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How long can you safely go without treating pool water? - Swimming Pool Help

How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

The basics of swimming pool maintenance. New pool owner's questions and help getting started with pool care.

How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Tassle » Sun 31 May, 2009 18:36

Hi all, I've just built a 13ft (3.6m) diameter above ground pool and have been looking into water maintenance. I reeeealy don't want to chlorinate the pool as I want to be able to jump in and out without having to shower off all the chemicals. I've also established that UV / Ionising systems are very expensive and nobody is certain ozone isn't dangerous.

i'm therefore considering using just a filter and changing the water periodically as its a relatively small pool compared to the big inground ones! How often would I need to change the water bearing in mind I want to stay safe but I also don't want to waste water unnecessarily...

Also does anyone have a better solution - I'm very poor so it would need to be cheap!

All the best,
Tass
Tassle
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Me... » Mon 01 Jun, 2009 08:15

I think you should pay speacial attention to the miriad of posts from people who actually try to look after their pools and still have problems.

Hope you have a good doctor well versed in ear problems and skin conditions, you will need one. Also any friends or family who happen to jump in your pool.

Good Luck!
Me...
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Tassle » Wed 03 Jun, 2009 20:04

that really doesn't help me much :(
I fully understand i can't just leave water in the pool indefinitely without treatment. What I don't know (and you haven't answered) is whether changing the water every X days is a sensible option and if it is, how often I should do it?
Tassle
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Me... » Thu 04 Jun, 2009 00:48

Most of the water coming out of our taps will have 1 to 1.5 ppm chlorine in it, go measure it and see. They need to put chlorine or a chlorine/ammonia combo in the water to keep the the bacteria count down inside all the plumbing that brings water to our homes.

So since you drink it, swimming in it should not be too much of a problem? Its how you maintain the chlorine and all the rest of your pool that determines how it will affect you.

As for how often to change it? Treat is like a bathtub because as soon as you swim in it, icky things from your body will be in the water. A quick dip your toilet sound nice?
Me...
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Crimson » Thu 04 Jun, 2009 09:19

The bathtub analogy seems to stick in my head as well. Would you get into someone else's bathtub water? Even if they were fairly clean or showered before they took it? I wouldn't. I'd say you'd start to have problems without changing your pool water in a few days without chlorine, especially if people are using it. I don't see chlorine as an option.. if you want a safe pool you should be adding some..
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby chem geek » Thu 04 Jun, 2009 10:59

If you want the pool to be sanitary, you need at least some small amount of chlorine. However, to prevent algae growth, the chlorine level needs to be higher unless you use a supplemental algaecide or phoshpate remover. So I would suggest that if you want to use the minimum amount of chlorine, then, at extra cost, you use either a weekly PolyQuat 60 algaecide or a phosphate remover and you could also use 50 ppm Borates as an additional algistat as well. These will prevent algae growth and let you have a low chlorine level of, say, 1 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) in the pool with a higher Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level of 50-80 ppm. This is a very low chlorine level that you shouldn't even smell or notice except that if you sweat, then the chlorine will react with it on the skin. It's not chlorine you would be showering away, but monochloramine. Nevertheless, at 1 ppm FC with a high CYA level the smell would be minimized and the effects of chlorine on skin, hair and swimsuits would also be minimal.
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Tassle » Mon 08 Jun, 2009 16:54

cheers Chem Geek for the first useful answer! I'll follow your advice and see how that works out for me. :thumbup:
Tassle
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How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby Frasertime » Mon 08 Jun, 2009 20:30

I think the answer to your question is about 3-6 days. The problem is that the chlorine that you need to keep the bacteria in check is used up more quickly as the temperature rises, the activity increases, and as sweat and other body stuff is put into the pool. Additionally, the chlorine that is in the pool must be circulated regularly to be effective.
It will be very difficult for you to have any enjoyment of your pool over a long period of time without the use of chlorine. With all of the other systems available... ozone, ionizers, etc... they all require that you maintain a residual level of chlorine. Commercial pools require 1.5PPm of chlorine residual in the pool REGARDLESS of what other system you add.
So, unless you are in an area where you can essentially fill the pool when you want to swim and drain it afterward, i would recommend that you study up on the proper use of chlorine. There just aren't any gold plated alternatives.
Frasertime
 

How long can you safely go without treating pool water?

Postby chem geek » Mon 08 Jun, 2009 21:10

Well, if the question is literally how long does it take water to become unsanitary if there is no sanitizer at all in the pool (i.e. no chlorine, bromine, Baqua/biguanide/PHMB, or even copper/silver or algaecide), then keep in mind that bacteria double in population every 15-60 minutes. So one bacteria can turn into 4 billion in 8 hours. With algae, it takes around 3-8 hours for every doubling of population so usually takes a day or two before the water gets dull then in another day or two it gets cloudy and then green (depending on the type of algae).
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