Got the "Can't Find that Chlorine" Blues?
Every year thousand's (millions?) of pool owners misplace the chlorine in their swimming pool.
They add chlorine, test, find none, add more, test . . .
So, what's happening?
With many of these problems, new pool owners find it difficult to 'stay the course' and get things cleaned up. But, in most cases, that's just what's needed. It helps to have someone 'coach' you through the process -- if you register at The Pool Forum, someone will probably do just that. BUT, finish reading here, first. If you post at the forum without reading this material first, it's likely you'll get sent right back here. ;-)
Let's go through them one at a time:
DPD and HIGH CHLORINE
DPD (the chlorine test that turns pink) color match testing is readily bleached out when pool chlorine levels exceed 15 ppm -- something that happens far more often than most people think. The solution? Either use OTO testing or DPD/FAS drop count testing. For accurate chlorine testling, the only option I know of is the DPD/FAS test. The lab version has been around for years, but was only recently modified by Taylor Technologies for pool side use. It is this test method that is the heart of our PS233 testkit. But, you can also use inexpensive OTO (turns yellow) kits, which are widely available, and very reliable. They aren't very accurate, but they are more accurate than strips. OTO is not bleached out by even extreme chlorine levels, so it makes a great backup. In fact, we recommend OTO for daily testing, include the OTO based PS200 in the PS233 kit.
Each spring, many homeowners make a reasonable assumption: there was plenty of stabilizer in their pool last year, so there is plenty now. What they don't know -- most dealers don't know -- is that stabilizer biodegrades, sometimes VERY quickly. If there is any slime, algae or other 'life' in your pool in the spring, the odds are that there is NO stabilizer! And a completely unstabilized pool can lose up to ONE HALF of all chlorine present in as little as 30 minutes of full sun! So, if you were to add 10 ppm of chlorine at 11am, by 2pm, you could have as little as 0.2 ppm -- 0.0 on many kits!
"Use supplements carefully, and only when absolutely needed" may not be the first commandment of swimming pool chemistry . . . but it's close! And the next, ought to be, "If a little is good, a lot is NOT better!" The so-called chlorine boosters: Mustard Master, the 'Yellow's' (Yellow Out, Yellow Treat, Yello Free) and some other chemicals containing ammonia or sodium bromide are also frequent villians in the tale of the missing chlorine! These chemicals have, on occasion, real value. But repeated or excessive doses can also cause real problems. A discussion of when and when not, and of why and why not is too long and complicated for this page. If this warning is reaching you too late, and you've already nuked your pool with one of these, and had your chlorine go AWOL, email me.
This one is simple. Bleach loses its strength quickly, especially concentrated pool bleach. How fast depends on initial concentration, contamination, and temperature, but . . . if it's last years, it's gone. Go ahead and pour it into the pool, but don't expect to see much chlorine from it!
MIXED UP CHEMICALS
I know those chlorine containers are great buckets, but I have only one thing to say here: MAKE A LABEL, BEFORE YOU REUSE THE BUCKET!
DIDN'T USE ENOUGH
It's easy to underestimate how much chlorine a pool party with 12 sweaty teenage boys . . . or four somewhat leaky toddlers . . . can consume. And, it's easy for the days to slip by: was it yesterday I chlorinated, or maybe three days ago?
And it's extremely easy to underestimate how much chlorine green algae can eat. Trust me: it tends to be more than even I'd think!
So, if you just put some in last night, and this morning it's 0.3, there's only one thing to do: PUT MORE IN! What you put in did its job, but it died doing it. So send in the replacement troops!
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