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Thread: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

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    I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Hello TFP! First post, but have been reading a bit for several weeks now....amazing resource. As much as I am online in other forums Lord knows why I didn't seek online help last year (first season with pool)

    Needless to say, I'm both overwhelmed as well as extremely impressed with the knowledge and expertise I've read so far. So on to my question...

    Pool specs are in sig. I'm still using my basic 4 way test kit....I hope to order the TF100 this next week. Pool store does free tests and after last season I don't feel bad having them test it while I move to BBB

    Last season it seemed like I constantly had a high pH. I turned everything on @ 2 weeks ago-starting from total swamp- and started right off with BBB. 3-4 days later I was basically crystal clear. At this point I started experimenting on the amount of bleach to add each evening which would leave me with FC of 2 the next evening. So far I've found that if I add bleach to get to FC 6 (using pool calculator) I'm pretty close to 2 the next evening. Problem is that I would adjust pH to 7.5 prior to adding bleach, only to find it at 8 or more the next evening.

    TA was running @ 110 (according to cheapo 4-way kit), which is ok but the high school chemist in me kept thinking that if I would adjust this a little lower, it might help hold the pH a little better. So using the method outlined in pool school, I lowered pH to 7.2 and aerated with the spa blower for a day. Worked extremely well...maybe too well, as my TA went to 60. pH did not vary much at this point. I've measured 7.6 for the last 3 days, while TA has ever so slowly crept up to 70.

    So today I finally get to the pool store for a proper test, here's their results:
    FC=3.8 (sample pulled this morning, @ 10 hours earlier than I have been testing so this jives)
    TC=3.8
    pH=7.7
    TA=75 (Adj. Total Alk=69)
    TH=245
    CYA=20

    So they tell me I'm very "acidic" which didn't make sense to me since my pH is 7.7. I asked her and she pointed to the TA and said that it was way too low. Their instructions were to add a cup of muriatic, wait 1 hr, then add 2.5 lbs of bicarb, wait 2 hrs and then add 1.75 lbs of stabilizer.

    I nodded, picked up some acid and stabilizer....now I'm here. Because of my pH problems tending to be 8 or above, I'm hesitant to just add a bunch of baking soda. But I'm admittedly new, and even though I've only known of TFP for a few weeks my trust in advice definitely resides here. I know my CYA is low, and I need to add that. But what, if anything should I do about the TA and pH? What about the order of addition? Does that matter here?

    Thanks in advance!

    (quick shot of the pool this afternoon)
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    I think I would hold off on adding anything to adjust pH or TA and just test everyday to see how the pool reacts for a few days. Keep a log of anything you add to the pool, including chlorine, and how much you added. Log your test results as well.

    Now for the questions:
    1. How did you chlorinate the pool in the past?
    2. Have you been topping off the water level?
    3. Do you have an auto fill?
    4. How old is the pool/pool finish?
    TFP Moderator
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Your TA and PH are both just fine unless you are using trichlor tablets. The only possible reason to raise TA would be because of trichlor. Adding some stabilizer to bring up CYA is a great idea. Once CYA comes up a little you won't need nearly as much chlorine every day.
    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: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Sweet! From my studying so far, that's what my gut was telling me. I had an inkling my CYA was low from the winter combined with pretty swampy opening conditions. Was worried it was 0, but from what I've read that's somewhat uncommon.

    To answer zea's questions:

    1) Last year was first time ever with a pool. Just followed the pool stores advice. They carried Bioguard, and I used their SmartShock as needed, and about 1/2 way into the season switched to their SmartStick tabs which did a fine job. I could run 1 tab in the skimmer which would last ~3 days and keep me at 3-4 FC. Plus they didn't dissolve as fast when the pumps were off, but were $$$.

    2)Yes, as needed to make sure the skimmer inlet has sufficient flow. It's a small/shallow pool and tends to lose from evaporation pretty easily, even at this time of year. It's 80 today, and pool is at 72 already. We did have a serious amount of rain a week or so ago. I left the pumps on 24/7 for that and added a little bleach once during the 3 day bout, and then brought up to shock overnight after rain stopped and it seemed fine.

    3)No autofill. Wasn't exactly sure what one was until I just looked it up. That would be pretty cool for sure.

    4)I believe the pool is @ 5-6 years old. However the previous owner (original owner) did not take care of it I was told. We bought the house from my cousin and her husband. Her sister's husband (cousin-in-law) is the builder/designer. He's been a great resource particularly for operational stuff.....but he doesn't keep up with the maintenance side. He'll tell you just to go to the pool store and get what they say, lol. He's actually interested in what I'm doing though and I've already reported the positive results so far. However I do have the bonus of getting his cost on equipment. We were considering moving to SWG, but we have a pump that's a little noisier than it should be so I'm leaning towards replacing that first. We don't have any timers right now and just turn on/off the pumps manually. He's checking into that new Pentair I saw mention of here. http://www.pentairpool.com/pdfs/inte...eedwtimerB.pdf

    Thanks so much guys. Really impressed with this place
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Check the TA of your tap water. Topping off the pool frequently with higher TA fill water is what causes your TA to rise. Just keep an eye on it and your pH and treat them as needed.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    The Total Hardness (TH) number is next to meaningless since what matters is Calcium Hardness (CH) so the lowish TH implies an even lower CH that you'll need to raise, but wait until you get your own good test kit (such as the TF-100 that you plan to order) and get other parameters into balance. You generally want to adjust your pH and TA first to figure out what TA level you'll settle into for reasonably stable pH and then you can lastly adjust your CH to get the saturation index closer to 0 to protect your plaster surfaces.
    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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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Cool. To me, this makes just so much more sense than what they were trying to tell me at the store today. Preliminary evidence already strongly suggests that my pH is much more stable after I lowered the TA a little. I've got a sock in the skimmer basket right now with the CYA in it and will of course be leaving the pump on 24/7 for a few days.

    @zea,
    TA of the tap water was 120. Makes sense. That's pretty much what I would see last year, and about the same as what I measured until I lowered pH and aerated. So I should expect it to go up. From what I can tell, 120 in and of itself isn't so bad, but (and maybe I'm wrong) I feel like that is contributing to the high pH.

    @chem geek,
    I read that as a rough estimate to multiply TH by 2/3 to give an approximation, so I figured that it's probably low. This goes back to what we were told they didn't do the best job of maintaining the pool. The plaster used to be a much darker blue, but is now much lighter and somewhat splotchy.


    I guess overall, considering my "noobiness" I'm pretty happy with where I'm at. It seems like I'm pretty close, and certainly could be a lot worse. We'll see how this next week shapes up.
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Finally got the TF-100 ordered today. Was unsure about the speedstir, especially given it's price. I went ahead and included it, but if you guys think it's something I won't really benefit from I guess I could just cancel that part of the order.
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    You'll love the speedstir once you get it. If you have any doubts just perform the CH test without it once and then with it and you'll be sold.
    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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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Do you use it for any of the other tests as well? The CH test is probably my biggest "worry" area since it's an unknown at this point.

    FC has been noticeably better with the added CYA. Doesn't drop as much from day to day. Last couple evenings I've added about 8 cups of bleach each night. pH has remained steady for over a week now with no variance

    My only problem is the temp...pool is already at 84
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    I use it for all the tests. Even the CYA test. The only thing I don't use it for is pH.
    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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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    I use it for all the tests. Even the CYA test. The only thing I don't use it for is pH.
    How do you do that? Honestly, I don't remember the CYA test all that well, I've only done it a few times. I remember using a little squeeze bottle and filling it up with reagent and pool water. Then trying to figure out if I can or cant see that blasted dot.
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    I use it for mixing the pool water and the reagent. You're just mixing equal parts of each. Then you pour it into the view tube until you can't see the dot.
    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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    Puffin's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    So the amounts arn't important? As long as the water and reagent is the same amount? Cool, I'm going to have to try this.

    Btw - Cool avatar
    19,600 gal, Vinyl, Grecian L, StaRite Dura-Glas 1 HP pump, 3/4hp booster, Pentair Clean and Clear 420 Cartridge filter
    The Pool Cleaner 4x, PoolSkim

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Thanks

    Yeah, since I know my CYA is about 60 I just mix enough to get me slightly above that mark, so about 11 ml's of each. It saves a little reagent each time I do it.
    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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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    OK, TFT-100 and Speed Stir in house today

    Just ran first test. For the most part the tests seem simple enough, although the CYA test seems like it's a little "fuzzy". I can definitely see where 2 people come up with different readings there. On the CH test, it says to look for it to turn blue. I was unsure where to call this test complete. The sample starts turning clear...and then it slowly develops a blueish tint, but is only obvious coming from the pink/red water. If I were to walk into the room without seeing the pink before I would likely call it clear. So at what point do you make the call on the CH test? I used the Speed Stir on pretty much every test, except CYA.

    Apparently I did go a little overboard last night with the bleach. It rained a bit after I took the test and I was at the end of a bottle so I figured it'd be ok to add a little more. Based on my calculations it should've raised chlorine to around 7-8 at the time, which I was hoping to see around 3 or so this evening. I'm a good 3 hours early on the testing tonight (had to break in the new kit )

    FC-7.5
    CC-.5
    pH-7.5
    TA-60
    CH-300
    CYA-40
    temp-73

    Weather really cooled off overnight with the rain, and we've been cloudy all day so I'm sure that helped keep my FC fairly high. Little surprised at the CC though. Was pleasantly surprised about the CH level, but as I said I'm unsure of my reading.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    The exact shades of color you get during the tests vary from pool to pool. If you get a very faint blue that is alright. As long as it starts to turn something in the blue family and adding an additional drop doesn't change the color any further you are done, and the final drop that didn't change the color doesn't count.

    CC of 0.5 doesn't matter. Worry about it if it is 1.0 or higher.
    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

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: I think I'm pretty close (newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The exact shades of color you get during the tests vary from pool to pool. If you get a very faint blue that is alright. As long as it starts to turn something in the blue family and adding an additional drop doesn't change the color any further you are done, and the final drop that didn't change the color doesn't count.

    CC of 0.5 doesn't matter. Worry about it if it is 1.0 or higher.

    OK, well I did continue to add a couple more drops and it move more solidly into blue. I didn't know though if it would just continue to get 'bluer' the more I added . I should probably re-run that test. I'm actually surprised the results were as high as they were considering what the pool store told me just the other week.

    Thanks for the feedback
    -11,000 gallon IG gunite, raised spa overflowing to pool
    -Cleaning Pump: Sta-Rite P6E6E-206L
    (runs what I think is a Vantage system; alternating, rotating floor jets)
    -Filter Pump: Jandy FloPro FHPM1.5-2
    -System 3 S8M150 filter

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