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Thread: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

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    New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    I am a new pool owner and beginning to wish I never started reading the internet on this stuff and just listen to the pool store guys because (at least for now) I would be much calmer. I just bought a house in October of last year and immediately closed the pool (in PA) so have never even been in it yet. I opened it over the weekend and water was in pretty decent shape (I put in algaecide when I closed it and have a safety cover).

    When I opened it I dropped in a full 5 gallon jug of pool store liquid chlorine plus 2 bags of shock powder because I assumed the CYA was high and probably needed a little more. I coated my filter with D.E. and ran it for 3 days straight. I did 2 backwashes and re-coats in that time because my pressure went up the 8-10 lbs. I seem to be holding pretty stable now so I tested my water at the pool store. I used some strips a couple days ago just to get a rough sense and things looked in order so I felt ok waiting for stuff to settle out. ... Yes, I know you guys say pool store testers suck and strips aren't accurate. My K2006 test kit is on order.

    Anyway, my water is very clear and I'm pretty happy with how the pool looks in general. And if it weren't for reading this forum, I would probably just be listening to my pool store guys and throwing pucks in my chlorinator and going on with my life and being happy. However, according to this forum I need to be very concerned and I'm going out of my mind...

    My test results from the pool store indicate: FC-5, CYA-100, TA-80, pH-7.2, CH-200 and their words to me were, "Everything is great except your FC is a little high." Now this forum tells me my CYA is double the acceptable range and ALL of my values are too low. And the calculator tells me my plaster may be being corroded (at least without the salt and borate numbers in there). And while my water looks crystal clear now, I understand that if I continue to use pucks (trichlor) and keep my target FC at 1-4 then eventually I'll run into problems.

    If I understand my reading correctly, what I need to do is drain 60% of my water to get my CYA levels down... 30,000 * 60% = about $1,000 in water which will be ridiculous to replace. It would take 4 truckloads (4,500gal each) of water and god knows how long for a garden house. And then I need to return the pucks I bought, start sourcing liquid bleach from somewhere, and start testing my water every day and measuring out exactly how much bleach every day.

    Is this accurate?

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    You are pretty much on the right track. One step you are missing is a test kit. We don't trust pool store results very much. The ABCs article in Pool School would be a good read while you are waiting on your test kit. Don't do anything but add a 1/2 gallon of bleach everyday (with the pump running) while you wait on a test kit. Also pull any pucks, etc.

    Let us know if you have any questions. I know it seems overwhelming at first but in a month it will be simple and you'll save $$$ over what you would spend at the pool store.
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Overload? Solution to that is take.....small.....bites, and understand it as you go. Your CYA could be well over 100. Your good test kit will get you close. A garden hose filled my 13k pool in a day and a bit. Only you can decide how much to replace at a time. Good news is----You're aware of the problem and know not to keep increasing it.
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Welcome to TFP

    It seems like a fire hose of information at first but once you get that kit you ordered and post some numbers up we can get you going.. After a week you will be a pro at testing.. Knowing is half the battle

    Imagine if doctor's were like pool stores:

    Sir, yes your cholesterol score is at 300 and that is as high as we like to see, just keep on doing what your doing and when it gets higher and clogs your arteries we will just do an angioplasty

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Here you go. You need this ........
    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
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    If (Big if) the pool store results are accurate, then yes your CYA is too high. However, it may be even higher than they wrote. The CYA tester maxes out at 100. Often, when it's above 100, they just write 99 as sort of a code to mean "off the scale." But your tester may not have grasped that 110 or 120 is going to read as 100 and a hair more and took it at face value. But anyway, that's just one of many reasons you need your own test kit.

    If the water is clear with no algae anywhere, you could try running the pool at that elevated CYA level. I started at over 200 and had water restrictions that didn't even leave me the options you have, and I did it. So it can be done, but it's not easy, and I don't recommend it. It's much easier to maintain things at a lower CYA level. Even reducing things to 70 CYA would be a vast improvement.

    If there's any algae anywhere, you'll be fighting a losing battle all summer long. You'll never be able to get to chlorine levels high enough to get ahead of the algae growth. If CYA is 150, shock level is almost 60, and there is no chlorine tester that reads that high! The cost of the bleach would make refilling the pool look like a bargain.

    They make the information hard to find, but it looks like you pay about $5.50 per CCF for water. That's hundred cubic feet which is 748 gallons.
    Let's go with a bad scenario: 200 CYA. Replacing 75% would be 22500 gallons which is 30 CCF which is $165. More than you wanted to spend, for sure, but probably less than the cartful of powders and potions and snake oils the pool store would load you up with on just one visit.

    The starting point no matter what you decide to do is your own proper test kit.
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    I think your take is very accurate. For me, it's the distinction between trouble-free and maintenance-free. My goal for trouble-free is that it's always ready for swimming, and that's what I get with TFPC. I also get sparkling, safe water.

    My option would be to hire a poolie at $X per week plus chemicals. That would be maintenance-free for me and is a question of money. The pool store option works the same, but includes trips to the store and a bit less money. The pool would turn green periodically, then get fixed at extra cost. The kill rate on bacteria would be sub-standard at times, likely making the pool unsafe, for example when my CYA was at or above 100 and the FC was 3 or less. The water would probably be a bit cloudy after warm spells, or the poolie might shock it weekly at my expense. Or I might find a really great poolie and not have those problems; it can happen. Or it could be worse - I could get scale or stains.

    Getting the chemistry right at the start takes a bit of time. After that, with good chemistry, I'd say it takes about as long as if there was lawn and garden there instead of a pool. That's just my experience and others would see it differently, but I love the sparkly water and I cringe when I see my grandies jump into a cloudy pool!!!

    As far as the knowledge and time, that part is a choice as to how deep an understanding you want. It sounds from your original post that you've already gained enough knowledge to understand the recommendations. As far as water exchange, I don't know what is cheapest, but if you consider it against future costs, then total cost will be lower.

    Thanks for checking out TFP and I hope you stick around!
    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: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Quote Originally Posted by syntax53 View Post
    I am a new pool owner and beginning to wish I never started reading the internet on this stuff and just listen to the pool store guys because (at least for now) I would be much calmer.

    Calmer? Maybe. Poorer? Certainly!
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Well I drained it last night. Probably 75% by my guestimate. It's 44 feet long ranging from 4 feet to 9 feet and the shallow end had just started showing its floor before I started getting too concerned about hydrostatic pressure . Probably 50% filled now while I watch it from a webcam remoted in from work . I dumped a bottle of regular 8% bleach in the pool and set it to recirculate from my bottom drain only.

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    We'll be curious to see what your new CYA turns-out to be.
    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
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    One note, watch your CH when you are finished filling, because you were already on the low side.

    And, your CYA was sky-high and your FC was low in relation to CYA.

    Just goes to show you how little these pool store employees know about water chemistry in pools
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Just a quick note to stick with it.... I started this a couple of seasons ago with very unbalanced pool by treating it with all the junk the store that sold me the pool told me to add. I still ended up with algae by the end of August...

    Now a couple of seasons in and there is no way I will ever trust the chemical pushers again. It took me TWO days to have my pool ready for my kids to swim in after taking the cover off. The only thing stopping them was the fact that the water was too cold... and I didn't install the ladder.

    Well, typing this after the ladder install and some tweaking of the solar cover reel. Some hot days this week and we are all going to go for a swim this afternoon. Crystal clear and feels warm enough.

    I am typing this just to say... listen to these experts. They will walk you through it just like they did for me. All I have to do is test chlorine daily and pour a bit in... toss a puck or two into a floater for vacation and my pool stays nice all year round. It is easy and everyone comments how nice my pool is with no nasty chlorine smell. You should see the looks on their faces when I tell them I treat it with liquid chlorine (bleach)....
    _________________________________

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Home Depot has CaCl 50# on sale right now. You'll want ~100-150# of CaCl to raise your CH.

    I also had "professionals" maintaining my pool, mostly just putting a puck or two in the strainer every week and adding water. The water was clear, but it smelled funny, burned skin, eyes, and destroyed bathing suits. I decided to test it myself, and found my CYA was ~300+!

    On some forum, someone thought that 'swampifying' would destroy CYA, and I wouldn't have to drain and refill the pool in the Ca drought. I learned two things from that.
    1 Swampifying does work to destroy CYA. Levels went to zero.
    2 DON'T DO IT!!!!

    I had the county mosquito people here, who added some anti mosquito fungus and little fish.... now how am I going to get the pool back in shape without killing all the fish and making a terrible mess?

    I just finished completely draining the pool, scooping out the fish and transferring them to the storm drains, power washing, refilling and re-initiating. Added 25# boric acid, 25# CaCl, and 2# CYA, and I'm in balance, tho the pH and TA are a tad high. Some (HCl 1-2 qts) should help.

    As the TFP pool folks said, with a high CYA, your FC of 5 is dangerously LOW, not enough to kill bacteria and viruses. The pool store folks have demonstrated their ignorance.

    A 10% bleach bottle left upright on the bottom will dispense the Cl in about 2-3 days, if you don't have a Cl dispenser. I'm planning to add one.
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Original Pool store test results: FC-5, CA-100*, TA-80, pH-7.2, CH-200 (for reference from my first post, * = probably not accurate). I drained my pool 75% by my guestimate Wednesday night. By Thursday night is was filled back up. I dumped a 5 gallon carboy in it and let the filter run non-stop.

    Friday night I still hadn't received my test kit so I went to the pool store again. New pool store results: FC-5, CA-40, TA-80, pH-8.1, CH-150

    So my CYA lowered by a signifcant amount and I'm now in a decent range, yay. I didn't add anything yet at this point, we had some company over in the pool Saturday and we went in Sunday again. Sunday I received my test kit but we weren't home and Sunday night we had a decent rain storm roll through. This morning I had to drain about an inch of water out from the rain last night. I let the filter run for a couple hours and then did my first test with the kit (k2006).

    My results: FC-2.0, CA-35, TA-70, pH-7.7, CH-150

    Before figuring out which chemicals to add, I had been trying to figure out how many gallons of water are in the pool. I decided to use 25,000 as the number. I didn't have soda ash on hand to increase my TA (will tomorrow), but I did have a 10 lb bucket of calcium chloride for the CH. Unfortunately it was calling for much more than I had so I dumped the bucket in for now. I also added the recommended amount of bleach.

    After 3 hours I tested the water again. It would appear that I should be using at least 30,000 gallons because the results weren't as expected. My CH only went from 150 to 170 and my FC only went from 2 to 3 (unless some was burned off during that time, though it wasn't very sunny out). At 25,000 gallons the 160oz of CH should have given me 30+ ppm. I would actually have to have a 55,000 gallon pool for that amount of CH to only raise it 20. I'll do a another test tomorrow before I dump in more. Maybe I was off or it all hadn't mixed for long enough. I dumped another 48 oz of bleach as recommended by the calc and will update tomorrow.

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Nice job, how does your water look now, any green, cloudy or is it clear

    Your TA is almost perfect, I would leave it there for now.

    CA I think you mean CYA if so, I take it was right between 30 and 40, just use 40 so you will use 5 FC as your target and always stay above 3 FC

    As for your CH, test it again today, I bet it raised a little more

    Your doing great
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Tested my FC and CH at 6pm today after filter ran since 10:30am. CH still at 170 and my FC was down to 1! Dumped a 25 lb pal of CH into the pool and another 136oz of 8.25% bleach as directed by the calc.

    My CYA is actually closer to 30 than 35. It was like 32 by eyeball. I'm not looking forward to dumping over a bottle of bleach every day. That'll be like $100 a month. Should I actually ADD CYA?? Thinking about switching to pucks for a bit and monitoring the CYA. Maybe once I get my solar cover cut and laid out regularly it will help.

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Once you know your pool* you will be able to get away with every-other-day chlorine additions. If this is un-appealing, I suggest you look into SWG. And yes, a solar cover will reduce FC consumption.

    *IMO this takes about a month of regular (daily) testing and adding, especially in the heart of the summer.
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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Just did a test after 2 hours of filter. CH up to 270 and FC at 4.5. While numbers are good, 2 hours may not have been enough time to circulate so I'll check it again tomorrow. Looks like about a 30,000 gallon pool after all.

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    Re: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Not counting the learning curve, our pool is about the same amount of work as lawn and garden covering the same area. That's been my experience and not everyone would agree, but I hope it's helpful.
    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: New Inherited Pool Owner - Going Insane with Information Overload

    Just tested my pool today at 5:30pm (filter runs since 10:30am).... CH is 280... FC is.... ZERO. ALL chlorine gone. Tested it with three different tests. Tested my CYA and it's too low to give me a number. I dumped in a jug + 20oz of bleach and threw 9 pucks in my chlorinator. ANNOYING.

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