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Thread: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

  1. #1

    Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Hi,

    This is my third year running our pool. We have had so much frustration with the thing. We wanted to get the pool open much earlier in the season, but we're only getting around to it now because of really bad weather throughout May and June. We've gotten such limited use out of the pool over the years. And the amount of money we've spent on this could have covered the cost of running two of 'em. So, I'm beyond the point of Spending Time And Money To Do Everything Properly And Precisely. I want the pool ready yesterday.

    My problem is: the alkalinity. The level is at 250 ppm, if not more (I do use a drop based kit for testing). Our pool is Intex, above ground, and holds 6,500 gallons, give or take. At maximum (32oz/2lbs per 10K gallons) I can add 21oz/1.3 lbs of HTH pH Minus every six hours and decrease it 10 ppm each time - if done constantly this would take 3-4 days to bring the alkalinity home. Meanwhile I'm destroying the pH levels so I have to re-increase those once I'm done. I can't spend 3-4 days + however long the pH Plus will take doing that.

    My question is: What's going to happen if I put in way more pH Minus than the maximum and get it done quick? I really need to know, because if it's the lesser of two evils I'm going for it. Also: Can I add pH Plus at the same time so I won't have to increase it afterwards?

    We've used the Krystal-whatever Salt Water Generator for the past two years and hated it with a passion (because it only works when everything in the pool's running fine, and that's never happened ONCE). So we're using the chlorine tablets this time. I understand chlorine's not as effective with high alkaline levels but say if I went ahead and put the tablets in, what effect would it have?

    The pool water is greenish and cloudy. My goal is to get the alkaline down and the chlorine in, and if that doesn't fix things I'll work from there.

    Any help is MUCH appreciated,
    Caleb Honegger
    pool & spa 31K gal below ground, gunite w plaster / Pentair DE Filter 60 sqft / Purex-Triton Whisperflo ¾ HP pump

  2. #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    There is no magic wand you can wave and everything work. BUT, you can have a trouble free pool with just a little work.

    Why do you want to lower the TA so quickly? It's not necessary to do that. You can keep an eye on your pH and every time you lower that, it will lower your TA. It may be a lot in the beginning but it'll slow down as the TA comes down. You should use muriatic acid instead of ph minus.

    Your first prder of business should be shocking your pool with liquid chlorine.

    Post a set of test results.
    pH
    FC
    CC
    TA
    CH
    CYA
    Salt

    You can get your swcg to work great once you get things fixed.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  3. #3
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    If you were to add all of that acid at once, the PH would go really really low, and that would most likely damage the pool.

    Also, if you are trying to lower TA, adding PH increaser to keep the PH from getting too low will raise the TA back up, completely defeating the whole point.

    If you want to lower TA, you need to follow the instructions in Pool School, and expect it to take a while.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  4. #4

    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    If you were to add all of that acid at once, the PH would go really really low, and that would most likely damage the pool.

    Also, if you are trying to lower TA, adding PH increaser to keep the PH from getting too low will raise the TA back up, completely defeating the whole point.

    If you want to lower TA, you need to follow the instructions in Pool School, and expect it to take a while.
    I wasn't aware of aeration but I will give it a try.

    Won't adding the acid over a long period of time just do the same thing as adding it all at once? If the pH is going to get really really low, I think it would be simpler to just make it low now as opposed to later.
    pool & spa 31K gal below ground, gunite w plaster / Pentair DE Filter 60 sqft / Purex-Triton Whisperflo ¾ HP pump

  5. #5
    Administrator JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    No, it is important that the PH never go below 7.0, otherwise you will cause damage. Adding the acid more slowly give the PH time to come back up via aeration, so it never gets too low.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    TFP Admin. Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  6. #6
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    You can change TA fast or you can change it slow. The point is, TA does not have to be dealt with all at once. It is OK to just be moving in that direction all the time.

    The fast way involves testing TA, calculating the effect of acid on pH, reducing pH to 7.0-7.2 with acid, testing pH to verify, aeration, testing pH until it gets to 7.8, then retesting TA, recalculating the effect of acid on pH, then reducing pH to 7.0-7.2 again with acid... until you get to where you want TA to be. Then you leave pH in the 7.5 - 7.8 range for swimming.

    As Jason said, you do not want to damage the equipment or the pool surface by getting pH too low. That means you need to do a lot of testing on where pH is and what effect the acid will have, so you have to know the TA each time. At lower TA, the same amount of acid will have a greater effect, so you cannot calculate 2 cups and then use that each time.

    The slow way is to test TA, calculate the effect of acid on pH, reduce pH to 7.5, let the kids swim. Testing pH daily, when it gets to 7.8 again, repeat. Be sure to retest TA every 2nd or 3rd time you adjust pH, for it will drop a bit each time. I find that about 3 adjustments will give a measurable and meaningful change in TA.
    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Donldson's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Understand, adding enough pH down to bring your TA to 150 all at once would also lower your pH by 6.46. If you had a pH of 7.5 that would lower your pH to 1ish. That's about the pH of stomach acid. You wouldn't have a pool by morning, or much of a lawn.
    28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Have you looked at having a truck of decent water brought in? It's only 6,500 gallons, less than a full truck (big one) and might even cheaper and definitely would be easier, depending on where you are.
    Current: 28,000G 18'x36' I/G AnthonySylvan Plaster; Waterway 60 sq.ft. DE Filter; 1.0hp x 1.65 SF Two-Speed (B2982) WhisperFlo; 2004-Present
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  9. #9

    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Ok, I'm taking it the slow way for alkalinity. I'd like to keep the pool and yard, thank you Donldson.

    What's high TA going to do to the FAC in the pool? We put a chlorine tablet in a few days a go, I've tested twice since, and the FAC levels have turned up zero. It's probably because I didn't have the skimmer set up right (heck, I don't even know if it's a real skimmer. It's a basket that's attached directly to the filter pump, I think intended for a sweeper attachment), but if it was because of the TA then that's a problem I'd like to know about. We used the 3-1 chlorninating tablets.

    Pool water's still cloudy and I'm pretty sure there's some algae growth in there. This is really stupid, since I used the new HTH super concentrated algaecide at the start which is supposed to keep algae away for up three months - a week ago. And the dose I put in was huge.

    Anyway, I've super shocked it, added a large dose of Metal Control, put in another tablet as the last one has dissolved and added a good amount of CYA to bring that up into the 30's-50's. I'll post the test results tomorrow and see what we can make of it.
    pool & spa 31K gal below ground, gunite w plaster / Pentair DE Filter 60 sqft / Purex-Triton Whisperflo ¾ HP pump

  10. #10
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    somewhitenoise,

    You really need to start from the beginning. You are putting things in your pool and you don't know what the outcome will be. Many of your assumptions are wrong and will continue to frustrate your efforts to get your pool clear.

    Good pool water management begins and ends with good testing. Since you do not have a good test kit, I suggest you either purchase one or take a sample of your pool water to a pool store and get test results. Posts those results up here and you'll get some meaningful help.

    Read all the basic articles in Pool School until you understand more about the chemistry.

    TA (alkalinity) has absolutely no effect on your chlorine.
    Dave S.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    If your pool is green and cloudy like you said in your first post, you need to complete the process of shocking your pool. Read how to do that in pool school. It will involve adding large amounts of liquid chlorine to get to your shock level and then keeping it there by adding more chlorine as often as possible until the pool is clear, CC is less than .5, and overnight FC loss is 1 or less. The tablets are not going to work if you have algae. They will not release enough chlorine at a fast enough rate.

    TA makes your pH raise. It it not effecting your chlorine.
    ~~ 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!!

  12. #12
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    The best thing you can do is order a good test kit and while your waiting on it to get there, read Pool School. Then read it some more. ONce you get good test results we can help but you'll still need to know what levels to shoot for and what different things do.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  13. #13

    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    I have the 6 way drop based test kit that Walmart sells, I know it's not one of the three awesome test kits listed in Pool School, but at least I'm not using test strips.

    Here are the results this morning (after adding HTH Super Sock It, 32 oz of Metal Control, CYA, and a fresh chlorine tablet last night):

    FC: >0.5
    pH: 7.0
    TA: 140-150
    CH: 700, give or take
    CYA: >30

    I did not add any pH Minus last night, yet curiously the TA levels have dropped 50 or so points from when I tested yesterday (190-200). Meanwhile the pH didn't move much. Also, the pool water is much less green than it was before - it's just as cloudy, but it has improved in color, there is hardly any green.

    The things I added last night definitely helped, for sure. I'm just wondering what did what though. I think shocking helped the color and the metal control helped the alkalinity. What do you guys think, and what's my next step? I'm looking into adding some liquid chlorine to bring the chlorine up to where it should be.
    pool & spa 31K gal below ground, gunite w plaster / Pentair DE Filter 60 sqft / Purex-Triton Whisperflo ¾ HP pump

  14. #14
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Keep it at shock level until you pass the OCLT. Simple as that. Use liquid chlorine.
    Quit throwing cal-hypo in it. Your CH is already 700!

    You really need to stop and read Pool School. You need to read it till you get it! Quit throwing stuff in your pool until you understand what you need and what you're putting in there is going to do.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 1.5hp Dynamo pump. 24" Pentair Sand Dollar Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit
    You can stop SLAMing your pool when you pass the OCLT (You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & You have .5ppm CC's or less) & your water is clear.

  15. #15
    Senior Member aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    You will need a test kit that will measure FC and CC. It needs to measure levels over 10. Get that ordered. As a crutch until then, you can mix your pool water 50/50 with pure water (distilled I think), test the chlorine and multiply those results by 2. Adding a product once or twice is not "shocking" the pool. You will need to get your FC up to at least 12 and keep it there if your CYA is 30. If it is really 40, your shock target is 16. You need to do this with LIQUID CHLORINE, aka, BLEACH.

    For a 6500 gallon pool, to bring FC from 0 to 12 will require 162 oz of 6% bleach. You will add that and then recheck your FC in an hour or so. In the pool calculatgor, plug in your new FC number in the left hand box and the right hand box should be 12 (assuming 30 CYA). That will tell you how much bleach to add this time. Keep repeating until you pass the OCLT test. (See Bama Rambler's signature.) This could take days.

    Please read pool school before you add any more chemicals.

    The link in my signature is one I referred to a lot when I was first starting out as it is pretty generic and I didn't get bogged down with details at first. You need to understand what the numbers mean and how they interact with each other. Right now you are just throwing away money and prolonging the time until your pool is in good shape.
    ~~ 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!!

  16. #16
    Senior Member svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Quote Originally Posted by somewhitenoise
    What's going to happen if I put in way more pH Minus than the maximum and get it done quick? I really need to know, because if it's the lesser of two evils I'm going for it. Also: Can I add pH Plus at the same time so I won't have to increase it afterwards?
    I have seen several people here talk about adding pH Down and pH Up one after the other, including at least one poor person who was instructed to do so by the pool store. This would be a great money making product for someone to sell...

    • "pH Up and pH down in one convenient, safe, easy to use package.
      Our patented formula (Dihydrogen Monoxide) is compatible with all pool types.
      Guaranteed to do nothing."
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  17. #17
    Senior Member frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Quote Originally Posted by somewhitenoise
    I have the 6 way drop based test kit that Walmart sells, I know it's not one of the three awesome test kits listed in Pool School, but at least I'm not using test strips.

    Here are the results this morning (after adding HTH Super Sock It, 32 oz of Metal Control, CYA, and a fresh chlorine tablet last night):

    FC: >0.5
    pH: 7.0
    TA: 140-150
    CH: 700, give or take
    CYA: >30

    I did not add any pH Minus last night, yet curiously the TA levels have dropped 50 or so points from when I tested yesterday (190-200). Meanwhile the pH didn't move much. Also, the pool water is much less green than it was before - it's just as cloudy, but it has improved in color, there is hardly any green.

    The things I added last night definitely helped, for sure. I'm just wondering what did what though. I think shocking helped the color and the metal control helped the alkalinity. What do you guys think, and what's my next step? I'm looking into adding some liquid chlorine to bring the chlorine up to where it should be.
    I'm a little confused over your numbers.

    "TC - >.5 " (I read this as TC is "greater than" .5ppm)

    Do you mean it's above .5ppm or less than .5ppm? If it's above .5ppm, how much above it?

    and...

    "CYA - >30" (I read this as CYA is "greater than" 30ppm)

    How much greater than 30? Or does this mean less than? Also, you say you added CYA. Do you know exactly how much you added? What was the CYA number before you added it? Did you use the pool calculator to determine how much to add?

    If you haven't located the pool calculator yet, look here. http://www.poolcalculator.com/ The Pool Calculator is your new best friend BTW :~}

    The TA looks good now, good enough to maybe leave it alone for a bit and work on shocking your pool. Adding "shock product" one time doesn't do the job. Shocking is a process, not a product. I suggest you read pool school (about 10 times lol...) and especially the how to shock your pool area. Once you understand the process, you will see why you've been having issues clearing the pool up. Don't be discouraged, you are not alone and even less alone now that you're here. If you do what is recommended here, your trouble full pool will be trouble free all summer long.

    Your first order of business (other than adding liquid chlorine, .5 is much too low, you need chlorine in there soon or your algae/green will return) is to get a good test kit. The HTH walmart kit has most of what you need, but one essential tool is missing (a way to measure total chlorine), and there are only two CYA tests in it. I believe you could order the TF50 which doesn't have the OTO test block/reagents (you have these already) and then your testing materials would be complete.

    If your water is/was green, you absolutely have to shock it. One good thing about green water is that you don't actually need the TC test to know you have combined chlorine. The green is all the test you need to verify it's existence. How much however, is a different story and knowing that is essential for shocking. Even when the green is gone, combined chlorine will persist until it's all killed while shocking. It could take days for this to occur (but usually less unless you've got a swamp), and you have to maintain shock level the whole time.

    To deal with this now, without the fas/dpd test on hand you'll need to enter your pool specs into the calculator, put your shock target level in the target column, your current level in the now column, and then mouse over the bleach field to the right where it will convert ounces to cups/oz in the field at the top and bottom of the page. Use the 6% bleach option, go to the laundry room and get whatever bleach you've got (as long as it's not no splash or some other special bleach, regular bleach is what you want) and add what the calculator says to add for shock level. Then (and here's the hard part with your kit) you will need to test every hour or two for the next day and keep the pool at shock level. You do this till there is less than .5ppm of combined chlorine, the pool is clear, AND you pass the overnight chlorine loss test.

    As you can see, doing this without the right test kit is kinda difficult because you can't test over 5ppm with the walmart kit, and you also can't test for total/combined chlorine (TC and CC).

    You could also take your water to a pool store and they will test it for free. Not as good as your own test, and often inaccurate but it is an option (as long as you don't let them talk you into any products). For shocking however, if the store is close maybe a few trips there over the course of a day wouldn't be the worst idea.

    The only thing you should be putting in your pool right now is liquid chlorine (bleach). Stop with all other chemicals including the tablets. Although if they are trichlor (HTH 1" tablets??) you could keep those in for a few days while shocking if indeed your CYA is less than 30. If they are cal-hypo, stop those now. 700 ppm CH is really high.

    Read pool school. This will all make so much more sense after you read up there.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Donldson's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Great answer by Frogabog. Don't feel bad, the proper way of doing things isn't something you learn from the pool store. I found this site from having a green pool and thinking adding 5 lbs of cal-hypo was how to take care of it. I learned a LOT that season and am always learning more.

    It's a humbling season learning everything, but after that you can feel smug about not being pool-stored anymore.
    28' Round Above Ground Pool, 17,000 Gallons. Dual speed Jacuzzi pump with cartridge filter.
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  19. #19

    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    Thanks a ton Frogabog. I meant less than .5 FC and less than 30 CYA. There were trace amounts of chlorine, not quite .5 but definitely something, and the test kit doesn't go lower than 30 for CYA. But the CYA level was just a little bit under 30, so I put the 'less than' in there. Sorry for the confusion.

    We've bought some bleach (the 6% stuff). Based on the chart I'll need an FC of 12, and the Pool Calculator says that requires a gallon and a quart of bleach. I'm just about to add that.

    There won't be enough time to get a test kit that measures FC that high, so we will be taking samples to a local hardware store that tests pool water. I'm leaving tomorrow night and won't be back home for a week, so my mom will have to take care of this (I'm 15) while I'm gone. I'm going to tell her what to look for and how much chlorine to add to keep it at shock level.

    One question: I know test strips are the devil's work, but will they test for FC at shock level? Running back and forth to the hardware store will be a huge pain, especially since we will need to add the bleach more than twice a day and have no way of testing shock level FC here at home. We're ordering a TF50 but there's no telling when that will arrive and since I'm leaving, we need to start the shock process now. I wish I could wait, unfortunately I can't.
    pool & spa 31K gal below ground, gunite w plaster / Pentair DE Filter 60 sqft / Purex-Triton Whisperflo ¾ HP pump

  20. #20
    Senior Member frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Adding more pH Minus than the maximum

    First thing to do, get your mom to read pool school. Lots of us moms (and dads, grandparents, aunts... lol) here to help her while you're gone as well.

    I find it remarkable that you've taken the time to learn about your pool, what kind of kid are you and can I buy one somewhere?

    Short answer is to dilute the pool water by 50% with distilled water, and test that with your HTH OTO test. Multiply the results by two. It should get you through shocking till the test kit arrives.

    To answer the question about the strips, they pretty much max out around 10ppm like they say, dark purple is dark purple. CYA on those is about as useless as they could possibly be, especially for levels under 50-60ppm.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

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