When it comes to any product in any industry it is hard to tell if it will work or not until you use it or enough people use it to leave reliable feedback and reviews. The same is true for many swimming pool products for sale on the market today. Do they work as they claim or are they just a gimmick, snake oil? Let me start with a few categories and go down the list.
These are always hit and miss just by the nature of staining. You need to know what kind of stain it is first to know which product will be effective. For example, you would treat an organic stain differently than a metal stain and a rust stain different from a metal stain or discoloration. I find that the best three products I have used for stains are, Bio-Dex Aquadex 50, HASA Super Stain out, and United Chemical Pool Stain Treat. But I have also had failures with them so none of these are bullet-proof.
Pool Surface Scale Remover:
Until I find something better Beautec by Easy Care has been the best scale removal product I have used for pool surfaces. Note that I said pool surfaces and not the tile line. The tile line can be tricky and even products like Bio-Dex Protect All Supreme are hit and miss. That is because that calcium line can be tough to clean with any topical chemical. For really bad scale on the waterline the only real solution is a professional glass beader. But for scale on your pool surface, this stuff to me works the best
Both Bio-Active and now Natural Chemistry have a CYA reducing product and from the reviews, you can see that these products are very hit and miss. Maybe more miss than hit in many respects. They both use a microorganism that destroys the CYA in the pool. The problem is that the water needs to be just about perfect for it to work. The key is having a zero chlorine reading which in itself is problematic. Plus there is no way to tell if your CYA is at 200 or 300 ppm so even if it were to drop it by 30 ppm, that is not enough nor does it justify the cost. Water is still the cheapest element in your pool and draining is pretty much a sure bet that your CYA will be reduced.
I think one of the most bullet-proof products out there is phosphate removers. Phosphates are the food source for algae and if you eliminate the food source, you destroy the algae. Pretty simple.
There are many brands of Phosphate removers out there. Natural Chemistry makes a popular one in PHOSfree and then there is the Orenda PR 10,000. Adding a phosphate remover to control algae is a great way to keep your pool clear and blue all season long. I have been using a phosphate remover in most of my service accounts now for a few years and the results are very noticeable. Very little to no algae all season long.
I am a huge fan of adding borates to your pool to bring the level to 30-50 ppm and I think borates are a game-changer for most pools. With borates in your pool, you will not only have more sparkle to your water but it is a natural algae preventer and pH buffer. This means a pool with borates will have no algae (al long as the chlorine is in range) and the pH will tend to stay stable week to week. Borates are one product that works so well that no wholesale supplier nor many retail pool stores will stock it as it reduces the sale of their other chemicals.
I think before you purchase any pool product, check the reviews, and see if others have had success with it. I tend to toss out the really bad one-star reviews and the gushing 5-star reviews and see what normal reviewers think about a product before I purchase it.
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