Baquacil: Cloudy Water, Problems, and Why It's a Rip-Off
I was sitting with an inground pool customer last night that had owned her previous pool for about 19 years. It was a small, 12'x24' design with only about 7,000 gallons of water. She was in the process of tearing out her old pool and getting a new one, and when the subject of pool chemicals came up she mentioned to me that she had spent $700 this past summer to keep the water clear.
Before she even mentioned what type of chemical she had been using, I knew there was only one that could cost so much for such a small pool for just one summer: Baquacil.
Having owned a retail pool store now for almost 10 years, there was a time when we at River Pools and Spas carried Baquacil Products. Being new to the business and wanting to offer a chlorine alternative to our customers, the representatives from Baquacil met with us and told us that not only was it a great chlorine alternative, but we could also make quite a bit of money off of its tremendous residual sales.
Seeing Baquacil's popularity throughout the industry, we decided to bring in and promote the product. It did not take us long to realize, though, that the representative from Baquacil had only been partially accurate in his assessment of the product's benefits. Yes, it was quite profitable. No, it was not a good chlorine alternative. In fact, it's the type of product that hurts the swimming pool industry and gives it a bad name. Allow me to explain.
What is Baquacil?
Baquacil, which is classified as a Biquanide, is a non bleach/halogenic product whose main oxidizing component is hydrogen peroxide. With peroxide being the main oxidizer, the problem with the system is that waste builds up in the pool water over time and eventually a pink sludge build up results in the pool's plumbing.
This is also why most Baquacil users have good success with the product the first year or two, and then have to use more and more ‘pool shock' to keep the water clear. Again, this phenomenon is due to the un-oxidized waste build up. Once we as a company started to realize just how ineffective and expensive Baquacil could be after a few years of usage, we started recommending to our customers that wanted to stay on the system to open the pool at least every other year with chlorine, and then they could switch back to Baquacil.
Because chlorine is such a great oxidizer, it quickly cleans out any sludge and waste build up, which then allows Baquacil to work effectively again in a more cost-effective manner.
Striving for Low Cost and Low Maintenance
Notwithstanding Chorine's ability to cure this problem, after a few years of selling Baquacil we stopped recommending it to our customers. Because the goal of our business is to promote low-maintenance swimming pool ownership experiences, Baquacil clearly didn't fit the bill.
Yes, it was making us a nice supplemental income but it was also leading to many trips to the pool store for our customers and hundreds and hundreds of dollars each summer for clear water. This is why we switched to salt water about 5 years ago and haven't looked back since.
Not only have we installed about 700 salt chlorine generators on new pools, but we've also converted another 300-400 customers who were either using regular chorine or Baquacil to salt. Such a conversion, especially for previous Baquacil users, can be a major paradigm changing experience when they go from spending $500-$1500 a year on chemicals to, in most cases, less than $100.
The feedback we've gotten since we've made the switch has been phenomenal and as owners of the company, we are happy to know that our customers are now spending very little time at our retail store and much more time as a family enjoying their swimming pool. We've also been thrilled by the fact that we almost never deal with salt customers who have algae in their pool. Baquacil is notorious for allowing algae to grow in the pool and it's incredibly expensive to remove the algae once it has started to grow with Baquacil's weak oxidizing components.
Salt Pools: A Better Choice
To close, I'd just like to recommend to all those pool owners out there that are not currently on salt to consider the option. We've got quite a few articles about salt chlorine generators on this blog and on our website and if you have any questions regarding Baquacil or any other pool chemical for that matter, please don't hesitate to comment below and we'll answer promptly.
As always, happy swimming and don't forget to subscribe to this blog on the upper right hand portion of the page.
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