Storage of All Pool Chemicals

HermanTX

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There is a lot of different threads on chemical storage so I compiled the "preferred" methods and seek clarification on some. Please comment on your storage and best practice.

Muriatic Acid (MA) - everyone agrees it is corrosive and should be stored separately and preferably outside in a plastic storage box - it has a relatively long shelf life regardless of temperature. Keep away from metal and store by itself.

Borax or Baking Soda - keep dry, moisture free environment - mainly inside such as utility or laundry room on a shelf or in basement - good shelf life

Dry Chlorine (i.e. pucks or granular) also known as Dichlor, Trichlor or Calcium hypochlorite (cal hypo) - Keep in its storage container from store - store in dry area - can be stored in garage or basement but best if outside as some chlorine vapor can be corrosive - good shelf life due to the CYA included (in dichlor and trichlor only)

Liquid Chlorine (in gallon plastic bottles) - known as Sodium Hypochlorite (or bleach) - comes in varying percentage of sodium hypochlorite denoted on the bottle. - Keep in cool place - many store in utility or laundry room if not in high quantities (due to space). Can also be stored outside in garage or in separate container or storage shed. Liquid Chlorine (% sodium hypochlorite) will deteriorate over time due to heat and does not have long shelf life. Liquid Chlorine should NOT be stored with MA (in same storage shed) .

Questions
1) Can Dry Chlorine and Liquid Chlorine be stored in the same outside storage container or shed? If not, what is the concern since both would give off Chlorine gas?
2) Can MA be stored with dry chlorine in the same outside storage container or shed? Maybe on separate shelfs or 2-3 apart from each other. I read some do this but not sure that is ideal.

Feel free to post other questions for experts to clarify.
 
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YippeeSkippy

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No.... MA caps are vented hence gas can escape from them and cause problems and the rusting of metal nearby. Best far apart or outside. One poster dug a hole and put a huge clay planter down in the hole and stores his MA there. The bottom dish he uses as a lid.

No chemical should be moved to another bottle or storage container other than the one it was purchased in.

Maddie
 
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JoyfulNoise

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NO!! Trichlor and dichlor should NEVER be stored with liquid chlorine. If there was ever a spill or mixing of the two, explosive reactions can occur.

Calcium hypochlorite, especially the highly concentrated 70% available chlorine type, can emit very strong chlorine vapors that can react with organic materials and cause fires. It should be stored only in a cool, dry, well-ventilated space. It should not be stored with any liquid chlorine or muriatic acid.
 

DanF

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I would add that Trichlor tabs shouldn't be stored near stainless steel. Can't post a pic right now, but I stored a bucket of them in the base of an outdoor table. This space is closed off with stainless steel doors. The doors are now rusted.
 
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Dirk

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And I would add some safety concerns. (Of course!) All of these chemicals pose some amount of hazard to humans, adults and kids alike. Muriatic Acid is especially dangerous. It might only sting on your hands, but it can cause severe damage to soft tissues (like lungs and eyes).

- Use appropriate caution when handling and storing these chemicals, for yourself, your family and your pool!

- Wear protective gear as needed (I'll sometimes don glasses and gloves if my MA session is more than a few seconds long. But always at least glasses of some sort. Not worth risking the only two eyes I got!)

- Some of these chemicals look way too much like lemonade, or sugar. (My paranoia about this is not unfounded, after hearing about my middle g-one drinking household cleaners from under his mom's sink!) They need to be well secured from children.

- They can permanently stain your pool and deck surfaces. Carry jugs across your deck in a bucket to avoid drips and spills from staining your deck.

- If for some reason you're diluting a chemical, pour it into water, not water into it. There are a couple of theories about why that is so, but either or both of them are true. One is about the heat water-into-chemicals can produce. The other is about which can splash back up at you. Murphy's Law (section IV, paragraph 10.1) clearly states: If a drop of dangerous solution is caused to escape vertically from its container, that drop shall be directed to and land squarely in the closest eyeball! (Check it for yourself, it's there!) I still remember from eighth-grade chemistry: "Acid inta wahtah, 'cause that's the way ya autah!"

- They can definitely leave little white spots on all your clothes (I'm running out of pants and tee shirts I can wear in public!). Don't walk around your pool dribbling chlorine or acid from a jug to dispense it like that.

The over-arching theme here: TFP promotes the idea that you can use readily available "household chemicals" in your pool instead of expensive pool store brands which are composed of the same thing. Which is true. And save a bunch of money in the process. But that doesn't mean these chemicals should be left around or handled like you would some 409 or Windex...
 
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Dirk

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Here's what I use to store outside. MA on right, LC on left in winter. MA on right, LC in garage in summer. Misc garden and pool hardware in center. All plastic, even the hinges. Hidden from pool and kids behind bushes.

deck boxes.jpg

When children are in the pool, I lock 'em up like this, only the pad lock is metal.

IMG_3613.jpg
 

Dirk

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I only use four chemicals. The storage of two described above. Pool salt is only purchased when needed and any extra goes into the water softener. But I just realized (from this great thread), that my leftover bag of CYA granules (opened, but sealed) is in the same box with my chlorine jugs. That can't be right. @HermanTX, we need a paragraph on what to do with liquid and solid CYA, and what it can and cannot be stored with.
 

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JoyfulNoise

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The CYA is fairly inert. It’s ok to store in the same storage bin as liquid chlorine OR you can store it where you keep solid chlorine products.

Seriously though, you all are way over-thinking most of this....
 

JoyfulNoise

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And please, don’t use a chemical respirator for simple pool chemical additions, they are unnecessary at best and harmful at worst.
 

Dirk

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And please, don’t use a chemical respirator for simple pool chemical additions, they are unnecessary at best and harmful at worst.
I would like to know more about this. When I add MA to my pool, no mask, just glasses. But when I add a couple gallons to my IntellipH, I have to breath as it's several minutes. I don't feel anything in my lungs when I use my mask, and would choke on it otherwise. Holding my breath would be worse, risking dizziness or worse. This is what I'm using, which I thought was what it was designed for:

 

JoyfulNoise

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I would like to know more about this. When I add MA to my pool, no mask, just glasses. But when I add a couple gallons to my IntellipH, I have to breath as it's several minutes. I don't feel anything in my lungs when I use my mask, and would choke on it otherwise. Holding my breath would be worse, risking dizziness or worse. This is what I'm using, which I thought was what it was designed for:


There's a lot to unpack here but let me start off saying that I worked for over a decade in an industrial manufacturing facility that dealt with some of the most benign and most deadly chemicals know to man. Every year of that part of my life was spent sitting through hours of OSHA-approved industrial hygiene and chemical safety classes (annual classes with site specific and chemical specific training). You are free to accept this advice or to ignore it.

First of all, transferring concentrated acid from gallon containers into a larger vessel by simply pouring it in is a bad idea in general. If you have to put out more than a few cups or so of concentrated MA, you should be using a transfer pump. It is not only safer from the perspective of spills and fluid losses, it avoids the dispersal of fumes. There are very simple, all plastic, hand operated transfer pumps that are cheap and easy to use. I suggest you look into that.

Second, it also sounds like the ventilation in the area where you have the acid container is poor and you should look for ways to improve it so that acid vapors are dispersed more readily. Using a small fan to help move the air AWAY FROM the transfer point could be beneficial (small fan, key word is small...you don't need a cyclone blower).

Third, if you do have to be in an area where vapors may pool and you have to be there for an extended period of time, then a half face respirator is absolutely the WRONG PPE to use. You should be using a FULL FACE RESPIRATOR and, if you are doing it correctly, you should be properly fitted for it so that there are no air leaks between your face and the respirator.

Why??

Because your choke reflex is important. Your choke reflex is what protects your sensitive mucous membranes and soft tissue (eg, the cornea of your eyes) from dangerous chemicals. When you wear a half face respirator, you are eliminating the fumes of the MA from reaching your nose and so your body has no idea that the rest of it is submerged into an atmosphere of potentially harmful vapors. You have eliminated the one mechanism that your body uses to protect you - your sense of smell. One positive aspect of muriatic acid is that it has a very low odor threshold - that is, the concentration at which your nose can detect the vapors is far, far lower than the concentration at which those vapors will cause any kind of damage. So, you either wear a full face respirator to protect your nose, lungs and eyes, or simply wear safety glasses and use a transfer pump and fan to limit the vapor exposure. A half-faced respirator is the worst of all things you can do.

And now you will ask - do you just make this stuff up???

Nope. TFP had a post three or four years ago from a pool owner that did exactly what you are doing - he would get decked out in a rubber apron, thick rubber gloves, a half face respirator with an acid cartridge and safety glasses whenever he would add acid to the pool. One time, the wind was going the wrong way and, while he was fidding with measuring acid volumes and pouring slowly, the acid vapors got into his eyes. He then had a fun trip to the eye doctor to get medicines for corneal chemical burns....if he had not had the respirator on, his body would have instantly told him something was wrong and his natural choke reflex would have caused his eyes to shut and his head to turn away. But, because he took that signal out of the equation, his eyes suffered for it. Thankfully the damage to his eyes was reported as minimal and only needing a course of antibiotic eye drops for a week or so to keep them safe while his body recovered from the corneal damage....it could have been a a lot worse.

Moral of the story - using the WRONG PPE's can be just as bad or worse than using no PPE's at all...
 

Dirk

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Thank you so much for that explanation. It makes perfect sense to me. And I will rethink my MO, for sure (and stop posting about my mask). And by the way, you never have to quantify your expertise to me, I recognize it in these matters, and respect what you share with us. And you know me well enough by now to know that if you say "Stop doing something that makes sense to you." that I'm gonna have to ask why! ;)
 

JoyfulNoise

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Something like the transfer pump below would be useful. These types of hand pumps will keep flowing once you start them and so you can empty an entire gallon of MA into the acid tank reservoir with just a few pumps to get it primed. Then you can stand back and away from any fumes.

 

Dirk

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The IntellipH has a pretty good system, I just have to get quicker at it. The lid comes off and exposes a well that is big enough to enclose an entire gallon jug. At the bottom of the well is a spike. I insert the jug up-side-down with the seal in place. The spike pierces the jug's seal at the last moment and I can walk away while it glugs. No splashing escapes. Minimal fumes. Times two gallons. The problem is the IpH is not in a great place. It's in a corner and behind my heater, so the process is slightly awkward. And it gets more complicated because I dilute the acid with water, and that's when I have to spend too much time around it. I think I can solve for that by switching from 31% to 14% MA. I like the small fan idea, that might be all I need. I have the pad's GFI plug right there, and the flat top of the heater to set it on. I have the perfect fan for that, too (and it's mostly plastic, to boot)! Thanks again, Matt.
 

JoyfulNoise

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What happens if CYA mixes with Cal-Hypo, does the same reaction occur as when Trichlor (which is basically chlorinated CYA) and Cal-Hypo mix?

That would not be a good idea. Cal hypo emits chlorine fumes and is a strong oxidizer. CYA is an organic compound. It would likely cause a fire if you mixed the two.

What I meant by CYA being “fairly inert” is that it is not really harmful if you got the powder on you or your skin. While it is called an “acid” it’s not as corrosive as that term implies.
 

mgtfp

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Thanks for the confirmation, Matt. I did see videos showing Trichlor/Cal-Hypo explosions - very impressive. I always thought the same might occur with CYA and Cal-Hypo, but couldn't find any explicit mentions of that. It's probably less likely to happen as mixing to bags of "shock", but certainly a good idea to keep these two chemicals away from each other so they can't accidentally mix by flooding or spillage.
 

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