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Thread: Reducing maintenance cost???

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    Reducing maintenance cost???

    Well last year was my first and successfull (but cool) pool season, this year, with the economy still in the crapper, I'm on a mission to cut maintenance cost. what do all you do to reduce maintenace cost?

    One bit of savings I may have found is a 50lb bag of food grade DE for the cost of a 25lb bag of pool grade. So the question is, can I even use food grade DE in my filter? Whats the difference.

    Thanks,
    Chris

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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Oops, just seen the BBB section. Still interested in what all you are doing/using.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Food grade DE is not the same as pool DE. It doesn't have the multitude of sharp points that pool grade DE has, and will not filter any where near as well.

    There are many ways to lower your pool maintenance costs, much of the advice we give is designed to help control expenditures. The key trick is not to have any problems. Once something goes wrong, it is much more expensive to fix it than what it would have cost to avoid the problem in the first place.

    Another trick is to check for grocery store, hardware store, and Internet sources of the various chemicals and equipment you need. It is almost always possible to purchase chemicals and equipment for prices well below what pool stores charge, often far less.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    As Jason said, most of the advice we give here is designed to help cost. Not just maintenance but also operating cost. I fully subscribe to the old addage of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

    Tell us a few things about your setup and we can guide you in the right direction.
    Such as; where you live?
    What is your pool construction?
    What equipment do you have? (we already know you have a DE filter).
    How do you chlorinate your pool?
    How to you test your water?

    Answer these questions and we can give you some pointers. The best things you can do for yourself is read Pool School and get a good test kit if you don't already have one.
    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: Reducing maintenance cost???

    The costliest mistake people I know make is running their pumps more than they need to. I know people that run 1.5 and 2 hp pumps for 12 to 16 hours a day because their PB told them to, or they just want their water fall on all the time, not because they need it. Most can get by with 8 hours a day or less and significantly lower their electric bills.
    25' x 13' Roman, 12000 gal IGP, Plaster, with 500 gal Spa
    SWG, 1 HP Max Flo Pump, C-900 cartridge filter
    Solar heat

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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Here's my set-up (SE Michigan)
    25K in-ground vinyl lined
    DE Filter
    2.5HP Pump
    Nature2 Mineral Purifier

    I use a 3" Chlorine tab in the skimmer (1 will last about 3 to 4 days)
    Shock once a week
    Filter runs 10hrs a day.

    Test kit is a taylor 2005. (Test once a week)

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Since you have a Taylor test kit, how about some numbers??

    FC:
    CC:
    pH:
    TA:
    CH:
    CYA:

    Also, you should be reading Pool School. Specifically the sections on Recommended Pool Chemicals & How to Chlorinate Your Pool. You should also do a search for ionizers and read the threads that have been posted about them. We don't recommend them here because they typically cause problems and significantly lighten your wallet needlessly.

    Post back any questions you have. We're here to help.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roach
    Here's my set-up (SE Michigan)
    25K in-ground vinyl lined
    DE Filter
    2.5HP Pump
    Nature2 Mineral Purifier

    I use a 3" Chlorine tab in the skimmer (1 will last about 3 to 4 days)
    Shock once a week
    Filter runs 10hrs a day.

    Test kit is a taylor 2005. (Test once a week)
    The quickest way to save yourself money is to get rid of the Nature 2 (read about it here).

    Also, FYI we advise not to put tabs in the skimmer, unless the filter/pump runs constantly. Tabs are acidic and leaving them in the skimmer can wreak havoc on the skimmer parts and the pump/equipment, as the still water becomes locally very low in PH and the parts can become very brittle and break.

    A properly chlorinated pool does not require weekly shocking. In fact, for comparison sakes, I have shocked my pool a total of 5 times in the last three seasons - 3 extended vacations and two winterizations. If you maintain the proper FC:CYA relationship, it should prevent any conditions that might require a shock treatment.

    I would suggest you supplement your test kit with an FAS-DPD test. BTW, is your pump a 2 speed?

    Hope this all makes sense and that I'm not overwhelming you with TMI!
    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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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Hmmmm, interesting about the Nature2. Last year was my first year with a pool and must say with the way I treated it, the water was always very clear and pleasant to swim in, with little to no chlorine smell. I always was unsure about the chlorine levels I kept due to the Nature2. PH and Alkalinity where always in recommended levels.

    So, Mom, you say not to put the tabs in the skimmer. How do you chlorinate? Feeder or liquid? Also, my pump is single speed and will the 2005 test kit I have not do the Job?

    Another trick I heard was to put stabilizer in a pair of pantyhose in the skimmer to make it more effective. Any truth to that?

    Still have a few weeks to go before opening (waiting for that final snow fall) but I will try this year without the nature2 and bring all the levels withing the recommendations.

    Thanks for all your help, without this board I'd be dreading this season and holding my pockets open for the local pool store to reach in and grab my hard earned dollars.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    See my comments in bold:

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roach
    Hmmmm, interesting about the Nature2. Last year was my first year with a pool and must say with the way I treated it, the water was always very clear and pleasant to swim in, with little to no chlorine smell. I always was unsure about the chlorine levels I kept due to the Nature2. PH and Alkalinity where always in recommended levels.

    I really didn't have problems (other than green haired children and dog) until year three using my ionizer. My chlorine levels were all over the place and I had zero understanding of pool water chemistry....in all my trips to the pool store questions in hand I never received correct information but managed to spend thousands in the process....

    So, Mom, you say not to put the tabs in the skimmer. How do you chlorinate? Feeder or liquid? Also, my pump is single speed and will the 2005 test kit I have not do the Job?

    If the pump had been a 2 speed you could run it on low (as I do) and then the tabs/skimmer isn't an issue. If you want to use tabs, you would be better off installing an inexpensive inline chlorinator for occasional use or vacations. At the very least a floater is better than in the skimmer.

    I chlorinate by testing my pool water (my schedule varies: in the heat of the summer I test each evening, other times I can go every other day, sometimes I can go every three days-depends on a few factors like temperature, sunlight, usage, etc.) then I add the necessary amount of bleach that will keep my FC above the "min" at all times. Since switching to BBB in May 2007 my water has been sparkly and I've not had any chemistry issues requiring me to shock....ne'er a CC.... My monthly chlorine usage is about $12-15 dollars, YMMV especially if you don't use a solar cover or have a higher bather load.

    The K2005 will work fine, except for one thing, it has a "DPD" chlorine test. The FAS-DPD test I mentioned, is a drop count test, where you count the number of drops looking for the color to change from pink to clear. This is how to determine within .2 precision the exact FC reading. You aren't comparing shades of color, simply counting drops. Super easy and all guess work is gone. It can test FC up to 50ppm, which is extremely useful when someone might need to shock. The DPD test can only test up to 10FC with any accuracy. This simply won't do for someone who has CYA higher than 30 (most everyone does.) The good news is you can supplement your kit by purchasing the FAS-DPD test ala carte from either Taylor or TFTestkits.net.



    Another trick I heard was to put stabilizer in a pair of pantyhose in the skimmer to make it more effective. Any truth to that?
    It doesn't make it "more effective" it's just a way to dose the pool. But if you use tabs routinely, they already have CYA/stabilizer. Are you inquiring in the event you need to add some? Yes, the "sock trick" we call it is the preferred method, either in the skimmer or tied off in front of the routine. We recommend a CYA level of 30-50 for non-swg pools.

    Still have a few weeks to go before opening (waiting for that final snow fall) but I will try this year without the nature2 and bring all the levels withing the recommendations.

    Thanks for all your help, without this board I'd be dreading this season and holding my pockets open for the local pool store to reach in and grab my hard earned dollars.
    When I left my local pool store in May 2007, literally in tears vowing never to return (found TFP when I got home that day).... I had to eat my words. They have the cheapest price around here for 12.5% liquid chlorine. So I go there for a Case of that once or twice a season, and chuckle while I hand over $12 and the people in front and behind me spend hundreds on tablets, shock bags, clarifier, algaecide and test strips.
    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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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Chris, You've gotten excellent advice from FPM and I'll just say. Open as early as you feel comfortable and run a full set of tests and post the results here.

    I would also take a sample to your local pool store and have it checked for metals. Since you've been using the Nature2 you'll definitely want to know what you're dealing with. Since you've been using tablets to chlorinate you'll probably have high CYA too.

    Take heart; all this can be fixed as soon as we know what we're dealing with.
    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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    Cherie's Avatar
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    Re: Reducing maintenance cost???

    Pump time can definitely be an issue. We were paying $90/mo to run our single speed 10/hr day. We replaced it with a 2-speed and run it on low 24/7 for $30/mo. Can't get any cheaper than dumping a quart or so of bleach in each evening, and treating for the occassional high/low pH, or low TA.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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