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Where Is Best Place For Pool Supplies?


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#1 tedinelkgrove

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 05:46 PM

I am a new pool owner since June 1st. I went to Leslie's pool supply today and bought a chemical test kit, muriatic acid, and a pumice bar for removing scale. I still need to get chlorine (granular and tabs). Are there better places to get pool supplies at a cheaper price? Are there certain brands of chlorine that are superior to others? Are there other chemicals I need? The pool is looking great. I had a service get it up and running, but that was just for the first month. I am on my own now.

#2 AZMermaid

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:18 PM

Congratulations on your new pool!!! Chlorine and Acid are the basics, and likely all you will need for a while. Nearly all of these products are the same wherever you purchase them. Check the labels to be sure of actual content. Test the pool regularly, and about every 2-3 months take a water sample in to Leslie's for a more thorough check. If you run into problems, this site is a great resource on how to handle algae, phosphates, TDS, CYA, etc., which likely won't be an issue for you in the near future, if you keep things in balance.

Good Luck, Happy Swimming!

#3 jkusmier

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 07:38 PM

QUOTE (tedinelkgrove @ Jun 22 2009, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a new pool owner since June 1st. I went to Leslie's pool supply today and bought a chemical test kit, muriatic acid, and a pumice bar for removing scale. I still need to get chlorine (granular and tabs). Are there better places to get pool supplies at a cheaper price? Are there certain brands of chlorine that are superior to others? Are there other chemicals I need? The pool is looking great. I had a service get it up and running, but that was just for the first month. I am on my own now.


I don't know where you live, but Doheny's offers free next-day delivery to much of the US and free second-day delivery to much of the rest. Very competitive prices, too - especially once you factor shipping or travel time/gas/sweat driving to a local pool store and lugging the chems back.

What kind of test kit did you buy? Many members here use a Taylor kit, esp. the K-2006.

My advice re: chemicals is simplified since you're apparently a first-time pool owner. No offense - you'll learn quickly and deserve kudos for coming here and asking. You'll find much more detailed advice on this forum and from the booklet that accompanies Taylor test kits. Anyway, the levels you should test and adjust on a weekly basis are as follows:

pH - generally shouldn't have to worry about raising pH. You can use muriatic acid or dry acid (aka sodium bisulphate) to lower pH once it reaches 8.0.

TA (total alkalinity) - you can lower both TA and pH w/ muriatic acid once your pH increases toward 8.0. You can raise TA w/ baking soda once it drops below 80ppm.

CH (calcium hardness) - raise by adding calcium chloride (same stuff used as an alternative to normal sidewalk de-icers, but don't buy the versions found at local hardware stores). 150ppm is fine for vinyl and fiberglass, aim for 250-400ppm for a gunite/concrete pool. See note below about excessive calcium levels.

Stabilizer (aka CYA/cyanuric acid) and Chlorine: They go hand-in-hand. CYA greatly retards the deterioration rate of FC (free chlorine) caused by UV radiation - basically, CYA allows your chlorine levels to stay higher for longer periods of time. That said, too much CYA can be a bad thing and is a common source of problems for many pool owners - witness the number of questions posted here weekly about trouble maintaining FC levels; many of them are due to excessive CYA levels. You should test your CYA levels weekly, especially since you're using pucks and tabs. These are stabilized forms of chlorine and it's possible to over-stabilize your pool. Once your CYA level exceeds, oh, 80-100ppm you'll find you need to maintain an ever higher FC (free chlorine) level for sanitation (normally 1-5ppm unless your pool is over-stabilized), as well as aim for higher FC levels when shocking your pool (40% of your CYA level, e.g 24ppm assuming CYA level of 60ppm). Like calcium, CYA does not evaporate and stays in the pool unless you backwash or partially drain/refill your pool (although it tends to break down over the winter months). The only practicable forms of unstabilized chlorine are (1) chlorinated liquid (6% unscented bleach or 10-12% pool bleach/liquid chlorine), (2) lithium hypochlorite (expensive) and (3) Cal Hypo (aka calcium hypochlorite - note this raises your calcium levels, which can turn your pool cloudy once you reach a certain calcium level in relation to your TA and pH).

Most chems should be added slowly in front of a return outlet or cast evenly and in small amounts around the pool. The one exception is CYA, which is slow to dissolve and can be added directly to your skimmer box(es), although you'll want to install skimmer socks. That's another item you should add to your purchase list. They are elastic mesh liners that fit over the removable basket found in your skimmer. Cost maybe $5-6 for a pack of 5. BioGuard offers Skim Mor skimmer socks, that are treated w/ a chemical (mycelx) that is derived from technology for cleaning up oil spills. They are more expensive ($7-8 per 5-pack) but they are effective at reducing waterline scum associated w/ sunblock, body oils, etc. Skimmer socks are also a must-have for most of the US during the spring - they trap pollen, cottonwood seeds, etc. and keep them out of your filter. Remove, rinse and re-install every day, and replace every couple of weeks once they lose their elasticity. I replace my Skim Mor socks when they turn green (meaning they're loaded w/ sunblock or body oils).

Use the search engine or just scroll through the Inground and Pool Chemistry pages for tons of useful information. It can seem overwhelming at first, but you'll figure it out quickly. Good luck!

#4 tedinelkgrove

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 08:22 PM

I bought the all-inclusive test kit from Leslie's. It has everything to test for TC, FC, CYA, Calcium, Alkalinity, etc..

As far as shocking the pool, I was told I need to do this once a month to balance out the FC and TC amounts. What kind of shock chlorine do I need? There are quite a few types.

#5 tedinelkgrove

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 07:25 AM

After my initial testing, I discovered my CYA is way too high, 100+++ according to the test kit, Calcium is 750ppm, and my FC and TC are the same color.

My first plan of attack is to stop using those chlorine hockey pucks for the time being which should help getting my CYA under control. Any other suggestions? If FC and TC are same, is that good?

#6 PaulR

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 08:51 AM

I answered the CYA question in your other post.

FC and TC being the same is good, it means your CC (combined chlorine) is low or zero and there is probably no problem (algae etc) in the pool currently. Does the water look clear?

Liquid chlorine (from pool stores or pool departments) or regular unscented bleach (Clorox etc) are usually the cheapest forms of chlorine in the long run, and don't add anything to the pool except chlorine (and a teeny bit of salt too little to worry about).
--paulr

#7 tedinelkgrove

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 09:40 AM

QUOTE (PaulR @ Jun 23 2009, 09:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I answered the CYA question in your other post.

FC and TC being the same is good, it means your CC (combined chlorine) is low or zero and there is probably no problem (algae etc) in the pool currently. Does the water look clear?

Liquid chlorine (from pool stores or pool departments) or regular unscented bleach (Clorox etc) are usually the cheapest forms of chlorine in the long run, and don't add anything to the pool except chlorine (and a teeny bit of salt too little to worry about).
--paulr


Paul, thanks for the replies. The water is crystal clear and sparkling. I guess I'll just buy some bleach when needed.

#8 rbdeli

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:14 AM

Thanks for the tip on the skimmer socks. I have never used those, but certainly could would have liked to have them this summer. The cotton has been terrible.

I have not had much luck finding one place that carries everything. Overall, www.intheswim.com seems to have the best deals, but still lacks some of the testing agents for my K-2006.



QUOTE (jkusmier @ Jun 22 2009, 09:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (tedinelkgrove @ Jun 22 2009, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a new pool owner since June 1st. I went to Leslie's pool supply today and bought a chemical test kit, muriatic acid, and a pumice bar for removing scale. I still need to get chlorine (granular and tabs). Are there better places to get pool supplies at a cheaper price? Are there certain brands of chlorine that are superior to others? Are there other chemicals I need? The pool is looking great. I had a service get it up and running, but that was just for the first month. I am on my own now.


I don't know where you live, but Doheny's offers free next-day delivery to much of the US and free second-day delivery to much of the rest. Very competitive prices, too - especially once you factor shipping or travel time/gas/sweat driving to a local pool store and lugging the chems back.

What kind of test kit did you buy? Many members here use a Taylor kit, esp. the K-2006.

My advice re: chemicals is simplified since you're apparently a first-time pool owner. No offense - you'll learn quickly and deserve kudos for coming here and asking. You'll find much more detailed advice on this forum and from the booklet that accompanies Taylor test kits. Anyway, the levels you should test and adjust on a weekly basis are as follows:

pH - generally shouldn't have to worry about raising pH. You can use muriatic acid or dry acid (aka sodium bisulphate) to lower pH once it reaches 8.0.

TA (total alkalinity) - you can lower both TA and pH w/ muriatic acid once your pH increases toward 8.0. You can raise TA w/ baking soda once it drops below 80ppm.

CH (calcium hardness) - raise by adding calcium chloride (same stuff used as an alternative to normal sidewalk de-icers, but don't buy the versions found at local hardware stores). 150ppm is fine for vinyl and fiberglass, aim for 250-400ppm for a gunite/concrete pool. See note below about excessive calcium levels.

Stabilizer (aka CYA/cyanuric acid) and Chlorine: They go hand-in-hand. CYA greatly retards the deterioration rate of FC (free chlorine) caused by UV radiation - basically, CYA allows your chlorine levels to stay higher for longer periods of time. That said, too much CYA can be a bad thing and is a common source of problems for many pool owners - witness the number of questions posted here weekly about trouble maintaining FC levels; many of them are due to excessive CYA levels. You should test your CYA levels weekly, especially since you're using pucks and tabs. These are stabilized forms of chlorine and it's possible to over-stabilize your pool. Once your CYA level exceeds, oh, 80-100ppm you'll find you need to maintain an ever higher FC (free chlorine) level for sanitation (normally 1-5ppm unless your pool is over-stabilized), as well as aim for higher FC levels when shocking your pool (40% of your CYA level, e.g 24ppm assuming CYA level of 60ppm). Like calcium, CYA does not evaporate and stays in the pool unless you backwash or partially drain/refill your pool (although it tends to break down over the winter months). The only practicable forms of unstabilized chlorine are (1) chlorinated liquid (6% unscented bleach or 10-12% pool bleach/liquid chlorine), (2) lithium hypochlorite (expensive) and (3) Cal Hypo (aka calcium hypochlorite - note this raises your calcium levels, which can turn your pool cloudy once you reach a certain calcium level in relation to your TA and pH).

Most chems should be added slowly in front of a return outlet or cast evenly and in small amounts around the pool. The one exception is CYA, which is slow to dissolve and can be added directly to your skimmer box(es), although you'll want to install skimmer socks. That's another item you should add to your purchase list. They are elastic mesh liners that fit over the removable basket found in your skimmer. Cost maybe $5-6 for a pack of 5. BioGuard offers Skim Mor skimmer socks, that are treated w/ a chemical (mycelx) that is derived from technology for cleaning up oil spills. They are more expensive ($7-8 per 5-pack) but they are effective at reducing waterline scum associated w/ sunblock, body oils, etc. Skimmer socks are also a must-have for most of the US during the spring - they trap pollen, cottonwood seeds, etc. and keep them out of your filter. Remove, rinse and re-install every day, and replace every couple of weeks once they lose their elasticity. I replace my Skim Mor socks when they turn green (meaning they're loaded w/ sunblock or body oils).

Use the search engine or just scroll through the Inground and Pool Chemistry pages for tons of useful information. It can seem overwhelming at first, but you'll figure it out quickly. Good luck!


<spam link removed>
10,500 GAL fiberglass, 1.5HP Pump, Sta Rite Sand Filter

#9 PaulR

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:39 AM

QUOTE (rbdeli @ Jun 26 2009, 07:14 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Overall, www.intheswim.com seems to have the best deals, but still lacks some of the testing agents for my K-2006.

tftestkits.net has refills for most of the things in the K-2006, usually in larger bottles.
--paulr

#10 Pool-newb

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:49 PM

My nearest pool store is Leslie's and I am happy with them, but I think there is great variability among the individual stores.

I saw someone mention that a pool store is like a boutique - you can get some really fancy, expensive, high-heeled shoes there but we generally head to one of the discounters if we need several pairs of cheap jeans. 

Sometimes it just has to be the fancy shoes and you can't get them anywhere else but the pool store. This includes things like stain removers, pump parts and complicated water testing. For the bulk chlorine, bags of salt, or anything in large quantity the local discounter is probably a better deal.

I also agree about the TF-Test kits. That's a good source of the testing reagents.


~8,500 gal, ig, 12x24 vinyl, 1.5 HP Dual Speed Hayward Northstar, Wood-fired pool heater since Apr 09. Using Bleach and Muriatic Acid since I found CYA levels well above 100. Using electronic ORP/PH meter for testing as well as TF1000 DPD-FAS test kit for dosing. Got rid of major serious metal stains (TWICE now) from rusted out gas heater on the old vinyl liner . Poorly maintained till I got it. Apr 08. Here's what I did/do to revive and now maintain it:
- First went back to the pool school at Trouble Free pool and used the BBB method. I calculate the needed chemicals using The pool calculator
- Purchased and use a TF-100 from <link removed>
- Purchased Hanna pH/ORP for routine testing
- 25 May 09 installed SWG, and like it. ORP meters show negative numbers and are now not usable.

#11 imnay

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:15 AM

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#12 chem geek

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 02:54 PM

See this post for the pieces of information imnay is leaving out about his pool including the fact that his algaecide is copper-based (so be careful about staining issues, especially in a plaster pool -- his is vinyl), he shocks the pool every 4-6 weeks to get rid of cloudiness and his pool has a lot of rain overflow which dilutes the water (keeping CYA down somewhat though he's never tested it).

It's mostly the copper-based algaecide that prevents algae growth, but the presumed high CYA level makes the chlorine less effective requiring shocking to get rid of cloudiness. That is certainly one approach to pool maintenance, though you have to be careful about the copper levels getting too high especially in a pool that doesn't get a lot of dilution. Same with the CYA level where you will need to raise the TA if you want to protect plaster surfaces (remember that his pool is vinyl, so CH level and the CYA affect on TA aren't as important).

In my own 16,000 gallon pool, in spite of 2000-3000 ppb phopshates, I use no algaecide, no phosphate remover, don't have to shock regularly, have crystal clear water all the time (except when I once let the FC get to zero -- see below), and only add around 7 cups of 12.5% chlorinating liquid twice a week and 1-2 cups of acid every 1-2 months. That's it. $15 per month. Period. (Of course, pump electricity costs are high with my solar system, but we're talking about chemicals here).

Now I do have a pool cover on the pool and that has me with a low 0.8-1.0 ppm FC per day chlorine usage which certainly helps. I have a plaster pool so I do test all the relevant pool water chemistry factors: Free Chlorine (FC), Combined Chlorine (CC), pH, Total Alkalinity (TA), Calcium Hardness (CH), Cyanuric Acid (CYA) and temperature, but it's really only the chlorine level that I test twice a week with the others tested very infrequently (pH every few weeks, the others 2-3 times a season) because my pool's water parameters are very stable. I have a cartridge filter so no significant dilution during the summer. I dilute the pool water during the winter rains in order to keep the salt levels lower, but there were several years I didn't even do that (I intentionally wanted to see how higher salt levels would feel).

This year, I've added 50 ppm Borates to the pool, but that's optional. It provides some insurance against algae growth in case the FC gets too low and it provides an additional pH buffer (though I didn't really need that). When I opened my pool this year, I accidentally let the FC get to zero and had bacteria convert some CYA into ammonia -- I cleared this up quickly, but wanted to see if the borates would prevent that (I'll do an experiment at the end of this season).

Richard

#13 tedinelkgrove

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 03:31 PM

Imnay, I appreciate the advice but you are comparing apples and oranges. You live in humid Florida which gets plenty of rain and dilutes your pool. I live in the dry Sacramento Valley of California where it doesn't rain from May until Nov, the humidity is very low, and I get direct sunlight all day long (no shade). Plus my pool is plaster, so TA and the use of algaecides does matter with respect to staining and care of plaster. I may be new to pools, but I have a degree in Biology and I am a LC mass spectrometer field service engineer. So I actually enjoy taking care of the pool and doing the necessary testing.

Richard, please see my post on FC level in Water Chemistry.

#14 RehabberGuy

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 12:30 PM

QUOTE (tedinelkgrove @ Jun 22 2009, 08:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am a new pool owner since June 1st. I went to Leslie's pool supply today and bought a chemical test kit, muriatic acid, and a pumice bar for removing scale. I still need to get chlorine (granular and tabs). Are there better places to get pool supplies at a cheaper price? Are there certain brands of chlorine that are superior to others? Are there other chemicals I need? The pool is looking great. I had a service get it up and running, but that was just for the first month. I am on my own now.


Tedinelkgrove - Where did you find the best deals online? I've been looking around & I'm considering this pool supplies store because their local. However, how often have you wanted to return something you've bought?

Thanks,

RG

#15 Seahunt

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 06:05 AM

I have found Leslie's to be the best. They have the best prices and are the only ones that carry 12% liquid chlorine (chlorox is 6%) in my area (Annapolis MD). That being said, man are the chemicals expensive. Study the BBB method as it can help keep costs down.

#16 precision

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 03:04 PM

Hello there,
My name is Greg and I own a pool store in Ma. As far as where you buy your chemicals, sometimes the cheapest isnt the best. in some cases Its all the same. As far as stuff like PH adjusters etc- they are all the same but as far as sanitizers go- often times they are not. For instance big box stores are restricted by law to only cary chlorine up to a certain percentage of active chlorine, In most cases real POOL STORES cary chlorine which is not stuffed with fillers that can detract from water quality, where as most pool stores cary the highest percentage available- with as few fillers as possible- makeig the chlorine much more effective and needing less of it. As far as online only retailers- sometimes they are cheaper on whole goods such as parts, but as a store owner I am less expensive on almost all chemicals the online only stores, after you factor in the handeling charges. Be carefull the shipping is FREE yes but they all have a handleing fee which almost ALWAYS makes the price higher ( at leas higher than what I sell it for)
Greg Precision Pools

#17 Kahn

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 11:01 AM

But why do you guys bend the customer over on the prices of items like baking soda, and calcium chloride? The same 100% CaCl that you can get at places like Ace hardware sold as ice melt in 50lb bags for 10 dollars? ALL chemicals used in pools are cheap to manufacture and purchase. Calcium Hypochlorite otherwise knows and chlorine granules, $600 a ton, that's $0.30 / lb but yet you charge $3-5 a lb. This industry REALLY does need some competition. Every time I buy chemicals that I can't gut from a chemical supplier, I know I'm getting bent over and a$$ pounded on the price.




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