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Thread: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

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    New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Hi,

    Just wanted to say hi and preemptive 'Thanks!' to all the questions I'm going to be asking about my pool. This is my first full summer with it and I've been a little let down by my pool guy. So, I'm trying to do this myself (hoping to save the cash, too).

    I've been stalking this forum for a bit and already learned a lot. It's quite a place and I'm glad I found it.

    My first question - I'm taking my water in to Leslie's for its second test. Last week, they said my Chlorine level was too high to measure anything else. According to the cheap test strips I bought (before finding this site and the recommended kits... have to pick one of those up once I get the cash) the Chlorine level is lower now, so I'm trying again today. My question is - can I believe their results? I realize this depends partly on the store person that works with me, but I suppose what I'm after is a general idea from the experienced folks here if a place like Leslie's USUALLY provides accurate and valid test results.

    Just trying avoid spending even more money on stuff I don't need.

    Thank you!
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    You will need to find out all of the test levels to get an accurate glimpse of what you've got going on... See if you can get all of these results from them.

    FC
    CC
    TC
    Ph
    TA
    CH
    CYA

    Just saying that your chlorine is high isn't really telling you anything. Are they measuring fc or tc?
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist buy w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panels mix 2, TF-100 test kit.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    The accuracy of testing depends on the tester, their knowledge of procedure, and the materials they use to test. If they are using a strip to test anything other than salt I would not trust it. If they are using a computer to color match test results I would be suspicious. If they tell you CYA >70 won't be a problem I would not trust them. If they get readings that are far lower or greater than they should be according to what you have added I would not trust those results either.

    High FC only effects testing for pH. They should still be able to test TA, CA, and CYA without difficulty.

    Post the results here and don't buy anything from them!
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    If you've done as much reading as you imply, you'll know that FC is dependent upon CYA level. So even if they say it's too high to test things, it may still be too low for your pool!

    Get your own test kit ASAP. Check out this thread - it should take you straight to the key post. post281247.html#p281247

    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by tethys69
    Just trying avoid spending even more money on stuff I don't need.

    Thank you!
    Then stay out of pool stores!

    Buy a super duper test kit (we all use the TF-100, great value, great service, fast shipping, online only, owned by a beloved forum member). You will have it in a few days. Then test and report back here.
    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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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Wow. Those are the fastest replies I've ever gotten from a forum. Incredible.

    I see a high end test kit in my near future. I will start there.

    Very, very much appreciated!
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Quote Originally Posted by tethys69
    I see a high end test kit in my near future. I will start there.
    Even the fanciest one is cheaper than getting pool-stored.
    IG Plaster 20,000gal, attached spa w/ spillover, hayward C12002 cart filter, 1 1/2hp pump w/ polaris 360
    6/16/12 - PH 7.6, FC 6, CC 0, CYA 30, TA 80, Calcium 310

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Indeed!
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Hi again,

    TF-100 has arrived. It's my first time with such a thorough kit so take it easy on the flaming if I sound lame . Please review my suggested resolutions and let me know if you guys and gals agree. Suggestions are most certainly welcomed.

    Pool size is 12500 gallons. Vinyl. I have a chlorinator in which I put the 3" tabs. I run the filter 8.5hrs per day. I live in southern Virginia.

    Results:

    FC - 8
    CC - 0
    TC - 8
    pH - < 6.8 (gauge doesn't go lower)
    TA - 0 (The test was pink as soon as I mixed it. It was never green.)
    CH - 240
    CYA - 80

    So, if my studying serves, I need to do the following:
    FC- no adjustment needed
    CC - no adjustment needed
    TC - no adjustment needed
    pH - adjustment needed. Considering it seems to be below the range of the gauge, how would I know how much soda ash or borax to add? One other thing... if the pH is this low why do our eyes not sting?
    TA - adjustment needed. Adding the soda ash for the pH will also increase my TA, but I assume baking soda is the better way to go here because of the giant gap I need to cross? The pool calculator suggests 293oz of baking soda. Agree?
    CH - no adjustment needed
    CYA - adjustment needed? The pool calculator suggests I drain half the pool to get this to 40. Which, as you can imagine, I'd rather not do. But the instructions on the TF-100 state that 80 is at the top of the acceptable range. Any thoughts?

    As always, thanks in advance for the help!
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Stop using pucks in that chlorinator, That's first. It will just keep raising CYA until the chlorine is ineffective, and then one day you'll have a cloudy pool, and the next day, a green cloudy pool.

    I would recheck pH and TA tests. pH is VERY dependent on lighting. And background. Full sun and a white background is best. I use a white plastic patio chair as my screen. It also seems to work better if you hold it at arm's length to match colors. On the TA test, doublecheck you're using the right reagents. It's easy to get confused and start adding the wrong drops. I've done it many a time.

    That said, if you're confidant of your test results, visit http://www.poolcalculator.com/ Bookmark it, you'll be using it a lot. Down near the bottom you'll see "Effects of Adding Chemicals." See what adding that much Baking Soda or Soda Ash will do to pH and TA. Decide then which way you want to go. Or you may want to use Borax to raise pH.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Thanks, Richard320. I'll take your suggestions and see what I come up with. I hate to stop using the tabs simply because they're convenient as heck, but I certainly see your point about the CYA so I reckon' I'll have to suck it up.

    One more question came to mind while I was testing - does it matter from where I pull the sample? Deep end vs shallow end? Or is it really just a matter of getting it from at least 12" below the surface?

    If anyone else has any comments, please feel free.
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    I get my water sample from the middle of the pool away from any return jets about 18" below the surface. Dont feel bad about having pucks left over, I have at least 1/2 a bucket myself. There are a lot of us here that made the switch to BBB and have left over pool chemicals.
    18x36 Vinyl In-ground w/roman ends 27,400G, Hayward 3/4hp with 300# sand filter. Hayward heat pump heater

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Yes BadOleRoss, it's a bitter pill having to not use those pucks after spending the money on them. Thanks for the validation. I'm consoled by the idea that I'll save some money from here forward using the BBB method.
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Odds are that you will find the opportunity to use thse pucks eventually. After a year or so of using primarily bleach the CYA will have dropped. Then you will have the luxury of pucks once in a while, like for a vacation.
    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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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Thanks anonapersona, an excellent point!
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Quick update - retested pH and TA from the center of pool and got the same results as earlier. (yikes)

    I'm going to go conservative on everything. Especially safe on the pH and say that it's 6.5 (though I don't even think it's that high...but I can't prove it). I can slowly add more borax if necessary.

    The awesomeness that is the pool calculator suggests the following:
    - if I add 57 oz of borax i will
    a) raise pH by 0.5 (in case my low-ball guess is closer to 6.8 than I think it is then this will put the pH just to 7.3)
    b) raise Borate by 3.9 (which I don't think matters)
    c) raise TA by 8.9

    - if I add 170 oz of baking soda I will
    a) raise TA by 61 (61 (with bs) + 8.9 (with borax) = TA of 69.9)
    b) raise pH by .12 (.12 (with bs) + 7.3 (with borax) = pH 7.42)

    If this works my TA and pH will still be a little on the low side, but I can work with it and adjust as necessary.

    Before I proceed, does anyone have any "Whatever you do, DON'T do this thing you're about to do!!" comments? Or any other suggestions?

    Three questions -
    1) can I add baking soda and borax at the same time (well, one after the other) or do i need to wait a certain amount of time before I do the second one?
    2) how long do I wait after adding both chemicals before I test again?
    3) does anyone find it odd that I would have a TA of 0 and a pH of less than 6.8 and not have some sort of physical reaction while in the water (stinging eyes or whatnot)? I'm a little concerned about going overboard to raise the TA, though I've tested it twice now.

    My truest thanks to all who've jumped in (pardon the pool pun) to help me out thus far. You've got a great group here.
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    If TA is very very low you should add baking soda to raise the TA up to around 50 or 60. Give that an hour to mix in with the pump running. Then test PH again to see where you ended up. Then adjust PH up to at least 7.2. Things will still need some fine tuning after that, but there won't be any rush to get it fixed right away any more.

    When TA and PH are both very low, baking soda will raise both of them significantly. When TA and PH are in the normal range, baking soda has almost no effect on PH.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    Thanks, JasonLion. As you suggest, I'll just stick with the 170oz of baking soda and see where we are.

    Any thoughts about why my eyes don't sting (or other physical effects) considering my TA is this low? Should they?

    BTW- that pool calculator of yours is fantastic. Thanks for putting it together.
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    OK, so I added 160 oz (an even 10 lbs) by weight of baking soda and let it mix for a couple of hours with the pump running.

    Results -

    1) my pH is still below the gauge.
    - This isn't really a suprise at this point, though, considering how low it apparently was to begin with.

    2) my TA is still 0 (????)
    - I don't understand this. I was expecting a TA of about 50-55. I add 2 drops 0007 to the 25mL sample and mix - sample stays clear. The I add the 5 drops of 0008. The sample stays green for a bit but once I start mixing it it turns pink. I'll admit this is better than it was before adding the 160 oz of baking soda - when I first tested for TA the sample turned pink as soon as the 5 drops of 0008 were added. So I guess this is a step in the right direction, but shouldn't I have SOME kind of TA reading after added all of that?

    Trying not to go overboard with anything so before I add another 10 lbs of baking soda I wanted to post these results and get opinions on my next steps.

    Thanks much.
    12.5K gal, Pentair Plus DE filter (FNSP48, 120gpm flow rate), IG, Vinyl, 1 HP WhisperFlo pump, Polaris 280 cleaning robot with booster pump

    Pool store!? We don't need no stinkin' pool store...

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    Re: New to TFP and newbie to Pool Maintenance

    I found this while searching on Taylor Alkalinity testing. Maybe it's because of the high chlorine?

    http://www.poolplaza.com/pool-school/al ... ting.shtml

    "Testing Alkalinity Levels

    The Total Alkalinity test is a titration type of test. It contains three elements.

    First, you add a chlorine neutralizer to the sample. This removes the chlorine from the sample that would interfere with your test results. In the Taylor test kit, this is done by adding 2 drops of R-0007. Note that if your chlorine level is above 5 ppm, you should double the number of drops in this step in order to be sure to neutralize the chlorine.

    Second, you add the alkalinity test solution to the sample. In the Taylor test kit, this is done by adding 5 drops of R-0008. Swirl to mix.

    Third, you add a mild acidic test reagent to the sample drop by drop, counting the number of drops until the test sample turns colors. This is known as titrating the sample. In the Taylor test kit, you add R-0009 drop by drop until the sample turns from green to red. Then count the number of drops of R-0009 you added and multiply by ten to get the total alkalinity reading. In other words, if it took ten drops, then your reading is 100 ppm.

    There is one interference to be aware of in the alkalinity test.

    If the chlorine level is really high, then the color may flash from blue to yellow instead of green to red. This can be solved by adding more neutralizer in step one.

    There is one misconception to be aware of in the alkalinity test.

    It is widely circulated that you should take your Total Alkalinity reading and subtract one third of the Stabilizer reading to get your true alkalinity reading. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Don't believe it even if your local pool store kid tells you it is true. He is probably delusional. Stabilizer is Cyanuric Acid and does not register as Carbonate Alkalinity, therefore it will not affect the accuracy of your Total Alkalinity test. "
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
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