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Thread: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

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    Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Hello everyone

    Got some questions regarding chemistry for seasonal/temporary pools. I've read the beginners guide for seasonal/temporary pools in pool school, but this covers the basics. I'd like to do the full BBB chemistry for a regular pool on my smaller pool. Overkill, probably yes, but I'll be upgrading probably next year so why not get in to the swing of things now.

    I read the long thread regarding this and the debate that went on regarding a few key items. The final recommendations also seemed geared towards the convenience factor, and that most folks wouldn't want to get a full test kit, do all the work that's really necessary - "just throw a puck in and away you go type mentality"..... [BTW, I'd like to emphasize I see nothing wrong with that, not trying to ruffle anyone's feathers, that's just not for me, I want to go the whole 9 yards.]

    Here's my thoughts, proposal, and questions. First, I'll be getting a TF-100 so I can be on top of things. For CYA, I'm going to go with a liquid version so it's 'instantaneous' and don't have to wait for it to dissolve. For chlorine, I'll be using bleach, so I don't have to worry about all the other forms of chlorine that can affect ph / raise the CYA.

    Now the questions. First, regarding the recommendation of algaecide. Seems this was only recommended to make it convenient for the person to maintain chemicals. I don't see where the folks with full size pools are recommended to use this, or do use it on a regular basis.....correct?!?! Is algaecide something that can't hurt, or does it affect chemical levels, or is it really not needed if you are doing the full BBB chemistry. What say you experts and owners of full size pools. I also seem to remember something about this stuff being expensive too.

    I also want to add borates & salt for the feel good properties as well as the benefits of borates. I don't have a SWG, but seem to remember reading somewhere that adding salt is just another thing that makes the water feel good, or was I imagining this.?!?! Or can you just do borates and accomplish the same thing.

    Now with that all being said, what would the order be to add chemistry to get it all up and running. I know that adding different chemicals in turn affects other levels and wondered if there is a master order of doing everything. I'm guessing that I would test the fill water with my TF-100 to determine the base pH, TA, and CH and then determine the plan. But what's the order???? I know I'll be adding CYA (liquid, which won't affect the other levels), Salt [if needed] (and doesn't affect other levels I don't think), and Borates (which will affect TA and ph). But do I balance the ph, TA, and CH from the initial fill water and then start adding? And is there an easy method to balancing those three??? I'm guessing that I need to know those levels first for someone to say in which order to fix and then start adding chemicals (as for example if pH is low and TA is high I need to aerate if I understand everything or if ph and TA are high it would be different steps, as well as factoring in the CH).

    So thanks for reading, looking forward to the expert's answers and sorry for the long winded post that rambled at times.
    17k gal., sorta IG vinyl, 1.5 hp pump, 21" sand filter, EZVac cleaner

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Regarding the liquid CYA, it costs about twice as much as regular CYA and is certainly a cost/time tradeoff, but using regular CYA and waiting is really no big deal at all. Another alternative is to use Dichlor as your chlorine source until the CYA builds up to where you want. This roughly works out to a similar price as using regular CYA and bleach separately. If you dissolve the regular CYA in a sock over a return or in a sock/shirt in the skimmer, it will dissolve completely faster, though still takes a few days to fully register (usually not a week, however, which is what it could take if it were to just be poured into the skimmer to get caught in the filter).

    You say you will be using bleach (unscented plain bleach, of course), but you can also use chlorinating liquid if you find that to be cheaper or more convenient.

    You are correct that the algaecide is unnecessary and was only recommended in the smaller pools as insurance since the chlorine level is less likely to be diligently maintained and algae problems in such pools can be harder to clear with their weak pumps and poor circulation. The use of PolyQuat 60 algaecide will not hurt. It will slightly increase the chlorine usage since chlorine slowly breaks down PolyQuat (which is why you add it each week) and it is also a clarifier so some will get caught and backwashed from the filter. Again, not necessary and is extra cost, but it won't hurt. The cost is $2-3 per week for regular sized 15-25,000 gallon pools when used at maintenance dosages.

    The Borates are a mild algaecide, a pH buffer, and usually makes the water sparkle. It may make the water feel a little silkier, but salt tends to do that more since it's at a higher level usually and salt will reduce stinging or pressure in the eyes. Usually the salt is raised to around 1200-1500 ppm for these effects. You might just try the Borates first and then try the salt later, but both are unnecessary and optional.

    As for what to do first, you are right that it depends on what is in the fill water. Usually, you add CYA and chlorine right away to prevent algae growth, though if there are metals in the water and the pH is high you'd want to lower the pH first and maybe add a metal sequestrant before adding the chlorine. You would lower the TA if it is too high and should do that before you add the borates. Generally, the borates and salt would be the last things to add after every thing else is properly balanced.

    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: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    That long thread ended up being a Pool School article with step by step instructions....

    Beginners Guide to Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    I'd suggest following the article's steps to get started- begin with your PH and TA while the CYA is dissolving (there is no reason to use liquid you just spend more). Or use Dichlor as the article states...either option is fine. No- algaecide is not necessary, nor are borates or adding salt. All are optional should you want to spend the money.

    Start with the PH, then Chlorine -which can have the CYA in it (Dichlor) or you can dissolve the CYA separately, up to you.

    CH really isn't important in a vinyl pool - unless it turns out very high.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Part of the motivation for the small-pool guide came from people with small pools who posted on the forum, and who found the whole BBB deal overly expensive and wasteful. For example, even in a large Intex pool, you wouldn't want to use more than 1lb CYA, and yet it's hard or impossible to find it sold in quantities less than 4lb. If we think about it from the perspective of somebody who wants to put up (in effect) a giant water balloon for splashing around in, well, that person typically doesn't want to go out and buy a multi-year supply of CYA. It's a play pool. People typically either wanted something super easy, or wanted to dip their toes into pool management before deciding whether to invest in a big pool. So, the small-pool guidelines try to make things easy and avoid getting into chem or test-kit investments that are a significant percentage of the cost of the pool itself.

    You, however, want to go whole hog, and I say more power to you. Nothing about managing a small pool has to be inherently different from managing a big pool, except for the quantities of chems involved.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    So I'm back, and wanted to say thanks for all the info.

    frustratedpoolmom & PaulR, yep, read that article in pool school, after following the long thread. And I understand the justification of the recommendations provided. But I'm not your average bear, so thus all the questions (where's the just the wee bit nutz smiley )

    Chem geek, ya, I have had to rethink the liquid CYA. I'm crazy, but well not that crazy. I got 100% CYA in a granular form, will go that route with the tube sock and liquid bleach. I also do appreciate the info on the polyquat. Knowing what it does, I may give it a whirl. I do have an upgraded filter based on the size of the pool, so hopefully I won't have issues, but do like the fact that it's a clarifier too as I think pollen is going to be a big issue. Will definitely be adding borates and salt.
    17k gal., sorta IG vinyl, 1.5 hp pump, 21" sand filter, EZVac cleaner

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    So now all my questions. First, let's talk pool. It's an intex, 680 gallons, vinyl with an upgraded 1500 GPH pump. Stepping up to a sand filter with a 1.5 HP pump when I move to the 5,000 gallon next year. Ya, I know, I can hear your thoughts through the screen "You're doing all of this on a 680 gallon intex, you are l-o-o-n-e-y t-u-n-e-s". Yep, guilty. Ok, moving on

    Got my TF-100 from duraleigh (thanks!) and tested the water I'll be filling with. So if I did it right, I'll be filling with water of:
    pH 7.3
    TA 50
    CH 90

    Now based on what I've read, I'm targeting the following levels:
    pH 7.5 (weigh in here please everyone, seems to actually be alot of different recommendations)
    TA 80 (based on recommended levels post and pool calculator - middle of the recommended range)
    CH (what should the goal be here, recommended range is 50-300 - leave it at the fill water level of 90?)
    CYA 40 (goal is 30-50, pool will have all day sun, was shooting for the middle, maybe have to go to 50?)
    FC 5 (based on CYA of 40 range is 3-7, shooting for right in the middle).

    Those goals make sense to everyone?

    Borates and salt. I want to do both, consensus on the borates seems to be 50 PPM. Salt I'm shooting for 1500ppm I believe based on what I've read.

    So if all of the above assumptions are correct my plan of action is:
    Put in my CYA in front of the return (3.8 oz according to PC), and test and add chlorine every day to keep it at 5 since it will take awhile for the CYA to take effect. TA has to be bumped up before I add the borates, so to get the TA to 80 I need to add 3.8 oz baking soda according to the PC. CH is fine (I think) so no adjustments there. On to the borates, I need to add 38 oz of borax and then 19 oz of 31.45% acid. So my plan here since my pH is 7.3 was to add half the borax, then half the acid, then the second half of the borax, then take a pH reading and use the PC to determine the final acid amount. Finally add 9 lbs of salt (blue bag from lowes) to get to 1500 ppm.

    Whadya think? Thanks!!
    17k gal., sorta IG vinyl, 1.5 hp pump, 21" sand filter, EZVac cleaner

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Well, you sure got a heavy dose of that need-to-tinker-with-it gene. You're obviously interested so I'll get more into the details than I usually would with a brand new owner. And other people might have other opinions too.

    In a vinyl pool, pH is not super crucial, mostly it's a matter of what feels good. Supposedly tears have a pH of 7.5 so staying near that is more comfortable.

    TA also not super crucial; the thing is, TA and pH are interrelated, as TA goes higher it puts upward pressure on pH. It's nice to find a sweet spot where a certain TA level helps you maintain a steady pH that you like, without constantly fussing. This is something that is very pool-dependent, you just have to see how it goes in yours. Borates will help keep the pH more steady as well, I've found that to help a lot in my spa (I don't have borates in the pool).

    CH - no need to raise this on purpose in a vinyl pool. You're fine with your fill water.

    CYA partly depends on your latitude; "full sun" in Ontario means something different than "full sun" in Florida. But, shooting for 50 to start with means you will almost certainly last the season without having to bump it up. (You lose some CYA over time due to losing water through splashout and backwashing.) FC of course will be based on the CYA level.

    Re. borates: Your plan is actually not such a great idea; 19 oz borax in 680 gallons will raise pH by about 3.0 well outside the range of the test kit. Adding chems in smaller increments is still a good idea, but maybe do the first 2/3 or 3/4 at once. What I do in the spa is mix the borax and acid in a bucket of water first (the borax doesn't all dissolve right away) and then pour the mix in. Give that time before testing and fixing pH.

    Sounds like you're all set to have a lot of fun! And then afterward as a special bonus, you can swim in it!
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Perhaps someone could clear up a misconception that I may have been having about dichlor/trichlor...

    AKA... STABALIZED CHLORINE

    My assumption had been in these products, the chlorine comes out all wrapped up in a nice cozy CYA blanket protecting it.

    And, that works great... the blanket wrapped chlorine finds bacteria, throws off it's blaket and in a kamakazi blaze of glory self destructs, taking the bacteria with it.

    The only problem is that all these blankets never self destruct. They are always there.

    That isn't much of a problem, as long as you continue to use only stabalized chlorine: As long as you are under 200 ppm CYA or so, if you are using only stabalized chlorine, these extra discarded blankets don't really get in the way much.

    But, you are eventually going to have to get rid of the excess CYA, and if you ever go not a non-stabalized form of Chlorine, these extra blankets are really going to screw everything up.

    Please note: I am not saying that's how it works... just the way I always thought of it as working, and I am probably wrong...

    But, for a seasonal pool, in which the water is drained every year, might it make things a lot simpler to just use stabalized chlorine?

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    waskydiver, you're part right and part wrong. Some of the chlorine throws off the blankets and goes toe-to-toe with the bad guys. But, the blankets are still there, and the new chlorine coming in starts to think those empty blankets look kinda lonely, and pick them back up. And chlorine wrapped in a nice cozy blanket doesn't go looking for the bad guys.

    So, the idea is to have enough blankets in the pool, but not too many. Years of experience reinforced by chemical theory have led to the recommended levels; they're not arbitrary.

    Now, in a small seasonal pool, it seems like trichlor over a short enough season might be okay. If you figure a pool uses 1-2ppm FC per day, and your Northern season runs Memorial Day to Labor Day (around 100 days), that's 100-200ppm total. Trichlor adds 6ppm CYA per 10ppm FC so that's somewhere in the 60-120 CYA range. At the upper end you are probably to the point where the pool is starting to be troublesome, but of course it's the end of the season and the kids are back in school and why not just dump the pool now. Yeah, it could work.

    On the other hand, trichlor is also acidic, so it probably is going to mess with your pH and you need to dose the borax or maybe raise TA to fight the acidic effect. It can be done, but starts to be more fussing.

    Then there's the money part, which I admit I haven't done in detail but typically bleach tends to be right down there at the low end of the cost equation.

    That's why the small-pool guide recommends dichlor up front for a week or two and then bleach.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    and the new chlorine coming in starts to think those empty blankets look kinda lonely, and pick them back up. And chlorine wrapped in a nice cozy blanket doesn't go looking for the bad guys.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    OK... I think my analogy is throwing me off...

    Let me try my question differently:

    In water that has a high CYA, is stabalized chlorine more effective then unstabalized chlorine? (Ignoring the fact that by using stabalized chlorine, you are compounding the high CYA problem)

    I had always thought that with stabalized chlorine, the chlorine is already bonded to the stabalizer. So, the presense of unbonded stabalizer in the water is not going to have that much effect on the chlorine that is already bonded.

    On the other hand, if you put in chlorine that is not bonded with stabalizer, the first thing that it's going to do is to find some stabalizer to bond with, reducing it's effectiveness.

    But, the problem with using the stablized chlorine is that at some point, you will reach a level of CYA where it interfers with even the stablized chlorine. My mental picture is that when there is excessive (like way over 100) CYA, as soon as the chlorine is released from the stabalizer, it is reabsorbed before being able to do its job.

    Also, it's much more expensive.

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    It doesn't make any difference how the chlorine and CYA get into the water, added separately or added in the form of stabilized chlorine. In less than a minute after everything is added to the water all the reactions will run to equilibrium. After that, the only thing that matters is the FC level and the CYA level, not where they came from.

    Using stabilized chlorine is just fine when your CYA level is really low. Stabilized chlorine adds CYA, so you are guaranteed to have at least some CYA. Having at least a little CYA is a good thing. Using stabilized chlorine is bad when you already have enough CYA in the water. High CYA levels often cause problems. Once your CYA level us up to where you want it, you don't want to be adding any more CYA in the water.

    CYA hold a percentage of the chlorine in reserve. The particular percentage held in reserve depends on the CYA level. Higher CYA levels hold more chlorine in reserve. Again, this only depends on the total CYA level and has nothing to do with where the CYA came from originally.

    Separately, various problems can happen when the CYA level is really high or really low. At really low CYA levels you lose chlorine to sunlight so quickly that it is impossible to maintain a reasonable FC level. At really high CYA levels, 90+, it becomes very very difficult to shock the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Well, you sure got a heavy dose of that need-to-tinker-with-it gene.
    Guilty as charged. And thanks for all the great info!

    pH - 7.5 check, will stick around that.
    TA - check, got my test kit so I can play mad scientist alot to keep an eye on things. I wonder where the sweetspot would be on a small pool like this. Guessing it depends alot on bather load too....?!??!
    CH - check, that one was easy
    CYA - good info. Think I'll shoot for 40 and see how it goes. That way I can continuously test FC with the OTO (more mad scientist) since I'd be shooting for an FC of 5 and do the drop FC/CC test once a week after I get er' going. Don't need to worry about backwash this year as I'm on a cartridge but next year will have to re-evaluate this with the sand filter and lots more water / water surface area. I'm in southwestern PA, so it will be interesting to see how full sun will affect things. Anyone else in southwestern PA who can chime in on full sun small pools and their CYA levels?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Re. borates: Your plan is actually not such a great idea; 19 oz borax in 680 gallons will raise pH by about 3.0 well outside the range of the test kit. Adding chems in smaller increments is still a good idea, but maybe do the first 2/3 or 3/4 at once. What I do in the spa is mix the borax and acid in a bucket of water first (the borax doesn't all dissolve right away) and then pour the mix in. Give that time before testing and fixing pH.
    WOW is that a good idea. Never thought of that, but that it such a simplistic solution to mix the majority of them both in a bucket then dump er in. Maybe that could be added to the So you want to add borates sticky thread?

    T-minus 72 hours (hopefully) to filling.
    17k gal., sorta IG vinyl, 1.5 hp pump, 21" sand filter, EZVac cleaner

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by waskydiver
    But, for a seasonal pool, in which the water is drained every year, might it make things a lot simpler to just use stabalized chlorine?
    Well barring the problems it causes with rising CYA as the experts have explained, I have to say that takes away the fun of using the test kit to test your water, then using pool calculator to calculate what you need, then adding chemicals. And lest we not forget buying all that bleach at your favorite big box store and the clerk giving you the 'just what are you going to do with all that bleach look' (well ok, I won't get to experience that THIS year, maybe next year )

    But in all seriousness as my thread here was based on a seasonal/temporary pools I can understand people not wanting to go off the deep end in testing and calculating and all that happiness like I am, they just want to chuck in a puck and move on. Thus the reason for the seasonal pool guide in pool school and the questions I had based on it's reasoning. But I'm not just your average bear
    17k gal., sorta IG vinyl, 1.5 hp pump, 21" sand filter, EZVac cleaner

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Full BBB Chemistry for Seasonal/Temporary Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by bigjess007
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Re. borates: Your plan is actually not such a great idea; 19 oz borax in 680 gallons will raise pH by about 3.0 well outside the range of the test kit. Adding chems in smaller increments is still a good idea, but maybe do the first 2/3 or 3/4 at once. What I do in the spa is mix the borax and acid in a bucket of water first (the borax doesn't all dissolve right away) and then pour the mix in. Give that time before testing and fixing pH.
    WOW is that a good idea. Never thought of that, but that it such a simplistic solution to mix the majority of them both in a bucket then dump er in. Maybe that could be added to the So you want to add borates sticky thread?
    The bucket trick works best for spas or very small pools; even in my spa, the borax doesn't all want to dissolve in the bucket. In larger pools it's easier to divide up the total into 3 or 4 parts and alternate borax with acid.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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