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Thread: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

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    Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    First I'd just like to thank everyone who contributes to this site. Every single Google search that I did before joining led me directly to this site eventually and it has been extremely helpful to me as a new pool owner and helping me understand this mystery of pool care.
    As the title suggests I am very new at this. I acquired my pool recently along with the purchase of a new home. I have included specifics in my signature. I'll start off with what I'm pretty sure anyone who wants to give me any advice would like to see first, test results. I'm using the Taylor K-2006C test kit. All tests have been duplicated using water samples from two different areas of the pool, both away from any returns.

    FC = 0-.2 (very light pink at best when adding two scoops or more of the R-0870; 1 drop of R-0871 to clear)
    CC = 0-.2 ( very light pink at best after 5 drops of the R-0003; one drop of R-0871 to clear)
    pH = not exactly sure but it is below the 7.0 lower range of the test. I'm assuming somewhere in the six or so range because the color is just a bit yellower than the 7.0 on the scale. Performing the base demand test with a target pH of 7.5 required two drops of the R-0006. Using table D in the booklet that came with the kit I determined that I would need a little less than 1.28 pounds of sodium carbonate to bring the pH up to my target. That's actually the number given for a 20K pool and mine is actually 18K.
    TA = 10
    CH = 40
    CYA = 0
    Salt = 4400

    As you can see all of my numbers are pretty low except of course my salt which is high. My thinking was that I should address this issue first by draining and replacing water as doing so after adjusting all the other chemicals would probably throw them all off again. I should mention that I discovered this salt level after getting a low salt reading from my SWG. It was showing a reading of 2200 ppm while a test at the pool store showed 4100 ppm. I came up with the reading of 4400 ppm after performing the salt test (ordered separately) from the Taylor kit. Long story short I discovered that my salt cell had a cord that was burned out and the salt sell itself had terminal that was burned out as well. I have a brand new salt cell and cord to install but have not installed it yet as I'm not sure when exactly I should install it during this process.
    Aside from the salt, my primary concerns are my FC, my pH, my TA, and my CYA. From what I've read on this site it seems that I am due for a SLAM. However, I'm aware that I need to have my pH, CYA, and TA taken care of before trying to increase FC. I just need to know how to approach this and what to do first. I know that I need to increase my CYA but I also know that this will lower my pH. I'm not sure if I should be trying to raise the pH with sodium carbonate while adding muriatic acid to increase my CYA and if the two can be done simultaneously. I also know that my TA needs to come up so I would like some guidance as to which chemical to use to increase my pH. From what I've read, using sodium carbonate will increase my TA more than if I used borax to raise the pH.
    I have stocked up on all required chemicals to make the necessary adjustments including 8.25% bleach, borax, and washing powder or sodium carbonate. As previously stated, I just need some advice on where to begin and in what order I should be addressing these issues.
    I failed to mention this, but all of my targets for all chemicals are within the suggested TFP targets or ranges for SWG pools.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can provide any direction or advice.
    18K gal free form, IG vinyl, Starite System 3 DE filter 37 sqft, Autopilot Digi 220 SWG

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Also should mention that my water is pretty clear. I can easily see both main drains as well as details of the vinyl liner when pump is off. I'm hoping to address this before things get worse.
    18K gal free form, IG vinyl, Starite System 3 DE filter 37 sqft, Autopilot Digi 220 SWG

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Welcome to the forum! I am in the middle of making supper, so just a quick check-in here (I will check again later). A few things before I fully digest your post.

    Use the 10 ml sample for FC/CC. Multiply by 0.5 instead of 0.2. It saves reagents.

    Did you multiply your drops by 10 on the CH and TA?

    What chemicals do you have on hand?

    Don't do anything yet...especially don't use MA to raise your CYA. That's a misunderstanding or a mis-type.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Oops. Just noticed what chemicals you have on hand. No need to repeat that.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    Welcome to the forum! I am in the middle of making supper, so just a quick check-in here (I will check again later). A few things before I fully digest your post.

    Use the 10 ml sample for FC/CC. Multiply by 0.5 instead of 0.2. It saves reagents.



    Did you multiply your drops by 10 on the CH and TA?

    What chemicals do you have on hand?

    Don't do anything yet...especially don't use MA to raise your CYA. That's a misunderstanding or a mis-type.

    Yes I multiplied by 10 on the CH and TA test for the number of drops of R-0012 and R-0009 respectively to get the reported levels. Thanks for your reply and any help you can provide.
    18K gal free form, IG vinyl, Starite System 3 DE filter 37 sqft, Autopilot Digi 220 SWG

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Hi RTL,
    here are the recommended levels.
    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Do you know how to use Pool Math yet?
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    At top left, where it says SIZE, enter how many gallons your pool is.

    The last row name is SUGGESTED GOAL LEVELS. There are some drop down boxes. Click the drop down and select - Troubleefreepool and select your source of chlorine and select your pool surface type.

    then enter your test results in the boxes on the left side of Pool Math. then click the Calculate button at the top.
    Pool Math will then tell you how much of something to add for each water parameter.
    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: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Okay then. Your pH is a fix-it-now issue as we don't know how low it is. Use the washing soda as that will raise your TA as well. Add less than PoolMath tells you. You can always retest an hour later and add more. No need to overshoot and have to fix that too.

    Your CH is fine with a vinyl liner.

    Supper almost ready! I will check back.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Thanks for your reply Dave. I've seen the links you've posted before but I don't believe I've ever selected troublefreepool in that last box when entering my info. I'll give it a shot and see if anything changes from what I've gotten previously.

    Marian thanks for your reply also. I'll start with the pH tomorrow I guess and check after a couple of hours to see where I am. I'm assuming this means hold off on addressing the salt issue? And yes the muriatic acid was a mistype and should have said cyanuric acid.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    I finished dinner and read your post all the way through. First, let me congratulate you on getting a great test kit and doing your homework: reading!

    I really can't help you with the salt issue as SWCG's are not my area. I have some guesses but it would be unwise for me to counsel you. What is the manufacturer's recommendation for salt level with your unit?

    However, regardless, a pH lower than 6.8/7 should be addressed immediately before anything else. If you do get advised to drain, you have not wasted anything. Adjust is as soon as you are able. That really needs to be your first priority. Let us know your next test results.

    Until you get an answer on the salt issue, add also a jug of that bleach. Again, even if you drain, you will not be wasting a thing.

    Best wishes.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    I would focus on clearing up the pool and balancing everything before installing the new cell. See what salt level it reads before worrying about it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    You are off to a wonderful start--------good test kit and asking questions!

    Work on the PH and we will go from there!

    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: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Just wanted to let all who replied know that I've added the sodium carbonate and will retest the pH in an hour or so. I will also check the TA to see if that has gone up as well. I also added one jug of the concentrated bleach so I will also check the FC as well although I'm not sure whether I should expect to see much of a change.

    To address Marian's question regarding the salt cell, my manufacturers range is between 2500 and 3500 with 3000 being ideal. I wanted to shoot for 3000 as my target and as I reported my last test showed a level of 4400. I'm still holding off on installing the new cell and cord.

    One quick question that I wanted to ask is should I go ahead and add cyanuric acid or wait until first getting my pH up before proceeding with that?

    Thanks again to all who already have replied and any who will. It's great to have some guidance while doing this.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    You should get the CYA dissolving now. It may take a few days to a week to show up on the test.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Let us know your results. Your FC is/was so low that you need chlorine to stave off a full-blown algae bloom. Please report FC/CC as well (using the 10ml sample).

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Here are my test results after 5 hours. As previously reported I added only 1lb. of sodium carbonate (didn't want to overshoot) and 1 jug of the concentrated bleach.

    FC = 2 Target 5
    CC = .2
    pH = 7.0 - 7.1 Target 7.5
    TA = 20 Target 70
    CYA = 0 Target 70 (just tested for the heck of it even though I haven't attempted to adjust yet. Will start tomorrow.)
    Salt = 4200 (Yesterday's test read 4400 so I'm assuming this is within the margin of error for this specific test)

    I was planning on adding more sodium carbonate in the morning to boost the pH and TA a little more. I was also planning on adding another jug of bleach to boost FC. Finally I was planning on adding the CYA tomorrow evening to see if I can start to bring that up as well. Please let me know if I'm on the right track with this. It's nice to see some posive results.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Marian. I just wanted to mention the FC that I just posted was done using a 25 ml sample. I will use 10 ml from here on out. I just forgot until I started adding R-0870 and went with it.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    I suggest that you aim your CYA to only 40. You may need to slam your pool and a lower CYA level will reduce the chlorine needed. You can always add more later. With your SWG out of commission for now, I think that's best. Not knowing SWGs, I could certainly be wrong, and if so, someone will chime in!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    There is no need to be spreading out the adjustments that much.

    Add baking soda, test in 30 minutes. Get the CYA in at the same time in a sock.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely make sure to go slowly and stay on the low end with the CYA until I've gotten everything else balanced out in case I do need to SLAM. How exactly will I be able to determine if that's necessary or not? I'll be honest and tell you that I thought an FC of 0 indicated an immediate need for that.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    Most times yes. At least an OCLT will be in order and you should be at slam level for that.

    Jason is right. If you can recheck sooner after your additions, things will go faster. However, we're all busy and sometimes it just doesn't happen!

    Jason is right also about switching to the baking soda (vs washing soda) as you are now in a safe pH range and more washing soda might raise pH too much.

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    Re: Advice on how to proceed for new pool owner

    I have a SWG, if I had seen your post earlier I would have suggested lower the slat content first, since to do that you have to drain some water. But now that you're well on your way to balanced, I would hate to have you do it now.

    As said earlier, OCLT will tell you if you need to SLAM. I would say, with visibly clear water, since you can see the drains, you probably won't need to. And the CYA in a sock, in front of a return. Squeeze it once in a while to help it dissolve. You mentioned starting low on that, that's a good idea with most adjustments in the beginning.
    It's much easier to add a little more rather than try to take back out.

    Good job, over all!!
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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