What's the word on pool floaters?

I recently had a green pool. This was solved with shocking and adjusting the PH downwards a little.

I am currently maintaining the pool with an HTH pace floater.

But now I start hearing that floaters are a bad thing, that you should only use one when you go on holiday, and the rest of the time you should be adding granular chlorine a couple of times a week. Obvs you keep an eye on PH and on stabiliser levels.

The reasons I get given for avoiding floaters are cynanauric acid (and I am wary of over stabilising a pool, but do they contain a lot of stabiliser or just a little?), copper (! What? Is that there as an algaecide?), and “stuff” that isn’t chlorine, pool acid or stabiliser.

The prediction is that the use of floaters will lead to over stabilisation and/or staining of the pool.

What say the wise folks of this group? I don’t mind adding chlorine twice a week, and this one floater is going to be equivalent to me being on holiday. The floater is convenient - toss it in and forget it.

I’d not be surprised if different brands have different ingredients or different levels of QC. I am using the HTH Pace because after my pool was re surfaced the guy who did the job told me to use HTH granular chlorine for a month, and then switch to the HTH Pace thereafter, and he was emphatic that I should use no other floater, not even from the HTH range.

Per the HTH web site, the difference between the regular HTH floater and the HTH Pace is that that the Pace does not contain any algaecide. So there we have it - the floaters aren’t all the same and don’t just contain chlorine.

I have a salt pool, using a chlorinator. I know the one issue with a salt pool, is the different chemical levels. You add stabiliser to prevent UV from breaking down the chlorine, but that’s at a different level than what’s in powdered chlorine or floaters. Salt pools tend to have a low-ish PH too. Basically, you should not mix your regimes, that is what it comes down to. But as far as I know, floaters are totally on the opposite side of the fence, so I doubt it can do any harm in a non-salt pool.

This is what I have gathered as well. Problem is if you get too much build up of cyanuric acid. This locks the process (chlorine lock) and no amount of any type of chlorine then helps:
Cyanuric Acid (CYA) is a pool balancing product used to help chlorine last longer . Chlorine, in its natural form, is unstabilized—which means it degrades when exposed to sunlight. Adding Cyanuric Acid reduces the sun’s impact on chlorine loss.

So what I did was to stabilise the pool with regular chlorine and then add a stabilizer floater.

So you didn’t add CYA. Just added chlorine and then started using stabilised floaters?

I assume this was after a refill of the pool - otherwise we have no way of knowing how mucy CYA, or anything else, was in the water.

Anyway, I wish I could get two people in the pool business to tell me the same thing. There’s a general agreement that too much CYA is a bad thing, for the reasons @Richard_Mackay mentions. Chlorine, generally, is smiled upon. Outside of that there seems to be little unanimity about anything.

If you get ‘chlorine lock’ then yes you have to drain a lot of water (half the pool if I recall correctly) and then refill…

I am not a pool engineer, nor a chemist (still get nightmares about balancing organic chem equations at school) … caveat emptor

any hoo. The safety data sheet for the Pace floater indicates that the contents consist of

  • at least 15% and maximum 25% Aluminium Sulfate (acts as flocculant)
  • at least 80% and maximum 89% “symclosene” (a.k.a. Trichloroisocyanuric acid, a.k.a. TCCA) → source of the Chlorine and Cyanuric Acid

Apparently it is possible to calculate the Cyanuric Acid produced when adding TCCA to a pool using the equation:

CA=(TCCA x 1000 x 129)/(Poolvol x 232) *source1
*source1 = adapted from a nice detailed article found here

so, 1.5Kg Pace floater gives maximum about 1.35Kg TCCA. If we add that to a 50000 L pool →
CA=(1350 x 1000 x 129)/(50000 x 232)

Internet wisdom suggests CA levels between 30-50 as ideal. HTH suggests 80+ is a problem.

If you had no CA in the water, and did not backwash, and/or add water you could probably use about 4 floaters in a 50000 L pool and still be okay. The article referenced also deals with calculating CA levels when making provision for water lost/replaced as part of normal pool maintenance (i.e. backwashing if using a sand filter).

BTW @Bobster , HTH actually makes a non-stabilised floater (example) that is priced about the same as the Pace floater.

Lastly, if CA levels are too high - don’t drain half the pool unless really necessary. Useful online calculator that will show actual volume water that has to be removed based on desired ppm drop needed.


Thanks. I’m… I don’t want to say “schnoep” with water, but I am concerned about my consumption, and so the thought of dumping 1000s of liters, and then refilling, doesn’t sit well with me.

I got some of the unstabilised floaters. They were hard to find. The pool shops closest to me said they’d never heard of such a thing. Eventually I found them at Checkers.

The pool is clear and sparkling right now. I am going to let the pace floater exhaust itself (should be in the next two weeks) then switch to the unstabilised floater.

Many thanks for all the information you provided. In the example given (same size pool as mine), you still end up dumping about a 1/4 of the pool. Which is better. But 1/4 is a lot less than a half, and at least there’s some science behind the method.

I have 2 different pool shops close by and both insist on always having at least 1 floater and balancing with granular chlorine at least 2 cups a week. Also use Bicarb to balance alkalinity every 2nd month. And about 300 to 400 ml of acid per week.

This isn’t referred to as balancing, it’s simply dosing with chlorine…

Every time I see the word “pool floaters” … I think of little kids swimming and then the girls start screaming when a little boy’s “floater” comes past them.

Sorry, but I had tried my best not to leave that picture in all of your minds too … and then I could not.

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I’m so glad someone said that… and that it wasn’t me.

So… I put in a pace floater. This pushed the stabiliser levels up, but also the pool improved.

IDK, am I getting coincidence confused with cause? We have had a bit of rain here and the pool levels came up, and the pool did not go green.

Today I swapped out the pace for a non-stabilised floater because I could see the cya levels increasing. The pace was nearly exhausted in less than 3 weeks. I had it on the setting for large pools.

So we’ll see what happens.

I think the changing pool levels are changing the way the pool cleaner behaves. Suddenly it is tying itself up in knots. A couple of months ago I noticed this problem, and resolved it by putting a float on the leader hose for pool cleaner (the segment that connecs to the cleaner) and a weight on the next segment of hose. This kept the APC at a good angle relative to the floor, but also made sure that it always went under itself, so to speak.

Then the pool levels dropped while I waited for the rain, and the thing was always at an angle to the floor, so I took the float and the weight off again. Happiness.

Until this week when, with the water level higher than it’s been for months, it starts tying itself in knots again. I straightened out by pulling the hose out and undoing all the kinks by hand. It went whizzing off all over the place, but 2 hours later was tangled again.

It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.

Story … had a gunnite pool. No one swam in it, too cold. Heating it too costly.

Solution: Covered it with a proper gray/black pool cover for up to a year. Bathwater inside, no pool pump, no chemicals, and crystal clear water UNTIL you lift that cover. We did skinnydip some evenings, wife and I.

Had a retainer wall problem. Chopped holes on the bottom …and dumped the soil at the back into the pool. If we ever sell the next person can open that gunite pool again. For now, it is a garden.

The joke is, in this process, we discovered WHERE the “retainer wall” problem started. The previous owner chucked the soil from the pool behind, not a retainer wall, but a dement block wall, no reinforcement whatsoever, no drainage, hence our persistent problem.

Any case, two birds with one slap … retainer wall sorted, pool maintenance “sorted”.

Bliss. :wink:

The first summer rains can cause a shock to your nicely balanced pool water. At this time you need to watch your ph level closely and keep it from going on a bender (acidic or alkaline)
The sanitiser (HTH) cannot function if the ph is not in the zone…

Thanks for that explanation. It gets a cup of acid this weekend

You should also check the alkalinity of your pool water. It buffers the wild fluctuation of ph when trying to correct it with acid/alkaline addition (this is called ph bounce)
Basically baking soda is what you add to get the ppm required

This is a thing.

I recall that many years ago I worked alongside a man who tole me his Dad had conceived what became the Barracuda pool cleaner. He told stories of his Dad would put a prototype into the pool and watch it for hours to see how it behaved.

I took a leaf out of Dad’s book, though it didn’t take me hours.

First things first. 48mm of rain this week. So the pool level has risen quite a bit.

The hose for the APC fits into the weir plate. The first couple of lengths of hose are thus held at a fixed level because they are so anchored. The rest has risen as the water levels rise.

So at a certain point in the APCs travel one part of the hose is able to ride over those first couple of lengths. Then the APC changes direction and the tangling starts.

Putting a weight on the APC end of the hose causes the lengths of pipe to stack rather than tangle.

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The joys of maintaining your pool :roll_eyes:
My obsession at the moment is trying to desufate flooded lead acid batteries by equalizing them with a progressively higher voltage whilst checking current draw, sg and voltages…