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Thread: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

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    3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Hello! This is my first time on the forum. I am so frustrated. Pool owner since 2001 - we had the pool installed by a reputable company. Substantial issues over the past 3 years or so in keeping the water balanced.

    Most recently, I have not been able to keep chlorine in the pool since June 7, 2010. On June 4, 2010 TC was 9 and FC was 9 - the day after shocking. On June 20, 2010 TC was 0.7 (point 7) and FC 0. On June 27 TC 0.9 and FC 0.6. On July 2 TC 0.2, FC 0. On Jul 9 TC 2, FC 0.5. On July 11 TC 0.3 FC 0. On July 13 TC 0.5 FC 0. On Jul 16, TC 0.6 and FC 0.4.

    The first two pool stores had me treat for yellow / mustard algae - although there was not good evidience that this was the problem. From the first store, I treated with Yellow Kear / Sodum Bromide 99% - added 12 oz followed by "double shock" - 8 cups. The second store had me treat with Yellow-Out - Disodium Salt of Ethylenediaminetraacetic Acid Dihydrate, Diammonium Sulfate - 2 lbs. followed by double shock every 12 hours x 3.

    Oh, before treating for mustard algae - I was advised (and did) add phosphate remover to the skimmer, 50 oz. waited 48 hours, cleaned the filters (they were full of white liquid - looked like milk). I did this twice.

    I also treated with a "Fresh and Clear" from the second store - non-chlorine treatment to "balance the chlorine" before the second algae treatment.

    And somewhere in there, I add super soluable chlorine as advised from pool store to no avail.

    Yesterday, I went to the third pool store. They advised my calcium was low, I have iron, and I should treat with liquid chlorine. Their readings were:
    TC 0.6
    FC 0.4
    pH 7.3
    Total Alk 175
    Cal Hardness 100
    Stabilizer 124
    Copper 0.0
    Iron 4.5
    TDS 1520
    Phosphate 1500
    Chlorine Shock 0.2
    Langelier index value -0.39: this may be corrosive.

    So yesterday, I added 20 lbs. of calcium chloride
    Waited several hours and then poured in 1 bottle of Metal Free
    Waited until after dark and then poured in 5 galllons of liquid chlorine and closed the automatic cover.

    Got up this a.m. and I have no chlorine as measured by AquaCheck Select stick. I have not been back to the pool store yet for their measurements.

    I have all the chemistries from the past two months if it would be helpful to see.

    I have not added the total cost of all the chemicals - but, my main concern is getting this resolved. Fortunately, the water has been mostly clear to only slightly cloudy through all of this.

    Currently, my water is crystal clear. The readings from the Aquacheck this morning are:
    Total Hardness: 250
    TC 0
    FC 0
    pH 7.2
    Total Alk 240
    Cyanuric Acid 150

    I read through the pool school, but, I am unclear as how to lower CYA - and maybe that is my issue?

    Here are the CYA testings from the pool stores:
    6.20.10 = 100
    6.27.10 = 100
    7.2.10 = 86
    7.9.10 = 100
    7.11.10 = 100 (pool store 1)
    7.11.10 not tested - pool store 2 (?I don't know why and did not know to look for it)
    7.13.10 not tested (same pool store)
    7.16.10 not tested at pool store 3

    Your advice is greatly appreciated! This is getting old - not to mention time consuming - running to the stores instead of swimming . Thanks so much!

    Update at 2 p.m. EST: Just had another trip and test at pool store #3. Here are the reads:
    TC: 0.9
    FC: 0.0
    pH: 7.0
    Total Alk: 140
    Calcium Hardness: 225
    Stabilizer (they said this was CYA): 97
    Copper 0.0
    Iron 0.1 (decreased from 4.5 yesterday)
    TDS: 1600
    Phosphate: 1000
    Chlorine Shock 0.9

    Their advice: 10 gallons of liquid chlorine, wait one hour and then raise pH.

    Your advice? Thank you!
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Only way to lower that CYA value is to drain and replace water--about half in your case. You're roughly at twice the high level recommended here for your pool of 50. This makes it harder to maintain the proper shock level FC and hold it there long enough until t is actually shocked. See the chlorine/cya chart in pool school to see how much difference shock level is. That's why you're not actually "killing' anything I think. Also read...how to shock your pool. Your own good test kit recommended here is invaluable in the shocking "process".
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    The biggest thing you need is a good test kit. Pool store readings are all over the place as you can see.

    Order you a good test and run your own tests. Then post the results here and we can tell you what you should do.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Oh, my! First off, welcome to TFP! I hate to tell you to buy anything else since you have been sufficiently "pool stored" already, but in order to get your water balanced there are a couple of things you will need.

    1. This may be the most important thing you do. Buy your self a high quality test kit, such as the TF 100 or a Taylor K2006, which is available from a variety of online stores. When you are able to accurately test the parameters of your water yourself you will no longer be at the mercy of the advice of the pool store. Most pool stores will not have this extensive a test kit on the shelf, nor do they use a kit of this quality to test your water.

    2. Stock up on liquid chlorine from a pool store or unscented 6% bleach from your local grocery store. We will use this to shock your pool without adding calcium or CYA to the water.

    3. You will need to drain about 50% of your water to bring down the CYA level. CYA is usually removed by draining and refilling. If you are fortunate enough to have a reverse osmosis pool service in your area you may use that to reduce the CYA. Since 100 is the most frequent result for CYA we will use that to calculate shock dosage for your pool if you choose not to drain and replace any water.

    You have a vinyl liner pool so calcium levels are not as important to you. Too much calcium will cause cloudy water, too little will cause a plaster pool to leach calcium into the water and shorten the life of the plaster finish. A vinyl lined pool can run with lower levels of calcium without harming the liner.

    I put your latest results into the pool calculator. For your pool you will need 10 96 ounce bottles of 6% bleach to bring it to shock level. You will need to keep the pool at shock level until you pass the overnight test.

    While shocking your pool you will need to clean the cartridge whenever there is a 10 pt rise in pressure from the "clean" pressure level.

    Read through pool school and be sure to post if you have any additional questions.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Sounds like you've been "pool stored". That is, they have had you purchase all sorts of chemicals that have not addressed the problem.

    Your problem is high CYA; stabilizer. Not phosphates, probably not mustard algae. White debris in filter was probably algae. But you have not kept FC high enough to get rid of anything given your CYA level.

    Drain 50% of water and report back. Meanwhile, order a good test kit and learn how to know what your pool needs instead of going to the store to be sold things.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Wow! Thank you all for your help! I will keep you posted on the results. Thanks again!
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Every time you add chemicals to a pool you to correct one problem you may throw another chemical out of balance.

    You added a bottle of Metal Free. I do not know why?
    Algaecides are expensive. Algae can generally be killed just using bleach. You should not treat for algae unless you have conducted an overnight test to confirm that you have algae. Please read pool-school/overnight_fc_test .
    Fresh and Clear is a non chlorine shock. Generally good for the pool store profits. Use bleach instead. Phosphate remover is good for pool store profits but is unnecessary. Calcium hardness test results from 100 to 225 should be proof to you that the testing methods used by the pool store are grossly inadequate. If you have a vinyl pool calcium hardness is not very important. Total alkalinity test results from 140 to 240???

    Your stabilizer test results have been 124, 150, 86, 97, and 100.

    My guess is that you have too much stabilizer which is preventing you from killing organics in your pool. Please read the Chlorine/CYA chart. pool-school/chlorine_cya_chart_shock You would required a 40+ ppm FC to kill your organics.

    With all you have been jerked around by the pool stores and the fortune you have already spent on pool chemicals please obtain a good test kit so that you can accurate determine the chemical makeup of your water. I use the TF-100.

    If your stabilizer is indeed over 100 you need to drain about half of your water to lower the amount of stabilizer in the water. Then shock your pool as shown here: pool-school/shocking_your_pool . Shock with bleach or liquid Cl (bleach is liquid Cl)

    The BBB method is based on testing the water your self, understanding what you need to do to maintain a health environment for your pool, and not using unnecessary pool chemicals.

    A word of warning. Either follow pool store advice or advice you receive here on this forum. Do not try to follow both. The pool stores will tell you to add phosphate removers, add algaecide, expensive shock, metal removers, etc. We will advice that you test the water yourself and use the least expensive 6% bleach you can find. While the pool stores will sell you liquid Cl they will generally recoil in horror if you tell them you are are adding bleach to your pool. Why would they want to compete on price with Walmart, the Dollar Store, SAMs or other source of bleach?
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?
    Well, it looks like the answer is a definite yes! In less than an hour, members have responded with fantastic info

    Lots of folks find TFP for reasons similar to yours. Having an overstabilized pool (too much CYA/conditioner/stabilizer) is one of the leading problems that brings folks to us.

    The best investment we made in our pool was the good test kit. I recommend the TF100 or TF100XL from TFTestKits.Net. Excellent product and A-1 customer service. I also suggest you order the speedstir for your testing. It is NOT necessary to have this to perform the tests, but it is fun to use and it makes testing easier for me.

    Your new test kit will put you in control of your pool.

    Welcome to the forum
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Thanks again to all of you! I have become a TFP Supporter and ordered the TF-100 test kit. I think I will wait to test with the kit before draining the pool by 50%. Should be here in a couple of days and so far, water is clear.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    J check your PM's.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    I think I will wait to test with the kit before draining the pool by 50%.
    That is a good decision. One of the tenants of this BBB stuff is to trust your own testing...ALWAYS. I have every reason to believe your CYA will be too high but nevertheless it is far more meaningful to us coming from your testing rather than the pool stores.

    Another thought....The most common problem on this forum over the years is the one you appear to have.....too much stabilizer (also called CYA or Cyanuric Acid). If your test results confirm that, I would encourage you to bite the bullet and get your CYA down to 50ppm....probably done best with two seperate 25% drains and refills.

    The difference that will make in your ability to manage your pool will be huge. I understand a reluctance to drain any part of the pool but don't underestimate how much hassle that high CYA is causing you.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcallahan
    Thanks again to all of you! I have become a TFP Supporter and ordered the TF-100 test kit. I think I will wait to test with the kit before draining the pool by 50%. Should be here in a couple of days and so far, water is clear.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    I would not wait. You're going to have to drain half the pool so waiting for the kit is just going to delay what you have to do.

    As you've been told your CYA is way too high. Typically a CYA test maxes out at 100 so if a pool store says it's 100, it could be 100 or it could be 200, they don't know. It may vary from store to store but the fact that it's a minimum of 100 shows that no matter what, whether it's 100% accurate or not, it's way too high and you have to do a partial drain and refill. Confirming with your own kit won't keep you from needing to do that.
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    started the drain - no sense in putting off the inevitable! thanks everyone - will let you know how it resolves.
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Still high - CYA...after the drain

    Hello! Here is my update with the data:

    1. Emptied the pool by 1/2 and just finished the refill a couple of hours ago.
    2. Per AquaChek Select strip (my read):
    Total Hardness: 250
    TC: 0
    FC: 0
    Ph - 7.5
    Total Alk: 200
    CYA: 100

    3. Took water to pool store and here are the reads POST drain and refill (7.19.10):
    TC: 0.2
    FC: 0
    pH: 7.2
    Total Alk: 220
    Calcium Hardness: 155
    Stabilizer: 134
    TDS: 1300
    Langelier Index: -o.19

    Pool store read BEFORE drain and refill (7.17.10)
    TC: 0.9
    FC: 0
    pH: 7.0
    Total Alk: 140
    Calcium Hardness: 225
    Stabilizer: 97
    Iron 0.1
    TDS: 1600
    Langelier Index: -0.43

    My test kit was shipped today - hopefully will be here tomorrow. However, I am concerned that the drain and refill apparently did NOTHING to lower the CYA - and that is the whole reason we drained the pool.

    Advice? I have 10 gallons of liquid chlorine ready to go for a double shock (12%). Should I wait until my kit comes? The store advice was to add calcium (which I am NOT going to do - per Pool School advice it does not matter in a liner pool), and then double shock tonight with the 10 gallons of liquid chlorine.

    Thanks!
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    If the kit will be there tomorrow or even the next day, I'd wait on it. That way we'll know what the real numbers are. If they turn out to be really high on CYA you'll need to drain and refill again and there's no use wasting chlorine until you do that. Pool Stores are notoriously inaccurate on testing CYA. Your TF-100 kit will be much more accurate.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcallahan
    ...I am concerned that the drain and refill apparently did NOTHING to lower the CYA - and that is the whole reason we drained the pool...
    Doing a drain and refill absolutely does lower CYA. Think about it, you are removing water high in CYA, and replacing it with water without CYA. Diluted, Period.

    The problem is that tests can only accurately test CYA up to 100ppm (and pool stores apparently can't test CYA accurately at all).

    Your CYA was likely much higher than 100. The only thing you can do is another drain and refill. Most people do this in stages anyway, to protect the pool surface from being exposed too long.

    At this point I agree with Bama...wait for your kit and do the test yourself. To prepare yourself, check out the taylor article on the CYA test. It is a little tricky, and the pictures help give an idea of what you are looking for.
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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    I guarantee the drain did exactly what was said. I will also be that the CYA was WAY over 100 to begin with. As evidence, I offer you your calcium levels. They did go down. How could CYA not if Calcium did? You may need to do it again, I am sorry to say.

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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    We can only guess at what your CYA was before the drain and refill. Odds are it was well over 100, maybe 200? Still, that was the right thing to do.

    If the test kit is on its way, just wait, it will make all the difference.

    When you do the CYA test, be sure to pour all the liquids back into the mixing bottle when you do it the first time so you can do it a few more times to see if you agree. I always get my spouse to do it separately to see if we agree.

    I see that your Total Alkalinity is higher than before the fill. My tap water has TA of 340 so I am not surprised. If you test in that range of well above 100 ppm then you will also want to get muriatic acid. If you don't have that on hand you may need to get a gallon or a box of 2 gallons.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    Thanks again to all - I'm tempted to start the second drain and refill before I receive the kit - sounds like it will need to be done since I am still at 100 or greater.
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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    Re: 3 pool companies are stumped - can you help?

    An it takes about 24 hours to drain by 1/2.
    18,600 gal, Cartridge, IG, Vinyl, WhisperFlo 230/115v 1.0 HP pump, Filter flow rate 100 GPM max, 50 psi, 300 sq ft

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