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Thread: Holiday problem...

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    Holiday problem...

    Hi I am on holiday in Malta, and we are having problems with the pool. The pool man is a local and a little..erm...intransigent. Last week he came, and after he left, the pool turned dark blue, and then went milky. We noticed granules floating on the surface of the water. My son developed red dot like spots between his legs, and our eyes stung when we swam. The children hid in the house from the heat for the next few days. Gradually over the week the milkiness disappeared, and the pool returned to normal, and we were able to swim - but the chlorine irritated my sons spots and he was unable to go in the water more than once a day.

    This week I asked the pool man to come later in the morning to discuss the issue, but he came half an hour earlier than the agreed time, and he had already added the powder to the pool by the time I realised he had "given us the slip". He said he had tested the water and the water needed more chlorine - although my wife doesnt think he had time to check.

    The granules are Niclon 70g that he adds to the basket at the end of the pool. He says he normally adds two large scoops ?500g once a week, then uses tablets which he puts in the basket. He also adds a powder to the pump which would also appear to be labelled Niclon 70g but he indicated was something different to protect the pump.

    This time he added one scoop of Niclon 70g and didnt add the tablets that he usually puts in the basket at the end. He said I should add a 500g scoop of Niclon 70g in the basket every other day.

    I do not think the pool man can be relied on to provide an accurate picture - and it is possible that there is something we do not know (not treating the pool when people are not around to check he comes for example - this was a problem my sister in law had with him last year when she was first out to the house).

    The long term solution to the problem is surely to get a new pool man, but what to do in the short term?

    My children need to be able to swim. Can anyone make a good guess about what is happening?

    I wonder whether he was treating an algae problem which he allowed to build up prior to our arrival (when noone was using the pool, and noone was around to check what was happening). Is the milkiness due to killing off algae with a high dose of Niclon 70g? Why should the granules float in the pool (just after the pump came on)?

    Would it be better to add half a tin (250g) of Niclon 70g every day - to avoid having times where there are particularly high doses of chlorine.

    When the pool man left he said "You will have an algae problem". I wonder whether he knows more about what is happening than he is letting on, and actually we need higher levels for a while.

    Any suggestions?

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    I doubt the "pool man" knows much of anything about pool care. I Googled Niclon 70. It's Cal-Hypo, a powdered form of chlorine. If that's all he's doing, stay out of the pool. That isn't properly caring for a pool.

    In order to feed a pool properly, you need to test it with a proper test kit. There is no way around this.

    I wouldn't take a holiday there again.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    You have just highlighted the reason many of us take a test kit on holiday, even if only a few test strips. I like to at least know there is some chlorine in the water and the ph is there or there about before I dip a toe in the water.
    32x16 -16,500 gallon plaster pool with connected spa and spillover, Hayward RS 1 HP pump, 2 Hayward Cartridge filters. 10 hours of direct sun a day and a first time pool owner!!

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    Oh dear... Is the milkiness due to an algae burst, or could it be anything?

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    Is the milkiness due to an algae burst, or could it be anything?
    It could be many, many different things....although algae would be pretty far down on my list.

    It is most likely calcium precipitation but you are spinning your wheels trying to find a cure with a reluctant pool service and no test results of any kind.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Holiday problem...

    OK. Thanks for the help. I realise it is an impossible question and am grateful for your kind answers.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    XsAllOverIt's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday problem...

    I question why you would ever want that pool man back if he's avoiding you after you specifically asked to speak with him about what he did. I'd pay the last bill, purchase a TF-100 test kit and read some of our threads. You'll end up much happier and confident. The next time you go on vacation, if you've practiced what you've learned here and from my experience, you can have a friend simply come over and add chemicals, if needed by looking at your history, i.e. the only thing I've needed to add all years so far (I've got an SWG) is about 2 cups muriatic acid every other day and if I went away for a week, I'd have the neighbor kids come over and add 2 cups 3 times during the week. I would be confident knowing that all was well and would adjust appropriately when I arrived home. The advice you get here is truly worth while practicing.
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  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    The cloudiness is most likely due to the Cal Hypo he is adding. If that is how he chlorinates the pool week in week out then you are going to have a pretty significant calcium rise over time and cause calcium clouding every time he adds it.

    The stinging eyes etc may very well be PH related not due to "chlorine" at all.

    He adds chlorine every week so you can assume the pool is relatively sanitary - certainly cleaner than the ocean - but without knowing what your CYA levels are it's impossible to say how long the chlorine hangs around. Are there pucks in a floater as well or just the powder?

    Bottom line - it's a temporary situation for you and hard to give good constructive advice without proper test levels. If the pool is irritating to your family dont swim in it - but if you can't see algae and you know he chlorinates it every week I wouldn't be afraid that it's somehow a disease risk.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Re: Holiday problem...

    Quote Originally Posted by lightingguy
    He adds chlorine every week so you can assume the pool is relatively sanitary - certainly cleaner than the ocean
    I an not saying your wrong necessarily, bit can you provide any data that shows at what minimum chlorine level a pool is more sanitized them the ocean which can have 30k + ppm of salt?

    maybe I am naive but I would much rather swim in the ocean than a pool where a dude stopped by to throw in an indiscriminate amount of cal hypo once a week.

    Brad
    22,200 Gallon Rectangle IG - Vinyl Liner w/ Jacuzzi Lazer Sand Filter

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    Salt doesn't sanitize.

    Scott
    Owner of - PoolGuyNJ LLC
    Expert Pool and Spa Repairs, Renovations, and Augmentation. Helping people decide what is the right gear for meeting their needs. Expectations Set, Expectations Met, No Surprises.

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Holiday problem...

    Thank you all. The significance for me is that the pool belongs to my mother in law who is widowed and runs the house on her own. The pool man may be inarticulate and "local", or may be hiding something. This problem I have is, I discover, identical to the one suffered last summer, and I tend to think that he is not doing what he should.

    From all your kind and helpful comments we have decided to take a sample of the water to an independent pool shop, and find out what is actually happening - hopefully tomorrow. I am guessing that he doesnt treat the pool until there are people around to check he is there when he is supposed to be, and then he shocks the pool (perhaps repeatedly) until he is happy with the results. I am also aware that the nozzle on one of the jets is missing leaving a large pipe, and one nozzle which doesnt seem to circulate the water properly. This is probably why we have the problem at present.

    I suspect he is not testing much and going by intuition - he is the third generation to maintain the pool. This is an emotional issue as well as a simple keeping the pool clean problem for my mother in law.

    In a few weeks my sister in law will arrive with toddler and I would like to sort it out - and to provide objective advice for the family before I return to GB.

    I will (if able) post the results of the test for your interest.

    Thanks again.

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    BCE - I appreciate your point but what I'm saying is ANY level of residual chlorine in the pool is going to make it much "cleaner" than the ocean. The ocean is absolutely teaming with life - life that includes bacteria and algae and all the other stuff we use chlorine to kill. I can't provide exact numbers for you but the algae found in any ocean would seem to be proof enough.

    If the chlorine use in the pool wasn't at least kinda consistent there would be obvious algae growth in a warm climate.

    The original poster was concerned that the cloudiness (probably Calcium) and the irritation (quite possibly PH) was caused by some sort of runaway bacterial infection in the pool - or something equally scary. All the evidence would suggest that there is no need to be afraid of the water in the pool - it just needs some attention.

    Edward - sounds like a plan on the pool. Obviously there is a human element to your situation which makes it difficult, but we should be able to sort out the chemistry.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Re: Holiday problem...

    Chlorine is at 1. pH is very low - it was below 6.2 (and couldnt be measured using his kit - the paper strips with squares of colour for each test). Calcium hardness was over 1,000 - which is apparently normal for Malta (big limestone rock in the Med).

    I bought a kit (not strips but the liquid testing chlorine and pH). New pool people (similarly imprecise as other one) suggested pH will correct itself - and suggested I added water from the tap, and leave pump on as long as possible. Clearly more interested in taking over from old pool man! Suggested the symptoms were consistent with no attention before we arrived, and then adding large amount of chlorine when we got here.

    Any advice? Borax? WHat is borax?

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Holiday problem...

    Borax is also known as sodium tetraborate and is the main ingredient in 20 Mule Team laundry booster. You can use borax, washing soda, or soda ash to raise the pH of the water quickly. Since you have a lot of calcium in the water you will want to keep the pH around 7.2 to help prevent calcium scale.
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  15. Back To Top    #15

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    Malta may have very hard water - but the Calcium Hypo that he was using to chlorinate your pool is what has pushed the CH level sky high. There's nothing dangerous about this to the swimmers - but it can cause calcium scale on tile and equipment. You should expect significant clouding anytime Cal Hypo is added to your water.

    The super super low PH is however not a good thing. No wonder your eyes stung! Definitely no swimming until you can get the PH up to at least 7. I would be skeptical of the PH taking care of itself. If you can't find borax perhaps the pool store sells something to raise PH?

    Is calcium Hypo the only chlorine available? If so it may be customary to run the PH low in order to avoid calcium issues (as PH goes up calcium scale becomes more likely) - and maybe your guy just got carried away.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Re: Holiday problem...

    Todays pool guy offered soda ash.

    I am going to propose that the first pool guy deals with acidity, and will also suggest that we use our gardener here to test water independently twice a week and report results to my mother in law who can then complain when the levels are not right. Better than using our skin as a test! We will see whether first pool guy knows what to do, and can manage water levels properly if he knows he is being monitored. My test: lazy or incompetent. We will see!

    I understand that pH of below 6.2 can damage the pool. I notice when I rub my hand on the poolside, that it leaves a white residue on my skin. Perhaps that's another issue. Probably best to deal with this once pH is corrected.

    Today pool is clear to look at, but still hurts to swim!

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Holiday problem...

    Oh and it would seem I should also ask if there are other chlorines available which will avoid the CH buildup.

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Holiday problem...

    I think you can assume anything white or cloudy in the pool is related to your Calcium/PH issue. Who knows how low your PH actually is - so the white dust could be the pool plaster itself dissolving. Sad thought. Once the PH is up - over the course of a few weeks you would expect the white dust to harden (I think) - you are kinda in unchartered waters for typical pool chemistry.

    I noticed there was no CYA test number - did the pool store not have this test? Having at least some CYA in the water will go a long way to keeping adequate residual chlorine in the pool. If the pool store can test for it it would help to properly advise.

    Soda Ash sounds like a plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardpeck
    Suggested the symptoms were consistent with no attention before we arrived, and then adding large amount of chlorine when we got here.
    I would totally disagree with this assessment. The CH issue is consistent with regular use of Cal Hypo - not just a large addition. The PH is bizarre as it would be difficult to get the PH of the water that low and keep it there - It's possible that your pool guy just screwed up and added WAY too much acid before you came - thinking it was chlorine or something. Either way I still maintain some consistent effort was made with the chlorine or you would have obvious visible algae.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Holiday problem...

    I am sure you are right. I have said they should not even think about dealing with the plaster issue until they have dealt with the pH.

    The pool man has agreed to come over tomorrow. Too bad we didnt notice the pool plaster problem immediately. He is bringing the soda ash (his suggestion I am pleased to say - so we are beginning to start to rule out incompetence. Laziness is a bit of a way of life here...

    I will ask about the CYA test. They didnt have it on the list.

    At present I have a trusted gardener doing the ph and chloring test. Should I get a better kit for him so he can monitor more? We will also discuss the change the chlorine issue tomorrow.

    Again my thanks - you are all so kind to bother with helping us.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Holiday problem...

    Hurray - found a lovely lady from the states who has got so exasperated by the people who came to look after their pool that she took over the job herself. She is coming tomorrow with a full testing kit and a bag of soda ash.

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