100-Year-Old Pool Technology and Naked Ankles

July 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Posted in Chlorine-Free Swimming Pools, Health Risks of Chlorinated Pools, Pool Chemistry | 2 Comments
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When a natural disaster occurs I’m glad that chlorine  is there to disinfect broken water delivery systems and keep disease and infections at bay. Typhoid and dysentery suck.

I’m also glad that draining swimming water every few days is no longer popular, especially after a Brown University grad student applied hyperchlorite of lime (sic) to 2 liters of pool water at a concentration of 1 ppm to a 70,000 gallon swimming pool in 1910. That’s when the idea of sterilizing pool water over dumping the water came into fashion, along with the viewing of ladies’ ankles.  Oh my! 

Pool sanitization chemistry is about as sexy as the glimpse of naked ankles, so I’ll let you undress your own research on pool sanitization chemistry. (Hint—search this blog for most pool and spa sanitization answers.)

 

After too many years in the pool biz and the chemicals that keep pools disinfected and sparkling, I’ve developed a physical inability to tolerate most synthetic or manufactured chemicals.  As a matter of fact, last week I asked my wife to toss in some extra bleach into the white laundry because my t-shirts looked dreary.  Excited with the palate of pure white, I covered my bare ankles with the just-laundered white socks and my bare chest with a brilliant white t-shirt.  Lookin’ sharp and clean.  Before lunch, I ripped the white off of me and jumped into the shower.  Oh it wasn’t for what it might sound like to those with love on their mind—it was the red rash covering my chest and ankles—one of my typical reactions to anything chlorinated.

This is why I build and sell the non-chlorine pool disinfection system through my business Riptide Alchemy, LLC . I have zero interest in selling product that doesn’t work for sooooooo many reasons. 

1)      I want your swimming pool to be safe enough to have my beloved grandchildren frolic in the water;

My really cute granddaughter!

2)      Totally not interested in a law suit because you developed some freaky infection from funky water;

3)      The planet does not need more man-made chemicals ;

4)      Our ocean’s are at risk, and because they are downstream from everything, chemicals eventually find their way into the waters. (Visit my wife’s blog www.Neptune911.wordpress.com for more about our seas.)

5)      And there is some pretty convincing evidence that chlorinated water and us in it are not a perfect union.

One day, wife and I sat on the beach watching some wicked waves rip tides back and forth.  The energy was powerful. We could smell the negative ions filling the air.  We looked at each other, knowing that we would begin a more earth friendly business in the future that was based in ionic exchange and we simultaneously said, “Riptide Alchemy.”

It was a poetic way of explaining how my pool disinfection system works.  I pair a copper electrode with a silver electrode, then inject a low DC current into the alloy anodes. The ion charged water cycles through the system, naturally purifying itself.

A pool using the Riptide Pool Disinfection System (TM)

This exclusive and unique design features 100% alloy to ionize your pool water. The amount of ions injected is precisely monitored by a computerized LCD meter and control knob built into each power center. Quality is what sets my ionization system apart from the others.

So here comes my blatant sales pitch—if you call my cell (505/690-4729) I can offer this product at $999 plus freight (and tax for NM and California residents).  And now that you have my private cell phone number, that means you can call me for free consultations with regards to the Riptide Pool Disinfection System™ for your family’s fun and healthy swim time.

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Preventative Maintenance & Swimming Pool Leaks

April 18, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry, Swimming Pool Repair | Leave a comment
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Leaking equipment on your swimming pool is costly and wasteful, but a good deal for pool repair folks!  In other words, lack of good swimming pool water chemistry helped me buy a nice sports car.

The most common leak in pool equipment is found at the pump seal–the weakest link in your pool’s system.  Why?  The pump seal is one of the few wear-points in your system–meaning that when the motor comes on and runs 8 to 10 hours a day, the pump seal wears down and degrades itself just by the friction

Pump seal

 of the carbon on ceramic.

Now, include improper water chemistry, and that pump seal’s life takes a dive.  If this leak continues, it will eventually ruin your motor’s bearings and burn out the motor’s windings.  Now we’re swimming in high repair and replacement costs.

How do you know when you have a pump seal leak?  It’s easy to detect.  Look for water or dampness where the motor bolts on to the pump.  Severe pump leaks will show calcium build up, or your motor will make a high whining sound–like the sound you will make when you get that $400 repair bill.

What can you do to prevent this?  First, there is a life expectancy on every pump seal.  You can, however, extend this life with proper water chemistry.  Meaning, if your pool water is acidic (below 6.8 ppm) the acid water will attack the pump seal.  Conversely, if your pool water is alkaline (pH over 8.0 ppm, total alkalinity over 140 ppm) the alkaline water will grind away at the pump seal.

The next most likely leak in pool equipment is anything that is metal.  When you have two dissimilar metals plumbed together chances are a leak will occur.  This can also be a water chemistry issue, but is usually attributed to electrolysis. 

Where will you find two dissimilar metals plumbed?  Check for galvanized pipe from the heater attached to copper plumbing.  The only cure is to replumb to all copper or copper and plastic.

Leaks are also common in your pool’s heat exchanger.   About 80% of a  heat exchanger leak is mismanaged pool water chemistry.  However, other reasons for leaks here are: 

 1) If you have an off-line chlorinator, be sure that the return line from the chlorinator is plumbed after the heater.  The reason is that tablet-form chlorine is acidic. 

 2)Also be sure there are check valves on your chlorinator so that when the pumps shuts off the chlorine is held in the lines and does not return to the heater.

3)  Check for dissimilar metals at the heater’s plumbing inlet and outlet.

4)  High TDS (over 3500 ppm)  will scour the inside of the heat exchanger and thin out the exchanger’s copper tubes, to the point of creating a leak.

So everytime your pool repair dude drives by in his or her shiny new sports car, make a note to go check your swimming pool’s water chemistry so that you can enjoy your pool as you thought you would when the pool was just a dream.

————————————–

If you are ready to drop chlorine and salt from your swimming pool water, and sanitize your pool with the most efficient and eco-sound method possible, I’m offering my Riptide Pool Disinfection System http://www.riptidealchemy.com/poolandspas.php  for only $999 (not including tax and freight).  This is a limited time offer for Pool and Spa Master readers.  Email me at riptidealchemy1@aol.com to take advantage of this special offer.

Chlorinated Pools, Your Child and Allergies

October 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Posted in Chlorine-Alternatives, Health Risks of Chlorinated Pools, Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Chlorinated pools--worse than second-hand cigarette smoke????

Chlorinated pools--worse than second-hand cigarette smoke????

I’m glad that chlorine has saved many folks from around the world from water-born infectious diseases.  But, after being around chlorine for 39-too many years, I’m allergic to it. Ask my wife what happens when she tosses some bleach in with her laundry.  It’s not pretty. The sheets and towels are white, and so am I–pale white from a chlorine-allergy dotted with lovely red spots up and down my body.   This is one of the reasons why I think the Riptide Pool Disinfection System (TM) www.riptidealchemy.com  is the all-that for pool sanitization.  I can even show that it’s excellent for commercial pools too. 

But this is not about my allergy, this is some recently released news about chlorinated pools and childhood allergies.  Read on:

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Swimming in an outdoor or indoor chlorinated pool has more impact than secondhand smoke in increasing the chances that a child susceptible to asthma and allergies will develop those problems, according to a new study, Reuters Health reported September 15.

 

Dr. Alfred Bernard, a toxicologist at the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, told Reuters Health, “These new data clearly show that by irritating the airways of swimmers, chlorination products in water and air of swimming pools exert a strong additive effect on the development of asthma and respiratory allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis.”

 

Bernard added, “The impact of these chemicals on the respiratory health of children and adolescents appears to be much more important — at least by a factor of five — than that associated with secondhand smoke.”

 

The researchers found that the risk of asthma and allergy was not influenced by swimming in pools sanitized with a concentration of copper and silver and that children without allergic tendencies were not at increased risk of developing allergies in those pools.

 

The researchers said the current findings “reinforce” the need for further study on the issue and to enforce regulations concerning the levels of these chemicals in water and air of swimming pools, Reuters Health reported.

 

 

Sam Swims In Salt. Now Sam Wants a Pet Dolphin.

May 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry, Salt Water Pools | 1 Comment
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Sam swims in a “salt pool” and he wonders if he can get a pet dolphin now that his pool is a’ natural.

Well, Sam, a’ contraire.  What Sam doesn’t understand is that if he puts a dolphin into his “salt pool” that dolphin will to choke to death in chlorine!

“No way!” screams salty Sam!  Yeah, way, Sam. 

Sam’s salt pool is not exactly that.  Yes, Sam may be dropping hundreds of pounds of salt into his pool, but that salt is funneled through a mechanism that transforms the salt into CHLORINE.  Look closely at the mechanism it will read Chlorine Generator.

So, Sam, ixnay on the dolphin.

Keep the dolphin out of "salt pools."

Keep the dolphin out of "salt pools."

The generator installed on Sam’s pool is generating sodium hypochlorite – or you can call it by the common label—household bleach.    So Sam has invested into 50-year-old technology.  It is not a new eco, green, or healthy technology.  The biggest advantage is that Sam won’t have to trek down to his local pool chemical supplier to purchase liquid chlorine.  His pool is producing it on the spot.  He will, however, have to haul in 50-pounds bags of salt.

All chlorines are salt-based AKA sodium chloride.  Sam swims in chlorine.

Meanwhile back to my shameless self promotion. With my system you will swim in mineral water and be totally chlorine free.  Check out www.riptidealchemy.com   BTW, the Riptide Alchemy Pool Sanitization system is on sale!

If you have more questions about salt pools, feel free to contact me.

EWWWW, That Smell. That Chlorine Smell.

April 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Roseanne from Kansas City, Mo,  was apparently appalled by my last post–the one about peeing in the pool.  She emailed the following question:

Dear Pool Master.  Your post about urinating in public swimming pools was disgusting.  Who does this? If you didn’t have the scientific proof noted, I would have screamed, “BALDERDASH!”  Every Thursday with a group of senior ladies, we exercise in our indoor public pool.( I’m sure these ladies would never let something slip from their bodies!  They are real ladies.)  And because our public pool has such a strong odor of chlorine, I’m going to assume that this bladder cancer and asthma threat in a urine-infested swimming pool doesn’t hold weight here. 

Please don’t put in a picture of senior ladies in a pool and ask who is the urine-spilling criminal.  Thanks.  Roseanne.

__________________________Roseanne's Swimming Club

Roseanne: The good news is that I could not find any free photos of lovely retired women swimming.  That bad news:  incontinence.  Sorry.

The really really bad news is: “That chlorine smell” is not chlorine that you are smelling.  You are smelling chloramine.  Chloramine is a by products of chlorine for disinfection and ammonia from human sources.  A healthy dose of chloramine will present your with any or all of these symptoms:  cough, eye irritation, and rash.  

If you think I’m full of hooey, go to this website, or just check out the quote I lifted from the site:  http://www.waterandhealth.org/newsletter/cleaning_air.html

 

 

Chronic chloramines and the associated smell and irritation are caused by a variety of factors. Despite what many swimmers assume, the major cause of these problems is too little free chlorine rather than too much! “Free” chlorine, used to kill germs and help prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses, also oxidizes natural waste products from swimmers, including sweat, body oil, urine and other ammonia-nitrogen compounds. If the free chlorine levels are not sufficiently high to oxidize these nitrogenous wastes, the free chlorine combines with them to form noxious cholarmine compounds…

The Fix-It

“Shock” more often with free chlorine. Shock treatment involves raising the free chlorine level to at least 10 times higher than the combined chlorine level.

 Weekly is best for most pools but it may be required even more often for extremely heavily used pools.

 

Use a non-chlorine shocking agent like the monopersulfate-based oxidizers. These reduce chloramines without adding chlorine.

Many pool operators find alternating between traditional chlorine and the non-chlorine shocking agents works best.

 

You get the point, and the writer of the above link is dead-on with the reason why that “chlorine-smell” is a baaaaaad mamma-jamma, Momma. 

Gee, if public pools could use my chlorine-free disinfection system, this chloramine  business would so not relate.  But that’s just another blatant self-promotion.  If you are curious, check it out at www.riptidealchemy.com.

BTW, just got in some great questions about spa repairs and leaking motors.  I’ll get those answers up ASAP.

 

Peeing in the Swimming Pool & Bladder Cancer! My Worst Nightmare.

April 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Which kids are peeing in the pool?

Which kids are peeing in the pool?

 

Let it be known that I DO NOT SWIM IN PUBLIC POOLS.  The following news piece recently crossed my desk and ripped open my nightmare of being tossed into a public swimming pool that’s not blue, but a golden urine-yellow.  That’s right, folks, good, old-fashioned pee in the pool.

That combined with everyone else’s body yuck, and the fact that most public pool maintenance dudes are not necessarily the swiftest water skimmers, I DO NOT SWIM IN PUBLIC POOLS.  BTW I’m an expert swimmer.

Here’s the abbreviated version of a sciencedaily March 31 report:

Champaign, IL — A 10-year study on disinfection byproducts (DBPs) reports on the connection between certain DBPs in drinking water that are “emerging” in scientific studies and their carcinogenic potential, according to a March 31 ScienceDaily report based on a University of Illinois press release.

 

The study, which began with a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has found that iodine-containing DBPs are much more toxic and genotoxic than other DBPs now regulated by EPA, according to University of Illinois geneticist Michael Plewa, the study’s author.

 

Plewa said another “somewhat surprising” discovery concerns nitrogen-containing DBPs. “Disinfectant byproducts that have a nitrogen atom incorporated into the structure are far more toxic and genotoxic, and some even carcinogenic, than those DBPs that don’t have nitrogen. And there are no nitrogen-containing DBPs that are currently regulated,” Plewa said…

 

In addition to drinking-water DBPs, Plewa said that swimming pools and hot tubs are DBP reactors. “You’ve got all of this organic material called ‘people’ — and people sweat and use sunscreen and wear cosmetics that come off in the water. People may urinate in a public pool. Hair falls into the water and then this water is chlorinated. But the water is recycled again and again so the levels of DBPs can be tenfold higher than what you have in drinking water,” Plewa said, noting that studies show higher levels of bladder cancer and asthma in people who do a lot of swimming.

 

 

This brings me back to shameless promotion of my chlorine-free sanitization system for pools.  Dude, it really works and you can laugh in the face of that “chlorine-smell.”

 

Alternatives can be a good thing.

Scale Build-Up On Pool Tiles–A Case of Mini-Stalagmites & Elbow Grease

March 20, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Dateline Brian.   Please, help! I’ve tried everything to remove hard water build-up from the tile around my pool. I’ve had no luck, and I’m at a loss.  Thought you might have an answer for me.

Well Brian, the Pool and Spa Master does have an answer–actually several answers.  Sadly, they all involve the age old cure for most issues—elbow grease.

The reason for the scale build-up is either high TDS (over 3000 ppm) or your chemistry  (our friends, total alkalinity and pH)  has been off the mark for a while. 

First get your TDS tested.  If your TDS is high, you might have to consider draining your pool. You can also do a half-drain and refill.   Remember: If mini-stalagmites are building up on your tile, your plumbing is likely seeing the same evolution. You must also get that total alkalinity and pH balanced. 

Scale Build-Up On Your Pool's Tiles Can Also Develop Within Your Pool's Plumbing

Scale Build-Up On Your Pool's Tiles Can Also Develop Within Your Pool's Plumbing

Once this is done, get  a pumice stone, and a product from your pool store called, Bio-Dex 300 Tile Cleaner.  Once at your pool, grease up your elbow, offer your buddies some free beverages, and provide them with the same grease for their elbows.  Engage those now-greasy elbows and begin scrubbing the tile crud in 2-foot sections. 

Do you use liquid chlorine?  This can also contribute to scale build-up on your pool tiles.  Why?  Just one-gallon of chlorine contains a whole bunch of salt, which will add to your TDS issues.

Now let me slip in this purely self-promoting note:  My chlorine-free pool sanitization system found at www.riptidealchemy.com, will alleviate the chlorine business and also keep the salt out of your water and make your swimming experience much healthier.

E-mail me back if you need additional information.

Calcium Hardness–It’s Not About Your Bones

March 18, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Chemistry, Pool Chemistry, Spa Chemistry | Leave a comment
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j0323833In the last post, one of the questions I asked the spa tech with a sludge-like spa water nightmare was “What is your calcium hardness reading?”

A proper test kit should contain a calcium hardness test mechanism.  Calcium hardness tests were once just for swimming pools–but we’ve discovered that it is also important for your backyard hot tub. The reason to test for calcium hardness in pool water is because a low calcium hardness reading is destructive to the pool’s plaster. (Priced plaster replacement lately?  Think second mortgage to pay for the replacement.)

All tap water has variable calcium hardness readings.   In that same seam, low calcium hardness in a hot tub is not only corrosive, but also interferes with disinfection, and low calcium hardness can also cause your water to become foamy.

Spa and pool owners often think that they have a lot of minerals in their water and equate that to calcium hardness.  WRONG.  Calcium hardness is a different measurement apart from total hardness (and that also has little to do with TDS) . 

So, the reason I wanted a calcium hardness reading on this sludgy spa was: 1) to determine the effectiveness of the disinfectant and; 2) to determine if  this was adding to the ‘green sludge’ disaster–in that it could cause the water to foam.

Maintaining your spa’s water can be like maintaining your own skeletal health, but this low-calcium hardness business can destroy your spa or pool’s skeletal well-being.  If your calcium hardness reading is below 250 ppms, then prepare for funky water, and a visit from your spa’s doctor for an expensive repair to the heater, pump seals and possibly more. 

Raise calcium hardness with calcium chloride.  You can pick this up at your local pool and spa store. 

Chlorine-Free Alternatives For Your Pool

February 12, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Swimming

Swimming

It’s warm in some parts of the country today.  And soon enough we’ll all be complaining about the unbearable heat, and we’ll be ready to jump into the swimming pool.

The biggest complaint about swimming pools: Chlorine.  Is it safe?  As opposed to no disinfectant in the pool, I’ll take chlorine.  But I don’t like it and I’m highly sensitive to it.  So, my personal job became to find something that actually disinfects pool water without chlorine.

Disinfecting without chlorine is tricky business because you are fighting wind, rain, and organic material (including what our bodies leave behind), that daily alters pool water chemistry.  So, earth-friendly ideas like using green tea, bacteria eating bugs, and salt water are a huge failure AND likely to INFECT you with pseudomonis, eye and skin irritation, ear infections, and digestive complications–for starters.

 So, you must disinfect with stuff that kills bacteria.  That leaves you with bromine (which is chlorine-based), and a plethora of chlorine alternatives already on the market.  (But do you really like orange film on your water?)

Ozone is not a bad idea, but it was originally designed for drinking water, not water that we sweat in and muck up.  Ozone’s disadvantage is it is a gas and it wants to leave the pool water and not stay in the pool water.  The only effective way to use ozone in the pool is a series of contact chambers that compress and force the O3 ozone gas to mix with the pool water before it gets back to the pool.  Got lots of money???

 Collodial silver is another alternative.  It is packaged under a variety of names.  Collodial silver does disinfect  pool water.  This will require, copious amounts of shock, and algaecide.  Particular attention must be spent on your water chemistry.

 So, now I’ll flip into blatant self-serving advice–the Riptide Pool Sanitization System–my system.  It is computerized, and once it is set up for your unique pool needs, and the filtration durations are maintained along with balanced  water chemistry,  clean filters, and a simple once a week oxidizing, the Riptide Pool Sanitization System takes care of disinfection and algae-stat simultaneously.

 It requires little space and is an easy retrofit for most pools. 

 More blantant self serving news: You can buy it off my website  www.riptidealchemy.com  and I’m always available for your questions.

Thanks for reading this.  Questions about spas arrive in email box daily, and I’ll have them posted asap.

Spa is Not Hot Enough, and Ross & Carlos are Coughing & Itching. Plus No Pool Chlorine.

February 5, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Hot Tub Chemistry, Pool Chemistry | Leave a comment
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Here are a few questions I was recently asked about spas and pools:

Question.  My spa won’t get any hotter than 105 degrees.  It’s not hot enough.  The company I bought it from refuses to adjust the thermostat to make it reach 108 degrees.  I’m very disappointed.

Mary in New Mexico

 Answer.  Mary, your spa dealer has done you a favor by not adjusting the thermostat.  Here’s why:  As a consumer protection, hot tub safety experts have determined that water temp over 105 degrees is dangerous.  It raises your blood pressure, and could cause you to faint in the hot tub.  That’s not a pretty picture. Following the inevitable wrongful death lawsuits that would likely (or have been) filed against spa manufacturers, the industry has set the 105-degree standard.

Personally, I’d recommend 102 to 104 degrees as optimum water temperature so that you can comfortably enjoy your hot tub’s hydrotherapeutic features for a longer length of time. 

Question. Why do I cough when I turn the jets on my spa?  Ross in Nevada.

Answer.  Ross, when was the last time you changed your hot tub’s water or checked the full range of your hot tub’s chemistry?  If you have to pause to answer this question, that’s the red flag.  This tells me that your chemistry or total dissolved solids (TDS) is off the charts. 

First check the TDS.  You probably don’t have a meter for this, so take at least 8 ounces of your spa’s water to your local pool store and ask for the TDS test.  If the TDS reads over 1500 ppm, dump your water and start all over again.

If your TDS is below 1200-1500 ppms, then check your total alkalinity and pH.  Get your total alkalinity to 80-120 ppm.  Then bring your pH to 7.2-7.6 ppm.  Also OXIDIZE (‘shock’) your water.

Next, Ross, enjoy a good long soak with lots of jets and no coughing.

Question.  Why does my skin itch after being in the hot tub?  Carlos in Chicago.

Answer.  Carlos, there are several reasons why your skin itches after a hot tub soak.  1) dirty filter, 2)chemistry imbalance, 3) old water (high TDS), 4) too much disinfectant, 5) too long of a time in the hot tub, and 6) you may just have sensitive skin.

So, troubleshoot the cause by running thru this list.  Let me know what happens.

 Finally, a pool question from Marsha in Phoenix:  “Why am I adding chlorine every couple of days and still getting a low chlorine reading?”

Answer.  Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, first of all, you are in Phoenix.  It’s hot there.  UV is chlorine’s worst enemy.  You can buffer that UV action by testing your chlorine-stabilizer reading (cyanuric acid).  This keeps UV from breaking down the chlorine.  You want between 40-50 ppm of stabilizer.

When the weather's hot and your pool is heavily used, check your chlorine readings more often. You can also find non-chlorine alternatives. Check out www.riptidealchemy.com

When the weather's hot and your pool is heavily used, check your chlorine readings more often. You can also find non-chlorine alternatives. Check out http://www.riptidealchemy.com

Also what kind of chlorine do you use?  If it’s liquid chlorine, it is about 6 to 8-percent available chlorine.  (How do you spell weak chlorine??)  Liquid chlorine is also without added stabilizer.  I’d recommend “stabilized chlorine” (with cyanuric acid) as well as, the available chlorine ranges between 90 to 100-percent available chlorine.  This will make your pool, test kit, and YOU much happier.

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