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Thread: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

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    Question Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    As a scuba instructor I have a reasonable amount of experience in testing and maintaining pools and basic understanding of chemistry but have always dealt with water that was for the most part already in balance. We recently moved into the pool house on a larger estate that has been mis-managed and is now in need of some help. I volunteered to take over as I will be using it daily and value my own skin! I'd also like to get my newborn baby in the pool sometime over the next month or two and am also conscious that our landlords' young kids would also like to get in ASAP...

    I took two samples down to Leslie's -- before and after attempts to balance pH -- and my primary concerns are Free Available Chlorine levels at zero, with high Total Combined levels (3-to-5 before/after). These are the latest readings:


    • FAC: 0
    • TAC: 5
    • CYA: 100
    • TA: 80
    • pH: 7.2
    • TDS: 1000
    • Pho: 200


    My plan is to:


    1. Clean filter since I have no clue when that was last done
    2. Top off the pool since it is a little low and I think this will lower CYA
    3. Purchase a testing kit and SLAM!


    My Questions are:


    1. Does that sound like a good plan?
    2. How much liquid chlorine might I need to purchase in advance?
    3. What would be the best testing kit for SLAM (I see something about FAS-DPD but also some dead links)?
    4. Any ideas how long pump should run and at what speed?



    Many many thanks in advance!


    Rick
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Welcome to TFP!!

    100 is the limit of the CYA test, so at this level we are unsure if it is 100 or some number above 100. At this point I would recommend at least a 33% water exchange to get the CYA down, just topping off the pool isn't going to bring it down much.. For vinyl lined pools leave at least one foot of water in the shallow end to keep from floating the liner and all pool owners are cautioned that in areas with a high water table lowering the water too much can “float” the pool out of the ground.

    Is the water clear or are we talking about a swamp?

    You need to get chlorine in the water. Liquid chlorine is your friend as it does not add to your CYA woes.

    IGNORE Leslie's TSD and Phos numbers as they are just a scare tactic to sell you stuff you don't need.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Hey Tim! The water is actually pretty clear. A little cloudy but really not bad at all. People, including mums and kids, have apparently been using the pool for a month or so since it looks "nice and clean". Given there's a drought here in CA I'd rather not empty / replace too much water if at all possible?! Are there any alternative options? Out back there is gallon Sani-Clor liquid and ~20lb Leslie's Power Powder Plus along with a tub of tablets (plus 4 gallons muriatic acid, ~20lb soda ash, ~10lb Fresh & Clear)...
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    You really can not trust the pool store testing, especially for CYA. I would get the kit and then verify the numbers before doing much. If the CYA is indeed high, replacing water is the easiest (and cheapest) option. You may have access to an RO service that could also lower the CYA and CH with less water use, but it is not cheap ... and I am not sure I have ever heard of a company in Santa Barbara that does it.
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    I just wanted to say HI! Tim has you covered for the most part.

    Here is a link to the test kits! You need the TF-100 XL for a SLAM.

    TFTestkits.net (This is the link to the whole site.)

    TFTestkits.net (Here is THE test kit I would like you to get. Get the XL as well to make sure you have enough stuff to do the SLAM).

    Kim
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    OK cool, test kit ordered - thanks Kim - I plumped for the XL option and magnetic stirrer. Why the distrust of the pool-shop testing? I thought it was pretty cool since all I've had to go on with prior pools I've worked in/on was paper testing strips..

    Any advice on what I should be doing while the kit comes? e.g. should I leave pool covered / uncovered, pump running 24/7... chemicals?
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. I have taken the same water sample to multiple stores one after the other and received wildly different results, often with recommendations to purchase expensive "cures".
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    I would add a bottle of bleach today and then half a bottle each day until the kit arrives.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    I "lost" a pool to pool stores I had NO idea. I had them test my water. "oh your cya is a little high so take the water down about 1 inch and it will be fine". I bought this and that from their test results. I spent MAJOR money trying to keep my pool clear. NONE of it worked.

    My CYA was so high and I think my PH was so off that my liner "rotted" and the whole thing cracked and let the water out with me in it!

    I sold the pool and vowed to never have a pool again....................well husband wanted a pool. He was told that IF he could find a way I could take care of the pool without the pool store................He found TFP.

    I got the test kit BEFORE I even ordered the pool to make sure I COULD do it! It was easy and fun! Let husband order pool and we BOTH love the pool now!

    I now spend less for the WHOLE year than I used to spend in ONE month!

    Kim
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Tim & Kim! OK message received loud and clear... DIY! On it : )

    Jason, thanks. I don't have bleach but I'll add the Sani-Clor I do have and will get some bleach tomorrow..
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by rickydazla View Post
    I don't have bleach but I'll add the Sani-Clor I do have and will get some bleach tomorrow..
    Sani-Chlor is liquid chlorine, it is fine to use. As a matter of fact, it may be less expensive than bleach. It is sold at HASA dealers in a returnable 4 pack. Look around for a dealer in your area.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Cool Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    But whatever you do, don't add any kind of solid or granular chlorine "stuffs" until you have determined your cya , and ch levels for yourself.

    FYI:
    There are videos @ the Taylor technologies (tf100 uses Taylor reagents) website that will help you with the testing procedures, if you are unsure that you are doing it right (or if you are a visual learner, like me ) And there's a stickied thread at the top of the "Testing..." sub-forum called something like 'extended testing instructions.' There's *lots* of helpful tips there. My personal favorite: you don't have to use two scoops of powder for the FAS- DPD chlorine test-- you only need enough to turn the sample nice & pink. Using more just wastes it. When my powder was new and fresh, just a 1/2 scoop made my sample hot pink!

    The toughest test is actually the CYA because people just don't trust themselves for some reason... The video helped me by confirming that I was doing it right. I guess it's too simple... There's not a bunch of steps like the other tests, and nothing changes color.... So it feels like there must be something more to it.

    Oh and I'm sure you already know this but it never hurts to mention.... A cloudy pool (especially one with a history of poor maintenance) with low FAC is not sanitary and is basically a pool of bacteria. (�� = eeew!). The high CC is just further evidence that something is brewing.

    And if you can't see the bottom, a pool is too cloudy to swim in-- no matter what the FAC is! You are aware, I'm sure, that a swimmer in trouble often drowns quietly, sometimes with help just feet away... In a cloudy pool, a child (or anyone, for that matter) can slip under and several minutes can go by before anyone notices they are missing, and several more before anyone thinks to look under water, because "we would've heard something." It's just not worth it.

    Ok-- I'm off the soapbox....
    Good luck with your project. You're in the right place. Search for the success stories and you'll see why!
    Last edited by AprilsZoo; 07-13-2015 at 07:03 PM. Reason: Fix an oops.


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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    OKAY! So, I tracked down an HASA supplier and got 8x fresh bottles of Sani-Chlor. I added a couple over the last few days and got the testing kit in the mail today... These are my results (although I believe the TA is incorrectly high since there was something about static electricity and the drop size in the instructions):
    pH: 7.2
    FC: 2.5
    CC: 4.5
    TC: 7
    TA: 200
    CYA: 100+

    The pool shop actually gave me a packet of "Bio Active cyanuric acid reducer" that I dumped in yesterday but they said it might take a week to ten days to have any effect.

    Thoughts on any of that?
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Well at least they gave it to you because it has been shown to be worth what you paid for it (hint,hint). There is a whole thread on here somewhere that has several people that tried it with very poor results.

    You are going to have to drain some water to get that CYA down. I am so sorry.

    Kim
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    Well at least they gave it to you because it has been shown to be worth what you paid for it (hint,hint).
    lol I am picking up what you are putting down! I'll definitely search out that thread. tx
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    Just put the words in the TFP search box. You will find a few threads on it.

    Kim
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    Re: Help righting wrongs: Zero FAC & High TAC + CYA

    To use Bio Active you have to basically let your pool go from "pool is actually pretty clear" to green and there's like a 10% success rate if the before/after tests were accurate. In a recent thread, the Bio Active stopped working after converting the CYA to ammonia which required about 480ppm FC to correct. That all depends on how much CYA there is and how much is converted to ammonia, but 480ppm FC in your pool would require 61 gallons of 12.5% chlorine to get rid of ammonia if you had the same failure and same start/end CYA. Even if you go this route, the most likely scenario will be that the CYA doesn't drop enough and the pool store will sell you 2-3 more bags, and you'll still be left with a green/cloudy pool to SLAM at the end.

    That said, I'd save the $100-$150 dollars you're going to save by not buying more bags, and the ~$200 you won't have to spend on chlorine if it actually works to reduce CYA but fails to finish and leave ammonia, and apply it to a fine for water use or reverse osmosis.

    Can you dilute your pool water 1:1 with tap water and try the CYA test again? If still over 100, dilute 1 part pool water with 2 parts tap water. I don't know that my advice would change, but it will give everyone a better idea of what's going on.
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