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Thread: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

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    setsailsoon's Avatar
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    New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Folks,

    I had a pool a LONG time ago overseas. Chemicals were way different (fuming hydrochloric acid, solid NaOH pellets, solid chlorine granules) and downright dangerous. You wouldn't believe the close calls I had with hired help that didn't understand English nor anything about pool chemistry and the dangers of these chemicals. So I did it all myself for 4 years and I swore I'd never have a pool again but my wife helped change my mind (happy wife, happy life). Fast-forward 35 years and we love our new pool. Things are clearly way better now with all the great products. And I've learned a lot here on this site. I've been traveling extensively since we had our pool built 2 years ago so I used a pool service. They generally did a reasonable job but when I came home the chlorine level was always high (10ppm+ with less than 20 CYA). Today I finally finished the traveling and I plan to do the pool maintenance myself. I got a TF-100 kit and ran the tests. Chlorine is 20 ppm!! Everything else is normal except CYA that is less than 20. CC is also very low at 0. PH and the other tests are all normal... so I turned off the chlorinator and took the tablet out. Last time this happened it took about a week for the level to get down to normal levels. We have very little loading and a screened in pool so sunlight doesn't seem to degrade chlorine very fast. I've checked chlorine levels with test strips, oto, and the FAS/DPD. They all seem to confirm the FAS/DPD (ran it twice). So here's my question, am I missing something? Is there some reason the pool service would do this? I've questioned them about this several times over the past year about the chlorine levels but they just blew me off with "we test every time". I'm about to fire them but I just want be sure I have the brain trust here weigh in first.

    All commentary/advice is much appreciated.

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    This is quite common among pool service companies as it is the only maintenance model that can make money. They can only visit your pool once per week at most and they must spend as little time as possible at your home to maximize the number of pools per day they can service.

    So they typically jack up the FC as high as it can reasonably go and then let it float down until next visit. If you don't use the pool much then it works just fine. If you happen to have an all out block pool party with lots of little kids using the pool as their personal camodes, then you water is going to pretty depleted of chlorine by the time they see you. So they may decide to hit your water with a little extra shock level of chlorine and call it a day. But it's basically what they do.

    If you have your TF-100 and the time to look at your pool for 5-10mins per day and 20mins once per week to test your water fully, then you can save yourself the ~$1000 per year and fire the "pool boy".


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Howdy neighbor!

    FC of 20 is about what I'd expect for a pool service. As explained above they have to shock it because they're only going to visit once per week and don't want it to run out of FC before the next visit. When I fired my pool service shortly after getting my TF-100 the FC was fifty!

    CC should be at or near zero. This is normal and indicates there are no contaminants in the water.

    20 CYA is a little low but that's much better than having the opposite problem of high CYA. You can fix it in stages by adding cyanuric acid (pool stabilizer). If you don't have a salt water chlorinator you might want to shoot for about 40 but do it in a couple stages so you don't overshoot.

    You mentioned you turned off the chlorinator. What are you using for chlorination?
    11K gal IG screened-in plaster pool w/ spa
    pentair 150 cartridge filter, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump,
    Aquarite AQR15 SWG, AquaCal Heatwave Heat Pump, TF-100 test kit

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    setsailsoon's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Folks,

    Thanks for the quick replies... I think you're exactly right. Even though the FC is high the pool has been crystal clear 100% of the time and it looks to me they sometimes only come every two weeks. I'll make the call next week to let them know I'm terminating.

    So my next step is to get some chemicals. Based on all the expert advice here I plan to just buy some trichlor in 3" tablets and adjust my chlorinator to the proper level (looks to be about 3 ppm). No hurry to get it while I wait for the level to drop so I have time to shop. Living where we do we usually never have to add water as rain overflows the pool in the wet season and we're basically neutral during the dry season. Maybe this, low use, and the screen is why the CC is so low.

    Any thoughts on a brand of chlorine? Seems like the advice here is that all you really need is 99% trichlor. Also, I notice some tabs are wrapped and some aren't. Some also say the wrapper is not to be removed. Isn't that going to leave the wrapper in the bottom that could plug it up?

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    In my view, I would say you should consider yourself extremely lucky that they havent been using CYA based shock each week, and that your CYA isn't sky high. That would mean having to drain at least some large volume and refill. Drain and refill in Florida can be concerning due to high ground water levels.

    You should add some CYA, and let the FC drift down. Then maintain your levels where they should be.

    lucky, lucky, lucky,
    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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    setsailsoon's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Good point Dave! I'm not sure what they used but there was always a 3" tablet in the chlorinator and they did pour something in from a 1 gallon container (maybe bleach?). Before I complained about chlorine level there was often several 3" tablets. Seems like a lot for less than 13000 gal. They also had a cart with some kind of under water robot that was battery powered. Often it was a very young person (maybe teenage relative of the owner).

    Looks like I dodged a bullet!

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    CRB, the main thing about Trouble Free Pool is understanding what chemicals you're putting in and why based on accurate water testing. The beauty of this process is that you don't end up spending money on things you don't need that may or may not fix a problem you may or may not have.

    It's okay to bring the CYA up with stabilized pucks as long as you understand what you're doing. If you use the pucks it's going to be a very slow process. Eventually however, you will get to a point with the pucks where continuing to use them will result in excessive CYA and the only way to fix it is a partial drain of the pool as indicated above. That's the most common problem that brings people to this site and it's usually caused by stabilized chlorine pucks.

    If you already have stabilized pucks on hand they can help you solve the low CYA problem. Remove any plastic around them first. Just understand that they are adding both CYA and FC and you can't control the relationship between how much of each is being added. My personal preference, is not to buy products that do multiple things. I have CYA, plain liquid bleach (chlorine), and muratic acid on hand and use those products as indicated by water testing. It's generally cheaper and easier this way.

    If it were my pool, I'd bring the CYA up part of the way with granular stabilizer inside an old sock in the skimmer basket. After that, I'd use up the rest of the pucks to get the CYA to my desired level and not buy any more of them.
    11K gal IG screened-in plaster pool w/ spa
    pentair 150 cartridge filter, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump,
    Aquarite AQR15 SWG, AquaCal Heatwave Heat Pump, TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Chris,
    0 CC is good. It should always be .5 or less.
    0 CC indicates there arent any organics (like algae) in the pool eating up your FC. Combined Chlorine is the residual left over from chlorine which has been oxidized.

    With a CYA of 20, I would recommend just going ahead and raising it using granular CYA to get it up to TFP recommended level of 30. Ra

    I wouldn't recommend using any chlorine tabs at all. In your situation as I understand it, there is no good reason to.

    EDIT
    Chris, for some reason, I thought you had a saltwater generator. Scratch what I said about raising your CYA to 70.
    Only raise it to 30 and use bleach or liquid chlorine to chlorinate (they are the same thing except for concentration).








    Quote Originally Posted by CRB View Post
    Folks,

    Thanks for the quick replies... I think you're exactly right. Even though the FC is high the pool has been crystal clear 100% of the time and it looks to me they sometimes only come every two weeks. I'll make the call next week to let them know I'm terminating.

    So my next step is to get some chemicals. Based on all the expert advice here I plan to just buy some trichlor in 3" tablets and adjust my chlorinator to the proper level (looks to be about 3 ppm). No hurry to get it while I wait for the level to drop so I have time to shop. Living where we do we usually never have to add water as rain overflows the pool in the wet season and we're basically neutral during the dry season. Maybe this, low use, and the screen is why the CC is so low.

    Any thoughts on a brand of chlorine? Seems like the advice here is that all you really need is 99% trichlor. Also, I notice some tabs are wrapped and some aren't. Some also say the wrapper is not to be removed. Isn't that going to leave the wrapper in the bottom that could plug it up?

    Chris
    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: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    I don't know who the others feel about this but I'm concerned about something - you're reading a 20ppm CYA when that's the bottom of the test tube AND you say that they have been adding trichlor tablets to your in-line chlorinator all this time AND you have no idea what other chemicals they were using.

    I know you said you measured your CYA with a TF-100, but can you redo the measurement BEFORE you add anymore CYA? The CYA test is the trickiest one to do and whenever I see people posting results that are on the margins of the test (high or low), I almost always certain that the test needs to be redone.

    As for trichlor use, I would advise against it. If your CYA is truly 20ppm and your pool has been clear all these years then you are indeed VERY lucky. Most pool service companies screw up people's pool water badly and over-stabilize their water (CYA > 100ppm). If your CYA is 20ppm, then I would add enough granular stabilizer (pure CYA) to get your water to 30ppm and use manual bleach chlorination going forward. Considering the nature of your pool (screened in), your FC demand from sunlight degradation should be minimal as will your contaminant load, so I would expect your pool to be very easy to maintain manually with liquid bleach. If you want to save some trichlor tabs for when you go away on vacation, that's fine. But it's simply too easy to get lazy and screw up your pool water using pucks.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Thanks robdac, and I completely agree with your philosophy and what appears to be the "TFP Way". Don't add things I don't need and/or understand. Especially proprietary additives that claim benefits but don't disclose the ingredients.

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Folks,

    Please this is probably a dumb question but here goes:

    As you can see above my CYA level is very low (actually below 20 as I can still see the dot at the 20 ppm level on the test tube). My FC level is sky high at 20 and my CC level is 0. Seems to me this indicates exactly what I have which is a barely used pool that is often "refilled" with rain water and over-chlorinated by the soon to be terminated pool maintenance company. So here's my thought on CYA, it seems the use level, smallish size, and screened in factor have my pool to where it doesn't use much chlorine even though we keep the temp at about 88 during the day with the solar heater. So if chlorine uses isn't excessive is there some other reason I should go for the target CYA level or can I just add trichlor and slowly build it up (if ever with the rain we get)? I guess the simple version of my question is this. Is there some other reason for me to have the recommended CYA level other than to reduce my chlorine consumption?

    Thanks in advance.

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    You can use trichlor pucks but know this - for every 10ppm FC added by trichlor, you increase your CYA by 6ppm. So you'll only be at 30ppm CYA after about 20ppm FC added. The number of pucks that equates to will be based on your pool volume.

    You need, at a minimum, 20ppm CYA in the water. CYA not only protects the FC from UV degradation, it also moderates the strength of the active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) in water. At 0ppn CYA, even 0.5ppm FC would be incredibly harsh on clothes and hair. So you must have some CYA added.

    I would suggest you spend some time on the site in Pool School learning about the FC/CYA relationship as that will help guide your decision making process.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Chris, as Joyful Noise indicated above, I would double check the CYA level and perform another test before doing anything. As the carpenter says, "Measure twice, cut once." It is unusual to see CYA low in a "professionally" maintained pool. It's a good problem.

    I also have a screened in pool and it gets a lot of shade on top of that. Because of this, I know I can get away with being at the lower end of the recommended CYA levels.

    The 20 CYA level (please double check this) is what is preventing you from being at 0 FC right now. Just as little of it goes a long way and my crude understanding is that the protection CYA provides to FC is not linear. My opinion is that at 20 CYA you are very close to reaching a point where the sun could easily consume all the FC very quickly. Then you have a new set of problems.

    If it were my pool and the CYA was really 20 I would raise it to the minimum recommended level now. Given your shade and enclosure you should be fine and the lower end of the range. Amazingly, you're getting away with it right now. I wouldn't push it.

    Also, I wouldn't consider 20 FC "sky high." If you do nothing for about a week to 10 days you'll probably be at 0 FC. It can happen pretty quick.
    11K gal IG screened-in plaster pool w/ spa
    pentair 150 cartridge filter, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump,
    Aquarite AQR15 SWG, AquaCal Heatwave Heat Pump, TF-100 test kit

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Can you please post a full set of test results using the TF-100 Test Kit?

    If the pool service company was using a Calcium Based Shock, your CH would register high. If you were using 3" tablets, your CYA should be a lot higher. When I raised the CYA in a friends pool (20K Gallons, which is double of yours), the CYA went from 30-50 after the tablets dissolved in the chlorinator. Of course, he switched back to bleach.

    Your CYA could very well be 20 because of splash out, etc., and the pool service company could have been using lithium based shock (which is the most expensive) and/or possibly liquid chlorine.

    At this point, you are in control of your pool, have the best test kit available and access to knowledge that surpasses any pool store or service company.

    Please get rid of the pool service company.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Chris I see where you are coming from. Matt brings up the main point about CYA. The CYA is a buffer for FC. They work together to give you a better pool water balance.

    I am going to give you a link you might already have but want to make sure you have it.

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Print this out and put it by/in your test kit.

    You can use your tablets or get some CYA powder. It is up to you. We just want you to understand what and why you are doing anything now that you are going to be the pool boy! LOL We are here to make you and your pool shine!

    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, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Quote Originally Posted by Catanzaro View Post
    Can you please post a full set of test results using the TF-100 Test Kit?

    If the pool service company was using a Calcium Based Shock, your CH would register high. If you were using 3" tablets, your CYA should be a lot higher. When I raised the CYA in a friends pool (20K Gallons, which is double of yours), the CYA went from 30-50 after the tablets dissolved in the chlorinator. Of course, he switched back to bleach.

    Your CYA could very well be 20 because of splash out, etc., and the pool service company could have been using lithium based shock (which is the most expensive) and/or possibly liquid chlorine.

    At this point, you are in control of your pool, have the best test kit available and access to knowledge that surpasses any pool store or service company.

    Please get rid of the pool service company.

    Sure, here you go:

    Date TA CYA FC CC CH PH
    31-Oct-15 130 <20 20 0 225 7.6
    1-Nov-15 130 <20 18 0 225 7.7
    2-Nov-15
    3-Nov-15

    Not sure if the slight ph change was my ability to discern the shade or a real change. I keep results on a spreadsheet so I hope the copy/paste works. And thanks for the clarity... they will get my call tomorrow.

    I should also say I really do think it's a tough business. Too many competitors that don't need any training to call themselves a pool company, too many ignorant customers or customers that don't have time to do the pool care (little of both in my case). And they must be operating on razor thin margins do it's hard to get customers to appreciate a minimum chemical approach.

    Many thanks for the replies!

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    It appears that your test results are accurate. Below is a link to the recommend levels. You CH should be increased.

    Pool School - Recommended Levels

    Too many competitors that don't need any training to call themselves a pool company
    Yes, and this is the reason why no one else, besides yourself will take care of your pool the right way, with the least cost and chemicals.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    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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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Chris, I have a white, plastic plate I hold up behind my PH tester that I move in and out as I try to match my colors. It has REALLY helped me with the color matching.

    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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    setsailsoon's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Great idea Kim and thanks! So trying to digest all the great advice/suggestions here's my plan forward:

    1. Terminate the pool maintenance people.
    2. I took out the chlorine tablet and will leave it out until FC drops close to 4 ppm.
    3. I may try liquid chlorine as that seems the preferred method and if I do that I'll add some stabilizer after I'm sure I don't mind lugging the liquid. If not I'll go to 3" 99% trichlor and watch CYA level. If it doesn't go up enough I'll add stabilizer.
    4. My TA is a little on the high side so I'll watch it too. Need to read up more on that as it seems it's not really way out of range and it seems to interact with PH.

    Any comments/alternative suggestions are most welcome from the brain trust here.

    We are very fortunate to be in a place that today the controller cut off the solar heater to keep my temp at 89 deg F. Not bad for Nov 1!

    I thought it might help if I add a photo. Here it was today:

    20151101_124031_resized.jpg

    I'm gonna have to do something about the two circular planters the builder installed. Didn't take me long to realize that was a bad idea. Future project in the making there.

    Thanks again folks!

    Chris
    -Chris-
    2013 In-ground plaster/pebble, screen enclosed, 12000 gal w/ Jandy 2 speed 1 HP pump, Jandy CS 200 cartridge filter, 800 gal spa w/ 1.5 HP booster pump, Solar heater, 2 LED lights in pool 1 light in spa, TF-100 test kit, The PoolCleaner Next Generation, Jandy RS-12 Automation system with iAqualink 2.0 control, Separate Hayward/Goldline Solar control

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, new to "modern pools", would appreciate some confirmation

    Your plan sounds fine.

    Trichlor is acidic and will reduce TA over time but it also depends on your fill water TA. If you find your pH rises to quickly, then lowering your TA is an option.

    Too bad there isn't gas plumbed to those planters as the would make for some pretty cool fire features.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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