What Water Wants | Rule Your Pool (Episode 101)
Welcome back to the Rule your Pool podcast. This is the 101st episode, and it's hard to believe. I can't believe I just said that. But yeah, we are in a new century. We did the hundredth episode live from the Naspa show in Atlantic City, and this one I'm doing Alone. I'm your host, Eric Knight.
Thank you for being here. Thank you so much for continuing to listen to this and the feedback we get from you is just amazing. We do this for you and the fact that you were getting value out of it. We will continue to do it. The moment we stop adding value is the moment we quit doing this podcast.
So your feedback means the world to us. I really do mean that in today's episode I don't actually have show notes. Not the Jerod would read them anyway, but normally I like to have a few bullet points of what I want to talk to, but this one's coming from the heart because I'm in the middle of trade show season.
I'm gone every week. I'm home, you know, two days at a time, if that. I'm about to leave for another ten. And this week I was in Saint Louis teaching water chemistry at Pentair University. It's a real honor to be able to teach water chemistry at these events.
We've been doing this for a while. We've been teaching these classes and getting great responses because it works. And customers, they don't believe it at first.
And I just love seeing those heads nodding in the middle of a class, especially in person. You know, it's one thing to teach a podcast or a class on Zoom, but being in a room with 100 people or a company with, you know, a dozen people or less, when you see what I'm saying is clicking in somebody's mind, you can just kind of see it on their face. And gosh, that's an amazing feeling that you're exposing truth to somebody who's never actually heard it.
And there's a lot of ignorance in the industry, and I don't mean that in a negative way. Ignorance is we don't know what we don't know. There's nothing wrong with that. Nobody knows what they don't know. But then you have willful ignorance. You have people that know the right thing and choose to ignore it or they admit it, or they just choose to bury it.
We have a lot of this in the news. The error of omission, right? It's a way of silencing something that is true but inconvenient. We don't want to be that. And so this week I was in Saint Louis and I was expecting, you know, out of the 265 pool professionals there that, I don't know, maybe half, three quarters or most of them had the app on their phone or knew who we were at a minimum.
And that was not true. I went to Saint Louis and by all rights, I should have been upset. They had no idea who we were. Only two or three people in the entire event had even heard of Orinda or heard this message at all, or knew we had an app. And I'm kind of upset with ourselves for not covering that territory is on us.
But I wasn't upset. I was actually really elated. It was so refreshing. It was awesome. It was like the most invigorating week I've had in the last couple of years. For sure.
They didn't know any of this, just the facial expressions and the reaction I got from the crowd just meant so much. So those of you listening from Saint Louis shout out for being on the podcast already. Thank you so much.
This is one of the best events I've been to because normally when I go in, I teach. Most people in the room have heard us speak before or they know the app or they've tried PR 10,000, they know our phosphate remover or something. They have some basis for understanding who we are and going into a place with people who have never heard of us before was really, really cool. And in this episode I want to review what we talked about because it forced me to go back to the basics. We get drawn into details so much and I realized that when we made Orenda Academy and there Four Pillars, that was several years ago. We know a lot more now.
And so we've been talking internally in our company that we probably need to add another chapter to the four pillars and another Chapter two Academy to talk about what we've since learned. So in this 101st episode, I'm just going to overview the basics of what we've been teaching lately. I don't really have a name for it, except this is what water wants.
Let's go. Welcome to Rule the podcast by Orenda that explains and simplifies pool chemistry so that anybody, regardless of experience, can understand it. I'm your host, Eric Knight, bringing clarity to these subjects so that you can bring clarity to your water. If you're ready to rule your pool, then let's go here.
So I was brought to the Pentair training to teach saltwater chemistry, and I realized when I was up there that because they'd never heard any of this before, I asked the question, Who here knows what the LSI is? Only a couple of hands went up, and I'm not going to say nobody knew what it was, but very, very few people had ever even heard of the LSI. And it became abundantly clear that I can't teach saltwater chemistry if we don't yet understand water, because the only thing that water cares about is equilibrium. That equilibrium is measured using the LSI is the equilibrium of the saturation of calcium carbonate. That's what the LSI tells us.
The Langly or Saturation index go back to the first several episodes of this podcast where we dive deeper into the LSI, but it's a continuing thread through everything we teach. And why wouldn't it be if that equilibrium is the one thing that water cares about? Of course it's going to be a thread that we talk about everywhere because that's what water wants. It wants equilibrium.
That's what it cares about, doesn't care about you, doesn't care how long you've been doing this. It doesn't care how nice your pool is. It's just water. And water always craves equilibrium, just like everything else in nature.
And on the other side you have air. You have air that seeks equilibrium. And we talk about Henry's law, Henry's law of differential pressures states that any gas dissolved in a liquid like water is going to equalize.
With that same gas above that liquid, we use the reference of a carbonated beer or a soda. You have a lot of CO2 in there, and it's a high pressure. When you open the lid, it goes and you hear that CO2 escaping and suddenly all the bubbles start appearing in the drink because the CO2 in the liquid now has to equalize with the room.
And that's a much lower pressure. So that little pocket of air under the bottle lid was high pressure because it was already equalized with the drink. You lift that lid, now the pressure dramatically drops. So all the CO2 has to leave because this is Henry's law. CO2 has to leave to equalize with the room. When it does, your beer goes flat.
It is no longer carbonated because it has equalized with the room. You cannot make a flat beer flatter. You can't shake it up and get it to bubble more. No, the CO2 is already out.
It's already equalized with the room. The same physics apply to your pool. And that's really important to understand because most people don't know and we've talked about before, that the amount of dissolved CO2 in your water is what determines your age. Technically, it's hydrogen ions, but because of carbon and alkalinity, a much easier way of thinking about this is the amount of dissolved CO2 determines your. This is because of carbonic acid by carbon and ions.
Carbon and ions. We go more in-depth on this in several other episodes, and I'm sure you can find them, But when you tie those two concepts of physics together, the water equilibrium using the l'essai and the air equilibrium using Henry's law, you have two forces of physics that are either going to do most of the work for you so that you can rule your pool leveraging physics, or they will be your worst enemy and keep fighting back against you. Now, traditional pool care is taught so that you are adding things to try to get water to bend to your will.
As I say, you're trying to impose your will upon water. Traditional pool care is based on ranges range chemistry. Well, you have to have a 7.4 to 7.68 or a 7 to 2 seven eight or 7 to 2 seven six or, you know, depending on the source.
They're telling you that you have to have a certain patch. They're telling you you have to have a certain alkalinity, 80 parts per million to 120 parts per million or 200 to 400 calcium. These are ranges. And the problem with range chemistry, while you can be balanced on the LSI within those ranges, it is also very likely and common that in those ranges you can also violate the l'essai.
And I have news for you if you haven't been listening to this podcast. Water doesn't care about the ranges. Water never read the textbook. Water doesn't care about individual factors. It cares about the holistic aggregate of all of them, and that is calculated using the LSI. Water cares about equilibrium.
So you have to factor all of these. So when you look at a pool problem, the question is not, well, what's the oh, I need to adjust the page. It's so high, like on a start up. This is a classic example. You show up the day late because you know nobody picked up the phone and called and said, Hey, we're going to plaster the pool tomorrow. They call when it's done. Great.
Thank you for giving the opportunity to the start up technician not telling them ahead of time so that they could actually fill it up correctly. But that's beside the point. So you show up in the pools for there's plaster dust patches through the roof. We are trained to focus on the oh, I have to have 7.476 page.
No you do not. But that's what we're taught. We're taught to think about the page. Oh,
so you add acid and then the next day you come back in, the page is sky high again and there's more dust and you add more acid. Then you come back the third day. Where's the page? Oh, yeah, it's sky high again. And you add more acid because you were chasing the wrong thing.
So you weren't asking what water cared about. You were following a card based on an old paradigm that we are trying to shatter. This old paradigm states that you can bend water to your will, that the ranges are supreme.
You have to have these ranges or else you're out of balance. And that is not always true. In fact, it is rarely true, especially during a pool startup winterization Spring opening, etc.
The LC reigns supreme because that is what water cares about. That's what water wants. And if we are looking at water chemistry through our lens, through our perspective, you're missing something.
You're missing something major. You need to be looking at water through the perspective of water. What does water care about? What cares about equilibrium? So the question when you show up to a startup should never be what's the know? You want to know what the page is, but you want to plug that into the LSI calculator Because the only question that you should be asking when you show up to the pool is what is the LSI of my water? And to answer that question, yes, you need to know the h, the alkalinity, calcium hardness, the water temperature, the TDS, the CIA, and of course on a startup you shouldn't have a high TDs, you shouldn't have any CIA, but you do need to know the water temperature, you do need to know the calcium, you do need to know the alkalinity and the page because you're calculating the L'essai don't immediately knee jerk react that Oh my gosh, I have a high, I have to add acid.
Well, okay, you may have to add some acid, but you don't have to bring it down to 7.4, but you have to replenish what you're taking away. Because the real question when you show up to that pool is not what is my P.H.? It's what is the LCI? And the answer is that L'essai is probably perfect because it ate overnight and it ate until it couldn't eat and it got saturated and it stopped eating.
That water is happy as a clam and then you dump acid in it because you're chasing textbook ranges and water. Never read your textbook. You can tell I'm kind of passionate about this because in this industry people have been misled to think that you can do all these things and water is just going to be fine.
Has it ever worked? Real question Why do you think it keeps happening? Why do you think the page continues to be high on every startup you do? We could extrapolate this to other examples outside of startup as well, but why do you think the same things keep happening? The definition of insanity, I'm paraphrasing, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You were never doing the right thing now you thought you were. And it's not a criticism because this is what we were taught.
But the truth is water has always been consistent about what it wants. The problem is water doesn't have a voice and I'm doing my best to give water. That voice water has been screaming that all it cares about is equilibrium. And the way that it screams is it damages surfaces, it damages vinyl liners, it fades them, it destroys gel coats on fiberglass. You get that hazing. We call it chalking.
If you were to look at it under a microscope, it cracks open these gel coats and chlorine, gets in there and oxidizes the polymers in that gel coat and they turn white. People think it's scale. And I asked the people in Saint Louis, I said, Hey, have you ever put acid on that thinking it was scale, right? Yeah, you did? Yeah. Did it work dope? Well, if it were scale, acid would clean it up, but it didn't because it's not scale. Just because you have a white discoloration in a pool does not mean it's scale. We have to understand the LSI because that's all that water has ever cared about.
But that's water's voice water screaming to you. If it's too saturated with calcium carbonate, it's going to scale. It's going to put stuff on your tile line. It's going to flake up a salt cell and you're going to get flakes that blow into your spa. It's going to scale up a heat exchanger. It's going to be on that sunny tile line or the spillway.
That's water telling you something. It's not that you have too much calcium hardness. Is that the LSI is too high. But nobody was paying attention.
Just because water can't speak English doesn't mean that it's not trying to tell you something. When you see discoloration in plaster surfaces and destroyed heaters and you start getting copper staining because the heat exchanger is getting rotted out, you might want to start paying attention to that or why the bottom of a pool around the main drain is lighter than everything around it, or why there's a suspicious lighter color one arms length around the curvature of the perimeter of the pool where you've been adding acid undiluted, starting to resonate now, these are problems that are very common in the pool industry. And when I was in St Louis this week, it really came to a head that I have been living in a bubble, thinking that people are following along with what we're saying because, you know, the people that reach out to us, they know what we're talking about. They listen to this podcast, they watch our videos, they take academy, they read the blog, It's awesome.
We get great feedback. And then I go into a market in the middle of our own country and no one knows who we are. They've never heard this before. And it was awesome because I was there to teach salt water chemistry, as I said earlier, and we barely touched on salt water chemistry.
We had to talk about water. I can't talk about salt water until I talk about water. We have to understand water first.
So we spent most of our time talking about the L'essai and then Henry's law. Because Henry's law, the amount of CO2 in the water determines the H. If I know that my beer is going to go flat. So it is my pool. It is going to go flat, which means I'm going to lose CO2 until it equalize it.
And that means the H is going to naturally rise. We have two or three extra episodes on this. One of them is about containing page and the other one says Henry's Law. So if you're searching, you can find them. I need to stay LSI balanced year round.
That's our first pillar of proactive full care. And in order to do that, I have to be compliant with Henry's law. Meaning I have to know where my page ceiling is.
We've made this easy for you. It is in the red app at the top left of the agenda calculator pushed show secondary readings and you will see the ceiling pops up. You want that number to be green and not just green. You want to make sure that when your page is at that green number, your LCI is also green so that you're not purple, you're not scale forming when the page rises, because if it is purple, you may be LSI balanced. Today. But as that pool off gases CO2 because it's equalizing with the air above the pool, Henry's law, it's going to pull the page up and you're going to violate the law.
I before you get back and this happens faster in salt pools because of the off gassing of CO2 within the cell thanks to bubbling hydrogen bubbles, but also spillways, spas, jets, sprayer features, waterfalls, vanishing edges, whatever it is, any turbulence, kids swimming, splashing around. That turbulence is going to lead to more CO2 loss. So there's a good chance you're going to get up to that finish line, that ceiling. You need to make sure that you are LSI balanced when that happens because there is no human technology that I'm aware of that can actually control P-H.
Now there are things that can suppress it, like acid feeders but not control it. The good news is you don't have to control it. You only need to contain it because physics can stop it from rising.
And that's what the ceiling is, to bring that page ceiling down to where you need it to be and then offset that lower alkalinity with more calcium hardness to maintain LSI balance year round. That's what we talked about in St Louis. That is an overview of most of what we teach. That's our foundation. Everything else that we teach about water balance is stemmed in what I just discussed. As I said in St Louis, I've got like 12 more fire trucks ready to just unload information.
If you think this is drinking from a fire hose, I've got a lot more. But this is the first one. We have to have a foundation of understanding what water wants. And when we do that, then we can start talking about details.
So shout out to those of you who attended the training in St Louis. You made my year, not my week. You made my year. It was just awesome to see new people who have never heard this message before. It's why I do this. It's why we do this.
It's a very cool experience to be able to see people and hear the feedback of people who have never heard this truth before. And what's the best part is I was giving examples in the class of things that every one of them had seen and they thought they knew why it was happening. And then when I explained, Oh well, that's actually CO2 off gassing, or that's actually such and such, they're like, No way.
It all started to click. One such example was if you don't believe that it's all about CO2, when you add acid, how does acid create CO2? Is there no CO2 in a bottle of muriatic acid? Nobody had an answer. I said. Let me ask it another way.
When you add acid to a pool, what else goes down? And they're all like, alkalinity. Yeah. When you put acid into a pool, it converts bicarbonate alkalinity into carbonic acid. Carbonic acid is H2 c o3. Another way of putting that is H2O plus CO2.
Carbonic acid is dissolved CO2. So you are burning through alkalinity to convert it, to dissolve CO2 to bring your down. And then you just saw the faces and the jaws drop.
And it was just an amazing experience, you know, I didn't have show notes on here. I didn't need them. I was thinking about this all day yesterday as I was flying home all night. I really just wanted to record this because I'm home, leaving again tomorrow.
I really just wanted to get this off my chest to say there are people who have never heard this message and they still think that range chemistry is the truth. And it's not like I say that we've all been lied to, but there's certainly been a lot of things that have been omitted. We have not been told the full story here. None of this is proprietary information.
It's all public information. Actually, we cite our sources. We give credit where it's due. We have had help explaining this and understanding it. So this is not just me making this up.
Look at our sources online. A lot of this was published decades and decades ago. For some reason, the swimming pool industry is long behind the other water industries. They've all known this and shout out to the homeowners who listen to this that are retired chemists and chemical engineer. Several of you call us and write emails to us.
One in particular, you know who you are that will email after we publish something scientific and just make sure that my formulas are right. That means the world to me. Thank you. We do have everything vetted before we publish, so we're getting a lot less of those corrections now. Thankfully, we're trying to publish the most factual information we can. Not clickbait articles? No, we're publishing real stuff and it is validated before we push publish. And to those of you who I have talked to and I asked that question, did you know that CO2 determines the age of water? Every one of you has been like, Yeah, you didn't feel like, No, no, our whole industry has been thinking we can control it with acid.
This is basic chemistry. So chemists know this, they and they know that you're not going to be able to maintain a 7.4 to 7.6 or actually, I'll even be more conservative. Any chemist who knows water chemistry knows that you cannot maintain under a 7.8 naturally with 80 to 120 alkalinity, you'll be able to see that on your own. Using the Aranda Calculator Show Secondary readings.
Look at the ceiling at 80 alkalinity. It's over seven eight. There's your answer. The P-H has to rise above 7.8. You've got a over carbonated pool.
It has a lot of CO2 to lose. The P-H is going to rise. You cannot stay under 7.8. Naturally, of course, the page is going to rise out of that range.
And here we are in this industry thinking because we've been taught I must be doing something wrong. The just won't stop rising. I keep coming back after week. My is over eight. Yes, it's because it has to. You have too much alkalinity in your water.
Oh, but I have to have 80 to 120 alkalinity. Not necessarily just because manufacturers say that. Understand that. They're saying that because the standards said that, not because they're right. The standards said that and the standards were not right. I'm here to say it loudly.
I'm not even hiding it. I am on a personal mission to change these standards because they are crushing us. They are hurting every homeowner who has a swimming pool in their backyard. They are hurting every pool service technician. They are not based on real chemistry and physics.
They are somewhat arbitrary. We've been taught for so long we have to do these things just because that's how we've always done them. But there's no chemistry evidence to suggest a lot of it. We probably should be questioning it. I'm seeing people struggle to rule their pools because they're trying to impose their will upon water and water fights back and water wins.
Keep an open mind. Think about water from water's perspective. If you want to truly rule your pool, get out of its way. Give the water the balance it craves, because if you don't, it is going to balance itself. Simplify it, take contaminants out of the equation.
The more complexity you have in your water, the more complexity you have to use to address it. I don't want long term byproducts. I don't want chemical conflict. I don't want all this junk in your water. I want your water to be as close to a bottle of purified drinking water as possible.
That is LSI balanced and accounting for things like Henry's Law because these are forces of nature. Do you want to rule your pool or do you want to fight your pool and beat it into submission? There's a difference. This has been episode one two, one.
I wasn't planning on doing this one. I actually kind of have a series of things that I want to do coming up, but I had to get this off my chest. So thank you for listening to me vent. Share this with your friends. You know somebody else who has a pool and they're struggling with it. Maybe their pool turns green every season.
Maybe they've never heard this message either. Maybe they don't know what water is trying to say. It's a good chance they don't. And if you go to the pool store and you get that chemistry print out, no disrespect to pool stores, but these softwares are based on the old paradigm. They are based on the old range chemistry paradigm that you must have seven 4 to 7 six page and 80 to 120 alkalinity and 200 a foreign policy. That is not what water wants.
That's what the pool industry has wanted. Quite frankly, if you follow those things, you're going to buy a lot more chemicals. As a chemical manufacturer myself, I'm here to tell you that's not in your best interest.
You want to have as little in your pool as possible. If you have any questions, reach out, Podcast@Orendatech.com is the email. You can also check out our help center.
Ask.orendatech.com and you could submit a question there that goes into our system and check out our website Orendatech.com. I mean, just go to the education tab.
You'll see the blog, the procedures, Orenda Academy, you know, so on and so forth. Anyway, I hope this resonates with you. This has been the first episode of The Rule.
Your Pool podcast. I'm your host, Eric Knight. I hope to hear some feedback from you. Probably ruffled some feathers, maybe irritated a bunch of people listening because I know our competitors are listening to this. That is the seven or eight people that got us over 100 listeners. Hell yeah.
Thank you. Love you people. I know you love us, too. Thanks so much, everyone. Take care. Thank you for listening to Rule Your Pool, a podcast by Orenda Technologies. For more information on what we discussed in this week's episode, check the links in the description or visit www.Orendatech.com. I hope you find this show valuable enough that you tap that subscribe button and share it with your friends.
You can also like us on Facebook and social media. With our help, you'll be able to rule your pool without over treating it with chemicals and wasting money. I'll see you next episode.