Swimming Pool Secret #2: Buy Swimming Pool Chemicals from the Grocery Store!

Virtually all grocery stores have bleach (sodium hypochlorite), baking soda , and borax. Household bleach (6%) at $2/gallon is no great bargain -- but it's a functional substitute for any chlorine compound, and easy to get when you are in a hurry.

One gallon of bleach is equal in chlorine content to 2/3 lb. of shock (calcium hypochlorite). Put another way, one gallon will add about 2 ppm chlorine to a 30,000 gallon pool.

And baking soda, at $0.40/lb. is a whole lot cheaper than "Alkalinity Increaser" for $1.10/lb. Both are 100% sodium bicarbonate.

Borax (20 Mule Team brand) is several dollars cheaper than a patented, branded material also containing 100% sodium tetraborate and is a good substitute for "PH-UP" -- especially in spas -- and is at least $0.50/lb. cheaper.
Want to know more?

Tricky, tricky, tricky!

Pool chemical companies often like to use tricky chemical names for their products, so you don't recognize them. It even fools many dealers and pool builders -- I had some rather nasty emails a few years ago from a dealer who genuinely believed his 'brand-name' "sodium acid carbonate" was better for your pool than plain baking soda! Anyhow, here's a table of "aliases" used by pool dealers and companies:

Common name Common 'pool' names Usual chemical name Alternate chemical names
Baking soda Alkalinity increaser sodium bicarbonate sodium acid carbonate
sodium hydrogen carbonate
Washing soda pH UP sodium carbonate soda ash
Bleach Liquid chlorine sodium hypochlorite sodium hypochlorite, 3%
sodium hypochlorite, 6%
sodium hypochlorite, 10%
sodium hypochlorite, 15%
20 Mule-team
Proteam Supreme
sodium tetraborate sodium tetraborate pentahydrate
sodium tetraborate decahydrate
Other pool chemicals 
Stabilizer cyanuric acid
sun protector
chlorine protector
cyanuric acid isocyanuric acid
Calcium calcium increaser
calcium plus
hardness increaser
calcium chloride calcium chloride, anhydrous
calcium chloride, dihydrate
pH Up pH increaser
pH plus
pH booster
sodium hydroxide caustic soda
pH Down pH decreaser
pH minus
pH subtractor
dry acid
sodium bisulfate sodium acid sulfate

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