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Thread: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

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    4JawChuck's Avatar
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    Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Been a long time waiting but we finally took possession of our new house, of course my first goal was to try out my new TF-100 test kit and check all the levels...but first I did a search around the house for the chemicals that were being used. I found a note left by the previous owner saying where the pool chemicals were located but nothing was there so I called the realtor who called back and told me that a friend of the previous owner had been taking care of the pool for years and was there the day before to make sure everything was OK. Guess he helped himself to the chemicals as payment.

    Well first off the pool was filthy so we spent some time getting the Kreepy Krawler connected/tested and running and firing up the gas heater which was a non event, then I had time to test the water while the wife manually vacuumed the crud off the bottom.

    Here are my test results;

    Water Temp=23.2C
    FC=5
    TC=5
    CC=0
    CYA= 140-150 estimated
    PH=7.4

    Needless to say it was pretty obvious there were pucks being used somewhere and I started searching for them, I found two in the filter basket that were pretty new looking. Kind of disappointed that "Mrs Kind Neighbor" had completely screwed up the CYA levels and was obviously only testing PH and maybe FC.

    So after some dimensions were taken (its kidney shaped) I have estimated a total volume of 8500 USG of water in the pool and figure I need to drain off 7100 USG of water to bring the CYA down to 25ppm.

    Now its been awhile since I had to do this kind of testing and I read the instructions to the letter so I am positive I did it right but these CYA readings are so far off the scale that I actually held the graduated cylinder up to the bright sunlight to see if the black dot was visible, after only maybe 7 drops it was completely obscured...I had plenty of reacted solution to try it again in case I read it wrong but there was no mistake. There is a good chance the CYA is actually higher since I may have been fooling myself by trying to get that level higher in the cylinder, the solution was the color and milkiness of a glass of Alka-Seltzer at full boil.

    Since the CYA was so high I didn't even bother to do the alkalinity or calcium hardness tests but I wonder that since the FC was maxed is there a possibility the pool had been shocked and that is screwing up my CYA readings? There was no mention in the test manual on CH readings causing incorrect CYA readings. I plan to do the test again in the evening once I am off work to check my tests once it had some time to burn off the CH and the heater brings the temps up.

    Please tell me I did something wrong and I don't need to do a nearly complete drain and refill of the pool, luckily water rates here are low and it should only cost me $100CDN to accomplish the refill including sewer rates. It beats the heck out of me how someone could let the CYA get so out of hand but I guess if all you do is keep dropping pucks in two at a time into that strainer it could go bad fast especially if you don't do the proper testing.

    Last question is, nobody should be swimming right?
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    It sounds like drain and replace is your best bet, since your CC is 0 (and if it stays at 0 after you have stirred up the bottom), if you bring your FC up to around 8 to 9 ppm it should be safe to swim in for now. Just be aware that when your CC starts going up you will not be able to shock at that high CYA level and then must do the drain and replace before shocking. Also you can shoot for a higher CYA level than 25 ppm, a level of 50-60 ppm, is very manageable if you avoid use of stabilized chlorine, it just may not be the optimum balance for your location.

    You are very lucky the pool is in as good of condition as it is, given a long lack of use. Many people manage pools using only a basic OSO or DPD chlorine and pH test kit with preventive frequent/weekly shocking, with enough natural water replacement (backwashing, vacuum to waste, splash out, etc.) it sort of works until something else goes out of balance, for people that have a short swim season and drain the water for the winter it can work though.

    Ike
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    The FC is on the low side for swimming, yeah. Figuring FC at around 7% of CYA and assuming 140-150 is correct, you'd want more like FC 10.

    When CYA is sky high like that, the thing to do is dilute the sample. I would thoroughly mix 1 part pool water with 2 parts tap water (using comparatively large "parts" like 1 cup or 200ml), and then testing that mixture for CYA; multiply the result by 3. Diluting the sample introduces some fuzz to the testing process; mixing comparatively large amounts of water (carefully measured) will minimize the amount of fuzz. That is, I think my suggestion makes the result more trustworthy than using, say, 10ml pool water and 20ml tap.

    This will give you a better handle on the actual CYA level, which in turn will give you a better idea how much water to replace.

    And, bringing the CYA down to 50 should be fine for now. CYA 25 is really kind of low for a pool, even in Canada. CYA does go down (slowly) on its own over time, so targeting 50 now is pretty reasonable.
    --paulr
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Surprisingly your numbers look ok swim as long as your bring your FC up.
    I am surprised that you say your "FC was maxed" as it sounds like you have some idea as to the CYA issue.
    For that level of CYA the FC is waaay below minimum.
    Check out the Chlorine/CYA chart (link in my signature) and read through pool school.
    That tiny amount of FC has no impact on your CYA reading
    I am not sure how you determined CYA = 140 since most reliable tests only go to 100. It may be even higher meaning a 2/3 drain might not be enough.
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    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Sven is right I think; you stated above that it only took seven drops to obscure the black dot, right? If that's the case, you've probably got to do a nearly complete drain. Sorry!
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    4JawChuck's Avatar
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Thanks for all your good wishes and assistance, this website and its posters have been a godsend to me in ramping up my learning. I will take all your advice and do some more testing tonight, I'm actually thinking my CYA is closer to 200+ since by 5 drops I wasn't seeing the dot and wishful thinking kept me adding to the cylinder.

    When I bid on the house I planned on this situation as I was aware how most people maintain their pool water, the lady was elderly and went to a home and the kids were in another province plus the husband died many years ago. I was hoping for only a partial refill, however these sky high levels were kind of a shock. The pool water is crystal clear though and likely hasn't been used for years and the little old lady looks like she took care of things just fine, I imagine the cool temps have prevented any kind of growth and the lack of trees around the pool plus 24/7 constant pump circulation kept things in check.

    When I tested the FC the color was bang on the 5 scale although I am not sure if the color will change further upon dilution, I will try that tonight and get some pool shock to bring up the CH to 9 or so if required so the kids can swim. I will do the TA and CH tests just to see where I am, I would have done it last night but the CYA threw me for a loop and I didn't want to waste testing supplies if I was doing something wrong.

    The good thing is the liner is excellent and all the accessories for the pool work fine and are in great shape, the pump and heater work perfectly and I don't have a swamp to deal with. Our city water supply is not that hard so a refill won't be such a big deal, I should be able to handle things over the course of a weekend but I am going to contact a mobile pool filling service to get a quote on how much it would be for them to handle the refill. It would be nice to have it done in a day as the kids are so excited to have a house with a pool.

    Thanks for all the help, I will report back in this thread on what happens next in case this helps someone else in the future. I had done some searching for old threads with similar situations and the rainwater from the roof (plus filter sock!) idea sure sounds like a great way to replenish the pool water, we have recently had some record rainfalls and if mother nature can help I am more than willing to let her.

    I'll be back soon with more results, Chuck.
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Just make sure whatever you add to bring up the FC is not di-chlor or trichlor, liquid chlorine or bleach is probably the best option that will not raise the CYA even more. As long as there is no CC I would not be in a big rush to refill, infact if you have more record rains forecast you may want to do a partial drain and let them replace, you may get lucky and not have an algae bloom.

    Ike
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Thought I should check back in and finish off this story.

    Here are my test results from today;

    Water Temp=30.0C
    FC=9
    TC=9
    CC=0
    CYA= 180+ estimated
    PH=7.5

    The kindly "pool lady" came by the day when we were moving all our furniture etc into the house, turns out she used to be a "counter person" with the installer of the pool but is no longer affiliated with that company. She now does pool maintenance with her daughter as a business, but didn't have a business card to give me....ummm yea...thats all I'm going to say about that.

    She was a valuable source of information however, some history came out;

    -The pool was installed somewhere around 1986-1991

    -The pool was being maintained with the "Synergy System", heres the link http://www.omnipool.com/mp/v/index.j...extfmt=default

    -The liner is original and so is all the mechanicals and gas heater.

    When I quizzed her on what she did to maintain the pool it was pretty much; check the strips, put in a tab or two, scoop the leaves and hook up the Krawler and let it run. Nice lady, but when I asked her about the sky high CYA readings her response was "that was something you only had to put in when you installed the pool", since I had trouble keeping my mouth shut I told her the CYA was off the scale because the tabs she had been putting in were stabilized and the CYA had accumulated to unsafe amounts and there is no way I can shock the pool unless I use "Oxone" or similar product to clear the water. I informed here of the different methods of water treatment for pools and why using this type of product is not the best idea unless you drain and refill the pool water on a yearly basis for this climate. Needless to say she immediately changed the conversation and realized I WON'T be a customer.

    I have dumped about 6" of water out of this pool already and the CYA is still off the charts, the test is not accurate enough for these high levels so I am just dumping a little everday and keeping the CH up there until I can straighten this out. I have no idea how people can just do this as a service with so little regard for an important measurement like CYA, it was obvious to me she had never tested it and never intended to.

    Is this practice so rampant in the industry that there are a million pools out there with sky high CYA levels that never get tested? From the literature I have read on the internet, Omni doesn't even regard CYA levels below 200 as an issue, how does a company get away with this kind of misinformation?

    Kinda disgusted on the whole "Synergy System" concept, anyone else have any horror stories?
    55 Kilolitre in-ground 18'X36' vinyl lined kidney shape, 1HP pump, Jacuzzi 250lb sand filter, RayPak Delta T 200K BTU natural gas heater. New PoolWerks "Blue Diffusion" liner on May 26th-2011
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Quote Originally Posted by 4JawChuck
    ...
    I have dumped about 6" of water out of this pool already and the CYA is still off the charts, the test is not accurate enough for these high levels so I am just dumping a little everday and keeping the CH up there until I can straighten this out. I have no idea how people can just do this as a service with so little regard for an important measurement like CYA, it was obvious to me she had never tested it and never intended to.

    Is this practice so rampant in the industry that there are a million pools out there with sky high CYA levels that never get tested? From the literature I have read on the internet, Omni doesn't even regard CYA levels below 200 as an issue, how does a company get away with this kind of misinformation?
    ...
    Yes, seems to be almost universal. My CYA was roughly 220 when I tested it myself. Coulda been 240; I discovered later that temperature affects the test and the water was in the high 50s (Fahrenheit)

    Essentially, the pool service only comes once a week, so they have to find a way to keep FC up, so they add a few more tablets to the floater. The company I finally fired was using test strips. And once a year, they charge for adding "conditioner" - despite the fact that my pool was overly "conditioned."

    Where I live, pool service techs have to be licensed by the county, but it's just take a class then take a test and that's it. No real oversight. I even inquired with the state department of consumer affairs, who regulate auto repair, barbers, contractors, dentists, you name it, but pool service is not regulated at all. Seems highly unfair to me as a mechanic; by state law, I cannot exceed the estimate without customer's consent; I have to give a written estimate before work starts; have to itemize the bill; and can even get hassled and have the district attorney press charges for not conforming to "industry standards." yet any hack with a pickup, a vacuum and a couple hundred bucks for the class and license can do shoddy work and literally create a health hazard with impunity....
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    All you have to do is see how many pool stores don't even show CYA levels in their testing to see that there is a problem. They also don't see shocking as a process, instead they suggest to briefly spike the FC level once per week if you need it or not. On a positive note these weekly "shockings" can delay the onset of a full blown algae bloom at the cost of a great deal of wasted chlorine (which tends to be good for the pool store's bottom line). Then when there is a an algae bloom they can sell all sorts of expensive chemicals to stop it, when a simple proper shock would have worked if the CYA were at sane levels. Therefore from there point of view high CYA is not a bad thing, it lets them sell the expensive stuff.
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    I have various trade designations also, all required 1 year of school and four years of apprenticeship to garner. As far as I can tell this lady has no qualifications at all except for working behind the counter at the pool supply store, only god knows how much she was charging the little old lady who owned the house before. What really angers me is she literally had no clue that "stabilized tablets" meant they contained CYA and hence the levels would rise with continued use, she actually started to argue with me until I showed her my book of readings and how much CH I needed to add to keep the levels elevated to 9+ which triples the cost of chemicals to maintain...as my Dad would say there ought to be a law.

    My tap water is a little acidic so I have had to add about 12oz of PH up into every two inches of water to keep the PH on the money but at least I have been able to keep a handle on it as I do a daily 2" dump, I have realized that my initial CYA readings were extremely optimistic as subsequent testing has shown the levels so high that by three drops the black dot is obscured and it doesn't even start to read on the chart until 100 which is at least 12 drops.

    I really would like to drop more out of the pool but the pool is concrete with a vinyl liner so I am unsure how much I can drop the water level all at once, not being able to shock the pool at these high CYA levels with CH has me worried since my tap water could have anything in it although it is staying crystal clear for now. I guess I am at a crossroads at how to handle this, keep dropping small amounts from the pool everyday and keep the chlorine levels around 10 until the CYA gets around 80 or less or just dump 1/2 the water and risk damage to the liner during the time to refill (which is in pretty good shape considering its age). I imagine there is a breakeven point where the cost of the water truck to service the pool would equal the triple cost of chemicals to maintain the status quo while I slowly sort this out.

    I guess I could get some "Oxone" to shock the pool since thats the only way to ensure the water I am bringing in is safe, with all the rain we have been having plus the 30C temps the kids like the pool at makes me worried about a bloom happening. Is this the only satisfactory solution considering the conditions?
    55 Kilolitre in-ground 18'X36' vinyl lined kidney shape, 1HP pump, Jacuzzi 250lb sand filter, RayPak Delta T 200K BTU natural gas heater. New PoolWerks "Blue Diffusion" liner on May 26th-2011
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    If you have measurable FC and the water clarity is good, then your pool is safe. Bacteria and most other pathogens won't survive with even low chlorine levels. The reason to have the higher FC levels recommended on this forum is to prevent algae growth using chlorine alone. It also speeds up oxidation of organics (bather waste, etc.) to help keep the pool clear. You probably do not need to use a non-chlorine shock (MPS) as the chlorine should oxidize what is in the pool. Your pool is crystal clear so I don't see the need for using anything else other than chlorine.

    Since the pool has remained clear in spite of the higher CYA levels and lower FC level, it is probably relatively poor in algae nutrients. In other words, you got lucky with this pool. As far as the industry saying not to worry about CYA levels up to 200 ppm, they offer products to prevent algae that can often result from the 1-3 ppm FC recommended levels: algicides, phosphate removers, copper ions, etc. It is no coincidence that such specialty chemicals and products are more profitable. To their credit, the companies are offering solutions to people who don't want to add chlorine regularly and value convenience over cost which is why Trichlor pucks/tabs are so popular. They should just be more up-front with why you need the additional algae-prevention products due to the CYA build-up from Trichlor rather than offering them in "algae-free guaranteed" programs.
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    4JawChuck's Avatar
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    Re: Finally took possesion of new house and CYA is over 140!

    Thanks for the info, I'm just a noob that is just worried about doing the right thing for my kids and making sure what I am doing is safe for them. I understand the convenience of the tabs and the marketing of such products but after doing so much research on the chemicals and the recommendations on this site I want this reconciled tomorrow...I know I am impatient.

    I feel better knowing this is OK and I am headed in the right direction, I just wish there was a torrential downpour that filled the pool as fast as I can pump it out, I would endure the onslaught just to fix this in one shot. Maybe its just my familiarity with chlorine water treatment from my previous experience maintaining a drinking water system and being on top of the situation...I just don't feel in control and its not happening fast enough.

    Now that I am moved and we are just in the "emptying boxes" stage I can spend the entire day dumping and correcting water levels and keeping the balance correct, it takes awhile to do...so I can clean the garage out while I am doing it LOL! I need one good 16 hour day of refilling and backflushing to see where the CYA levels are going, its very frustrating to dump 12" of water only to do another test and the levels haven't budged...not to mention wasting chemicals getting there. I can already see that once this is sorted I won't need to add more than 6 ounces of 65% chlorine granules to the water on a daily basis even with a high bather load and full sun, the cost would be so minimal once I am there. The wife says its my type A personality and "driver touches the controls" attitude that is the problem, I guess I like to be driving the bus.

    One more interesting tidbit of info, the original skimmer weir door was missing so I asked the "pool lady" if she knew where it went and she told me she threw it out since it would pop off all the time when she would hook up the krawler...apparently "you don't really need it" . I tried to explain the function of the weir door and the surface skim effect it induces to her but I felt I was wasting my breath. Since I have been having an issue with beetles and other various bugs floating around that needed constant attention with the scoop (not to mention leaves), I went down and found a suitable replacement door and installed it...voila no more bugs or leaves floating around the pool and my waste basket is full of them at the end of everyday. She had also removed the vacuum control plate and covered the deep end drain hole so no water was being drawn from the cold end of the pool which explained why I wasn't able to get the temps even throughout the pool (luckily she didn't throw that out!), seemed to me she was just to lazy to put all those components back every time she cleaned the pool.

    If the weir door and vacuum control plate wasn't required for the pools proper function then why would some engineer put it in there in the first place!
    55 Kilolitre in-ground 18'X36' vinyl lined kidney shape, 1HP pump, Jacuzzi 250lb sand filter, RayPak Delta T 200K BTU natural gas heater. New PoolWerks "Blue Diffusion" liner on May 26th-2011
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