Non-toxic CHEAP Pool Maintenance ideas??

OctoSquishy

New member
Apr 19, 2017
2
Marshall
Hi all!!

I'm a complete newb at pool ownership, we have a 10 foot round, 30" tall pool, with PVC pipe frame. It came with some sort of pump, which seemed to work fine for the few months we used it last year. We just set it up this year, and have decided that we want to do some sort of non-toxic options instead of chemicals to put in it (We obviously filled it with tap water, which ours already has immense amounts of chlorine in it.) All of our skin is extremely sensitive so we really want the least harsh options possible. I have read things about Peroxide, Baking soda and Borax? Should I invest in a better filter if we are using less chemicals (I'm assuming so lol) , I have heard decent things about sand filters? We really want to try to be as cost effective as possible, but are willing to spend a little bit of an investment as this will save us gas going to the river every day to cool off.

Thanks for any ideas or tips.

Squishy
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
Hey Squishy! Welcome aboard,

Yes, Hayward makes a decent little 14" sand filter perfect for this pool. Amazon or others will have it. But, no filter will prevent problems like Alage, or keep the pool safe and sanitary. Nor can the combination of Chemicals you mention do all that either. You need a Santizer, and something that will kill or prevent Algae. Our number one for all that is Chlorine. There is one other approved set of chems most well known as Baquacil, but we do not suggest it to anyone. It will lead to problems will not worth curing in this pool. They would create a situation where it would be easier and cheaper to pitch it out and start with a whole new one, filter and all. I know you didn't want to hear that, but it really is exceptionally rare that properly Chlorinated pools cause people skin, or other health problems.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,851
Tucson, AZ
Welcome to TFP

Please read this -

Alternative sanitizers and pools--The Truth!!

Not to sound pedantic or rude, but the notion of a "chemical free" pool is a fantasy and a myth promulgated by pseudoscientific thoughts about the proper role of chemistry in water quality. All recreational bodies of water need a few things - a chemical sanitizer (something that kills algae, bacteria and viri), a chemical oxidizer (something that oxidizes and destroys organic bather waste) and a mechanical filtration method (something that removes large and fine particulates from the water). Those are absolute must-haves and the US EPA only recognizes three forms of sanitation for recreational water bodies - chlorine, bromine or Biguanide/Peroxide (commercially know as Baquacil).

Of those three, chlorine is by far the cheapest and easiest form of sanitizer/oxidizer to use. While there is HUGE amounts of misinformation and pseudoscience surrounding the use of chlorine and casting it as some kind of toxic chemical, the truth could not be any further from that. Water chlorination technology does and will continue to go down in history as one of the greatest technical achievements that has brought widespread benefit to those that use it. The number of lives saved from horrible, water-born illnesses through the use of water sanitation can not even be accurately counted. As for it's specific use in pools, chlorine is by far the easiest solution to implement with the least number of downside risks. That is, of course, when chlorine is PROPERLY used. What passes for arguments these days about why chlorine is "bad" mainly has to do with improper use of chlorine and poor water management skills.

If you're willing to read through our pool school and take to heart the methods we teach here, then we can help you to have perfect pool water. If you truly want to pursue a "no chemical" pool, then TFP really can't help you with that. I'm sure there are other forums online dedicated to "natural" swimming pools and chemical-free alternatives. It's up to you.
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
809
West Bloomfield, MI
Hiya Squishy (great name) - welcome to TFP!

So already two experts have chimed-in and mentioned "properly chlorinated pools", but what I'd like to add is that it's likely that you've never been in one! I'm quite sure I hadn't, until my own. I hope you stick around. It's "eye-opening", and your eyes won't burn! :)
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,341
NW Ohio
Hiya Squishy (great name) - welcome to TFP!

So already two experts have chimed-in and mentioned "properly chlorinated pools", but what I'd like to add is that it's likely that you've never been in one! I'm quite sure I hadn't, until my own. I hope you stick around. It's "eye-opening", and your eyes won't burn! :)
:goodpost:

Welcome to TFP, OctoSquishy!
 

OctoSquishy

New member
Apr 19, 2017
2
Marshall
Thankyou all for the responses <3


I want to preface with, chlorine can be extremily dangerous, especially when used long term. I currently use a Vitamin C shower head to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine in the water and it helps immensely with the intense burning on contact that normally happens with all water except fresh water.


To be honest, gathering from the above posts, what I am reading is that I need a sanitizer (Which Baking Soda and Borax should work?) an oxidizer (Which would be Peroxide?) and a mechanical filter (Which will be a 14" sand filter as per recommended).


Not to beat a dead horse, but I for one do not believe that chlorine is harmless, and I believe that there are far better methods that could be implemented to sanitize drinking water, but I would much rather not get into a debate about that on here <3


In closing ; If you know of a natural pool care forum, PLEASE PLEASE point me that way, I have researched and this forum is the only one that even came close.


Thank you for all your help.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,341
NW Ohio
There is no natural pool forum that any of us would recommend as we will not recommend swimming in unsanitary water. Unfortunately what you believe and what we know based on science and experience are two different things.

I wish you well in your search.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
I hope you don't take this the wrong way, especially since you are coming here and asking for guidance, but I would urge to you really consider if pool ownership is really for you and your family. You are playing with fire without a proper sanitizing agent. This is a "closed" body of water that is fully exposed to the environment and some amount of human waste every time you get in.

I wish you the best and hope you reconsider the path you are going down, or at least do extensive research(scientific, not just some yahoo's blog on the interweb) on what you will be exposing you and your family to.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,195
Tucson, AZ
Welcome to TFP!

You have gotten some great responses from experts. I just want to add that maintaining your pool following TFP guidelines actually will result in water that is less harsh than what you are apparently getting in your shower. This is due to the use of a stabilizer, CYA, which greatly buffers the harshness of chlorine.
 

Swampwoman

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 27, 2012
3,845
Grand Rapids, MI
Not to beat a dead horse, but I for one do not believe that chlorine is harmless, and I believe that there are far better methods that could be implemented to sanitize drinking water, but I would much rather not get into a debate about that on here <3
It is important in matters of human health to distinguish the concepts of "belief" from observable, repeatable scientific fact. Perhaps you've never known someone who has died from water borne illnesses such as giardia, crypto, legionella, dysentery, 0157:HN E. coli etc. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with contaminated wells, the rising incidence of recreational water contamination, or ever been involved in aiding 3rd world countries access potable water.

If you don't personally know anyone who has succumbed to serious or fatal contamination, perhaps it is because of chlorine, which when properly used, is considered not only by our EPA, but by the World Health Organization, to have the distinction of being the most effective and practical method of sanitization for both recreational and drinking water.

Sometimes the reason 'everyone' is doing something is because its the most effective and practical solution to a more serious problem ;)

With that said, emerging science suggests trihalomethanes (THMs) (byproducts of chlorination) ingested from chlorinated drinking water may cause longterm health effects (even though that same chlorination is also credited with doubling lifespans in the US ;).

In the case of TFP pool care, THMs are reduced dramatically by maintaining free chlorine in ratio to CYA that actually prevents a build up of "ccs" or combined chloramines.

In this, TFP water is dramtically different than most public pools that are unable to adequately oxidize or break down the chloramines. A TFP maintained pool will not smell like chlorine and will not irritate your skin.

I for one have eczema and am allergic to many chemicals. My eczema has been virtually eradicated since adopting TFP. Then again, a recommended treatment for eczema is actually a "chlorine bath" at a mch higher concentration than you'd find in a pool...so perhaps that has something to do with it ;)

I hope you will give some serious consideration to due dilligence in your water as a pool owner. I suspect if you research legitimate, non-commercial resources, you will reconsider your ideas around chlorine and the need to balance sanitation efficacy, practicality and risk.
 

AUSpool

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 23, 2015
534
Brisbane, Australia.
...
To be honest, gathering from the above posts, what I am reading is that I need a sanitizer (Which Baking Soda and Borax should work?) an oxidizer (Which would be Peroxide?) and a mechanical filter (Which will be a 14" sand filter as per recommended).
...
Baking Soda and Borax are not sanitizers, they are pH buffers. At high concentrations borax may have antialgal properties.

If peroxide is what your after then maybe Baquacil is for you but Ive never used it and never will. I would stay clear of the copper/silver ion method, I cant fathom why anyone would think using heavy metals, copper ions, in a pool would be a good thing.

A sand filter is a good choice for a mechanical filter although there are others. Viruses, bacteria and protozoans will go straight through a sand filter.

See: Pool School - Maintenance and Cleaning of Pool Filters
 

The Print Craftsman

New member
May 7, 2017
1
Dalton, Georgia
I hear you Squishy. My thoughts on the subject are that it might be possible to do a completely Chlorine free solution but would require some space and money to set it up. Your pool water would need to be pumped to the top of a hill perhaps a quarter mile away and then allowed to run through a rock/sand filled stream bed that was situated so that it received maximum sun the entire way back to your pool. Appropriate plant life might also be planted to help in purifying/filtering the water as well as appropriate water life such as possibly cat fish etc. I'm no expert in this field. But basically I'm saying to set up an eco system similar to how mother nature does it using the SUN on fast moving water over rocks as the sanitizing element. But even mother nature fails at times. You could get it all set up and then still have a squirrel or raccoon take a dump in your purifying stream close to where it re-enters the pool and then you still have a problem... I will say that ever since we got our own pool and I started taking care of it the chlorine hasn't been a problem for us. I realize we may not be as sensitive to it as you guys might be but my wife and kids didn't even realize I was putting chlorine in it at first. Compared to the hotel pools... Well let's just say there is NO comparison. Good luck in your research. I have heard of people doing natural pools. They're really more like a pond, dirt bottoms etc. But they involve moving water i.e. there is usually a stream flowing through the property that enters and leaves the pond keeping the water circulated. I'm guessing your property may not offer those options? I wish you well in your research but I agree with the one poster above regarding the fact that everytime someone swims in the pool they are leaving human waste behind in the water and the water is a closed container of water with no way for that waste to be eliminated other then through filtration and sanitization.
 

Mayorb

In The Industry
Mar 16, 2010
132
For play pools your best bet may be to just add a cup of bleach every day or two, and when the water gets cloudy, drain and refill. This pool only has about 1,000 gallons.
 
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