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Thread: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

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    "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Hello. I was hope today and the pool guy stopped by to check on a small leak at the filter. I took the opportunity to pick his brain about testing and balancing my pool water since he took care of the pool last year (I started doing it myself this year).

    Other than the fact that he looked like he just smoked a bowl in his truck, our conversation proceeded as follows:

    Me: My CYA level is between 90 and 100, so I need to amp up my FC to around 10 or so per the calculator on the Troublefree Pool website
    Pool guy: Dude, like, yo man, every pool is different and you don't need to worry about CYA
    Me: But I thought that CYA affects how the chlorine sanitizes the pool
    Pool guy: Dude, I work on pools with crazy high levels of CYA, and I keep the FC at 2.5 or so and don't have problems. Every pool is different.
    Me: But I thought at my CYA level, I need to keep my FC at around a 10
    Pool guy: Like, yo, dude, at a 10 level that chlorine will, like, eat at your skin and cause a rash. Don't you know the skin is the body's largest organ?
    Me: But I am concerned about the sanitation level of the pool
    Pool guy: Dude, so long as you can see the bottom drains of the pool clearly, your water is fine and you are good to go. Don't worry about CYA, dude


    Does anyone have any comments? Am I getting too crazy over CYA, dudes and dudettes?
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde View Post
    Does anyone have any comments? Am I getting too crazy over CYA, dudes and dudettes?
    By posting on this forum, I think you already know the answer to the question you pose.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Well, dude, like, I'm pretty sure you already know what our answer is going to be..



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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    It is good to keep cya low enough that you can keep FC under 10 because the PH test isnt valid when FC is above 10. FC/CYA Chart
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    This is an example of why we (TFP veterans) think so little of people in the pool maintenance industry. Over and over again they demonstrate a complete lack of pool chemistry understanding ... and thus we almost immediately discredit anyone in the industry. While there are certainly a few out there that know what they are doing, a vast majority give them all a bad name.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    It is good to keep cya low enough that you can keep FC under 10 because the PH test isnt valid when FC is above 10. FC/CYA Chart
    Good answer...

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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Clyde,
    Although it's been known since 1974, you will not find many, if any, people in the pool industry who know about the CYA/FC relationship. This subject is not taught in Certified Pool Operator training class.

    The pool industry use for chlorine is to control bacteria, not algae. So, having that discussion with them will be frustraing and basically, a waste of time.

    The pool store shelves are filled with shock and algecide to work on the algae you will eventually get if you follow the pool industry guidelines. Selling that stuff to the unsuspecting public is how they make their living. If the pool industry supported the FC/CYA relationship, they would al go out of business. So they don't.


    if you want to expand your knowledge on the subject, here is a link to "what is not taught in CPO training".
    Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not taught

    enjoy
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    One other comment here on that if it is clear it is safe comment. This can be very far from the truth as is evident with such conditions as "hot tub rash". Chlorine at the correct levels does a surprisingly good job at keeping algae, as well as most viruses and bacteria under control, out of those three the only one visible to the naked eye is algae. Therefore it is common practice to use the lack of visible algae in a pool as a proxy for there being sufficient chlorination to prevent most viruses and bacteria. This all works fine until you get into situations where CYA gets insanely high and the pool professionals response is to add algaecides and other magic potions to keep the water clear instead of fixing the underlying FC/CYA ratio problem or lowering CYA levels to something sane. So suddenly you find a situation where you have a clear pool, thanks to these expensive potions (algaecides, phosphate removers, etc.), but now with no idea if your chlorine is at a high enough active level thanks to all that CYA to kill those viruses and bacteria you can't see.

    Ike
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    I hate the clear = safe argument

    The clear water in Havelock North, NZ last week tested positive for campylobactor and e coli for certain
    It is suspected there is giardia
    and cryptosporidium also present. In a town of approx 15,000 people about 4,500 have fallen ill
    Admittedly this is from drinking the water, but the water is drawn from an aquifer between 20-50m down
    I would think it easier to get contamination at ground level

    Now people are asking for their water to be chlorinated, go figure
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    I think it was the brain eating amoeba from some "clear" water that made him so stupid. The smoked bowl raised his IQ by 20 points!
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    You guys are brutal! LOL But - that conversation is very familiar. It seems much of the pool industry was been employee-stocked with burnouts and transplanted surfers. I had some not-too-dissimilar discussions before abandoning the pool store(s) in favor of the advice I have here. For the last couple of years, my friends have called me the Walter White of pools.

    More to the point, I assume you've seen the CYA/Chlorine chart, which prompted your question. To look deeper into this, take a look at this post by chem geek. You can wade through this and see the effect of CYA vs Chlorine and see that you are right on point with raising the chlorine levels.

    Incidentally, chem geek is kinda my super hero...I love this stuff!! LOL
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by doncaruana View Post
    You guys are brutal! LOL But - that conversation is very familiar. It seems much of the pool industry was been employee-stocked with burnouts and transplanted surfers.
    In areas with short swim seasons most pool store employees are seasonal, this means you get the college students taking a summer job and are just parroting what they are told and getting their pay check. There isn't much reason for these guys and gals to really delve in to studying as they won't be there come September.

    In areas with year-round swimming you have such stiff competition that you can't pay enough for someone to care. When a company is doing weekly service for less than $100 a month then quantity is king, not quality. So they hire someone for $12/hr to drive out, dip a test strip, and follow instructions. They aren't water chemistry experts, they are just following directions and getting through 30 pools a day.

    As for where they are getting their information, well at my supplier there is a poster from a prominent chemical company. It explains all the reasons customers shouldn't use bleach, the same ones we hear parroted over and over again. TDS, damage liners, etc. The best part? No joke, the poster is literally sitting next to a pallet of 12.5% liquid chlorine. This is the information that most of those people are working on and they have no reason to go deeper for a job that pays too little and/or is seasonal.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    In areas with short swim seasons most pool store employees are seasonal, this means you get the college students taking a summer job and are just parroting what they are told and getting their pay check. There isn't much reason for these guys and gals to really delve in to studying as they won't be there come September.

    In areas with year-round swimming you have such stiff competition that you can't pay enough for someone to care. When a company is doing weekly service for less than $100 a month then quantity is king, not quality. So they hire someone for $12/hr to drive out, dip a test strip, and follow instructions. They aren't water chemistry experts, they are just following directions and getting through 30 pools a day.

    As for where they are getting their information, well at my supplier there is a poster from a prominent chemical company. It explains all the reasons customers shouldn't use bleach, the same ones we hear parroted over and over again. TDS, damage liners, etc. The best part? No joke, the poster is literally sitting next to a pallet of 12.5% liquid chlorine. This is the information that most of those people are working on and they have no reason to go deeper for a job that pays too little and/or is seasonal.
    Great points. I worked for a pool company many years ago and everything I now know about water chem I learned here. I did learn some useful things while working there but it was outside the water chem category. Unfortunately everyone who worked there had the same knowledge as me (nothing).

    As part of my job now I am responsible for the oversight of my hospital's blood gas laboratory. From that I've realized that even stores with people who have the knowledge can't reliably provide advice based on their water testing. I would guarantee that 99% never run control samples to ensure the machines are operating properly. Which is why we all say get the test kit from here. Those machines are not faulty in and of themselves, they are just not maintained properly thus they cannot obtain proper results.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Did you ask your pool dude how he enjoyed Rio and caring for the diving pool at the Olympic venue?
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Keep in mind that the pool industry normally shocks every week. TFP does not. So his answers are based on his whole solution of maintaining 1-4 FC and shocking weekly. In alot of cases, that probably does keep the water pretty clear most of the time especially at low CYA levels but if the CYA starts to get high, that 1-4 FC and weekly shock is not going to have the same effect. Then they are going to tell you that you have Chlorine lock and suggest that you drain the pool or add phosphate remover or some other potions.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    I can tell you from a person going through a SLAM process right now, CYA matters. I let my CYA levels get high (unknowingly), water was clear (could see the phillips head screw on the drain), tested water weekly and the Chlorine was reading good, AND I started getting algae. CYA matters
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    One other comment here on that if it is clear it is safe comment. This can be very far from the truth as is evident with such conditions as "hot tub rash". Chlorine at the correct levels does a surprisingly good job at keeping algae, as well as most viruses and bacteria under control, out of those three the only one visible to the naked eye is algae. Therefore it is common practice to use the lack of visible algae in a pool as a proxy for there being sufficient chlorination to prevent most viruses and bacteria. This all works fine until you get into situations where CYA gets insanely high and the pool professionals response is to add algaecides and other magic potions to keep the water clear instead of fixing the underlying FC/CYA ratio problem or lowering CYA levels to something sane. So suddenly you find a situation where you have a clear pool, thanks to these expensive potions (algaecides, phosphate removers, etc.), but now with no idea if your chlorine is at a high enough active level thanks to all that CYA to kill those viruses and bacteria you can't see.

    Ike
    I'm glad you brought this up. as a new bromine pool owner my water has been crystal clear, no algae... but had low ph, very low alkalinity and 0 bromine. I had used no magic potions to attain this and had no side affects but had me wondering if it was good or not.

    then I'm thinking about your bacteria comment and I think about all the lakes I swim in and I really wonder. How bad is clear pool with limited sanitizer?
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Belo View Post
    then I'm thinking about your bacteria comment and I think about all the lakes I swim in and I really wonder. How bad is clear pool with limited sanitizer?
    A lake is an active ecosystem, water is a small stagnant body of water. Now, it does take very little active chlorine or bromine to make water in a residential pool relatively safe, bacteria is much less resistant to chlorine/bromine than algae, but if there is zero FC or Br in a pool then it is not much safer than any stagnant water source.
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    Re: "You don't need to worry about CYA <dude> if the water looks clear". Agree?

    I will also add that a concern in a pool is person to person disease transmission ... there is a lot less water in a pool than in a lake, so the odds of transmission are higher if the sanitizer is not sufficient.
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