How to convince my wife and FIL that BBB is the way to go

Marcm15

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
41
Orange County, NY
Having just installed and filled my first pool on 30 June of this year, I joined this forum and ordered my TF-100 the next day. I want to post up my current numbers and see where you all think I stand.

Let me say though that I am having a very tough time convincing my wife and father in law that bleach is the same as liquid chlorine and that the BBB method is the way to go. My wife grew up with a pool and watched her father maintain it as he still does today (same pool - 29 years later) by running to the pool store and doing just as they say. He has had issues over the years but all in all does fairly well his way. I am going to sneak a water sample next time we are at his house though.

I am ready to switch to the BBB method but have just a quick question first.

When I bought my pool I also bought 25 lbs of Tri-Chlor 3 inch Pucks and feed them through a Hayward CL220 off line chlorinator. I don't have any visible issues with my water yet and want to know if I can continue to use them until they are gone or almost gone and then switch to bleach? I also purchased 15 - 1lb bags of Cal-Hypo to use when shocking the pool. I would like to use these as well until they are gone.

I wish I would have found this forum before I bought the chemicals but it is what it is. I would have liked to start out on the right path instead of going there after the fact.

My most recent numbers from this morning are posted below. They were taken this morning after a massive rain / hail storm yesterday that dropped a large amount of debris into the water and raised my water level up to the top rails. I drained the water last night to keep the pool from over flowing and brushed / vacuumed the debris this morning.

Water temp at time of test - 72

FC - 6

CC - .5

TA - 80

PH - 7.2

CH - 80

CYA > 20

Please just let me know what you think.
 

svenpup

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
835
Sacramento, CA
Really the only thing you have to convince them of is the active ingredient of Bleach and liquid chlorine. Since this is on the label, no problem. Sodium Hypochlorite. Done.

Your TA is fine so no need for Baking Soda.

Your pH is fine, and is likely to rise over time while using bleach/LC to chlorinate so no need for Borax.

When you do need to bring pH down use muriatic acid. This is accepted by the pool industry, and has been used for decades. You can get is at the pool store, or sometimes cheaper at the hardware store.

You can use the pucks you have until your CYA gets to 40-50, then switch to bleach/LC. You can use the pool calculator to estimate how many pucks this will take.

The real basis of the TFP philosophy is frequent accurate testing (yourself), accurate dosing based on those test results, and maintaining FC level based on CYA level. That's it.
 

rastoma

Well-known member
May 17, 2009
249
Jasper, TN
Marcm15 said:
Let me say though that I am having a very tough time convincing my wife and father in law that bleach is the same as liquid chlorine and that the BBB method is the way to go.
Grab a bottle of bleach (if you have one at home or next time you're at the store) and look at the 'active ingredients' on the side. Not all list the ingredients but most do. In unscented bleach, there will be TWO ingredients:

sodium hypochlorite and WATER.

Sodium hypochlorite IS chlorine. Look at a bottle of liquid chlorine in a pool store and it will say 'sodium hypochlorite'. Identical chemical just lower concentration when it's sold as bleach for laundry.

Everything you wanted to know about hypochlorite AKA bleach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_hypochlorite

Marcm15 said:
When I bought my pool I also bought 25 lbs of Tri-Chlor 3 inch Pucks and feed them through a Hayward CL220 off line chlorinator. I don't have any visible issues with my water yet and want to know if I can continue to use them until they are gone or almost gone and then switch to bleach? I also purchased 15 - 1lb bags of Cal-Hypo to use when shocking the pool. I would like to use these as well until they are gone.
Pucks are not 100% chlorine, they also include CYA and other ingredients. So eventually your CYA could get so high that the water won't effective hold enough chlorine to disinfect the water and it will get cloudy or green. You can't control the other ingredients because they are all in a 'puck'. The BBB method is not DIFFERENT chemicals.... it's a process of knowing exactly how much of each chemical goes in your water. Most of the time it's cheaper but cost is not why people do the BBB method. There are people that have NEVER shocked their pool because they keep their water perfect by KNOWING exactly goes in it and they CONTROL what goes in it. The pool store doesn't want you to do that. They want you to dump combination chemicals in because they cost a lot and they make money from you.

Marcm15 said:
FC - 6
CC - .5
TA - 80
PH - 7.2
CH - 80
CYA > 20
Your CYA is too low. It will rise with the use of pucks but you may want to get a small container of stabilizer to get it up to around 40-50 now.

FC is good. .5 CC's MIGHT mean you need to shock. Do a test tonight after the sun goes down and there's no direct sunlight on your pool. Test FC and CC. Then test again in the morning before direct sunlight hits the pool. If you have lost more than 1ppm of FC OR CC goes higher than .5 then you need to shock. If you haven't lost more than 1ppm you're ok.
 

anonapersona

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Nov 5, 2008
2,598
25 lbs of trichlor is 400 oz. plug that into the Pool Calculator, Effects of Adding Chemicals, at the bottom. I see that this will add 160 ppm CYA to your 10,400 gallon pool. You will lose some along the way, however, by the end of that bucket your pool will have pretty high CYA.

The cal-hypo, assuming 63%, 15 lbs will raise CH by79. Depending on where you start, that may be OK.

I suggest saving some of each of those. Use the pucks until you have consumed 10 pucks, then test CYA, add another 10 if you need to. 20 ought to get you to about 60 CYA. Then stop the pucks, save them for next year.

From the start, find out if you have any room to use the cal-hypo. The entire 15 lbs will only add 79 ppm so you could use them for additional chlorine if you need that on top of the pucks as above. Personally, I like to have several lbs of cal-hypo on hand in case I need to shock the pool for any reason as I may not have enough bleach on hand and the cal-hypo keeps well in storage.

All this is to say, if you keep up with what the pool already has as far as CYA and CH, you can use those items if you track what they are adding. The faster route would be to get CYA up to where it needs to be now with stabilizer/conditioner products, and CH to where it needs to be with calcium increaser product, then add only bleach for FC and whatever you need for pH control. Then keep all that other stuff for when you run out of bleach or go on vacation or need to slowly adjust CYA or CH while adding chlorine.
 

Isaac-1

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
One of the nice things about BBB is it is possible to embrace the BBB philosophy to whatever level you want. There are plenty of people on here that use chemicals bought at pool stores and embrace the BBB methods, as has been pointed out they are often the same chemicals, while it is usually possible to buy bleach from the local supermarket for less money than liquid chlorine at the pool store, this may not always be the case, and some people are willing to spend more for the ease of carrying fewer jugs, etc. Some things can only be bought from pool stores/ or big box stores with pool departments, things like CYA/Stabilizer and DE, or MPS shock come to mind. others may offer other benefits, I like having powdered pH down around as it is safer to handle than Muriatic acid and sometimes I am out of town and have to tell someone else what to add over the phone..
 

J20832

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 3, 2009
218
Olney, MD
For me, liquid chlorine is cheapest at the BJ's Club (around $12 for 4 gallons of 12.5%). It is incorrectly labeled "shock" but that is a really different topic... it is liquid chlorine twice as potent as your standard chlorox. I used to use bleach until I found a more economical and convenient source of liquid chlorine. You can employ the BBB philosophy of good testing and you don't have to use bleach if you don't want to, there are other sources of liquid chlorine (that could even be cheaper for you).

Also, be careful with your Ph at 7.2 if you do use the pucks, they will drive your Ph down even more (better have that borax on hand).
 

Marcm15

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
41
Orange County, NY
Thanks to all who replied. I'm going to try raising the CYA via stabilizer and move to the bleach option now. I know it will pay off in the long run. Your comments are all greatly appreciated.
 

Jersey Devil

Platinum Supporter
Aug 4, 2007
61
Jackson, NJ
If you really want to impress your wife and FIL, find a hardware store or pool outlet that sells 5-gallon containers (carboys) of 12.5% sodium hypochlorite. I have found this to be the cheapest source of chlorine, beating WalMart by about 10% per equivalent amount. And nobody can accuse you of using a home laundry product to sanitize your pool! Its a bit of a pain to lug but when I get it home I merely transfer it (carefully) into several empty bleach bottles that anyone in the family can handle. By the way, tell your FIL that many people who use sodium hypo in chemical manufacturing casually refer to it as "bleach".
 

lbrownin

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2010
49
Pearl, MS
I also maintained my pool for about 10 years with pucks and other pool store chemicals. Now I understand why I would always lose control of the pool late in the season and it would turn green. I didn't realize my CYA would steadily climb until the free chlorine was no longer effective. I started BBB this year and my wife was very skeptical about using "bleach". That stuff will kill you, you know? I tried to explain that a gallon of bleach in 11000 gallons of water is not much. After two months of perfect water, I think she's coming around.
 

Steve456

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 3, 2008
132
Texas
In my mind the BBB method means to test the pool water yourself with a good test kit, understand the chemicals you are pouring into your pool, and minimizing the time, effort, and money to maintain a safe healthy pool.

You can use the BBB philosophy and use use trichlor tabs and cal-hypo. When we go on vacation I use trichlor to maintain the FC level if our SWG malfunctions and to keep the pH steady. It can be appropriate to use Cal-hypo to raise calcium level or to shock or if you do not want to make a run to purchase bleach. For example, we have trichlor tabs we purchase three years ago, I will use them one day.

My wife became convinced that the BBB method was the way to go, whatever it was, when she saw that we were spending less money, never going to the pool store, and the pool never has a problem. She never wants to go back to taking water samples to the pool store and buying their chemicals!

It is not that doing things the pool store does not work; it just easier, less expensive, and you will have less bacteria in the water that could infect your children if you use the BBB method.
 

Marcm15

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
41
Orange County, NY
I printed all your responses out, gave them to my wife to read and she has relented. She agreed to let me do what I want as long as she doesn't have to ever do it herself. This shouldn't be a problem since she wasn't doing anything in so far as pool maintenance goes anyway.

Thanks again to all. Your knowledge and insight helped tremendously.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,082
San Rafael, CA USA
Steve456 said:
It is not that doing things the pool store does not work; it just easier, less expensive, and you will have less bacteria in the water that could infect your children if you use the BBB method.
I agree except that most bacteria are so easy to kill that even very low chlorine levels do a decent job so that isn't as much of a reason for BBB. It's mostly prevention of algae by using chlorine alone that is a hallmark of BBB. One could accomplish the same thing more expensively at lower active chlorine levels (i.e. with high CYA) by using algicides at higher cost. The slower disinfection rate would be more of an issue in commercial/public pools where transmission from person-to-person is of greater concern.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,047
SouthWest Alabama
svenpup said:
Oooohhh...gotta get me some of that 26% stuff!
I'd love to get some as well. Heck, I'd like to get some of the 16% stuff. They aren't even selling the 26% stuff yet. Six months of testing before the customer (big C) gets any.
 

Steve456

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 3, 2008
132
Texas
Marcm there is a great thread you should not miss.
trouble-free-pool-has-made-me-into-a-pool-snob-t25127.html

To keep peace with wifey and FIL test your water, follow the BBB method and keep quiet. Your children may prefer to swim in your pool because they can open their eyes underwater, the pool does not smell, and there is no itchy feel to their skin when they get out of the pool. When they say something about how great the pool is stay quiet. Your wife will be happy that her kids enjoy their pool.

Remember crows get shot because people do not like the noise and no one likes a snob.
 

lightingguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 17, 2010
513
Glendale, CA
I had a similar situation with a skeptical wife. We got rid of a pool service for several reasons and she was going to take over the pool. After 4 months of pool store we had a huge algae outbreak due to High CYA/Low FC combo. This turned into total pool store chaos - new treatments weekly - very expensive, etc. The whole pool subject had become highly charged.

I found the Pool school, tried to convince her on BBB and got a ton of resistance. . Finally I won that "Fine take care of it your way" concession and it has worked out really really well.

I totally agree with the others - just do it and keep your mouth shut :wink:

Our pool has a lot of issues - old equipment, undersized failing pipes, crumbling plaster - but the water is absolutely perfect and we swim in it everyday. And the best part - 7 months after the pool crisis - my wife thinks I'm a genius :goodjob:
 

Marcm15

Active member
Jul 1, 2010
41
Orange County, NY
Steve- The crow analogy is a great one. I will heed that advice and keep quiet especially around my father in law. He has thrown down the ultimatum that if I use bleach he will not swim in my pool! Well what he doesn't know won't hurt him. The last of my Tri-Chlor pucks that were already in my chlorinator are almost gone. After that its on to the bleach. I will save the remaining pucks for when we are going to be away from home or I run short on bleach.