Monday, May 12, 2008
You Can Get More With A Gun & A Smile Than With A Smile Alone
The one that surprised me most - sort of - was that Bio Guard removed all of their Material Safety Data Sheets from their website. They didn’t just move them so that my links would be dead. They completely removed them and put a note, “To request MSDS for BioGuard products, please contact our BioGuard Customer Care by phone at 1.800.932.5943”.
Just a few months ago their entire library was available at their website. Now, they want to control who they release that information to. Why?
Perhaps it’s because they prefer that the public thinks their “essential minerals” in their Mineral Springs program are a “proprietary blend of minerals” instead of common salt and borax. Yes, the same Borax that Ronald Reagan used to shill for on Death Valley Days. I guess if you’re selling common salt and a laundry additive for something like $40.00 a 30 lbs. bag, you need to control who you release that information to.
You can achieve much the same results of a bag of Mineral Springs Beginnings with about $5.00 worth of salt (a forty lbs. bag at the Big Box store), a 4 lbs. box of sodium tetraborate decahydrate (20 Mule Team Borax) that sells for $2.99, and a little over a quart of muriatic acid to neutralize the borax.
If you use the median percentages for a bag of Renew it’s 2.4 lbs salt, about 7 ozs. of 20 Mule Team Borax, and 4 ozs. of liquid muriatic acid. That’s between $1.50 and $2.00, depending on where you shop. How much are you paying for Renew?
Here’s excerpts from an e-mail from a lady whose had quite enough of the whole Mineral Springs program:
“I stumbled across your blog as I was hunting for cheaper prices for Mineral Springs-Renewal that we have to put in our pool every week. I started reading all the articles and although I thought I was a fairly-informed consumer.
I can see I was totally wrong when it comes to these systems. So my question is--what now? Our pool was put in by [Big Pool Company], (Atlanta, Georgia area) in August 2007. We have had no troubles except now--trying to keep the PH low and the cyanuric acid up and the price of the Renewal--it is totally stupid--up to 26-30 dollars per week--no, I did not sign up for this! We take a pool water sample to our local [Big Pool Company] store in Loganville, GA and they test it for free--we never leave there without needing 90-150 dollars of chemicals.....
Our pool is still under warranty and after reading your articles and all the links--I want our of this system--any suggestions???? Any advise would be appreciated.”
$26 to $30 a week for $2.00 worth of salt and laundry powder... Think I’m making it up? Look again at the MSDS for Renew and do the calculations yourself. The “Inorganic salt” is salt. The Boron Salt is a product very similar to 20 Mule Team Borax. The Inorganic Acid is a granular acid to balance the pH from the high pH Boron salt (I substituted an equivalent amount of liquid muriatic acid in my calculations), and the Aluminum salt is just in there as a desiccant, to keep things dry. When you add it all up and replace with off-the -shelf bulk items, it comes out to about $2.00 for 4 lbs.
I’ve talked about all this before. Click on the Label Getting Screwed Buying Salt. It’s all there. And the BioGuard links have been Renewed, for a lot less than $30 a week.
What surprised me in reading through them was BioGuard Smart Shock. It contains copper. And I thought only Home Depot and the like sold chlorine laced with copper.
First, thanks for the advice you are giving on you site. I was duped by the Mineral Springs lie unitl I read your page. I knew those bags of Beginnings I was dumping in the pool each year was like pouring money into my pool. To think I have buying $35 bags of salt pisses me off.
This year I am following your directions for salt, Borax and Muriatic Acid.
I wrote back:
"Congratulations on seeing behind the curtain. One of the things that the Renewals was supposed to be doing for you by adding it every week is to keep the Optimizer (Borax) level high enough to act as a good algaestat. The Bioguard store you were shopping at sells Optimizer test strips. I recommend you buy a bottle of the test strips from them and then use this link:
It's a long story, but Bioguard bought Proteam, the company that discovered that Borax helped prevent algae, many years ago. But Proteam still operates under the old label name because it had good name recognition with customers. The Proteam website give a lot more info. Toward the bottom of the page is the Proteam (Borax) dosage chart and the pH adjustment chart. Download those and print them off and it'll make this all a lot easier.
Too, you ought to get a Taylor salt test kit. That way you can independently test your salt level. The reading you get on your salt system is only accurate in a certain temperature range and is predicated on the cell plates being clean. Cold or hot water or any scale buildup on the cell will skew the electronic reading.
If you test your Borax and salt level and chlorine, pH and Total Alkalinity yourself, you won't have to rely on the pool store to do it for you and then slide an armload of products across the counter for you to buy. They've already proven they can't be trusted with that whole Beginnings and Renewal scam. And if you replace Baking Soda for Total Alkalinity Control (See blog piece Soylent Green is Baking Soda), you will save still more money.
Good luck with your pool and enjoy the savings."
thanks for the help