CL Free?

bkfamily1

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
193
North Canton, OH
A friend who builds pools recently suggested I consider a CL Free system. It says it uses copper, what I guess is an ozone system and controls pH with CO2. I am skeptical of adding copper due to the potential for discoloring my water. I think I have also read some things that pH monitoring systems are unreliable. I have had really good luck since adopting the TFP method. But I am curious. FYI, I have a Frog system also. This year, I am going to keep using it, but will not replace the "metals" cartridge. I will leave the old cartridge in to hold the BacPac trichlor cartridge, but do not want to put the metals in. And I understand the hazard of trichlor and the resulting boost of CYA levels and what that can cause. But I like having something that will give the pool a steady low dose of chlorine to minimize the liquid dosing needed when the pool is not used for a few days. And I am testing regularly and thoroughly, so I can avoid the CYA trap from the trichlor.

Thoughts on the CL Free system?
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
3,436
Fletcher, OK
run away :) Copper is metal and that is a whole situation you do not want to get into.. There are many posts about this and others will be along to explain better than I...

It sounds like you want something easy:

If you want ease of use and be able to skip a few days go with a SWG, they are great and easy.. any of the 60k SWG would work for your pool.. you may still have to "add" liquid chlorine now and then... I love my curcupool SWG and last year I put one in my hot tub also, best thing I have done.
 

JVTrain

TFP Expert
Feb 3, 2014
5,081
Central Minnesota
Have you heard complaints from blondes about their hair turning green from chlorine pools? It's not the chlorine, it's copper. Copper can also lead to staining of pool surfaces. Vinyl lined pools like yours it's not such a big deal as it's not as noticeable but it can stain any white goods (skimmers, steps, returns, ladders). Once you have metals in your water, they are notoriously hard to remove as well.

Copper and other metals also do not kill bacteria fast enough to be approved by the EPA for pool sanitation by themselves. To be approved by the EPA, there also must be residual chlorine accompanying this product. In reality, they cannot be CL free. At best, they are low chlorine (sometimes even recommended normal chlorine levels...) with metals, a problem you don't need. These alternative sanitizers make a living by bashing chlorine as not safe and dangerous. What's dangerous is pools that are not properly sanitized by these alternative systems and the bacteria that are not properly killed as a result. [/soapbox]

This is a good summary to read: Alternative sanitizers and pools--The Truth!!
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
The most important thing to keep in mind is the lack of sanitization you'll have with a Low FC pool. Copper does have some anti Algae properties, but it can't sanitize your pool properly like Chlorine will.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Copper works as an algaecide, but not as a sanitizer. Here's one link: Alternative sanitizers and pools--The Truth!!

As for using the trichlor... typical FC losses are about 2 ppm per day. One 8 oz puck will add 1.8 FC to your pool. So figure one puck per day. Each one of those pucks will add 1.1 CYA. Every week you're adding about 8 more. In a 10 week swim season, you'll have added another 80 CYA! If you started at 50, you're up to 130. Minimum FC to keep algae at bay is 10, which is where it starts to affect the pH readings. Accurate pH test during shock levels with R-007?

If you want a hands-off approach, a saltwater generator would be a better solution.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,952
NW Ohio
Copper kills algae, and pretty much nothing else. Any bacterial killing it does are at rates far below the rate the bacteria reproduces. Ozone oxidizes well but is not a very good sanitizer. The EPA recognizes 3 pool sanitation systems: chlorine, bromine, and biguanide. The EPA doesn't control what a homeowner can use in their pools but they do say what can and cannot be called a sanitation system and whatever system this friend of yours is pushing can not legally be described as a sanitation system without using one of those 3 chemicals.

If we want to get in to my opinions of CL free systems it is going to get brutally honest. Sellers of such systems intentionally cause fear by providing misinformation in an attempt to sell someone a product that is not as safe or effective as normal chlorine. The risk someone is taking by swimming in a pool that is not properly sanitized is far greater than any supposed risk in swimming in a pool that is chlorinated. They can cite all the possible issues with chlorine and bromine, that they could potentially create carcinogens, the few people who have reactions, blah blah blah. They tend to leave out the fact that as soon as a person's rear hits the water fecal bacteria is being introduced to the water. Given the very well documented information on what that bacteria can do to me versus the "possibly maybe sorta" problems that could arise from chlorine, I will pick the chlorine every single time.

There will come a day in the not-too-distant future where I will replace my above ground pool with an in ground one. If I get a quote from a builder who tries pushing a chlorine free system then he is losing that bid.
 

bkfamily1

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
193
North Canton, OH
Thanks for all the direct and rapid responses. You have confirmed my concerns. I will stick with the liquid chlorine. FYI, my friend says he likes the liquid method. I had just commented about an SWG and some concerns I had, and he mentioned the CL Free system as an alternative if I wanted to get away from liquid.

Richard, I totally get how the use of trichlor drives up the CYA. This will be my second season on the TFP method, so I hope to get more data this year as I hope to maintain a very consistent pool. But last year, I did not see the CYA climb like one would expect. One chlorine cartridge (Bac Pac) has 39 ounces of trichlor. It lasts me about 2 weeks. So it is adding about 3 ounces per day. If the pool is not used and is closed up, that is enough to hold the FC steady (or very slowly climbing), and I keep it set to do that. So I am adding about 12 ppm CYA per month I think. My guess is that the kids splash enough water out of the pool that my makeup keeps the CYA from climbing. This year I hope to see if it indeed holds like I expect.

And by not replacing the old mineral cartridge, I hope to avoid any complications from any metals (silver, I think) it would add. But there has to be one in the dispenser for the chlorine cartridge to fit properly.

I have been really thinking about SWG. I have some concerns about SWG with metal pool walls (behind the vinyl) and the encapsulated tracks for the Coverstar autocover. But I believe I have asked about that on here and been reassured I do not need to worry about it.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,952
NW Ohio
And by not replacing the old mineral cartridge, I hope to avoid any complications from any metals (silver, I think) it would add.
Yes, it is silver. Make no mistake, I am not a fan of the frog (former user myself) but at least silver has anti-bacterial properties to go along with being an algaecide. In fact using silver with MPS is EPA approved as a chlorine-free hot tub sanitation system. As such the frog gets the nod of my least despised mineral system ;) The bac pacs are still way overpriced and I still don't much care for any metals, but silver doesn't goad me quite as much as copper.