Self-serving pseudo-science with Terry Arko | RYP (Episode 137)

Self-serving pseudo-science with Terry Arko | RYP (Episode 137)

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Well, I was pretty convinced that after the Northeast show, we were never going to do another live podcast at a trade show booth. But our awesome video crew here brought good microphones. So we can't resist. We took a class yesterday, Terry, that we want to talk about today that we've seen before at the international show. If you don't listen to us regularly, I'm your host Eric Knight with Orenda. I'm sitting here at a table with Terry Arko, who is a more frequent guest than my somewhat co...

sorry. I'm here. I made it on this one, ladies and gentlemen.

We are at a trade show. Our co host, our loyal co host, Jarred, is also with us. You're doing big things. Thank you. I did not go to any classes because I'm not here to further my education. I'm here just to, uh, just to wing it.

Let it be known that Jarred is also not looking at the show notes. Mm mm. Mm mm. But Terry, I'm glad to have you here.

Thank you, and I'm glad to be here. I'm glad to have Terry here, too. Yeah.

Terry actually just burned me this morning. Uh, I was the warm up band, apparently, for his class. And he had more people in his class than mine, and was ribbing on me the entire time, and I'm grateful for that.

Every good rock star has to have a good warm up band, right? I'll tell you what, I thought it was funny. It was definitely cool. I'm really into Terry 2.0 coming out here and coming out here.

Oh, Que Hales. Say hi to us real quick. We're recording. You're going to, yeah. Well to our audience. Oh, okay.

Thanks. You'll be on an episode one day. or without your consent. So People must think we live at trade shows because, we do.

This time of year we do. We pretty much do. We haven't been home much. I can attest that since January, it's been one big trade show. A lot of classes, a lot of trade show time.

And this is the last one of the season. Hey, I just want everybody to know, today's topic is a pretty exciting one to me. This is actually something that is discussed at these trade shows, their classes. And it's kind of unfortunate.

But I get it. And we're here to debunk the mixed messaging. Is that what we want to call it? What do we want to call it? Frankly, I want to broadcast it out because it's been some of the best PR we've ever received.

And, uh, I don't want it to stop, I want to amplify it. Because we're getting a lot of questions where people are like well, now we're curious. What are you saying? And they're realizing what we're saying actually makes sense. Oh, this is how the telephone game works, I guess. That's what we're going to clarify. Yeah, and I want to talk about something before we get into these supposed nine myths of water chemistry perpetrated by certain companies in the industry.

Us. Have you ever heard of a straw man argument? You know what that is? A strawman is when you construct a caricature of somebody's argument and you, you change it a little bit and then you attack the caricature of what their argument was. So it's not the exact argument. You're not like deliberately line by line going after what they're saying.

You kind of mischaracterize it and you go, and that's what a lot of this is. And when we were at the international show in Vegas, we sat in this class, Jarred and Terry. Yes. We almost had the clean sweep. We almost had all nine.

So, without further ado, this is episode 137, I think? I don't even have it in front of me. Are we going to title this one Mixed Messages? How about Self Serving Pseudoscience? Ooh. Live from the Western Show, let's get into it.

Okay, myth number one. The ANSI 11 industry standards do not ever allow for water chemistry to be outside of the ranges. The next slide, they say, this is false. Because it's only the required ranges for when people are in the water. Okay.

Discuss. Well, I can say that one, surprisingly, is pretty well on the mark. Because I don't disagree. It, it's true. Yeah. Basically the standards and the ranges, and if you look at like ANSI standard 11, 2019, it says these standards apply for pools that are being used.

Pools when swimmers are present. Right. It doesn't have anything to do with winterization, startup, those kinds of things.

So, I would say that one is pretty straightforward. If that's the case, well, you're kind of agreeing with us. You can change these ranges if you have to startup a pool. You can change these ranges to winterize your pool to get through the winter.

You do need a lot more calcium. You can let your pH drift up because it's going to go up there anyway, especially if you have a mesh cover. All of these things, that kind of protects what we say, is it not? In non use pools. Pools without bodies in them, yes.

So that one's straightforward, I think. The fact that the pH rises, which we will get into in a future myth, That is going to break the range, but that's not the pool pro breaking the range. That is physics breaking the range. Let's just clarify here.

All we're saying is it's going to go there, whether you want it to or not. Yeah. And you need to be prepared when it does so that you're not unbalanced.

Speaking of which, that's brings us to myth number two. So myth number two, and I quote, it is important to give water what it wants. Does that sound familiar? We've said that a time or two.

I think I've said that a time or 12. Yeah. It is important to give water what it wants, quote unquote, make water happy. It's best for the pool surface and best for the swimmers.

Then, the next slide, there is a belief, and by the way, they always say there is a belief that kind of pretentious, but that's the tone of the whole thing, which was enjoyable to me. There is a belief that achieving balanced water, underlined, above all else, is the ultimate maintenance goal. Then they say, this is false because it is not an end all be all and et cetera.

The more important thing is disinfection is what they're saying. We agree. We agree. I want to swim in safe water. I want my kids swimming in safe water and I want it to be sanitized.

Is it safe? Great. My kids can swim in it. And health departments agree because if you look at any health department requirements or standards, they don't really have any standards per se on water balance. They've got disinfection and pH. And the only reason they have the pH is because of the, we'll get into another myth and so forth later, but, where the pH determines the disinfection of the water from the sanitizer chlorine.

But the health departments don't have LSI necessarily. And they don't have standards or requirements of LSI or water balance because health departments are only concerned about one thing. Disinfection of the water and keeping the public from being sick.

Well, I guess my question is why can't you have both? Yeah, I take issue with this one. And the reason I take issue with this one is not what you said. What you said is right. I care a lot more about the health and safety of swimmers. Hell, I am one.

I care a lot more about the health and safety of people using the pool than the surface texture of a plaster swimming pool or the integrity of the heat exchanger or whatever else. I mean, yes, we want to protect the investment, but we got to protect people first. No doubt. My issue with this is when you use words like give water what it wants, that is a direct quote. That's what we say. So it seems very targeted.

And then you're going to mischaracterize it and say, oh, that's above all else, that's all that matters. No, I said that's what water wants. That's what it cares about. But natural water is not disinfected. Water will return to its natural state.

Leave a pool for a month in the summer and it's going to turn into a swamp or a pond. Natural water, right? Water doesn't want to disinfect itself. That is inherently unnatural for it. We need to disinfect water. That's what I'm getting at. And you know, to make water happy, so to speak, we're talking about getting it into its physical equilibrium, it's happy place so that we can also disinfect that pool.

They, they leave the second part out. And I even had people on certain Facebook groups say, and I have to laugh about this, but it's definitely a mischaracterization. They say, well, those Orenda guys, they'll outright say if you're LSI balanced, you don't need chlorine. I don't know where I heard that.

When have we ever said that? We have never advocated for a chlorine free pool. Ever. Have you ever? Jarred, you might have. Like, you're giving me this look like, well, I mean I have seen those natural pond looking pools. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. Now, I don't know anything about them, but turns out we are a chemical manufacturing company and we do sell chlorine, so. Not that I would. Well we do now.

Not that I would make that the basis for my case, but either way. That's only in the last, what, 20 episodes of this podcast? Before that we didn't make chlorine and they're referring to things we've said for years. We always said chlorine is the best algaecide, chlorine is the best sanitizer.

Yes. It is phenomenal. It, it is saved more lives than anybody could count.

Yeah. Why would we advocate against it? We never have and we never will because chlorine is the most necessary chemical in your pool. We want to supplement it. We want to help chlorine. We don't want to say that LSI balance is going to replace its need.

We've never said that. And that implication is, uh, it's certainly unfair. But it was also said in there, because I have it recorded, that certain people out there and certain chemical manufacturers would have you believe. I don't know of any others that have ever said anything like this.

Maybe I'm wrong, Terry. Am I wrong? I might be wrong. I don't think so.

And I think that for me, what it is, is the messaging is the physics of water. Uh, and I talk about this a lot too. I talk about it when I talk about water being chaotic as a madman.

I remember that, yeah. Water's going to do what it wants to do regardless of what you try and will or whatever. Yeah. So the physics are going to happen. Water's going to do what it wants to do and you need to understand that. And in understanding that, then comes the management when you understand that and you can manage that water correctly rather than trying to mismanage it because you don't understand the physics.

Right, because if we try to beat water into submission, it doesn't end well. We're going to go into our next myth. And I quote, Myth number three.

The pH is constantly increasing outside of the acceptable range stated in Standard 11, and then they underline this, and there are no options. The issue, I'm still quoting, Since the pool is open to air, carbon dioxide is constantly being removed from the water. This causes the pH to increase over time. There is a belief that the standard is too limiting, there are no reasonable options, and the pH range should be increased. And then they say this is false, and then they talk about the carbonate, bicarbonate, carbonic acid equilibrium, which we talk about. And by the way, if you want to see what they're talking about, go to the Orenda app, show secondary readings, tap carbonate alkalinity, and there's a chart there.

That's what they're referring to. Um, first of all, the pH is not constantly increasing. If it was, it would never stop. It's increasing up to the pH ceiling at a proportionally slow rate the closer you get because it's a square root function and we talk about this in our show a lot. It's going up to the pH ceiling. So it's not constant, it never was.

Then, the other thing is there are no options. Well, why do we call it containing pH then if there's no options? The name of the podcast, the episode we talk about is how to contain pH. If there's no options, you couldn't do that, especially if it's constantly increasing.

So that's two contrary things that misrepresent what we say. Second of all, if I'm looking at this correctly, based on the photos of the screenshots that I took from the class, what is an acid feeder? What is an auto cover? What is a trichlor feeder? We mention these things because they do suppress the pH. We have a whole episode on how to suppress your pH. Of course there's options.

Straight up adding muriatic acid. Yeah, a weekly correction. Which, by the way, according to John Wojtowicz in his paper, he talks about this where you add acid and you convert bicarbonate ions into carbonic acid and you recarbonate your water. As we know, the beer is then going to have to go flat, which brings your pH back up. It's all in equilibrium.

But they're saying this is false. First of all, sorry to dominate this one. Cause this one, actually laughed a little bit in the back and a bunch of people were like, Oh shit, he's sitting here. Um, he says the way to do this is just have less alkalinity and then you can curtail how high the pH goes. And I'm thinking, isn't that exactly what we teach? So why is this even on this list? I've sat in on your classes, where you've taught that exact same thing, managing your carbonate alkalinity and where's additional CO2 going to come from? And when you have more CO2, what does that do to your pH? Lowers your pH.

And that's in your carbonate alkalinity management. And again, this all comes down to and even going back to the other one explaining And making it clear what water wants to do, what the physics of water, which you can't control. You can't break those laws. But when you understand those laws, you can bring other things into effect. Like adjusting your alkalinity.

Another one I talked about in my class today, too, is you can add borates. Borates are a buffer that keep the pH from rising as fast. Are they going to completely stop it? No, but they're going to really slow it down considerably. And that's helpful.

And so when you understand those things You can manage the water. That is a good mention there of borates. We don't promote the use of borates, everybody.

Here we are talking about it. But, again, to Terry's point and to Eric's point, we know there are options out there for managing the pH. We are big fans of automation systems that can help you manage your pH. You know this because it would be silly to think otherwise. You can manage this. We're just saying you know it's going to go up.

Plan accordingly. Which which, by the way, is preferable to just dumping muriatic acid. Certainly if you're not measuring.

So let me just give them the benefit of the doubt, because there have been times where I've said, Guys, Henry's Law is real. It's as guaranteed as gravity, and there is nothing you can do about it. I do say that in my class. But what I'm saying there, don't take it out of context.

When I said there's nothing you could do about Henry's Law, I'm not saying there's no options to account for it. What I'm saying is Henry's Law is still going to occur. You can't get rid of a law of physics. You can't just say, I don't agree with gravity today because technically gravity is still a theory, right? I just don't agree with it today. So therefore I want to fly, or I want to float.

You can't do that, and you can't do that to Henry's Law. But there are things to accommodate for the fact that it is real and it's going to happen. Those are the options. So this is disingenuous at best, but I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt because it's probably based on me saying there's nothing you can do about it, but whatever. Okay, myth number four, quote, water balance indexes indicate whether the water is scaling or corrosive to surfaces and metals.

Then they say the issue. There is a belief that if pool and hot tub water is balanced, it is neither corrosive nor scaling. This is FALSE, all caps. They show the next slide, the facts they're talking about corrosion, they're not talking about scaling in this. They say indexes, all caps FAIL to account for several other corrosion factors common in water. Parameters are always changing, no steady state or equilibrium and saturation chemistry.

And it should only be used as a predictive tool. Oh, we don't disagree that it should be used as a predictive tool, but only as a predictive tool. I don't know. It's a pretty solid thing to base your strategy around in my opinion. But what they're saying is it does not provide a complete picture. And what they talk about is corrosion of metals.

Yes. LSI is not the only way you can corrode metals. Okay. A very low pH, even if you're theoretically, it'd be very hard to be LSI balanced, but theoretically you could be LSI balanced. Lower the pH enough, and you could accelerate something like galvanic corrosion.

There's electrochemical corrosion, there's sulfate corrosion, there's salt corrosion, there's other forms of corrosion. We've never said those don't exist. In fact, we do talk about sulfates in an episode. But they're acting like, well, if you're LSI balanced, this company, us, is saying, Oh, all you've got to do is LSI balance, you'll never have corrosion.

That's not true. What are chloramines? Chloramine corrosion, you can be perfectly LSI balanced if you don't have your water quality in order and you're not managing your combined chlorine like you talk about in your class, Terry. You can absolutely have other forms of corrosion. So, not really sure what they're going for here. What do you think? You can have corrosion just from salt in a salt pool as well. Yeah.

Um, so that's another aspect. But I think the interesting thing is, I've taught this and I've taught LSI as a CPO instructor for a long time. And when we teach, uh, LSI in CPO, we go through several manual adjustments. So problems are presented where you have a scale forming pool.

You have a corrosive pool, and we go through manual examples on what we're attempting to do. And in every one of those examples, what we're saying is, first of all, we'll say, Hey, this pool is a minus, Four, or a minus five. And we ask the question, Is that corrosive or is that scale forming? The answer is, it's corrosive. So then we'll have another example, it'll be plus seven, plus eight, and we'll ask the question again, is this corrosive or scale forming? According to CPO, that's scale forming.

Then we'll do one where we'll come out to +0.10, -0.10, or even 0.0. And the question is asked again. What is this? It's balanced water.

And so, in CPO, LSI is being taught as the indicator of whether you have corrosive water, scale forming water, or water that's balanced, depending on where it's at. For the homeowners listening, uh, Terry's referring to CPO. That is the Certified Pool Operator Program that commercial pool operators are required to take. So any public pool you go to, there's a really good chance that It's that operator has either passed the CPO class and exam or the AFO, which is the Aquatic Facility Operator exam. It's sort of a minimum standard for a commercial pool operator.

And Terry, you taught it for a very long time. You know, what's in that program front and back. Yeah.

Taught for nearly 20 years. Yeah. So I'd say you've taken it a time or two.

The other piece here is I think it is kind of disingenuous because when you balance the LSI and you are not negative, let's just say -0.30, generally speaking, you're not going to be corroding metals either outside of salts, chloramines, the other forms of corrosion. Because the biggest factor or changing factor on the LSI is what? The pH. Your pH. So if you keep your pH managed and you don't drop it to some ridiculous number, you're not going to have corrosion because of, let's say the LSI. And here we are a self serving chemical manufacturer that manufactures acid telling you that you should measure and use less acid.

What a concept. Because if you don't, if you overdose acid, you don't dilute it, it will go down and it can cause problems. It goes in your main drain, it can absolutely corrode. We show this picture in pretty much every class we do, which is undiluted acid dropping down to the bottom of the floor, being sucked into a main drain, going straight through the heart of your system, which is your heater, your pump. What do you think that's doing? That is an extremely low pH, which we don't recommend, and that is going to cause corrosion.

Let me read it again and tell me where it's false. Water balance indexes indicate whether the water is scaling or corrosive to surfaces and metals. That's not a false statement to begin with, but there are other ways to corrode metals, right? Is that being skewed a little bit? Because the LSI, it is not referring to metals, is it? It's not.

It's referring to calcium carbonate saturation. Yes, exactly. So it's kind of a twist on words there that we've mentioned metals and how negative LSI can impact metals because you're generally running a lower pH or Like a heat exchanger or something like that. But in principle, we know that the LSI is specifically talking about calcium carbonate equilibrium.

Yeah. And the tendency of that calcium carbonate to form scale. Yes, or the water to be hungry for it. Right. And whether that affects metals or not, that is a way to corrode metal.

It is a way. It's not the only way, but it is a way. So that's not a false statement to begin with, but let's move on. Myth number five, there's nine of these, buckle up.

In a pool using chlorine and cyanuric acid, keeping the pH in the acceptable range is not important. Chlorine is controlled by CYA. The issue, there is a belief that CYA has a greater impact on chlorine's ability to disinfect than does pH. This is FALSE, all caps. Before I read what they say for the facts, um, this should be interesting. There's a lot of peer reviewed science on this topic here.

A lot. Now, I have not seen much peer reviewed science. I've seen a lot of policies, I've seen a lot of voted on standards, I've seen a lot of opinions. Not a lot of peer reviewed science that actually backs up the position that they're going to take here. So, that's my take. Now, if it is there, I will read it, Terry.

If anyone knows how to find it, it's you. So, maybe I'm speaking out of turn. Do you know of any off the top of your head? Peer reviewed science on that statement? That pH has a greater impact on stabilized chlorine than CYA levels.

No. I haven't either. No.

Nothing there. Um, There's also no peer reviewed science to refute that statement. Or there's some, but Oh sure, Dr. Wojtowicz, Dr.

Stanley Pickens, Richard Falk did a white paper, although he's not a chemist. Yeah. Uh, there's a lot of information out there in the journal of swimming pool and spa industry.

There's a few other studies as well that I've read and I'll share them with you, but there's a lot on cyanuric acid out there. I think the jury's out as to whether some of those were actually defined as scientifically peer reviewed. Okay. Well, we'll see.

Can you read the myth again? The myth says, in a pool using chlorine and cyanuric acid, keeping the pH in the acceptable range is not important. Chlorine is controlled by CYA. Let's dissect that.

Keeping the pH in the acceptable range is not important. We have said that the pH is going to drift outside of the acceptable range. And we've also said, I know, I've personally said, If you have stabilizer, meaning cyanuric acid, if you have CYA, in your water, there is a negligible difference in the percentage of HOCl between 7.0 and 8.0, and even 8.5 pH. Not to be confused with, does not have an impact, because we know that it does, we're just saying it's not as much as people think. A couple percent at most, fractions of a percent usually.

As not great of an impact as if there's absolutely no CYA in there. And that's, that's a true statement. Well, we also say that you need to limit how high your pH goes because hypochlorite ion will break away from CYA and then you'll lose it to the sun. That is the big issue, which is why we do the pH ceiling because you can't be there all day, every single day, unless you have chemical automation.

My take on this is In teaching Bob Lowry's PCTI like I do. Where Bob talks about 97 percent of chlorine is bound to CYA. You've got 3 percent that is active. Okay.

My take on that is, for the 3%, you still want to get as much HOCl out of that 3 percent as possible. So, why not have a more balanced pH in that case? Well, hold that thought because here's what they say, the FACTS. Subjective, they use the word FACTS, but the FACTS: pH is, all caps, MORE important to control.

Notice they said control. pH is more important to control when chlorine and cyanuric acid are in the water. Since you are likely decreasing the amount of free available chlorine in the water, the remaining chlorine must be as active as possible. Now the second half of that, I agree with.

I agree with it as well. Yeah. The first half is, first of all, you can't control pH. You can only suppress it. We'll start there.

But, is it more important, because if we're defining this, I guess it's semantics, but the way it has been explained to me, if we're going to look at that chart where 7.5 is 50-50 of HOCl, the active form of chlorine, to hypochlorite ion. If that's what we're basing it on, we're looking at the percentage of total chlorine in the pool, the percentage of that that is HOCl. That is what determines your chlorine's effectiveness.

Right, Terry? And the ability to keep algae out of your pool, HOCl. So that amount, you need, what is it, 0.05 ppm? 0.05 parts per million HOCl to keep algae from growing.

Right, so what we really should be looking at is the amount of HOCl. So if I've got a certain amount of CYA and a certain amount of free chlorine, I can calculate, based on those two numbers, How much in parts per million of HOCl I have. This is called the free chlorine to cyanuric acid ratio. Yes.

This is trying to be debunked in this class. And it is a very real thing. And it's been quite established as far as I can tell. They make a very compelling argument and they show their math.

They show their sources. They cite their sources. And I've read those sources. And it's a much more compelling argument to me than saying, No, no, no, CYA doesn't matter.

pH still matters more. Because what they do in this, They actually show a chart, which is pretty funny. They show a chart to make their point, but that chart is a pool with zero cyanuric acid. So they're showing, well, look at 7.5, you're 50-50, but my God, if

you go to 8.0 it drops considerably. Well, what's the difference, on a stabilized pool, which is what they're talking about in this myth. I know they're listening to this episode and I'm glad you are. What is the difference between 7.0 and 8.0 in HOCl percentage on a stabilized pool? Let's say 30 CYA or 50 or 100. You know the math.

It's all published. It was published in the Model Aquatic Health Code Ad Hoc CYA Committee by people way smarter than us. And all the math is there. They've calculated the percentage of HOCl. That seems to be what matters, not conjecture and whatever else you want to call it. But you know, it's presented as science.

And I don't understand why that would be presented that way. But. It seems to be working really well for our customers in the field who are noticing. Hey, I am having success with this program I am starting to be able to hold chlorine for a week. I am preventing algae in my pools There is a way to do it.

They're chlorinating more effectively. Is there an argument to be made that the free chlorine to cyanuric acid ratio is specifically talking about the formation of algae? And what they're talking about is sanitizing a pool, period? Well, is there a difference? If you can kill algae, you can kill pretty much everything except crypto, right? Algae's harder to kill than bacteria. So, theoretically, you could say, if you're killing algae, you're killing bacteria.

Correct. And there could be a, just a misinterpretation, or maybe just a slight of hand here, which is saying, Hey, pH is important. We're not saying it's not, but we're just saying it's not a big a deal.

In a stabilized pool. That it's being made, like, in a stabilized pool. That's it.

It still matters, because it impacts every factor of chemistry. But to be very clear about what we teach. What we are saying is, in a stabilized pool, the pH is not the dominant factor controlling the strength of your chlorine anymore. Does it still impact the 3 percent that's not bound to CYA, Terry? Yes.

Yes, it does. Absolutely, it does. What matters is how much you have proportionate, because you need to have the amount of HOCl. I don't think we've ever, like, maybe I could go back, Three or four years in this podcast and old blogs.

Maybe we have something based on information we had that I should review. But I'm going to give some real credit to the late Bob Lowry, one of your closest friends, Terry. Bob Lowry, when I first came in this industry, Jarred, there were two books that I was required to read.

Actually three, the CPO book was one of them. Those books were from Bob Lowry. The IPSSA basic and intermediate training manuals. You remember these books, Terry? Yes, I do. And in 2016, when I was hired, he actually released an updated version of that book.

Because I had the original. The updated one rewrote the entire chapter on cyanuric acid. And it changed the title, I'm going to paraphrase here, but Cyanuric acid protects chlorine from sunlight and it controls your pool.

Remember when he rewrote that? Elaborate on that, Terry. Acts as a buffer, because it's a part of alkalinity. And, uh, along with alkalinity, it is going to act to keep the pH from going down, from decreasing.

Right, but that's not the only thing. He talks about that chlorine lock is not a thing, which we'll get to soon, Right. But he also talks about it does slow down your chlorine dramatically. And in that book, you can go back and read it, It's not my writing. In that book, he's talking about the percentage of hypochlorous acid required to keep algae at bay. And he also says in there if I remember right, if you can kill algae, you can kill germs, right? Algae is harder to kill.

Theoretically, you're killing bacteria. Yes. Okay.

Now this is going to come up Go pretty quickly because there's nine myths. We're about to hit six, and six and seven really tie into what we just said So I'm going to roll through these quickly and I think it's one discussion between the two. Myth number six to control algae It is important to maintain a certain ratio of CYA to free chlorine.

We've touched on that. Yeah, we did. The issue: There is a belief that algae and pools and hot tubs can be easily controlled if a specific CYA to free chlorine ratio is maintained. This is FALSE.

The facts: Not all algae are the same. This is quoting by the way regardless of whether CYA is used, the ability of chlorine to control algae growth is dependent upon the specific type of algae. For all three types of common pool and hot tub algae, small amounts of CYA have been shown to slow down kill rates.

However, Larger amounts of CYA do not further slow down kill rates. In a study conducted in swimming pools higher levels of CYA did not lead to increased algae. Then they cited two studies from Sommerfeld and Anderson in 1982, and Rakestraw in 1994, which is something known as Pinellas County study. Then they show a bunch of charts where like viable colonies don't noticeably increase as CYA levels climb past 25 ppm.

And what was not shown, and I think we need to do our homework, I will read into these studies more. I'd like to see what they actually say. Because three charts on a PowerPoint is not sufficient for me to understand what the study says. Because you can spin data in many different ways.

Hell, we can spin data to say whatever we want, really. What did you say the most recent study was? Uh, 1994. You mean to tell me in 30 years we have not had any advancement in testing, any... Well, the guy that we just went on a podcast with is doing some research in his own home. That's, as far as I know, the most advanced research we've had in algae. And kudos to Rudy for doing this.

I agree. And I think that would be really cool to see what he says. Especially if you can get support from a lab or a graduate program or something. I would like to know more about this. Absolutely. I am not an algae expert.

Terry knows a lot more about it than we do. You've been in the chlorine game for a lot longer. What's your thoughts? Well, and again, we need to do more research as well. You're right.

Uh, but it seems to me like this Pinellas County study to me has been the poster child for this since 1994. Yeah. And so that's disturbing that there isn't any other study that's come out in that many years. And also the Pinellas County study, if you look at it, there's environmental factors that are different. There's a lot of incongruities in that study, uh, that don't line up. If you really take a look at it.

And so that's another thing I think the industry needs to look at. We need to look out and I think we need more thorough data. We need more thorough testing to be done. Besides just hanging our hat on that one study. Well, I think when I looked at the charts, the first thing I thought of was of course it tapers off.

Because your percentage of HOCl is so infinitesimally low the higher you get in CYA that you're not going to see a big difference because at some point it's just freaking slow. And you can't even measure the contact times anymore which is why the CDC, years ago, put out a recommendation in an accidental fecal release, an AFR incident, that you have to limit your CYA to 15 parts per million. The reason for that was it was a practical limitation because they couldn't measure higher than that.

And I talked to the guy who actually was a part of writing that for the CDC Model Aquatic Health Code Committee, Richard Falk. And also the other people on that committee. Very intelligent people. They came out with that because they could not measure the contact times.

They were immeasurably high for the reduction of cryptosporidium that you'd have to drain your pool. Well, if they've calculated the percentage of HOCl, how come this study didn't? And how come we don't? Let's go look at the data and actually see. And I will do my homework on it. I'm not going to put an opinion on it now because I don't know enough.

But I do know that it's going to taper off anyway. So this is not really convincing to me whatsoever. And that CDC information that you mentioned is also in the CPO handbooks and is taught in CPO.

When we teach on CT values, which is the contact time in order to inactivate something like Cryptosporidium, which is what this is for. And in fact, even in that CDC recommendation, they say if, the ideal would be that if you could lower the pool to zero CYA, raise the chlorine to 20 for 13.75 hours, whatever it is. But if you can't do that, you need to increase your time, your CT value.

If it's at 20, you even increase even more, or you need to increase the amount of chlorine that you're using. So you need to go from 20 to 40 to 60, whatever it is. Yeah, I don't disagree with that.

But in other words, you're talking about something called a free chlorine to cyanuric acid ratio, which they supposedly say is a complete myth. Yeah. And that's taught in CPO. The difference is we've seen the data. Yeah, we've seen the numbers. It's not that hard to calculate your percentage of HOCl.

Now it is for us because we're not chemists, but chemists have done this. It's been published for a long time. Yeah, it's out there. Yeah. I'm going to go through number seven quickly because it's just called chlorine lock. The issue is there's a phenomenon that many refer to as chlorine lock.

This is FALSE. I don't disagree. There is no such thing that I know of that's chlorine lock. I know that it's a chlorine slowdown for sure, but their argument is that, and I think it's a valid one, nobody even knows what that means.

Several things are referred to like too much CYA in the water, or I keep adding chlorine and I can't get a reading. Or I have plenty of chlorine and it doesn't go away. I mean, I don't disagree chlorine lock is a myth, but we've never taught chlorine lock. At least I don't think we have, have we? That's, that's not our wheelhouse.

And all those things that were referenced absolutely happen. And they're probably all for different reasons. they're not a single, We were going for the clean sweep of 9 out of 9, Jarred, we didn't get it. Yeah. Unfortunately this has nothing to do with us.

This has been a controversy for a long time. I can remember I was only in the pool industry six months, and I was involved in a bar room brawl, a literal bar room brawl. Oh, the good old days, Terry. Over the existence of chlorine lock.

And it all started when a rep from a trichlor manufacturing company made a statement that there was no such thing as chlorine lock at a party. There was an actual fight? Oh, yes. Over this? Yes.

How long ago was this? Like, a year ago? Well, could have been a year ago, but it was actually probably more like about 30 years ago. Jarred, you and I were born in the wrong era, man. I mean Those were the good old days of the pool industry. And anyway, that were, those were the last words that came out of that guy's mouth, and people started throwing folding chairs at each other, and there was a fist fight that broke out.

Over chlorine lock? Oh my gosh. And, you know what? My boss at the time grabbed me by the arm and said, it's time to go. That's the expectation we have for our employees at HASA, right? I defend what I say with my fists, of course. Yeah, I'm just trying to envision a fight breaking out nowadays. What would the subject be? It's not chlorine lock. What would it be? I don't know but we could be offering bonus payments and extra PTO days for chairs being thrown.

The pH ceiling is a myth! No, it's not you son of a bitch! Okay, we're okay with this because it is a myth. We don't disagree with that, and we have nothing to do with it. But again, kudos to Bob Lowry, who rewrote it in 2016 and corrected that. And by the way, that's what you're supposed to do with education.

As you learn, you correct and you revise what was done in the past. That is what science does over time. So kudos to that. Myth number eight. Chlorine demand is caused by high phosphates and nitrates. There's a belief that high phosphates or high nitrate readings are the cause for chlorine demand or not being able to maintain chlorine.

This is FALSE. Here's the facts. Phosphates, tell me if any of these are wrong, right? Phosphates and nitrates cannot be further oxidized by chlorine and thus do not react with chlorine. I have no argument there. We've talked about this for a long time.

We agree. You're talking about on the periodic table, phosphorus and nitrogen, like those are... Well, eventually they get oxidized down into their final state, which is phosphate and nitrate, which chlorine cannot get rid of.. You can't do anything more than that. If we disagreed with that, we wouldn't sell PR-10,000.

Because chlorine could get rid of phosphates and yet we know it can't. So no disagreement on that one. Here's the next one. Demand could be caused by algae, oxidizable contaminants, ammonia and any number of other things.

Again, I'm directly quoting them. Yes, it can. No joke. Of course it can. Why would we disagree with that? And then lowering the phosphate or nitrate levels will not reduce demand.

However, replacing some of the water will reduce everything else in the water and that can lead to lower demand. Well, again, it's an indirect relationship. Because they don't interact directly with chlorine.

So, no disagreement on this. We don't teach this. Let's just say we have no shortage of people that are willing to call us out for things that we supposedly do wrong.

If we actually do them wrong, they will call us out. And we have no problem addressing it and facing it. Listen man, if you had 240 some listeners on your podcast, you would be targeted too. Okay? Moving on, myth number nine. Terry, this one is special to you and me because we just did an episode 135 on this and I want you to take this one. Okay, here's myth number nine.

Using bleach in a pool does not raise pH. The issue: there's a belief that using bleach in a pool does not raise pH levels. All caps. This is FALSE. The facts: I love this.

If using bleach in a pool does not raise pH, direct quote here, then why do pools with bleach feeders have automatic pH control systems with muriatic acid feeds? This is great, because Terry's the guy to ask here, and turns out, at HASA, we are a chlorine manufacturer, making liquid chlorine, and this is right in Terry's wheelhouse. I don't know a person in the country that knows more about chlorine, especially liquid chlorine, than Terry Arko. Take it away.

Terry, do your thing. The fact that they call it a myth that bleach is not going to raise the pH. And they counter that by saying that bleach is sodium hypochlorite, it contains sodium hydroxide. It does.

Yeah. Sodium hydroxide is a strong base. No argument there. The minute you add sodium hypochlorite bleach to the water, uh, that sodium base, is going to very quickly disassociate.

It's a strong base and yes, it's going to begin to increase the pH. That's a chemical reaction since we're going to talk about chemical reactions and physics and all the things that happen. Right. Those laws that you can't change. Well, there's another law you can't change.

You're creating hypochlorous acid from that addition of bleach, chlorine. You create that hypochlorous acid, that hypochlorous acid is going to react with Contaminants Contaminants, sunlight, UV. And those UVs are going to break down some of those hypochlorous acids to HCl. Now, Jarred, what is another word putting you on the spot? What's another word for HCl? What's the chemical name for that? Muriatic acid.

Yes. Very good. Jarred.

Thank you. HASA is going to keep me around for another week. The sodium base reaction of raising pH is immediate. The HOCl breaking down into some HCl that's going to equalize out the pH takes a little more time. So yeah, if you want to say it, it's going to raise the pH immediately.

Yes. Is it going to stay that way? No, it's going to equalize out over time as HOCl is created, and that HOCl reacts with contaminants, UV, or sunlight. That's exactly right. When we talked about it in episode 135, which listeners out there, you can go back and listen again, Terry and I talked about this. It is a temporary rise in pH. Yes, it does temporarily raise the pH, no doubt.

We never said it doesn't. Well, and liquid chlorine has a high pH in itself. Yeah, about 13.

Yeah. When it goes into the water, yes, it's going to be high temporarily. Yeah. Cal hypo will too. Trichlor won't because it's acidic. But we talked about the impacts of all these chlorines.

So I'm not sure why this is such a huge myth, but I just, let's dissect this just because it's absolutely asinine and I love it. If using bleach in a pool does not raise pH, then why do pools with bleach feeders have automatic pH control systems with muriatic acid feeds? Oh my god, which part should we unpack? Let's start with muriatic acid feeds. Have you ever seen a pool that has a bleach feeder that doesn't have a muriatic acid feed? I have not. Really? No. You've never seen a commercial pool with a CO2 feeder? Oh, sorry.

Okay. Yes. Got him. Got him.

I got Terry. I got one over on him. I have seen CO2 tanks.

It's so rare that I get you, Terry. So we got one over on you because CO2 feeds. Now.

That's because they're commercial pools and they have to regulate their pH. Backyard pools don't necessarily have to do that. We want to limit it for sure, but they don't, they're not required. I am not legally required to put an acid feeder on my pool. Most pools don't have them. Backyard pools.

Well, not just that. When you're going to go through the trouble or the expense of putting an automated system on a residential pool. Right. Most of the times, that's an ORP system and it's going to have both chlorine and acid feeders on it. So they are connected.

You can have a standalone pH feeder or an acid feeder. You can have a standalone liquid chlorine feeder. But at that point, why wouldn't you just do both? Because you're automating your system. Hasa made one for a long time that didn't have an acid feeder. Absolutely. You could put a Rola-Chem on there.

You could put a Stenner on there. You could put a diaphragm, you could put a ProMinent. It just feeds liquid chlorine. No problem.

It's a feed. And I see this quite a bit. So, not all of them have that, but is that really the justification? Let me say it again.

If using bleach in a pool does not raise the pH, then why do pools with bleach feeders have automatic pH control systems? Well, there's a lot of reasons they can have pH control systems. I mean, hell, every type of chlorine is going to have a pH control system on a commercial pool. Hey, you know why? Why? Because we know based on Henry's Law that the pH is going to go up whether we want it to or not. Thank you, Jarred. So therefore, you might as well control it. My question is, where's the bicarb feeder? Where's the soda ash feeder? If what we're saying is so wrong, don't you think the chemical engineers who design these systems know what we're saying is right? They knew it.

Why didn't we in the pool industry? And all we're trying to do is educate and we're saying, look, it's not our information. Because we don't own it. We're just informing you. If I can explain this concept with a beer of why it goes flat and that's why your pH is going up, you're going to be better at your job. Homeowners, you're going to have a better control over your pool, even though you can't control pH. You can predict it.

You can contain it. You can use physics to your advantage. That is what we are about.

Let's look at what water wants. Let's look at what the natural laws of physics that actually control water will do. Because water didn't read the textbook. And, is it possible that they don't really need those acid feeders? It's due to the addition of the bleach and the pH going up, but maybe they're not managing or they've got alkalinity that's higher. They might.

And they have to manage that alkalinity down because the pH keeps going up. And that ties to another subject I'll just touch on briefly and then we'll wrap it up here. Pools that use CO2 injectors and not acid, they'll notice that their alkalinity climbs over time.

And that's because of the excess hydroxide and chlorine. Now it's slight, and you would never notice with an acid feeder or even manual additions of acid. But it will climb over time because that neutralization you're talking about is almost 100%. It's not.

It's very close. It's 90 something percent. I don't know the exact number.

But that is not a noticeable rise in pH. Long term because you are going to bring it back down. What is a noticeable rise in pH over time is Henry's Law and the loss of CO2. So if you have the industry standard 80 to 120 alkalinity, you are going to have a pH that's naturally rising, but that is not because of liquid chlorine.

That's because of Henry's Law and that ties into salt systems, which it's physics that raise the pH and a salt system, not the chemistry. We could go down this whole thing. I'm really glad you guys are here, not just because it's a show, but When people indirectly, without saying our name, attack what we teach, I'm here to stand up for what we teach because I can sleep at night knowing that we've done our homework, we are teaching the truth, and it is the right thing for our customers to hear this. Maybe people don't want to hear it. But that's not our problem.

You don't have to listen to our podcast. We're in the marketplace of ideas. Well, not just ideas. It's at the end of the day it's for the consumer to determine whether or not this works because when you practice it in the real world, you'll find out real quick and you'll stop doing it if it doesn't work.

So we're here just to, like I said, educate. Hopefully, we help this industry and make changes that are necessary. Obviously, we're not going to do it alone we need help.

But the information is, it's putting in time, it's effort, it is, it is digesting this to make it understandable to the pool pros, to the homeowners, to people that don't have a chemistry degree. And quite honestly, it's really complicated. It can be. We don't know all this stuff, we rely on other people too. So, hopefully we have 398 followers after this.

300? You're jumping a whole hundred? Yeah, tell your friends. That's assuming that they have friends, because I know we don't. We don't. Terry's got friends. Yeah, from my standpoint, as being somebody who's been in the industry a hell of a long time, I don't even want to say the years. At least two years.

When I see something like this that we attended, and what we've just gone through, what we need to see is we need to see both sides of the science. And that's the one thing that bothers me about this presentation and about what's false and what's a myth is that it doesn't give the person in the audience or the reader or the listener the ability to see everything that justifies that statement. You're giving pieces of truth and making it the whole truth. But you're not presenting the whole picture.

Let's debate it live. Let's present the whole picture, the pros and the cons, and let people in their own mind decide. What seems logical and what doesn't. Think that's constructive.

I would be totally up for that. I think that's a great idea and I do not have a chemistry degree. The question is why am I having to teach this? Shouldn't this have already been known? But furthermore, um, if we did something like that, I want the listeners to realize it's not two sides of an issue. There could be three, there could be four, there could be seven. We don't know how many sides there are, but there's a lot of perspectives when you look at things.

And like we talked about in our podcast with the LSI. Things change over time as technology advances. We are going to continue to evolve. When we learn something new, we go back and we correct things. Now I have done that. Certainly guilty, because we have so much content, that there's some that have slipped through the cracks that I just didn't find.

I'm like, Oh I wrote this in 2017. I got to change it. And I am in the process of doing that because we didn't know as much. And we are learning as we go. We're trying to get everything correct..

And if you find those things, point them out to us and it'll get us there quicker. Yes, please do. It just like, if you see a bug in the app, please tell us. It really helps us out.

We do want to get nothing but facts out and everything we publish is vetted. It is reviewed by people way smarter and more qualified than we are. That is the level of. thoroughness that we want to have for you, our listeners, and we do value you. We joke around with each other, but we do take this seriously because most people listening to this, they've invested a lot in their backyard pool or they're professionals who make this their livelihood.

If we were telling you things that are not so, that would be a terrible business model for us. And ultimately we're here to help even if it's to our disadvantage, like saving on acid. That is not to our financial gain. It is the opposite of our financial gain. And yet here we are. We will continue to do the right thing, at least based on the information we have.

We need to be building more doors than we are walls in this industry. And when we have things like this occur, we're building walls, and I think what we need are more doorways. I like that. Are you going to lose any friends over this podcast? It doesn't really matter if I do, because that's just the way it is. And I'm going to try and build doors. Hey, we try to be as transparent as we possibly can.

We are wrapping up a busy trade show season. This is the last one for us for the year. Unfortunately for these listeners, you're not going to be able to hear us at another trade show for probably another eight months, nine months so That's probably fortunate, actually. Sorry, it's been great. I enjoy hanging out.

This is a community of friends. We are competitors here. We do have vendors that we compete with this is a very small industry. It is.

We talk to people, we see people, we enjoy their company. We like a healthy debate, and this is fun. We try to make this fun and these trade shows, they can be fun, but this is work as well, and we hope you all have had value out of what we had to say.

I know Eric can be a little, you know, long winded and you know, whatever. But, uh, thank y'all. We really do appreciate it.

Thanks for that, Jarred, especially the long winded part. I do want to end on one thing that I just thought of as Jarred was saying. We have had an issue with our voicemail system.

If you have called the helpline, I want to apologize right now. I do not have a way to access your voicemail and I don't know who called because I can't see the numbers. We are trying to resolve that. So if you are expecting a call back from a voicemail you left on our helpline, please I am so sorry. Yeah, it used to go into an email that would get sent to us. But for some reason the firewall is blocking it.

Microsoft is just so user friendly. But it's not just that, it's actually out of our control. But we're working with IT because I know there's voicemails going to it and I have no way of getting to them. But I, I know you're calling. I just can't see what the numbers are.

Otherwise I would call you back. So please don't think I'm ghosting you. We were trying to figure this out. So if you get a call, No, I'm ghosting you. Eric's not. I know that.

But if, uh, if you get a call like two months late, that's why, and I'm so sorry for it in advance. But the best way to reach us is not calling the helpline. It is to go to, which is our help center. And if you have a question, go to the top and says, submit your question. That is the best way to reach us because our entire team can see it. We can get to it when we have access to the internet and we get on our computers and any of us can answer that and get you an answer as fast as possible.

We try to do it within two or three business days. During trade show seasons, that's really hard. When we're out of trade show season, it's going to be much easier. We have been slammed. You guys have been great. Thank you so much for listening.

This has been, I think episode 137 of the Rule Your Pool podcast, and we are grateful for all of you. Hope you enjoyed it. We'll talk about something else next time. Take care.

2024-04-24 10:48

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