Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    I'm renting a house with a 20' x 40' inground pool (approx 24k gallons, I think).

    Last year I managed to get the pool running with minimal help from a neighbor (the landlord doesn't really know anything about pools, so I'm in this alone), but this year I'm having trouble and doing it without any help.

    I opened up the pool to a swampy mess, pulled out the plugs and connected the pump, filled up the water to the skimmer line, and proceeded to dump shock into the pool, and backwashing regularly. The water is starting to clear up, but the walls of the pool are quite dirty, and I still can't see to the bottom of the deep part. It also smells like something rotting a little. But the real issue I'm having, is that I can't seem to shock the pool- no matter how much chlorine I dump, my test strips come up zero. I tried using a kit that uses drops, and it confirmed- my pool has no free chlorine. This was after about 8lbs of shock. So, I went back to the store the next day (today), and bought 2 more boxes of shock (5lbs each, "shock and swim" brand granules, 10lbs total). Dumped it all in, filter running and all.

    Still shows nothing on the FC test, although the water got considerably cloudier and little white dots rose to the surface- dead algae perhaps?
    I guess I'm not hitting this thing hard enough, but I'm reluctant to keep throwing more money into shock if its not working. I'm really short of cash at the moment (going through a shaky job situation, just lost a lot of money), but I'm too heavily invested in this to give up (I just purchased a new solar pool cover and fixed a pipe as well as some other things before I knew I was in financial trouble).

    Here's the vitals according to my test kit:
    FC 0
    PH ~ 7.8
    Hardness 200
    Cyn - can't tell from the color, it appears to be higher than 50, but still much less than 100. Maybe 60?

    What do you guys recommend? Am I in over my head with this? If this is going to be a very complicated and expensive thing to recover from, maybe i'll just put the cover back on and wait until next year or something. Am I even heading in the right direction?

    Thanks!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Keep at it. There must be something in the water, perhaps some ammonia, that is using up the chlorine. Eventually you will add enough chlorine to burn off the last of the ammonia and things will go back to normal. In the mean time, keep shocking the pool.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Thanks!
    The big problem is that I'm not shocking it all at once, right?

    So far I've dumped a grand total of 18lbs of shock into the water over the span of 3 days (because I had to go back and get more). I feel like if I had done that all at once, I would have been golden.
    I'm also not going to be around to backwash the filter Wed and Thursday this week, so I'll likely be leaving the filter off for the next two days starting tomorrow night. Does that mean it will just grow back and I'll be starting all over again? Should I wait until Friday to start battling this thing again? Or does it pay to start now, take a break and resume?

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    I think a read through pool school might be in order, please see the link for pool school in JasonLion's sig. The grandular shock your are buying can get pretty expensive, standard bleach can replace it for much less money. Also, shocking is not doing in one lump sum. It's a process that needs to be tended to until all of the algae is dead. When I first started my shock I had to add bleach on an hourly basis for about 8 hours until it started to level off.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Guest

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    I have edited my sig to contain the links as well.

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Quote Originally Posted by Burnsy
    I think a read through pool school might be in order, please see the link for pool school in JasonLion's sig. The grandular shock your are buying can get pretty expensive, standard bleach can replace it for much less money. Also, shocking is not doing in one lump sum. It's a process that needs to be tended to until all of the algae is dead. When I first started my shock I had to add bleach on an hourly basis for about 8 hours until it started to level off.
    I've heard about this and read it on other forums as well, but it was usually followed up with someone mentioning that it is not as potent, and therefore takes more of it to do the same job (thus negating cost savings)... Another source (may have even been on this forum, I've been lurking for a while) implied that they use it only during off season because they prefer not to swim in it... Is it really a viable and recommended alternative?

    I intend to read up in the pool school section, but its a lot to take in all at once. I appreciate you guys taking the time to help with my individual questions.
    So back to the schedule- would should I do tomorrow knowing I'm going to let it sit again for 2 days following?

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Guest

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    I can give you my experinces. I purchased a house with a pool having never owned a pool before. It was a swamp. I followed the directions given in the pool school using bleach as my sole source of chlorine. It is work, you have to stay on top of it and you need a good chemical test kit. Test strips are known to be inaccurate. Using my TF100 test kit, many filter cleanings, much brushing, much vaccuming and following the BBB method resulted in a crystal clear pool and the knowledge to keep it that way without using stablized chlorine. It is a lot to take in but if you take it one step at a time, I can tell you from personal experince, I cleared my swamp with about $75 retail cost worth of bleach. (Note: I did not pay that much, I paid about $14 total but wife combined coupons with rebates etc).

    Edit: letting it sit for two days without added chlorine will result in a total loss of the chlorine you have added, when shocking it is a battle against time, you need to continually add chlorine to overwhelm the green, if you let up for two days, you will be back to square one.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    All of the various forms of chlorine are just as effective as each other if you add corresponding amounts. The big difference is that some of the different forms add additional things that you may or more often don't want in the pool. Trichlor tablets and granular dichlor add chlorine, add CYA, and lower PH. Cal-hypo adds chlorine and calcium. Lithium-hypo is expensive, but otherwise fine. Bleach is inexpensive and doesn't add anything you don't want. The price differences aren't huge (except for lithium-hypo), but they add up over time.
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Quote Originally Posted by Burnsy
    Edit: letting it sit for two days without added chlorine will result in a total loss of the chlorine you have added, when shocking it is a battle against time, you need to continually add chlorine to overwhelm the green, if you let up for two days, you will be back to square one.
    So basically, I should just hold off until the weekend when I have more time?

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    25

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    If you are going to have the pool sit for 2 days with no circulation, then yes I would say wait.

    If you are going to get this clear, you are going to need to make time to get it clear and it will take several days. You may need to be adding liquid chlorine every 2 hours to keep your chlorine levels high. You need to get as much of the stuff out of the pool as possible. It will be much harder to clear if you have several inches of rotting organic matter (anmials and leaves) on the bottom.

    It is a certainty, you add enough liquid chlorine (bleach) over a long enough period of time, the water will clear. You may go through $100 of bleach, but it will still be less expensive than what you will be told to add to the pool by a pool store.

    In regards to your quote
    "I've heard about this and read it on other forums as well, but it was usually followed up with someone mentioning that it is not as potent, and therefore takes more of it to do the same job (thus negating cost savings)... Another source (may have even been on this forum, I've been lurking for a while) implied that they use it only during off season because they prefer not to swim in it... Is it really a viable and recommended alternative?"
    --Anyone that says that bleach is less potent, or that says I wouldn't swim in it, is really just not understanding chemistry at all. It truly is all the same, whether you add bleach, liquid chlorine (which is just bleach with a pool friendly name), shock, cal-hypo, diclor, or triclor -- once it is in the water, the active ingredient is all the same. It is the byproducts that are different. The byproduct of bleach is salt, and very little at that. The others will cause a build up of either calcium or cyanuric acid -- both of which eventually will cause more problems.

    I have been impressed with the sound chemistry and science backing up true results that is seen on this board. You can not way off the cuff, uninformed responses like you refer to above with any credible grain of salt.
    35x19 15,000 gal, SWG, Pentair equip, 100% solar coverage, 400K heater, 9x7 spa Inground 3M Bora Bora with Dark Gray plaster

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Elizabeth City, North Carolina
    Posts
    15

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Don’t give up!

    Like others said before, I also bought a house with a swamp in the back yard. This pool had been closed for three years.

    Just keep the filter on, shock, vacuum, backwash, and it will clear up.

    I know I guy whose gazebo blew over into his pool during a storm and he had to rent a crane to get it out and replace the liner, but he pumped water from a brackish canal behind his house to refill the pool and the water was black! But he got it turned around.

    Also….
    If you are renting this house and in a situation where money is tight, I would talk to the landlord about helping you with the expense of fixing “HIS” pool.

    18,000 gallons, vinyl IG, DE(filter area 60), 1HP Hayward

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Quote Originally Posted by lewis
    Also….
    If you are renting this house and in a situation where money is tight, I would talk to the landlord about helping you with the expense of fixing “HIS” pool.

    Seriously. He bought the house to turn around when the market got better, and really knows nothing about the pool or much about the house in general. He said I'm welcome to use it, but it would be my responsibility.

    He does help when something breaks, though. Last year I had a problem with the valve on an intake pipe to the pump; it was an old metal valve that had rusted out during the winter, making it impossible to open the line back up from the skimmers. He came, replaced the whole section with PVC, and replaced a wonky circuit breaker as well.

    I do sort of feel like I should ask him to help me with the chemicals cost since upkeeping the pool probably helps the value of the house in the end. But I don't know how to ask that without it sounding obnoxious. He doesn't get any use out of the pool, its totally my thing as long as we're renting it.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Quote Originally Posted by Weth
    If you are going to have the pool sit for 2 days with no circulation, then yes I would say wait.

    If you are going to get this clear, you are going to need to make time to get it clear and it will take several days. You may need to be adding liquid chlorine every 2 hours to keep your chlorine levels high. You need to get as much of the stuff out of the pool as possible. It will be much harder to clear if you have several inches of rotting organic matter (anmials and leaves) on the bottom.

    It is a certainty, you add enough liquid chlorine (bleach) over a long enough period of time, the water will clear. You may go through $100 of bleach, but it will still be less expensive than what you will be told to add to the pool by a pool store.

    In regards to your quote
    "I've heard about this and read it on other forums as well, but it was usually followed up with someone mentioning that it is not as potent, and therefore takes more of it to do the same job (thus negating cost savings)... Another source (may have even been on this forum, I've been lurking for a while) implied that they use it only during off season because they prefer not to swim in it... Is it really a viable and recommended alternative?"
    --Anyone that says that bleach is less potent, or that says I wouldn't swim in it, is really just not understanding chemistry at all. It truly is all the same, whether you add bleach, liquid chlorine (which is just bleach with a pool friendly name), shock, cal-hypo, diclor, or triclor -- once it is in the water, the active ingredient is all the same. It is the byproducts that are different. The byproduct of bleach is salt, and very little at that. The others will cause a build up of either calcium or cyanuric acid -- both of which eventually will cause more problems.

    I have been impressed with the sound chemistry and science backing up true results that is seen on this board. You can not way off the cuff, uninformed responses like you refer to above with any credible grain of salt.
    Ok, I'll give it a shot. The missus is at Target right now anyway, told her to pick up some unscented bleach. Think 8 jugs is enough to start me off? Judging by the pool calculator on this site, it might be. Cheap Target brand bleach is $2+ per gallon sized jug, she says.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    cubbybeave08's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Northwest Indiana
    Posts
    890

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Quote Originally Posted by dishe
    Quote Originally Posted by lewis
    Also….
    If you are renting this house and in a situation where money is tight, I would talk to the landlord about helping you with the expense of fixing “HIS” pool.

    Seriously. He bought the house to turn around when the market got better, and really knows nothing about the pool or much about the house in general. He said I'm welcome to use it, but it would be my responsibility.

    He does help when something breaks, though. Last year I had a problem with the valve on an intake pipe to the pump; it was an old metal valve that had rusted out during the winter, making it impossible to open the line back up from the skimmers. He came, replaced the whole section with PVC, and replaced a wonky circuit breaker as well.

    I do sort of feel like I should ask him to help me with the chemicals cost since upkeeping the pool probably helps the value of the house in the end. But I don't know how to ask that without it sounding obnoxious. He doesn't get any use out of the pool, its totally my thing as long as we're renting it.
    Ask him since it is his pool if he would be willing to cut $100 bucks off the rent in exchange for you being the caretaker of his pool. What you learn here you could easily take care of his pool and save him the expense of having to seek professional help.

    And as far as the pool recovery goes. The hardest part about clearing a swamp is staying with it long enough to actually get it cleared. You have to add chlorine, then test it a couple hours later...if it is dropping below your shock level you have to add enough to get it back up. Then test it again in a few hours and then add enough...until all of the chlorine has sanitized all of the water and cleared all of the organics out of the water. Once your shock level holds over night then it is done. You have to keep vacuuming and brushing to get rid of it all. But that takes time. Wait till you have a few days...then hit it hard. Soon you'll be
    Beave
    Aqua Leader 24ft Round AG Wil-Bar Influence w/54 inch walls 13,500 gallons
    Swimline J-Blue Opal Liner, 1 4X20 Fafco Solar Bear Solar Heater
    Hayward 2 HP Swim Pro Voyager Pump Micro 150 with 4 way timer
    Swim Pro Voyager Filtration System with Hayward ABS Pearl wide mouth skimmer

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    When my pool has "swamped up" in the past, I've had to use up to 2 x 7 kg pails of shock (stabilized granules) to get on top of things. I have a bit more water.

    The thing that helped me the most is:
    --brush the walls if this is a concrete pool. Algae gets embedded in the texture and until you scrub you'll just be killing the top layer, which leads to immediate re-bloom. It's depressing to see even more green sludge released into the water, but it's necessary.
    --keep the temperature down in the pool. If you have a heater, turn it off, cover off. Seems like algae likes my water more above 80 degrees....???
    --use a clean spray bottle and spray a dilute chlorine solution (old clothes!) above the water line and scrub the tile & top to kill any algae in the grout. I also use baking soda and water mixed into a paste to scrub trouble spots.
    --if your pool is low on water, I like to fill it with a garden hose, full pressure, and let it "snake" along the bottom of the pool to stir up the algae on the bottom.

    It would help if you have a couple kids needing to earn their allowance.
    20 X 40 inground gunite. 38,000 gallons, Jacuzzi Dial Valve Sand Filter, Jacuzzi Magnum 1000 pump. 40 + yrs in (fairly smooth) operation thanks to cussedness and a tiny bit of hydraulic cement.

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Pool is eating my chlorine- still tests at zero!

    Well, thanks for the support guys- I didn't give up, and eventually prevailed (using liquid bleach to help keep the price of constantly shocking at bay).
    The pool is excellent, aside from a little yellow stain which I assume is likely a caused by a metal (I've heard about these, I'll look into those solutions for that next).

    Having a solar cover helped a lot as well, since the chlorine level stayed high in the pool for a couple of days while it had a chance to really eat away at the stuff.
    Now my only issue is my darned heater seems busted, and the solar cover doesn't really heat it enough on its own...
    I started a new thread about that here:
    hayward-heater-error-t34837.html

    Thanks for all your help, guys!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •