The hunt for easy, safe and inexpensive sanitization methods for pools and spas is a never ending struggle. A particularly interesting one is the dichlor bleach method, which created a hype for quite a long time. While most of the pool owners who experimented with it swear by it, there are some who met it with criticism.
If you are new to this intriguing method of sanitizing pools and spas, worry no more. In this article, I will explain pretty much all that you need to know about it.
Method- Easiest Way to Do It
The principle of the dichlor bleach method is a bit technical. In short and simple words, the idea is that first you balance the water chemistry and maintain the cyanuric acid (CYA) levels in a specific range using dichlor. The CYA ensures that chlorine stays in the water for longer and does not get too harsh. Then you follow it for the rest of the month with simple bleach.
To make matters easier for you, here is a step by step guide of this procedure:
Drainage and Refill
Ideally, you should start off by draining the pool or spa and then refilling it. This will provide you with a clean, fresh slate to work on. It is recommended that you use a pool cleaner such as the Ahh-Some- Swimming Pool Clarifier Gel to get rid of the biofilms and greases that might be present in the pool, jets and pipings.
Balance Pool Chemistry
Measure the pool chemical levels by using a quality drop test kit, such as the Pool Exact EZ Photometer Master Pool Test Kit, as it gives more accurate results than test strips. Special attention needs to be paid to the total alkalinity (TA) and the pH of the water. The TA needs to be maintained at a level of around 50 ppm, in order to prevent excessive alkalinity that might occur due to the formation and release of carbon dioxide gas when using this method.
The TA can be lowered by using dry acid or Muriatic acid.
Recommended Muriatic acid:
Add 50 ppm of borates. This will act as a buffer to maintain the pH value in the desired range.
Now to the real deal. At this step, you need to add dichlor, but very systematically. Dichlor contains both free chlorine and CYA. Begin by adding 10 ppm of dichlor, which will give you approximately 9 ppm of CYA. Over the course of the next few days, you need to measure the free chlorine levels of the pool DAILY. Add more dichlor each day to maintain an overall free chlorine level of 3 to 6 ppm.
Once you have added enough dichlor (34 to 44 ppm) to reach a total CYA level of 30 to 40 ppm, you can stop adding more dichlor and use bleach instead.
For the next month or so, use bleach to sanitize your pool every time you need to, and you are good to go.
Pros And Cons
- The biggest advantage of the dichlor bleach method is its cost effectiveness. Bleach is readily available almost everywhere, with a price of as little as $4 to $5 a gallon, which should last you for months.
- The dichlor bleach method can allow you to go for about twice as long as dichlor or chlorine/ bromine only. This will save you from the hassle of changing water every 2 weeks. Instead, it can last you for more than a month.
- This method is immensely effective, and leaves your pool water sparkly clean.
- The dichlor bleach method is quite safe. The CYA prevents the bleach from becoming too harsh for the skin, lungs and the pool equipment.
- The meticulous maintenance of water chemistry can be exceedingly cumbersome, especially if you do not use the pool very often.
- The chances of the TA levels rising are quite high when using this method. Excessive alkalinity can lead to scaling.
- Might not be effective in hot tubs.
Considerations While Using The Dichlor Bleach Method
It is not hard to conclude that this innovative method of sanitizing pool water is worth a try. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind here.
- It is necessary to measure the free chlorine levels of the pool EVERY SINGLE DAY. The FC levels will dictate the amount of dichlor that you need to add.
- The water chemistry must be balanced depending on the usage of your pool. The frequency of use, the number of people using it, and the duration of use all play a part in affecting the water chemical balance.
- It is imperative to use plain bleach without scent. Scented and “splashless” bleaches contain additives that can affect the efficacy of this method. Ideally, 8% pool grade bleach should do the job well.
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