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Thread: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

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    New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Hello,

    Just purchased a home with a pool at the end of last fall. I've been keeping it looking great all season thanks to a lot of the resources available on this site. I'm still relatively new to this, but have a basic understanding of water chemistry, DE Filters, etc. It took me a little while to get the pool cleared up but I SLAM'd when I opened it, but I haven't really had any other issues all season. A little bit of algae growth here and there, but the pool has been crystal clear. I brought a sample to the pool store just after I opened the pool to get the chemistry dialed in. I've been using test strips since then, but realize I need to invest in a real test kit.

    Pool Details:
    ~20,000 gallons
    Vinyl Liner (relatively new)
    DE Filter
    Hayward Chlorine Feeder

    My biggest question has been regarding Chlorine and Chlorine usage. I feel like I've been going through a ton of it. I'm putting 2 bags of Super Shock in every 5-7 days to maintain my chlorine level. CYA seems to be fairly level, but I have had to add a little bit here and there. All other chemistry seems to be in line, and I haven't had to add much of anything. I'm just surprised that some weeks my chlorine levels drop to almost zero within 5-6 days. We've had some heavy storms lately, but it was very dry in May and the beginning of June. The pool doesn't get a ton of sunlight, and I haven't been heating it at all. Is this normal? I see many people saying that their chlorine levels will stay consistent over a week or more. As long as I keep adding the Super Shock the pool stays perfect, but if I try to go 7-10 days it starts to get hazy and I'll get some algae growth on the walls.

    I purchased a bunch of 3" tablets early in the season at the recommendation of the previous owner. I filled the feeder back in May and they have barely dissolved at all, even with the feeder set on 9. I'm starting to wonder if this is even working as it doesn't seem to be putting much if any chlorine into the pool. I figured I would have to fill it a few times over the season, but at this point they are looking like they will last all season. Is it possible that it isn't working at all, or maybe the inlet hose is plugged?

    I'm about to purchase another 24 bags of Super Shock or a bulk bucket, and can't help but feel like I am going through too much Chlorine. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    Thanks!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Do NOT!!!! buy any bags of shock. My guess is your stabilizer level is through the roof and thus you are not maintaining the FC level high enough to prevent algae from starting. (see the FC/CYA Chart) Now that it is started, it is consuming the chlorine faster than you can add it with the pucks (which are making the problem worse).

    Please post up a full set of test results ... from one of the Recommended Test Kits and not the strip garbage.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Thanks for the reply! I have read all of the links attached. Again, I understand the basics which is why this is confusing me a bit. CYA seems to be in line, but I agree with the lack of FC level.

    My stabilizer is reading about 40 PPM, but I realize the strips are probably not an accurate way of testing. I'm planning on ordering a K-2006 this week. I don't think the stabilizer is terribly high, but I could be wrong. I added a bunch at the beginning of the year based on the pool stores recommendations as it was pretty much 0 when I started, and my chlorine usage has slowed a bit. I can bring a sample to the pool store for a test in the meantime till my test kit arrives.

    The pucks aren't even dissolving though. I filled the feeder in the middle of May and it has basically consumed less than 20% of the tablets. I'm starting to think that maybe it isn't working at all.

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    epro05's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Welcome to TFP.

    Your pool maintenance method is at total odds with what is taught on this site. Folks here don't need to add bags of Super Shock ever, and seldom do they use 3" tables although they can be useful when going on vacation and when CYA level is on the low side and they want to bring it up.

    Regular concentrated bleach (8.25%) or liquid chlorine (10% or 12.5%) is most commonly used. The ingredient is sodium hypochlorite and it chlorinates the pool without adding undesirable stuff. The tabs and shock that you are using are driving up your CYA level, and it's probably higher now than you want it to be.

    Using bleach/liquid chlorine, you will need to dose your pool daily, and that takes about 10 minutes.

    Suggest you read all the articles in Pool School (upper left on the main page of this website). Once you have done that, continue asking questions, and help will come your way.

    The very first thing you want to do is get a good test kit. The TF-100 available at tftestkits.net is recommended and it will test all the needed parameters of your pool water. And the Speed Stir also available at that site will make testing very much easier. Hopefully you'll order these.
    27,500 gallon in ground gunite/plaster (1995). Attached Spa with fountain, spillway, and 2 lion heads streaming into the pool. Hayward pump and AO Smith UST1152 1.5 hp motor (single speed). Hayward 60 sq ft DE Filter (Model DE-6000). Kreepy Krauly cleaner.

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Do not trust the test strips for CYA. My friend's "guess strips" we're showing less than 30ppm CYA, with his FC at about 4-5ppm, but could not keep the green monster at bay. I took a trip over to his pool with my Taylor K-2006 and what do you know..... CYA was at 90ppm !!

    BTW- a "little algae here and there" is not acceptable. There should be NO algae at all, ever.

    FC levels do not "stay good" for a week, I don't know where you got that info. In a well maintained pool it is normal to add 2-3ppm of chlorine DAILY.

    Dom
    Dom - TFP Guide
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Could be a blessing in disguise if the chlorinator is not actually working and your CYA is not sky high. Start using bleach.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Your will LOVE your pool the TFP way. We can help you get it clear and keep it clear using bleach! Of course you will need to "feed" your pool every day but that is not big deal.

    Let us know when you get your test kit. The sooner the better. We will get you through the next part!

    kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Sounds like I need a good test kit. I guess I put too much faith in those stupid little test strips. Just ordered one now, so I should have it in a few days. I'm going to revisit the Pool School tonight too.

    I can't really dose the pool daily with liquid as I travel quite a bit for work. It can be 3-4 days at a time before I am home, and the wife is reluctant to get involved with anything other than switching the pump on and off.

    Most of this stuff I ordered before getting active in reading on this site. I wanted to use it up, but realize they probably aren't the best/cheapest options. My concern though with the feeder is that it isn't working at all due to the fact that the tablets aren't even dissolving. I realize this may be insignificant as it relates to my problem, but my initial though was I'm not getting any chlorine feeding in, and the only thing keeping any chlorine in the pool is powdered junk.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Sounds like you should change the wife's duties ... install a timer to turn it on and off and have her add X amount of bleach daily.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    +1 on the timer.

    Another thought. If you test daily for a few days and add the correct amount of bleach to bring it up to target or a bit above target, you will quickly learn how many ppm of chlorine you lose per day (keep records of each day's FC loss). Save 4 empty bleach bottles, and before you leave on a 4 day trip, put the appropriate amount of bleach in each bottle, then ask your wife to pour in one bottle each day (in front of a return, when the pump is running). You may want to put a bit more (5% to 10%) in each bottle just to be on the safe side. Then when you return from the trip, retest, and go from there. Water is safe to swim in up to shock level, and I doubt that this procedure would put you above shock level.



    I think it would take about 3 minutes per day of your wife's time.
    27,500 gallon in ground gunite/plaster (1995). Attached Spa with fountain, spillway, and 2 lion heads streaming into the pool. Hayward pump and AO Smith UST1152 1.5 hp motor (single speed). Hayward 60 sq ft DE Filter (Model DE-6000). Kreepy Krauly cleaner.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Good job on ordering the test kit!

    I like the idea of the ready to pour bleach jugs. JUST make sure she does not wear good clothes when she puts it in! I have two shirts I wear ONLY for putting in bleach.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Congrats on making the first step to Trouble Free Pool Care by ordering a proper test kit.

    Once you really do have your water well balanced you are not going to believe how easy it really is. All I do is test FC/CC 2-3 times a day (I'm addicted LOL), and add the appropriate amount of chlorine after dinner. I brush every time I go in the pool (usually daily), & vacuum once a week (while I'm in the pool) and it only takes a little of my swim time.

    My pH is very stable, I check it 1-2 times a week. TA is checked every 2-3 weeks, CYA monthly, or after any major water addition (3-4" rain etc). I check CH when ever I feel like it as it's very low, & I have a vinyl liner.

    This easy-peasy schedule is possible because all I put in the pool is bleach.

    The rewards are well worth the effort.

    Dom
    Dom - TFP Guide
    Intex 18' X 48" Ultra Frame AGP 6700 gallons | Two Intex CS8110 SWG's | Hayward Pro Series 21" Sandfilter | Hayward 1.5HP Power Flo Matrix pump | Hayward Thru-wall Skimmer | Wanda the Whale | 72 sq ft of Sungrabber Solar Panels with Hayward GLC-2P-A | Taylor K2006 Test Kit, Sample Sizer & Speed Stir | Click Here To Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    2-3 times a day????? We need to get you into a rehab and fast! LOL

    I test FC once a day. PH every three days or so. Full test once a week.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    2-3 times a day????? We need to get you into a rehab and fast! LOL ........
    Ha Ha!! There is no way I could go once a day! I gotta get my fix man!

    The best part is that even with buying the K-2006 & extra reagents I'm still WAY ahead of what I spent last year at the pool store & with two refills, and that was for a smaller (15' X 42") pool!

    Dom
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    Intex 18' X 48" Ultra Frame AGP 6700 gallons | Two Intex CS8110 SWG's | Hayward Pro Series 21" Sandfilter | Hayward 1.5HP Power Flo Matrix pump | Hayward Thru-wall Skimmer | Wanda the Whale | 72 sq ft of Sungrabber Solar Panels with Hayward GLC-2P-A | Taylor K2006 Test Kit, Sample Sizer & Speed Stir | Click Here To Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Well I got you beat on expense! Not having my own test kit cost me a WHOLE pool! I was so pool stored that my PH was way off and my CYA so high it could not be measured. I was told by the pool store "oh just pull the water down to the bottom of the skimmer and refill. It will be fine" My liner got so brittle that the whole bottom cracked and the water went bye-bye and almost took me with it! I gave everything else away!

    It took time and finding TFP before I would even try a pool again. I even got my test kit BEFORE I ordered the pool to make sure I could do the testing! It was so easy.........I now love our pool!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Well I got you beat on expense! Not having my own test kit cost me a WHOLE pool! I was so pool stored that my PH was way off and my CYA so high it could not be measured. I was told by the pool store "oh just pull the water down to the bottom of the skimmer and refill. It will be fine" My liner got so brittle that the whole bottom cracked and the water went bye-bye and almost took me with it! I gave everything else away!

    It took time and finding TFP before I would even try a pool again. I even got my test kit BEFORE I ordered the pool to make sure I could do the testing! It was so easy.........I now love our pool!

    Kim
    Well Kim, if that's not a testament to TFPC I don't know what is.

    Glad you and the family were ok.

    OP- trust the advice you receive here. The folks here have no other interest than you being happy with your pool.

    Oh, and a little humor .......

    Dom
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Oh yeah Dom, I realize no one has anything to gain really. I think once I get the test kit things will get better. Really curious about my CYA levels now.

    It's strange though as other than munching chlorine the pool has been very easy to maintain. I've been vacuuming every once in a while and brushing every few days. The pool has been pretty much perfect as long as I keep feeding it chlorine.

    So is the chlorine feeder a total waste? Should I just remove it?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    The chlorinators can be useful if you go on vacations and have no one to add bleach for you. This assumes your CYA is such that adding a little will not hurt too much.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    Someone please help me with this one:

    Considering CT weather is usually in line with NJ weather, could a person (assuming CYA is at 50) bring the pool up to shock level of 20? A pool with 20K gallons would need 592 oz. of 8.25% bleach or approximately 5 gallons. Considering the weather has been on the cooler side and the pool is not getting too much use, I have been burning off a little under 3 ppm per day.

    At 3 ppm per day, you could essentially leave for 5 days and still be over the 4 ppm minimum based on your CYA, once you bring your levels up to 20 ppm at the start. Does dosing the pool to shock level and then leaving the pool unattended for days, slowly allowing the FC to burn off cause any threats to the pool? This may be an option. It is fully understood that one can swim up to shock level.

    I dose my pool each morning where now I pour straight from the gallon to a large measuring cup that I purchased at Lowes. It was around $3. Then gallon measuring container is inside the 5 gallon Lowes bucket for easy handling from the basement stairs to outside. I carefully then tilt the container in front of the return and slowly pour it in. It takes less then 2 minutes. Sometimes I fill the container at night for the morning. Additionally, I have been tracking the daily temperatures and averaging the FC daily use as I test weekly, not daily. The PH and FC (Taylor K-1000) is usually done every other day. This way I have a good understanding on how my pool behaves.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
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    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

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    Re: New Pool Owner: Questions about Chlorine Usage

    I finally had a chance to go through the Taylor kit this weekend and get familiar with everything. Here are the results of my water tests:

    FC: .5 PPM
    CC: .75 PPM
    PH: 7.4
    ALK: 130 PPM
    CAL: 250 PPM
    CYA: 55 PPM

    Seems like aside from my Chlorine being low, everything else isn't too bad. Right now the pool is clear with some very light green algae growth beginning. As long as I brush every 2 days or so it stays looking great. Just got my heater running again yesterday too, but don't want to run it with the low chlorine levels as I know it wont help things.

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