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Thread: How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

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    KellyInAZ's Avatar
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    How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

    Hi all!
    I just bought a house in Scottsdale, AZ with a pool. I'm already on my second pool maintenance company. My pool gets cloudy and they can't figure out why. For weeks the new pool guy has been saying he isn't getting any chemical readings. He uses test strips. The pool gets cloudy every week. He throws stuff in the pool, it is good for a few days, then gets cloudy again. This week there was something new: It had algae on the sides on Tuesday so I brushed the pool walls and shocked the pool. I've been running the filter 10 hours/day since then. I bought test strips at Leslie's yesterday (but I have ordered the fancy test kit now) and the readings were the same last night and this morning:
    FCL: ZERO
    ALK: around 40
    pH: result color was barely visible and not shown on the bottle...so, less than 6.2
    CyA: result color also barely visible and waaaaay lighter than the color indicating ZERO on the bottle.

    How am I not getting any readings? I know there has got to be more than just water in the dang pool. At the end of July my daughter's blonde hair turned very green even though the pool guy wasn't getting a chlorine reading. Two weeks ago the pool guy mentioned draining the pool because maybe there's too much -[some chemical or something that I can't remember]- built up in it. He said it doesn't get used up and then over time it builds up and won't let the chlorine do it's job so we will have to drain our pool every five years. Huh? My parents have had a pool since I was 12...so 30 years...and I have only seen them drain it once to re-plaster. Is my pool guy talking nonsense or is the Arizona climate sooooooo crazy that, unlike San Diego, it makes the chemicals screwy and pools have to be drained every 5 years?

    I'm looking forward to getting my fancy test kit in the mail so I can do some legit chemistry and fix my pool. Should I just load the pool with bleach 'til then? I have to figure out how to keep the dogs from drinking out of the pool. They have a conveniently located, perfectly good water dish full of filtered water but they would rather lean way over the edge of the pool and drink 87 degree water. Gross. Yes, they know how to swim. Wow - tangent.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by KellyInAZ; 09-11-2015 at 06:20 AM. Reason: Added the bit about "chlorine-green" hair
    ~ Kelly
    27k gal, IG plaster, chlorine tab floaty thing, Triton TR-60 sand filter, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump. Decades-old pool. I just bought the house. TF-100 test kit. Pool has a cleaner that rolls around the bottom. We named him "Flounder."

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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

    Hi Kelly,
    Welcome to TFP!

    The test kit will be the best investment you can make in your pool.
    the test strips which are being used are notoriously inaccurate.

    Until your test kit arrives, just add 1 gallon of bleach each day. After it arrives we can fix you up.

    To answer the question though. You will have 0 chemicals in the pool only once. Thats when you completely fill it with new water.
    There is no need to drain the pool, you just need a reliable test kit, and some direction from people who know what to do.

    While waiting for your test kit, I would suggest to read teh ABC's of pool chemistry. This is a basic explanantion of how the different water parameters play together. Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    And here are the TFP recommended levels. If you will follow this, you wont have any chemistry problems.
    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    And pool math is a life savor in knowing how much of something to add when your test kit says you need to.
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    I hope this helps get you started.
    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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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

    Hi Kelly. First suggestion, tell the pool guy, "Thanks but no thanks." for their service and cut the cord. Save your $$. The fact he is using a test strip already tells me he is not doing his job properly. Here's what you need to do:
    1 - Wait for your test kit! The proper test kit (i.e. TF-100 or Taylor K-2006) is the foundation of your pool care. We've learned through personal experience that you cannot reply on pool store testing, test strips, or simple over-the-counter kits. They simply do not read Free Chlorine (FC) or Cyanuric Acid (CYA) levels accurately or to the high levels we need.
    2 - Your pool is cloudy because of algae. Unless you have a salt water generator, we rely on regular liquid bleach for sanitation. How much to use each day depends on a couple other factors we can't confirm yet until you get your own kit. For now, simply add one gallon of regular bleach to your water each day. It should help keep things from getting any worse until your kit arrives.
    3 - The draining he is referring to is about "CYA" your stabilizer level. Yes, when it gets too high, the only way to fix is a drain or partial drains. It got that way because he and/or previous owners used the wrong products (tablets, pucks, bags-o-shock, etc. Once we fix that, you won't have to worry about it again.

    In the meantime, take a few minutes to review the Pool School link below in my sig. When you get your test kit, post for us: FC, CC, CYA, pH, TA, and CH, then we can really get you fixed-up. Welcome to TFP!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ahhhhh, Dave beat me to the punch!
    Pat (a.k.a. Texas Splash) ~ My Pool: Viking Fiberglass; 17,888 Gal; Waterway Supreme 2-sp/2-hp pump; Hayward Ctg filter; TF-100 w/ Speed Stir
    Vital Links: POOL SCHOOL, RECOMMENDED LEVELS, RECOMMENDED CHEMICALS, Poolmath Calculator, SLAM, Chlorine/CYA CHART.
    If you enjoyed your TFP experience, please consider donating to Support TFP!

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    PAGirl's Avatar
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    Re: How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

    He was likely referring to CYA as the chemical that doesn't disappear. It's added by using pucks and bagged "shock". It doesn't evaporate. The green hair would be caused by copper, most likely added with algacides. You will likely find your reading much, much different with the fancy test kit than with the strips. Which one did you order? While you are waiting for it to arrive, you can read about the TFP way of pool maintainance, focusing on Pool School and the SLAM method.
    26' X 52" Intex Ultra Frame. Intex Sand Filter
    26' X 52 Intex Ultra Frame Install
    You can lead a horse to (clear) water, but you can't force him to swim in it!

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    KellyInAZ's Avatar
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    Re: How are there NO chemicals in my pool?? New pool owner in AZ

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction folks! I ordered the TF-100 test kit today and until it arrives, I'll add a gallon of bleach to my pool every day. Should I also run my filter 24/7 for now?

    FYI: I updated my signature with more specific filter & pump specs.
    ~ Kelly
    27k gal, IG plaster, chlorine tab floaty thing, Triton TR-60 sand filter, Pentair Intelliflo variable speed pump. Decades-old pool. I just bought the house. TF-100 test kit. Pool has a cleaner that rolls around the bottom. We named him "Flounder."

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