I recently had an inground pool installed, around 9/2008. I was an owner of above ground pool previously, so I was already familiar with keeping ph and chlorine levels. I wanted to get the best for my kids so I was researching chlorine alternatives for pool sanitation. I came across ECOSmarte and CLFreeUSA product. I called CLFree sales rep Phil Francisco, he convinced me to buy it for $2195. The product came right away. I had it installed as per their instructions. But as soon as I had it installed, I wanted to see if it was doing anything. Checking the copper levels was the first test. You put the pool water into a 10ml test tube. You mix CopperA,ammonium hydroxide, then you put in CopperB, Isoprophyl Alcohol, you wait 3 minutes then you look down center of the tube. You are suppose to compare the color you see with 8 different shades of blue on the chart. When you look at it at a slight different angle you can see all different shades of blue. When you check the copper levels its like reading the ept stick, you're not quite sure if there's enough copper in the pool. When I called the technician Bill Gilles, he told me to run the system 24 hours for 3 days, that should be enough to keep the copper level for my pool size which is about 35000gal. I had to close the pool after only two weeks of use in September of 2008. This is actually late seasonal closing for New York area. I wasn't quite sure if the System was doing anything because my pool guys started the pool with chlorine and stabilizers. So there was still a lot of Chlorine in the pool when I installed the system in September of 2008.
I reopened the pool 6/2/2009. The pool guys used the usual chlorine shock and other chemicals to balance the pool. No chlorine stabilizers as recommended by Clfree. The pool looked clean when the guys left. I was now exclusively using CLfree system. As recommended previously by Bill Gilles, 24hours for 3 days, however I ran it for 14days 24hours a day. I wanted it to get as much copper in the pool as I can get. The pool looked clean but there was an almost invisible slime on the wall which was Algae. This also caused a sour unpleasant smell in the pool. I scrubbed the walls but the slime came back next day. I recently bought Hayward TigerShark to clean the pool. It wasn't able to climb the walls. During this time I wasn't sure if it was the robot or the slime of the wall was causing the robot not to climb the walls. I also had to backwash the filter almost on a daily basis to get any pumping pressure going. After I scrubbed the walls, the algae came right back the next day.
After 2 weeks of this mess, I had to try something else. I used the chlorine shock and chlorine tablets. After the very first day, all the problems disappeared. Slime on the wall were gone, the sour unpleasant smell disappeared, my robot can climb walls and my filter had a great pressure to pump all day long. I only keep the pump running during the day for 8 hours now. The pool looks great, smells great, feels great and the pool is clearer than ever. No more scrubbing, no more checking for copper, no more running the pump 24/7.
After this enlightening experience, I contacted Phil Francisco to return the Clfree system for a full refund. He pointed to the 30day Money Back Guarantee list on his web site and asks me to check for Phosphates. He will not refund the product. I guess he conveniently forgot that he promised he would refund after next season's opening. It's obvious to me now that this is a scam. They will have you keep checking for different items in the pool until you run out of time to return for refund. This is to hide the fact that the copper and titanium system isn't doing anything at all. They are making you think you are not smart enough to know how this system is suppose to works. So you keep trying what they ask you to do, until you finally realize this system really doesn't work. By that time, it's too late and you're stuck with a system that not only does nothing but it destroys what little chlorine there was in the pool, which was doing good. Credit Card will only allow up to 60days for disputed charges so; it looks like the court system is the route to get my money back. Phil Francisco seems to be very familiar with the court systems from the return emails I got back from him. Currently, I have disconnected the system and working with Clfree to get my money back. I'm hopeful and I'm willing to continue the fight until whatever end. However, realistically, I'll probably never see my hard earned $2195, which I thought I was spending to make my kids life better by providing the best possible pool sanitation possible.
So the moral of the story, I feel like the emperor in the Emperor's new clothes. Do Not buy the copper based pool sanitizer. It's a scam. Please learn from my $2195 mistake.
Use the tried and true chlorine. Chlorine Free USA is a scam and any other system that uses copper.
New York Area, New York