Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: smorgasbord of questions

  1. Back To Top    #1

    smorgasbord of questions

    Hi all. I'd appreciate some advice/discussion, but first an overview would be useful:

    I have an Intex Sequoia Spirit above ground 16' round pool, vinyl liner. Saltwater generator/pump/filter is a combo all built into one platform (not really separable) that came with the pool. Pool holds roughly 5000 gallons. I live in a severely hot dry climate. Our water here tends to be pretty hard (calcium and magnesium mostly I believe)

    My test kit: A simple Aqua Chem (drops w/two vials) that just tests PH, free Chlorine, and (after sitting 5 mins) combined Chlorine

    Chemicals I already own: Aqua Chem PH Down, Aqua Chem Stabilizer, liquid chlorine 10%, Aqua Chem 50% algaecide, HTH Salt Pool care (preserves cells), Leslie's Chlor-Brite (99% sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione), Pool Time Shock Plus 4-in-1 Pool Shock (58% sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione)

    Latest "professional" readings from Leslie's (took water sample): though kinda old now, taken on 8/2
    Salt: 4200 (turns out this was right, my system was saying "high salt" too, so I drained 20% of the water as the Intex manual said and this fixed it.)
    Cyanuric: 99 (exact # of their maximum high range)
    Total Alkalinity:120 (again, exact # of their maximum high range) - Is this odd or is it just me? Seems too much of a coincidence
    PH: 7.8
    Phosphates:1000 (should be below 100 per them)

    Qstn 1: Why would my salt level get high?? Is my amateur theory that the fact that "PH Down", and Chlor-Brite are sodium formulas (by their chemical name) why the sodium increased?
    Qstn 2: I understand muriatic acid will lower PH but will it STAY low? I also read muriatic can bleach out (or is it really eating away the vinyl?) any color pattern in your vinyl liner.
    Qstn 3: Best way to lower the alkalinity? I'd read the bisulfite (PH Down) also has a side effect of lowering Alkalinity, but it's not!
    Qstn 4: Which chemicals to absolutely not use in a saltwater pool? Note- I only add shock when my test reading shows zero chlorine. If I run my sw generator 5 hours or more it usually does fine, but sometimes I'll try to run it less...3 or 4 hrs to save energy or cuz the pump feels so darn hot I'm afraid it'll burn up. And the chlorine will be too low so I'll add shock so we can swim soon after. It's a constant guessing game how many hours to run it too, cuz I think the blazing sun here just burns up the chlorine. I have Stabilizer (cyanuric) but why add it if Leslie's reading showed it at the max high end?? Also I'd read that the Chlor-Brite HAS cyanuric in it, which will sometimes increase your CYA levels TOO MUCH! Also, Leslie's was pushing their big bucket o' Chlorine tablets to me, telling me I should buy a floater and float 2 tablets, as well as I should shock it weekly.
    Qstn 5: PH is constantly high. Literally every other day I have to add 3 oz of bisulfite. As soon as I put the drops in and shake it, the color shows as 7.6 (fine), but in one or 2 more minutes it will read as 7.8 color. I don't know if this is normal with these drop tests, or maybe my drops are old.(I've had them less than a year though.)
    Qstn 6: Does a pool cover make the pool retain or lose chlorine? (Whether sitting overnight, or during the day in sun)

    I did have an algae (green) bloom occur after my system died due to a lightning strike. I used the 50% algaecide and the next day there was just a gray sludge on the bottom of the pool, which I assume was the dead algae and I vac'd it up. I went to Leslie's after I vacuumed up the sludge, and told them of my algae episode. They sold me "Phos-Free", some outrageously (between $30-$40) expensive bottle of "rare earth-lanthanum". I put this stuff in (grayish liquid) per instructions, and noticed what looked like most of it blowing right back into the pool via the inlet. I did leave the filter alone for a day or 2 since the bottle says it's supposed to coat the filter and remove the phosphates from the pool, but then I had to spend several days vacuuming this fine silt off the pool floor. (I don't think it was more dead algae suddenly appearing) Anyhow, I don't think I'll use that stuff again.. The store employee also barked a question at me in an intimidating tone, asking if I'd bought my algaecide there. I told her no. She tried to make me believe my brands of chemicals were somehow lesser than theirs...luckily I read many complaints about them online beforehand and also am conscious enough to know when someone's trying to strongarm me. The filters I use are Intex B type, but they are the Dacron? synthetic fiber-type material, not the cheap obvious plain paper one that came with the pool. They do seem to catch alot of sludge, especially upon vacuuming.. I rinse them out really well and rotate it out for a cleaned one every few days. The problem is the pump I think is so weak it takes forever to fully circulate the water thru the filter to clean out the pool.

    Yeah I do know my test kit is not a pro-kit. I read about the one recommended on here (the tftestkit one) but am on a very tight budget, so $68 is alot for me. Since summer's ending soon I think I'll wait and buy it right before spring when next season starts, so the chemicals don't become old sitting around. (although hopefully too by then I won't get shipped this years stock that's been sitting around which would make my plan backfire) All the tests look useful on that kit except the Calcium Hardness. (since my city water is hard anyhow there's nothing I could do about it) The FAS-DPD I think I read is useful if you get an algae attack and are fighting it...? Hopefully the color bars are more easily distinguishable than my cheap kit...I can hardly tell the difference between some of the chlorine color patterns. Also if I do buy this kit, are the drops used for testing in it standard in the industry? (same chemical, same %, where I could buy replacements at Walmart, etc. cheaper if I wanted)? (Or at Leslie's, in a jam, and pay more)
    Intex Sequoia Spirit above ground 16' round pool, 5,000 gals. ,vinyl liner.
    Intex Saltwater Chlorine generator/pump/filter combo system
    Test kit: TF-100

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    9,199

    Re: smorgasbord of questions

    Hi, welcome to TFP! I'll try and answer your questions. I'll start with the test kit, since a good test kit is key to caring for your pool. We recommend the TF100 or the Taylor K2006 since they are both high quality FAS-DPD based test kits. Both kits use Taylor brand reagents, which is primarily what you see in pool stores. The FAS-DPD kits contain the chlorine test needed to fight an algae bloom. The powder shows the presence of chlorine by turning the test water pink and the drops show the amount of chlorine. You continue adding drops 1 at a time while swirling the sample until all the pink is gone. There is no color matching and it can test up to 50 ppm of free chlorine. The refills for some of the tests are available in stores and all of them are available on line. The test kits will last a couple of years when kept in a cool, dry area. You don't want to store them in a garage or pool shed where they will be exposed to extreme temperatures.

    Qstn 1: Why would my salt level get high?? Is my amateur theory that the fact that "PH Down", and Chlor-Brite are sodium formulas (by their chemical name) why the sodium increased?

    Chlorine does leave a little salt behind, but generally not enough to cause a high salt reading unless you have years of accumulation.

    Qstn 2: I understand muriatic acid will lower PH but will it STAY low? I also read muriatic can bleach out (or is it really eating away the vinyl?) any color pattern in your vinyl liner.

    Muriatic acid (MA) is strong, especially when undiluted. Used improperly it can damage the vinyl liner. That is why we recommend drizzling it into the flow from the return jet in the pool. Dumping or "slugging" MA can easily damage any pool surface, plaster or vinyl, so we do not recommend that practice.
    MA will lower pH, but not permanently since many factors influence the pH balance of the pool. Each pool is a little different, but with patience you can find the spot your pool likes that keep the total alkalinity (TA) and pH in a stable, harmonious relationship.

    Qstn 3: Best way to lower the alkalinity? I'd read the bisulfite (PH Down) also has a side effect of lowering Alkalinity, but it's not!

    MA will lower TA and pH. If the pH drops too low you can aerate the pool to bring the pH back up without raising the TA again. This is the method we recommend to lower TA. Several cycles of MA and aeration will lower the TA to where you want it to be. To aerate the pool, use a fountain or point the return jet up so it breaks the surface of the water. Mixing air into the pool raises pH without chemicals and without affecting any other test values.

    Qstn 4: Which chemicals to absolutely not use in a saltwater pool? Note- I only add shock when my test reading shows zero chlorine. If I run my sw generator 5 hours or more it usually does fine, but sometimes I'll try to run it less...3 or 4 hrs to save energy or cuz the pump feels so darn hot I'm afraid it'll burn up. And the chlorine will be too low so I'll add shock so we can swim soon after. It's a constant guessing game how many hours to run it too, cuz I think the blazing sun here just burns up the chlorine. I have Stabilizer (cyanuric) but why add it if Leslie's reading showed it at the max high end?? Also I'd read that the Chlor-Brite HAS cyanuric in it, which will sometimes increase your CYA levels TOO MUCH! Also, Leslie's was pushing their big bucket o' Chlorine tablets to me, telling me I should buy a floater and float 2 tablets, as well as I should shock it weekly.

    The most important thing to remember about a pool store is that they are in the business of selling pool chemicals. The employees are trained pool testing as a selling tool, so if the results show you need to adjust the balance, they will do their best to sell that chemical. You can simply state you already have whatever it is they are trying to sell, thank them and leave. If you feel you should buy something you can get a pool toy or some liquid chlorine.
    You can break up running the pump into two 2 1/2 hour sessions per day. That will give you the pump run time that seems to work for the SWG to sanitize the pool. If needed you can supplement the SWG by using a little plain 6% bleach if needed. Since you maxed out the CYA on the Leslie's test, try mixing 1 part pool water with 1 part tap water and let them test that mixture. Double the result and that should give you a ballpark estimate of the true CYA level. With a SWG you only need 70-80 ppm of CYA. If the dilution test shows CYA of 100 or more, you may want to drain and refill some of the water to bring that level down. The higher your CYA the higher your free chlorine (FC) needs to be. If the SWG can't keep up then you will need to supplement with liquid chlorine. You can use pool store chlorine or 6% plain bleach from the grocery store.
    You do not need a floater and tabs, your CYA is high enough already! Dry chlorine will either add calcium (calcium hypochlorite is the active ingredient) or CYA (dichlore or trichlore is the main ingredient). Since you have high calcium in the fill water and high CYA, I would avoid dry chlorine unless you drain and refill. The only time you need to shock the pool is when you have algae or some other "biological incident" (dead animal, poop, chemical spill, ect...)

    Qstn 5: PH is constantly high. Literally every other day I have to add 3 oz of bisulfite. As soon as I put the drops in and shake it, the color shows as 7.6 (fine), but in one or 2 more minutes it will read as 7.8 color. I don't know if this is normal with these drop tests, or maybe my drops are old.(I've had them less than a year though.)
    Unless stated otherwise in the instructions, test results are read as soon as the test is completed. Allowing the tests to sit invalidates the results, as they will often change appearance over time.

    Qstn 6: Does a pool cover make the pool retain or lose chlorine? (Whether sitting overnight, or during the day in sun)

    A cover will help the pool retain chlorine longer than it will without a cover.

    I hope this information helps. Feel free to ask more questions any time!
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
    Love TFP? Become a
    TFP Supporter!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: smorgasbord of questions

    Thanks Zea3, for the good tips. I'll try the trick with the aeration, and maybe be brave enough to try (drizzling) the muriatic occasionally, especially to get my high TA down.

    Sure, I know Leslie's staff are trying to do what they're told, but I'll avoid going there anyways since (depending on the employee) their aggressiveness was unpleasant, as well as once I get a "pro" test kit, I shouldn't need to!

    I DID drain 20% after my high salt episode, so maybe that fixed the high CYA as well, I'll check it out. The tip on 50/50% dilution (with tap water) when I have them test it, seems like a pretty foolproof method. By the way, they say they test your water free once per month. What have you guys found? Do they stick to that or do they charge if you come in 2-3 times/month.? And if so, how much do they charge?

    I have been splitting up the SW generation, so it's good to hear that's okay too. Especially since the Chlorine seems to burn off between 12-4 p.m.

    So Chlor-Brite has CYA in it? If so, I bet THAT'S why my CYA is high. Not that I've been abusing it so much though... I maybe went through 3-5 packets this summer. I'll just switch to supplementing with small doses of (dollar store) gallons of bleach when I need to bump the Chlorine level up some then. By the way, since bleach has such a reputation as being so scary corrosive (my eye doctor said it will cause immediate damage if splashed in the eye) how long would you have to wait to swim in water right after you treat with it? I'm thinking minimum 2 hrs? might be enough to make sure there are no pockets of concentrated bleach floating around still?
    Intex Sequoia Spirit above ground 16' round pool, 5,000 gals. ,vinyl liner.
    Intex Saltwater Chlorine generator/pump/filter combo system
    Test kit: TF-100

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Eastern Ohio
    Posts
    6,602

    Re: smorgasbord of questions

    I've gotta start by welcoming you to the site. You'll find a ton of great info here.

    I'm the sites newest chlorine user here, but I've spent some time reading up on the "bad effects" of chlorine. While yes you're eye doctor is correct, it will cause damage to your eyes, if you dump it right in. Dont do that. If using liquid bleach it's just fine to swim in after about 15 minutes of the dose. A good test kit can show you just how much chlorine you've got at any time, and then you can make the call of if it's safe. The 10% you already use, is even more powerful than Wal-mart bleach. It's 100% safe if used correctly after a few minutes.

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    9,199

    Re: smorgasbord of questions

    It is usually safe to swim 30-60 minutes after adding bleach. This is my conservative estimate. The liquid disperses fairly quickly so you won't likely do any harm jumping in sooner. A lot of folks like to add their bleach in the evenings around dusk and after the last swim of the day so you get the most bang for your buck. An algae free pool won't lose more than 1 ppm of chlorine overnight (dusk to dawn), so there is more chlorine available to sanitize the water.

    The Leslie's near me was happy to test my water as often as I wanted, seeing as I usually bought at least $50.00 worth of stuff each time before I found TFP! Is there another one in your area where folks aren't so disagreeable?

    A tip when using the MA, try and position yourself up wind so the fumes blow away from you if you can. A good whiff of that stuff can knock you on your butt if you're not expecting it!
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
    Love TFP? Become a
    TFP Supporter!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •