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Thread: High TA, chronicle of 1st pool season

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    aa62579's Avatar
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    High TA, chronicle of 1st pool season

    Edited to change title - no need to start a new thread when all of my info is in this one.

    Just finished filling our new pool yesterday afternoon. Intex, Easy Set (inflatable ring), 18' x 48". I filled it using a timer and our water is from a community well source.

    Of course, we HAD to go for a bit of a swim, even thought the water was pretty cold from being fresh out of the hose!

    Afterwards, we turned the pump on, I added 40 - 45 oz of bleach spread out around the peremeter, and I added a sock with about 30 oz of CYA. (For a temporary fix, we tied it to a small boogy board type thing we had floating in the pool.) I meant to only run the pump for 6 hours, but thinking about it now, I think I probably left it in the ON mode instead of the timer mode. Oh well, I know people who run their 24/7, so I shouldn't be hurting anything except for my electric bill!

    Before we got the pool, I did a bit of testing on the water out of the tap. (Taylor K-2006) pH was 7.2

    I tested again last night, about an hour after adding the chemicals. We then covered the pool for the night. Plan right now is probably to keep it covered most of the time during the week, but then leave the cover off during the weekend when we would be more apt to get in the pool multiple times. I have heard the cover helps protect against chlorine loss, but have also heard it is good to let the pool "breathe". We have no trees near the pool, but will have dust and bugs.

    FC = 4.2
    CC(?) = 0 (It is the other test, can't remember if it was CC or TC)
    pH = 7.2 or 7.4 (Lighting was getting bad at that point.)
    TA= 325
    CH = 275
    CYA = not tested, initial dose of CYA added

    Why do you think my TA is so high? Why would our drinking water be that way? I have read mixed opinions on if I need to try to lower my TA or not. I understand to do this I would need to add muratic acid to lower the pH and then raise the pH by aeration and repeat as necessary. I would do this if my pH continued to raise, correct? I have a bottle of pH plus on standby (could not find borax here), but I think that it will raise my TA also.

    My plan now is to work on try to maintain the chlorine level by testing and using the pool calculator while I wait for my CYA to raise, then trying to come up with more of a set schedule for adding chlorine with a full test 1-2 times per week.

    Should I wait and see what my pH does or should I add some pH plus to raise it a bit? Is there anything jumping out that I need to watch or be doing?

    Thank you in advance!
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Some areas have very high TA levels in their tap water. It has to do with where the water comes from. Your water is drawn from aquifers in rock that contain a lot of TA, which dissolves into the water, and it is too expensive for the town to bother removing it.

    High TA levels tend to cause the PH to rise very rapidly. With TA that high, I am sure you will see this effect fairly soon. Don't raise the PH, it will go up on it's own. PH at 7.2 or higher is fine for swimming. The simplest thing to do is to lower PH to 7.2 every time it gets up to 7.8. If you need to do that annoyingly often, you can follow the instructions on lowering TA in Pool School.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Thank you. Guess it will just be a wait and see game, but it the meantime, probably would be a good idea to look a bit closer at those homemade aerators (though don't know if any of them would work with a soft sided pool) and try to figure out where to buy some acid.

    Thanks for the explanation on the high TA.
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    To answer your original question, yes you are doing fine. I would suggest you test daily until you know more about how your pool responds to the environment, swimming load, and chemicals. If you have questions or problems you know where to come to get answers. The folks on this site will give you quality help when you ask for it. As for where to buy acid, I usually get mine at one of the big box hardware stores although sometimes I buy it at one of the pool stores that carry it. Muratic Acid is used in construction so it is usually available where cement supplies are found. One other thing you may want to get is a mask to wear when you are adding MA. I find without one the fumes are a little tough on the nose.
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    I got my MA at Lowe's in the paint section. Home Depot has it too.
    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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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Quote Originally Posted by Txmat
    As for where to buy acid, I usually get mine at one of the big box hardware stores although sometimes I buy it at one of the pool stores that carry it. Muratic Acid is used in construction so it is usually available where cement supplies are found. One other thing you may want to get is a mask to wear when you are adding MA. I find without one the fumes are a little tough on the nose.

    Thanks. I am pretty rural, but we do have a small Ace Hardware that might carry it. Unfortunately no bix box stores or pool stores aside from Wal-Mart. What kind of mask? Full fledged gas mask type thing or like a cloth dust mask?

    *RobbieH* - If I can't find it here, they have a Lowes and Home Depot about an hour away. Spent all day there on Tuesday, but of course I didn't have my pool and test kit to know about my TA problems yet!
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    I do you use a painters respirator type, but that is because I had one. But, if I didn't I would probably pick up the cheapest the store had and try it. If it didn't work then I would go to a better mask. I didn't use one for the first year I was adding MA and would just hold it at arms length. While I do not believe I suffered any injury, it is not pleasant. Ace probably has the MA, and Home Depot has it for sure. If Ace has it buy it by the gallon since they are close, but if you have to go all the way to Home Depot get a couple of cases since they are so far away. With your TA as high as it is I suspect you are going to be using a fair amount of MA. Within a few weeks you will get a handle on your chemical demand and will know how much to buy.
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Eye protection is very important but a full respirator is not so important, you can avoid the fumes with a little practice.
    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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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    I will keep that in mind.

    Printed out some blank "worksheets" for me to fill in my test numbers and notes. I think it will be good for me to keep track of what I am doing so that I will remember it later on or to help me explain why I am adding certain things to my husband.

    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Quote Originally Posted by aa62579
    or to help me explain why I am adding certain things to my husband.
    The more I read that, the more humorous it becomes!
    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: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    My tap water is 340 TA, in The Woodlands, community well water. My pool regularly rises to pH 8.0 with the spillover spa doing aeration all day. As everyone has said, just keep the MA on hand and add regularly to push the pH back into the recommended range.

    You can adjust the TA either fast or slow. Fast means add MA and aerate. Slow means just push pH down to where you need it, and do it frequently. You get to the same place, eventually, fast is just more work all at once while slow is more work spread out. Same amount of work I think.

    I suspect that the freshly added water still had a lot of CO2 in it from being under pressure, that will escape soon and then you will see where the pH wants to go.

    Let the MA mix for 30 min to an hour before swimming.

    Good job with the log of test results. I keep mine in a file so I can recall when certain things happened, heavy pollen using chlorine for example, or what temp water was when chlorine usage went up unexpectedly.
    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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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    Quote Originally Posted by aa62579
    or to help me explain why I am adding certain things to my husband.
    The more I read that, the more humorous it becomes!

    You know, I even changed it. At first, I had written "why I am doing certain things to my husband". And although I understood I was explaining, to my husband, why I was doing certain things, I just couldn't stop taking it the wrong way either!
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Boo. Got home and glanced in the back yard and saw pink and green. Pink and Green! That can only mean one thing - the pool cover is no longer covering the pool (and therefore our floats are showing!). Either our strong wind gusts yesterday, not having it cinched up tight enough, or a combo of the two let the cover slip off. Thankfully it did not go flying around and into the barbed wire fence or a mesquite tree - part of it sank and part wrapped around the floats which turned out to be just enough to anchor it and the floats inside the pool.

    Didn't see the point in running a full test yet. My pH was 7.4-7.6, so it seems to be going up about .1 - .2 per day. I asked my husband, and he was familiar with muriatic acid and said we could get some this weekend to add to bring the pH and TA down. When I put in the powder for the FC test, it just barely turned the slightest shade of pink, so I knew there was no point in wasting reagent to test it. This was to be expected though with very little CYA in the water and being in full sun.

    Went swimming again, and aggitated our sock full of CYA some. By the end of our swim, I would estimate that 1/3 - 1/2 has been dissolved into the water. I probably added a bit too much bleach afterwards (around 50 oz instead of 45 that I thought I needed), but wanted to empty that 96oz jug. I knew we would not be swimming today unless it is really late since we have a birthday party at a local pub to attend tonight, so I felt safe adding a tad bit too much chlorine. With the low levels of CYA, I do expect it to be used up fairly quickly as well.

    Plan now:
    Tonight - Hopefully be sober enough when I get home to test FC and add bleach. If nothing else, be sober enough to at least add a cup or two of it!
    Tomorrow - Find MA and purchase two gallons of it. Swim during the day. Do a full test. Add in required amount bleach to bring FC to 4 and MA to lower pH to 7.0. (Thinking maybe I will shoot for about 2/3 of the amount it suggests since I have heard the pool calculator can be a bit off in this area.)
    *plan is to add bleach, wait a bit, then add MA to ensure they do not mix together and form a gas*

    By the way - QUESTION - do you guys have set of clothes you wear when you add the bleach or do you just assume you are careful enough not to get it on your regular clothes? Been easy the past two nights because I have just been in my swimsuit coverup which I don't really care what happens to, but what about on those nights I don't swim?
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Quote Originally Posted by aa62579
    By the way - QUESTION - do you guys have set of clothes you wear when you add the bleach or do you just assume you are careful enough not to get it on your regular clothes? Been easy the past two nights because I have just been in my swimsuit coverup which I don't really care what happens to, but what about on those nights I don't swim?
    I have ruined a lot of good clothes. Just one tiny micro splash of bleach, unnoticed, will ruin something. It doesn't matter how careful I am, one time in 5 will ruin something.

    If it is warm enough I just strip down to my undies. Our yard is private enough for that. In swim season I add after I swim, I am trying to swim daily now, but I dont' always. I may go out in my PJ's or if it is cold switch to sweats that are already ruined by tiny bleach spots.
    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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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Thanks - that is what I am thinking... I ruin too many clothes just by cooking and I don't need to lose any more to bleach. I have some "loungers" that I wear some between work clothes and bed time that I think may fit the bill.
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Yay! Didn't have to add as much bleach tonight! FC was 5 this morning and 2.5 tonight. All the CYA has dissolved out of the sock. PH was 7.6, but I was able to find some MA which we will add sometime soon.

    Pool looks great, but my skin is really dry afterwards.
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Good numbers again tonight.
    FC=2.5
    CC=0
    pH=7.3

    I added 2 cups of bleach to raise FC to 4. I am going to hold off on adding more MA until the pH comes up to a 7.6 or we figure out a way to aerate to get it to raise faster.

    I will do a full test later on this week to check CYA and TA level (making sure to wipe the tip of the bottle between drops.)
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Updating for my own reference log!

    FC was at 2.5 for 3-4 evening tests in a row and I would add 16 - 20 oz of bleach each evening to raise it up to a goal of 4. (Marks on cup are at 16 and 20, so I would just aim for somewhere in the middle.) Unfortunately, I couldn't get any FC to register on Tuesday night and pH had jumped back up to 7.8 or higher. So, I had to add 45 oz of bleach and then later added about 65 oz of MA to get my pH down. Tested last night and my FC was at 3.5, CC at 0, and pH at 7.3. So, what happened? No clue. Maybe I did a test wrong or shorted a measurement adding bleach. Maybe I even forgot to add bleach Monday night! Right now I am chalking it up to a fluke or operator error since numbers were good last night and pool is still clear.

    Ran the CYA test again. Still not really ever getting the dot to disappear like I want it to. I have looked at the links and the pictures, and I am close, but not there yet. So, I am estimating my CYA at 15. Added about 10 - 15 more ounces into a sock and left it to float around the pool. I will retest in a week or so. Target will be 40, but since I am in full sun all day and we already need to add more water (due to evaporation and an incident where the pool cover sank and we dumped out a good bit of water pulling it out) I am fine with my CYA reaching 50.

    SALT! Wanted a softer, silkier feel and less eye irritation. At Tractor Supply, I found Sure Soft Solar Salt Extra Coarse Salt (99.8% pure, blue bag, no mention of any rust inhibitors or 'plus' on bag) for $5.49. Picked up two bags. We added one bag and swam around with it, stirring it around with our feet. I liked what it did, but I wanted more, so after our swim we added in the other bag swirled it around and turned the pump to run continuously. (Also added another half sock of CYA at this time.)

    Since our TA was so high, (325), I haven't really seen a need to retest yet. If our pH is still climbing, it is still too high. I know it will take multiple rounds of MA and letting the pH come back up before we get a handle on it, so no need to waste any more reagent right now. (First day I dropped the bottle and the top popped off and half spilled out.) Maybe test it every 2 weeks until we get closer to target.
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    The way I have successfully aerated my pool has been to turn the eyeball on the return up.
    Larry in Texas

    Above ground 7,700 gallons, 19 inch sand filter ( 2 sq. ft.), Liquidator, and a WaterWay Hi-Flo Pump with an A.O. Smith 1 hp SF 1.0 motor.

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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Have I started correctly, and WHY is my TA so high?

    Quote Originally Posted by Txmat
    The way I have successfully aerated my pool has been to turn the eyeball on the return up.
    I have it pointed up and it doesn't break the water. However, the pH seems to be going up fast enough on its own though just with the high TA and the bit of swimming we do each day. (We have already lowered twice with MA when the pH reached 7.8 since it got full on June 1.)
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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