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Thread: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

  1. #1

    Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Hey I have reviewed a few posts here and I have a few questions about my pool... I don't know how many gallons it is but its an inground 16x32 3ft-8ft. I just opened it last week and have been putting chemicals in it, but no matter how much DiChlor I put in it, its not registering.

    I have seen the CYA/Chlorine table but there is a few things not making sense to me. When I take a sample to the pool store and have them enter samples into the computer everything comes out fine. ph 7.4 / Total chlorine 4 / Free Chlorine 2.6 / Alkalinity is fine / CYA is 87..... I had phosphates in my pool to begin with and put a reducer and now phosphates are nil... but everytime I use a test strip it registers 0 chlorine, I even put 10lbs in and tested it immediately and still got nothing... The pressure on my DE Filter keeps rising and I have to backwash it daily (I know thats not right)... other than that the pool is blue/clear

    My question is what do I need to do to have my chlorine register on my test strips? and is there anything else I need to do to maintain good chem levels? DO I need to reduce the CYA levels?how?
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Kinda sounds like it might be the test strips.
    We generally distrust them anyway, as they are notorious for being wildly (often extremely wildly) inaccurate.
    You really should ditch the strips and get a quality test kit.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

  3. #3
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Welcome to TFP!

    You should be careful about using too much dichlor. Dichlor contains CYA, and the more CYA you have the more chlorine you need.

    Also, as Ohm_Boy already said, test strips are not reliable. The best thing to do is to get a top quality test kit. I recommend a kit from TF Test Kits, see the link in my signature. The Taylor K-2006 is also good. Having your own top quality test kit will make taking care of the pool much simpler and more predictable and will save you money on chemicals in the long run.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. #4
    Guest

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    When I take a sample to the pool store and have them enter samples into the computer everything comes out fine. ph 7.4 / Total chlorine 4 / Free Chlorine 2.6 / Alkalinity is fine / CYA is 87..... I had phosphates in my pool to begin with and put a reducer and now phosphates are nil...
    These numbers are anything but fine! Total chlorine - free chlorine = combined chlorine. Combined chlorine is the 'bad chlorine" that indicates pool problems.
    By your numbers you have 1.4 ppm of combined chlorine and anything over .5 ppm is unacceptable!
    Your CYA of 87 (and I distrust that number because, unless your store is using a colorimeter/turbidimeter and vials of reagent with pool water that is an impossible result to get. If they are using strips and a reader run and don't walk from their testing! It cannot be trusted!
    Saying alkalinity is fine tells us nothing, "fine" is not a test result. I aslso did not see any numbers for calcium hardness (Total hardness is not a valid test for pools btw but is all strips can manage!)
    Just because the store is using a computer it's not necessarily better than actually knowing about pools, which many pool store employees don't. (I have worked in pool stores and I have used the software so I have a first hand knowledge of it's limitations--a big secret is that the vast majority of these computer pool tests are designed specifically to sell as many chemicals as they can! (Imagine that! )
    I would suggest reading the entire pool school area of the forum (Link is in my sig and the upper right corner of every page)
    Read it a second time.
    Post any questions you might have.
    While you are doing this I would also suggest getting a good test kit. There is a pool school ariticle on the only test kits we recommend.
    anything else is really going to be a waste of money...we have a LOT of experience in this which is why these are the kits that we selected for best value for the money, ease of use, accuracy and precision, and reliability. Just ask ANY of our members! We don't sell anything here so there is no hidden agenda. TFTestkits is a separate entity but we support them because we believe their testkit is an excellent value for the money.
    Sorry that the pool store scammed you about phosphates. They are a non issue in a properly maintained pool. We call that being "Pool Stored" btw! All that happened is that they lightened your wallet and make you clean your filter a few times after adding the lanthanum chloride (phosphate remover)!

    Welcome to TFP and remember you are never alone! We are here to help!

  5. #5
    Mod Squad Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Hi Taterelder and welcome to the forum

    You've gotten good advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    Hey I have reviewed a few posts here and I have a few questions about my pool... I don't know how many gallons it is but its an inground 16x32 3ft-8ft.

    Try Jason's Pool Calculator (link in my sig) - about 19K? Others will chime in on the guesstimate. I just opened it last week and have been putting chemicals in it, but no matter how much DiChlor I put in it, its not registering.Something is using it up! Organics, sun....and it is probably not enough based on your high CYA

    I have seen the CYA/Chlorine table but there is a few things not making sense to me. When I take a sample to the pool store and have them enter samples into the computer everything comes out fine. ph 7.4 / Total chlorine 4 / Free Chlorine 2.6 / Alkalinity is fine / CYA is 87..... I had phosphates in my pool to begin with and put a reducer and now phosphates are nil... but everytime I use a test strip it registers 0 chlorine, I even put 10lbs in and tested it immediately and still got nothing... Read the previous posts

    The pressure on my DE Filter keeps rising and I have to backwash it daily (I know thats not right)... other than that the pool is blue/clear

    My question is what do I need to do to have my chlorine register on my test strips? and is there anything else I need to do to maintain good chem levels? DO I need to reduce the CYA levels?how?
    Suggestions:

    1. Read Pool School.

    2. Get a good test kit like the TF 100. Link in my sig. It will pay for itself may times over.

    3. Lower your CYA to reccommended levels. You do that by doing the drain/refill dance.

    4. If you will list your pool and equipment specs in your sig, we can give better advice. Info on how to do this is in Pool School.

    Now, what are you using to chlorinate your pool?

    Don't let all this info overwhelm you. It sounds like a lot, but once you get a handle on it, it will seem easy!

    Post back all your questions! We are glad to have you and here to help.
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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  6. #6

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    thanks for all the help people... I have been checking out 'pool school' and I am learning quite a bit... I will be getting a new test kit this week. seems my CYA levels are kinda high and I am going to drop my water level by half and refill, and then I think I am going to switch my chlorine to something other than Dichlor(ANY SUGGESTIONS?) to keep the cya levels lower over time.

    sound like I am on the right track?
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  7. #7
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Yep, good plan!

    Most people here use either a SWG or liquid chlorine/bleach as a chlorine source.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  8. #8
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    thanks for all the help people... I have been checking out 'pool school' and I am learning quite a bit... I will be getting a new test kit this week. seems my CYA levels are kinda high and I am going to drop my water level by half and refill, and then I think I am going to switch my chlorine to something other than Dichlor(ANY SUGGESTIONS?) to keep the cya levels lower over time.
    sound like I am on the right track?
    You're getting there
    As Jason said, most of us have stories about Dichlor and Trichlor, not to mention other useless pool chemicals.
    The BBB process is pretty easy: simple 6% Bleach, Borax (green box), Baking soda (arm & hammer), muratic acid (MA to decrease PH), and CYA (if you didn't already have it!) is about all that it takes to have water that's clean, sanitary, and just plain SPARKLES!

    Use the 'white area' of Jason's Pool Calculator http://www.poolcalculator.com/ to estimate the volume of your pool. Add that to the pump model and HP, the filter type, etc. and add that to your profile (Control panel, under the TFP logo, top left of page, profile, edit signature). That way we won't be asking you the next question...

    What type of pool do you have? Draining 1/2 may not be the best thing to do. You may have to multiple partial drain/fills to avoid damagin the shell of the pool or having the liner shift.
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

  9. #9

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    ok guys, took your advice and got the k2006 test kit and while I was in there I went ahead and took a sample of my water in to see what they said. The pool guy said "I don't know why your testing this again, everything seems FINE, these levels anyone who comes in here would be happy."

    Saturation index -.2 // Ideal -.3-.3
    CYA 78 // Ideal 30 - 200
    Tot. Chlorine 1.5 // ideal 1 - 3
    Free Chlorine .8 // ideal 1 - 3
    Ph: 7.6
    Tot. Alk 139
    Adj Total Alk 116 // Ideal 125 - 150
    Tot Hardness 136 // Ideal 175 - 225


    SO I took my kit home and test some things myself and this is what I came up with... (Mind you this is my first time doing this, so there is definitely room for human error.

    Free Chlorine (couldn't really figure this one out, but didn't really know what "1 drop for .2ppm use 25ml or 1 drop for .5ppm use 10ml" or something like that,Im at work now and can't remember)

    Ph test I got a reading of 7.2

    TA I got a reading of 100

    CYA 75 -- right along line with the Pool store reading.

    ====================================

    I want to have people over this weekend so I am pretty motivated to get these levels right this week... if draining my pool by half is necessary I am ready to do it, but I want to get some advice from you guys before I do anything and buy more chemicals. I will try another Free Chlorine test this eve and try to figure it out... any advice on what I should be doing?

    thanks
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  10. #10
    Member Nod's Avatar
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    ok guys, took your advice and got the k2006 test kit and while I was in there I went ahead and took a sample of my water in to see what they said. The pool guy said "I don't know why your testing this again, everything seems FINE, these levels anyone who comes in here would be happy."

    Saturation index -.2 // Ideal -.3-.3
    CYA 78 // Ideal 30 - 200
    Tot. Chlorine 1.5 // ideal 1 - 3
    Free Chlorine .8 // ideal 1 - 3
    Ph: 7.6
    Tot. Alk 139
    Adj Total Alk 116 // Ideal 125 - 150
    Tot Hardness 136 // Ideal 175 - 225


    SO I took my kit home and test some things myself and this is what I came up with... (Mind you this is my first time doing this, so there is definitely room for human error.

    Free Chlorine (couldn't really figure this one out, but didn't really know what "1 drop for .2ppm use 25ml or 1 drop for .5ppm use 10ml" or something like that,Im at work now and can't remember)

    Ph test I got a reading of 7.2

    TA I got a reading of 100

    CYA 75 -- right along line with the Pool store reading.

    ====================================

    I want to have people over this weekend so I am pretty motivated to get these levels right this week... if draining my pool by half is necessary I am ready to do it, but I want to get some advice from you guys before I do anything and buy more chemicals. I will try another Free Chlorine test this eve and try to figure it out... any advice on what I should be doing?

    thanks
    The CYA is too high. That needs to be dropped by about 30ppm (only can drain and refill for this to happen), otherwise you will require more chlorine for a fully sanitized pool.

    As for the drop test on the Chlorine. You add 10ml of pool water to the vial. Drop a pinch of the powder (r-0870) in the vial and swirl it. It should turn pink. Take your reagent (R-0871) and put one drop in. Swirl around. Put another drop in, then swirl around. Do this until the water is clear again. Count the # of drops and multiply by .5 - so if you put in 10 drops you have 5ppm FC. 15 drops is 7.5ppm FC.

    To determine your CC, you will add 5 drops of the second reagent (R-0003) to the same tested water in your test. If the water stays clear you have no CC (which is good), if it turns pink again, add more drops of the first reagent (R-0871) until it turns clear again. You will then multiply the # of drops by .5 to get CC. Anything over .5 CC, and you have a problem.

    As for folks coming over, you should be fine with the #'s you have now, as what you are trying to do now is tweak your numbers so you won't have problems down the road. If you put in a jug of 6% bleach a few hours before the start, you'll be ok. Just don't let your FC levels dip below 4ppm.

    Also, I have a 16x32' pool as well with a 3' shallow and 8' deep end and used the pool calculators method to find the # of gallons. It was off by 5k gallons, as I pulled the actual pool build plans and find it is just under 18k gallons. I have a rectangle pool and if yours is the same, I'm not sure how you crammed another 4k gallons into it.
    Nod
    16x32 IG, polymer panel Vinyl Pool w/approx 21k gallons of H20
    1 HP Hayward Pump & 300lb Sand Filter ~ Polaris 280 Pool cleaner
    ~~Nashville, NC~~

  11. #11
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Well, when you determine what your pool size is, use the pool calc to figure out how much bleach to add to keep your FC above 5 at all times. So your daily target is 8, add enough each night to reach 8, and never let it drop below 5. So if you target 8, and come home to find it at 4, then target 9. Hope that makes sense... If you are having swimmers over, bump it up a bit more to 10-11 in advance, and check the levels asap after the swimmers have left the building .

    You can get by without draining for now, backwashing your DE filter overtime will lower it...as will splashout from swimmers... Or you can drain down to the bottom of the skimmer once or twice and refill, that will lower it quicker. But then you may need to tweak your other numbers.

    The Pool Store says you have a CC of .7. Normally we recommend you shock when the CC is above .5. Make sure your pool is uncovered so that the sunlight can help destroy these CC's. Once the FC is high enough for your CYA level, that may go down on its own. It would be nice to have your results for comparison purposes.

    Once you figure out how to do do the FAS-DPD test (slow down, take your time, it's really simple if you don't let it all overwhelm you ) and you know if you have CC or not, then you can decide if you need to shock, drain, or just bump up your FC.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  12. #12

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    I drained my pool(I was at work, so it got a little lower than I anticipated, oh well), but its filling back up, and I will let you guys know what the verdict is!

    N
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  13. #13

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    SO Its back up to the normal level:

    and this is what Ive found out using my k2006

    TA - 80
    FC - 2
    CC - 0
    CYA - did the test, (ya know 7ml then 7more ml of Chemicals, and fill till black dot disappears) and the solution NEVER got cloudy, and I don't know What the heck is up with that????? did it twice

    PH - 7.9

    so I want to shock it.... I bought 6 182FlOz jugs of 6% bleach... the pool calc says to raise FC levels to 12 put 373 oz of bleach in (2 jugs)...

    Question: should I put the 2 jugs in? more? less?

    what should I do next?
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  14. #14
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    CYA - did the test, (ya know 7ml then 7more ml of Chemicals, and fill till black dot disappears) and the solution NEVER got cloudy, and I don't know What the heck is up with that????? did it twice
    you shook the mixture up for 30 seconds, right? Some people recommend letting it sit for a couple minutes after that, then give it another brief shake before doing the black-dot part.

    How much did you actually drain? I believe the K-2006 CYA test measures down to 30ppm, so if you drained 2/3 or more, it might be too low to make the black dot disappear.

    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

  15. #15
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    SO Its back up to the normal level:

    and this is what Ive found out using my k2006

    TA - 80
    FC - 2
    CC - 0
    CYA - did the test, (ya know 7ml then 7more ml of Chemicals, and fill till black dot disappears) and the solution NEVER got cloudy, and I don't know What the heck is up with that????? did it twice

    PH - 7.9

    so I want to shock it.... I bought 6 182FlOz jugs of 6% bleach... the pool calc says to raise FC levels to 12 put 373 oz of bleach in (2 jugs)...

    Question: should I put the 2 jugs in? more? less?

    what should I do next?
    First you need to Lower the PH with Muratic Acid. Lower it to 7.5. Wait one hour.

    Then you can add the bleach, pour it slowly in front of the return.

    You'll need to add CYA - if you did the test correctly, as advised above you won't be able to test less than 30. For that reason, I would target your CYA dosing for 30 and then retest in a week, if you possibly are around 10-20 then that way you won't end up too high.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  16. #16

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    thanks... I'll get the muratic acid tonight... you say add the bleach, are you talking about 2 jugs? or more? at common recommended levels and normal sun, Roughly how many 182 fl oz jugs do you go through a week???
    16x32 inground pool 3ft-8ft (18,000 gallons) Vinyl lining New DE Filter

  17. #17
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Use Jason's calulator to do the math for your pool (it's probably around 3/4 of a small jug) but a good average is 2ppm loss of FC daily under average conditions if you have adequate CYA.
    Dave S.
    Site Owner 42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter, No SWG
    TFTestkits owner
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  18. #18
    Guest

    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    Quote Originally Posted by Taterelder
    Saturation index -.2 // Ideal -.3-.3
    CYA 78 // Ideal 30 - 200
    Tot. Chlorine 1.5 // ideal 1 - 3
    Free Chlorine .8 // ideal 1 - 3
    Ph: 7.6
    Tot. Alk 139
    Adj Total Alk 116 // Ideal 125 - 150
    Tot Hardness 136 // Ideal 175 - 225

    I added a bit of emphasis about your pool store testing and have a few comments:
    First they are testing with strips because strips test total hardness and not calcium hardness. They reading the strips in a strip reader.
    Second, they are most likely a Bioguard dealer since it's the corperate line of Bioguards parent company, Chemtura, that CYA levels up to 200 ppm are accetpable. (They arent' but then again, Chemtura is one of the biggest worldwide manufaturers of trichlor so to say otherwise would hurt their bottom line.)
    Third, If they ARE a bioguard dealer and are testing with strips they are using the infamous ALEX system (If they are not they are using one of its clones) that is designed to sell a lot of chemicals to unsuspecting pool owners.

  19. #19
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    Re: Chlorine not registering on Test strips...help

    So to translate Waterbear's comments into plain English

    Don't trust that pool stores' results. Get your own kit.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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