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Thread: Just getting started

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    Just getting started

    Hi there. We have been lurking on the forum for a few weeks trying to learn some of the basics of pool care. Thanks for all the work all of you are doing to educate those of new to pool care. We have learned quite a bit already but now know we have a long ways to go.

    We have had our pool for over 5 years now but only started really dealing with it over the last two years. Last year we had the liner replaced since the pool is over 20 years old and converted it to salt water clorination. Overall, we have been very happy with the results with the SWCG but still feel like we are really in the dark as to what is going on out there. Based on the recommendations we have found here, we are now the proud owners of a TF-100 test kit with a salt water tester and the automatic mixer. We love that mixer!!

    We started testing the water about two weeks ago, before we got the test kit, using the local pool store water testing service. Since the first set of readings weren't all that bad, we did nothing with the chemistry until the test kit arrived. We were eager to see how the results of the test kit compared to the store water testing service. As soon as the test kit arrived we went thru all the various tests but our results were no where near what the store test showed. Since we are new to this, we decided to try the store testing a second time because over a week had elapsed. We took water samples to 4 different pool stores in the area and are even more beleivers in testing the water ourselves now. Below are the results of the 4 different store tests.

    Store 1
    FC - 2.7
    pH - 8.6
    TA - 94
    CYA - 40
    CH - 46
    TDS - 5000
    Salt - 4500

    Store 2
    FC - 5
    pH - 8.4
    TA - 90
    CYA - N/A
    CH - 40
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 4500

    Store 3
    FC - 3
    pH - 8.0+
    TA - 110
    CYA - 15
    CH - 60
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 4900

    Store 4
    FC - 2.73
    pH - 7.6
    TA - 89
    CYA - 99
    CH - 31
    TDS - 100 (this is not a mistake - 100)
    Salt - N/A

    (Results labeled N/A were not tested at that location - all 4 sets of results came out of the same water sample bottle.)

    Store 1 uses a testing machine and chemicals, Stores 2 and 3 are Leslies and both use the same chemicals in my TF-100, and store 4 uses "laser" testing. As you can see, my numbers from all 4 stores were all over the place and none of them "felt" reliable to us. All 4 stores of course tried to sell us solutions to the problems they identified however it was the girl at store 2 who we feel really gave us the best advice which we have followed. I feel it agrees with what I now understand from my reading here. Her advice was to drain 18 inches of water and start over. Since we now know that the only way to lower the TDS and the salt is with new water, we have drained the water and begun refilling with fresh water. Once the new pool has finished refilling and the pump has run with the SWCG on max for 24 hours we will start testing again. We can already see a distinct difference in the clarity of the water and the amount of suspended material floating around the pool light. Just for the record, the water was clear and there was no algae present when we started all this.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    We need to see your current test results.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Just getting started

    Welcome to the forum justagi!
    18' x 42" Intex (4786 Gal @ 80% capacity) Intex 8110 SWCG, 2000 GPH cartridge filter.
    Full Sun, Well Water, Borates at approx. 50
    TFTestKit-100--The Pool Calculator--Pool School

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    Re: Just getting started

    Now, all the store tests are interesting, mostly for the variety of results. But, we all know that your own test kit is more reliable than any of them. So what does YOUR test say? Give us all your test data please!

    You may want to consider using bleach to boost the chlorine initially instead of using the SWG. If the pool is cloudy, you may need to shock it and you wont' be able to get enough chlorine at once from the SWG to do a real shock.
    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: Just getting started

    Thanks for all welcomes and the advice so far. We have drained and refilled the pool and let the SWCG run on boost for 24 hours. We pulled a water sample tonight and these are our results using the TF-100 test set:

    FC - 3
    pH - > 8.2
    TA - 60
    CYA - <20
    CH - 60
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 3600 (the IC-60 recommends a 3400 level)

    The water is very clear and the tempurature is about 65 degrees.

    We can see some obvious problems with our results. Our biggest problem is figuring out what to attack first. We haven't found a recommended order for correcting the chemistry except with an old testing kit we had from last year which says to correct in this order:

    CH
    TA
    PH
    FC

    That process is mute on what to do about CYA. Based on the condition of the water now I am inclined to first raise the hardness, then adjust the alkalinity, then deal with the PH. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    I think pH is the first thing as you never want it over 7.8.

    Leave the TA as you want it low to help hold the pH from drifting up due to the SWG.

    You could bump up the CYA a bit if your FC is not holding, but no really hurry on that.

    May want to boost the FC a bit with bleach to help get to the recommended levels.

    Bump up the CH to recommended range to maintain acceptable CSI.

    Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Just getting started

    With a vinyl pool you don't need to worry about CH unless its too high, so you shouldn't need to add any calcium.

    You definitely want to adjust the pH first. Did you measure combined chlorine? If your CC is less than 0.5, then you can add CYA as well. I would add 30 ppm worth of CYA, wait a week, and test again to see where you are at for CYA.
    20'x40' Oval 27,000 gallon Vinyl IG, Coverstar Auto Cover
    Hayward MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Sta-Rite PLD50 30 sq. ft. DE filter
    Rheem 266,000 btu natural gas heater
    Dolphin Nautilus Plus with Clever Clean
    TF-100 testkit w/ Speed Stir

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    Re: Just getting started

    faby3003 has got you covered.....

    1. Get that pH down into the low to mid 7's ASAP......that's your numer one job.

    2. Get your chlorine stable....sounds like you're there.

    3. Adjust CYA up to 30 or so.....you'll add more later.

    4. Leave TA and CH alone for now.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Just getting started

    We have added chemicals twice now since the last posting. We have a lot of remaining chemicals left over from the Pool Store regime we were doing so right after our last post we added 8 lbs of shock to the pool. This shock was 58% Sodium Dichlor. We were hoping to lower the PH, raise the TA, and kick up the FC with this shock. Our test results 24 hours later (the pump and SWCG were running the entire 24 hours) are here:

    FC - 12
    CC - 0
    PH > 8.2
    TA - 80
    CYA - <20
    CH - N/A
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 3600

    Since the last advice given said to get the PH down, we added 5 lbs of PH Lower (93% Sodium Bisulfate) and ran the pump and SWCG again for 24 hours. Here are out test results today:

    FC - 16
    CC - 1
    PH - 7.3
    TA - 80
    CYA - <20
    CH - 50
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 3700

    The scary part of this whole process is that I think I am actually starting to understand how some of this works. Thanks again for all the education you are providing to us. I already feel so much more confident with the TF-100 and the quality of the water. Lowering the PH has made the water look even clearer and I have even noticed that the slight discoloration on the plastic of the water returns and skimmers has disappeared.

    Am I correct to assume that the next thing to work on is getting the CYA up to around 50 and let the FC go back to 5? I also plan on returning the pump and SWCG back to 10 hour a day operation. We run it during the day because the pool has direct sunlight all day long. As always, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    ph results are only valid when the FC level is below 10 pppm. ph typically reads high when FC is above 10 ppm. Your are adding cya with the dichlor. Use the pool calculator "effects of adding chemicals" down at the bottom for how much cya will change (and make sure to input your pool volume).
    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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    Re: Just getting started

    Quote Originally Posted by linen
    ph results are only valid when the FC level is below 10 pppm. ph typically reads high when FC is above 10 ppm. Your are adding cya with the dichlor. Use the pool calculator "effects of adding chemicals" down at the bottom for how much cya will change (and make sure to input your pool volume).
    Linen
    Thanks for the reminder about pH values being affected by the high FC. All this chemical training seems like witchcraft at times... We'll go back to the pool calculator to see what we need to do to start the CYA moving in the right direction. We will also throttle back the SWCG some to get the chlorine moving back down...

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    Quote Originally Posted by justagi
    All this chemical training seems like witchcraft at times...
    You'll get it, and soon it will just be second nature. It seems overwhelming at first but once everything is balanced, you do not usually need to change much but FC and keep an eye on ph.
    Quote Originally Posted by justagi
    We'll go back to the pool calculator to see what we need to do to start the CYA moving in the right direction. We will also throttle back the SWCG some to get the chlorine moving back down...
    The best way is to add cya directly. Some times it is called stabalizer or conditioner...it can be purchased at walmart and most hardware stores.
    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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    Re: Just getting started

    We added 4 lbs of CYA and 1 lb of washing soda last night and left the pump and SWCG (40 percent cycle) running for 24 hours. Here are today's test results.

    Water Temp 74
    FC - 20
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.2
    TA - 90
    CYA - 30
    CH - 60
    TDS - N/A
    Salt - 3900

    The salt levels seem to be rising as is the FC. We have shut down the SWCG and will leave the pump running 24 hours again to keep the CYA dissolving since it is still visible on the bottom of the pool. Brushing up the bottom seems to be helping it dissipate. The water is still crystal clear and getting very inviting looking but we think we are going to give it a day or two more before we take our initial plunges. The dog really loves it as it is...

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    vacuum that CYA up and into your filter. It should not lay on the vinyl liner.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Just getting started

    Thanks for the tip Dave... it was a bit difficult vacumning at night but a flashlight helped...
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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    Re: Just getting started

    Most of us just put the CYA in a sock and hang in over the returns and just squeeze it once in a while.

    Chuck
    Swim n Play 21' round, expandable 72" liner, 6FT deep center, buried 14", 12,750 Gallons
    Waterway 1HP-2 speed with 22" Sand filter
    TF-100 test kit
    Thanks to TFP my pool is perfect all the time :party:
    I now suffer from Sparklypoolitis! :whoot:
    I am a Platinum contributor because I want everyone who comes here to Trouble Free Pool to have the same success that I enjoy with my pool and family.

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    Re: Just getting started

    it was a bit difficult vacumning at night but a flashlight helped...
    You won't rgret doing it, though. CYA is acidic and can (and does) damage your liner phsically and aesthetically if allowed to lay there undisturbed too long. Yu were wise to get it up.

    Now, because it will still take a while to dissolve, don't flush it out of your filter by backwashing or cleaning for about a week, then you are good to go.

    Per supertune's advice, use the sock next time.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Just getting started

    Chuck - thanks for the advice... We am still trying to find out how to disseminate the various chemicals... I can see why CYA takes so long to have an effect if you have to wait for it to dissolve thru a sock...

    Dave - the neighbors probably thought we were nuts out there vacumning with a flashlight... but I figured you were cautioning about the damage so we jumped right on it... the CYA hadn't laid in place all that long...we had already brushed it up twice to stir the water and aid with dissolving but getting it into the filter makes more sense now... We are just afraid of what we can put into the SWCG while its running... We will turn it off from now on when we put chemicals into the strainers...

    Thanks again...

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Just getting started

    Quote Originally Posted by justagi
    We are just afraid of what we can put into the SWCG while its running... We will turn it off from now on when we put chemicals into the strainers...
    The swg will be fine, the cya will just sit in the filter until it slowly desolves. Other than cya, it is not a good idea to add chemicals to the strainer, we recommend adding in front of the water return to the pool.
    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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    Re: Just getting started

    Linen - thanks for the advice. WE had been adding washing soda to the skimmers as well. We will continue to shut off the SWCG just for safety's sake until we have a better feel for things. Here are last night's test results:

    Water temp - 75
    Salt - 3600
    PH - 7.2
    FC - 14
    CC - 0
    TA - 100
    CH - 50
    CYA - 35

    There is no CYA visable in the pool. We will add another 4 lbs tomorrow night if the CYA levels stay where they are.

    By the way, the water takes a bit of getting used to when we first get in but it is nice already...

    The Hoods
    35,000 gal in ground vinyl, 20 x 40 rectangle diving pool, Pentair Superflo 1 hp/1.25 SF pump, 300 lb sand filter, Pentair IC60 Salt Water Clorine Generator, 65 lb canine daily swimmer

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