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Baquacil: The Complete Guide for Pool Owners

An introduction to Baquacil

Most pool owners consider chlorine to be the primary swimming pool sanitizer however, there are other effective and powerful sanitizers out there that could possibly compete with chlorine on the potency scale. Chlorine is the most common antibacterial agent used in pools, the familiar chlorine scent is even present in saltwater pools because of the fact that saltwater swimming pools still utilize chlorine as a sanitizer for the pool water.

One drawback of using chlorine on a regular basis for your swimming pool is the harshness of the chemical. It has an adverse effect on the skin, eyes and sometimes it affects the respiratory system. When the chlorine levels begin to decrease, chemicals called chloramines are released which causes more skin and eye irritation. There are other pool chemicals that you can use to sanitize your pool such as Baquacil®.  

Baquacil is by no means a perfect pool sanitizer, but it is a viable alternative to chlorine. In this article, we are going to talk more about Baquacil and how it can be used as a suitable alternative to chlorine.

What Exactly is Baquacil ?

Baquacil is a branded product, the scientific or chemical name for this product is polyhexamethylene biguanide. It is attractive to some swimming pool owners because it does not contain chlorine and it also contains zero preservatives. It was initially introduced for use in hospitals as an antibacterial agent.

In the mid 1970’s, people started using biguanide to reduce bacteria overgrowth and the growth of algae in swimming pools. This is when swimming pool chemicals became commercially available.

Baquacil is not the only biguanide available on the market, there are a few other brands available too. One other well-known biguanide product is SoftSwim, this is a popular alternative to some chlorine brands out there.

Caution: You need to bear this in mind, if you decide to use the brand Baquacil as an alternative to chlorine you will need to use the same brand when it comes to oxidizers and algaecides. If you wish to use a different brand for pH, alkalinity and calcium levels, you can certainly do so.

How Does Baquacil Work?

The main component in baquacil is biguanide. This chemical works by encouraging dirt, debris, and bacteria to bind together into clumps. Once they are clumped together, it facilitates the cleaning process for the filter. One of the drawbacks of using sanitizers like Baquacil is that they sometimes block the pool filter, this is not a major problem, however, all you would need to do is clean the filter on a regular basis. This might deter some people from using baquacil however, their lots of advantages associated with using baquacil so cleaning the filter often shouldn’t really be seen as a drawback.

Advantages of Using Baquacil

Here are some of the advantages of using Baquacil as opposed to using regular chlorine as a swimming pool sanitizer.

  • Gentler on the skin and eyes

Chlorine can cause skin and eye irritation and it sometimes causes respiratory problems too. With Baquacil, you are less likely to experience skin or eye problems, it is much gentler on the skin and eyes.

If you suffer from asthma or any other respiratory problem, chlorine can increase the symptoms associated with these disorders.  Using Baquacil will drastically reduce these problems. In fact, the chances of you experiencing problems.

  • It Does Not Release Chloramines

Another benefit of using Baquacil is that it does not create chloramines. These are the chemicals that are released when chlorine levels drop. They often cause various skin and eye irritations.

Chloramines are produced when chlorine is combined with sweat, urine and other substances.  It is mainly produced because of the nitrogen that is present in these substances.  Chloramines are present when chlorine levels are low. Usually, when there is a distinct scent of chlorine in the swimming pool, it usually means that the chlorine levels are pretty low.

There is no chlorine present in Baquacil at all therefore, there is no chance of chloramines being produced therefore, there will be no scent or no issues with skin or eye irritation.

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  • Sunlight Does Not Have a  Detrimental Effect on it

Chlorine usually decreases when it comes into contact with sunlight. Therefore, you have to constantly keep adding more chlorine to the pool to stabilize the chlorine levels. However, with biguanide this does not happen.

  • Does Not Change Your Hair Color

One problem with chlorine is that it can change the color of your hair. For example, if you have blonde hair and go swimming, your hair might just turn green.  This happens because of the copper in the water, when chlorine comes into contact with copper, it oxidizes it. Biguanide does not oxidize the metal therefore if you entered a pool that was sanitized using Baquacil, you would not experience a change in hair color.

Disadvantages of Using Baquacil

As you can see, there are some real advantages of using baquacil as opposed to using chlorine in swimming pool water however, there are a few drawbacks too.

Here are some of  the disadvantages associated with using baquacil:

  • More costly

As much Baquacil provides lots of benefits, it is slightly more expensive than chlorine.  Another thing you should bear in mind is that you will have to get an oxidizer too, also you need to use the same brand of Ph balancer and algaecide when using Baquacil.

  • It Does Not Eradicate Everything

One thing about Baquacil is that it does not eradicate everything. It works well on algae and bacteria generally however,  when it comes to things like human waste, sweat, and oils, it doesn’t work. If you want to get rid of these things when using Baquacil then you would need to use an oxidizer as well.

  • It Might Stop Working After a While

One thing you need to consider is that it might stop working after a while.  If you have been using Baquacil for a while, it may become less effective over time. 

  • It Can Make Your Pool Cloudy

One of the disadvantages of using Baquacil is that it can make your swimming pool water cloudy. This can happen because sometimes the clumps of dirt and debris block the filter when the filter stops working, those clumps will just remain in the swimming pool instead of getting flushed out by the filter.

One of the ways you can deal with this problem is to use a flocculant made by the Baquacil brand. Also, you can fix the problem by cleaning out the filter once a while.

Chemical Levels

You need to be aware of the chemical levels in the water. When you use chlorine as a pool sanitizer, you need to check the levels on a regular basis too,  you should be doing the same thing when you use Baquacil too.

Sanitization

To ensure that your pool water is fresh and clean, you need to make sure that you are keeping the levels of biguanide to 40 parts per million. Be very vigilant with this because you don’t want the levels to drop to 30 parts per million or less.

pH

The Ph level should always be around 7.4 to 7.6.  Pay close attention to the pH levels when you put sanitizer in the pool. Test the levels before and after treatment.

Alkalinity

Check the alkalinity regularly too, the alkalinity levels should never drop below 100ppm. Really, you should be shooting for approximately 125 parts per million.

Anything below 100 parts per million could cause the pH levels to increase or decrease too much. 

If you need to reduce the alkalinity, you can use a pH decreaser, muriatic acid is also effective in decreasing the alkalinity levels.

Calcium Hardness

Calcium is a necessary component of swimming pool water. You want the balance of calcium to be just right, if it is too high then it can cause cloudiness.  If the levels drop too much, you will find that you might end up with corrosion issues on your hands (corroded metal and concrete) 170 to 270 parts per million is a good range.

Oxidizer

To get rid of other nasty uninvited guests in the swimming pool, you will need to use oxidizer.  This will aid in getting rid of sweat, human waste and it will also help with algae.

Note: Only used oxidizers that are designed to work in conjunction with biguanide products.

Algaecide

If you want to ensure that your pool is algae free, then you should make sure that you sanitize your pool on a regular basis. You will also need to utilize algaecides too.

If you are using baquacil, then you need to use the same brand of algaecide.

. Baquacil is a slightly more expensive alternative to chlorine however, there are some drawbacks to using this chemical as opposed to chlorine. You will have to utilize an oxidizer to eliminate various other contaminants from the swimming pool however, it is an excellent choice for people who experience unpleasant skin and eye irritation as a result of swimming in a heavily chlorinated swimming pool.

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