Handyman Wire

Who's Online
5 registered (Chas311, yardmaster, 3 invisible), 47 Guests and 5 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Welcome Newcomers
Unregistered users may only post in the handyman forum. If you register, you may post in any forum and use of CAPTCHA code is not required.
Advertisement
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >
Topic Options
#471685 - 08/01/08 08:07 AM Re: some "food" for thought (grocery store humor) [Re: waterbear]
malcolmd Offline
Handyman

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 736
Loc: Northern New Jersey
Oh yes, Papermill Playhouse. I am in Roseland just a shirt ride up the road.

Florida is one of my facorite states and I try to get there as often as possible, spent quite a bit of time in Merritt Island and a little town called Eau Gallie.


Edited by malcolmd (08/01/08 08:09 AM)

Top
#471686 - 08/02/08 09:59 AM Waterbear ----- a couple of of questions [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
KL_Enterprises Offline
fanatic

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 524
Loc: Modesto, CA
I appreciate your input.

My experience only spans 22 years of commercial and residential pool construction, service and repair.
Admittedly my chemical training comes from Olin, GLB, BioLab and (now) Advantis. When I wandered into my first pool store in 1984 I said to the guy I was going to work for, "I can't believe that pool chemistry is this complex. It must be companies trying to sell stuff." Well, there was a lot of fluff and fill but by 1986 I was using the four steps I described earlier with tremendous success.

1) Do you consider algae a "pest" rather than a plant?

2) Do you subscribe to the "chlorine lock" theory?


When posting here I always try to remember the readers and their level of experience. This forum is an effort to help home owners more than industry service techs. The language used here is for that purpose.
Most home owners understand "shock" as a method of sanitising or oxidation hence its use as a verb and my use of "shock" as such.

Most home owners do not have or spend the "5 minute a day" studying this "non-rocket" science. In my experience in California I see once weekly or monthly testing.
Commercial pools demand daily records by Environmental Health so it falls into different category.

Regarding algae, it is my understanding that all bodies of water on the planet contain algae. I will research but I once read that "kelp" and algae are the same genus.
My understanding of "poly quat" is that it is a water adjuvant. In essence it makes water "wetter", breaks down the resistance of algae and allows chlorine to kill.

The term "salt" when used here is assumed to be in a dissolved form within the confines of a swinmming pool.
I will also recheck the information regarding the pH level. I have a close friend and former pool store partner of mine that is an analytical chemist / scientist at Lawrence Livermore Lab.

I have used ionizers for 12 years without staining.
If directions are followed "to the letter" with copper algaecides staining will be no greater than that caused by the inherent copper in water tables.

I have always smiled when people tell me that chlorine turned their hair green. I usually ask if chlorine bleach turns their Levis green. That seems to create an easy understanding.

BTW questions 3 & 4 of a couple
What do you think about the litigation surrounding SWG and damage from hypochlorous acid?
It sounds a bit far fetched but ......................

What do you think about the banning of SWG's in some counties California? It seems that Environmental Health does not like the salt levels in the sewer systems from the backwashing.

This may start a lively and educational thread. We may need to give it its own start.
_________________________
Ken Lewis

Top
#471687 - 08/02/08 10:32 AM Re: some "food" for thought (grocery store humor) [Re: waterbear]
KL_Enterprises Offline
fanatic

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 524
Loc: Modesto, CA
"If anyone out there has ever dealt with commercial pools and bought 50 lb bags of pool chemicals then you will understand." A vast numbest of readers here will never have the need or opportunity to buy in those quantities.
I read that 100% of the planet's sodium bi-carb is marketed by Arm & Hammer. Large amounts and generics are great to big users but for residential pools the individual will need to decide. I do like the dose rates of the side of many pool store containers for the average pool owner.
One of the reasons that I recommend using pool stores is for the help when needed. I really am not concerned about profit for those stores. When a pool owner needs an answer on a Saturday afternoon it is unlikely that WalMart, Safeway, RiteAid or Sam's will be able to answer pool chemistry questions. My wife stopped a lady at RiteAid from buying granular di-chlor and a floater. That was the clerks advice and when my wife corrected her the clerk said, "go ahead and get your chemicals and take them to the pool store down the block so they can show you how to use them. They can do it AND test your water for free." It was my store. Thank you RiteAid.
If you only give the profits to the big chains and not the independent pool stores they may not be there when you need them. It seems most people would rather whine later about the big-box store not being albe to answer their questions. "Nobody would help me!"
Remember "Western Auto" and "Coast to Coast" hardware stores that could help with many, many home repair needs and questions. We let them go away so now I can work with register clerks that know button pushing rather than nuts and bolts. "What's that?" in answer to the location of carriage head bolts or "That's not my department." answering "Can I get ....... "

_________________________
Ken Lewis

Top
#471688 - 08/04/08 07:11 AM Re: some "food" for thought (grocery store humor) [Re: KL_Enterprises]
JimTheTinkerer Offline
" Humming Bulb "
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 20773
Loc: US
A thought:
Maybe you can make something with decent test kits
(I don't think the chains have CYA tests),
how-to books, and a course (a 2-hr seminar with booklet)..

Top
#471689 - 08/11/08 12:19 PM Re: Waterbear ----- a couple of of questions [Re: KL_Enterprises]
chem_geek Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 18
Loc: San Rafael, CA
I noticed that waterbear hadn't responded yet to your questions. I can give you some more information and links to understand better the chlorine/CYA relationship.

As for your questions, algae is like a single-celled plant (though technically it is in the kingdom Protista for most algae or Monera for blue-green algae which is more like a kind of photosynthetic bacteria) and by itself is more of a nuisance (unsightly) and is not harmful in the sense of being a pathogen. Nevertheless, most people don't want algae in their pools and in quantity it will clog filters requiring more constant cleaning and may also be an indication of unsanitary water, though technically the amount of sanitizer it takes to kill algae is far higher than that needed to kill most pathogens (most bacteria and viruses). Algae will also use up chlorine so the bottom line is that for practical purposes it's something you don't want in a pool.

There is no such thing as "chlorine lock". The term came about because at higher Cyanuric Acid (CYA) levels, chlorine appeared to be less effective and no longer prevent algae. In reality what happens is that the amount of actual disinfecting and oxidizing chlorine -- the "active" chlorine known as hypochlorous acid -- has a concentration that is roughly proportional to the ratio of FC to CYA -- that is, FC/CYA. So if you don't raise the FC level when the CYA level climbs, you get lower and lower amounts of "active" chlorine. The result is that algae can start to grow and at first this happens in clear water where there seems to be a mysterious chlorine demand, but in fact it's just algae growth and chlorine getting used up keeping it from turning into a full bloom. If the CYA continues to climb, then at the same FC level the "active" chlorine amount is less so the algae growth gets ahead of the rate of chlorine killing it and the water starts to turn dull, then cloudy, then into a full green algae bloom. Some types of algae don't clump or form strands as readily in which case the water may skip directly to turning a dull green (a clear green usually indicates copper, not algae).

The technical chemical details for the chlorine/CYA relationship are described in the this post at Trouble Free Pool. The basic chemical equilibrium can be described as follows:

Chlorine + CYA <--->>> Clorine-CYA

where I try and indicate that the equilibrium is far to the right. In fact, in typical pool water that has enough chlorine to kill algae with some safety margin, namely at an FC that is 10% of the CYA level, and at a pH of 7.5, 97% of the chlorine is bound to CYA in a series of related compounds that are not effective sanitizers nor oxidizers. 1.5% is in the form of hypochlorite ion (a much weaker sanitizer) and only 1.5% is the "active" form of sanitizing and oxidizing chlorine, hypochlorous acid. The traditional industry graph showing chlorine concentration vs. pH is wrong in the presence of Cyanuric Acid (CYA) and I show the wrong and correct graphs in this post.

The science behind chlorine and CYA was known definitively as far back as 1974 when a paper done in 1973 was published and presented at a conference and is in a used book you can buy here if it's still available. The equilibrium constants from that paper can be seen in this EPA document (document page 12; PDF page 18). The only reason that this information is not well known is that it has not been taught, period. That is, important information that pool stores, consumers and commercial/public pool health officials would need to know has been intentionally withheld. This is not unusual -- remember that the tobacco industry denied the health effects of tobacco since the first large-scale studies showed a link in the 1950's and it wasn't until the 1990's when Jeffrey Wigand exposed the truth of what the industry knew. That's a 40-year deceit. This one in the pool industry isn't even 34 years old yet, but then again people aren't dying from cancer. Who cares that people get algae in their pools, go to pool stores that sell them lots of chemicals to combat it, all the while that this could be prevented by proper use of chlorine alone and an understanding of the true role of CYA? Some manufacturers DO recommend that for "guaranteed no-algae" one use a weekly algaecide along with their Trichlor, but they don't tell you why (that use of Trichlor itself builds up CYA making chlorine less effective nor how quickly CYA builds up).

There are basic chemical facts that aren't even taught, nor put on labels, such as the following that are independent of the concentration of product:

For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases Calcium Hardness (CH) by 7 ppm.

If you do some basic math, you can see that continued use of Trichlor can readily lead to very high CYA levels. This is especially true if one has an oversized cartridge filter that doesn't need cleaning more than once or twice a year. Without the weekly backwashing of a sand filter in a smaller pool with a short swim season, there isn't enough dilution of the water to prevent CYA from building up. In my own 16,000 gallon pool with an oversized cartridge filter and an electric opaque safety cover, I had a low chlorine usage of somewhat less than 1 ppm FC per day and used Trichlor pucks in a floating feeder. I started out with 30 ppm FC, but 1 ppm FC per day of Trichlor adds 18 ppm CYA per month so after one 7-month swim season I added 126 ppm CYA. After one and a half swim seasons, I had unusual chlorine demand and couldn't keep up with the Trichlor tabs, so I used more which just made the problem worse over time. The water got dull and this was in spite of using PolyQuat 60 algaecide, though I was only using it every other week. I found that my CYA was at 150 ppm (there was some amount of splash-out and one cartridge filter cleaning) and that's when I decided I needed to learn pool water chemistry since the local pool store was of no help in understanding exactly what was going on other than wanting to sell lots of additional chemicals.

One CAN use Trichlor pucks/tabs even with CYA rising, but need to use a supplemental algaecide such as PolyQuat 60 and to do so weekly (not every other week as I had done) or they need to use a phosphate remover also with regular maintenance. This costs around $2-3 per week extra. Also, Trichlor is very acidic so pH Up and/or Alkalinity Up (or grocery store equivalents) need to be added regularly and these increase the true cost of Trichlor. In fact, my Trichlor floating feeder "parked" itself near some stainless steel bars in my pool and rusted the mounts!

There are several grocery store equivalents for commonly needed chemicals such as the following:

pH Up -- sodium carbonate, same as Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (careful: NOT the laundry detergent)
Alkalinity Up -- sodium bicarbonate (or sodium hydrogen carbonate), same as Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
Proteam Supreme -- sodium tetraborate pentahydrate, nearly identical to 20 Mule Team Borax except for hydrated water content (Borax is ...decahydrate). Can be used to raise pH with less of a rise in Total Alkalinity (TA).
Calcium Hardness Increaser -- calcium chloride, Dow Peladow or DowFlake
Chlorinating Liquid -- sodium hypochlorite, same as unscented bleach (e.g. Clorox regular or off-brand Ultra) except for strength

In spite of this, I purchase 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my local pool store because they charge a reasonable price and they reuse (not just recycle) the containers (with a small refundable deposit for the jugs crate that holds 4 jugs). I try and use my local pool store when I can, but I pretty much just buy the chlorinating liquid which for my pool costs me less than $15 per month and my pool is crystal clear (even with 2000-3000 ppb of phosphates!). That's all I add except for some Muriatic Acid about once a month since my pH is very stable. Another fact that isn't taught in the industry is that the usage of chlorine is an acidic process and this exactly compensates for the initial rise in pH from hypochlorite sources of chlorine (e.g. bleach, chlorinating liquid, Cal-Hypo, lithium hypochlorite) except for the small amount of "extra lye" in the liquid chlorine products. This is described more technically in this post.

Yet another myth in the industry is that of using the "slug" or "acid column" method to lower Total Alkalinity (TA). Even though part of the industry debunked this here, these minimally effective methods are still used. The efficient way of lowering TA is through a combination of acid addition and aeration (or mixing of the water with the air, including surface turbulence) at a lower pH (usually around 7.0 or 7.2).

As for saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools and their salt levels, one can simply require the use of cartridge filters and eliminate the backwashing issue. Where I live, there are sometimes water restrictions so cartridge filters are used here, though that isn't because of salt but rather to reduce water consumption. There are potential issues in higher salt-level pools, such as SWG pools, where the higher conductivity of the water can lead to shocking if there are stray voltages already present around the pool, can lead to increased metal corrosion if inferior materials are used and especially if CYA is not used (as with most indoor pools), can lead to greater degradation of softer or more absorbent stones, etc. These issues can be mitigated (sealing stone, using stainless steel and avoiding copper and especially aluminum, using a sacrificial anode, etc.), but the SWG industry isn't very forthcoming about discussing them.

The above just scratches the surface of what pool owners have had to figure out on their own because the industry has not been forthcoming. Ben Powell started The PoolForum and PoolSolutions to disseminate what he had figured out from his experience and talking to some chemists and others. The sad thing is that all it would take for this industry to change is for people to wake up in the morning, snap their fingers, and say to themselves "what can I do to help people today?" instead of "what can I do to maximize my personal gain or the profit of my company through not disclosing certain information?". The irony is that more people have flocked to installing SWG systems because of the problems with their pools that would have been avoided if the industry had been more forthcoming in the first place. Of course, that might have put some dent into 25-30 years of profits, but I would hope that people would have an easier time sleeping at night with a clear conscience.

Richard


Edited by chem_geek (08/11/08 01:00 PM)

Top
#471690 - 08/11/08 05:16 PM Re: Waterbear ----- a couple of of questions [Re: chem_geek]
KL_Enterprises Offline
fanatic

Registered: 06/27/01
Posts: 524
Loc: Modesto, CA
Thank you.

With chlorine described as a "pesticide" but used as an herbicide (algaestat) , the question came to mind.

BTW have you ever heard of staining black from copper algaecides? I can't find anything in my files.


_________________________
Ken Lewis

Top
#471691 - 08/11/08 08:54 PM Re: Waterbear ----- a couple of of questions [Re: KL_Enterprises]
chem_geek Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 18
Loc: San Rafael, CA
OK, now I understand the context of your question. A pesticide to the EPA is much more general and includes herbicides. See this link for a definition. Even though algae does not cause harm from a health perspective (or eating plants, etc.), it is nevertheless controlled by chlorine regardless of the EPA classification.

We've had quite a lot of reports on pool forums of staining from copper, including black stains, but this tends to occur at either high copper levels or at higher pH. You may not be seeing it if you are using copper at lower levels in Trichlor pools because the pH tends to be lower in such pools. If you shocked with a hypochlorite source of chlorine, then the pH would rise (temporarily until the chlorine got used up) and that can precipitate oxides of copper that can stain, especially on plaster. We've also seen pool water turn green for a similar reason -- basically if the copper is green, then it is most likely copper hydroxide (see this photo) while if it's copper oxide (see this photo) it's more likely to be black.

It is certainly possible to manage a pool with copper, but the risk of staining is real so you have to manage the copper level and the pH carefully. In pools, the use of ionization systems usually results in fairly low copper levels, but such low levels are only marginally effective against algae -- better than nothing, but not as good as copper can be. The problem is that higher levels of copper get close to the level where they would stain and if the pH rises for whatever reason you can get into trouble. Usually, green water or stains occurs when using more direct copper products such as copper algaecides since they tend to add higher levels of copper into the water. Since chlorine is effective at preventing algae (IF you understand the chlorine/CYA relationship), there really is no need for copper. If one wants an additional algaecide, then one has other options without such side effects including PolyQuat 60, phosphate remover, and borates. The Borates are mostly a one-time addition at 50 ppm whereas the others require weekly dosing (at additional cost) to remain effective (for the phosphate remover, that assumes phosphates are regularly introduced, say through fill water or fertilizer in dirt).

Richard

Top
#471692 - 08/13/08 01:40 AM Re: Waterbear ----- a couple of of questions [Re: chem_geek]
waterbear Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
Richard,
Thank you! I have not had time to answer because of other obligations (I am a moderator on a different board besides working full time). You basically covered it.

KL Enterprises,
For pictures of not only blue copper stains but also black AND brown ones you need look no further than the Jack's Magic website to their stain library section. http://www.jacksmagic.com/page.cfm?id=387 I am surprised that you have never encountered them in 22 years. (Or perhaps you have and did not realize it.)


Edited by waterbear (08/13/08 01:41 AM)
_________________________
Retail pool/spa supply sales and commercial pool maintenance.

Top
#471693 - 08/13/08 01:43 AM Re: some "food" for thought (grocery store humor) [Re: JimTheTinkerer]
waterbear Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/31/08
Posts: 12
Loc: Florida
Quote:


(I don't think the chains have CYA tests),




Which chains and in what part of the country? All the chains I have ever seen do test for CYA. Some Bioguard dealers don't.


Edited by waterbear (08/13/08 01:44 AM)
_________________________
Retail pool/spa supply sales and commercial pool maintenance.

Top
#471694 - 08/13/08 04:43 AM Re: some "food" for thought (grocery store humor) [Re: waterbear]
Wouldheart10 Offline
Oldie

Registered: 01/07/07
Posts: 7010
Hah, I Googled BBB method just to find out what it is and I got this thread on HandymanWire. Too funny.

BTW, what is it?
_________________________
contumacious but neither pusillanimous nor truculent

Top
Page 2 of 3 < 1 2 3 >





Experts | Email Us | Disclaimer | HandymanWire home
Articles | We welcome your feedback. | Privacy
http://www.handymanwire.com
Handyman Wire
your resource for advice on home improvement and repairs.
Copyright 2014, Handyman USA LLC.
All rights reserved.