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Thread: Adding Chemicals

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    Adding Chemicals

    I'm a new pool owner and enjoy this site...I've been instructed by the local pool store to raise my cyanuric acid, raise my calcium hardness, raise my total alkalinity, and shock my pool to get my cholrine up. Do any of these need to be balanced FIRST before adding any of the other ones, or can I start adding them all as long as I wait 40 minutes to an hour between applications?

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Welcome to TFP!

    You should post the water test results the pool store gave you and tell us what the water looks like. We can give you much better advice that way, and you might not need to add all of those chemicals.

    Do calcium last. Other than that, the order isn't critical and depends on what you current levels are.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Thanks for the response...so I can work on balancing Cyanuric Acid, Alkalinity, and Chlorine AT THE SAME TIME...and then work on Calcium after all those levels are good?

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    If you actually need to shock, which you might or might not need to do, you want to do CYA and TA first. But if you just need to raise the chlorine level you can do them all more or less at once. You don't want to be literally doing them at the exact same time, but you don't have to wait in between either.

    There are some exceptions, for example if your TA level is currently really really low. We can give you more specific advice if you post your current levels and tell us how the water looks.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    FAC 0
    Total Chlorine .1
    Combined Chlorine .1
    Total Alkalinity 80
    ph 7.8
    Calcium Hardness 37
    Cyanuric Acid 23
    22,400 Gallons
    Fiberglass
    Water is blue and a little cloudy

    Should I adjust my strategy based on these numbers?

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Your TA is fine. Your PH is a little high, your CYA is a little low; but I think you should shock the pool. So...

    First, lower PH down to 7.4 with Muratic Acid
    Second, shock the pool - refer to the CYA/chlorine chart for your shock levels, and read How to Shock Your Pool

    Three, after the FC is holding overnight and the water is sparkly, you can allow the FC to drop to "normal" levels (see chart)
    Four, raise your CH to 200-250 (do this last when all else is resolved.)

    Now, depending on how you plan to chlorinate the pool:

    If you plan to use tablets, you do not need to adjust CYA as the tablets will raise the CYA level. If you plan to use tablets, then you should raise your TA up to 120.

    If you plan to use liquid chlorine or bleach, do not adjust the TA, but raise your CYA level to 50.

    Hope this helps - post back if you need clarification on anything.

    I recommend you purchase your own test kit, there is an article in Pool School that compares the two we recommend.
    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
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Just to clarify something frustratedpoolmom said: if you are continuing to use trichlor tablets: raise TA to 120 and leave the PH and CYA where they are. If you are going to switch to bleach, which most of us here use, then leave the TA alone, lower PH to 7.4, and raise CYA to 50.

    If you have a plaster/pebble/quartz/gunite/tile/fiberglass pool, you will want to raise calcium to around 300 starting tomorrow. If you have a vinyl liner pool there is no need to raise calcium.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Now for my confession...before I started reading this site, I purchased 55lbs of Turbo Shock (Poolife) and a 35lb. bucket of 3" Multipurpose Cleaning Tabs (Poolife). With that being the case, I guess I'll go ahead and use those chemicals this year and switch to the Trouble Free method next year.

    With that in mind, do I need to raise alkalinity before or after I lower PH and shock?

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    If you are continuing to use trichlor, which is alright for now but likely to cause problems before the end of the season, raise TA to 120 as soon as possible. Then start shocking. Leave the PH where it is.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    For what it is worth, my experience is that a 35 pound bucket of tabs will last a month or maybe two, depending on how hot it gets where you live. SO, you can still plan on using bleach at some point this season.
    Matt
    20,000 gallon, sand filter, IG vinyl

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    OK...so I have a general question. After reading all of this info. further, it appears to me that Trouble Free Pool prefers the use of bleach over both trichlor tabs and granular shock. With that being the case, I'm struggling a little bit with the idea of this school of thought being truly "Trouble Free." Currently, I can maintain my chlorine level with my automatic chlorine feeder (tabs) and shock the pool as needed with 2 bags of shock. If I understand correctly, I'll have to get an accurate chlorine reading almost daily to determine how much bleach I will need to add to the pool on a daily basis (versus letting the automatic chlorine feeder do the work for me). When I get ready to shock, which I assume I'll need to do after a heavy rain, lots of swimmers, etc., I'll again have to test to get an accurate chlorine reading to determine how many jugs of bleach I'll need to put in the pool to reach shock level (versus just throwing a couple of bags of Turbo Shock in the pool). Please tell me where I'm wrong...is it a lot easier than I'm describing? Do some people use bleach to maintain chlorine on a daily basis and use granular shock to shock the pool? I appreciate the advice.

    Thanks,
    Alan

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    At first there is a lot of testing and measuring and general fussing. But, as time passes, you will get to know your pool, and you will be able to predict what it needs. In most cases a test will just confirm what you already predicted. A number of members will tell you they spend 5-10 minutes on the pool per day. It's not uncommon to have people dosing every other day; some people with especially dark solar or safety covers enjoy telling us about dosing twice a week.

    Bleach is typically the cheapest source of chlorine, and very easy to find. Also it adds essentially nothing else to the pool. Trichlor adds 6ppm CYA per 10ppm FC; cal-hypo adds 7ppm CH per 10ppm FC. Trichlor is particularly seductive, speaking as a former trichlor-holic. I know its place now, in fact I have tabs in a floater as we speak because I need to boost up my CYA a little.

    If the every-day or every-other-day poolside chore is too much, there are some other forms of automation. You can invest in a SWG, which trades up-front expense for daily simplicity; or look into the "liquidator" which is basically a bleach trickle feeder.

    So, lots of options, and really not a lot of trouble in the end.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by alanrmeadows
    OK...so I have a general question. After reading all of this info. further, it appears to me that Trouble Free Pool prefers the use of bleach over both trichlor tabs and granular shock. With that being the case, I'm struggling a little bit with the idea of this school of thought being truly "Trouble Free." Currently, I can maintain my chlorine level with my automatic chlorine feeder (tabs) and shock the pool as needed with 2 bags of shock. If I understand correctly, I'll have to get an accurate chlorine reading almost daily to determine how much bleach I will need to add to the pool on a daily basis (versus letting the automatic chlorine feeder do the work for me). When I get ready to shock, which I assume I'll need to do after a heavy rain, lots of swimmers, etc., I'll again have to test to get an accurate chlorine reading to determine how many jugs of bleach I'll need to put in the pool to reach shock level (versus just throwing a couple of bags of Turbo Shock in the pool). Please tell me where I'm wrong...is it a lot easier than I'm describing? Do some people use bleach to maintain chlorine on a daily basis and use granular shock to shock the pool? I appreciate the advice.

    Thanks,
    Alan
    I'll tell you what happens. I am living with the aftermath of the previous homeowner's use. You use tablets in a floater and with every bit of Chlorine you add, you also add calcium or cyanuric acid. The chlorine goes away, the other stuff stays. If it's calcium, you get scale on the walls. Mine isn't rough, it is just discoloration on the walls. If it made a nice pattern, it wouldn't look bad. But instead it looks, under the right light, like my pool has psoriassis or something. What to do about it? Drain, sandblast or acid wash, refill, start over.
    If it's the CYA, the levels just build and build and build. Pretty soon, you might read 10ppm on Chlorine and it's not doing anything. You'll be unable to use the easy color-matching test kit or even test strips, because you have to keep the numbers in the double digits and they don't read that high! And your pH test is always gonna be doubtful, on account of the necessarily high FC readings. What to do? Drain, refill, start over. Or get reverse osmosis, which is not available everywhere, and costs several hundred dollars. It's just easier and cheaper to keep on top of it.

    It didn't take long to figure out that my pool loses just about 1 quart of 10% bleach per day, when it's warm and sunny. I test every 2-3 days and add enough to get me through. Were it a simple matter of grab a sample, add five drops of test reagent, and know what my FC level is, I'd probably do it daily. I generally do my tests in the morning. It's nice outside so I get a measuring cup full of water and run tests while drinking my coffee and smoking before work. I'd be on the patio or in the garage doing nothing while I smoked anyway, so there's no time lost.

    Go ahead and drop your pucks in the floater. We'll still be here in two years when you come back with a green pool despite being on a first-name basis with the pool store manager.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    just another voice...a good test kit, simple minute or two a day to check your levels and I did not shock once last season. prior experience using trichlor/shock....water overstabilized, had no clue what I was doing, running to the pool store every week, spending $40-$50 a visit...etc, etc. These guys have finally made pool ownership a joy for me...sparkly clear water all season
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    When we say Trouble Free Pool we're not just talking about today, or this week, or this month, or even this year. We're talking about being troublefree the rest of your life (or as long as you own a pool).

    Read the posts about people who were using trichlor and shocking & when that stopped working were told to put this in and put that in and it still didn't work. Then they switched to BBB and haven't shocked since or had an outbreak of anything.

    I agree that I'm a little spoiled. I use the Liquidator and our pool stays open year round. During the beginning of swim season (about mid april) I test every day. During the rest of swim season I usually test every two days. During the off season I usually test twice a week. Testing literally takes me 5 minutes. I adjust the liquidator as needed after I test. Since I have the 8 gallon liquidator I have to add bleach about once a month during swim season. It don't get much easier than that.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Former trichlor user here. (Ionizer too ). I had nothing but trouble pre-TFP. To make a VERY long story short, I found this website, switched to bleach and never looked back. This year I opened very early and I don't want to use the solar cover yet. Like Paul, my CYA is low so I'm using trichlor tabs until my CYA gets to 50 and then I'll switch to bleach. I'm monitoring PH and TA too to keep those in check, as the tablets will lower these levels.

    A properly chlorinated pool rarely, if ever, needs shocking. I haven't "needed" to shock since I joined this site. I have shocked before going on extended vacations and for winterizations - but that's it. I'm one of those extremely happy people who like to brag with a black/blue solar cover and my pool loses very little chlorine when it's not being used and can often go several days between bleach additions if the pool isn't being used.

    When I first began TFP's methods I tested daily, but even then it was only 5 minutes a day. Now I "know my pool" and test FC and PH every other day or so.

    BBB and the methods we advocate here are essentially proper testing, and the knowledge to know what to do with those test results. So you CAN use tablets as long as you understand what they do to the water and how to deal with it if there is a problem.
    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: Adding Chemicals

    I just started the TFP method about a month ago. I have always fought algae, etc. But this method finally has taken care of it and I can't tell you the last time my pool looked this good. It just looks so clear and sparkly. It does seem like a lot at first but so far I am enjoying it and enjoying having control over my pool. Good luck.
    Plano, TX
    25,000 Gallons, Plaster, DE Filter, No SWG

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    no-mas's Avatar
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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Quote Originally Posted by brosaslll
    ... enjoying having control over my pool. Good luck.
    Ah - music to my ears. Control your pool; not the other way around
    18k gal inground, everbrite finish, 505 sq ft; 1.5 hp two speed whisperflow; rheem 5100ti 100k btu heat pump; 3 sheer descent falls; DE filter; swg (cell out and using trichlor for now)

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Adding Chemicals

    OK...so I'm convinced. What do you suggest I do at this point...possibly continue to use my shock and tablets until my CYA gets to 50 and then convert to Bleach? I'm just sick that I already purchased $375 worth of tablets and shock.

    Thanks,
    Alan

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Adding Chemicals

    Reread the thread from the top.... You have trichlor tabs and calcium hypochlorite (turbo shock) on hand. On the other hand, both your CYA and CH are on the low side, so using these while you have them is fine.

    Use the trichlor until your CYA is in the target range; after that, you have a ready supply of tabs to use for vacations (which is mostly what I use mine for now). As long as you keep the bucket closed up tight, the tabs should last for years. I've had mine for 1.5 years with no sign of problems.

    After CYA is in range, then you can use the cal-hypo for a while. I don't see where you listed the volume of your pool so I don't know whether it's reasonable to use all of it. Cal-hypo also lasts forever, if you want to save some for emergencies.

    After that.... bleach.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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