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Thread: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

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    AEFranklin's Avatar
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    Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    I got my pool last May. I tried the "pool store" way of chemicals and my pool severely deteriorated over six weeks. I then found this wonderful website and forum. I have been relying on this site ever since. I love it, and have gained a wealth of knowledge. Forgive me, but this is my first post. I have a quick question and don't have time to browse the questions because I'm freaking out now. I screwed up. I live in Alabama where the recent tornados past through. (About a mile from my house.) My home suffered no damage, but debris was everywhere in my yard - and in my pool. I have filtered out insulation for almost a month now. It is all but gone now. About 10 days ago, I noticed the pool turning black on bottom and my sparkling pool was quickly turning greeny-gray. I immediately knew I had an algae problem and went straight to TFP to get the answers. I have been maintaining shock for 8 days now. I am now losing only 1.0 overnight. Pool is MUCH better. No more dirt visible and water almost clear. Just a slight haze now. However, when testing this morning I got "too confident" without relying on TFP with every question. My pH was off the charts. I added pH down to lower it back to below 8.0. I came in to pull up the forum for something else and I failed to read that being at shock level this long would show abnormally high pH levels - until just now. I should have left it alone! My question is this: NOW, what do I do? Leave it alone or try to bring it back up? If so, when?

    Lesson Learned. I'm still not good enough to do this on my own.

    Thanks.

    17,500 AG Vision, Vinyl Liner
    2.0 hp, 2 speed pump
    Cartridge Filters - cleaned weekly by hand
    BBB Method since July 2010
    Live in Tornado Alley trying to clean it up
    Alabama

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    Re: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    Welcome to TFP!

    It's probably fine. If you tell me the FC level before and after you shocked with chlorine, whether you shocked with a hypochlorite source of chlorine (e.g. bleach, chlorinating liquid, Cal-Hypo, lithium hypochlorite), how much acid you add and whether it was full-strength Muriatic Acid (31.45% Hydrochloric Acid) and if you remember it your starting pH, then I can tell you roughly the effect of your adding acid. It takes quite a lot of acid to bring the pH down to a dangerous level below 7.0, but if you're still concerned just post the info and I can be more precise.
    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: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    Welcome to TFP!

    One thing to mention about pH when shocking your pool is that if the FC is high, it can cause the pH to read falsely high as well. If your FC is a above 10 ppm, this might be your problem and in which case, you wouldn't want to lower the pH. Does this make sense?

    Can you report your test results to us? Then, we can try to get you on the right track.

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    AEFranklin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    Yes, I read that when the FC is high, it can cause pH to read falsely high --- after I put the chemicals in to lower it.
    When I first started the process, my FC was 4, CYA was 20. I use only bleach. When I performed the overnight test 8 days ago, my FC dropped to 0. I then began the TFP process of defeating algae by bringing the pool to shock at 12 and I have kept it there for 8 days. I tested this morning (after testing last night after dark), and I'm now only losing 1.0 overnight. I was losing 4-5. I tested everything this morning including pH and CYA. My CYA is now at 60. The Chlorine/CYA chart now says my shock should be 24. I brought it to 24. Before I brought it to 24, I tested my pH and it wasn't even close to the color chart (it was bright purple). I use only bleach, baking soda, and borax. I used the store brand of pH down and put in 36 oz. That is when I came in and went to TFP to try to study up on my shock level being at 24 (because it has been at 12 since July of 2010). I THEN saw that I should not have tried to adjust pH because of the falsely high readings. Make sense?

    Thanks so much for your help! I'm just now getting things under control and I don't want to do anything to screw it up now!

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    Re: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    First of all, did I read this correctly where you say your CYA was 20 ppm when you started the process, you used only bleach, but now your CYA is 60 ppm? That shouldn't happen. The CYA should only climb if you added CYA or Trichlor or Dichlor to the pool. Do you have a drop-based test kit with the turbidity test for CYA where you see the black dot disappear? Or are you using test strips or getting your information from a pool store?

    As for the acid addition, don't worry about it. The purple you saw may well have been some bleach effect of the pH test at an FC of 12, but it's probably likely that the pH was high anyway. At any rate, the amount of acid you added would not have dropped the pH too far -- from 8.0 to 7.3 perhaps. Don't worry about it at this point. You're doing great.
    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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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    Yeah, you'll be fine. Don't sweat the ph until you are done with the shocking. I doubt it'll be below 7.2 anyway. I also second Richard's CYA question - it should not go from 20 to 60 without some CYA addition, so either something with CYA has been added, or one (maybe both) of the CYA test results are questionable.

    And you seem to be making good progress with the overnight loss getting smaller.

    Bottom line: Don't panic. Your pool (and you) will be fine.
    [center:1kpalu48]Helpful Links: Pool School | CYA/Chlorine Chart | Pool Calculator[/center:1kpalu48]

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    AEFranklin's Avatar
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    Re: Need help... I screwed up... lesson learned

    Thanks for the replies. I do the "black dot" test and the first time I ever did it after receiving my test kit was early April. I think I may not have been waiting long enough (the 30 seconds) to do the test. The first time I was so carefully watching the black dot that the water was spilling over the top and I could still see my black dot. Last year when I was using test strips, I never could get the stabilizer to read at all. It was very faint. I added some stabilizer in April but haven't added any since May 1. On several tests, it was reading 20 (but again, I could have been pouring too fast and not waiting on it to set up. I think it was user error on my part.

    I will keep an eye on it and repost here if I have any other questions. Thanks very much!

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