Chlorine or Sustain

Apr 15, 2018
2
Cambridge/MD
#1
Hi All,
I just purchased a home with an inground 18x36 pool. It's been roughly 10 years since I have owned a home with a pool and it looks like there are a lot of options available now for pool chemicals compared to when I maintained my pool in the past.

I did go through the pool school and have been reading some random threads as well... I just ordered the taylor k-2006c test kit and should have that Wednesday.

My question is- According to the records, the previous home owner user Sustain Pool Chemicals in the past. He winterized the pool 2 years ago draining the pool below the pipes, chemicals, tarp cover, etc ., but he did not open the pool last year. I prefer to stick with what I know (Chlorine tabs, shock, etc.) but I am concerned about opening the pool with Chlorine considering I know nothing about Sustain products. Is there anything I should be concerned about, any necessary conversions or steps needed to make this happen?

My plan is to test the water, start treating with Chlorine tabs, shock, adjust all levels and let the robot loose, etc...

Thanks in advance for any help!
Greg
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#2
The Sustain product line is just over-priced calcium hypochlorite with a imidazolidinone chlorine stabilizer. The imidazolidinone “acts like” cyanuric acid but in different ways and shows up as an intereference in the combined chlorine (CC) part of the FAS-DPD test. TFP has no chemical data on how this organic actually buffers chlorine so there’s no way to know what the proper FC/stabilizer relationship is other than following the manufacturers recommended dosing.

If you are in Massachusetts (Cambridge) then your summer swim season is short enough and wet enough to allow you to use cal-hypo for chlorination. If you want to stick with the methods taught by TFP, then you don’t need to spend money on the Sustain branded chemicals and you can just use standard pool chemicals if you like.

Read through Pool School and see if the TFP Method is for you. If so, then don’t bother with Sustain. Otherwise, follow the Sustain program. Just don’t try to mix & match advice...
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,003
Evans, Georgia
#3
Hi there Greg :handwave:

Sustain is a chlorine product with a lot of calcium in the pucks, and some potion called Summer Shield that makes the CC test (testing for the "cooties") inaccurate.

Is your pool vinyl or plaster? Can your pool tolerate the extra calcium building up? This would be a real problem for folks out west where the water is so hard.

Our method endorses either the use of liquid chlorine (bleach even) or salt water chlorine generators. Neither of these add anything else to the water except chlorine. We don't like multichemical products if we can avoid them.

Have you considered how easy it is to add liquid chlorine to the pool daily? Or have a pump installed to inject minute doses throughout the day. That's a great option for busy folks. Otherwise a salt water generator is so common these days. Its truly amazing how simple it is to work with. I love mine!

Maddie :flower:
 
Apr 15, 2018
2
Cambridge/MD
#4
Hi Guys,
Thanks so much for info and the fast reply...I guess I failed to mention in my profile that it's Cambridge Maryland and not Mass... :) I will correct that.

The pool has the vinyl liner in it so no worries on the plaster/calcium build up.

I have never used liquid chlorine before as a consistent method for maintaining the pool but I am certainly not opposed as I have poured strait bleach in the pool before to clean it. I will definitely look in to that as well.

My main concern was using chlorine and turning the pool purple or something crazy like starting a chemical fire lol.

Again, thanks for your help. I will go through the site further and do more research on the TFP method for regular maintenance.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#5
Chlorine is chlorine is chlorine...it's all the same once it goes into the water. What differs is how the chlorine is stabilized - with liquid chlorine, it's a solution of sodium hypochlorite that is fairly stable at concentrations below 12%. For calcium hypochlorite, the chlorine is stabilized as a calcium compound (still emits chlorine fumes though...). As for trichlor pucks and dichlor powder, the chlorine is stabilized by being bonded to the cyanurate structure. So, the biggest impact on pool water care is what your chosen source of chlorine brings along with it.

In Maryland, with a vinyl liner pool, calcium hypochlorite is still an ok choice as you will certainly get enough rainwater over the season to keep the calcium levels in check. As long as your fill water hardness is low, you should be fine using cal-hypo. You want to stay away from the cyanurate stabilized chlorine products as they add excess stabilizer (CYA) to the pool water and, as the CYA builds up, the active chlorine levels drop and your water becomes more prone to algae blooms.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#6
Joyful - point me to the summer shield , rocks your looking under.. please

I believe I have been very close to nailing summer shield via emergency handling protocols, but never truly nailed it..

(And yes if it’s not obviously main competitor is a sustain dealer.)
 
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PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#7
Let’s not forget sustain is skimmer fed & the caked filters need a chisel at seasons end.

Adding chlorine through the skimmer is great way to negate heater warranty claims.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#8
Joyful - point me to the summer shield , rocks your looking under.. please

I believe I have been very close to nailing summer shield via emergency handling protocols, but never truly nailed it..

(And yes if it’s not obviously main competitor is a sustain dealer.)

See Richard's post HERE . It contains a link to a patent issued to PPG, the company that makes the Sustain products. The patent discusses some of the gory chemical details....

Let’s not forget sustain is skimmer fed & the caked filters need a chisel at seasons end.

Adding chlorine through the skimmer is great way to negate heater warranty claims.
Cal-hypo pucks have been around for ages and, as you alluded to, they are a major PITA. Raw cal-hypo itself cannot be easily compressed into a tablet form and so manufacturers have to use all sorts of binder materials to make them into pucks. This leaves behind a gooey residue that hardens. I believe one of the major problems with the old cal-hypo grinders was that they would eventually clog up from all the calcium and binder residue buildup. Cal-hypo makes sense as a broadcast (or better yet, premixed in water) chlorine source but not as a slow-dissolving puck.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#9
Thanks - I have made it as far as the ppg link..

My next question for you, how were you exposed to the info about cal hypo grinders failing? That’s a behind closed doors step before both wholesale and repackaging & doesn’t get much exposure.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#10
Thanks - I have made it as far as the ppg link..

My next question for you, how were you exposed to the info about cal hypo grinders failing? That’s a behind closed doors step before both wholesale and repackaging & doesn’t get much exposure.
My super-power is being a royal nerd, having a slightly photographic memory, and reading far too many technical books and articles ... as a youngster, my favorite past time was reading the Encyclopedia Britannica set my parents bought while all my friends read comic books. Once I got older, I read my dad’s college textbooks and, when I got to college myself, I would often buy engineering, science and mathematics textbooks at the bookstore that were NOT required reading.

It is only by the sheer grace of God and my wife’s gracious heart for lost puppies that she discovered me and we started a life and family together because, left to my own devices, I would have likely taken up residence in the college engineering library and never left it...my life is sort of a cross between Rain Man (no, not Tom Cruise) and A Beautiful Mind but with some Sponge Bob Square Pants thrown in for good looks...
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#11
Joyful - I’ll acknowledge your answer, and simplify it to “ I don’t recall were I read about cal hypo production...

To OP - does sustain work & is it simple ? Yes , it’s an easy system for the user. It has its negatives.


I also think I cracked some numbers that it is $8 per pound of cal hypo.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#12
Joyful - I’ll acknowledge your answer, and simplify it to “ I don’t recall were I read about cal hypo production...

To OP - does sustain work & is it simple ? Yes , it’s an easy system for the user. It has its negatives.


I also think I cracked some numbers that it is $8 per pound of cal hypo.
Ah, I see. If you asking whether or not I'm some kind of subject-matter expert or if I've worked inside the vast, conspiratorial chlorine-industrial complex, and that is where I have acquired my knowledge, the answer is "No." I, like most famously important people, am nothing more than a simple citizen-scientist who, through chance and hard-work has uncovered the secret intentions of the government-controlled pool industry that will make the entire UFO cover-up look like hopscotch...

As for cal-hypo pucks....just a single step in a long line of products designed to "control" the vast economy of the average citizens wallet....now, if you'll excuse me, my tin-foil hat needs to have its firmware updated....
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#13
Yes , many there are many industries using the same tech, so I was wondering if you worked in a sister chemical industry ie; municipal, delivery, or paper good production..

As far as I know there is only 1 chemist in Arizona & after high school bell rang he made blue tablets.

Btw - software update the tin foil hat? DONT!!

you are very vulnerable, & they will find you. My tin foil hat runs on steam via firewood.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#15
Yes , many there are many industries using the same tech, so I was wondering if you worked in a sister chemical industry ie; municipal, delivery, or paper good production..

As far as I know there is only 1 chemist in Arizona & after high school bell rang he made blue tablets.

Btw - software update the tin foil hat? DONT!!

you are very vulnerable, & they will find you. My tin foil hat runs on steam via firewood.
Solar powered here...reduces the chance of cinders igniting what little is left of my luxurious mane....

Oh, and we have plenty of “chemists” here in AZ. Most of them are not “cooking up” pool chemicals if ya know what I mean....

I made it all the way to the patent, but line one got me....
Yeah seriously!! Using a passive tense sentence to start off a paragraph is a major English writing faux-pas....clearly the writers did not do well in their required liberal arts courses. Or it was written by a lawyer....
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#17
OP - back to you.. sustain works well but it’s not magic.

I credit the system with its routine based application schedule.

I feel it merely gives the user a defined plan. & they remove the mathematics from the plan by dosing in “ scoops” not ounces pounds etc..

It is just chlorine & discipline.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,364
Tucson, AZ
#18
OP - back to you.. sustain works well but it’s not magic.

I credit the system with its routine based application schedule.

I feel it merely gives the user a defined plan. & they remove the mathematics from the plan by dosing in “ scoops” not ounces pounds etc..

It is just chlorine & discipline.
And to build off of this - Sustain could never really be endorsed by TFP because it fails TFPs core principle. That is, knowing exactly what you are putting into your pool and only adding chemicals that your pool really needs based on measured test results. The Sustain Summer Shield stuff also fails TFPs core principle of measurability - there is no way to test for and measure their proprietary stabilizer and so you simply have to believe that what they provide as a dosing schedule will work in every pool. There is also limited information as to how their stabilizer impacts sanitation, ie, active chlorine levels. So again, you simply have to take their word that what they suggest works. That’s all fine and dandy until problems pop up...

As TFP’ers know full-well, no two pools are exactly the same and what works well in my pool might be totally inadequate for someone else. But, if we both know what’s in our pools and how to measure and dose, then the differences go away and both pools can be easily sustained.
 

PoolguyinCT

In The Industry
Jul 21, 2014
2,674
Connecticut
#20
He’s on his gAme solar powere foil hat running new software..

Some things & methods just aren’t “green” or sustainable & some are both..
I think I did it there too!

Chlorine, information & discipline- makes an easy pool.