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Thread: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

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    Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Hi everyone
    I am relatively familiar with TFP and have been using the recommended chemicals and levels on this site to maintain my current pool and things have been great.

    However, we just purchased a new home and am inheriting a pool from the previous owner. Unfortunately the owner was not follower of TFP and using pucks to maintain the pool. Here are my test results - I wanted some advice on how best to proceed. The pool is pretty new - roughly ~4 yrs old.

    Test Results
    FC - 12
    PH 8.2
    TA 280 (Assume he never tested and this is from the pucks?_
    TH 500-1000 (we have high TH in fill water in AZ)
    CYA - Higher than 100 (I can't see the dot around halfway between bottom of tube and the 100 line!!)
    Salt - 2200 (assume this is from fill water, unless owner added salt to improve water feel)

    Additionally I see some staining of the grout in the tile below the water line - any idea what could be causing this?
    There is also the standard calcium ring on the tile from the high Calcium

    How to drain/refill safely in Phoenix summer to lower TH and CYA?
    Since the only way to lower TH and CYA is to replace water, I was planning on draining and refilling the pool.
    However - it is ~120 degrees in Phoenix right now and probably not going to get under 100 for a few months!
    I read that it is risky to drain pools in the summer here, since it can lead to cracking and sun damage on the pool surface.
    Is this a valid concern? Can this be done safely.. or do I need to find the name of a Pool RO company and see if they can help me with initial startup without draining?

    Other Questions
    Assume I can figure out a way to safely lower TH and CYA (by drain refill or RO), I will just need to retest the water and start over then.
    I am also interested in adding Borates - I have them in my current pool and I don't have empirical evidence but my water has been very clear

    Are there other things you recommend I check or test (water balance or others) - with a pool inherited from an owner who may have been suspect (or clueless) on maintenance?

    Chlorination recommendation
    I also wanted to ask for recommendations on how to handle chlorination going forward (perhaps this is better as a separate thread?
    I definitely want to avoid pucks, and don't think adding bleach daily will be manageable with our busy lifestyle.
    The two options I am considering are a (1) some sort of liquid chlorinator (b) adding a SWG to this pool
    Any pro's/con's to these approached in Arizona? I have been generally happy with my SWG, but have had to spend ~1000 on a replacement PCB and cell in the 7 yrs of ownership. Also ended up having to drain/refill the pool twice to lower salt levels (I think this was a combination of salt in fill water and adding unnecessary salt due to blindly trusting the salt level read by the SWG)
    I am keen on trying a liquid chlorinator, but want to make sure they can handle the Arizona weather - heat, UV, and chlorine loads before I spend on this options.

    Thanks!
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Moderator note, this thread is actually two threads merged together. The two beginning posts have slightly different questions that are interrelated

    I posted for help with water chemistry in the other subforum - including the link here to avoid double posting all the information
    Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Test Results
    FC - 12
    PH 8.2
    TA 280 (Assume he never tested and this is from the pucks?_
    TH 500-1000 (we have high TH in fill water in AZ)
    CYA - Higher than 100 (I can't see the dot around halfway between bottom of tube and the 100 line!!)
    Salt - 2200 (assume this is from fill water, unless owner added salt to improve water feel)

    Question
    Previous owner used pucks for chlorination and as you can see, Chlorine is at a healthy level (too high I guess) but everything else is out of wack. I travel a decent amount so adding liquid chlorine manually is not a feasible solution. My previous home had a SWG which I liked, but ended up requiring over $1000 in PCB and salt cell replacements in the 7 yrs I owned it, not to mention multiple drain and refill to handle rising salt levels.
    I am very intrigued by an automated liquid chlorinator option - but wanted to check if these are viable in Arizona - due to high temps, UV and high chlorine requirements in the summer. Any experiences using these in AZ? Are any local pool stores familiar with these and provide these for sale, or do you have to purchase online?
    Any recommendations on what pump I should be looking at based on my pool specifications in my signature?

    Thanks for the help!
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    You will have high FC loss in your market. I suggest a Salt Water Generator. You will add salt 1-2 times per year and it will handle the rest.
    COMPLETED BUILD THREAD - 15'x29' rectangular offset shotcrete pool; 14,100 gal; 5'x7' raised spa with 400k btu fire feature; 7' spillover; 25' leuder stone raised bond wall w/waterfall; Pentair SWG; Pentair VS (pool); Pentair 3/4hp feature pump; 1hp spa blower; Pentair Cartridge filter; Pentair “Easy Touch 8” wireless; Dolphin Oasis Z5 robot; Solar Hydronics iSwim solar panels; Mansard Screen Enclosure; walnut travertine deck; 1 very happy kiddo.

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    I definitely would not drain the pool right now. The weather over the next couple of weeks is going to be insane.

    Can you drain and refill a few inches at a time - say just down to the bottom of your tile? It would be a PITA and might take you a month to get to the level you need for the CYA, but would save your pool surface.

    I am also in Phoenix and quite happily use a SWG. The only thing I have to watch for is pH. Your CH levels are manageable. The fill water here is at a rough average of 225 ppm, and with the rate of evaporation, it's nearly impossible to keep it below 500 for long.
    50,000 gallon plaster in-ground salt pool with two 60 sq ft DE filters, two Intellichlor IC60 SWGs, two Intelliflo VS pumps, two Whisperflo pumps, two Pentair 400K BTU NG heaters, PCC2000 in-floor cleaning system...two everything.

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfreude View Post
    I definitely would not drain the pool right now. The weather over the next couple of weeks is going to be insane.

    Can you drain and refill a few inches at a time - say just down to the bottom of your tile? It would be a PITA and might take you a month to get to the level you need for the CYA, but would save your pool surface.

    I am also in Phoenix and quite happily use a SWG. The only thing I have to watch for is pH. Your CH levels are manageable. The fill water here is at a rough average of 225 ppm, and with the rate of evaporation, it's nearly impossible to keep it below 500 for long.
    Thanks for the input, have you also noticed salt levels going up over time? Does your fill water have salt that accumulates over time ?
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by arib0nd View Post
    Thanks for the input, have you also noticed salt levels going up over time? Does your fill water have salt that accumulates over time ?
    Salt level could be Auto water fill hooked to soft water, what are you using to test the water?
    Valley of the Sun, Arizona.....10k gunite/pebble (Re-surface March 2015) w/in floor Caretaker 99 cleaning heads -- Pentair FNS 60 DE filter -- Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed for pool -- Pentair Wisperflo 1 HP for boulder waterfall...Taylor K-2006 & Taylor K-2006C kits

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Yes. I'm not sure if it's the fill water or a combination of sodium in the fill water + chlorine in the muriatic acid.

    ETA: Or just measurement error.
    50,000 gallon plaster in-ground salt pool with two 60 sq ft DE filters, two Intellichlor IC60 SWGs, two Intelliflo VS pumps, two Whisperflo pumps, two Pentair 400K BTU NG heaters, PCC2000 in-floor cleaning system...two everything.

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Im in Phoenix as well, and just bought a house with a pool 9 months ago. Same deal, it was maintained with pucks, so the CYA was through the roof. So, first order of business was a drain, acid wash, and refill. I also could not do daily dosing of chlorine. So I installed a stenner chlorine pump, a woods timer that allows on and off by the minute. I chose the 40GPD stenner, so I would only need to running chlorine pump for 5-15 minutes a day, as to minimize wear and tear. I have a 15 gallon chlorine reservoir that fill monthly. I have my CYA at 50 currently, and I use 52 oz of 12.5 chlorine a day. Comes out to 45$ a month for chlorine a month. My pool receives full sun all day.
    IG Gunite play pool 15k gallon 20' x 30' , System:3 cartridge filter S8M150, Stenner pump, Fiber optic lights 3 head with color wheel, TF-100 Testkit, CYA-50, FC-6, CH-375, TA-40, PH-7.8

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    txnole's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    $45 per month... A bag of salt is $3.00 divided by 6 months... $0.50 cents per month.
    COMPLETED BUILD THREAD - 15'x29' rectangular offset shotcrete pool; 14,100 gal; 5'x7' raised spa with 400k btu fire feature; 7' spillover; 25' leuder stone raised bond wall w/waterfall; Pentair SWG; Pentair VS (pool); Pentair 3/4hp feature pump; 1hp spa blower; Pentair Cartridge filter; Pentair “Easy Touch 8” wireless; Dolphin Oasis Z5 robot; Solar Hydronics iSwim solar panels; Mansard Screen Enclosure; walnut travertine deck; 1 very happy kiddo.

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    $1,000 for seven years sounds pretty darn good to me.. that is only $150 a year!! Danny's Stenner is costing him about $500 per year.

    A SWG or the Stenner, either way should work just fine, but neither is going to be free. My guess is that the average cost per year will be about the same for both of them, with the SWG being a little more up-front. Neither will make your pool maintenance free. Both are open loop systems, so you still have to monitor your FC to make sure you are not under or over shooting your goal.

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by Schadenfreude View Post
    I definitely would not drain the pool right now. The weather over the next couple of weeks is going to be insane.

    Can you drain and refill a few inches at a time - say just down to the bottom of your tile? It would be a PITA and might take you a month to get to the level you need for the CYA, but would save your pool surface.

    I am also in Phoenix and quite happily use a SWG. The only thing I have to watch for is pH. Your CH levels are manageable. The fill water here is at a rough average of 225 ppm, and with the rate of evaporation, it's nearly impossible to keep it below 500 for long.
    Any other ideas on how to get CYA down? I haven't done the math, but my guess is that my CYA is significantly higher than 100, so doing a partial drain/refill (just down to tile) will take forever and also waste a lot of water.
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by danny_b View Post
    Im in Phoenix as well, and just bought a house with a pool 9 months ago. Same deal, it was maintained with pucks, so the CYA was through the roof. So, first order of business was a drain, acid wash, and refill. I also could not do daily dosing of chlorine. So I installed a stenner chlorine pump, a woods timer that allows on and off by the minute. I chose the 40GPD stenner, so I would only need to running chlorine pump for 5-15 minutes a day, as to minimize wear and tear. I have a 15 gallon chlorine reservoir that fill monthly. I have my CYA at 50 currently, and I use 52 oz of 12.5 chlorine a day. Comes out to 45$ a month for chlorine a month. My pool receives full sun all day.
    Danny - Why did you go with a chlorine pump over a SWG? Jim makes a good point - if I spent ~$1000 in replacement parts.. and lets say $1000 for the initial chlorinator
    And assuming I run it 8 hrs a day at 100% (I ran it less) - that would be approx ~$6 a month in electricity. So my run costs in my home were ~$30 a month.
    vs your cost of chlorine being $45 a month, not to mention the initial investment on the chlorine pump, timer + ongoing maintenance?

    Also - I have been reading about chlorine losing effectiveness at high temps, have you noticed this impacting your 15 gal of stored chlorine during the summer? Just curios what your experience with chlorine pumps has been and if it has reaffirmed or changed your point of view regarding using a SWG vs chlorine pump?
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    Re: Help with water balance on pool inherited from previous owner

    Get an accurate CYA number by diluting the sample 1:1 with tap water and doubling the test result. It may be manageable in the short term if it's only 120 or so.

    Get the pH and TA in check. http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...tal-alkalinity

    Your CSI is out of whack and keeping those (pH and TA) under control will limit additional scaling. http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html
    John - 16,000 gallon | in ground | pebble | Triton II sand filter | TF100 | speedstir | Hayward Phoenix 2x

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Just to put my two cents in here, I am trying to decide which way to go here as well. This year however is the first time I have used the TFP methods correctly with daily additions of bleach. My pool has never looked better and at almost 40,000 gallons i feel I am pushing the limits of a Hayward SWG AQR15 which would be the only one I would purchase. Because of this I am nervous to go with a SWG just because my pool has been so perfect thus far.
    38,000 gallon vinyl liner, True "L", Sand Filter, Hayward Heater, Diving Board

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    I will just point out a couple of things.

    First, you infer that your FC is too high. To be honest, I think it is way too low. With high CYA comes the need for high FC to have any active chlorine in the water. When my CYA was over 200, I had to maintain FC around 19 to avoid algae. Do the diluted test recomended above, but understand that with dilution you increase the error rate in the test.

    Second, while you live in a desert area, if at all possible capture any rain water from your roof and recycle it into the pool. I rigged up such a system to help get free water to reduce my CYA.

    The math was done a couple of years ago about the cost comparison between a SWCG and manual dosing with bleach or liquid chlorine. At that time considering up front costs of the SWCG and regular replacement of the cell it was almost a wash as over the life of the SWCG the costs for each method ended up being about the same. Add the cost a Stenner pump into the equation and using liquid and even with the cost of liquid having dropped a little lately, I think the SWCG wins on a dollar to dollar comparison.

    How does the pool look now? As long as your pool is clear, you can take your time slowly lowering the CYA. I took over two years to get mine down. The biggest problem is that you have to be vigilant about keeping the FC level where it needs to be. Any oops requiring a SLAM is out of the question at those levels.
    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: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    I choose the stenner because thats all anyone talks about on here, and say its the cheapest way etc. I had no idea I would be dumping so much in. Perhaps i should bring CYA up to 60, and try that. My chlorine barrel is opaque white, and is pretty well shaded by trees most of the day, and as of now, when add chlorine, it comes up to what it is supposed to per calculator.
    IG Gunite play pool 15k gallon 20' x 30' , System:3 cartridge filter S8M150, Stenner pump, Fiber optic lights 3 head with color wheel, TF-100 Testkit, CYA-50, FC-6, CH-375, TA-40, PH-7.8

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    I will just point out a couple of things.

    First, you infer that your FC is too high. To be honest, I think it is way too low. With high CYA comes the need for high FC to have any active chlorine in the water. When my CYA was over 200, I had to maintain FC around 19 to avoid algae. Do the diluted test recomended above, but understand that with dilution you increase the error rate in the test.
    How does the pool look now? As long as your pool is clear, you can take your time slowly lowering the CYA. I took over two years to get mine down. The biggest problem is that you have to be vigilant about keeping the FC level where it needs to be. Any oops requiring a SLAM is out of the question at those levels.
    I diluted the pool water 1:1 and am still reading over 100 - I will try dilute further in additional tests this weekend to see what the actual number is. But I guess its safe to say that its over 200.
    My FC is still 12 . I am slowly using acid to lower PH and aerating to get the TA back down.

    The pool itself looks clear - other than scaling on the water tile and also looks like some staining of the grout in the tile.

    Any advice on what to do?
    Since my CYA is over 200 - what FC should I maintain the pool at?
    Is the consensus that I should avoid draining the pool, but keep the water in balance (except for the high CYA) this summer and revisit draining it as soon as it cools down?
    Or is the situation dire enough that I should find a safe way to drain the pool - (1) drain just to the bottom of the water tile, refill and repeat.. (2) Get an estimate from a Pool/RO company in Arizona - my pool store thinks that service typically runs around $500 (3) Try the CYA reducing enzyme the pool store is pushing (although based on reading here, it seems like nothing can reduce CYA)
    Pool Size - ~14000 Gallons
    Filter - 425 sq ft Cartridge
    In Ground Concrete Pool
    PebbleTec pool
    Hayward Variable Speed Pump

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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    I've heard the CYA tends to stay in the top of the pool... don't know how much credence to put into that... but pulling water only from the skimmer and filling from the hose.. I landed myself in the opposite problem... 0 CYA (at least <20)
    I'd love to know if anyone can confirm the CYA at the top concept and I'm thinking arib0nd would find that very useful as well...

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    Quote Originally Posted by mnewstadt View Post
    I've heard the CYA tends to stay in the top of the pool... don't know how much credence to put into that... but pulling water only from the skimmer and filling from the hose.. I landed myself in the opposite problem... 0 CYA (at least <20)
    I'd love to know if anyone can confirm the CYA at the top concept and I'm thinking arib0nd would find that very useful as well...
    nope, CYA is in solution throughout the water column, not "floating" near the top.


    Now, if the water is clear and the CYA is 200 or more you need to bring the FC up to a minimum of 15. Getting algae right now would be very difficult to eradicate.

    Don't rush to borates until you can together the pool under control and have a good feeling for how it works.
    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: Help choosing chlorination method for pool inherited from previous owner

    There are smaller increment cya tests for dilution but it's different to the 50% ratio you just tried and still showed 100, can't remember
    it maybe someone can post that and it will be even more inaccurate but at least you will have an inkling of what it might be.

    Mine at the time was 300+ on a 20,000 gallon tab fed (in the skimmer yikes!!) pool I got with the house.

    It took 3 partial drain down / refills (to the top of the pool light) to get the CYA to 80.

    then on top of that I had a mustard algae out break after trying that bio-active cya reducer (doesn't work for anyone)
    even at cya of 80 that was a painful and expensive slam I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
    16x32 IG Vinyl, 13,000 Gals. Hayward S-244T sand filter, SP2810X15 pump
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