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Thread: Making Bleach??

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    98xc600's Avatar
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    Making Bleach??

    I found a good deal on Bleach tonight and picked up 30 gallons, but on the drive home I thought to myself, I wounder how bleach is made and what's all in it. If my family is going to be swimming in the stuff I really should know more about it. I found this article about how you can make your own bleach.

    Sun Feb 24 2002 at 17:55:56

    Bleach is an extremely effective cleaning and disinfecting agent. Although you can buy it very cheaply at the store (around $1/gallon), if you are really frugal (or just interested in chemistry) it can be made quite easily. Make sure you perform this experiment outside or in a well-ventilated room with no smoking, because flammable hydrogen gas is evolved.

    Supplies:
    # Cooking pot (should be as large as possible)
    # Large bucket
    # Water
    # Salt
    # Two iron nails
    # Computer power supply or automotive battery charger.
    # Stove
    # Coffee filters
    # Ice
    # Postal Scale for Weighing Powder
    # Wire

    The first step is to get the pot and fill it with water. Then get some salt, and add it to the water until the water can hold no more. Then connect a nail, using wire, to a terminal of the battery charger or power supply. Do the same for the other nail and terminal. If you are using a computer power supply, remember that the connector with a colored wire is one terminal and the connector directly next to it (usually it has a black wire) is another. Even though there are four connectors, you will only be using those two. Drop the connected nails into the pot with salt water. Turn on the battery charger or power supply. You should soon see tiny bubbles in the bucket. If you don't, something is wrong. Try to stay away from the bucket; it can evolve flammable and poisonous gas. The temperature of the water should never exceed 90 deg. F. Make sure to put some ice around the bucket to cool the water.

    Leave the bucket alone for a day, then turn off the power supply, and the nails. Put the pot on the stove at full power and heat the pot. After a considerable amount of the water has boiled, you should start seeing a powder accumulate at the bottom of the pot. When it appears that no more powder is accumlating, turn off the stove. Wait for the water to cool down, then pour everything into the other bucket, making sure that it is through the coffee filter. The filter will catch the powder, and let the "depleted" salt water flow through into the bucket. If the filter gets full, empty it out in a separate container (not the pot), and continue pouring. When you are finished, pour the water in the bucket back into the pot. To make the bleach, put tap water in the bucket you just emptied, and add the powder to it, making sure that the ratio is 200 grams of powder for every gallon of tap water.

    The water in the pot still has some salt in it; therefore it can be used toward the salt requirement for the next batch.

    It sound easy enough to do, but I'm no chemist by any means so my questions are

    1) If adding 200 grams of powder to 1 gallon water what % bleach would that be?

    2) If you had 40# of salt how many gallons of bleach could that make. (40# of salt is only $3.50)

    I'm sure there are way to many variables to give a really hard and fast set of number but it sounds like it would be fun to try

    I'm sure the .99 a gallon I paid is allot easier than making it but maybe I can make it even cheaper????

    Just a thought
    16' by 32' cornelius AG vinyl liner, 6' deep end, 14500 gal.
    Hayward 250 Lb sand filter
    Hayward 40 GPM pump
    2-2' by 20' sun grabber solar heater.
    4 gal Liquidator. BBB

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    A saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) makes chlorine very efficiently from salty water. Though you could do something similar, I don't think it's very practical and I certainly would not do it the way that was described. If you use iron nails, then you will be adding iron ions to the water which you certainly don't want. When I did this sort of experiment when I was young, I used the carbon cores from some D-cell batteries as the electrodes. That way, they don't introduce any metal ions into the water. If you use baking soda as the electrolyte, then you end up producing hydrogen and oxygen gasses. If you use salt as your electrolyte, then you produce chlorine and hydrogen gas. Using specialized electrodes can ensure that mostly chlorine is produced rather than oxygen.

    To produce enough chlorine to have it be concentrated like bleach would likely have it outgas a lot of chlorine gas that would not all stay nicely dissolved in the water and that can be hazardous. Also, the hydrogen gas would have to be well vented or else you could have an explosion. For these reasons, I would recommend against trying to make your own chlorine. Getting an SWG is the easiest way to make your own chlorine, but of course requires saltier water.

    The Chlorine Factory seems to make a product that does what you are looking for and produces chlorine off-line via electrolysis and injects it into the pool circulation system. I am not recommending this system, but if someone wants to check it out and let us know then that would be interesting. Essentially, it's like a hybrid between The Liquidator and an SWG system. It generates chlorine from salt using electrolysis like an SWG, but it doesn't require the pool water itself to have salt and injects the chlorine like The Liquidator. In theory, it sounds like the best of both worlds, but the site itself looks flaky and has inaccuracy (it says "The Chlorine factory separates salt into it basic parts; sodium and chloride" which isn't true -- simply dissolving salt into water does that).

    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"

  3. Back To Top    #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    The Chlorine Factory seems to make a product that does what you are looking for and produces chlorine off-line via electrolysis and injects it into the pool circulation system. I am not recommending this system, but if someone wants to check it out and let us know then that would be interesting. Essentially, it's like a hybrid between The Liquidator and an SWG system. It generates chlorine from salt using electrolysis like an SWG, but it doesn't require the pool water itself to have salt and injects the chlorine like The Liquidator. In theory, it sounds like the best of both worlds, but the site itself looks flaky and has inaccuracy (it says "The Chlorine factory separates salt into it basic parts; sodium and chloride" which isn't true -- simply dissolving salt into water does that).

    Richard
    This is just a 'brine tank' SWG which is an older design of SWG that has basically fallen out of favor since the tank accumulates a large concentration of sodium hydroxide that must be disposed of safely! I only know of one other brine tank system for residential use still in production and that is the tank based Intex systems (which, by this time, might have been completely replaced by the inline system they came out with.) Brine tank systems are still used in some comercial pools.

    Also, I think this company is just a bit sleazy since they use the term 'autopilot' several times on their website (as in having your pool on autopilot) but what this does is make their site pop up in the search engines when someone is looking for Autopilot Systems, who make the Poolpilot line of SWGs! There is NO WAY you can convice me that this is accidential!

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    chem geek,

    When I first heard of salt-water generators i had erroneously assumed that the salt-water would be in a separate tank. I was surprised to learn that salt-water generators used the pool as the salt-water tank.

    I then found the The Chlorine Factory device, but as you point out, they appear to be very flaky. And it is always a huge red flag when the price is not posted on the website, but rather you have to call in and ask for a "quote request". This, in my experience, usually indicates a device that sells for 4 or 5 times what it should.

    I had always though that a "brine tank SWG" (thanks waterbear for the terminology) would seem to be a very viable alternative for chlorine generation, especially for those who are leery of possible damage due to a salt-water pool.

    waterbear - I had heard of the Intex brine tank SWG, but had no luck in finding any information on it a couple of months ago. Do you have any current information or links to the Intex brine tank SWG?

    Titanium
    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)

  5. Back To Top    #5
    98xc600's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! I'll stick with the .99 a gallon for 5.25% and call it good
    16' by 32' cornelius AG vinyl liner, 6' deep end, 14500 gal.
    Hayward 250 Lb sand filter
    Hayward 40 GPM pump
    2-2' by 20' sun grabber solar heater.
    4 gal Liquidator. BBB

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