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Thread: Help me balance... the right way!

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    Help me balance... the right way!

    I need some help getting my pool balanced properly. I have an above ground 18 foot round pool, which poolcalculator estimates as 7600 gallons. Here are last night's readings:

    FC - 0
    TC - 10 (probably higher in actuality)
    ALK - 180
    CYA - 0
    PH - 7.8
    TH - 450

    I uncovered the pool last weekend, it was pretty clear on top/middle, but had some green algae on the bottom. No leaves or other solid objects. I went to the pool store (didn't know any better), and asked for my usual startup kit - the snide sales boy said they don't carry them - told him I've bought one there every summer for the past 6 yrs! He said to bring water sample in and they'd tell me what to buy - I don't trust them (which led me here)!

    After that I went home, tested the water, then added 2 bags of shock, algaecide (according to directions), and clarifier. I also have 2 chlorine pucks in the floater. I'm using a Hayward cartridge filter, which I bought new last year. It's running 24/7. Once the filter was going, everything got cloudy. It was slightly green at first, but is now blue (still cloudy). I vaccummed the bottom best I could without being able to see, and have been brushing the bottom & sides... looking a little better, but still cloudy and still off-balance. I've cleaned the filter cartridge once, but PSI was high this morning so I'm going to put a new one in this afternoon and soak the old one in cleaner overnight.

    Went to Wal-Mart last night and picked up a bottle of stabilizer. It comes as granules. Poured them through the skimmer as stated on bottle. I also bought a bottle of 6% regular bleach, but didn't add that yet - I know I need it to raise the FC, but thought I need to raise the CYA first??

    I've had the pool for 6 years now, inherited from previous homeowner, and never really had any problems with it until last year when it turned SWAMP green and full of tadpoles. I ended up draining it, scrubbing the liner and restarting from scratch. Ever since then I have problems getting everything balanced just right, mostly because I didn't have such an awesome resource like this website...
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Welcome to TFP.

    Chlorine is your primary issue, and maintaining that should be your goal. You might have to add more every hour or two at first until it holds at a reasonable level. CYA/Stabilizer helps protect chlorine from sunlight degradation.

    The fact that the pool is blue instead of green indicates you have gotten a start on the algae, but you need to be diligent with maintaining chlorine levels. I'm a little suspicious of 0 FC and 10 TC as a reading. Did you test that or is that from a store? That would indicate a real mess in the water, and you are probably only going to see that with a high bather load.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Lets see if we can figure out what all you've added.

    3lbs of CYA = 47 ppm
    2 bags of shock. I'll assume that was Dichlor. = 16ppm CYA & 17 ppm FC.
    2 tablets in a floater. That's Trichlor so you've potentially added 8 ppm CYA and 14 ppm FC
    Algaecide No idea of the amount or whether it contained copper.
    clarifier, No idea of the amount.

    So to date you've added 71+ ppm CYA. That's going to make it hard to shock but that's what you need to do.

    Your shock level is 20 ppm FC. You need to add enough bleach to get you there and you need to be able to test it that high and add as often as every hour to keep it there till you pass the OCLT (overnight chorine loss test). A good test kit is where you need to begin. then once you get that ordered you need to read how to shock you pool in Pool School.
    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
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Right now I'm stuck using the 6 way test strips, I think the brand is Aqua Chem. I read about the Taylor test kits and will be ordering one Friday (payday).

    I believe the clarifier amount was 4 oz... it said to add 2 oz as maintenance weekly, but 4 oz at opening.

    For the algaecide - I may have goofed here - I used a leftover bottle from last summer, which was 50% algaecide. It didn't have a lot left in it, so I used it all... it was less than the recommended dosage on the bottle. That left me to believe I needed to add more, so I opened a bottle of 7% copper algaecide and added the amount listed for my pool size. They had a maintenance dosage and a stronger dosage for killing algae, so I used the stronger one. I can get the actual numbers when I get home if I need them.

    From my understanding right now though, I need to get the bleach added tonight to make sure it's being sanitized properly, and get a good test kit quickly so I can shock it.
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Ok - I'm trying to figure out how much bleach to add now so I can get the FC regulated.

    This is what I did last night:
    • Put brand new catridge in filter (old one was green, soaked in cleaner overnight)
      Vaccummed pool
      Added 300 oz of 6% liquid chlorine bleach
      Added 2 bags (1 lb each) of shock (what I had on hand)


    I felt like that was a lot of bleach/shock to be adding, but once I considered the volume of water it made more sense. I tested the water after 1 hr and it finally showed an FC reading! The chem sticks only go to 10... it looked to me like it was higher.

    Tested again this morning:
    FC - 0
    TC - 10
    ALK - 120
    CYA - 0
    PH - 7.8
    TH - 250

    I'm under a little pressure because I will be out of town Thurs-Sun. I may have to get my sister to come check on the pool while I'm gone... I don't want to have to start over from the beginning when I get back. I can put more bleach in today, but obviously I need more than I used last night, right? Poolcalculator said 315 oz would give me FC of 20. Is it possible that I may need to add more than that?
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    With CYA of 0, 20 should be plenty. I was hitting 20 when I had mustard algae and it caused no ill effects to my equipment.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Do not bring FC up to 20 with a CYA of zero in a vinyl liner pool. That can damage the liner. I would not let FC go over 12 with CYA at zero.

    Everything would work much more easily if you added some CYA. With CYA at zero you lose all of your chlorine to sunlight very very quickly each day. Right now you are adding way to much chlorine and then losing most of it to sunlight.

    What does the water look like right now?
    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: Help me balance... the right way!

    Thanks Jason, I stand corrected. I neglected to read they had a vinyl liner.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    The water is blue but still very cloudy. The cloudiness wears off a little each day, but still can't see the bottom.

    I admit I'm a little confused about the CYA. I added a whole bottle of stabilizer granules on Monday night. I just followed the instructions on the label for my pool size. I thought I read somewhere that the CYA would take a few days to register on the test strips? I haven't added any more for that reason... afraid I may end up over-doing it.
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

  10. Back To Top    #10
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Test strips are especially unreliable at measuring CYA, and also you should give the CYA a week to dissolve before it will read at the full level added.

    What size bottle of stabilizer did you add?
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    I'm pretty sure the stabilizer was 3lbs.
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    That should raise your CYA level to around 50. If you just added it last night the current CYA level will be somewhere around 15 to 25, so shock level is 12 to 17. By tonight you can start treating the pool as if CYA was 50 (though it might not actually get all the way there for a couple of days).
    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: Help me balance... the right way!

    Apparently I am doing something wrong, this is frustrating!

    I went to poolcalculator last night and calc'd the amount of chlorine needed to get my FC up to 20. It showed 335 oz of 6% bleach. I bought 3 big jugs of bleach, just to be sure. Each jug was 182 oz. This is what I did:

    - Slowly poured 2 jugs into the pool at 530p (total 364 oz)
    - Removed catridge from filter, gave thorough cleaning and re-installed (it was green)
    - Brushed pool really good
    - Checked chlorine pucks - they're all shriveled. Added 2 fresh ones.
    - Checked levels 1 hour later, at 630p - absolutely NO change in levels
    FC - 0
    TC - 10
    PH - 7.8
    TA - 80
    TH - 250
    CYA - 0
    - Added 1 more jug of bleach (182 oz).... now a total of 546oz of bleach!
    - Waited another hour to check levels at 730p - STILL NO CHANGES!
    - At this point I was out of bleach, the only thing I had left was one bag of shock (cal hypo), so I added it.
    - Waited another hour, at 830p - all levels still same, but FC was now around 1-3.

    I didn't have anything left, so there was nothing else I could do.

    Now for this morning, I checked the levels again:
    FC - 0
    TC - 5
    PH - 7.2
    TA - 80
    TH - 250
    CYA - 0

    Why are my levels going down??? I added more chlorine/bleach last night than I have since I opened it, so I'm really surprised to see the TC down to 5 from being at 10 this whole time. The water is blue, but still cloudy. It looks better than it did yesterday, but I can't see the bottom of the pool.

    I'm going out of town tonight and won't be back until Sunday. The forecast is calling for rain on Fri & Sat. I plan to leave the filter running 24/7 - actually I have always let it run 24/7 for the entire summer. I'll have a few min to brush it and add more chemicals tonight before I leave. Any suggestions on what I should do?
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    It sounds like you have some ammonia in the water. Chlorine and ammonia combine really quickly. You need to just keep adding more chlorine until you have burned off all of the ammonia. Your TC level appears to be going down, and that is a good sign.

    You need to just continue the cycle, measure FC, add enough chlorine to bring FC up to 20, wait an hour or more for it to mix in, and repeat. Eventually the FC level will hold over an hour, but go down overnight, then after a bit longer it will hold overnight.
    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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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    I think we need to correct your thinking a bit on FC/CC/TC. FC is Free Chlorine, CC is Combined Chlorine and TC is Total Chlorine. FC + CC = TC If you have a TC of 10 and an FC of zero then you have a CC of 10. CC is bad and that's what you're trying to get rid of. So what's happening is that your adding enough chlorine to get an FC of 20 but it's quickly being turned into CC burning off whatever's in there (most likely Ammonia, like Jason said). If you look at it that way then by reading a lower TC now than earlier you're actually doing good even though you're not reading any FC yet. Just keep after it and soon you'll be seeing your FC hold.
    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

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Help me balance... the right way!

    Ohhhhh yes, that helps a lot. I didn't realize it was good for the TC to be going down.

    That makes me feel better then, I'll keep working on it. I just have to remember it's not going to happen overnight.
    Pool - 18 foot round (7600 gal), above ground, vinyl liner
    Filter - Hayward Cartridge Easy Clear c400

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