Why does liquid floc work sometimes and others it doesn't?

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
Friends,

Being a pool pro, nothing is more frustrating then going through the steps of floc ing a swimming pool and it doesn't work. I get the chemicals where they should be. Set the timer on the pump. And nothing. I see the "floc" clumping the stuff together, but a day later or two days later, some of the stuff is on the bottom of the pool, but its not crystal clear.

Then other times, you floc it and the next day. WOW, FIJI water if you know what I mean. Can anyone explain why it works sometimes and why it doesn't others? I'd like to have at least 90% success rate!

Thanks!

Luke Pools
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,879
Silver Spring, MD
The obvious case would be live algae in the pool. Floc can't take care of live algae. All of the algae needs to be dead before you try to use floc. There are some other situations where floc might not work completely the first time, but they are far less common. The most common of the uncommon cases is probably not using enough floc.

By and large I discourage the use of floc. One of our general principals of pool care is to never use a product that isn't necessary. Using products that aren't required means more money, more effort, and the risk of negative side effects. The point of floc is to clear the water more quickly. If everything is working correctly and the floc would have worked, then the pool will clear without floc, just more slowly. By and large floc doesn't have any significant negative side effects, but it does take time and money and can sometimes distract you from finding and fixing the actual problem.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
I have tried to clear up this pool for three week with only one skimmer and no main drain. I know its probably the cheap hayward sand filter that is making the water not clear. But in these times, you can't tell someone they need a new filter. Floc is my favorite to use cause its simple, when it does work.

Luke
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,068
Sebring, Florida
If you would post a set of test results, including combined chloramines, it would help us get an idea of what's in the water your dealing with.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
Another tip is that you can add a small amount of DE to a sand filter by adding it slowly to the skimmer (about a cup or so to get a 1-2 PSI rise). That will make the sand filter more efficient. Of course, if you've got a pool with no floor drain(s) and only one skimmer, then the circulation is poor so filtration is very slow. So I can see where a floc can be useful in that case. If you do use a floc, OMNI Liquid Floc Plus has had good results from those who have used it, though I'm sure there are other brands that are also good. It's just that using a floc is an exception.
 

spishex

TFP Expert
Oct 12, 2008
1,375
Hillsborough, NC
lukepools said:
I have tried to clear up this pool for three week with only one skimmer and no main drain. I know its probably the cheap hayward sand filter that is making the water not clear. But in these times, you can't tell someone they need a new filter. Floc is my favorite to use cause its simple, when it does work.

Luke
If you haven't already, take a minute to check the returns in that pool. With no main drain the pool is completely dependent on proper orientation of the returns to circulate and filter the water.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
chem geek said:
Another tip is that you can add a small amount of DE to a sand filter by adding it slowly to the skimmer (about a cup or so to get a 1-2 PSI rise). That will make the sand filter more efficient. Of course, if you've got a pool with no floor drain(s) and only one skimmer, then the circulation is poor so filtration is very slow. So I can see where a floc can be useful in that case. If you do use a floc, OMNI Liquid Floc Plus has had good results from those who have used it, though I'm sure there are other brands that are also good. It's just that using a floc is an exception.

You can't buy OMNI anymore. They only sale direct to dealers. Leslie's had the best floc I ever used.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
duraleigh said:
If you would post a set of test results, including combined chloramines, it would help us get an idea of what's in the water your dealing with.
Will take a water sample next time I m out there. I don't know what you mean by combined chloramines. My test kit doesn't test for that. It tests for combined chlorine, but chloramines, no.

Luke Pools
 
G

Guest

For our purposes combined chlorine, combined chloramines, chloramides, chloramines--bascially different words for the same thing, chlorine that has combined with an organic, often ammonia.
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
lukepools said:
You can't buy OMNI anymore. They only sale direct to dealers. Leslie's had the best floc I ever used.
I didn't know that. I see the OMNI floc here and OMNI has a dealer locator on their website here. Anyway, good to know that the Leslie's product works well -- is it the "Alum" shown here?
 
G

Guest

My question is if you are in the service business why are you buying from leslies and not directly from a distrubutor like Superior, SCP, or Horner Express?
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
chem geek said:
lukepools said:
You can't buy OMNI anymore. They only sale direct to dealers. Leslie's had the best floc I ever used.
I didn't know that. I see the OMNI floc here and OMNI has a dealer locator on their website here. Anyway, good to know that the Leslie's product works well -- is it the "Alum" shown here?

Being a retailer myself, I bought cases and cases of the OMNI floc. It worked for a while, but I found better cheaper stuff to sale. So I quit using it in 2006.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
waterbear said:
My question is if you are in the service business why are you buying from leslies and not directly from a distrubutor like Superior, SCP, or Horner Express?
I do buy there. I bought the leslie's brand back when I first started before I had wholesale accounts in 2001. I haven't bought there since, except on Sunday's when I needed a part and the wholesaler is closed. Sometimes Leslie's has parts in stock you'd have to order from a wholesaler.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
To answer the chemical questions:
R:0001 and R:0002 = 1.0
add R:0003 = 3.0

FC: 1.0
TC: 3.0
CC: 2.0 ??
PH: 8.0 added 1/2 gallon acid
TA: 120
CAL: 60 Vinyl liner no heater
CYA: 100

Guessing about 20k gallons. Shocked with 2lbs of lithium.
 

budster

In The Industry
Dec 19, 2008
272
Savannah Historic District
Just to clear the OMNI situation up (no pun intended), in October on 2008, Chemtura ceased all sales of OMNI, SUN, etc. to all distribution, in favor of a direct to dealer programs, and ramping up it's focus on big boxer sales. I'm with SCP. I won't go into the difficulties this bizarre action created, but all is OK now with alternative products. There are many good flocking products available through distribution.

Just a thought for the "time lapse" of flock vs. a cheaper, slower, but effective treatment: Most service professionals in my region floc because their customers will not wait for alternative treatment. Especially those that offer rental properties. That pool has to be clear asap!
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
budster said:
Just to clear the OMNI situation up (no pun intended), in October on 2008, Chemtura ceased all sales of OMNI, SUN, etc. to all distribution, in favor of a direct to dealer programs, and ramping up it's focus on big boxer sales. I'm with SCP. I won't go into the difficulties this bizarre action created, but all is OK now with alternative products. There are many good flocking products available through distribution.

Just a thought for the "time lapse" of flock vs. a cheaper, slower, but effective treatment: Most service professionals in my region floc because their customers will not wait for alternative treatment. Especially those that offer rental properties. That pool has to be clear asap!
I have yet to find a floc that works 100% of the time regardless of chemical levels. Even the Regal brand doesn't perform. If alum was still available, I am sure I would use that. But then again, you can only buy it at Leslie's. Alum is the quickest and most expensive way to clear a pool fast without draining.
 
G

Guest

lukepools said:
To answer the chemical questions:
R:0001 and R:0002 = 1.0
add R:0003 = 3.0

FC: 1.0
TC: 3.0

CC: 2.0 ??
Yes, a good indicator of algae growth, expeically with the FC so low and the CYA so high!

PH: 8.0 added 1/2 gallon acid
TA: 120
If you lower the TA you should find that the pH stays more stable
CAL: 60 Vinyl liner no heater
CYA: 100

Guessing about 20k gallons. Shocked with 2lbs of lithium.
Which raised your FC about 4 ppm! Not even close to shocking the pool! Each 4 oz of 35% lithium will raise 10k gal about 1 ppm so 16 oz in 10k gal raises FC about 4 ppm and you put twice that amount in about 20k.
No amount of floc will clear this pool. The FC is WAY too low for the CYA level and you probably have a constant nascent algae bloom. Dose the pool with some Polyquat 60 or, if that does not do the trick, copper :shock: and you should find the pool will stay clear for a bit longer until it implodes again as the CYA continues to rise. You could also add a borate product like Supreme or Optimizer or Endure to help keep the algae at bay at the higher CYA levels but once the CYA climbs over 100 ppm you arein the trouble zone if you are keeping the FC below around 8-15 ppm for normal chlorination and shock to a minimum of 25-30 ppm FC!

Floc can help quickly remove DEAD algae from the water, if that is what is clouding it, but it will do nothing to remove a growing bloom that is causing the cloudiness. Kill ALL the algae first, then floc.
 

lukepools

In The Industry
Feb 6, 2009
35
The water is 38 degrees. It won't be growing algae anytime soon. The bioguard people tell I can run up to 150 CYA without any problems. Can you run liquid in the pool with a vinyl liner? Or will I damage the liner? I am thinking I can lower the CYA level and run liquid in it.

Luke Pools
 
G

Guest

lukepools said:
The water is 38 degrees. It won't be growing algae anytime soon.
IF nothing is growing then you shouldn't need to floc!

The bioguard people tell I can run up to 150 CYA without any problems.
Hmmm, 150 ppm now? Last time I spoke to their corporate offices it was 200 ppm! They tend to say that a lot :hammer: (but then again, Chemtura is one of the largest manufacturers of trichlor around!) Did they also tell you that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy are real? :wink:

Can you run liquid in the pool with a vinyl liner? Or will I damage the liner? I am thinking I can lower the CYA level and run liquid in it.

Luke Pools
Chlorine is chlorine, once in the water it all forms hypochorous acid, hypochlorite ions, and chlorinated isocyanrates (if CYA is present). Doesn't matter if it was introduced as sodium hypochlorites, cal hypo, chlorine gas, dichlor, etc. Any kind of chlorine can be used with a vinyl liner if you do it properly! Any kind of chlorine can damage a liner if you don't!

I am going to suggest you read through the Pool School section of the forum. You should find a LOT of useful info there that might answer a lot of your questions. Read through the whole thing twice, it will be worth it!
 

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
12,083
San Rafael, CA USA
lukepools,

I don't know how to say this in a politically correct way, but the relationship between chlorine and cyanuric acid (CYA) has been known definitively for at least 34 years and higher CYA levels do make a difference in spite of what Bioguard (Chemtura) is telling you. The paper published in 1974 in this link determined the equilibrium relationship between the "active" chlorine, hypochlorous acid, and the chlorine combined with CYA (chlorinated cyanurates). Though the paper is technical, you should read the initial "Introduction" in the first 2 pages as well as the "Summary" in the last 2 pages. Additional scientific studies in the late 70's and into the 80's showed that CYA significantly reduced chlorine's effectiveness, mostly showing that hypochlorous acid was the primary disinfectant and that hypochlorite ion and the chlorinated cyanurates had little disinfecting capability. Oxidation-Reduction Potential (ORP) values also show that it is hypochlorous acid that has the primary oxidizing potential.

Ben Powell, who created The PoolForum and PoolSolutions, noticed the relationship of FC and CYA in terms of a pool's tendency to produce algae. He found that if he kept the FC level at a certain level relative to CYA, that algae growth could be prevented with chlorine alone, even in pools that were high in algae nutrients (e.g. nitrates, phosphates). He came up with a Best Guess CYA chart. We've since modified that chart taking into account the chemistry determined in 1974 as well as additional analysis of what users have reported in newer real pools, including SWG pools (and yellow/mustard algae), to produce the Chlorine / CYA Chart.

You can certainly have a pool with a high CYA level, but if you do not proportionately raise the FC level to be, in a manually dosed pool, at least 7.5% of the CYA level, then the pool may develop algae. I say "may" because algae growth also depends on other factors including nutrients, sunlight, and amount of circulation determining local chlorine levels.

As for adding chlorinating liquid or bleach to a vinyl pool, you need to be more careful, but it can absolutely be done safely. With most concentrated chemicals, the safest approach is to add them slowly over a return flow with the pump running, preferably at the deep end. After adding the chemical, lightly brush the side and bottom of the pool in the area where you poured to ensure thorough mixing, especially if there is no floor drain. Once the chlorine is mixed in the bulk pool water, it is identical regardless of its source. It's only if you dump in a chemical quickly that it can settle to the bottom or stay concentrated in one area and cause problems.

Richard