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Thread: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

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    Cool First Time Pool Owner

    Hi everyone.

    Purchased a house in October of 2015 (Buffalo, NY area) that had a 24' pool (details in signature). A couple weekends ago, I decided to review all the manuals and take a crack at opening it on my own. Went to the local pool store and got an "opening kit" - 2 gals of Shock, 1 gal of algicide, 1 gal of clarifier. Long story (more below) short, I dumped most, if not all of the winter cover (leaves, sticks, and whatever other junk) into the pool when trying to take it off my myself. That was preceded however by using a submersible pump to pump off the water on the cover - unfortunately, I also managed to pump about 5" of water out of the pool (it sucked it through the cover).

    So, black pool, and a fall/winter's worth of leaves at the bottom. I blindly scoop with no end in sight. Get to the pool store, talk to a couple people, get the opening kit and get to work with the filter (after learning it's ok to start the filter even if all the leaves aren't out). Get the shock in, and we go from black to green (matched my grass quite nicely). Back to the pool store (after a couple others in between), and was prescribed 4 (more) gallons of Shock and then hydrofloc once we got from green to blue. It worked. Quite well, actually. I could finally see the bottom of my pool and I was starting to get excited. Another weeks worth of vacuuming, leaf raking, etc. and I am now left with a crystal clear pool with numbers (from Leslie - my TF100 XL is coming this week) that look good.

    I'm here not because the pool stores failed me - as a matter of fact, I actually found them really helpful and their solutions worked perfectly to get me up and running. That said, after reading through everything hear, I find this approach simpler, and it sounds like it will give me more insight management into my water chemistry that I'd like to have.

    Here's where I'm at:
    Clear water
    Shocked w\ 6-7 gallons over 2 wks
    1/2 gallon of clarifier was added (before TFP)
    1/2 gallon of algicide was added (before TFP)

    As of 5/21

    FC 2 (added a gallon on 8.25 bleach and probably around 2 still - only had test strips to check with today)
    TC 2
    CC
    (presumed since FC + CC = TC)
    pH 7.5
    TA 100
    CH 100
    (assuming this needs to increase)
    CYA 50
    TDS 55
    Pho 100

    My plan going forward (after reading through things here) is to monitor chemistries and adjust chlorine daily. I was curious to see if there were any thoughts, suggestions, things to consider, etc.

    Questions
    1. Looking around the Internet, pool stores, test strip packages, etc. the near-unanimous recommendation for FC is 1-3ppm. In TFP world, it seems like that is barely hitting the minimums. What's the reason behind such a "higher" recommended FC level?
    2. Any tips, suggestions, thoughts, etc?
    Last edited by gdhussak; 05-23-2016 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Added TC, and derived CC from Lelie's test
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    1. Failure of the industry to accept known facts about water chemistry CYA/Fc relationship since about 1975 mostly! It's just soooooooo much easier for them to sell you expensive stuff you don't need.

    2. Highly doubtful that your 6-7 gallons over a 2 week period has you taken care of. Get your kit in, post us ALL numbers, especially CC and do an OCLT test. Clear water is only ONE criteria of the SLAM process.

    3> BONUS! The pool store cost you money you had no reason to spend-----floc, clarifier, algaecide.

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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    Thanks woodyp.

    1. Makes sense, I guess. But wouldn't promoting higher FC, therefore more the need for higher chlorine/more maintenance promulgate the idea of "sell expensive stuff" more so than ubiquitous lower chlorine levels?

    2. Definitely eager to do a full test once I have the kit. I have 0 expectation of how quickly chlorine levels "should" drop, but I know I went from ~2 on Saturday to 0 tonight (couple 70 deg; sunny days, no cover). Question about CC - it's FC + CC = TC, right? If so (at least according to my Leslie's test from Saturday), CC would be 0 (FC was 2, and TC was 2).

    3. I hear ya. On the flip side - their method worked - and quickly (compared to my expectations). There is something to be said for time saved, pump run-time saved, convenience, etc. To that end, I didn't like going to to different places, talking to 4-5 people and getting different stories, ideas, etc. each time. I love the idea of the community here and how quickly (you being case in point) people respond. Plus, I'm all for spending less money to achieve the same results.

    Thanks for the response - I'll post numbers once the kit arrives.
    Last edited by gdhussak; 05-23-2016 at 09:29 PM. Reason: Updated #2 with question/info about CC
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    Your pool is vinyl- you do *not* need to add calcium to it (unless you have a heater we don't know about??)

    You spent a lot of money at the pool store. They like that. But it can all be done much cheaper and with results that pool stores rarely meet. Our Trouble Free kept pools are so sparkly and clear that some photos the pools appear empty.

    Have you started reading Pool School up at the top? I'd suggest starting with ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Great news that your own test kit is on its way. You're going to have a great summer enjoying your pool, I'm sure of it!
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    Hi YippeeSkippy!

    No heater, but was concerned about CH thinking that the soft water (low CH) would have a corrosive effect on hardware (pump, etc.), as well as harden the vinyl liner. Not so?
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    No, its low pH that messes up vinyl. Your pH is fine at 7.4-7.8 range.

    Too high calcium can cause scale build up, which feels kind of hard.
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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    I need to also assure you that at 100ppm of calcium your pool is FINE. You're not too high.

    It is strictly an optional item for vinyl pools when they don't have heaters.
    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: First Time Pool Owner

    Awesome - thank you! Saves me from trying to find 27lbs of ice melt in May (had it been April still, stores would have been fully stocked given the weather around here)
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    I merged your threads. Please keep related content together as it is easier to help you. Thanks, jblizzle

    Hey guys, I created a "help me I'm new" thread here: http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ime-Pool-Owner prior to having the TF100 in hand. Got that today and ran my first set of tests and now I'm looking for some feedback/validation on my numbers/assumptions:

    Taylor pH
    : 7.8(the one it said not to record - in the blue box)
    Taylor Cl: 5.0+
    (the one it said not to record - in the blue box)
    FC: 7.5
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 8.0
    CH: 75
    TA: 120
    CYA: 25

    Here are my thoughts:
    pH - so the instructions said not to record the Taylor pH results, but as far as I saw, that was the only test for pH. That said, if my 7.8 i
    FC - added 121oz of 8.25% last night because the test strip was reading 0 (looking at PoolMath, it was probably closer to 1.5 and I misread). Assumption is this is fine for now, it will decrease, and we're not swimming it it for at least a couple days (and that might be a stretch)
    CC - not sure what to do about this - I think it's ok at .5 (based on reading other threads), but the ideal is 0, right?
    TC - same comments as FC
    CH - YippeeSkippy in the original thread (and Recommended Levels) said not to worry about it (given it's an AG pool with vinyl liner) - so I'm going to take her advice. That said, assuming it wouldn't hurt to raise it - just might be considered a "waste"
    TA - a little unsure what to do here - recommended levels are 50-90+. Is my 120 too high?
    CYA - I'm thinking it makes sense to raise the CYA to the 30, right?

    General Questions/Comments
    1. I am going to do the OCLT tonight (does solar cover on/off matter?) as woodyp recommended in the other thread, but, given the math (knowing what I added last night and knowing where it is now, after a day, I think that I am going to pass)
    2. Testing going forward - what should I do on a daily basis and what I should I do on a weekly basis? Assumption is Cl and pH daily, the rest weekly. If so, for daily Cl, should I do the OTO daily and then FAS-DPD weekly?
    3. I did not do a SLAM (found TFP after getting things started with help from the pool stores). My (still uneducated) reading of the numbers/tests is that I may not need to. This is based on assumed passing of OCLT tonight, water remaining clear, and CC at .5
    4. Any other feedback general comments?

    Thanks guys!!
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    Quote Originally Posted by gdhussak View Post
    ...ran my first set of tests and now I'm looking for some feedback/validation on my numbers/assumptions:

    Taylor pH
    : 7.8(the one it said not to record - in the blue box) Who or what said not to record it? You need to know it.

    Taylor Cl
    : 5.0+
    (the one it said not to record - in the blue box) Unless I'm unsure of *any* chlorine I don't even bother with this one very often. It comes in handy for my stand alone hot tub though.

    FC: 7.5
    CC: 0.5 Zero to 0.5 is acceptable. Some pools never get a zero. If it goes above 0.5 then you worry....
    TC: 8.0
    CH: 75 Did you replace some water or...what? CH only goes down when water is replaced. Perhaps better testing technique?
    TA: 120 Every time you lower your pH with a little Muriatic Acid (MA) your TA will also go down a bit. At this level it is making your pH rise, so lowering it is useful to make for a more stable pH. Please review this:Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity
    CYA: 25 We always read CYA as 20 or 30...So its 30 for you, no half ways

    Here are my thoughts:
    pH - so the instructions said not to record the Taylor pH results, but as far as I saw, that was the only test for pH. That said, if my 7.8 7.8 is acceptable in range. But you want to lower it some 'cause of your TA. See above.
    FC - added 121oz of 8.25% last night because the test strip was reading 0 (looking at PoolMath, it was probably closer to 1.5 and I misread). Assumption is this is fine for now, it will decrease, and we're not swimming it it for at least a couple days (and that might be a stretch) Yup, it will trend down. Your goal is to keep it at 4, but never ever less than 2 or you risk an outbreak. See-->Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
    CC - not sure what to do about this - I think it's ok at .5 (based on reading other threads), but the ideal is 0, right? Right. No sweatyda.
    TC - same comments as FC
    CH - YippeeSkippy in the original thread (and Recommended Levels) said not to worry about it (given it's an AG pool with vinyl liner) - so I'm going to take her advice. That said, assuming it wouldn't hurt to raise it - just might be considered a "waste" And Yip still stands by this advice
    TA - a little unsure what to do here - recommended levels are 50-90+. Is my 120 too high? See note above about lowering TA
    CYA - I'm thinking it makes sense to raise the CYA to the 30, right? It already is

    General Questions/Comments
    1. I am going to do the OCLT tonight (does solar cover on/off matter?) as woodyp recommended in the other thread, but, given the math (knowing what I added last night and knowing where it is now, after a day, I think that I am going to pass)
    2. Testing going forward - what should I do on a daily basis and what I should I do on a weekly basis? Assumption is Cl and pH daily, the rest weekly. If so, for daily Cl, should I do the OTO daily and then FAS-DPD weekly? Until you KNOW your pool, I'd do the FAS-DPD daily, then every other day if it is stable. Do the pH too. The other tests can be less often, or if you alter something you always want to double check the result. Don't bother with the CH. I only do the CYA a couple of times a summer... unless I've changed something?
    3. I did not do a SLAM (found TFP after getting things started with help from the pool stores). My (still uneducated) reading of the numbers/tests is that I may not need to. This is based on assumed passing of OCLT tonight, water remaining clear, and CC at .5 Tell us again.. how does your water look?
    4. Any other feedback general comments?

    Thanks guys!!
    It looks like you have a good handle on things. Keep it up
    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: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    Thanks!

    Who or what said not to record it? You need to know it.
    I thought the TF100 kit said not to record/bother with the results from the Taylor blue box tests (that's the official name, I think ). After I looked again, it was just referring to the OTO chlorine test - not the pH (makes sense given there is no other pH test)

    Did you replace some water or...what? CH only goes down when water is replaced. Perhaps better testing technique?
    I don't know for sure how Leslie's tested the CH (where my original numbers came from). Definitely no water replacement since that first test. Given that it seems like this is the most subjective test, I did try with the recently included R-7065 (50ppm CH solution) and that came out pretty much 50 on the dot. So I don't think it's my testing technique - I guess we'll blame Leslie's on this one.


    Every time you lower your pH with a little Muriatic Acid (MA) your TA will also go down a bit. At this level it is making your pH rise, so lowering it is useful to make for a more stable pH. Please review this: Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity
    Ok, makes sense. I'll start that tonight. I like the idea of building a DIY aerator/fountain, but had some questions:
    1. 24' AG pool with only 1 return - any issue in hooking into this only - would it restrict flow too much? Or, should I branch off before the return and attach something that way?
    2. I see in your sig the link to the fountain on your pool, but you mentioned that you did it to help cool the pool. How much of a cooling effect does it have (In general, I am looking for ways to increase the temperature, not further decrease it)

    Tell us again.. how does your water look?
    Water is crystal clear (oh, and I passed the OCLT too).


    Thanks for all the help! Now I just need to find a good source of cheap, good, bleach.
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    Ohhhh, somehow I missed that your first test results were from a <cough cough> pool store. They're rarely trustworthy and we'll just ignore those ones from now on. Your own tests are the most accurate.

    I know folks have posted how they add fountains to above ground pools, but I'm not sure of the details about only one return. What I can tell you is that any time the water entering the pool does so with a bit of splash, like a fountain provides, it will raise the pH. And in hot muggy Georgia in July it will also help lower the water temps. Skippy's fountain lowered our pool temps 5 degrees in one day of use. I can see where you'd probably not want that in upstate NY.

    Yay on passing the OCLT!

    Costco, Wallyworld, Sam's Club...all have pretty good prices. You might also check with local pool stores to see if they sell liquid chlorine.
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    Re: First Time Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by gdhussak View Post
    Thanks woodyp.

    1. Makes sense, I guess. But wouldn't promoting higher FC, therefore more the need for higher chlorine/more maintenance promulgate the idea of "sell expensive stuff" more so than ubiquitous lower chlorine levels?
    No, bleach is pretty cheap. The basic idea, if I've been reading here correctly, is that the stabilizer (CYA) prevents a certain amount of chlorine from being effective to kill off bacteria, parasites, and algae. The more stabilizer that's in your pool, the more free chlorine you need to maintain in order to effectively sanitize the pool. Since Pool Stores like to tell you that anything over 4ppm is too much FC, and meanwhile encourage you to run up to a 120ppm CYA (while selling you products to chlorinate that increase your CYA over time), you will pretty rapidly run into a situation where your pool doesn't have enough FC to keep algae at bay (let alone keep it sanitary and safe to swim in) and bang, you have cloudy water. Well, the store has some great stuff for that! They sell you clarifier and flocculant to "clear" up your water. They'll also maybe sell you a bag of "shock" (which is usually chock full of stabilizer). You "shock" the pool once, maybe blowing your FC way above maximum recommended levels, potentially causing bleaching to your liner, but you don't keep the FC level high enough, long enough, so next thing you know, the pool is green. Well now they have algaecides to sell you (if they didn't already have you adding that every week), more shock, etc. Oops! Now your CYA is too high - they have CYA-down for that (and it doesn't work).

    Look around your pool store. There is rack after rack after rack of products, all of them with a hefty markup, and all of them ready to be sold to you to solve your problem. Meanwhile, we understand the interaction between CYA and FC. So instead of maintaining an FC level that is too low and will lead to problems, or trusting a guy to come out once a week (once a week - so much can happen in a day let alone a week!) to adjust levels, we check our pools daily (which has the added benefit of getting eyes on the pool and potentially catching a problem early when you notice your pool isn't quite as clear or sparkling as usual). We maintain enough FC based on our CYA levels to keep anything from growing. If we do end up having a breakout, we treat it with straight up bleach, filtering, and scrubbing with a brush. No expensive products, no adding weird metals or chemicals, just good old fashioned chlorine.

    So the short answer to your question is that by using a little bit of bleach to maintain a higher FC level (that is based on your CYA level), you save money avoiding all of the crazy products that the summer temp worker at the pool store is going to try to sell you. That's where you're saving money.

    Edit: As to your earlier question about FC levels and swimming - any FC level below "shock" level for your CYA value is safe to swim in.
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    Re: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    Ohhhh, somehow I missed that your first test results were from a <cough cough> pool store. They're rarely trustworthy and we'll just ignore those ones from now on. Your own tests are the most accurate.

    I know folks have posted how they add fountains to above ground pools, but I'm not sure of the details about only one return. What I can tell you is that any time the water entering the pool does so with a bit of splash, like a fountain provides, it will raise the pH. And in hot muggy Georgia in July it will also help lower the water temps. Skippy's fountain lowered our pool temps 5 degrees in one day of use. I can see where you'd probably not want that in upstate NY.

    Yay on passing the OCLT!

    Costco, Wallyworld, Sam's Club...all have pretty good prices. You might also check with local pool stores to see if they sell liquid chlorine.
    Lol - yeah. I mean - I think they were pretty close, but I definitely get more enjoyment/satisfaction out of doing my own tests. Quick story: before TFP, I took a sample to a local pool store to have it tested. You should have seen the technology....they pulled out the very same Aqua Check strips they sold me and proceeded to "test" my water. I later went to Leslie's where they at least use drops for some of the tests (I mean, has to be at least marginally better).

    Lowering TA/pH will probably be my weekend task. Maybe figuring out the fountain thing too. I found Wegmans (best grocery store in the country, btw) has 8.25% for $2.99/121oz, which is the best price I've found (online searching at least - have yet to actually check in person at other stores).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the detailed response triptyx - definitely makes sense - and yes, I did notice how there was product for everything.

    The repair guy at the local pool store who was genuinely helpful (I started out blackish, got to green, then was stuck) was the only one I talked to (before TFP) to recommend straight bleach for chlorinating - he mentioned other options (Enjoy, tricolor, etc.), but was at least impressed in retrospect that he offered the idea of just bleach being the least overall cost/maintenance. Granted, this is the same pool store the did a water test for me....with an Aqua Check strip, so, yeah.
    14.5K gal AG, Hayward PowerFlow LX pump (1.5hp, 70GPM) SP1580X15TL, Hayward E200 sand filter withHayward Veriflow XL Valve

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    Re: New owner, first results with TF100 and looking for input

    Quote Originally Posted by gdhussak View Post
    Thanks for the detailed response triptyx - definitely makes sense - and yes, I did notice how there was product for everything.

    The repair guy at the local pool store who was genuinely helpful (I started out blackish, got to green, then was stuck) was the only one I talked to (before TFP) to recommend straight bleach for chlorinating - he mentioned other options (Enjoy, tricolor, etc.), but was at least impressed in retrospect that he offered the idea of just bleach being the least overall cost/maintenance. Granted, this is the same pool store the did a water test for me....with an Aqua Check strip, so, yeah.
    No worries. One of my local stores didn't bat an eye when I asked about their prices on liquid chlorine (no, didn't buy it there - too expensive but I wanted to check the price), so while I'm sure they'd love to sell me half the store, at least they don't try to actively discourage you from using liquid chlorine like some do.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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