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Thread: head spinning from all the info......

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    t2roadrunner's Avatar
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    head spinning from all the info......

    Well, we have had our pool up for a little over a week and my head is swimming from all of the info regarding proper maintenance, levels, etc. Convinced dh to go ahead and purchase the saltwater system when we got the pool thinking that would make maintaining it easier. Well, not so sure I was right about that.... first, I have to say, I absolutely hated science and chemistry would have been my downfall if it had been required! That said, all of the abbreviations are killing me! I read through all of that in the Pool School, but have to keep going back to the abbreviations when reading everything else cause I guess they just aren't sticking....ph, TA, CH, CYA...geez!!! All we have as far as testing the water is the several packages of strips that came with the pool and the saltwater system. It now appears that those aren't really sufficient, so I need to get one of those....which to get without overkill....keeping in mind that we are somewhat pool dummies (dh would not appreciate that) and making sure it is one that we can actually understand. What started all of my research on this was dh stating that the alkaline level is low....WHAT THE HECK DOES THAT MEAN!!!!.... and, more importantly....what are you supposed to do about it?!?!?! In the "Basic Pool Care Schedule", it states.... Test the ph and adjust if needed, test the TA and adjust if needed, test the CH and adjust if needed, etc. Is it just me or wouldn't it be nice if in one place you could read "Test the ph and adjust if needed by doing whatever". Thanks for "listening", just a bit overwhelmed with the overload of info and having to go to so many different places for each thing. Wishing I was more knowledgeable about all of this so that I could create a place where you plug in the type/size pool, type of filter system, you hit enter and you have a step by step guide for dummies on the proper care of your pool (without abbreviations .... The thought of having 5000 gallons of nasty water in that pool gives me the hibbie gibbies!!
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    There is a great deal to learn, but after a couple of months it all become second nature and you won't have a problem with it. The best place to start is the ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry article in Pool School. That covers just about exactly what you were asking about.

    Another way to simplify things is to get the pool store to do a water test and then just post the numbers they give you and we can walk you through the whole thing.
    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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    t2roadrunner's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Thanks, Jason... unfortunately, where we live, there is no pool store close...we are lucky to have a Walmart. I believe the closest one is about an hour away. I guess I am just feeling a tad bit guilty...it was my idea to get the pool, but I knew that I didn't have the faintest idea about checking all those levels and maintaining it. Afraid that if the water looks clear to dh, he will be satisfied that it is ok.... must admit that I could be one of those germafobics if I didn't keep myself in check so I am probably a bit more concerned with the "proper" maintenance. It will mostly be myself, dh, our grandson and maybe a very few others using the pool, but I don't want anyone to get sick from our lack of proper care. Thanks for the tip on where to start, I will go there now....have actually been on here for at least 2 hours trying to figure out just exactly what else I need to get/keep to keep this pool as pretty as it is right now!
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Alright, no pool store. Then I suggest using one of your test strips and telling us what that reads and we can work from that.
    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: head spinning from all the info......

    I'd say it's a good thing you don't have a pool store close by!
    You can mail order a testing kit from http://tftestkits.net and be on your way!

    Next time you go to the store, stock up on Clorox, you will need it!
    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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    t2roadrunner's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Heading out with the test strips now....will post readings! Thanks, again!
    Robbie, you are probably right about it being a good thing we don't have a pool store nearby...think I would be hiring someone to come by and walk me through all of this
    And, as for the Clorox...... I wouldn't even know when to add it.
    I just read my posts to dh after he said "well, it couldn't be bad...the water is clear"....see, I told you that is what he was thinking.
    When the strip showed low alkalinity....he threw some more salt in the pool.....while the saltwater system was running.....I'm thinking that probably wasn't the solution....
    Back in a few with the test strip results!
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    The pool store would come out and sell you a bunch of junk you don't need though!

    You know how to add chlorine based on your test results. There's a range for your chlorine level you need to be in based on your CYA level. Without testing the water, you are correct, you won't know when to add.

    Salt wasn't what to add for low pH (alkalinity - I hope this is what he meant and not total alkalinity). That would have been borax, or you could aerate your water.
    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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    t2roadrunner's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    ok...heading to Walmart. Stips didn't go so well. We have 2 different type strips .... one measures 3 different things the other measures 6 different things. We tried both and they came up different.... Seems like I read somewhere on here that Walmart carries an HTH 6-way Test Kit so I'm off to see if I can find one.... and btw (abbreviation I went to the "Definitions and Abbreviations" link and printed it off. At least I don't have to keep searching for the tab I have that pulled up on now!

    Is there nything else you can suggest I might need to pick up at Walmart while I'm there ..... (and beer is not an option....unfortunately, we live in a dry county!!!) ?
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    t2roadrunner's Avatar
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    oh... and I bet you are all thinking we should have stuck with a sprinkler !!! Honestly, though, I really do appreciate your help as I sit here feeling like a great big dummy!!!
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Both you and DH will benefit from the information found in "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School on this website.

    Please caution DH about throwing things in the pool when he doesn't understand the consequences. It is one of the fastest ways to get in trouble and cost you a lot of money.

    To keep your pool sparkling clear until you can learn more, I suggest you put in 1 quart of 6% laundry Clorox each evening after the sun is off the pool. Run the pump while you are doing this and pour it in front of the return.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Thanks for the info..... I just read over "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" and actually saved it so I could print it off and read it again.

    As for dh throwing the salt in the pool, I don't think he will be doing that again but he does think I am getting a bit carried away with the chemical balance of the water....(hmmm, maybe he has a point since I have now been scouring this sight for nearly 5 hours trying to understand all of this)

    I do have a question, though, since we are running the salt water system every night, do we still need to add the bleach every day? Also, is there something else that we should be adding to keep the chlorine level up during the heat of the day, or would running that salt water system during the day be sufficient instead of at night like we have been doing?

    Thanks again for any help! I really am trying to understand all of this.... it is just a bit overwhelming!
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    You'll get it, just keep asking questions! Learning the chemistry will be fun, and extremely beneficial!
    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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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    since we are running the salt water system every night, do we still need to add the bleach every day?
    My apologies, I completely overlooked that you had a salt water generator. Disregard my entire post for now and I will post back in a bit.
    Dave S.
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Okay, I'm back up to speed. Test Results! Test Results! Test Results!

    Please post them as soon as you get them and we'll go from there.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    ok.... just back from Walmart and they didn't have the HTH 6-way Test Kit,,, all we were able to get was a 3-way test kit which checks bromine, chlorine and pH.

    Chlorine test and Bromine Test: So, we put the pool water in the tube added the 5 drops of OTO solution, placed the cap back on, inverted the tube several times to mix the OTO and water..... got nothing. In other words, the water never turned even the slightest shade of yellow. We even bought a couple of extra pkgs of the solutions, so we repeated the process with a different bottle of the OTO...still no change.

    pH Test: same process....mixed 5 drops of the Phenol Red solution, mixed it together and wha-la....results on this one..... dead-on match to 7.6.

    I'm not really sure what to do now to get any other readings....

    I have read the section "Water Balance for SWGs", but I just don't get how to adjust the levels.....

    "adjust salt to manufacturer's recommended range....starting out slightly higher than the ideal level." - We put in the amount of salt according to the type pool we have, but have no way of knowing what the reading is...

    "adjust CYA to between 70 and 80"...... ok, between 70 and 80 what? and how do you know what and how much to add?

    "adjust SWG % setting or run time so your FC level stays bet 3-5 ppm." I don't even begin to understand the Chlorine / CYA Chart

    then there's the Total Alkalinity, pH, Calcium Hardness and borates.... this is gonna be a long summer.....
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    I'd say it's a good thing you don't have a pool store close by!
    You can mail order a testing kit from http://tftestkits.net and be on your way!
    Since you do not have a pool store nearby to even give you a clue about some of your levels [most important up front will be the CYA (stabilizer) so you know how much FC you need] ... you are going to have to get yourself a good test kit as was previously suggested.

    No Yellow = No Chlorine (FC)!!!

    CYA levels are reported as ppm (parts per million) ... you need the T100 or Taylor 2006 kit to test it.

    Once you know CYA level, then you know what FC level to try to maintain ... either with your SWG (which currently appears to not be working?) and/or bleach

    pH is next important ... currently you are fine
    next important would be TA to verify it is reasonable (usually do not have to be overly concerned, although with a SWG it seems best to get this lower so that pH does not rise as quickly)
    And CH could be important for a plaster pool to avoid scaling

    Borates are generally optional ... ignore that for now.

    Focus on learning your CYA level!!! and then get the FC in line

    ETA (Edited To Add): When you order your test kit, you also need to order test kit for the Salt level or you will never know where you are at as the SWG can display some strange numbers and you need to be able to verify salt level to determine if it is a hardware problem or really a salt level problem
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    The HTH 6 way drop kit contains a CYA test and instructions on how to use it. You can either do a CYA test now to get your current level, or assuming you just filled the pool last week, you can make a list of everything you added to the pool since then and we can make a guess at what the CYA level is likely to be.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Quote Originally Posted by t2roadrunner
    I just read my posts to dh after he said "well, it couldn't be bad...the water is clear"....see, I told you that is what he was thinking.
    Easy to say that when the water is clear. What would he say when you wake up one morning and the water is cloudy and/or green? Which WILL happen eventually if you are not in tune with what is going on in the pool.

    Need to get the test kit and learn to use it now before a problem develops and then you are having to learn the tests AND how to clear the green pool.

    BTW, since your FC is 0.0 ... the pool could start clouding or turning green at any moment. Things are starting to grow now ... you just can not see it yet.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    The HTH 6 way drop kit contains a CYA test and instructions on how to use it.
    But they did not find the 6-way test, so still no way to test it.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: head spinning from all the info......

    ok....the no chlorine really has me scared cause I know enough to know that stuff is growing if there is no chlorine.... so, we got both test strips out ... one tests for 3 things, the other for 6. Both of those are registering no chlorine. the pH and Total Alkalinity are both in the ok range. Should we turn the salt water system on boost?
    Intex Ultra Frame AG
    16' x 48" - 5061 gallons
    Krystal Clear Filter Pump
    Model 635T - 1500gph
    Cartridge A (59900)
    Krystal Clear Saltwater System
    Model CS8110

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