Pros/cons of TFP method

Apr 26, 2017
9
Missouri
#1
I've found a lot of really great information on this site already, including lots of important chemistry and glossary terms for me as a new pool owner. And the Baquacl-to-chlorine conversion guide was a lifesaver. So hopefully nobody takes this the wrong way.

But what I don't understand is why this TFPC method is so appealing. According to TFPC for Beginners, the idea is to test chemistry and add liquid chlorine every day. That sounds really unappealing to me vs. simply having some stabilized chlorine tabs in a floater and checking things a couple of times a week.

Is it just a matter of time vs. money (in my case I have more money than time as I have young kids and a full time job), or is there some other advantage to TFPC method vs Leslie's Basic Pool Care guide or similar? Thanks.
 

steveb21

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2017
199
United Kingdom, England.
#2
I think by adding chlorine tabs it will raise CYA over time.... leading to the chlorine becoming less effective/needing more chlorine, eventually require water replacement.

I'm sure the more experienced TFP members will be along shortly to provide a more in depth answer.
 

Rollercoastr

Gold Supporter
May 18, 2016
804
West Bloomfield, MI
#3
It took a while, but I eventually "got to know" my pool. I don't have to test everyday, and when I do test, the results hardly ever surprise me. In fact, I'm pretty darn impressed with myself and the TFP method when it comes to anticipating the needs of my pool.

As for pucks, yes, they're very simple in the short-term, but can lead to big problems down the road. That story is repeated by new members here every few hours.
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#4
Welcome to TFP,

There are several advantages, the first being that it teaches people to truly understand what is going on in their pools, and what and why they need to do to keep them well. Leslie's doesn't do that. Once people learn what we teach, they don't go there any more for their services or advice on pool care. Save perhaps to buy toys, parts, or good deals (few) on chemicals.

The tangible results are clean sanitary pools for them to use without the typical problems found in poorly run and maintained Chlorine pools. If you stick around, you'll see a hundred or more loyal Pool Store people show up this summer frustrated beyond description with constant returning problems like Algae. Many of these will be long time puck users with grossly over stabilized pools they can't control. For ten years, TFP has been turning people 180 degrees from hating their pools to loving them and wondering in disbelief how much they were either misled, or given false information out of sheer ignorance for so long. And all from the "trusted professionals" they have been wasting hundreds if not thousands of dollars with, in some cases for a decade or more. Below is a link from a recently joining member with such a situation.

Lastly, one other advantage is cost. While TFPC has cost as our last priority, the truth usually turns out to be that people save a large amount of money over any and all their previous pool care methods. I hope you will join in, and stick around this summer to see all this come about over and over all season long. Many members (some of our best) are now here helping others having been one of the frustrated ones in the past.

14 years of pool stores and failure...

PS- These are great questions, and they are welcome, so don't worry about asking things like this, ever. We are here to teach and learn, and that is hard to do without some questions being posed.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#5
I also have (a little) more money than time and LOVE TFP. My solution to the money/time trade-off was the Salt Water chlorine Generator. I use the SWG in combination with the TFP methodology and have to spend very little time every week maintaining my properly sanitized, balanced, crystal clear pool. Others have installed a liquid chlorine pump with the same results, a little more upfront money, but a time saver.

The SWG pretty much works out to the same cost as using liquid bleach over time, you just have to put your money out first. The liquid pump is just money you invest for the time savings.

All this keeps you from having to buy the expensive potions that don't work from the pool store which makes TFP a cheaper solution. I hope you consider these options as they are priceless in my mind.
 

mww

Active member
Mar 27, 2017
34
Leander, Tx
#6
As a fairly new convert to this method of caring for my pool, I can definitely understand your concerns. I started this about a month ago and went form checking my pool once a week and filling the tablet dispenser very couple of weeks. To checking chemicals daily (some times twice a day) and adding bleach daily and adding MA every 4-5 days. I was a bit skeptical at first when I needed to replace half the water in my pool that's only 8 months old.

Here's what convinced me I made the right choice. My neighbor, who had the same pool contractor as me and basically identical equipment is fighting algae in his pool and heading to Leslie's constantly. Checking chemicals and adjusting takes 5 minutes a day and I actually enjoy it because I know what is going on. I was in the pool yesterday evening and the best thing was the water actually felt better. I can't really explain other then it didn't feel like I'd been in a pool at all when I got out. That's when I realized that it's worth the time everyday versus waiting until you see an issue. Then it costs more and takes way more time. Spend a little time and money upfront to save a lot or time and effort later. Like brushing your teeth everyday.
 

The dog

Well-known member
Apr 17, 2017
147
sacramento CA
#7
I've had a pool for over 20 years. I used both chlorine tablets and liquid. The last couple of years I had crazy algae blooms. Probably because of the pucks, raising the cya and all. This year I just did a complete remodel. New everything added a spa, etc. I'm staying away from the tablets and going with swg. I've been up and running since February. My pool is balanced now and I test he water about 4 times a week. The first 30 days were hard because of the new plaster. But now it's running smooth. Like the other guy said you will get to know you pool and everyday resting is not always necessary. Besides most of the dudes on this forum are pretty cool and have a lot of combined knowledge. By the way, I still let Leslie's test my water just so I can compare it to my own results. I also have two different test kits and some guess-strips. The more information I get the better decision I can make in what I really need to add. Take it easy.

Oh. I also keep a log of all my results. So I can look back to see how things like rain and wind affect the chemical balance.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,194
Quaker Hill, CT
#8
As for time commitment with the TFP method I probably spend about 5 minutes every other day to test the water and add chlorine for the majority of the season. In the beginning It was 5 min every day until my pool was stable which took no more than a week or two. When I cleaned the skimmer I would add choline it is that simple for me. The majority of members here have kids of various ages, I myself have 3 ranging form 3-7 years old.

Cost wise I think I spent a total of about 150 on chemicals for the entire season that includes chlorine, baking soda, acid, CYA, and borax.

The other huge selling point for me is never having my pool water smell like chlorine. I can't stand coming out of a pool and smelling it on me for the rest of the day. From day one I used TFP and never once have I smelt like a "pool" after going for a swim. It could take me 20 min a day and if that was my only benefit I would still do it.

I'm also addicted to the clarity of the water in the pool I never knew a residential pool could be so clear and clean and take so little effort to keep it that way.
 

faby3003

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 14, 2011
244
St. Paul, MN
#9
In my opinion, the TFP method doesn't say "never use trichlor pucks" or "you have to use bleach". Its about doing your own testing of your pool's chemistry with one of the good test kits, knowing the effects of all the various chemical options, and using that information to make an informed decision about what is the best way for you to maintain your pool.

I'll use trichlor in the spring when I need to raise my CYA level, or if I'm on vacation. Sometimes I only test twice a week if my pool is behaving predictably. These are choices I make. Occasionally if you test less frequently you will get burned and have to SLAM your pool. So, its all about trade-offs.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
10,547
Bedford, TX
#10
In my opinion, the TFP method doesn't say "never use trichlor pucks" or "you have to use bleach". Its about doing your own testing of your pool's chemistry with one of the good test kits, knowing the effects of all the various chemical options, and using that information to make an informed decision about what is the best way for you to maintain your pool.

I'll use trichlor in the spring when I need to raise my CYA level, or if I'm on vacation. Sometimes I only test twice a week if my pool is behaving predictably. These are choices I make. Occasionally if you test less frequently you will get burned and have to SLAM your pool. So, its all about trade-offs.
What faby3003 posted is exactly what we are trying to do...

Excellent post!!! :goodpost:

edit.. ok, a flag was thrown, and upon further review, I have re-read your last sentence... "Occasionally if you test less frequently you will get burned and have to SLAM your pool. So, its all about trade-offs"... I read that as a warning that you have to test enough so that never happens.. If you meant it is ok to slack off until your pool turns green, then I'll have to rescind my "Good Post" nomination... :cool:
My main point of agreement was that we are not here to force anyone to do anything. We just provide you with the information you need to make informed choices.

Jim R.
 

faby3003

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 14, 2011
244
St. Paul, MN
#11
One additional comment because I don't think anyone else mentioned it. Using liquid chlorine or SWG to chlorinate does not affect your pH. When using trichlor you are constantly fiddling with your pH and alkalinity.

Most of the time I use bleach as my chlorine source. Once I get my pH and alkalinity in the "sweet spot" in the Spring, I don't have to adjust them all summer long.
 

bobandsherry

Bronze Supporter
Apr 20, 2016
370
Riverview, FL
#13
One additional comment because I don't think anyone else mentioned it. Using liquid chlorine or SWG to chlorinate does not affect your pH. When using trichlor you are constantly fiddling with your pH and alkalinity.

Most of the time I use bleach as my chlorine source. Once I get my pH and alkalinity in the "sweet spot" in the Spring, I don't have to adjust them all summer long.
SWG does affect the pH. I'm hoping to get to steady pH state, but with SWG I'm dumping 12 oz of acid into my pool twice a week. That said, using TFP method has resulted in an easy to mange pool, with exception of the pH everything else is pretty much on auto pilot (thanks also to SWG) and pool has remained crystal clear and no scale build up to talk about.
 

Sfpat

Silver Supporter
Jul 29, 2016
113
tulsa
#14
I started the TFP method last year after 16 years of "pool store" method and constantly fighting cloudy water and algae. As others have said, it only takes a few minutes a day to check chemicals (FC daily, ph, TA weekly, CH, CYA monthly). Since switching, my water has been crystal clear, no algae whatsoever, no expensive "shocking" the pool, algecides, clarifiers, etc. Cash flow is straight forward (approx. $10/week in bleach). And I had the easiest start-up ever this spring. TFP is a no brainer.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#15
Welcome! :wave:

I probably spend an hour a week and about a dollar a day on my pool. I will confess to getting slack about testing. I know my pool well enough that I can predict my test results with amazing accuracy before the first drop leaves the reagent bottle. When I;m feeling lazy, I just slop the usual amount of chlorine in the pool. It's only a few steps out the back door. Yeah, it took a lot of testing and poolmath to get to where I am now. A couple months, maybe.

You don't need to manually add bleach daily; there are a couple automated systems that can do it for you, or you install a saltwater generator and create the bleach onsite. It's exactly the same process Clorox uses, just on a much, much smaller scale.

The reason you don't want to use pucks constantly is because the chlorine dissipates but the cyanuric acid remains behind and builds up. Some is good. Too much is bad. I hunted down one of my older posts. I;m going to copy and paste it and then you'll see what I'm saying.

We'll take a 16000 gallon pool, because that's what I have. On a fresh fill, prominent national pool chain recommends 2.5 pounds pf stabilizer per 10,000 gallons, which works out nicely to 4 pounds which brings CYA to 30.

With an average loss of 2 PPM/Day or 14 ppm/week, I'll have added 8.6 PPM/CYA if I used trichlor pucks perfectly. And they recommend a weekly "shock" of dichlor between 5 and 10 FC.... 2-3 oz per 10,000 gallons. Split the difference; I'll add 4 oz. CYA went up another .9.

So..by the end of week one, I have added 9.5 more CYA. It is now 39.5. Mimimum FC for that is 3, so I'm probably okay.

Week two, up to 49 CYA.
Week three, 58.5. Minimum FC should be 5, but they recommend 3 as ideal, so the pool looks a bit hazy. So I'll toss in a little extra dichlor "shock" to jack FC up to 10. Which adds another 6.4 CYA. Keeping count? We're up to 64.9 now.

That caught the algae just in time.. we had two weeks of good luck. A steady diet of pucks and 4 oz. "shock" each week only added another 19, up to 73.9 now.

Week 6 it started looking funky, so we "shocked"it once again. CYA is up to 99.3. But minimum FC to keep algae at bay is 8, and we're still holding things to 3, because prominent national chain's preprinted sheet shows that as ideal. So algae got a toehold and the pool has a bit of a tint. So we throw two whole bags of dichlor in which jacks it another 7.6 by the time week 7 is over, we're at 116.4, because we had pucks in the floater the whole time.

So...in 7 weeks, from 30 to 116.4. Let's say there are no more algae outbreaks because they sold me a huge bucket of phos-free and another of yellow-out monopersulfate "shock" Nothing but the pucks and the extra 4 oz of dichlor "shock" weekly. So the next 7 weeks added 66.5, which brings the total to 182.9 CYA.

Now if we didn't understand this and things looked a bit hazy, we might throw an extra puck or two in the floater every couple weeks, which will drive it over 200 easily.​
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#16
Virtually no member tests everyday once they learn their pool like Richard is saying, so to me that is another advantage. If you slack on testing and then have problems, that isn't what we are teaching. I test Chlorine more than many, but sometimes just twice a week. If you know about what it will be by the time you test, and still be ok no matter what has happened in your pool recently, you will never have a problem. It takes a while to reach that place with some practice, but it's a really nice place to be.
 
#17
Just piling on here, but the satisfaction of 'knowing your pool' and its chemistry is the main attraction. At this point, I only run the full battery of tests weekly and I know how much liquid chlorine it takes to get through a week.

Side note - I happened to go into a Leslie's store at lunch today to pick up something up, and when the clerk actually told someone "yep, the reason your pool is cloudy is because of this high alkalinity," I had to get out of there. I bought what I needed on amazon instead. ;-)
 

FLPoolDIY

Well-known member
Aug 29, 2016
102
Land O Lakes, FL
#18
I can attest to the TFP method. I never owned a pool until 14 months ago when I bought my home. The previous owner use a pool guy and when I took my first sample to the pool store all my levels were off according to the pool store method $175 later I was putting all kinds of stuff in my pool. I would go back to the pool store every week to test my water, some weeks nothing was needed and some weeks they would have a list of things I needed to add. They always pushed the all in one algae chemical 4 oz per week.

I had a few spots of algae on my walls that would not go away. I spoke with the people at the pool store about it and I was walking out the door with $150 of shock and a few other items. I used everything as directed and the algae was gone for three weeks. Back to the pool store to let them know the algae returned and out the door with another $150 of chemicals. They had me put a phosphate remover in the pool and said I wouldn't need to add that for quite sometime. My next visit to the store a different gentleman tested my water and he recommended the phosphate remover. I told him a few weeks ago that the other guy said I wouldn't need it for quite sometime. I was fed up with dumping $ and getting a different recommendation every time I went into the store.
I stumbled upon TFP website when looking for solutions to the algae. I order my test kit and never turned back.
In the past 8 months of following the TFP method all I've purchased was 2 gallons of MA since I have a SWG. Testing takes maybe 5 min a day and on the full panel of test I spend maybe 15 minutes.
I think you would be surprised on how much time you will actually save and how clean the water is. I feel my water is safer for the kids with this method vs all the other stuff the pool store recommends to add.

As others have stated a SWG would also reduce you time of maintaining the pool.

Sorry for the long post just wanted to give my prospective and experience I had dealing with the pool store.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,333
Sebring, Florida
#19
So hopefully nobody takes this the wrong way.
largesock,

Welcome to the forum:wave:

I don't think anybody did take it the wrong way but you did get to see the eagerness with which folks defend the TFP teachings. This has turned into a GREAT thread and if there is a better testimonial than our users, I can't imagine what it would be.

I like the underlying theme in these posts - knowledge. TFP gives you the knowledge to manage your pool safely and beautifully.
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
#20
I can attest to the TFP method. I never owned a pool until 14 months ago when I bought my home. The previous owner use a pool guy and when I took my first sample to the pool store all my levels were off according to the pool store method $175 later I was putting all kinds of stuff in my pool. I would go back to the pool store every week to test my water, some weeks nothing was needed and some weeks they would have a list of things I needed to add. They always pushed the all in one algae chemical 4 oz per week.

I had a few spots of algae on my walls that would not go away. I spoke with the people at the pool store about it and I was walking out the door with $150 of shock and a few other items. I used everything as directed and the algae was gone for three weeks. Back to the pool store to let them know the algae returned and out the door with another $150 of chemicals. They had me put a phosphate remover in the pool and said I wouldn't need to add that for quite sometime. My next visit to the store a different gentleman tested my water and he recommended the phosphate remover. I told him a few weeks ago that the other guy said I wouldn't need it for quite sometime. I was fed up with dumping $ and getting a different recommendation every time I went into the store.
I stumbled upon TFP website when looking for solutions to the algae. I order my test kit and never turned back.
In the past 8 months of following the TFP method all I've purchased was 2 gallons of MA since I have a SWG. Testing takes maybe 5 min a day and on the full panel of test I spend maybe 15 minutes.
I think you would be surprised on how much time you will actually save and how clean the water is. I feel my water is safer for the kids with this method vs all the other stuff the pool store recommends to add.

As others have stated a SWG would also reduce you time of maintaining the pool.

Sorry for the long post just wanted to give my prospective and experience I had dealing with the pool store.
^^^
This is the main reason I stay here and help people. On the forum, nothing pleases me more than seeing someone learn to take control of their pool with some solid basic information. Often, people go from hating, to loving pool care and enjoying their pool, and to me those are unquestionably the best ones.