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Thread: PH Suddenly Testing High

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    PH Suddenly Testing High

    Hello, I take care of an indoor pool and spa and just recently started having issues with the PH. I was using using Trichlor to chlorinate and the PH Levels were stable and the tabs dissolved slowely. When Environental Health Services came to test them in December he recommended I switch to Hypo-Cal, he explained to me the reason is because most states have now outlawed CYA in the water and if been tested present it would be closed. However, in the State of Oregon that's simply not the case. His added measure was simply that it's a sunscreen and I'm using it indoors.

    That aside, I simply need to know if there's a better Hypo-Cal that's developed with balance. Switching to this brand of Hypo-Cal is high maintenance and eats up through a lot of Ph Down. After adding a 3" puck to the feeder I come back the next day to find it 100% dissolved and Ph Sky Rockets.

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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Indoors, you don't really *need* CYA.

    We are probably not going to suggest any sort of solid chlorine product. To make a long story short, when you use any form of solid chlorine, you are adding things that you don't need to and they are going to mess with pH and other parameters. We'll probably suggest liquid chlorine, only.

    There is a lot to back this up in Pool School and I would send you there for additional reading and details....

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    Texas Splash's Avatar
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Welcome to TFP! There appears to be some confusion about the basics of pool water chemistry. CYA (stabilizer) outlawed? Cal-Hypo has its uses, but also increases calcium (CH). pH is lowered by muriatic acid. Before you try to use anything else in your water, I would highly you to take a quick look at these two pages:
    Pool School - Recommended Levels
    Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Also, please review this page: Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    After that, please add your pool info to your signature by going to the top of the TFP web page (just under the Pool School button) and select "SETTINGS". On the next page look to the left for a menu bar that says, “MY SETTINGS” and go to "EDIT SIGNATURE" to enter your pool and equipment info there. It will help us later.

    We can definitely help you. But let's get your pool info and some pre-reading accomplished first so we have a good baseline to start with, and the rest will flow right on track. We have several folks here with indoor pools, so this is nothing new here. Again, welcome to TFP!
    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.
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    First, welcome to TFP!

    Before anything we need to know if this is a public pool. If it is then you need to run it to whatever parameters are required by your local governing body, even if they conflict with our advice.

    CYA, if only the pool industry had half a clue what it even is. It does protect chlorine from sunlight, this is true, but it also heavily buffers its strength. We tend to recommend the minimum testable amount (about 30 ppm) for an indoor pool to get these buffering benefits without overstabilizing your pool. Too much CYA leads to overstabilization and the FC level will need to be raised higher to counter for that.

    As for cal-hypo, it is pH neutral. Your pH is rising because trichlor is acidic and now that you have removed that source of acid your pH isn't in balance any more. Most likely your TA is a bit on the high side and is now drawing your pH up. It is a common problem when switching from trichlor to another source, such as liquid chlorine or cal-hypo and goes away as the TA decreases over time.

    Are you using cal-hypo pucks in a trichlor feeder? NEVER do that! Cal-hypo pucks need a special low flow feeder and putting them in a feeder that contained trichlor can create some nasty gases.

    Finally, do you have some test results you can share? FC, CC, pH, TA, CH, CYA are the ones we are interested, as well as what kit you used to test. That will help us help you.
    JD - 28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter. Dual speed 1 HP pump, Hayward S210T sand filter
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    First, welcome to TFP!

    Before anything we need to know if this is a public pool. If it is then you need to run it to whatever parameters are required by your local governing body, even if they conflict with our advice.

    CYA, if only the pool industry had half a clue what it even is. It does protect chlorine from sunlight, this is true, but it also heavily buffers its strength. We tend to recommend the minimum testable amount (about 30 ppm) for an indoor pool to get these buffering benefits without overstabilizing your pool. Too much CYA leads to overstabilization and the FC level will need to be raised higher to counter for that.

    As for cal-hypo, it is pH neutral. Your pH is rising because trichlor is acidic and now that you have removed that source of acid your pH isn't in balance any more. Most likely your TA is a bit on the high side and is now drawing your pH up. It is a common problem when switching from trichlor to another source, such as liquid chlorine or cal-hypo and goes away as the TA decreases over time.

    Are you using cal-hypo pucks in a trichlor feeder? NEVER do that! Cal-hypo pucks need a special low flow feeder and putting them in a feeder that contained trichlor can create some nasty gases.

    Finally, do you have some test results you can share? FC, CC, pH, TA, CH, CYA are the ones we are interested, as well as what kit you used to test. That will help us help you.


    Donldson has hit all the points I would make. I will just stress that all of those Trichlor pucks you have used are almost half stabilizer/CYA. I would imagine your CYA level is extremely high.



    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: PH Suddenly Testing High

    This isn't a public swimming pool, it's a retired community. Honestly only gets used twice a week. In that case I'm simply trying to find a way to not eat up through so much ph down, so it boils down to the type of Hypo-Cal I was using was causing ph to jump. As far as the skimmer is concerned; I'm not sure of the compatibilities but I can find out. However, I do not mix the two chlorines; It was simply converting completely over too it.


    Spa 5,000 Gal
    1.8FC
    0CC
    7.8PH
    100TA
    320CH
    40CYA

    Pool 20,000gal
    4.4FC
    0CC
    7.4 PH
    90TA
    330 CH
    30CYA

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    High TA and the aeration a spa has will drive pH up rapidly. The Trichlor is acidic, so it countered that trend. Without the trichlor, you will need acid to keep pH in line. At some point, you will push the TA down enough that the pH will stabilize. Whatever that TA level is, keep it there.

    With an indoor pool, you don't need the UV protection from CYA, but it does buffer the chlorine. Is there any reason you don't use liquid chlorine and liquid acid? If the pool is indoors, I suspect chlorine usage will be minimal.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    This was mentioned above, but might have been missed. Instead of using pH Down, use muriatic acid to lower your pH. It's much cheaper.

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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Quote Originally Posted by Awuzzzup View Post
    This isn't a public swimming pool, it's a retired community.
    I think you need to verify the definition of a public pool in OR. In many states anything other than a pool that services a single residential dwelling can become "public" and you will need to follow the OR regulations. Before you go too far down the road of making changes you need to verify the final destination.

    That Environental Health Services came to test leads me to believe that you will fall under some regulation.
    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: PH Suddenly Testing High

    We follow those regulations so you're probably right. I haven't had an issue with my daily test result until I switched to Cal-Hypo. After reading some of the replys it seems this is normal and requires high maintenance with the use of Muratic acid to bring it down. I was just hoping that there was more to the Cal-Hypo I was using. I was hoping I got something generic causing it to dissolve to fast and the way it's made was more than Ph Neutral.

    Also, I'm using 3" Cal-Hypo Pucks and Concentrated Muratic acid. I also use dry acid when I'm running low.


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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    As was posted above, you can't use the CalHypo pucks in a puck feeder designed for Trichlor pucks. As others have noted, you pool has always had tghe same rise in pH. It is just that the Trichlor pucks you were using before are acidic (same as the muratic acid) and it was holding the pH down, sorta masking it so you didn't know it really went up like that.
    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: PH Suddenly Testing High

    http://public.health.oregon.gov/Heal.../poolrules.pdf

    This document looks like a good starting point. A quick scan suggests that if you have 4 or fewer residences, you might not be caught by these regs.

    Based on the same very quick scan of the document, if you have 5 or more residences, Definition 15) Limited Use Public Swimming Pool appears to apply, which removes the requirement for a lifeguard. If by coming here, you end up liking the idea of TFPC, the Oregon pool water quality parameters look wide enough for you to use TFPC. I'm no expert and pretty much a newbie, but I've been matching TFPC to my warranty requirements which presents a similar sort of challenge. So far so good on my front!

    CYA should be carefully re-tested, unless you did a refill somewhat recently.

    I believe the posters above are correct about the most likely reason for the pH rise. It's not caused by Cal-hypo. If you're in a hurry to correct it, follow the directions and use muriatic acid.

    Your inspector suggested that most other States have banned CYA. I don't think this is correct. CYA bans have not occurred widely because advantages of CYA include more than just protection from sunlight. You can find excellent material here at TFP on this topic. Discarding CYA as a tool has other unintended consequences you need to know about. And the reasons for concern about CYA are much misunderstood and in some places have been blown way out of proportion.

    If I were you, I would go back to what I was doing before the inspector arrived, and then figure this all out. Unless of course he issued you any order precluding Trichlor or CYA, which you would have to follow and move more quickly. If TFPC looks do-able to you, within the state limitations, I would then write up a plan for the change, and move forward with measurable milestones that would indicate progress toward a successful change.

    I hope you stick around and join TFP. There are some amazing people here who will offer you tremendous help and at the very least, you'll gain a more complete understanding of pool operations.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Quote Originally Posted by needsajet View Post
    http://public.health.oregon.gov/Heal.../poolrules.pdf

    This document looks like a good starting point. A quick scan suggests that if you have 4 or fewer residences, you might not be caught by these regs.

    Based on the same very quick scan of the document, if you have 5 or more residences, Definition 15) Limited Use Public Swimming Pool appears to apply, which removes the requirement for a lifeguard. If by coming here, you end up liking the idea of TFPC, the Oregon pool water quality parameters look wide enough for you to use TFPC. I'm no expert and pretty much a newbie, but I've been matching TFPC to my warranty requirements which presents a similar sort of challenge. So far so good on my front!

    CYA should be carefully re-tested, unless you did a refill somewhat recently.

    I believe the posters above are correct about the most likely reason for the pH rise. It's not caused by Cal-hypo. If you're in a hurry to correct it, follow the directions and use muriatic acid.

    Your inspector suggested that most other States have banned CYA. I don't think this is correct. CYA bans have not occurred widely because advantages of CYA include more than just protection from sunlight. You can find excellent material here at TFP on this topic. Discarding CYA as a tool has other unintended consequences you need to know about. And the reasons for concern about CYA are much misunderstood and in some places have been blown way out of proportion.

    If I were you, I would go back to what I was doing before the inspector arrived, and then figure this all out. Unless of course he issued you any order precluding Trichlor or CYA, which you would have to follow and move more quickly. If TFPC looks do-able to you, within the state limitations, I would then write up a plan for the change, and move forward with measurable milestones that would indicate progress toward a successful change.

    I hope you stick around and join TFP. There are some amazing people here who will offer you tremendous help and at the very least, you'll gain a more complete understanding of pool operations.
    I agree with you in a nutshell. I already know this and felt this way. I was just really wanting some brutal honesty about Cal-Hypo to see if I could get it to work since I didn't know much about it until I got everyone's feedback. I think it's best to just go back to what I know works. I've dived into 5 years of records and found that Trichlor has kept the PH at 7.4-7.6. It was definitely like this before I switched. I kept 10lbs of dry acid around and wouldn't use it up within 3 months. I would backwash once a week and it kept fresh water coming in keeping it at a reasonable number.


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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Quote Originally Posted by Awuzzzup View Post
    I agree with you in a nutshell. I already know this and felt this way. I was just really wanting some brutal honesty about Cal-Hypo to see if I could get it to work since I didn't know much about it until I got everyone's feedback. I think it's best to just go back to what I know works. I've dived into 5 years of records and found that Trichlor has kept the PH at 7.4-7.6. It was definitely like this before I switched. I kept 10lbs of dry acid around and wouldn't use it up within 3 months. I would backwash once a week and it kept fresh water coming in keeping it at a reasonable number.

    Sent from my SD4930UR using Tapatalk
    The pool is available to over 150 residents when it's open.


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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Our findings here with thousands of pools is that continued use of Trichlor tabs is not sustainable over the long run unless there is a regular water replacement to keep it in check. The original inspector was correct in that many states prohibit any level of CYA and several others restrict it to very low numbers.

    It's a vicious cycle. The higher the CYA goes the less effective the chlorine is at sanitizing/oxidizing, thus you need more to keep the pool clean. It's nice that Trichlor holds the pH in check, but I think that is a high price to pay for the problems it can bring to the table.

    First and foremost, you must follow OR regulations for a public pool.

    To quote Dave, Site Owner of TFP:
    Throughout TFP, you will read that we suggest certain levels that good science and practical experience has taught us fall within safe ranges.

    Further reading of posts here will draw you to the inescapable conclusion that these guidelines work.......in thousands and thousands of pools worldwide.

    You may or may not choose to use these methods and guidelines or you may use some and not others. Our goal is to teach you what has been proven time and time again and then let you use that information to your benefit.
    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: PH Suddenly Testing High

    Thanks, that's very helpful Tim. I have a clear understanding now to my questions.


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