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Thread: New member, looking for help

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    New member, looking for help

    Hi everyone,

    I've been reading the site for the last few weeks. This looks like where I need to be. I've been having a problem keeping chlorine in the pool this summer. First some history:

    I've had my in-ground pool (spec in my signature) since 2002. My typical routine was a once a week shock, add a smart stick, algecide, a pool perfect phos free. Easy as 1,2,3,4. I suspected I was paying a bit more than I needed but the routine was simple, effective and easy. The pool looked clear, test strips always showed acceptable levels of chlorine, and I had water tests 4 or 5 weeks at the store. Occasionally I had to add some "stuff" to adjust the pH because we get a lot of acid rain and I have a heater. Life was good, ignorance was bliss for 9 years.

    This year was a whole different story. I went in for my post opening water test and chlorine was virtually non-existent. They had me add 15 gallons of liquid chlorine and said that if that didn't work I'd have to drain my pool and start fresh because I likely had nitrates from lawn and shrub treatment services in the pool that is chewing up all the chlorine. 3 days later the test strips showed no chlorine. I figured I'd try my luck at a different store cause I wasn't ready to drain the pool (in retrospect I probably should have). Store #2 said draining the pool was ridiculous and had me add bags and bags (and more bags after a few days) of shock. Regardless of how many bags I added the chlorine would hold for a few days and then the levels would quickly drop (according to the test strips). I went to Store #3 and they said, "get used to it, you are going to have to add a bag of shock every few days." I could accept that if I hadn't had 9 years of trouble free operation.

    3 different stores, 3 different answers. So now I'm here, ready to take control of my pool. I've read the site, I bought the TF-100 test kit, did the tests and need help to figure out what my next step is. My water looks great. Clear, no cloudiness, no burning eye complaints. I do have some brownish coloring on the white stairs in the pool which is very difficult to clean off if that is a sign of a problem. I've tried using "Off The Wall" but it doesn't stick to the surface under the water well enough to clean them. Seems worse this year than others but that may just be due to it building up.

    Here's the numbers. I did the tests very carefully, a couple of them twice. Not sure if I should have done them outside, but I did them inside cause it was raining but the kitchen is well lit.

    Date: 8/7
    FC - 2 ppm
    CC - 1 ppm
    TC - 3 ppm (FC+CC)
    pH - 7.5
    T/A - 200
    CH - 280
    CYA - 80
    Temp - 84

    any help and guidance is very much appreciated.

    - the_taipan
    15,000 gal, in-ground, vinyl liner, hayward swimclear 4 cartridge filter, hayward gas heater, 3/4 hp pump, located in Utica, New York.

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    pepsiholic's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    First thing I noticed was your chlorine is too low if your cya is really 80. It should be no lower than 6. Then I saw where you said you tested indoors because of the rain. I have found the cya test is best done outside, in direct sunlight, with your back to the sun.

    Liquid chlorine or bleach is the best route to go because it adds nothing else to your water (cya or calcium). If you could test your cya again outside just to be sure, it would give us a better indication on what to do.

    If it is really 80, then you need to bring up your chlorine level to a minimum of 6. If it is really that high you really need to do a partial drain to lower it.
    24 x 52 Round AG Outback Empire Pool 13,500 gal.
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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    Sounds like you had been had by the pool store in the past like most of us before we found this site.
    Seeing as your CC is 1ppm that right there tells you that you have to shock your pool.
    Shocking is a process and not a chemical as the pool stores lead you to believe.

    Up in the Pool School section there is a good read on shocking your pool.

    It looks like you should also lower your TA in the pool.

    Also you don't have enough chlorine in the pool. With a CYA of 80, your minimum of FC should be no less than 6.

    To shock your pool, you will have to get the FC up to 31 and keep it there, until your overnight FC test shows you are not losing anymore chlorine to contaminates in your pool.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    pepsiholic's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    Yes, what WestSidePool says. I missed the 1 CC. That is and indication you need to shock. With a cya that high it is going to take a lot of bleach to reach your shock value and maintain it. A partial drain may be your best option. A cya level of 40-50 is just so much easier to deal with if you ever have to shock.

    Once you get your numbers properly balanced, if you maintain your minimum FC levels you may never have to shock again. I have been using this method for only 2 years and the only time I've ever had to shock was upon opening in the spring.
    24 x 52 Round AG Outback Empire Pool 13,500 gal.
    1 HP Hayward Power-Flo pump w/Hayward 18" 150lb. sand filter
    TF-100 test kit & SpeedStir
    Wanda the Whale Vacuum

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    Re: New member, looking for help

    I re-did the CYA test outside with the sun shining, my back to it and got a reading of 60. Just want to make sure I understand this correctly: I've been using dichlor and trichlor sticks weekly for 9 years. Because of that, the CYA has been building and building until this year I've reached "critical mass" and can't keep the FC levels the way I used to using the same amount of dichlor I've been using weekly. If that's the case, I really need to dump off half the water (more?), refill, discontinue using dichlor and trichlor (except when I'm away for extended periods) and instead add liquid chlorine (figuring out some way to gracefully get it out of the 5 gallon jug it comes in) every day or two. Am I on the right track?
    15,000 gal, in-ground, vinyl liner, hayward swimclear 4 cartridge filter, hayward gas heater, 3/4 hp pump, located in Utica, New York.

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    pepsiholic's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    60 is much better. You can try working with that or you can drain about 1/4 and add fresh. Yes, it is from using those products weekly. Discontinue the use of those products and use liquid chlorine only.

    I have read that some people use a syphon pump and put it in smaller containers for daily use. I can only get it in 1 gallon jugs around here so I have to buy it a little more often, but you will see it's so worth it.
    24 x 52 Round AG Outback Empire Pool 13,500 gal.
    1 HP Hayward Power-Flo pump w/Hayward 18" 150lb. sand filter
    TF-100 test kit & SpeedStir
    Wanda the Whale Vacuum

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    Re: New member, looking for help

    A partial drain and refill isn't an absolute at 60 cya, but it will help with shocking since you won't have to add so much chlorine to get to your shock level.

    Read through pool school again and decide about where you want your cya and drain appropriately. Then make sure you ph is in range and you will need to go through the shock process on your pool... which you can also find in pool school.

    Shocking can take anywhere from a day to a week or more depending on how aggressive you are with it and how bad your pool water is when you start. Shocking is a process, not a product as pool stores will have you believe.

    You know you are done shocking when your water is clear, your cya is .5 or less, and you can maintain FC overnight (sunset to sunrise).
    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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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    Quote Originally Posted by the_taipan
    Just want to make sure I understand this correctly: I've been using dichlor and trichlor sticks weekly for 9 years. Because of that, the CYA has been building and building until this year I've reached "critical mass" and can't keep the FC levels the way I used to using the same amount of dichlor I've been using weekly. If that's the case, I really need to dump off half the water (more?), refill, discontinue using dichlor and trichlor (except when I'm away for extended periods) and instead add liquid chlorine (figuring out some way to gracefully get it out of the 5 gallon jug it comes in) every day or two. Am I on the right track?
    Yes, though you may not need to lower you CYA that much (recommended is 30-50 ppm without a SWG) if you stop using the sticks. You can try maintaining your pool with that CYA level, poolcalculator.com gives a range for the CYA level of 5-9 ppm FC. That means don't let your FC level drop below 5 ppm for extended periods of time. By the way, you do not have to use the 5 gallon jugs, Liquid Chlorine is usually available in 1 gallon jugs, or you could use bleach which is about half the concentration of Sodium Hypochlorite that Liquid Chlorine is. In some locations bleach is cheaper than Liquid Chlorine.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    pepsiholic's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    It is best to dose your pool every evening with the liquid chlorine to ensure that it never falls below the daily minmum before the next evening. Lets say your cya is 60, at night after the sun is off the pool you would dose it to about 8 ppm, so that would allow a 3 ppm lose during the next day to keep you at your min. level of 5. Never let it go below 5.
    24 x 52 Round AG Outback Empire Pool 13,500 gal.
    1 HP Hayward Power-Flo pump w/Hayward 18" 150lb. sand filter
    TF-100 test kit & SpeedStir
    Wanda the Whale Vacuum

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: New member, looking for help

    Do you close your pool for the winter? If so, you could finish this season out with the CYA where it's at. Then in the winter you can do your normal drain. That way your not draining refilling twice.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New member, looking for help

    WestsidePool: I was thinking something similar, in that the end of the season is quickly approaching and maybe I'll just finish it out and start with some fresh water next year. I've never done a "normal drain" though. I use a safety cover for the winter and leave the water level where it is until I uncover it. We get a lot of snow but never enough to fill the pool over the top edge. The ice then sits on top of the water and doesn't push down the cover so far. Then I just drain it down to normal level. I guess I'd go quite a bit lower next year and then refill after having checked the CYA first and verifying that it is still high.

    All: What's the right method for draining down? I'm thinking close off the skimmer and use just the bottom pump input and then pump it out through the vacuum hose from a jet (not sure I'm using the right terminology).
    15,000 gal, in-ground, vinyl liner, hayward swimclear 4 cartridge filter, hayward gas heater, 3/4 hp pump, located in Utica, New York.

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    Re: New member, looking for help

    Closing off the skimmer and using the main drain and pump is fine for draining off some of the pool water. Like a few have already said, you can probably get by with the CYA of 60 for the remainder of this year. When you drain off some water and refill when you open next year, that will lower your CYA to a better level. I use a safety cover as well but when closing every year I drain my pool down to below the skimmer and pool eyes and blow those lines clear. Over the winter, the snow and rain refills the pool. Right now, you want to stock up on bleach and shock your pool. You will need to maintain the chlorine at shock level until your pool passes the overnight test. Make sure you really pay attention to the chlorine levels in the early stages of the shock process. The better you maintain shock level, the shorter the process will be.
    18x36 Vinyl In-ground w/roman ends 27,400G, Hayward 3/4hp with 300# sand filter. Hayward heat pump heater

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