even after finding TFP, asking a lot of questions, and doing a lot of reading, I was still resistant to switching to BBB. But for not too awfully long. I'm so glad I switched. BTW..... My puppies, two black Labradoodles and fawn Jake Mastiff (lots of different color highlights), who were in the pool hours during the day, with high UV, showed virtually no signs of coat bleach out last summer.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    You'll do yourself a huge favor by not using the tablets. They raise the CYA level and will cause you problems.

    I've looked through your posts and didn't see where you've posted a set of numbers. Please post a set and let us know how you go them (own kit, pool store, etc.).

    Here's what we like to see.
    FC
    TC
    CC
    pH
    TA
    CYA
    CH

    If you'll post these, we can give you good advice about how to proceed.

    Save the tablets for vacations or raising CYA if you need to.
    Hey Bama,
    Yeah I currently don't have any numbers. My pool has been closed since late october for the winter, and its currently under ice/snow (which is finally starting to melt)
    After i get it opened up when the weather starts to warm up i'll get numbers, and go to the pool calculator, but that wont be for awhile.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by WestSidePool
    and continue to buy liquid chlorine to shock on a weekly basis etc.
    "routine' weekly shocking is not necessary and shocking is only required in specific instances.... For example, the ONLY times I have shocked my pool since finding TFP in 2007 is right before I leave on extended vacations (3 times) and 3 winterizations. So 6 times in 3 years.

    By maintaining consistent and proper FC levels according to your CYA, you should rarely, if ever have to shock.
    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: Is it possible for Chlorine free pool maintenance ??

    Quote Originally Posted by WestSidePool
    While researching into SWG's, I'll probably just stick with chlorine tablets this year since i still have them left from last, and continue to buy liquid chlorine to shock on a weekly basis etc.
    More specifically, if you stick with the chlorine tablets, then just raise your FC target to keep the FC/CYA ratio constant. That is, follow the guidelines in the Chlorine / CYA Chart. A weekly shock might somewhat make up for the chlorine level (FC/CYA ratio) being too low during the week, but it will be an inconsistent swing in chlorine levels. It would be better to just maintain a higher FC level as the CYA level rises from your use of Trichlor tabs by supplementing with the liquid chlorine more frequently. Or you can just save your Trichlor tabs for a time when you go on vacation in the future and use chlorinating liquid now. If the Trichlor tabs are stored in a well-sealed container, they last for years.
    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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