The Peanut Problem

There I was at a water care training course, and the instructors were discussing the topic of ‘Bather Wastes.”  They were explaining how the 1-3ppm of chlorine level was established as the safe range to kill off contaminants that are present in pool and hot tub water.  This information was valuable to learn but wasn’t what I would consider, memorable.  That is, until someone put up their hand and asked a very simple question:

What are some examples bather wastes?

The instructor was a little hesitant to answer the question directly.  Now everyone there was captivated and we prodded a bit more as a class.  So, the instructor said, “Fine, if you really want to know I’ll tell you.  But, once I do you will never be able to forget it?”

I will also reiterate that to you who are reading this.  Stop here if you don’t want to know, cause it’s true, once you know you won’t forget.


Ok, you’ve been warned.

Here we go.

Bather waste includes the following:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Hair
  • Cosmetics/Soaps
  • Sweat/Urine (chemically almost identical)
  • Bodily fluids (up to 1 Pint from an adult in 20mins of Hot Tub use)

Not too bad, right.  Here’s the kicker:

  • A peanut sized amount of fecal matter

That’s right, an adult human on average has a peanut sized amount of fecal matter on their body at all times. (just to clarify, peanut refers to the nut only, not the outer shell, that would be…nuts)

You’re never going to forget that are you?

I thought long and hard about whether to share this info with the public on this blog.  But I wanted to tell you the truth about everything related to hot tub and pool water care I have learned.  My reason for sharing this is in the hope that it helps you understand the importance of proper water sanitation.

I often have conversations with customers about sanitation and many have stated, “I don’t like to use that much chlorine/bromine.”  To which I respond, “you don’t know about the peanut do you?”

If you think about, the amount recommended for hot tubs and pools isn’t that much anyway.  1-3ppm.  That is 1-3 parts per million.  Or in other terms, 1-3 milliliters per liter or 1-3mg/kg of water.  Enough math.  It’s a tiny amount.

When you really stop to consider what that small amount can protect you from it really changes your perspective on it.  It protects you and your loved ones from, not only all the bather wastes listed above, including everyone’s peanut, but also from other harmful water borne pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia.  That small amount acts like a super-hero instead of a super-villian.  peanut obit

We could call it.


Maybe not.

In a future article I’ll discuss some common myths about chlorine and some products and equipment you can use to assist the chlorine/bromine in cleaning your water.  We’ll call them,                  ‘the sidekicks.’

Thanks for reading.


Balanced water is a happy dog

The internet is full of helpful info for pool and hot tub owners.

For example, if you search ‘pool water balance ideal ranges’ then click on images you get lots of absolutely fantastic charts and graphs like this:


This one in particular is so fantastic I am going to print out a few copies to give to my customers in our store.  And I may even hang one up in our water testing lab.

However, as great as this and many other charts are to me as an industry professional, I feel they are a little boring, dull, and possibly confusing to the average homeowner.  I feel it’s my job to make that chart make sense to the homeowner and instruct them how to apply it to their pool or hot tub.

In my experience explaining this to hundreds of customers I’ve noticed that linking water balance to money savings captures a lot of interest and really motivates them to follow through with the instruction

So, how does adding a bunch of stuff that you had to pay for actually save you money?

Let me explain.

1. Sanitizers (chlorine or bromine) keep the water free of nasty stuff (virus, pathogen, bacteria) that can make you sick.  Being sick can cost you money through prescription medicine and time off from work.

2. Balanced water (pH, Alkalinity, Calcium Harness in ranges shown idog_dishwasherPET-dog-on-rugn the chart above) is happy water.  Let’s compare water to a pet. Lets say it’s a dog.

Imagine your dog was hungry.  And instead of letting you know in some way  it just decided to start eating your dishwasher.  That would be frustrating and expensive.  Bad dog!

Then imagine the opposite.  You gave your dog too much food and it ate it all only to turn around and get sick all over your new Persian rug.  Again, frustrating and expensive.  Bad dog!

About now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with all this and how is it linked to your pool or hot tub.

The water in your pool or hot tub is a lot like a pet dog (unless it smells like one.  If that’s the case please give me call).

If it is hungry (low pH, low Alkalinity, low Calcium) it starts to eat things.  What it really likes to eat unfortunately, are expensive things.  Heaters, pump shaft seals and bearings, and even the surface of the pool or hot tub if its concrete are some of its favorite things. Bad water!

Also, if the water is full, or has too much Alkalinity, Calcium and a high pH it will start to vomit them out causing scale formations to appear on surfaces and especially in heaters. Bad water!

Both of these scenarios lead to premature breakdown of expensive equipment.  That is why it is worth every penny to properly balance you pool or hot tub water.  Then Hungry-Dog-800x450test it regularly to see how its doing. Because, unlike a pet, it wont tell you when it’s hungry.

Let me know in the comments section if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading.

Can we get back to basics?

When you walk in your local poIMG_20130115_150518_717ol or hot tub store does it look anything like this?  An intimidating wall of chemicals that leaves you wondering, “how much of this stuff do I REALLY need.” I don’t blame you.  I really wish it wasn’t like this.  I can assure you though, that you don’t NEED all of it.

The most common question I get asked goes a little something like this.  “I just got a hot tub/pool, what chemicals do I need?”

Since that really is a simple question I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to simply answer it.  Here’s what I’ve come up with. All pool and hot tub products could be split up into 3 categories:

  1. Essentials
  2. Enhancers
  3. Problem Solvers

That’s it.  Simple so far, right?  Hope so.

Under the Essentials category are all the products you NEED.  Again, I have thought about how to keep this simple, so let’s see if we can make it as easy as ABC.

Alkalinity Increaser

Balance pH (best to purchase a pH up and pH down product)

Calcium Hardness Increaser

That’s 4 products that you will use in amounts that will vary depending on your source water and how much water you are balancing.  The only other products needed are a Sanitizer (bromine or chlorine) and an Oxidizer (aka shock).

6 Products.  That’s it.  That is all you NEED.

Those 6 products alone are all you need to properly balance and sanitize the water.  And balanced water is happy water.

In the next article, I’ll explain what is involved in water balance and why it is worth every penny to do it properly.

Thanks for reading.