Pucks in the skimmer

BostonSkimmer

Well-known member
May 26, 2012
49
Hi Everyone,

The container of jumbo chlorine puck I have says in no uncertain terms: do not put in slimmer as it may damage equipment.

The previous owner of 17 years, however, put them in the slimmer. The guy who opened my pool also put them in the skimmer. And the the one time we had it cleaned -- right in the skimmer.

What are the feelings of the community? How big of a problem is this and what's the potential damage?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
kenmar said:
If you run your pump 24/7 it will not be a problem.
I would say fewer problems that are more minor ... like basket deterioration.

Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone :)
 

linen

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 30, 2010
8,649
Twin Cities, MN
First, I have to ask, why do you want to use pucks? I think I saw your latest cya result is 50 ppm, right where we recommend. I wouldn't add anymore using pucks.

We do not recommend putting pucks in the skimmer. The advantage of this advice is that you can stop your pump if you need too for maintenance reasons, cost savings, etc without worry of a bolus of high chlorine water with a very low ph going thru your equipment. If you are going to use pucks, put them in a inline chlorinator or a floater. For vinyl pools make sure the floater can not park itself next to the liner in order to prevent damage. Also, as I hope you know, keep a close eye on your cya concentration when using trichlor pucks, otherwise a drain/refill will be in your future.
 

BostonSkimmer

Well-known member
May 26, 2012
49
linen said:
First, I have to ask, why do you want to use pucks? I think I saw your latest cya result is 50 ppm, right where we recommend. I wouldn't add anymore using pucks.

We do not recommend putting pucks in the skimmer. The advantage of this advice is that you can stop your pump if you need too for maintenance reasons, cost savings, etc without worry of a bolus of high chlorine water with a very low ph going thru your equipment. If you are going to use pucks, put them in a inline chlorinator or a floater. For vinyl pools make sure the floater can not park itself next to the liner in order to prevent damage. Also, as I hope you know, keep a close eye on your cya concentration when using trichlor pucks, otherwise a drain/refill will be in your future.
Hi Linen,

Thanks for your advice. The story here is that we just moved in last year post-pool season and we're still following the previous owners regiment (which was the Trichlor) and using up hundreds of dollars worth of all of their stuff from last July. Until I can prove that I can maintain the pool using the way both the owner and the pool company have been, I don't think I'll get the "buy-in" required at home to take the BBB approach, even if I'm confident it's a better solution.

I have had a few success stories, however - I've stopped using the pool store for testing (yeah TF-100), I've stopped caring about Phosphates since apparently they don't matter anyway, and I'm not wasting money using the pool guy to come do water testing & treatment, which was almost our plan before TFP. And now with this thread, I'll also stop with the pucks in the skimmer and use the Chlorinator only (don't know why everyone wants to use both).

I read a neat thread not too long ago where the poster said that BBB isn't about using specific chemicals, it's just about knowing what the chemistry of your pool is and what the things your adding to it are going to do. I liked that statement and I think it'll be my mantra for the better part of my first summer. Right now I'm doing daily testing of FC, CC, CYA, and pH - if CYA starts to spike (which it hasn't to date using the Trichlor), I'll know that I need to back off.

Thanks again.
 

yossarian

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2011
73
Ridgefield, CT
BostonSkimmer said:
linen said:
First, I have to ask, why do you want to use pucks? I think I saw your latest cya result is 50 ppm, right where we recommend. I wouldn't add anymore using pucks.

We do not recommend putting pucks in the skimmer. The advantage of this advice is that you can stop your pump if you need too for maintenance reasons, cost savings, etc without worry of a bolus of high chlorine water with a very low ph going thru your equipment. If you are going to use pucks, put them in a inline chlorinator or a floater. For vinyl pools make sure the floater can not park itself next to the liner in order to prevent damage. Also, as I hope you know, keep a close eye on your cya concentration when using trichlor pucks, otherwise a drain/refill will be in your future.
Hi Linen,

Thanks for your advice. The story here is that we just moved in last year post-pool season and we're still following the previous owners regiment (which was the Trichlor) and using up hundreds of dollars worth of all of their stuff from last July. Until I can prove that I can maintain the pool using the way both the owner and the pool company have been, I don't think I'll get the "buy-in" required at home to take the BBB approach, even if I'm confident it's a better solution.

I have had a few success stories, however - I've stopped using the pool store for testing (yeah TF-100), I've stopped caring about Phosphates since apparently they don't matter anyway, and I'm not wasting money using the pool guy to come do water testing & treatment, which was almost our plan before TFP. And now with this thread, I'll also stop with the pucks in the skimmer and use the Chlorinator only (don't know why everyone wants to use both).

I read a neat thread not too long ago where the poster said that BBB isn't about using specific chemicals, it's just about knowing what the chemistry of your pool is and what the things your adding to it are going to do. I liked that statement and I think it'll be my mantra for the better part of my first summer. Right now I'm doing daily testing of FC, CC, CYA, and pH - if CYA starts to spike (which it hasn't to date using the Trichlor), I'll know that I need to back off.

Thanks again.

I am sitting on a giant tub of tri-chlor that I purchased last year before I started using liquid chlorine/bleach. You will see the CYA rise over time, although it will be mitigated by splash out and evaporation, but it will rise nevertheless. I still use my tri-chlor for vacations and will use it here and there, but I purposely keep my CYA low in the beginning of the season to allow myself that luxury.

As for "buy in," my wife was incredibly pessimistic. And she really doubted that Chlorox was safe. Showing her the list of active ingredients as compared with liquid chlorine did not do much to convince her. What helped convince her was that the pool was clean and no one complained about stinging eyes (compared with my mother's pool which has a tri-chlor feeder and so much CYA I cannot even think about it). Also, she saw that once I got everything going, which admittedly took a long time, the general maintenance was quite low. I tested chlorine and pH daily. I checked CYA once in a while to make sure I was not drifting too low or too high after using tri-chlor. But I pretty much added nothing but Chlorox from July through September, except for the tri-chlor I used on vacation. Maintaining pH was incredibly easy with Chlorox. I shocked a few times over the summer, but that was before and after vacation. It was certainly not a weekly process. Right now I am spending an incredible amount of time trying to get the pool ready. But the payoff will be steady, relatively low maintenance once it is in balance.
 

Thinkly

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2009
319
Overland Park, KS
I made the following post in another thread awhile back. I used to be one of the biggest skeptics on this forum until the use of trichlor and dichlor finally caught up with me. Thinking you are being financially prudent to not waste a big bucket of pucks is not necessarily the case. My pool started to eat my pool equipment and once that happens you are looking at thousands of dollars in expense. On top of that you will absolutely have to drain your pool at some point in the future if you keep using pucks. Could be this year or five years from now, but it will happen if you don't drain your pool in between times. That is a huge cost right there. Good luck.


You sound a lot like I did for the last couple years on this board. I followed the forum and used parts of the BBB method to save money, i.e. buying baking soda instead of pool store alk increaser, but I continued to use chlorinated pucks in the form of trichlor and I was shocking with dichlor.

My reasoning? Why not? Everyone else seems to get by with it? And I did to for several years. I also had sparkling clear water and continued to laugh at the notion of the BBB method. After my third season (last year) owning my pool things started to go very badly.

My pool water would not clear up so my solution was to just keep shocking and adding more trichlor. This drove my pH down way below 6.8 and I couldn't get it to stay up because I was continually adding pH decreaser in the form of the dichlor and trichlor.

So why did it work so well for so long and then it quit? I finally reached PEAK CYA, the point of no return. My CYA level finally got high enough that I could no longer add enough chlorine to dissinfect. The attempts at chlorination were driving my pH so low that it started to rust parts in my DE filter. My water started to turn orange/yellow and my walls started to stain.

So long story short, most people can get by with using pucks. My father in law maintains his 88,000 gallon pool with pucks and has for 50 years. He gets by great. He also drains the water every year and has to refill often because it is an old concrete pool that loses quite a lot of water.

My answer is that you don't have to follow the BBB method, but if you never COMPLETELY drain your pool you will reach PEAK CYA someday and things will go bad quickly. It could be this year, it could be five years from now. After 6 seasons without draining (counting previous owner) my CYA levels were so high that it took about 3 days of draining/refilling simultaneously to finally flush it down to 0.

My chlorinator is now in the OFF position and my chorlinated pucks are now hidden in the garage. It's only bottles of bleach and wine for me from here on out.
 

applgrl

Well-known member
May 22, 2011
49
I use pucks in the skimmer, but with the following conditions:

1) We completely drain our gunite pool every spring, several weeks before we want to use it.
2) After filling, the solar blankie goes on and stays on while the pool warms; I keep 2 pucks in each basket. I monitor the chlorine every day and use liquid chlorine or cal-hypo to top up FC if necessary.
3) In my pool, each puck raises the CYA about 1 ppm, so when I've used about 50 pucks, I stop for the rest of the summer and switch to liquid chlorine or cal-hypo.

Although this approach is not according to Hoyle, it works for me. Mostly I do it this way so that I don't have to buy CYA, and I have the convenience of pucks in the early season when we rarely use the pool.

We have never had any damage to equipment, but it's an older pool. My first pump (brass, very quiet) lasted about 35 of the last 43 years. The skimmer baskets started to break down about 2 summers ago, and I suspect the replacements won't last anywhere near that long; pucks or no. Filter is still going strong, fingers crossed.

Lastly, I did manage to get by fairly well in the days before TFP with pucks, baking soda, and calcium. But ALMOST ALWAYS, when the beautiful hot days of August arrived, I would begin to battle cloudy water and algae blooms as the CYA rose steadily and I had to increase the amount and frequency of shock that was necessary to keep things clear. (I never understood why until I had access to "The Deep End" on this site.) It cost me about 50% more than it does now to continue using pucks until end of the season., usually while I had guests swimming at pretty high FC levels. Not to mention how much quicker our swim suits would disintegrate! Pucks are great, but they have their limitations.
 

Soupy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 23, 2011
156
Maryland
BostonSkimmer said:
if CYA starts to spike (which it hasn't to date using the Trichlor), I'll know that I need to back off
There is no IF. Trichlor and dichlor contain CYA. You are much better off stopping using pucks now, at 50 PPM, than to wait until you overdo it and hit 80 PPM. Your CYA will go up if you use pucks, period, so why knowingly raise your CYA to problem levels?
 

dssxxxx

Well-known member
Jul 27, 2009
84
OK..........I know I will get some grief, but.........

I am a lazy person.

I dump pucks in the pool about every 2 weeks. I take the water to the pool store whenever it gets cloudy (about 2 times a year). I had the house built in 1984 and the pool in 1985. I have replaced the filler (DE) twice and the heater (425 BTU) twice. The 2.5 HP pump 3 times. I throw the Aquabot in the pool once or twice a week and clean the skimmer twice a week. I backwash when the pressure rises above 20. Usually stays at 10. Open the pool 2 weeks before Memorial Day and close 2 weeks after Labor Day. 2 golden retrievers swim either both Sat/Sun or just one day.

Now in FL. Have a service. Have no idea of what they do or what chemicals they use. We go down 6-7 times a year for 5-10 days each.

The NJ pool is great with a little help and money and the FL pool is always great with just some $$$$.

The BBB way means you can spend time and effort to keep your pool great. I do not have the time or energy.

Just MHO.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
dssxxxx said:
The BBB way means you can spend time and effort to keep your pool great.
I would counter with the BBB way means you can spend time and effort to keep your pool great while saving yourself some $$$.

Sounds like the $$$ part is not a concern to you. Enjoy.
 

march2012

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2012
382
BostonSkimmer said:
linen said:
First, I have to ask, why do you want to use pucks? I think I saw your latest cya result is 50 ppm, right where we recommend. I wouldn't add anymore using pucks.

We do not recommend putting pucks in the skimmer. The advantage of this advice is that you can stop your pump if you need too for maintenance reasons, cost savings, etc without worry of a bolus of high chlorine water with a very low ph going thru your equipment. If you are going to use pucks, put them in a inline chlorinator or a floater. For vinyl pools make sure the floater can not park itself next to the liner in order to prevent damage. Also, as I hope you know, keep a close eye on your cya concentration when using trichlor pucks, otherwise a drain/refill will be in your future.
Hi Linen,

Thanks for your advice. The story here is that we just moved in last year post-pool season and we're still following the previous owners regiment (which was the Trichlor) and using up hundreds of dollars worth of all of their stuff from last July. Until I can prove that I can maintain the pool using the way both the owner and the pool company have been, I don't think I'll get the "buy-in" required at home to take the BBB approach, even if I'm confident it's a better solution.

I have had a few success stories, however - I've stopped using the pool store for testing (yeah TF-100), I've stopped caring about Phosphates since apparently they don't matter anyway, and I'm not wasting money using the pool guy to come do water testing & treatment, which was almost our plan before TFP. And now with this thread, I'll also stop with the pucks in the skimmer and use the Chlorinator only (don't know why everyone wants to use both).

I read a neat thread not too long ago where the poster said that BBB isn't about using specific chemicals, it's just about knowing what the chemistry of your pool is and what the things your adding to it are going to do. I liked that statement and I think it'll be my mantra for the better part of my first summer. Right now I'm doing daily testing of FC, CC, CYA, and pH - if CYA starts to spike (which it hasn't to date using the Trichlor), I'll know that I need to back off.

Thanks again.

I wouldnt bother to test CYA daily. You should be able to calculate how much CYA you are adding by how many pucks you are using. Then you can confirm in maybe once a week. I would save pucks for when you go on vacation and just use bleach now.