Swimming Pools-Myths and Misconceptions

by Pool Builders on 08-29-2006 in Articles

Swimming Pools-Myths and Misconceptions

I've been in the swimming pool business a long time and am constantly taken aback by things told to my customers by people in my industry; Crazy things, nutty stuff and plain old hogwash. I am also troubled by the way many worthwhile products are oversold to people just trying to make living with a pool easier. In this article I'm going to try and set the record straight on some of the more outrageous statements and claims I've run across in the good ole swimming pool business.

Water Cancer

I heard this one twice this year so it gets top billing. Both times pool store employees who ought to know better tried to sell folks in excess of 200 lbs of pool shock in one go because their pool had "water cancer". Occasionally a pool will not react to normal shocking or super-chlorination. The reasons for this are two-fold and neither of them is cancerous. The pool in question has almost always had heavy use creating a lot of contaminants that use up chlorine and create chloramines. When shocking a pool in this condition the normal dose may not raise the free chlorine level as it otherwise would. The solution is to shock again using the regular dosage until the free chlorine reading comes up to where it should be. Adding huge amounts of shock to the pool is not only unnecessary but also dangerous. The diagnosis of "Water Cancer" is ridiculous as well as extremely expensive.

Ionizers, metalizers etc.

Pure oversell. Silver and copper do kill algae and are very effective. These metals DO NOT replace chlorine in part or in total. The purpose of chlorine is to chemically destroy complex organic contaminants introduced into a pool by swimmers and the environment. These contaminants, if not destroyed (oxidized), are food for algae and other infestations. Eliminating chlorine or lowering the level reduces this vital oxidation process and creates conditions more favorable to algae and bacteria. Metals have no oxidizing power whatsoever. If chlorine is reduced or absent metals will not keep a pool clean. If chlorine is present in the correct amount algae and bacteria can't flourish and no algaecidal products are needed. In other words, why pay money to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

OTO Duo test kits

This type of test kit is the biggest selling test kit in the pool industry. These kits purportedly test for free chlorine, total chlorine and pH by adding the appropriate chemical to a pool water sample and matching the color obtained to a chart included with the kit. The problem is that the color change reaction indicating the level of free chlorine happens literally within one second. The reaction then intensifies to show total chlorine. It is nearly impossible to accurately measure the free chlorine level with this kit for the average pool owner. This ultra quick reaction reduces the utility of the kit to a pH tester as total chlorine levels are not very useful to know. Far better to use test strips or DPD 3 way test kits as they both offer usable free chlorine test results.

Just as in any other market place, if it sounds to good to be true, it is.

Rob "Dr.Duck" Coxworth

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