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Thread: Tell me I'm on the right track...

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    Tell me I'm on the right track...

    I'm entering the second summer with my pool and have cleared up a bunch of misconceptions after finding this website. My pool was filled in 3/2010, but I was steered in the tab direction and now have CYA of 100ppm. I ran into some algae issues towards the end of last summer that have arisen again as the water temp has risen past 70F this spring. Most of the algae grows on the waterfall rocks and in pm shade areas. Very slight amounts that brush off but I couldn't figure out why.

    Now I know that my diligence at maintaining 3ppm FC last summer was not even close to what I need at these CYA levels. So, I'm OFF the tabs and strictly to liquid now. So I just added 2 gallons tonight to get the FC up to 10 ish. I have a TF kit to measure the higher levels acurately.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Should I be shocking just because I have seen a little algae? I guess I'm asking if ANY presence of algae always requires a shock. Or, would just getting the FC to the correct FC/CYA ratio be a sufficient starting point and then see if the algae returns?

    2. I've been using the biodex phosphate remover. Is this a waste of money if I get the FC/CYA ratio correct? Or is this a good insurance against future algae? The pool does get a lot of debris from trees.

    3. My water is extremely hard. CH levels 450 even with water that is only a year old. I know I should expect bi annual draining, but is there a way to deal with scale other than keeping pH in the optimal range?

    I know a half drain would help a lot, but at this point in the year water is now real expensive here and I'd like to get through the summer. At least next year when I refill I know to stay away from the tabs...
    22k gallon IG plaster pool w/ waterfall. 425sq' Cartridge filter, 2HP Challenger Pumps (2), Poolvergnuegen 2x.
    Las Vegas, NV

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Welcome to TFP!

    Quote Originally Posted by goldygopher
    1. Should I be shocking just because I have seen a little algae? I guess I'm asking if ANY presence of algae always requires a shock. Or, would just getting the FC to the correct FC/CYA ratio be a sufficient starting point and then see if the algae returns?
    It depends on how closely you can watch the pool. Normal chlorine levels for your CYA will kill it, but the algae will increase your chlorine consumption so you have to stay after it. It's often easier to raise your chlorine to shock level to clear it quickly.


    Quote Originally Posted by goldygopher
    2. I've been using the biodex phosphate remover. Is this a waste of money if I get the FC/CYA ratio correct? Or is this a good insurance against future algae? The pool does get a lot of debris from trees.
    It's pretty well a complete waste of money.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldygopher
    3. My water is extremely hard. CH levels 450 even with water that is only a year old. I know I should expect bi annual draining, but is there a way to deal with scale other than keeping pH in the optimal range?
    There are companies in some areas of the country that do Reverse Osmosis cleaning of pool water. It is sometimes cheaper than draining and refilling, but is usually only available in areas with high CH and little water. What is the CH of your tap water?

    Quote Originally Posted by goldygopher
    I know a half drain would help a lot, but at this point in the year water is now real expensive here and I'd like to get through the summer. At least next year when I refill I know to stay away from the tabs...
    Your optimum CYA level may be higher than other folks due to the amount of sun. 60ppm isn't excessive in a sunny area. You can deal with what you have if you are aware of how it affects your required FC levels and you stay on top of the chlorine.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Posting only to reinforce EXACTLY what JohnT has already suggested and "Welcome to the forum"
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    450 sounds pretty good to me for CH! Those of us in hard water areas have a diifficult time keeping it in the "recommended" area. In fact, I've never even been close to the ideal, yet I'm slowly dissolving scale.

    Just plug numbers into Pool Calculator. You'll see if you experiment a little that pH and TA affect CSI alot more than the CH. So do what I do: keep TA low and pH down around 7.4. You'll use a lot of acid doing so, but that's really the only practical solution.

    And it's a nuisance and a time-consuming thing, but I have been continuously draining and refilling my pool using the water on the lawn. I change about 3% each time, so it's slow going, but it helps.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    There are companies in some areas of the country that do Reverse Osmosis cleaning of pool water. It is sometimes cheaper than draining and refilling, but is usually only available in areas with high CH and little water. What is the CH of your tap water?
    Well, I know that for my RO drinking water my electronic TDS tester reads 250ish. I appreciate all the responses and glad I seem to be on the right track.

    As far as staying on top of the chlorine addition, what kind of ball park frequency can I expect to be adding liquid chlorine? I would imagine that you start to get a feel for adding a gallon every x days.
    22k gallon IG plaster pool w/ waterfall. 425sq' Cartridge filter, 2HP Challenger Pumps (2), Poolvergnuegen 2x.
    Las Vegas, NV

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Most people add chlorine every day. That is the most reliable approach and uses the least chlorine.
    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: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Ok, I'm back and have more questions...

    Just tested today after shocking this weekend to take care of any residual algae...
    FC - 28
    pH - 7.4
    T/A - 120
    CH - 950 Tap is 220
    CYA - 110

    I'm pretty satisfied that I'm on top of the algae problem, which is what led me here in the first place.

    I have a scale problem that I realize is due to high CH and letting the pH and T/A get too high. I've been working on it over the last week and have dropped the T/A from 190 to 120, and plan to get it down to 80ish. Is that a good plan to (combined with keeping pH in the 7.4-7.5 range) to keep the CSI as low as possible?

    I also noticed that using borates will drop my CSI as well and help with pH stability from my waterfall. What effect will borates have on T/A, if any? Should I go this route? Seems the boric acid is the simplest to add...

    Again, I can't say enough about the depth of information here. I just wish I found it before using tabs all of last summer
    22k gallon IG plaster pool w/ waterfall. 425sq' Cartridge filter, 2HP Challenger Pumps (2), Poolvergnuegen 2x.
    Las Vegas, NV

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    I'm sorry, am I missing why you aren't replacing water to lower the CYA and CH levels? Forgive me if I'm missing the obvious...been in the sun all day!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Skip the borates. CH is only going to go up with evaporation and hard water. And I mean UP. With your heat and the waterfall, I'd guess 50 ppm/week minimum! There comes a point where no matter what you do, you can barely keep CSI in the safe zone, and have no safety margin. I know; I hit 1100 at one point last year.

    110 is doable for CYA, but not easy. I've done that, too.

    All around, the best thing is a partial drain & refill. So any borates you added will go down the sewer. I'd have done it last year but we were under water restrictions here. I'm not sure if there's anyone doing reverse osmosis in Las Vegas; I kinda doubt it. Bruce and Sal, who used to be members here, have a business doing that near San Diego, and they had been demonstrating the unit to several of the casino hotels. If there was someone local, I doubt they would have been called in.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Skip the borates. CH is only going to go up with evaporation and hard water. And I mean UP. With your heat and the waterfall, I'd guess 50 ppm/week minimum! There comes a point where no matter what you do, you can barely keep CSI in the safe zone, and have no safety margin. I know; I hit 1100 at one point last year.

    110 is doable for CYA, but not easy. I've done that, too.

    All around, the best thing is a partial drain & refill.
    I kind of figured that was the answer. It sounds like I'll have to do a partial drain every year to stay on top of the hard water. This water is only a year old. Draining it by half should be sufficient, at least to get through the summer I think.

    Draining is a pain for me, as I have a septic and have to run the water out to the street and hope the water police don't see me! Anyone have any luck with the harbor freight submersible pumps?
    22k gallon IG plaster pool w/ waterfall. 425sq' Cartridge filter, 2HP Challenger Pumps (2), Poolvergnuegen 2x.
    Las Vegas, NV

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Do you have RO available for your pool in your area?
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Check Calsaway they may be available in your area.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    Is there any trick to the partial drain and refill? I've heard issues with exposed plaster and I'm concerned I might do more harm than good. I'd rather some calcium scale than need a replaster at this point.
    22k gallon IG plaster pool w/ waterfall. 425sq' Cartridge filter, 2HP Challenger Pumps (2), Poolvergnuegen 2x.
    Las Vegas, NV

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Tell me I'm on the right track...

    You can do it a little at a time like I've been doing. I empty my spa out and use it to water the lawn. Sometimes I refill the spa from the pool and repeat it. Then I refill with the hose. It will take a lot longer and isn't as efficient from the standpoint of losing Calcium, but the spa walls are only dry for an hour or so.

    Since you're in Vegas, I'd suggest a sleepless night doing it. Refilling takes a long time. But you wouldn't have the sun to contend with, and I suppose spraying the hose on the walls every so often would keep them from drying out too much.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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