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Thread: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

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    New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    I got this test kit and a spidstir, however I did not use spidstir for this test. Just wanted to get this done as quickly as possible. Please let me know if my test results don't make sense and I need to redo it.

    Here are my results:

    K1000 blue box
    Chlorine > 5 (off the chart. maybe 6 or more)
    PH 7.6

    Chlorine Drop test
    FC 8
    CC ~1.5 (I'll retest this later. just started raining)

    TA
    130-140

    CH (I did this test twice)
    620
    550-570 if my pool contains cooper. (Not sure if my pool contains cooper or not. I guess I have to read up on that, but any help would be appriciated)

    CYA
    30-40

    Is it safe to swim?

    I've been testing my pool water at 3 different stores (same chain). 2 out of 3 stores have always had my CH level between 450-500. At the 3rd store it always ranges between 250-400, but never above 400, unless it's done by a new employee or an employee from another store. The manager at the 3rd store adds 1 or 2 solutions to the water, then checks the water for something and doesn't add the 2nd or the 3rd solution. He instructs all his employees to test this way. I'm not sure what he sees in the water after adding 1-2 solutions, metal or something, but I get worried when I get conflicting information like this. I even had the same water taken at the same time from the same spot tested within 30 minutes at different locations and would ALWAYS get different results. That's why I joined this site and got the test kit.

    Please advise on what I need to do. The CH level at all stores jumps up and down. I was told that I need to drain almost 1/3 of my pool, but I didn't and 7-10 days later my CH level was down by 100 (at the same store\same guy). However, because of the sun and because of my stupidity (left running vacuum out of the pool for almost 2hr) I had to add about 10-15 inches of water over the period of 30 days.

    I got these per store's advise -
    • Powder Pro shock (calcium based). I shock every sunday. [/*:m:17vb5116]
    • 3" chlorine tabs. I have about 4-5 tabs in my floater now and I drilled 3-4 holes. maybe that's why my chlorine level is a bit high. Do I need to remove some tabs or use the floater with fewer (or adjustable) holes?[/*:m:17vb5116]
    • In May I added 2 gallons of "instant pool water conditioner" because my water didn't hold chlorine ($35 a bottle. I didn't know I could get a cheaper, non-liquid version) [/*:m:17vb5116]
    • In June I added gallon (half a gal, twice) of PhosFree because my phosphate level was between 300-700 (on the same day \ same water, just different stores)[/*:m:17vb5116]
    • Fresh & Clear. Haven't used it yet. Not sure if I can use it instead of calcium based shock once in a while. [/*:m:17vb5116]


    Now that my CH levels are too high I'm advised to start using soda based shock. The one they sell is a lot more expensive then calcium based and I wonder if there are better alternatives. Stores want you to shock weekly, while I hear from others that you don't as long as you keep your water properly balanced. I need help!

    I live in NE and it's been hot (I believe above 90s) for the last couple of weeks. My pool is about 23k gallons. Filter uses cartridges. I used to run it 8 now 10 hours at night.

    Thanks!
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    It is, sadly, extremely common for pool store test results to be wildly wrong. If you have been using cal-hypo shock weekly for a long time it makes sense that your CH level is extremely high. Do the CH test again and this time use the speedstir. With the electric stirrer the results are usually much clearer and more reliable. As a check on your measuring technique, test the CH level of your tap water (which should be quite low).

    There is no need to shock weekly as long as you maintain the correct FC levels all week and nothing obvious goes wrong. Pool stores tend to assume that you completely ignore the pool during the week, and so probably need to shock by the time the weekend comes around.

    I'm hoping there is a test mistake of some kind on that CC reading. You really want CC to be zero. Do the FC/CC test again, and this time make sure you swirl throughly between drops and make absolutely sure that the sample goes completely clear for at least 15 seconds during the FC portion of the test, before moving on to the CC portion of the test. If CC is really 1.5, you will need to shock the pool until CC goes down to zero.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    It is, sadly, extremely common for pool store test results to be wildly wrong. If you have been using cal-hypo shock weekly for a long time it makes sense that your CH level is extremely high. Do the CH test again and this time use the speedstir. With the electric stirrer the results are usually much clearer and more reliable. As a check on your measuring technique, test the CH level of your tap water (which should be quite low).

    There is no need to shock weekly as long as you maintain the correct FC levels all week and nothing obvious goes wrong. Pool stores tend to assume that you completely ignore the pool during the week, and so probably need to shock by the time the weekend comes around.

    I'm hoping there is a test mistake of some kind on that CC reading. You really want CC to be zero. Do the FC/CC test again, and this time make sure you swirl throughly between drops and make absolutely sure that the sample goes completely clear for at least 15 seconds during the FC portion of the test, before moving on to the CC portion of the test. If CC is really 1.5, you will need to shock the pool until CC goes down to zero.
    can I use speedstir for all my tests or is it not necessary?
    Also, with CH test there are some particles in the water after 1st or 2nd solution is added. I think this is what that one store is looking at to determine whether the next solution need to be added or not. What are those things?
    I can try to take a close-up picture of it, if needed.

    Also, it started raining. Should I be testing before or after rain to get the most accurate results? If after, how long after?

    thanks.
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Using the speedstir for all the test is just fine. The speedstir makes the largest difference on the CH test, but is nice to have for all the tests. Most people who own one prefer to use it all the time. Make sure your throughly rinse the stir bar after each test so you don't get any contamination between tests.

    On the CH test, there often tend to be purple spots in the sample, they should be ignored. They are caused by metals in the water, and can occur even at extremely low metal levels.

    You don't need to wait for it to stop raining. Just make sure the pump has been running for at least 30 minutes before taking a water sample and then do the actual testing indoors (or somewhere sheltered from the rain).
    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: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Just did the test at the store to compare. CH 650, TA 70, everything else good.
    FC 5, TC 5
    I'll retest my TA to see why such a big difference or stop by at another store if I'll be passing by.

    The store employee again suggested I get off the calcium based shock right away and move to chlor bright, but at the same time I shouldn't drain anything as suggested everywhere else... as long as I'm under 900 or a 1000.
    He also said that Chor Brite is much stronger then liquid chlorine, so at the end the out of pocket expense will be about the same, while chlor bright is easier to deal with.

    The price at that store was
    liqued chorine 4gal case $20, concentration 11-12%
    Chlor Brite 40lb $127. concentration 55%.

    Could anyone suggest what I should use for shock instead, that would be just as good or better but less expensive? I'll try to search, but if you have a direct link please post it here.

    Also, do I need to drain some water or not?

    Thanks
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    The only thing you need to shock your pool is liquid chlorine or bleach.

    The only time you should shock the pool is when the CC climbs higher than .5; when your FC isn't holding overnight or you lose more than 1ppm overnight; when you have visible algae... (with a couple of exceptions) these are really the only times shocking should be necessary. Weekly shocking is rarely if ever required as along as you are maintaining proper FC levels according to the CYA chart. I'd avoid the pool stores - they are giving you really bad advice.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Chlor Brite is easier to carry than bleach, but that is it's only advantage. Chlor Brite is what we call dichlor. Dichlor raises the FC level, raises the CYA level, and lowers the PH. By the time you pay for the soda ash/PH Up to bring the PH back up it is no longer cheaper than bleach.

    If you have high CH levels in your fill water, you may indeed want to wait till CH gets higher before replacing water to bring it down. You should do a CH test on your fill water to verify that before deciding.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    The pool stores are winning.

    They have you sufficiently confused and so worried you are ready to purchase everything they say. On a routine basis you need to monitor pH and FC. If these two are within range you will most often be in good shape.

    Next monitor CYA. This changes very little over the summer. When you have the CYA at the level you want you can check every month or two.

    TA helps control pH. My fill water has TA over 190 so my TA is higher than desired but I do not worry about it. Without a fill over time it goes down as I add MA.

    CH will be high if you use hypo for shock. The previous owners of our pool used hypo and our CH was between 750 and 900 for our first summer. We monitored our CSI and never had a problem. The second year we did a partial refill to lower the CH. My point is high CH will not cause algae or prevent you from enjoying your pool. Use the pool calculator to calculate your CSI and adjust your pH to keep the CSI index within range. No need to worry too much about high CH. Just don't add any more calcium based shock!

    Every time you go to a pool store they will have different test results and confuse you. Use your test kit, posts the results here and you will soon have a trouble free pool.

    Advise: shock with bleach only when you need to. You do not need most of the chemicals they are selling you. You are just helping them make their car payments-you are not helping your pool.
    30,000 gallon gunite in-ground with a spillover spa, Diving board and water slide
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Well, I'm convinced that I can't use my shock anymore. That one store that kept saying that my CH level is OK was throwing me off, otherwise I'd stop using it a month ago.

    If I stop shocking my pool or will use non-calcium shock, will I get scale at my current CH level? Will I need to take care of high CH before I close the pool in September?

    What is the good place to buy chlorine?

    Thanks
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    What is the good place to buy chlorine?
    Start at a grocery store because it is convenient.

    I am jumping into this thread just to emphasize what others have been saying but perhaps a little more directly.

    Follow the advice we give here or follow the pool store.....don't do both because you will stay confused.

    You made the first leap of faith by purchasing a high quality test kit. The purpose of that kit is to allow YOU to manage your pool....not the pool store. Your second step is learning in Pool School what you need to do about your test results and then taking the advice of folks on this board.

    Your continued reliance on the pool store is only delaying your ability to get your pool water straightened up......and probably costing you some money you don't need to spend.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Your TA of 70 is good. You want it to be low when you have high calcium levels. You need to lower your pH to around 7.2 and keep it there to prevent scale from forming if you choose not to replace some water.

    Using the Fresh and Clear will burn up some organics in the water but it will not put chlorine into your pool. You need chlorine to sanitize the water. Liquid chlorine (6% unscented bleach or higher concentrations from the pool store) has none of the CYA, or calcium added to it, so it is your best choice to sanitize your pool at this time. Do not use any tabs or pucks in your pool. They will add either CYA or calcium to your water as well. There is no solid chlorine only alternative to use in the place of pucks.

    Trust your own test results. As long as you follow the directions you will have reliable results. Pool stores often use strips and computerized analyzing equipment and those results can be wildly inaccurate.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Just tested again, 36hr later. Pool is currently running and has been running for about 2hr
    This time I used speepstir, so I guess my results are more accurate now.

    Chlorine 6
    PH 7.6

    FC 4.5-5
    CC 0.5

    TA 100-120

    CH 550-600

    CYA 40


    It looks like I'm getting more and more of these green\black dots. I shocked last sunday and currently have 3 tabs in my floater.
    Do I need to take care of these dots now? If so, how?

    Thanks.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Also, about the chlorine - is this the kind I can use?

    Active ingredients:
    sodium hypochlorite 6%
    Other ingredients 94%

    yields 5.7% available chlorine.

    This "other ingredients" got me worried a little.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Bill
    18'X4' 7600 Gal AG
    3/4 HP Pentair Pump
    Hayward S166T 100 lb sand filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    Yes that is the formulation that many of us here use. The other ingredients are water and salts.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New pool owner. Firs test with FT-100. Please help

    When I opened my pool this summer I needed to shock and so I used the cal-hypo you have been using and could not get the water clear. Then I discovered this site and started following the advice in pool school and started shocking with bleach. Within a couple of days the pool was absolutely clear. I am now dealing with the high CH, but I am not adding any more. I also was using the trichlor pucks and they had my CYA out of control. With the help of reading in pool school and posting here, my pool is not in the best shape it has been in during the 4 years I have owned it. I highly recommend you go to the top right of any page in this forum and click on Pool School and then read it. In my case, I have had to go back and reread certain portions. Pool School will answer a lot of your questions and make the advice you receive here more understandable.

    I have found the cheapest bleach to be at Costco. Some people report Walmart has the best prices in their area. The only pool store in my area that carries liquid chlorine is too far away to use on a regular basis. In order to compare prices you have to check the size of the bottle (there are several different standard sizes) and the concentration ( bleach can be 3 -6% and liquid chlorine is usually 12%) to make the price comparison meaningful.

    Good luck! You are well on your way to having the best pool you have ever had.
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

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