Getting the Biguanides Out

Biguanides know better as Baquacil or Soft Soak is an alternative to chlorine and Bromine. Biguanides are a non-halogen (chlorine and bromine are a halogen based) based way of sanitizing your pool or spa. While it is EPA certified and they do work. Biguanides have been reported to be easier to use since they require fewer chemicals and aren’t affected by unbalanced pH like chlorine and bromine. It also reduces surface tension that gives the water a smoother feel. If you use the exact amounts of biguanides they won’t corrode equipment, degrade in the sun or higher temperatures, and won’t irritate skin and eyes. Be warned though that biguanides like any pool chemicals do have their own set problems.

Biguanides Problems

Biguanides actually use hydrogen peroxide to “shock” their system. This tends to gum up filters and there is no product out to fix this. Also with biguanides you can’t use any other products then what the biguanides manufacturer recommends. If you use any other products such as chlorine it will turn your pool the color of orange soda pop.  Biguanides are also not compatible with ozone, most detergents, ionizers and many other common pool chemicals though will work with most water balancing chemicals such as TA plus and pH minus. So if you are on a biguanides system don’t despair it is possible with a little work and following these simple steps to switch back to chlorine or bromine.

Biguanides to Chlorine

  1. Step one is easy enough, stop adding your Biguanides chemicals. You want to get as much of the biguanides chemicals out of the pool/spa.
  2. While you are burning your old biguanides chemicals out of your pool/spa you want to run your filter as much as possible. Since you will not have any sanitizer in it will be hard to keep your pool clean. Add a non-biguanides algaecide when the level of biguanides gets low to combat this.
  3. Change or clean your filter. Since as mentioned before biguanides gum up your filter and will react with chlorine if this residue is still present when the new chlorine is added.  Depending on what filter media you use you will want to thoroughly clean it. For sand replace the sand and use a biguanides approved filter cleaner (don’t worry this won’t add anymore of the biguanides to your pool). If you have a cartridge filter, remove the cartridge and hose it off. You will then want to use a biguanides approved filter cleaner then replace the filter. For a DE filter you want to thoroughly backwash, then following your filter instruction remove the actual filter from inside the unit hose off and clean with a biguanides approved filter cleaner and reassemble.
  4. Now make sure your water is balanced. Balance as needed.
  5. Shock your pool using non-chlorine shock. This shock is also called potassium peroxymonosulfate. You need to add shock at a rate of 8lbs per 10,000 gallons of pool water. Add ½ of the total shock amount then run the filter for 24 to 48 hours before adding the rest. Follow the instructions on the shock package to add the shock keeping the filter running. Now the pool water may turn cloudy if there is still some biguanides present.
  6. You will want to rebalance the water as necessary at this point.
  7. Continue to run your filter constantly 24 hours a day 7 days a week until the cloudy water clears. You may want to backwash several times during this period to help clear the water faster.
  8. Now you are ready to add chlorine. Add slowly at first to make sure it does react to any still present biguanides. Do this by putting a single tab of chlorine in a floater. Check to see if this chlorine doesn’t change colors. If it stay a constant white and starts dissolving you are good to go.
  9. After this tablet is dissolved you can add two tablets into a floater or chlorinator. Do not put in your skimmer basket. After these are dissolved keep adding chlorine tablets until your chlorine level has reached at least 1.0ppm on your test strips. Make sure to maintain this level of chlorine throughout the summer. You will want to refrain from using chlorine shock product, instead continue to use non-chlorine shock.

The best time from experience to do this is when you open your pool in the spring. This is because after a winter of not adding biguanides you will have lower levels to start with.

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