How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Chlorinating, maintaining the right chlorine levels,
chlorine problems. Dichlor, trichlor, cal hypo, bleach,
granules, chlorine pucks and chlorine sticks.
dalehileman
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby dalehileman » Fri 26 Nov, 2010 13:46

So why don't you use a floating feeder or get yourself an inline chlorinator?

Rich guess I'm just stubborn. I had tried for a while against everyone's recommendations just tossing the tabs into the deep end but this so reduced Cl conc (even once when I counted 19 tabs down there) that I went back to the skimmer where the flow rate is presumably much higher than at bottom or even past a floater. Yes inline is probably a good idea but the skimmer works and besides I note at every hardware change a new problem of some sort that I hand't anticipated

Why do you insist on going against recommendations and putting the Trichlor pucks/tabs in your skimmer?

My predecessor had done so for about 5 years and apparently was satisfied with the results so I merely continued the practice which has displayed only minor problems for the past decade or so and yes you might be right about not needing the weekly shock and next summer if I'm adventurous might try skipping

....but meantime it does seem to at least momentary boost Cl which bump I speculate might deter any potentially detrimental growths

But thanks for your imput and I hope we haven't yet discouraged PN


chem geek
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby chem geek » Fri 26 Nov, 2010 15:38

So the issue you were having was that the Trichlor pucks would not dissolve fast enough to keep up with chlorine demand unless you put the pucks in the skimmer (you wouldn't just throw them in the deep end anyway -- you want them in a floating feeder because the water flow from the returns will generally help dissolve the tabs/pucks in the feeder if the feeder had its slots fully open). That means that your chlorine demand was too high and you would need to shock your pool to kill off nascent algae growth. Also, since you were using so many pucks/tabs, the CYA level was probably high and that would prevent chlorine from killing off algae quickly enough unless the FC was very high -- a real catch-22. A simple solution is to not use stabilized chlorine (i.e. Trichlor and Dichlor) so that the CYA doesn't get so high. But you won't use chlorinating liquid or bleach because your wife doesn't want you to.

So would your wife at least let you use Cal-Hypo? Though that would increase Calcium Hardness (CH), it might be something you could use for shocking the pool to get things back on track and to use to supplement the Trichlor pucks/tabs (the latter being in a floating feeder) which with sufficient dilution of water might let you keep CYA levels in check. What about chlorinating liquid which is really just concentrated bleach but because you can buy it from a pool store or big box store (i.e. Home Depot, OSH, etc.) and it's not called "bleach" then maybe your wife wouldn't object to it?

I don't see how a complete pump failure and degradation of your pool cover in the area of the skimmer can be considered to be "minor problems", especially when they are so easily avoided, but it's your pool and you can do whatever you want with it.
Poolnoob
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby Poolnoob » Fri 26 Nov, 2010 19:44

That sounds great! what generator would you recommend, I'm getting somebody to look at my pool later this weekend...is there anything that would save me the hassle of all the chlorine.
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby Poolnoob » Sat 27 Nov, 2010 07:54

Richard,

Thanks for the help, what chlorine generator would you recommend, I am very close to shutting down my pool. How much does the generator cost? any options to reduce the traditional chlorine?
chem geek
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby chem geek » Sun 28 Nov, 2010 22:02

I'll let others recommend specific saltwater chlorine generators -- I don't have one myself so can't comment on a specific brand. The initial cost is for around 2500 - 2800 ppm salt (depending on your initial salt level) which for a 40,000 gallon pool is around 840-940 pounds of salt (that's 21-23 40-pound bags) which at $6 per bag is around $130 or so. A saltwater chlorine generator for a 40,000 gallon pools will run in the range of $650 to $1400 where you would probably replace the cell every 3-5 years (hopefully closer to 5) at perhaps $300-400. Then there's the installation labor cost that varies a lot. So you would get this not so much for cost savings as for convenience.

I would recommend you spending more up-front for a larger generator designed for even larger pools -- having it be oversized has it last proportionately longer but the price isn't proportionately higher. So get one sized for "up to 60,000 gallons", for example.
dalehileman
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby dalehileman » Mon 29 Nov, 2010 13:41

It isn't higher chlorine levels alone that caused these problems as much as it was the very low acidity specifically from Trichlor tabs, perhaps in combination with concentrated chlorine but not the chlorine alone.

Geek that's a very good question. At the time I was getting modest Cl levels, 0.5 to 3.0 though taken when the pump was running so I can't vouch for the initial burst of concentration in the tubing leading from the skimmer. However,

.....the very low acidity......

Seems at odds with the former

......when the pump turns on the blast of very acidic water.......

And yes I'd probably better comprehend the apparent discrepancy if I were also a chemistry geek and if that's so you must forgive me in that respect. So for my benefit as well as PN's you might enlarge upon these facets

I don't see how a complete pump failure and degradation of your pool cover in the area of the skimmer can be considered to be "minor problems".....

In my case not only is the pumping station situated 30 ft from the skimmer port but it is above it in elevation. So one would expect the Cl-acid rush to be present at the pump only for an instant, thus calling it into question as cause of my pump failure. In any case between my predecessor and I, this brief exposure had been repeated daily for many years before the pump finally capitulated, explaining why I largely discount it as "minor" consideration

Of course in each count you could be right on but if your assertions are so universally accepted by the Pool Community, it's hard to understand why our Friendly Local Bill's Pool and Spa as well as CostCo, both of whom should know better, continue to field the tabs while the former insists the dilatory role of CYA to be "very controversial"

As for Cl's effect upon the shallow end, as even your "experts" agree under the best of conditions the blue-dot solar cover has to be replaced after only one or two seasons anyhow

Again, apologize if I wan't clear, thank you for your participation, and I hope that at least one of us was able to help PN however discouraged he must becoming
Poolnoob
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby Poolnoob » Tue 30 Nov, 2010 22:01

Richard,

I am not sure about the divisions of the costs or anything like that. I might end up buying the salt generator, but I would hate to place down so much money. All I know is that currently I am spending around $400 between chlorine, chemicals, and maintenance. Is there another option other than the expensive saltwater generator? If not, which would you recommend?

Thanks again for everything
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby chem geek » Wed 01 Dec, 2010 03:38

$400 is over what period of time? If you were to adjust your CYA and other water parameter levels and then just use chlorinating liquid (or perhaps some Cal-Hypo and occasionally Trichlor as needed), then your chemical cost should be around. Pump electricity costs might be high, especially if you have a solar system mounted on a roof.

You started out posting that you paid $50 per month for the pool plus chemicals twice a year for another $150. So is the $400 a combination of the $150 plus $350 so 7 months? If so, then that is very reasonable and as I noted above you aren't going to get much better doing it yourself -- 7 months would run $350 to $525. You've got a large pool and it costs to maintain it properly. If your costs were instead the $50 per month plus 2*$42 + $174.75 + $65 = $323.75 so total over 7 months of around $675, then that is higher than doing it yourself (though normal for a pool service).

You've got a large pool at 40,000 gallons so the maintenance will be higher than smaller sized pools. As for your chlorine always getting too low, that may be because your CYA got high due to continued use of Trichlor tabs and you may have nascent algae growth using up the chlorine. I linked to this before, but read the Pool School if you want to maintain your own pool.
Poolnoob
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby Poolnoob » Wed 01 Dec, 2010 21:14

Richard,

Thanks for your help, this is honestly a bit confusing for me as I am just starting to take control of my pool. In total I spend close to $60 a week between chlorine, maintenance and other pool chemicals. I also have a guy that comes once a week to clean the pool. Any opinions on the best chlorine generator things? how much does it cost? Also i will need some good reliable test strips, which would you recommend ;) haha.

Thanks,
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How expensive is it to maintain your own pool?

Postby chem geek » Wed 01 Dec, 2010 22:37

OK, that's more clear. $60 per week, or around $250 per month is WAY too high. If you were to use chlorinating liquid (and very little else -- perhaps some acid), then your ongoing chemical costs would be on the order of $35 to $70 or maybe $100 at the most per MONTH. Of course, if you were to brush the pool once a week, clean the skimmer and filter baskets, maybe backwash the filter (if needed and depending on type of filter), then that's labor you'd need to do yourself.

Again, others will have to chime in with good brands for saltwater chlorine generators. I already gave you rough pricing in this post. You would have up-front cost, but very little ongoing chemical costs -- mostly acid to control pH and some salt to replenish what is lost from dilution.

As for test kits, that's easy. Get either the Taylor K-2006 or the TFTestkits TF-100 where you can compare these fairly similar kits here . Test strips are next to useless, especially for some of the tests. You can compare the best, though still inaccurate, imprecise, and inadequate, test strips vs. the excellent drop-based test kits I mentioned here .

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