Difficulty finding bleach, what should I do? Many TFP users this year are having major difficulties finding quality sources of bleach due to the outbreak of the virus. We’d like to share a few tips for users who are struggling as their normal sources of chlorine are either limiting quantities or have no chlorine at all.
Additional Sources of Chlorine
By far the best way to sanitize your pool is to use chlorine. While using bleach has proven itself over the years as a VERY effective method of sanitizing your pool, it’s not the only way. Let’s look at a few options to continue to use chlorine in your pool.
I know many of you are now saying to yourself the author of this article is an idiot. I’m struggling to find bleach, why would they suggest using liquid chlorine? Aren’t they the same? Many users don't know that liquid chlorine and bleach are the same, so we wanted to make sure this clarified. While your normal source of bleach maybe giving you difficulty, thinking outside of the box may help you out.
Liquid chlorine is commonly sold as Pool Shock and is the same thing as bleach, only stronger. Check in the pool section of the box store as you may luck out. While major chain box stores may not help you may find luck at other stores that utilize bleach.
Farming stores commonly stock liquid chlorine at a reasonable price if you can find one in your area. Companies that specialize in sanitation or pressure washing maybe willing to order and sell 5 gallon carboys that often work out to be cheaper than household bleach. The main drawback here however is handling 5 gallons at a time can be difficult. As a tip, purchasing a hand pump or carboy spigot can help make handling the carboy easier.
Lastly there’s a huge chance Pool Stores will have liquid chlorine in stock, depending how the virus turns out. There’s a chance this will be the most expensive option, but it’s an option.
TFP has setup a Liquid Chlorine Map that may assist you in finding a source you didn’t know was in your area. If you happen to stumble across a good source, please do share.
Calcium Hypochlorite has a major drawback for users who find themselves with high calcium in their water. If however a user has low calcium level you maybe able to utilize Cal-Hypo. You will want to closely monitor their calcium level, and there’s a possibility this will be pricey, but you’ll be able to enjoy your pool. Calcium Hypochlorite is commonly sold in either granular form or as "pucks." Users who chose to utilize pucks should be VERY mindful not to mix Cal-Hypo with Trichlor as the chemical reaction between the two can cause a fire.
In addition to closely monitoring their calcium level a user should keep a very close eye on their pH. In addition to increasing calcium level a major issue with Cal-Hypo is that it can cause cloudy water upon addition. If you utilize Cal-Hypo please keep in mind you’ll want to add the chemical well before any major swim parties to give the cloudy water time to go away.
Salt Water Generator
Let’s face it, Salt Water Generators (SWG) are the way of the future for pool owners. SWG’s will create chlorine right in your pool and you’ll avoid having to lug gallon after gallon of liquid chlorine. This will be a rather large purchase, but once it’s bought this year it’ll last for years to come. Once installed, the user will simply make sure the salt level is within range and the SWG will produce chlorine right at your pool. This has no side effects and is very easy after it's setup.
For info on which SWG to purchase please read more in this article.
Advanced Methods to reduce Chlorine Loss
The methods above are ways users can continue to utilize chlorine in their pool and one of the three will need to be followed. The tips below however are ways TFP has learned to reduce the amount of chlorine a user will need on a day to day basis. There will likely be an increase cost with each of these methods and some of these methods will be difficult for the new pool owner to understand, but we feel it’s best to share with our users our knowledge.
Chlorine is consumed by two things, organics and the sun. By covering the pool when not in use you are reducing the amount of sun that’s hitting the water thus reducing the amount of chlorine lost. Be sure to remove the cover every now and then to allow combined chloramines to dissipate, but the more you can leave the pool covered the less chlorine you’ll use. In addition to reducing chlorine loss you'll also see a decrease in evaporation and heat loss overnight.
Increased CYA level
Users may have success reducing chlorine loss by maintaining an increased cya level. By increasing your CYA level to the upper end of the Recommended Levels Chart users will likely see less loss day to day as the sun beats the water. You won’t want to do this if you’re facing a green pool, but users who have clear water can greatly benefit.
In general TFP looks at Phosphate removers as an additional cost that users can avoid using. Users may find some luck however maintaining their Free Chlorine level at the minimum range of the FC/CYA ratio and rely on less loss due to the sunlight. Because chlorine loss to the sun is a percentage, a user who maintains a low FC level will see less chlorine loss verses a user who maintains a high FC level. Using a phosphate remover can help give you some additional insurance when managing a low Free chlorine level against algae. For more info, please read the article on phosphate removers.