PoolSolutions Tip# 42: Swimming Pool Chemicals You May NEVER Need!

Think of foam as a final warning: if you've got foam, you've got other problems. Fix those problems, and the foam will go away.

Usually, your water is unsanitary, and may be unsafe. Using defoamer on foamy, cloudy pool water is pretty much like spraying your dog's doings with bathroom deodorizer: a nice gesture, but it really doesn't improve the situation.

Oxygen shocks (on outdoor pools)
Oxygen shocks have lots of advantages, except no one seems to know what they are.

They used to be promoted a shock-n-swim-with-no-waiting product. But apparently, DuPont, who makes the ingredient used in the decent oxy-shocks has backed off of this claim. It still is true that oxy-shocks don't smell bad like chlorine shocks often do.

On the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any proof that oxy-shocks do anything better than inorganic chlorine shocks (calcium hypochlorite -- HTH, et. al -- or sodium hypochlorite -- bleach), except lighten your wallet. DuPont's Oxone product manager thinks that Oxone (not: ozone) may do a better job of controlling chloramines on indoor pools, but the last time I talked to him, he still didn't have any real evidence of this.

At least the Oxone (potassium monopersulfate) based products sorta work, and they don't hurt. The other oxy shocks (perborate, persulfate, etc.) can make a mess of your pool. Some will actually remove chlorine from the pool; others build up and cause skin problems.

And even Oxone can convert chloramines to nitrates, which is pure algae food. Even low levels of nitrates can, according to some reports, result in uncontrollable algae. On outdoor pools, at least, it's really easy to avoid chloramines in the first place. On indoor pools, my own testing has shown no benefits, llots of expenses. and some potentially SERIOUS problems (next item).

All in all, oxygen swimming pool shocks seem to be a product in search of a use!

Oxygen shocks (on pools w/ ORP controllers) -
ORP based pool chemistry controllers (Stanco, Chemtrol, K&E, and others) measure a value called the redox potential of the water, and use that value to infer (guess at) the chlorine level. Unfortunately, the sensor used for this purpose can't distinguish between chlorine and monopersulfate. If you use monopersulfate shock (Oxone based) on a pool with an ORP based controller, you can end up with NO chlorine in your pool, just monopersulfate. And monopersulfate is NOT a sanitizer.

This is a problem that's not just a nuisance: on commercial pools, it can be a very serious hazard.

Stabilizer (on indoor pools) -
Stabilizer (conditioner, cyanuric acid, isocyanuric acid) is only useful if your pool is exposed to sunlight. Indoors, it does nothing for you, and can make things much worse.

ANY CHEMICAL you don't have to use -
Most pool chemicals will do something you want: but every pool chemical will do something you don't want. Many, many pool problems are caused by using chemicals that weren't necessary in the first place. This especially includes copper algicides, clarifiers and anti-stain agents. Don't use anything you don't need, and don't use more than you need of anything you do need.

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