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Thread: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

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    High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    We have been having some issues with our neighborhood pool. A few weeks ago it became very cloudy and green over the course of 1 or 2 days. Our pool company blamed the issue on water balloons clogging the filters. It took a week and closing the pool to shock it for it to return to normal.

    Thursday I meet with our pool company onsite to go over the issue and we tested all the chemical levels. CYA or Cyanuric Acid levels tested at 200 which the tech said was "a little high" and would probably close to 300 by summers end. He recommended a partial or full drain before next summer to get the levels back to normal. Doing some research our state law for public outdoor pools in Texas says CYA should not exceed 100ppm. We are twice that amount. Shouldn't we close our pool until the levels are within normal levels?

    Thanks!

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    If that is what the TX law says, then yes.

    TFP is directed at residential pool owners, so it may be difficult to adopt our methods on a pool which must follow guidelines set by a governmental entity.

    You can use our Pool School to read up on pool issues, but the big problem with pool services is they tend to rely on solid forms of chlorine (3" tabs and shock). Most of these products are almost half CYA and cause the levels to rise quickly.
    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: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Thanks for the reply and I appreciate the help. Yes, they are using 3" chlorine tabs. I was told by the company if we wanted to switch from 3" tabs we would need to upgrade to an automatic chlorinater. Our current system is a Pentair Rainbow Commercial High Capacity Feeder.

    I'm having a hard time understanding how CYA increased up to 200 in the 2 months the pool has been open unless it was already high to start with. In that case our pool company should have addressed it or brought it to our attention at that time.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    It was already high to start with, but the tabs certainly helped. List the volume of the pool and we can tell you how much each tab added. I'm going to guess each visit they threw in a bag or two of DiChlor shock which also added to the CYA problem.
    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: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Using pucks, you have this going on: For every 3ppm FC you add, you also add almost 2ppm CYA. The average residential pool loses 3 or more ppm FC each day. So in 2 months, 60 days, the pucks will have added approx 120 - ppm CYA at a minimum. FC goes away CYA doesn't.
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Community pools require some special attention. It appears your local laws carry some weight on how to maintain and that should be your #1 guide. You certainly don't want to self-maintain due to liability issues. In Florida, the maximum for community pools is 100 with a "recommended" level of 40. (Not bad advice, actually)

    Regarding the "how", the answer is that the tabs contain chemicals that raise your chlorine AND your CYA. While the FC gets used and eliminated, CYA generally stays in your water until replaced by rain / splash-out / refill. Your tech is correct that water replacement is the proper way to bring CYA back down and that a switch from tabs is a reasonable solution. It's going to hit the pocketbook; no effective solution is cheap.

    For what it's worth, I sit on our HOA board and we have a liquid chlorinator system for a moderate bather load. It's expensive to operate and not my preferred arrangement, but it makes the most sense in context of keeping the pool (1) sanitary and (2) open to members.
    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: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    It was already high to start with, but the tabs certainly helped. List the volume of the pool and we can tell you how much each tab added. I'm going to guess each visit they threw in a bag or two of DiChlor shock which also added to the CYA problem.
    Our pool is approximately 105,000 gallons.

    I read through our pool company contract and they are required to maintain proper water chemistry and water quality must at all times meet the specifications in the State Health Code set by Texas Department of State Health Services. It also states that (Pool Company) shall comply with all applicable federal, state and county ordinances and regulations in performing all services and if any violations occur the cost of fines, penalties resulting, if any, shall be paid by (pool company) without reimbursement by the client.

    I guess I'm going to have an interesting conversation with them tomorrow.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Quote Originally Posted by hook3m View Post
    Our pool is approximately 105,000 gallons.

    I read through our pool company contract and they are required to maintain proper water chemistry and water quality must at all times meet the specifications in the State Health Code set by Texas Department of State Health Services. It also states that (Pool Company) shall comply with all applicable federal, state and county ordinances and regulations in performing all services and if any violations occur the cost of fines, penalties resulting, if any, shall be paid by (pool company) without reimbursement by the client.

    I guess I'm going to have an interesting conversation with them tomorrow.
    You have a very large pool!

    Before you jump them, get details on how they have been maintaining the pool. Let them talk before you start asking questions.

    Each 3" puck in your pool would add .3ppm CYA

    DiChlor "Shock" comes in 8oz & 1lb bags usually. 1lb bags raises your CYA by .6ppm

    My bet is that you started the year high and the algae incident caused them to use lots of DiChlor.

    Have your questions ready and written down before the meeting. Something I learned long ago was never ask a question you don't already know the answer to or that may hurt your position.

    I skimmed through The TX Administrative Code and a couple of things stick out:

    (a) Required operator certification for certain types of post-10/01/99 and pre-10/01/99 pools and spas. Post-10/01/99 and pre-10/01/99 Class A or B pools and Class D pools operated in conjunction with a Class A or B pool shall be maintained under the supervision and direction of a properly trained and certified operator who is responsible for the sanitation, safety, and proper maintenance of the pool or spa, and for maintaining all physical and mechanical equipment and records. Training and certification can be obtained by completion of one of the following courses or their equivalent:

    (1) the NRPA, "Aquatic Facility Operator" (A.F.O.);

    (2) the NSPF, "Certified Pool-Spa Operator" (C.P.O.);

    (3) YMCA, "Pool Operator on Location" (P.O.O.L.);

    (4) the NSPI, "Professional Pool & Spa Operator" (P.P.S.O.); or

    (5) the ASPSA, "Licensed Aquatic Facility Technician" (L.A.F.T.).
    Who is the certified operator for your pool?

    I like their water quality parameters

    I didn't see it in the regs (again,. I looked quickly) but are they required to maintain a log of water testing?

    The regs state the water must be tested every 2 hours for FC and pH unless the pool is equipped with automation that maintains those parameters. Does it or is it tested? I may be off base on this one because I'm not sure of the class pool you have but it just stuck out to me.
    Testing frequency for post-10/01/99 and pre-10/01/99 pools and spas. When a post-10/01/99 or pre-10/01/99 Class A or B pool is open for use or when a post-10/01/99 or pre-10/01/99 Class D pool operated in conjunction with a Class A or B pool or spa is open for use, a test for disinfectant level and pH shall be conducted at least every 2 hours to assure compliance with subsection (a) of this section relating to required water quality parameters. In lieu of the above testing frequency, if a system is used to automatically control disinfectant and pH, testing for disinfectant level and pH shall be made at least once per day. If necessary, tests shall be conducted more frequently to assure proper disinfectant level and pH.
    Again, our focus here at TFP is smaller residential pools and I admit that many of our methods don't transfer over to commercial pools. That they admit that the CYA started "a little high" and that they expected it to be 300 by the end of the year jsut isn't right when the limit in TX is 100 (if you & I are reading the correct statute correctly).

    I wish you luck with your meeting!
    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: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Thank you Tim for the great advice.

    Our pool is Class C. If I understand it correctly, the water quality standards also applies to Class C.

    Class C pool - Any pool operated for and in conjunction with: (i) lodging such as hotels, 42motels, apartments, condominiums, or mobile home parks; (ii) property owner associations, private organizations, or 43clubs; or (iii) a school, college or university while being operated for academic or continuing education classes. The 44use of such a pool would be open to occupants, members or students, etc., and their guests but not open to the 45general public.

    It is currently tested 3 days per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) when the pool company is there for service.

    Looks like a need to do a little more research before I have my conversation. Tomorrow morning I will head down to the pool supply store and get a CYA test kit to verify the CYA levels.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Quote Originally Posted by hook3m View Post
    We have been having some issues with our neighborhood pool. A few weeks ago it became very cloudy and green over the course of 1 or 2 days. Our pool company blamed the issue on water balloons clogging the filters. It took a week and closing the pool to shock it for it to return to normal.

    Thursday I meet with our pool company onsite to go over the issue and we tested all the chemical levels. CYA or Cyanuric Acid levels tested at 200 which the tech said was "a little high" and would probably close to 300 by summers end. He recommended a partial or full drain before next summer to get the levels back to normal. Doing some research our state law for public outdoor pools in Texas says CYA should not exceed 100ppm. We are twice that amount. Shouldn't we close our pool until the levels are within normal levels?

    Thanks!
    If state law dictates that they shouldn't exceed 100ppm, can they use liquid chlorine? How often does your company come out to service the pool? Liquid chlorine requires daily attention, but if they're coming out 2-3 times per week they might be able to use a combination of pucks and liquid to keep it from rising so quickly. Still, you'll have to start from a lower CYA, which will require a partial drain.

    I wouldn't necessarily fire the pool company, but considering this is a requirement as per state law, I would ask around to other pool companies to see how they deal with this challenge.
    33k gallon, 40x20 IG Vinyl, Hayward sand filter, Hayward pump
    Hayward multiport valve, TF-100 Test Kit.

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    Re: High Cyanuric Acid... Is it time to fire our pool company?

    Quote Originally Posted by njboater74 View Post
    If state law dictates that they shouldn't exceed 100ppm, can they use liquid chlorine? How often does your company come out to service the pool? Liquid chlorine requires daily attention, but if they're coming out 2-3 times per week they might be able to use a combination of pucks and liquid to keep it from rising so quickly. Still, you'll have to start from a lower CYA, which will require a partial drain.

    I wouldn't necessarily fire the pool company, but considering this is a requirement as per state law, I would ask around to other pool companies to see how they deal with this challenge.
    Update.. It wasn't easy, but our pool company has agreed to drain and refill the pool at their expense. Except for the water. I also found out that we switched over to a Pentair Rainbow trichlor feeder per pool company's request when we hired them 3 years ago. Before that we were on a liquid chlorine system. I was not a HOA board member then so I don't know all the details. Now they recommend switching us back to "better control" CYA. Go figure.

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