I have a 35k gal vinyl pool with large sand filter and Nature 2 Pro G system. I've been using a commercial family of products whose main ingredient is tetraborate pentahydrate. I use the products for initial levels of 50ppm and weekly supplement to maintain those levels, their non-chlorine shock and swim, their 3" trichlor tabs, and microfloc product. I have some questions regarding a transition to BBB pool maint.
I understand every pool setup is unique. Based on pool use, water source, equipment, chems, maint, etc... it seems to (hopefully) establish stable water chemistry levels. Decisions on pool maint are usually based on cost and/or convenience, and are often trade-offs that are a personal preference.
I want to emphasize that my pool has always had sparkling, soft, clear water. And, has always had very stable chem levels. I have never once had any issues with algae, smell, color, etc... I've never had a problem with over-stabilizing. My pool has been stable to the point that I have never had to check levels more than once a week, and most often add the exact same doses every week and only testing every other week. I'm not sure its possible to have a more trouble-free, convenient pool maint regiment. So, what I am looking for...
The products I've been using are only available via one local pool installation/service company. That is not convenient, nor is it cheap. Of course, I'd like to save a hundred dollars or two each season, but I'm not willing to do that at the inconvenience of testing every couple of days. And, of course not at the expense of fighting algae or water quality issues.
1. Is there any reason why the tetraborate pentahydrate products for initial ppm and top-off maint can not be replaced with straight Borax (with acid to offset pH change)?
2. Are the trichlor tabs the "simplest way" to maintain chlorine levels without more frequent testing and adding bleach? Is this one thing that you give up convenience for cost, but not other effective benefits?
The Nature 2 assists in sanitation and perhaps softer, clearer water??? I know you can not use a "high pH" regiment with it. My pH stays low (around 7.2) and of course never had any staining.
3. Can you use the N2 and shock with bleach, or is that asking for trouble? Should I either give up the N2 or stick with a non-chlorine shock?
4. If I do use the N2 - is the recommend chlorine levels of 0.5 - 1ppm reasonable?
My wishes are to eliminate or reduce the inconveniences of depending on one local provider for the name-brand product. Not only could I save money on generic items, but not have to stock up large orders for the whole summer.
Thanks for any information or suggestions.