Chemical equivelents for the small-town pool

What is floc, clarifier, stabilizer, cyanuric acid,
algaecide, brightener, dichlor, sodium hypo,
sodium bisulfate, ....??
Deaun who can't sign in

Chemical equivelents for the small-town pool

Postby Deaun who can't sign in » Sun 17 Jun, 2007 21:16

Alright ladies and gentlemen,

After the past two months I am so confused about what is WHAT
that I am requesting the aid of more knowledgeable people.

It's time for me to finally ask the million-dollar question: if a person (like me) lives in a small town in the middle of unpoolcivilization, and the ONLY available "pool store" is either Wal-Mart or the grocery, what should be purchased to take the place of the usual pool chemicals?

The local WM carries pH +, pH -, Sock It, Super Sock It , clarifier, and algecide 60. Neither the grocery nor WM carries the blue box of Borax, or soda larger than a refridgerator-sized box.

Please save me from shipping and handling! I'm tired and disheartened. Need a little moral support here.

What I need to know:
1. What exactly is Muratic acid? Is it one of the pH products?
Is it BOTH?
2. What else can be used in the same way?
3. I know what bicarb is, so that's not a problem--except neither place
carries anything larger that the refridgerator box.
4. What could take the place of soda ash?
5. I see all these references to Borax (in the blue box). What is it
taking the place of?

Thank you.


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Postby Buggsw » Mon 18 Jun, 2007 23:45

LOL! You made me laugh.

Muriatic acid is a liquid acid. Out here you can find it everywhere including grocery stores near the pool supply section. You can also buy it at paint stores or hardware stores. It's used to etch concrete or wash old brick basements that have effervescent fluffy stuff on them. It is also commonly sold in pool stores to affect pH and TA or to acid wash a plaster pool. It would be used in place of the pH - products. Those are usually a powder and would be sodium bisulfate a dry acid - also has a lot of synonomous names. I don't know of an equivalent product. Whether you use muriatic acid or dry acid always remember you add acid to water - you NEVER add water to acid. Never store either type of acid near dry or liquid chlorine - it can cause an explosion.

For Borax, it's a green box and it is 20 Mule Team Borax. It is a tetraborate and is also the same thing as pool store products called Endure or Proteam Supreme. It will raise your pH but has very little affect on TA. It also is good as an additional sanitizer besides your chlorine to help prevent algae growth when you have around 50ppm of borates in your water. It also makes your water sparkle a little more.

Sodium Bicarbonate which is also known as Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, is used to raise Total Alkalinity and pH, but it really isn't good for raising pH if the Total Alkalinity is correct. It is simply Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. You can probably find larger quantities at a restaurant supply or possibly a hardware store in 4 or 10 lb boxes.

Sodium Carbonate aka Soda Ash is sold as pH up or Alkilinity up or + or increaser or whatever other word means opposite of down. It will raise your TA really quickly. The grocery store carries the same thing in the laundry detergent aisle, it is Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (this is a blue box, not to be confused with the A&H laundry detergent)

If you want a lot of help understanding all of this, go to
www dot troublefreepool dot com You'll find a lot of great pool owners, experts and chemistry geeks with terrific information. You'll also find tools that will tell you how much of anything to add to your pool to get to the level you desire. You'll see me over there, too.
Deaun who can't sign in

Pool chemicals for idiots--101

Postby Deaun who can't sign in » Fri 22 Jun, 2007 18:44

Glad you laughed (I'll be here all week)!

I have been traveling back and forth between the two sites for three days now. I appreciate your help!

If you remember some of my other posts (you have answered most of those questions), you know I have been trying to clear up my pool since April.

Just shy of 30,000 gallons
Vinal liner
Jacuzzi pump, filter, and skimmer.

I have been backflushing two times a day since mid April, drained off as much as possible and added fresh water multiple times, vacume daily--twice daily if I'm home and add an average of 30-2 gallon containers of ultra bleach a week.

Clarifier is added the day after chlorine, algecide twice a week--different day from clarifier or bleach.

I did add 5lbs. of Super Sock-It this evening. Two hours later: No Chlorine.

Here is what I have, as of today:
Free chlorine is 0ppm
Combined chlorine is 0ppm
(These two readings have not shown anything for a while now)

I have a terrible problem with scale (bottom, sides, steps) so have lowered the pH using pH-
pH is below 7.2 but above 6.8 according to the test vial.

Acid demand as of today was 1 1/4 gallons--another sign of needing pH- :?

Total alkalinity was 220ppm--you guessed it--pH- :shock:

Total hardness was (surprisingly) 540ppm

CYA is below 20 (dot test)

I can see the vinal pattern vaguely in the deep end. Water is only cloudy after adding Super Sock-It, and the most reasonable cause of a dingy bottom appears to be the mineral deposits (lime--lots of lime) in the pool.

So, where to from here? Do I need to add stabilizer to "keep" the chlorine?

Just call me:
Deaun, queen of the un-swimming pool
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Postby Buggsw » Fri 22 Jun, 2007 20:17

Yes, I would add CYA. You can add it via just plain CYA in a sock hanging in front of a return or by using Dichlor or Trichlor pool store shock. Which will shock as well as add CYA to your pool. Target for a range of between 30 - 50 ppm CYA.

Since you are vinyl. Get your pH to 7.0 or above. Don't go any lower than that.

Your Jacuzzi filter - what is it, sand or DE or cartridge? I'm guessing not cartridge since you say you backwash.

Your super-sockit should have CYA, in it.

Are you using test strips? You might have a very high chlorine level and just are bleaching out the test strips. If you are using test strips, stop and get a good FAS/DPD based chlorine test kit. It will test to 50 ppm chlorine without bleaching out.

By the way, 2 hrs after adding something is way too soon to test. You need to let your water circulate and completely turn over, so about 6 hours - maybe 4 hrs.
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Postby chem geek » Fri 22 Jun, 2007 21:25

You should realize that Super Sock-It is Cal-Hypo and for every 1 ppm of FC introduced you also add 0.7 ppm Calcium Hardness (CH). So if you have been using Cal-Hypo as your sole source of chlorine then that may have been part of the reason your CH is so high (it sounds like you only use it for shocking, however). You should consider using chlorinating liquid, though with a 30,000 gallon pool that's going to be a LOT of jugs to carry.

Your first priority is to shock your pool with chlorine, but don't use Cal-Hypo. Once you no longer have a chlorine demand, then you can try and lower your TA.

The scaling is due to the combination of high Calcium Hardness (you said Total Hardness, but Calcium Hardness is often around a factor of 1.4 below Total Hardness so 540 / 1.4 = 386 ppm) and high Total Alkalinity. Even so, you probably would only have serious scaling when the pH got above around 7.7, unless I've got the hardness number wrong.

Anyway, you can't lower your CH except by partial drain/refill and if your fill water is high in CH then even that won't do much good (you should test your fill water for both CH and TA). And please get yourself a good test kit, the Taylor K-2006. Your pH test vial should show increments every 0.2 so should distinguish between (6.8 in some kits), 7.0 and 7.2 all the way to 8.0.

To reduce the scaling without having to always maintain such a low pH, follow the procedure in this post.

To lower your TA to 80 ppm will take 134 cups (8.4 gallons) of Muriatic Acid (31.45%) with lots and lots of aeration. If you start aerating now that your pH is at 7.0, then add acid when it gets to 7.2 or 7.4 and drop it back to 7.0, then repeat this, you will find the TA dropping. The more aeration you have, the faster this process will go. If you can get yourself an air compressor or pump and can attach the hose to a nozzle or pipe with small holes that can make lots of small bubbles, then put that into the deep end of the pool. That is the fastest way to aerate.

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