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Thread: Ammonia every spring start up

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    Ammonia every spring start up

    2 years ago I used pucks and found out the hard way about shock lock. Then, discovered the ammonia in pool the following spring. It was hard to clean, but I did it and changed my ways and now use BBB. Last season I used the BBB and had a great season. So I thought I had wised up last fall when I closed the pool, we have to winterize it because it freezes. When we closed, it had very little cya and no ammonia, nice looking clear and balanced. Drained it to jets, added closing kit. Over the winter the pool filled back up with water. This spring I opened the pool: 32,000 ig pool. It was cloudy and greenish with a lot of worms in the bottom. We have trees with leaves, but a very good cover keeps them out. Testing: Ammonia 6+ dark green, Cya 0, fc 0, Ph 5-6, Alk 80. Ammonia happened again?????Why
    I shocked the pool with 4 bags of shock, added 1 1/2 box borax for ph, half an our later, 8 bottles pool chlorine 10% --no fc. Shocked the pool 4 bottles 10%--nope, added 1 borax and shocked 4 bottles, 2 bottles ,2 bottles. It took 20 GAllONS of Chlorine 10% total to get a fc reading!!!!!!!!!!!!! My Ph went down again so I added more borax. I used a total of about 3 1/2 -5 boxes of borax, ph 6.8. I also started to add air to pool to raise ph. Three days later the pool is blue, cloudy but better. Ammonia 0, Cya 0, fc 3, ph 6.8, alk 100. I need to get some stabilizer in pool, and get the ph up a little more yet. Its getting there. But what is causing the ammonia?????? The Cya was very very low at the end of the season, I don't have any ammonia problem during the swim season, just really high every spring??????????
    15,000, IG, Gunite, Spa, Waterfalls, Cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Pump, Pentair Intelli Chem Acid pump, Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump, Ultra Pure, Chlorine, Taylor Test

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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    Welcome to TFP!

    We have begun to recognize a process that can occur over the winter in which some type of organic (bacterium or otherwise) is able to flourish and seemingly consume the CYA in a pool, leaving ammonia as the byproduct of this process. This sounds like what has happened to you.

    This only occurs when the FC is depleted, allowing the organics to thrive in the now chlorine free environment. Once the CYA is "eaten up" you have ammonia in the water and it is a very involved process to rid the water of the ammonia, often taking LOTS of bleach before you can maintain even the most miniscule amount of FC.

    The key to avoiding this problem in the future is to ensure that your FC is never allowed to go to zero. Once the FC goes to zero, you open your pool up to having problems with this phenomenon. I'm not sure what your FC was when you closed for the winter, but it needs to be higher than where it probably was. As it stands now, you are going to have to shock your pool aggressively until your FC holds to within 1 ppm overnight, get some CYA in there, and go from there.

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    It doesn't take much CYA to get a lot of ammonia, since each CYA molecule has 3 nitrogen atoms. Assuming those are conserved, 20ppm CYA ----> 60ppm ammonia
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    As described in this post, every 10 ppm CYA will convert to around 3 ppm ammonia (you need to remember that ammonia is measured in ppm-N units while CYA is measured using its much larger molecular weight) and that takes from 23-30 ppm FC cumulatively added to get rid of it. So roughly speaking, it takes 2.5 to 3 times the CYA level as FC.

    I describe my own experience with this problem in this thread.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    off by a factor of 20 No wonder my wife doesn't listen to me either...
    11,200 gal, Pebble-Tec; Tristar 2-speed 1hp - Swimclear 325 ft2 cart - SWG - A & A in-floor cleaner - Heat pump. For the poolside cooking, a Yoder Wichita and a Big Steel Keg!
    TF Test Kits -- PoolMath -- Pool School
    Make each day your masterpiece. - John Wooden

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    Quote Originally Posted by blue pool
    Drained it to jets, added closing kit.
    What was in the closing kit? (probably a bunch of stuff you didn't need, and I could guess that whatever it was consumed all your FC and left you with nothing behind as a residual.)
    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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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    CYA So basically, I add stabalizer in the spring and keep cya at a 30 level all summer. I use bleach, so usually cya is not a problem. In the fall the cya dropped due to splashing, rain, and pool leak. But what I need to do is drain and add water to get out all the cya to 0??????
    I used "in the swim" ultimate closing kit and floater.-----thinking about trying something new this fall. The pool is closed from October-early April, pipes winterized because of snow and freezing weather. I would assume chlorine would drop to 0 by April, and not sure how to add more chlorine with the pool winterized.
    15,000, IG, Gunite, Spa, Waterfalls, Cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Pump, Pentair Intelli Chem Acid pump, Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump, Ultra Pure, Chlorine, Taylor Test

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    For the last three winterizations I close in late sep, early oct... I have not used a 'kit' as I read the ingredients one fall day in the pool store. It contained alk increaser, copper based algaecide and metal sequesterant, along with Dichlor. I decided I didn't need those things. Chlorine would be consumed by both the algaecide and the metal sequesterant.

    I looked up that kit and sure enough bunch of stuff you don't need, not to mention it's got "non-chlorine" shock so you didn't add chlorine with this product. Did you shock first, with liquid chlorine? That would explain why there was no chlorine.

    All I do is shock with bleach, drain and winterize plumbing, cover and thats it. I opened the last two Aprils with a FC residual of 3.5 and 4.5, respectively.

    Some people add Polyquat 60. I've seen two ways to close : where they tell you to shock and verify the FC is holding overnight, add the PQ60 and then wait 24 hours and raise it up to shock level again and then cover/close. Some say the second shock addition isn't necessary. I haven't used algaecide at all in 3 years.

    If your cover is the kind that lets water thru, it can also let sunlight thru, which can destroy chlorine as well. Perhaps there would be away to add chlorine from time to time and circulate the water with a small submersible pump, if you could pull back the cover in one corner or something - before the water freezes and right after it thaws?
    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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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    Yes, I did shock it and it stayed overnight, then added winterizer kit. I do have the mesh cover, its green and a little light goes through it. What is your cya when you close?
    15,000, IG, Gunite, Spa, Waterfalls, Cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Pump, Pentair Intelli Chem Acid pump, Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump, Ultra Pure, Chlorine, Taylor Test

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    About 30-40.
    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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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    Is it usual to open with a fc reading and cya reading?
    15,000, IG, Gunite, Spa, Waterfalls, Cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Pump, Pentair Intelli Chem Acid pump, Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump, Ultra Pure, Chlorine, Taylor Test

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    Usual for me... every year. But every pool is unique so - for your situation it could be cuz this is an inground pool, something different about the surrounding landscape, something different about the affects of temperature, your cover, etc. If I were you, I'd try a different closing routine - using the shocking, confirm FC holds overnight, add Pq 60, shocking again, then closing. And then either close a little later in the year and perhaps open a little earlier. Sorry this is happening to you!
    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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    Re: Ammonia every spring start up

    We use the same closing kit as friends with same type of pool and cover, and they don't have the ammonia problems, that's what makes this so frustrating. The good news is :P I have learned in the past how to clear it up I am just getting tired of using so much liquid chlorine. I need to figure out where it is coming from. Thanks :P
    15,000, IG, Gunite, Spa, Waterfalls, Cartridge filter, 2 Pentair Pump, Pentair Intelli Chem Acid pump, Polaris pool cleaner with booster pump, Ultra Pure, Chlorine, Taylor Test

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