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Thread: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

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    Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Hi there. This year I switched to Chlorine from Baquacil. I bought all new equipment that was never used with Baquacil. I have an inground pool, vinyl - 24K gallons (no heater). My pool gets direct sun most of the day. Lately it's been around 75 to 80 degrees. I have a Sta Rite System3 DE filter with a brand new Hayward pump and Hayword Chlorine feeder. I've been trying to balance the free Chlorine for 3 weeks and nothing is working. My Chlorine feeder is dissolving Azure 3" tablets and I have it turned up all the way. I also have a floating thingy in the pool that holds about 4 tablets. I also shocked with liquid Chlorine last night from the pool store - 2 gallons. I took a water sample to the pool store about 16 hours after shocking and still my free chlorine level is at 0.04 ppm. I have NO idea. They didn't know either at the pool store. They suggested I used Azure Sox All Plus instead - they recommended 3, 1lb bags. I still do not understand why my free Chlorine levels are low. The pool is crystal clear. The liquid shock did turn my pool green after putting it in but went back to clear over night. I read this could be due to metal in my pool but my recent pool tests show no Copper, Iron or Phosphates. I'm at a total loss here. Here's my latest test results:

    Free Chlorine - 0.04 ppm
    Total Chlorine - 2.17 ppm
    Combine Chlorine - 2.13 ppm
    pH - 7
    Hardness - 97 ppm
    Alkalinity - 15 ppm - I bought some stuff from the pool store to increase this
    Cyanuric Acid - 66 ppm
    Copper - 0 ppm
    Iron - 0 ppm
    Phosphate - 0 ppb

    The pool store did say I should increase the hardness and I'm planning on doing that too, along with Alkalinity increaser and the powdered shock mentioned above. I figured with a chlorine feeder turned up all the way (brand new), a little bobber filled with tablets and shocking that I would have more free chlorine. Please help. I have no idea what is going on.

    Thank you so much.

    Steve

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Steve,

    Welcome to TFP!

    I'm going to bet you still have a bunch of what we call "baqua goo" in the pipes and other nooks and crannies of the pool. We recomend a process be followed when converting, not replacing the equipment.

    Pool School - Convert Your Baqua Pool to Chlorine

    You need to get one of the recomended test kits and stop going to the pool store. They have done you no favors as the stabilizer from those tablets is now at the very upper end of reasonable for a non salt water pool, if the readings are to be believed at all. Pool store testing is notoriously wrong.

    The other problem with using so many tabs is that they are extremely acidic. They drive pH & TA through the floor. Again, if their testing is correct, you need to add soda ash to the pool. This will raise both the pH and TA at the same time. Soda ash is available as ARM & HAMMERŪ Super Washing Soda Detergent Booster. Do not confuse this with ARM & HAMMERŪ laundry detergent! It is sold in the laundry detergent section of most larger grocery stores and some big box stores. It is also sold by pool stores under various names, including PH Increaser, PH Up, Balance Pak 200, etch, but is much more expensive with the fancy pool store names on the bottles. Soda ash is best added by pre-dissolving it in a bucket of water and then pouring that slowly in front of a return.

    I think if you follow the baqua conversion guideline form start to finish it should resolve your problems. But, you have to,stop using those tabs. They are almost 50% stabilizer and your number is going up way too high.

    The stuff they are selling you is way over priced and doing nothing but drawing your wallet. I will guess that they are the ones who recomended you change all your equipment?

    But, to follow our recommendations you need an accurate test kit. Don't go to the pool store, they don't sell them. They want you to rely on their testing. The kits we recomend are only available on line.
    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: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Hi Tim and thank you for your response.

    I actually bought new equipment on my own accord because:

    1 - I just purchased the home and the pool equipment was old. I needed new parts and had a hard time getting them. I wanted to upgrade.
    2 - I knew I wanted to go to Chlorine anyway and given the old equipment, I figured it would be a good time - given the Baquacil.


    No baquacil goo in sight. Also, I do have a test kit I bought online. It's called the Taylor Test Kit K-2006. When testing free Chlorine my results were similar as the pool stores for free chlorine - that is, if I was doing the test kit correctly. I think I was though as the directions for the tests are pretty clear. I have another question regarding that but I haven't gotten to that yet...
    In-ground Pool
    Sta-Rite System 3 DE Filter
    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
    Chlorine

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Blending pool store advice and our advice won't work.....you'll end up in the confused middle.

    So, you have no chlorine in your pool. Chlorine is the single most important factor and you have none. I suggest you put in a couple of gallons of Clorox to keep your pool clear and then read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School. That'll get you started in what we teach and help you decide if we can help you or the pool store is your best bet. We hope you'll choose us!!
    Dave S.
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    The liquid shock did turn my pool green after putting it in but went back to clear over night.
    Almost certainly the result of Baquacil in the water. It will consume the chlorine you add. Just keep pouring in chlorine until you get a reading.

    I should increase the hardness
    No need with a vinyl pool. They are just trying to sell you something you don't need.

    Cyanuric Acid - 66 ppm
    Stop with the pucks. Your CYA is already too high and it will get much higher very quickly if you keep using them.

    Alkalinity - 15 ppm - I bought some stuff from the pool store to increase this
    That stuff is baking soda. You probably paid a lot more than you should have.
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Thank you everyone for your advice so far. In regards to Chlorine - I'm a bit confused here. They sold me a "Chlorine Feeder" which takes the pucks. I can easily take them out and not use it at all, but how do I maintain Chlorine levels in my pool without it? Do I just dump in bleach at appropriate levels to maintain ideal PPM levels?
    In-ground Pool
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    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
    Chlorine

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Yes. You regularly test and add chlorine according to this chart. Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart

    It's available at Wal-Mart as "Pool Chlorinating Liquid", or just regular 8.25 percent bleach. Some people are lucky enough to have 12.5% available locally.
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Thanks Bruce. According to that chart (my CYA is 66ppm) I need to get the Free Chlorine up to 24 parts per million? I'm sorry, but that chart confuses me. I do have a Taylor Test Kit K-2006 to test Chlorine levels.
    In-ground Pool
    Sta-Rite System 3 DE Filter
    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
    Chlorine

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    24 ppm for CYA is for a SLAM, i.e. the pool is cloudy or green. If you have clear water and no CCs, you can just add to the Target column and never let it drop below the Minimum column.

    e: Missed this was a Baq. conversion
    32K gallon Plaster - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by scoobasteve1982 View Post
    Thanks Bruce. According to that chart (my CYA is 66ppm) I need to get the Free Chlorine up to 24 parts per million? I'm sorry, but that chart confuses me. I do have a Taylor Test Kit K-2006 to test Chlorine levels.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bruce View Post
    24 ppm for CYA is for a SLAM, i.e. the pool is cloudy or green. If you have clear water and no CCs, you can just add to the Target column and never let it drop below the Minimum column.
    Steve,

    You really need to follow the SLAM Process to finish getting rid of the remaining baqua hiding in the pool. As John pointed out, a sure sign of baqua remaining in the water is pretty colors when you pour chlorine in.

    Stock up, you will probably need a lot of liquid.
    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: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    Steve,

    You really need to follow the SLAM Process to finish getting rid of the remaining baqua hiding in the pool. As John pointed out, a sure sign of baqua remaining in the water is pretty colors when you pour chlorine in.

    Stock up, you will probably need a lot of liquid.
    Tim -

    Thanks for your reply. I actually put three bags of powdered shock from the pool store last night and no pretty colors. I checked my free chlorine this morning and still low....

    I guess I just need to keep shocking it / liquid chlorine until the FC levels get to adequate levels?
    In-ground Pool
    Sta-Rite System 3 DE Filter
    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
    Chlorine

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    You gotta stop with the "powdered shock" and stick with liquid. All solid forms of chlorine bring extra baggage to the pool you may not want. Was it dichlor or CalHypo?
    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: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Problem is you probably need to test an hour after you add and maybe add more. Usually after 3 or 4 hours it will start holding and you can check less often.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoobasteve1982 View Post
    Tim -

    Thanks for your reply. I actually put three bags of powdered shock from the pool store last night and no pretty colors. I checked my free chlorine this morning and still low....

    I guess I just need to keep shocking it / liquid chlorine until the FC levels get to adequate levels?
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Okay so I've gone to Wal-Mart and bought liquid chlorine. I used the pool calculator and with a FC level of 0.04ppm and desired FC level of 15 (I'm following the suggestions for converting a Baqua Pool to Chlorine). The PoolMath calculator with my 24K gallon pool says to use 5.8 jugs (128 oz) - I added 7. The pool is green but as suggested I'm assuming that's because of the old Baqua from last year. I'm testing often but only see the FC with my Taylor Test Kit at 1.4 - which is better than it was...but to get to 15ppm it seems like I'd need quite a bit more liquid chlorine. It seems like a lot of Chlorine and I don't want to damage my equipment either. Not sure what to do here other than vacuum and keep adding Chlorine. Should I just keep adding liquid chlorine until I get to 15ppm?

    Lastly, I need to increase the Alkalinity but I'm not sure if its safe to do so while dumping this much liquid chlorine into my pool....
    Last edited by scoobasteve1982; 06-08-2016 at 05:04 PM. Reason: Forgot to ask a remaining question
    In-ground Pool
    Sta-Rite System 3 DE Filter
    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
    Chlorine

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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Quote Originally Posted by scoobasteve1982 View Post
    Should I just keep adding liquid chlorine until I get to 15ppm? Yes

    Lastly, I need to increase the Alkalinity but I'm not sure if its safe to do so while dumping this much liquid chlorine into my pool....Ignore all parameters except chlorine during this process. TA is way down the road
    Answers in red
    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: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    (I'm following the suggestions for converting a Baqua Pool to Chlorine)
    So you have not done the conversion but are starting it now, correct? If so, you need to stop where you are and regroup. Let us knopw if you have or haven't converted and we'll go from there.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    No I have not done the conversion but am starting it now. But, the conversion suggests that I get the pool to 15ppm of free chlorine and add 5.8 jugs of bleach. I added 7 over the course of a couple of hours and I'm still only getting readings using my taylor test kit at 1.4ppm give or take. I've been testing almost hourly. To get to 15 I'll need to add a ton more I think...this is where I'm confused. Thanks again everyone for your knowledge and insight. I would never have gone Baqua route - but this is what I inherited when I bought my new home
    In-ground Pool
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Just did another test and I'm at FC of around 3.2ppm so that's awesome, but no where near 15ppm and I've already used 7 jugs of liquid chlorine. Pool is clear green.
    In-ground Pool
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    Hayward Pump
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    Re: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    I will assume you followed step one and have already adjusted the pH to 7.2 - 7.4. If not, do that now.

    You can't add the chlorine over hours. If it says you need 7 gallons to get there you need to add it at once. The pump should be running and you pour it in. I would suggest one gallon in front of each return around the pool. At first as the chlorine and baqua do battle the FC is going to drop quickly. Test your water frequently and add the appropriate amount of bleach to get back up to 15ppm. Do this as often as possible, as often as every hour if you can.

    The only other choice is to drain and replace the water, but even when you do that you need to follow the instructions as there will still be baqua in the 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: Can't balance free chlorine - nothing is working

    Thank you for you reply, Tim.

    My pH was around that so no I didn't adjust. But I will test and adjust that now as well.

    I'm obviously a total noob but am confused because the Pool Math calculator told me to add 5.8 jugs and I added 7 and it only brought my FC ppm up to 3.2. My CYA is high (66ppm) so is that possibly why? I entered this in the calculator as well but didn't seem to have any difference in results.
    In-ground Pool
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    Hayward Pump
    24000 gallons
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