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Thread: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

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    Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Hello. I need help! I have had a pool service taking care of my pool (pls don't judge - 2 small kids and traveling husband). For the last year, CYA levels have been high (~150ppm). While I know I could drain my pool, I live in California and we've been in a drought. So, I was sold on Bio-Active's product to try to lower levels. I have stopped my pool service and put in two packets for my 26,000 gallon plaster finish pool. The H2O temp was sub-optimal at 60 degrees, but they told me it might take longer. After first CYA treatment there was no change. bio-Active send me a second 16 oz pack and I treated again two weeks ago and CYA levels went up to 200. This could have been due to leaching, but could also be due to low water levels. Turns out my chlorine went up to 5ppm...because my pool company came and serviced the pool without my asking them too. They pH also went to an 8. So, Bio-active is sending me new product. In the meantime, I have to be very careful about chemical timing. I had my water tested thursday and chlorine, both free avail & total avail were at 0 so we added liquid chlorine that night (2qt, 18oz). Thurs or Friday afternoon, I noticed cloudy water. I had it tested again Sat and both reading were at 0. We added another 2 qt, 18oz on Saturday night and have been running the pump 24/7. It is now Tuesday and the water is still cloudy. I took my water to Leslie's and they showed the following:

    free avail chlorine: 0
    totoal avail chlorine: 0
    calcium hardness: 250
    CYA: 150
    total alkalinity: 80
    pH: 8 (I added muriatic acid this morning after test and it is now at 7.4)
    acid demand: 3
    copper: 0
    iron: 0
    total dissolved solids: 1100
    phosphates: 100

    I waited 4 hours after adding the muriatic acid to shock the pool with 15oz powder power plus (or pro not sure) and tested my water again 4 hours later and I am still reading 0.


    what am I missing? I really do. Ot want to drain my pool in a drought. My pool gets full sun, it is not covered. My pool company was using tabs but I have pulled them out for the last two months or so as to. Ot have more stabilizer added to the pool. I am at a loss! Thank you so mich for your help.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Not judgemental at all. Every one needs to make decisions on how to leat their life and sometimes it is a trade off.

    My first suggestion is to stop going to the pool store. Their only response it to sell you something and generally it doesn't work. I' not holding out much hope for the CYA reducer. We had several members try it last year with fairly controlled conditions and none were aboe to get any CYA reduction.

    You don't say, but how does the water look?

    The next thing the pool $tore is going to say is that your phosphates and total dissolved solids are bad and you need to add PhosFree. Don't!

    Without more information on your pool the numbers don't look that bad except for the CYA. If the pool is clean/clear we can work through that.

    So, not much credence is given to pool store testing around here. While you would think that a "professional" would be the best, unfortunately in most cases it is quite the opposite. Between employees who blindly trust the word of chemical sales representatives and high school kids working in the pool store for the summer you end up with poor results from their testing. But, what can you do?? We base our pool care system on accurate testing and only adding what the pool needs, when it needs it. To do that you need your own accurate test kit. Order a TF100 and at least include the XL option. That will give you what you need while you are clearing the pool, and probably enough reagents for a couple of years normal use.

    While you wait for it to get delivered, you have a homework assignment. Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    So, welcome to TFP!!
    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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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Being that you're in California, you might have access to Reverse Osmosis treatment for your water. Its like dialysis for pools

    Man finds drought friendly way to clean pools using reverse osmosis - 23ABC News

    I second the need for that proper test kit. You're flying blind otherwise. And no one cares for your pool like you, so you need the tools.
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Ok, thank you both for your responses!

    Tim5055 - my water was fine until this past Friday and then it started to turn a cloudy. I have been running my pump virtually 24/7 since then and adding chlorine per Leslie's guidance and my chlorine has been hovering at 0. I shocked the pool with one full packet on Monday (yesterday, 5/23) and this morning it was at 0 again. I added 2qt 18 oz this morning at 10:30am, which brought it up to 1.5. I dumped the rest of the gallon in at 12:30 today. I tested it (have leslie's drop kit) at 1:30pm and was at a 5. Just now at 10:30 pm, was at a 1.5. My water is still cloudy-ish. I honestly can't tell if it's getting better, but hasn't gotten worse. I will read my homework asap... But in the meantime am a bit frustrated.
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    On 5/24, I added another gallon at 10:30 pm, let the pump comtinue to run and left the Wednesday morning. I have returned tonight and the chlorine level was at 2.4 at 7 pm (per my husband) but he said the water was clear. It was getting dark when I got home but could see the vacuum clearly so looks like that has improved!
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Reiterating what Tim stated, have you ordered a recommended test kit yet? You are floundering without it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Feeling your pain, geez. Somehow, someday, these pool service outfits need to be regulated based on sound science. Pool chemical company executives should be ashamed of allowing these situations to occur.
    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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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Moragapoolnewbie View Post
    Ok, thank you both for your responses!

    Tim5055 - my water was fine until this past Friday and then it started to turn a cloudy. I have been running my pump virtually 24/7 since then and adding chlorine per Leslie's guidance and my chlorine has been hovering at 0. I shocked the pool with one full packet on Monday (yesterday, 5/23) and this morning it was at 0 again. I added 2qt 18 oz this morning at 10:30am, which brought it up to 1.5. I dumped the rest of the gallon in at 12:30 today. I tested it (have leslie's drop kit) at 1:30pm and was at a 5. Just now at 10:30 pm, was at a 1.5. My water is still cloudy-ish. I honestly can't tell if it's getting better, but hasn't gotten worse. I will read my homework asap... But in the meantime am a bit frustrated.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moragapoolnewbie View Post
    On 5/24, I added another gallon at 10:30 pm, let the pump comtinue to run and left the Wednesday morning. I have returned tonight and the chlorine level was at 2.4 at 7 pm (per my husband) but he said the water was clear. It was getting dark when I got home but could see the vacuum clearly so looks like that has improved!
    A filter will never fix a chemistry problem. You have algae growing in the water.

    Now is the time to make a decision, keep following the pool store and dropping lots of money there or follow our methods.

    As the articles I linked point out, the pool industry refuses to recognize the connection between CYA/Stabilizer and the ability of chlorine to do it's thing sanitizing the water. others here can give you the scientific details if you want, but lets just say CYA locks the ability of chlorine to sanitize. The more CYA you have the more chlorine you need to keep in the pool to keep algae at bay. I took over my pool with a CYA of about 250 (CYA tests above 100 are just a guess, not very specific contrary to what the pool store says). With a CYA of 250 I had to keep my chlorine level at around 20 just to keep algae away.

    With your 150 CYA (if that is correct) you need to keep a MINIMUM of 12 to keep algae at bay. But, you have algae. To eradicate algae yo must bring the pool to shock level and hold it there by continuous testing and additions of more chlorine until the algae is proved dead by testing. The problem is that shock level for CYA of 150 is 60. In cases with very high CYA our recommendation is a partial drain and refill of the pool to get the CYA down so that much less chlorine is needed.

    It's your decision. Pool store or TFP. We don't have a magic bullet other than the best pool care chemical there is, chlorine.

    Until you have your own test kit that we can rely on the numbers there is nothing we can do other than feel bad about your pool.
    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: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Thank you all. Jason & Tim: have ordered the kit but have yet to receive. I do have a simple test kit with drops (chlorin/br & ph), which is what I used to get the numbers yesterday.

    Needsajet: couldn't agree more. I asked them about the CYA levels a year ago and they acted like it was no big deal for a residential pool. They are taking me more seriously now that I am pressing the issue though they state "we've never had a problem maintining pools".

    Yes, Tim, I have to make the choice of pool co/tfp. It hasn't taken me long to see the value of TFP; just a super busy time and while I am sure I will find the chemistry side fascinating because I already do, it feels like there is a steep learning curve! I also can appreciate how maintaining a shock level (is this SLAMing?) of 60 is unrealistic if my CYA Llevels are that high and how then I would need to drain my pool.

    I will circle back once I have the expaned test kit.

    Thank you all so much for your comments and your time. Danielle
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    It is overwhelming from your point of view today, we were all there. But, really it is very simple, as soon as you get the test kit and start testing and adjusting the water parameters you will quickly understand what is happening. The only things I have added to my pool in 4+ swimming seasons is water, bleach, salt, muriatic acid and calcium chloride. I have never drained a drop and never had cloudy water.

    Here are the basics
    Keep your CYA 30-50
    Keep FC above minimum at all times, Chlorine CYA Chart
    Keep PH between 7.2 and 7.8


    So, the pool service says they've never had trouble maintaining a pool. Now that they have had trouble maintaining your pool, assuming you really are the first, what do you think they will say to the next customer?
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Well, IF you don't care about CYA levels, Then i don't think they have had problems! They don't test for that... Stay tuned. I will get there
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Moragapoolnewbie View Post
    Well, IF you don't care about CYA levels, Then i don't think they have had problems! They don't test for that... Stay tuned. I will get there
    We will be here to help. We have lists of experts to help guide those that want to help themselves.
    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: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Ok. I received my kit and did my first test today. Pool is clear and we're in a heat wave in high 90's-100 degrees so that is a plus!

    free chlorine: 3
    total available chlorine: 2
    total chlorine: 3.5
    calcium hardness: 450 (we were at 250 according to Leslie's on 6/3)
    total alkalinity: 120
    ph:7.5

    i don't know when our filters were last cleaned. How often should they be done? Our pool service historically does 2x/yr.

    thanks for any advice. Bio-Active wants me to send them a water sample so they can do more thorough testing to see if there is anythhing else preventing their product from working. I will drain if I have to, but would like to see what they come back with and try ine last time due to the drought. Stubborn, I know....

    thanks again,
    Danielle
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Which test kit?
    Something is not right with the chlorine numbers you posted. We expect to see FC and CC which add together for TC (which does not need to be reported)

    What is the CYA from your kit?

    Please update your location (City, State or City, Country) in your profile as described HERE as it will help us help you.
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Hi Jason, per the recommendation, I purchased a TF-100 kit and followed the directions. The CYA from my kit was 140 using dilution method. I did a control sample with the R-7065 that came with the kit and then tested as per dirctions. I didn't even get to 100 fill line before the dot disappeard so I then filled with pool water/tap, dumped half and then put in the R-0013 and got my 140.

    Please disregard total avail chlorine (2) not sure where that came from. FC was a 3, CC was .5 for TC of 3.5

    thanks
    26,000 gallon, IG plaster pool. Built 1973, refinished 2012. PentAir Clean & Clear Plus Filter(cartridge), 1HP AOSmith Corp Pump, 3/4 HP MagneTek 1081 Pump Duty booster pump. TF-100 test kit. I am in Moraga, CA. CYA currently at 150

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Ok, well, you either need to get your CYA down much lower or you need to raise your FC much higher. Sounds like you are still stuck on what you want to do.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Trying to get pool balanced/high CYA levels

    Your filter should be backwashed when the pressure rises 25% above the clean pressure. Clean pressure is the pressure after backwashing.

    I hope you decide to go with TFPC and abandon the bio-active or pool $tore advice. It's an important step toward a sparkly pool that is always available for swimming (when it's warm enough). Not to mention leaving more money in your pocket!
    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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