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Thread: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

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    Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    New to TFP, but been reading through threads and wishing I'd developed this obsession a few years ago.

    We have a 35,000 gal in-ground plaster pool built in around '74. We bought the house in foreclosure in 2008, and while the pool was clear when we bought it, that was courtesy of the bank doing just enough to get through the sale process, and we weren't really sure we were going to keep the pool. We kept it clear for the first summer by keeping the chlorine levels high, and quickly learned that the plaster probably had not been resurfaced since the 80's at the latest. We ended up letting it go fallow, throwing mosquito ducks and just enough bleach to prevent a mosquito outbreak, and keeping just enough water in it to prevent it from popping out of the ground. We resurfaced in 2010, with a low-bid supplier who'd done other work in the area and came recommended. Pool didn't get a lot of use after the resurfacing until last summer, for a number of reasons unrelated to the pool itself.

    Maintenance has been half-a**ed by yours truly, mostly tri-chlor tabs and granular chlorine (di-chlor), testing with the "traditional" 4-in-1 kit to ensure that pH is balanced and intermittently testing chlorine levels (every few weeks, mostly just to determine whether to throw in some more chlorine). And the occasional copper-based algicide to deal with algae blooms. This year I finally invested in a solar cover, primarily to reduce evaporation in the current drought, but it's had the byproduct of being extraordinarily effective at raising the pool temp - after the first week it was on, temps were breaking 90 degrees. My younger hates to be cold (zero body fat), but loves swimming, and a 90 degree pool is her ideal, so the pool's seeing use, which in turn made me pay more attention to maintenance. This brings us to our current situation.

    Issue 1: algae spots
    We have some limited areas of algae - not enough to cloud the water significantly but it's there. And I've come to realize that my typical approach of ****-load of chlorine and some copper algicide isn't fixing the problem, just keeping it in check. And after some reading here, I realize I've created as many problems as I've solved.

    Issue 2: difficulty maintaining chlorine levels
    Now that I'm paying attention, I'm seeing the chlorine levels drop rather quickly. It wasn't entirely surprising (warm temps, full sun, mild algae issue) - but the rate of change seemed too high. So I ordered the K-2006 kit so I could get a more accurate picture of the state of affairs. Kit arrived last night. Tested pH, FC, CC, and CYA. FC is after adding 2 gal 12.5% chlorine Monday morning.

    pH - 7.4
    FC < .5
    CC < .5
    CYA > 100 (this is where I stopped testing and started drinking, as the idea of even a partial drain/refill is ugly in the current drought. So didn't test TA or CH)

    Issue 3: popped / missing waterline tiles
    I mention this issue primarily as I know the popped tiles can be a good hiding place for algae, and I'm curious if the missing tiles can be impacting pool chemistry at all.

    So...the grand dilemma is this - to address issue 1, I really need to SLAM, but that would require addressing issue 2. And as far as I can see, the big solution for issue 2 is a partial to 2/3rd drain and refill. However, my current water allocation from the water district is < 200 gallons per day, which is low for a family of 4 with teenage / tween girls. Assuming NO other water use, we're talking about 3 months worth of water to replace 18,000 gal...which realistically might not be enough to get to ideal numbers, but could be enough to get me to a more manageable level.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    It's expensive, but you could look into reverse-osmosis treatment to remove CYA in-lieu of water replacement. This is the only other reliable way to remove CYA other than drain/refill. There are some products on the market now (specifically Bio-Active) that claim to lower CYA levels. There are several threads on the site here with very limited success in most cases. Check those out using the search box.

    Diluting the pool sample 1:1 with distilled water could give you a better estimate of how high your CYA actually is.

    If you do not address the CYA, you'd have to raise your FC to astronomical levels to eliminate the algae and complete a proper SLAM procedure. Another option to look into is bromine based shocks which are unaffected by CYA levels. The downside is that for a time until the bromine dissipates, you'll have a bromine pool and likely a fairly high chlorine demand until the bromine dissipates. This thread High CYA Levels, Shocking, Yellow/Mustard Algae is not specifically a topic about treating algae with high CYA but many posts in it address the possibility of that option, then maintaining high FC levels with bleach after the algae has cleared.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Thanks JVT - I've been looking into reverse-osmosis treatment, but have been unsuccessful in finding anyone in the area who provides the service.

    I may try the BioActive just for a lark - worst-case scenario, I'll be wasting $100.

    For me, it's less about the financial cost of the drain/refill, and more about the environmental cost. If I had a way to capture and USE the 18-20K gallons of water coming out, I'd be less hesitant. But that's not really an option, as far as I can tell.

    I'll post results if I go the BioActive route.
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Just to update - did another set of tests this evening:

    FC < .2
    CC < .2
    pH 7.4
    TA 150
    CH 340
    CYA 140 (1:1 dilution with tap water)

    The CYA of 140, while high, was an oddly pleasant surprise (I was dreading getting a much higher result). I assume I shouldn't worry about the high TA until I address the CYA and get the pool to hold chlorine.

    Picked up 16oz of Bio-Active CYA reducer on my way home. Figure worst case scenario, it doesn't work and I'm out $100, but no worse off. To get to the recommended 2-3ppm FC, I added 128oz 10% Chlorine at 9:30pm; at 10:30pm tested and got FC 2.4, CC .6

    I'll test FC again in the morning when I get up - and most likely drop the bio-active at that point as well.
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Let's hope the bio-active works. If not, you can slam at high CYA levels. It will just take a lot, lot of chlorine. It can be done. Environmentally, it's a lot of plastic jugs, so get your conscience in gear...

    Also, use a 10ml sample for your FC/CC tests and multiply each drop by 0.5 instead of 0.2. You will save a lot of reagents that way.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ps. Your TA is okay for now.

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    FC dropped to 1 overnight, so I added 128oz 10% chlorine this morning to get a good starting point for FC for the BioActive, and then dropped 16oz of BioActive into the skimmer. Will test this evening to see what change, if any, I see on the CYA.

    As far as plastic jugs - my local independent pool store sells 12.5% in refillables, not as cheaply as some big box stores, but it's 1/4 mile away as opposed to 10+ miles, and the bottles are reused, so I'm willing to make that concession. Not that I really want to dump tons of money into the pool, but everything has trade offs.
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Perfect. Will they let you get a bunch of bottles so you're not running back and forth all the time?

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    Perfect. Will they let you get a bunch of bottles so you're not running back and forth all the time?
    Yes - there's a deposit per 4 pack / carrier, but I can certainly get a decent amount. Plus it's a small town shop, my wife went to school with the owner's kids and my kids go to school with their grandkids, so I'm ok with paying a small premium for some things. Buy local and all. I'll also look in to buying in larger volume if needed, and do my own refills.

    Will possibly supplement at the start with clorox / etc. - looked at Costco last weekend, Clorox there is more expensive per unit of Chlorine than my local guy (and a lot less friendly...). I don't shop at Walmart on principle, plus the nearest location isn't worth the drive. I'll probably check prices at Kmart near me, otherwise my options for "discount" locations are limited (and the cost:time/hassle ratio put the cost differential in question). But for this initial SLAM, it might be worth the hassle.
    Last edited by igneramos; 07-30-2015 at 01:10 PM. Reason: edited to address typos
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    I love the Carboy refillable idea. It seems like a win-win all around.

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Hi ignoramous,

    many of us here at TFP are very interested in how your Bio Active try goes. I would like to request that you start a new thread specific
    to it. Please post each day your test results, time of day, water temp etc. Many of the folks here have a scientific background and can tell a lot of what may or not be happening during the Bio Active trial.

    Name your thread something with Bio Active in the title, so we can find it easily.

    Thanks
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Newbie to TFP - looking for recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    Hi ignoramous
    Please, just call me igner for short.


    Quote Originally Posted by Divin Dave View Post
    many of us here at TFP are very interested in how your Bio Active try goes. I would like to request that you start a new thread specific
    to it. Please post each day your test results, time of day, water temp etc. Many of the folks here have a scientific background and can tell a lot of what may or not be happening during the Bio Active trial.

    Name your thread something with Bio Active in the title, so we can find it easily.


    Will do.
    35,000 gal plaster IG
    cartridge filter - 1/2hp WhisperFlow Pump
    Polaris 280 + 3/4 hp booster

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