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Thread: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestions?

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    Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestions?

    I’ve been lurking here since last fall, picking up great advice and have finally registered.

    This is our first pool; we started renting this house last October. The owner is supposed to pay for all pool maintenance but I was told recently by the pool cleaner that the owner was pushing back on any 'extra' chemicals. That puts me in the middle of this and I’d just like to make sure that the pool’s kept in good shape. For that reason, I’m adding extra bleach and muriatic acid just to make sure that everything’s in good shape - the pool uses quite a bit of chlorine; 3 tabs (from pool cleaner), 2 cups of muriatic acid (me) and ~1.5 gallons of bleach (me) every week. We live in Tucson so the local water is extremely hard and I doubt that the pool water’s been changed in many years. The pool/connected spa is ~18,000 gallons.
    Here are the latest numbers:
    FC 2
    pH 7.2
    TA 130
    CYA 140
    CH 980
    Temp 83

    With the extremely high CYA and CH, I assume my only choice is to drain the pool. The pool looks very clear right now but I'd like to reduce the chemical consumption (especially chlorine). If I need to drain it, I'd like to hold off until fall to drain most of the water. The only other solution sounds like reverse osmosis which would likely be more expensive than just doing a drain/refill.
    My plan is to keep the pH at 7.2 and try to knock the TA below 100 (it was around 300 when I moved in and started reading this website; 3 gallons of acid later, it's 130). I don't know what else to do that makes sense.

    I am currently adding soft water from the house (I run a hose from the washer hookups to the pool) to keep the hardness from increasing further - or should I just turn the autofill back on?

    In a nutshell, three questions:
    1) Should I drain the pool this fall or do you have an alternative idea to reduce my CYA and CH?
    2) Should I keep topping off the pool with soft water or go back to autofill with hard water?
    3) The pool looks very clear right now; should I just leave things alone and be happy with the additional chemical consumption?

    Thanks in advance
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    A few questions:

    Can you ask the owner to fire the pool cleaner, and just reimburse you for the chemicals. You could face a situation where the pool cleaner comes over and undoes all the work you have been doing.

    Are you going to be there for a few years? If you are not planning on being there past this season, not sure if it makes sense to put in a lot of work for the next occupant.

    What are the numbers on your source water that you would be refilling from? You may find yourself improving your CYA, but doing nothing on your CH, and taking some steps backwards on your TA.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Firing the pool cleaner's not likely to happen; the owner wants to make sure that he knows what's going on with the pool and this makes it easy for him. As far as anything being undone, I talk to the pool cleaner every week. His philosophy is that the only things that matter are FC and pH so we're not dealing with a high level of sophistication. He is not going to add any chemicals (other than 3 tabs/wk) because he doesn't feel like messing with the owner, even if the pool seems unbalanced to him. As long as it looks clean, he's happy to clean the sides/bottom and drop 3 tabs into the pool weekly.

    We have a 3 year lease on the house so we'll be there until Oct 2013 at a minimum. I did that on purpose because the owner's deeply underwater and I'm expecting him to get foreclosed on ... been through that with a previous landlord. Fortunately, the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act allows us to stay until the end of the lease even if foreclosed on.

    I'll have to dig up the Tucson water numbers but I'm thinking that Tucson's CH runs ~350 out of the tap. I'm not sure on TA but at least that's something that I knock down with muriatic acid.
    I'd also like to use some soft water (not all) when refilling the pool. Besides, the water softener can only soften a bit of water at a time. Currently when filling with a hose, I periodically check my water softener and when it flashes 'recharge tonight', I stop filling the pool and do an immediate water softener recharge (~2 hours) before continuing to fill the pool.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    What extra chemical consumption? Your Chlorine demand won't increase with high CYA, only the minimum level. And whether it's in the pool now or comes out of a faucet, that's your TA. Gonna need acid anyway.

    Got a lawn? Water it from the pool, then replenish. That's what I've been doing to keep CH down. Each time I empty the spa and refill, I lose about 5% Ch and CYA.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Wow. I am in Tucson too and my water is no where near that hard!!! Have you tested just the tap water? I think mine was in the 200s (but I can not remember and did not write it in my log ... need to do it again I guess).

    Although we are on a private-ish well, I would not think the water was THAT different. Who supplies your water?

    I would test the water out of the tap to find out how hard it REALLY is ... my guess is it is lower than the pool. So using it would help lower it, but slowly.

    I do not know if using water from a softener is ok or frowned upon.

    What company is "taking care" of the pool? For now, I have Pool Chlor and they like to keep the CYA around 100 too. When I get rid of them, I plan to replace water to get to a reasonable level. Of course I woke to a cloudy pool again today and had to call and complain ... AGAIN!!!!

    It may be a decent idea to have the owner pay you what he pays the pool company ... although you may then take responsibility for any problems. If it said in your contract that he was going to take care of the pool, I am not sure how he can complain about added costs to maintain it. I am surprised that they are special charges anyway ... ours is a flat rate and when I call and complain the supervisor is at my house in hours.

    ETA: saw your post ... disregard last paragraph
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    If the pool guy is going to put 3 tab in per week independent of the pool's need ... can you get him to just put them in a bucket and then use your own bleach??? Or just pull them out as soon as he leaves and let them dry and then put them in your own bucket .... kind of silly, but at least you would not be getting more and more CYA in your pool.

    The owner of the house does not sound like he has a CLUE what is going on with that pool.

    Quite the pickle here.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    What extra chemical consumption? Your Chlorine demand won't increase with high CYA, only the minimum level. And whether it's in the pool now or comes out of a faucet, that's your TA. Gonna need acid anyway.

    Got a lawn? Water it from the pool, then replenish. That's what I've been doing to keep CH down. Each time I empty the spa and refill, I lose about 5% Ch and CYA.
    I thought that the chlorine consumption was high. I've compared it with neighbors and the pool cleaner has commented on the very high consumption rate. How many tabs/wk should an 18,000 gallon pool use?
    Great idea but we don't have a lawn; very little non-potable water consumption that I can think of (all of the shrubbery is on a timed water system and I don't think I want to mess with using pool water for the bushes). It's Tucson; I've got a rock lawn.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblauert
    Wow. I am in Tucson too and my water is no where near that hard!!! Have you tested just the tap water? I think mine was in the 200s (but I can not remember and did not write it in my log ... need to do it again I guess).

    Although we are on a private-ish well, I would not think the water was THAT different. Who supplies your water?

    I would test the water out of the tap to find out how hard it REALLY is ... my guess is it is lower than the pool. So using it would help lower it, but slowly.

    I do not know if using water from a softener is ok or frowned upon.

    What company is "taking care" of the pool? For now, I have Pool Chlor and they like to keep the CYA around 100 too. When I get rid of them, I plan to replace water to get to a reasonable level. Of course I woke to a cloudy pool again today and had to call and complain ... AGAIN!!!!

    It may be a decent idea to have the owner pay you what he pays the pool company ... although you may then take responsibility for any problems. If it said in your contract that he was going to take care of the pool, I am not sure how he can complain about added costs to maintain it. I am surprised that they are special charges anyway ... ours is a flat rate and when I call and complain the supervisor is at my house in hours.

    ETA: saw your post ... disregard last paragraph
    Crud; too many numbers floating around. I went to the Tucson Water website a while ago; thought that was the number. I guess not. I'm on city water.
    The soft water that I'm currently using won't lower the CH; the CH already in the pool remains there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblauert
    If the pool guy is going to put 3 tab in per week independent of the pool's need ... can you get him to just put them in a bucket and then use your own bleach??? Or just pull them out as soon as he leaves and let them dry and then put them in your own bucket .... kind of silly, but at least you would not be getting more and more CYA in your pool.

    The owner of the house does not sound like he has a CLUE what is going on with that pool.

    Quite the pickle here.
    I'm already pulling the tabs out and spreading their use out during the week. I could simply pull them out and not use them until refilling with fresh water ... and just use bleach for my chlorine until draining/refilling.


    Thanks for all of the responses.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    I would still suggest you test some water from your tap (before and after the water softener) to see what you are really dealing with for a source.

    I do not know how much a softener does, but if you are replacing 900+ water with 250 (tap) or ~100? (softened) ... it may not matter too much to not use the soft water (and save yourself from having to continually regen the softener.

    You running your own tests or taking them to Leslies? If the pool store is doing it ... take some tap water in and see what they think you need to do to your "pool".

    Definitely does not hurt to know all the test results on your water source.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by jblauert
    I would still suggest you test some water from your tap (before and after the water softener) to see what you are really dealing with for a source.

    I do not know how much a softener does, but if you are replacing 900+ water with 250 (tap) or ~100? (softened) ... it may not matter too much to not use the soft water (and save yourself from having to continually regen the softener.

    You running your own tests or taking them to Leslies? If the pool store is doing it ... take some tap water in and see what they think you need to do to your "pool".

    Definitely does not hurt to know all the test results on your water source.
    I'm testing my own.
    I can check soft water and outdoor faucet water (the fill line is connected to an outdoor faucet).

    It's not too hard to run the hose from the laundry room; I've been doing it for a couple of months and it takes less than 5 minutes to hook up. I do the same thing to wash my car (use soft water).


    Edit: Soft water CH = 20
    Tap water CH = 240
    Is it worth the effort?
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Man 900+ just amazes me.

    Look at it this way, assume currently 980:
    Replace half the water from the hose ... CH will be ~610
    Replace half the water from the soft water ... CH will be ~500

    Soft water just does not seem worth it to me as those are both still pretty high, but I do not have it, so what do I know

    With the numbers you originally posted, your CSI is +0.18 (not too bad, over +0.6 mean scaling is probable). BUT, and here is the danger, if all stays the same and pH rises to 7.7, CSI is +0.63 {if CH was lowered to 500, pH of 7.9 is +0.6}.

    So if you really keep control of the pH, I do not think your should be desperate to lower the CH ... But lowering the CH and the CYA could have some advantages.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Got a lawn? Water it from the pool, then replenish. That's what I've been doing to keep CH down. Each time I empty the spa and refill, I lose about 5% Ch and CYA.
    I chewed on this idea for a bit and I like it. The shrubs are on an automatic underground sprinkler system.
    I'm going to look for an inexpensive light duty sump pump to water the shrubs this summer. If I can do that, I'll turn off the sprinkler system and go that route.

    Quote Originally Posted by jblauert
    Man 900+ just amazes me.

    Look at it this way, assume currently 980:
    Replace half the water from the hose ... CH will be ~610
    Replace half the water from the soft water ... CH will be ~500

    Soft water just does not seem worth it to me as those are both still pretty high, but I do not have it, so what do I know

    With the numbers you originally posted, your CSI is +0.18 (not too bad, over +0.6 mean scaling is probable). BUT, and here is the danger, if all stays the same and pH rises to 7.7, CSI is +0.63 {if CH was lowered to 500, pH of 7.9 is +0.6}.

    So if you really keep control of the pH, I do not think your should be desperate to lower the CH ... But lowering the CH and the CYA could have some advantages.
    Yeah, I know 980 is sky high. But think about dumping fresh CH 240 water into a pool and refilling any evaporated water with CH 240 water. After a few years, you're going to get a big CH number. I'm just thankful that I bought a pool cover last fall; it's really cut down on the evaporation rate this summer (I see a big drop in water level the nights I leave it uncovered). Even with that, I lose a bit more than an inch a week.

    As for tap vs soft water, if I'm only refilling in small chunks, it's not that bad. I can run the soft water for ~an hour before the 'recharge tonight' starts flashing. That's an inch or so of water in the pool.
    However, if I was trying to fill half the pool with soft water, I'd have to wait 2 hours for the softener to cycle between every one hour fill. Definitely not worth trying to only use soft water on a large fill.

    Thanks for the numbers on CSI; I can see that I need to be very vigilant on the pH. There were very thick calcium deposits at water level. I had to use a straight edge blade to scrape the deposits off of the tile.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz
    Thanks for the numbers on CSI; I can see that I need to be very vigilant on the pH. There were very thick calcium deposits at water level. I had to use a straight edge blade to scrape the deposits off of the tile.
    You can get the CSI numbers using www.poolcalculator.com

    I used the straight edge razor at my last house. Somehow I never really had an algae outbreak, but I did not have a clue about any of this testing at the time ... luckily all I had to deal with was the scale (which sucks in itself). I have definitely learned a lot from this site and hope to do a better job at my current house.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Got a lawn? Water it from the pool, then replenish. That's what I've been doing to keep CH down. Each time I empty the spa and refill, I lose about 5% Ch and CYA.
    Richard, I can't thank you enough for this suggestion - for multiple reasons.

    Yesterday I went out to turn off the house 'sprinkler system' - the underground irrigation for all of the trees and shrubs. To my surprise, it was already off! I turned it off prior to the last deep freeze here and forgot to turn it back on. So that explains why the palm trees next to the pool are looking kind of sad.
    After discovering that, I ran out and got a sump pump that I could hook garden hoses to. I spent most of the evening/late night watering everything in the yard; it dropped the pool level considerably.

    I refilled the pool with soft water; four full cycles and recharges.
    I just checked my CH; it's down to 840. The CYA looks like it only came down a little bit (130) but I'm sure it'll drop with time.
    Obviously, the watering that I did is much heavier than I will do in the future but this looks like a great method to slowly change your pool water. And the great thing is that none of the water goes to waste.

    My strategy for the rest of the summer will be to water the trees/shrubs prior to every time I plan on refilling the pool, and I think that I'll stick to using soft water in order to get the numbers down a bit faster.

    I will also start adding Borax when I add muriatic acid. so-you-want-to-add-borates-to-your-pool-why-and-how-t4921.html

    Thanks all for everything; I'll try to remember to post numbers again once I'm happy with the CH.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    If you add borax and muriatic acid at the same time, it'll negate the pH lowering effect of the MA. Were you doing this on purpose?
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH
    If you add borax and muriatic acid at the same time, it'll negate the pH lowering effect of the MA. Were you doing this on purpose?
    The combination of the two forms borates; check out the link I posted - it's got some good information. Note that borax won't bring the pH up as fast as muriatic acid will take it down.
    I first have to find borate strips; they don't carry them at a couple of pool stores I checked. It may not be necessary to add much borax to my pool, as I already put some borax in the pool last winter to keep the pH from falling.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Update:
    2 1/2 weeks ago I left a note for the pool cleaner to put 5 tabs into the pool each week. He put in 2 (he used to put in 3), in spite of knowing that I've been adding chlorine out of my pocket every week. That was my limit. I finally called the owner and offered up to clean the pool for $45/month or get another pool cleaner.
    10 days later, the owner hadn't made a decision on how to go so I wrote a letter to him through the property manager. I increased my monthly fee from $45/mo to $70/mo or get another pool cleaner. He opted to pay $85/mo for another pool cleaner. Fine with me as long as it isn't additional money out of my pocket.
    The new pool cleaner came today (never tested the water prior to accepting the pool - what's up with that???). He cleaned the pool and put in 4 tabs and also left me 3 extras in case it ran out of chlorine during the week.
    I talked to him at length about the numbers (below) and he took a sample of water to test.

    Numbers:
    FC 1.5
    pH 7.2
    TA 130
    CYA 210
    CH 650
    Borates 45
    Temp 85


    I've continued to use pool water to water the trees/shrubs in the yard. I had been refilling with soft water but have switched back to letting the autofill refill the pool with regular tap water (CH 240). CH is not my concern; it's the CYA. When I did the CYA test for the original post, I didn't dilute the pool water and guesstimated 140. Yesterday I used 2 parts RO water and 1 part pool water to get the 210 (70 x 3) reading.

    I'm not totally happy about using trichlor tabs with a CYA reading this high but I'm not willing to shell out $30/mo for liquid chlorine in order to get the CYA levels down quickly. At this point, I'm not going to do anything extra to maintain the pool other than using pool water for the trees/shrubs in the yard.

    Does anyone have an opinion on how high a CYA level is a problem? I'll take another CYA reading in a week or so after I've watered the yard a couple more times.
    Should I simply keep the FC levels high in order to offset the high CYA?
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    A pool cleaner without a kit?? Kinda like a dog walking service without leashes, eh?

    1.5 is not high enough chlorine, even if you didn't have such high CYA. Can you ask pool cleaner dude to switch you to liquid chlorine? With CYA that high your min is 16, target 24, and shock 43. OMG... pucks will never get you to those levels. If putting enough chlorine in to get you to 24 every day is a problem for you... yes, CYA that high is absolutely a problem.

    16-24 (minimum to target) = 2.3 gallons of bleach PER DAY

    1.5-24 (current to target) = 6.6 gallons of bleach... NOW.

    Crazy stuff. It'd absolutely be a problem for me.
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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Frogabog, he had a full kit but only tested pH and chlorine levels while at the house. I thought it was rather strange but that's life. Not to mention bidding on a pool before even testing the water - kind of like looking at a car's exterior and declaring the only thing it needs is an oil change without bothering to pop the hood or look at service records. I told him to call me when he got the pool readings. I'm waiting to hear what he has to say before discussing target chlorine levels.
    When he looked at the chlorine level being 1.5, he said that was fine.

    As far as liquid chlorine, I discussed that I had been using walmart bleach and he said to stop doing that. I told him that it was exactly the same as the liquid chlorine sold in pool stores except that it was half strength. He gave me the standard glazed over look. And because liquid chlorine would cost extra for the homeowner, I doubt that'll happen.

    One of the problems that I have is that the homeowner is a total cheapskate. It's a typical AZ story - bought the house in 2002, did a couple of cash out refis (I estimate that he pulled out $100K in equity) and is now severely underwater. I figure that he's cashflow negative by ~$1200/mo.
    At this point, I'm simply waiting for the house to be foreclosed on so that I can tell the bank to comply with Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act - we still have a bit more than 2 years left on our lease.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    My bad on yesterday's CYA reading. I took the reading before I allowed the autofill to complete filling the pool and I probably didn't mix the RO and pool water enough. After measuring CYA twice today, I'd definitely say that yesterday's 210 was out to lunch.

    I took my time on letting the RO/pool water mix properly and took my time on doing the CYA test today. I also went ahead and did another full test on the pool today now that the pool is completely refilled.

    Numbers:
    FC 6
    pH 7.3
    TA 110
    CYA 125
    CH 600
    Temp 87

    I feel comfortable with using tap water (with CH 240) rather than soft water for refilling the pool now that the CH is coming down toward reasonable levels and the CSI isn't much above zero. I'll just make sure to keep close tabs on the pH.
    The CYA will be a bit more difficult to lower, as the pool service will be using trichlor tabs but as long as I keep watering the plants with pool water, I'm hoping to have that number below 80 in the next couple of months.

    As for the low FC level, I took three of the tabs out of the floater yesterday and put them in the skimmer while the pump was running. To my surprise, the pool guy had stuck a tab in the skimmer. I know that acid builds up when the pump isn't running so I removed the tabs prior to the pump shutting off. (Putting tabs in the skimmer allows them to dissipate faster than in a floater due to the increased waterflow over them when the pump's running).

    I'd like to get to a target FC of 10-16 at this CYA level but am happy with a FC level above 5 at this point. And the CYA level should slowly drop as I keep partial draining/refilling. In all, I think things are on the right track.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: Newbie; will probably need to drain pool soon; suggestio

    Using bleach isn't any more expensive than trichlor, most places it is less expensive.
    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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