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Thread: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

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    Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Just opened my pool. It's clear but I noticed I'm all out of my testing 870 powder to do an overnight test so I'm using the old stuff from last year that has turned black and gritty. Not very reliable. Ordered new stuff and it's on it's way but at this time my plan is to just continue dumping bleach in as my old stuff is showing CCs.

    Question 1: Is that the best plan of action at this time until I can get accurate readings? Like I said I'm not even sure my CC reading is accurate but I'm assuming there are CCs since it turned pink quickly.

    The other thing is when I use the standard pH and chlorine test kit (Taylor) my chlorine test is showing a dark dark yellow brownish color, way off the chart. Normally when we open the pool our tests show 0 chlorine.

    Question 2: What could this mean? Could my chlorine test kit also be bad from last year? We did have it in the garage all winter so maybe that's why.

    My CYA is also 0, which has happened before.

    Question 3: Can I add CYa stabilizer while SLAMMiNG?

    I have a lot of dirt at the bottom but also a lot of bleach currently in the pool...

    Question 4: Should I pick up the dirt using the manual vacuum via the filter or should I risk the large amount of bleach won't affect our electric Dolphin (they say not to use the dolphin over a certain amount of chlorine and I'm certain we're currently over that level.)
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by freddy2012 View Post
    Just opened my pool. It's clear but I noticed I'm all out of my testing 870 powder to do an overnight test so I'm using the old stuff from last year that has turned black and gritty. Not very reliable. Ordered new stuff and it's on it's way but at this time my plan is to just continue dumping bleach in as my old stuff is showing CCs.

    Question 1: Is that the best plan of action at this time until I can get accurate readings? Like I said I'm not even sure my CC reading is accurate but I'm assuming there are CCs since it turned pink quickly.

    The other thing is when I use the standard pH and chlorine test kit (Taylor) my chlorine test is showing a dark dark yellow brownish color, way off the chart. Normally when we open the pool our tests show 0 chlorine.

    Question 2: What could this mean? Could my chlorine test kit also be bad from last year? We did have it in the garage all winter so maybe that's why.

    My CYA is also 0, which has happened before.

    Question 3: Can I add CYa stabilizer while SLAMMiNG?

    I have a lot of dirt at the bottom but also a lot of bleach currently in the pool...

    Question 4: Should I pick up the dirt using the manual vacuum via the filter or should I risk the large amount of bleach won't affect our electric Dolphin (they say not to use the dolphin over a certain amount of chlorine and I'm certain we're currently over that level.)
    1. Your pool is too high in chlorine. Stop putting it in until you get your new reagents and can test.

    2. It can mean a bunch of things but the chances are you are throwing to much chlorine in your pool.

    3. Yes, bring the stabilzer up to 30 ppm before your SLAM.

    4. Your call, I would manually vacuum. That said, I doubt the high FC will have any harm on your robot if you would rather use that.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Here are some more details on the R-0870 powder, in the notes portion of this post. Extended Test Kit Directions It does darken over time and may get clumpy but there is no indication that if it's black it has gone bad. If you crush the powder up, do the insides of the clumps appear lighter in color?

    What are your actual FC and CC readings that you're getting?

    The color match OTO TC test will turn a darker orange at high FC. From the same thread as above:

    You can use this test to get a vague idea of extremely high TC levels. If the sample turns a particularly vivid yellow the TC level is between 5 and 15, light orange is between 10 and 20, dark orange is between 15 and 30, and brown is 30 or higher. Keep in mind the pH test is not valid when FC levels are above 10 ppm.

    If your CYA is 0 and you're seeing significant (3+) CC levels shortly after dosing and persisting as you continue to dose with bleach, this is an indication you may have an ammonia problem. When sanitation is not maintained, such as the FC drops to zero because the pool was not opened soon enough in the spring or closed to early in the fall, CYA can be converted to ammonia by bacteria. When you dose with chlorine and you're not able to hold FC for any length of time and CCs continue to be high, it's ammonia. Ammonia creates a large chlorine demand. This must be oxidized by continuing to add bleach until you can reach and hold your FC target for at least 10 minutes. So... if ammonia is suspected as in your situation this is the procedure:
    Treatment for Ammonia:

    1. Begin a SLAM and dose FC up to SLAM level (10 ppm if CYA is zero). Do not add additional CYA at this point.
    2. Retest FC at 10-minute intervals.
    a. If FC loss is greater than 50%, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level and continue retesting FC @ 10-minute intervals.
    b. IF FC loss is 50% or less, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level. Go to Step 3.
    3. If CYA is below 30 ppm, add enough CYA to bring level up to 30 ppm.
    4. Continue SLAM as directed in the SLAM article until the SLAM Criteria of Done are met. Test as directed in the SLAM article - no longer need to test FC at 10 minute increments at this point.

    You should manual vacuum as much as you can. Whether or not you put the robot in the pool depends on your FC level and CYA level. You have no CYA, so I would wait until you have CYA in the pool to use the robot.

    You need reliable reagents before you can proceed properly and safely.
    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
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Thank you for all of the info! Very helpful. What I don't understand is that the brownish-yellowish chlorine test color was my result as soon as I opened the pool, before doing anything to it. Normally our chlorine levels are close to zero when opening. Does the pool hold all of that chlorine during the winter months? We closed it in mid-September sometime. I'm still somewhat of a newbie, but have been using the TFP method for almost three years now! Learning something new every day
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    Here are some more details on the R-0870 powder, in the notes portion of this post. Extended Test Kit Directions It does darken over time and may get clumpy but there is no indication that if it's black it has gone bad. If you crush the powder up, do the insides of the clumps appear lighter in color?

    What are your actual FC and CC readings that you're getting?

    The color match OTO TC test will turn a darker orange at high FC. From the same thread as above:

    You can use this test to get a vague idea of extremely high TC levels. If the sample turns a particularly vivid yellow the TC level is between 5 and 15, light orange is between 10 and 20, dark orange is between 15 and 30, and brown is 30 or higher. Keep in mind the pH test is not valid when FC levels are above 10 ppm.

    If your CYA is 0 and you're seeing significant (3+) CC levels shortly after dosing and persisting as you continue to dose with bleach, this is an indication you may have an ammonia problem. When sanitation is not maintained, such as the FC drops to zero because the pool was not opened soon enough in the spring or closed to early in the fall, CYA can be converted to ammonia by bacteria. When you dose with chlorine and you're not able to hold FC for any length of time and CCs continue to be high, it's ammonia. Ammonia creates a large chlorine demand. This must be oxidized by continuing to add bleach until you can reach and hold your FC target for at least 10 minutes. So... if ammonia is suspected as in your situation this is the procedure:
    Treatment for Ammonia:

    1. Begin a SLAM and dose FC up to SLAM level (10 ppm if CYA is zero). Do not add additional CYA at this point.
    2. Retest FC at 10-minute intervals.
    a. If FC loss is greater than 50%, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level and continue retesting FC @ 10-minute intervals.
    b. IF FC loss is 50% or less, add FC to bring back up to SLAM level. Go to Step 3.
    3. If CYA is below 30 ppm, add enough CYA to bring level up to 30 ppm.
    4. Continue SLAM as directed in the SLAM article until the SLAM Criteria of Done are met. Test as directed in the SLAM article - no longer need to test FC at 10 minute increments at this point.

    You should manual vacuum as much as you can. Whether or not you put the robot in the pool depends on your FC level and CYA level. You have no CYA, so I would wait until you have CYA in the pool to use the robot.

    You need reliable reagents before you can proceed properly and safely.
    Thank you for all of this info.

    A few more questions

    1. Can I buy the TFP testing reagents anywhere else besides the website? I'm assuming I'll get my 870 today in the mail, but if I don't I really need it today and would go pick some up at a store if anyone local sells it.

    2. How long can my filter run 24/7? I've had it running 24/7 since Wednesday because I am "guessing" at my chlorine levels and going with the original testing of the last little bit of black rocky powder I had that there are CCs and my chlorine levels are over the Taylor chlorine level of 5. I will have to continue to run my filter until I get accurate testing 870 powder (which is hopefully today!!!) and I'm starting to worry about how long my filter has been running all night and all day. Should I give it a break at some point and for how long? An hour here and there?

    3. Why on the chart does it say a CyA of 20 is not recommended? (I have vinyl)
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Which specific test reagents are you looking for? If it is the OTO chlorine test, complete OTO/PH test kits can be found in many places for around $10-$15 although they may use a different pH indicator than your test and it may not be buffered as well on the cheap no name tests. Also please edit your profile and include your location so we can give better advice.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Ok I received my testing reagents and I'm so happy! No CCs but now I'm going to do the OCLT test to ensure there is nothing leftover since we just opened the pool on Wednesday. I asked above but will ask again...my filter has been running nonstop since Wednesday. Haven't given it a break. Can I shut it off for an hour or two to give it a break, even during my overnight test? Will that affect testing results? Or is it safe to continuously run the filter for this long nonstop? I'm thinking this will be the last night I need to run it, assuming my results tomorrow will be fine, but would love to give it an hour or or so rest tonight if I can. I'm in NJ so it's 8:00 pm here. I already tested my chlorine levels tonight.
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by freddy2012 View Post
    Ok I received my testing reagents and I'm so happy! No CCs but now I'm going to do the OCLT test to ensure there is nothing leftover since we just opened the pool. I asked above but will ask again...my filter has been running nonstop since Wednesday. Haven't given it a break. Can I shut it off for an hour or two to give it a break, even during my overnight test? Or is it safe to continuously run the filter for this long nonstop? I'm thinking this will be the last night I need to run it but would love to give it an hour or or so rest if I can. I'm in NJ so it's 8:00 pm here. I already tested my chlorine levels tonight.
    Personally, I'd leave it on overnight during the test. You want the water well mixed both before and after, and who feels like getting up an hour earlier than he has to to start the pump and brush before taking the morning reading, all before sunup?

    You can dial it back tomorrow as soon as you pass the OCLT.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Thanks for the help!

    Pool looks great. Getting back on track. Passed the OCLT test. No more CCs. Alkalinity is at 50 (which it seems to like to stay around, as it was the same last year). CYA at 20. Will work on raising that over the next week as well. The problem is my pH test is coming up a brownish color on my Taylor kit. Can't match it to anything and when I add more drops it becomes a bright red. My chlorine level is at 10. I know pH test is not accurate at high levels. Is this why it's coming up a brownish color? I'm not sure what "high" is considered when it comes to pH test accuracy.
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by freddy2012 View Post
    Thanks for the help!

    Pool looks great. Getting back on track. Passed the OCLT test. No more CCs. Alkalinity is at 50 (which it seems to like to stay around, as it was the same last year). CYA at 20. Will work on raising that over the next week as well. The problem is my pH test is coming up a brownish color on my Taylor kit. Can't match it to anything and when I add more drops it becomes a bright red. My chlorine level is at 10. I know pH test is not accurate at high levels. Is this why it's coming up a brownish color? I'm not sure what "high" is considered when it comes to pH test accuracy.
    Make sure you didn't grab the wrong reagent. You wouldn't be the first to do that.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Make sure you didn't grab the wrong reagent. You wouldn't be the first to do that.
    I definitely have the right one. It is towards the bottom of the bottle though and was in the garage all winter but the over reagents don't seem affected.
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    pH test brown could indicate a very low pH. Test your tap water for pH. Usually when the pH is extremely high, it will be a deep purple color. I would guess brown would be extremely low. If your tap water tests brown as well, I'd suspect bad reagent.
    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
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by JVTrain View Post
    pH test brown could indicate a very low pH. Test your tap water for pH. Usually when the pH is extremely high, it will be a deep purple color. I would guess brown would be extremely low. If your tap water tests brown as well, I'd suspect bad reagent.
    Great idea. Just tested my tap and it seemed to have come out fine. Here are two pics of my pool pH (tried to get as accurate pics as I could but you can see in the second pic that the pH pool water color looks "off" from the colors on the test, making it hard to pinpoint. Both pics were taken at the same time, just different lighting.) It's now a little less brown than earlier and I'm thinking we've gotten some rain today so maybe the pH is rising to a point that is registering in the test. What does this picture look like to you? Between 7.2 and 7.5? With this test and a pH registering at this level, what would you suggest I do? Leave it alone, or raise my pH? We're supposed to possibly get more rain today and possibly tomorrow so should I hold off and see if that helps to raise it? Thanks!

    TA: 50
    CYA: 20
    FC: 10
    PH: ???
    Attached Images Attached Images
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Yeah, somewhere between those two colors. Try running it with 3 drops of reagent. If it's too light, add a fourth.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Yeah, somewhere between those two colors. Try running it with 3 drops of reagent. If it's too light, add a fourth.
    I ran it with 3 drops and it definitely matches closely to 7.2 with just 3 drops. When I add a fourth it starts to get more of the color I had in the pic above. The more I add, the less it matches up to any results. At this point I assume my pH is about 7.3???Would you suggest I leave it alone and give it time to rise? Or should I intervene tomorrow and add borax?
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    That pH is fine. Your vinyl liner is in no danger of etching the way a plaster pool would be, and 7.2 or 7.3 is high enough to not damage the heater of pump innards.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    That pH is fine. Your vinyl liner is in no danger of etching the way a plaster pool would be, and 7.2 or 7.3 is high enough to not damage the heater of pump innards.
    Ok thank you. I'm just about out of my Basic Taylor pH testing kit reagent and looking to go get some today. Are there any other kits besides that one that you could recommend from a local store or pool store since I don't have time to wait for shipping from the tft site I normally order from? Or do you know of any stores that sell that particular kit? (I'm in NJ) Thanks!
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    The TF100 uses Taylor reagents. You should be able to find refills locally. Two cautions; 1) the R-0870 and R-0871 will be next to impossible to find. 2) There are two different pH indicators. Make sure you get the right one. Look at the number on your bottle and get the right one.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    The TF100 uses Taylor reagents. You should be able to find refills locally. Two cautions; 1) the R-0870 and R-0871 will be next to impossible to find. 2) There are two different pH indicators. Make sure you get the right one. Look at the number on your bottle and get the right one.
    Thanks Richard!

    One last question and I think I'm done. My CYA is at 20 (a little below actually). With a pH on the lower end, what should I do about my CYA? Should I leave cya and pH alone for now? If I raise my CYA, my PH will lower and I don't really want to do that now. What do you suggest?

    CYA 20 or less
    pH 7.2/3?
    FC 8
    TA 50-60
    25,000 gal
    Sand filter
    IG
    Vinyl
    1 horsepower pump (don't know flow rate)
    14 years

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Opened pool, old testing reagents and CYA?

    Quote Originally Posted by freddy2012 View Post
    Thanks Richard!

    One last question and I think I'm done. My CYA is at 20 (a little below actually). With a pH on the lower end, what should I do about my CYA? Should I leave cya and pH alone for now? If I raise my CYA, my PH will lower and I don't really want to do that now. What do you suggest?

    CYA 20 or less
    pH 7.2/3?
    FC 8
    TA 50-60
    Add the CYA and also raise the TA to about 70. The normal pH rise and the extra aeration should counterract the minor pH shift the CYA will make. And if not, then you raise it with borax once the CYA is all dissolved and you see where pH ends up.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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