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Thread: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlorine

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    Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlorine

    Hi all,

    First day reading the forum... first post after a few hours of reading...

    So we bought the house recently and just continued service with the existing pool company. After about 9 months of pool plaster beginning to flake (looks like the surface of the moon now), pool plaster turning yellowy brown (metal staining) - they pulled the metal stains out with some chemicals later or so they say, then it cleared up for a couole months this spring... now i'm seeing black algae spots that have spread across the bottom.

    In my opinion, my pool service company is just terrible and is doing a horrible job, but to confirm this, I've decided to inform and educate myself. I don't want to be THAT guy that makes complaints with not basis or understanding of whats going on. So here goes nothing:

    I've been doing some research and I think I did my homework on the TFP beginners guide, reading through it, purchasing the recommeded test kit, I'm still in need of gathering exact pool equipment info but it's dark outside and I managed to remember basic details, and now here are the test results -

    FC - 0 to .5
    TC - 0 to .5
    pH - 7.6
    TA - 70
    CYA - 75
    CH - 650(ish - it said to do it drop by drop but after 60 drops i was doing them several at a time... it turned purple around 60 drops and blue between 65-70)

    My confusion is why I have no chlorine in my water when I know there's a bucket of tabs by the pool, 3 dispeners floating (not sure if anything in them), and black algae growing on the bottom, oh and some green/yellow on the walls today.

    Do i just need to add a bunch of chlorine or is something (ie my pool guy's lazy/not doing his job) or is there something causing the water to not "hold" chlorine?

    I noticed the CH value is higher than the recommended 150-400 listed in the test manual.

    Hope i gave you all the info I was supposed to.


    On a BBB question - doesnt bleach have a really high pH (thinking back to my chemistry classes years ago) and doesn't that raise the pH of the pool? Wouldn't that be a bad thing? Thanks again!
    30K Gallons
    Hayward DE
    In Ground Plaster/Gunnite
    1.75 HP Hayward Pump

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Welcome, it looks like you have a couple of problems the most serious one is too much CYA most likely thanks to those trichlor pucks. To put it simply, the pucks add chlorine and CYA, chlorine gets used up CYA does not, a little CYA is good, too much is bad. At your levels of CYA it is buffering the active chlorine too much which lets algae start growing, once it is growing it consumes all available chlorine. The solution is likely to drain about half your water and replace it then stop using the pucks (or any type of stabilized chlorine), and switch to liquid chlorine / bleach for chlorination, first at shock levels until the algae is dead, then and a lower maintenance dose level to maintain the correct amount of FC.

    Ike

    ps. your CH looks high too, this may be fixed by the partial drain depending on the CH levels in your fill water (you may want to do the CH test on your tap water to see what you will be working with)
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Welcome to tfp, gruve

    Nice job on studying up in pool school and getting the best tool (the test kit)

    As Isaac-1 said, cya of 75 is pretty high. I am sure you have found poolcalculator.com by now? It says for 75 ppm cya, you need a minimum of 6 ppm FC in your pool at all times to prevent algae from taking over. Obviously, your pool does not have anywhere close to that.

    Since you are having algae problems, your pool needs to go through the shocking process.

    Take a look at this as well:http://www.troublefreepool.com/turni...sis-t4147.html

    Reading your post I get the impression that you are fed up with the pool service and that you are very capable. I would guess that the pool service will not "change their ways" so you may want to consider changing them. We are always here to help.

    Let us know if you have any questions.
    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 bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Aloha & welcome Gruve!

    The gang gave you good advice...here is the only one I think they missed (simply because they were concentrating on the more important things first):

    If you have high Calcium content in your water, you need to use a smaller sample of water to do your Calcium Hardness test. Use a 10 ml sample, and then each drop of the reagent will be worth 25 ppm--when you do it this way (once a month is enough--calcium doesn't change very fast), you will only use 26 drops instead of 65 drops! Good savings!

    Aloha!
    Warren
    Big Island Pool Service

    No pool of my own...but my customers' pools are ALL my foster babies!!

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Test your fill water and see what the CH is in it. If it's not very high you'll do yourself a favor by replacing some of the water. That way you'll be reducing both the CH and the CYA. That will make the shock Process much easier.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Wow! Hey guys thanks for the warm welcome and quick responses. I'm about to read up on this, but if anyone's around for a quick response, is there a way to lower CYA without draining?

    @linen, yeah I sure am pretty fed up... it just seems like they're doing a careless job and then when things become obvious, like color changes, they correct it after the fact rather than seeing those things coming and PREVENTING them.

    I have a theory that all the chemicals they threw into the pool over the first few months caused my plaster to start flaking... but again, I'm uninformed, so I don't want to make any assumptions. thoughts?

    Our water down here is very hard, so I will test it to see what the CH is. If the source has high CH then what?

    Oh and I'm still wondering about the bleach pH ... doesn't bleach raise the pH of the pool?

    Anyway, thanks again everyone!
    30K Gallons
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    In Ground Plaster/Gunnite
    1.75 HP Hayward Pump

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    Wow! Hey guys thanks for the warm welcome and quick responses. I'm about to read up on this, but if anyone's around for a quick response, is there a way to lower CYA without draining?
    Unfortunatly no, drain/refill or Reverse Osmosis.

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    I have a theory that all the chemicals they threw into the pool over the first few months caused my plaster to start flaking... but again, I'm uninformed, so I don't want to make any assumptions. thoughts?
    I am not sure on this question, hopefully someone will chime in

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    Our water down here is very hard, so I will test it to see what the CH is. If the source has high CH then what?
    Then you will need to keep TA and ph a little lower. The numbers in your first post (other than CH) were pretty good (especially TA).

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    Oh and I'm still wondering about the bleach pH ... doesn't bleach raise the pH of the pool?
    In practice you can consider bleach ph neutral. It does raise the ph temporarily when first put in the pool, but then when the chlorine gets used up the ph returns almost exactly where it started. My understanding is their might be a miniscule net ph rise, but it is basically too small to measure.
    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 bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Hey thanks for the quick answer... I actually just came across that same info on the CYA question... looks like I'm going to have to drain.

    SO

    How does one do a partial drain. I didnt actually see the info in the pool school area. The options that come to my uninformed mind are some sort of sump pump, some sort of siphon, or perhaps there's a way to use my pool equipment to do this - like a REALLY long backwash?
    30K Gallons
    Hayward DE
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    1.75 HP Hayward Pump

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    Hey thanks for the quick answer... I actually just came across that same info on the CYA question... looks like I'm going to have to drain.

    SO

    How does one do a partial drain. I didnt actually see the info in the pool school area. The options that come to my uninformed mind are some sort of sump pump, some sort of siphon, or perhaps there's a way to use my pool equipment to do this - like a REALLY long backwash?
    Do you have a multi-port valve on your equipment pad? It will be a handle that can be rotated to different options (i.e. Backwash, Filter, Recirculate, Waste). If you do have that and see the option for waste I would say that is the first option. If you could post a picture of your equipment pad we could help determine if you have that option and where the waste line is, if there is one.
    22,600 gal. Vinyl Inground, FNS Plus 60 DE Filter, WhisperFlo 1HP Pump, SWG, Dolphin Nautilus

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    OK i think i can handle that. I'll see if i can get it done during lunch.

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone use a "pool app" like to enter in your measurements, track changes, compare results over time, etc. Seems like that would be pretty handy... I shoved a pen and note card in my kit for now.
    30K Gallons
    Hayward DE
    In Ground Plaster/Gunnite
    1.75 HP Hayward Pump

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    For apple drones the poolcalculator is also and app.

    For android, there is an app called simplepool
    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 bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    yeah android here... ill take a look at simple pool...

    Just out of curiosity is there a 'safety guide' to know what levels of what chemicals are safe for swimming and not safe...

    With all the reading im doing and learning the ingredients of things like algecides and other treatments... is there any concern for chemical exposure? in children especially. I mean, could a pool really be a toxic soup? Some things burn off like chlorine, but others it seems stay in the pool until its drained.

    On a side note, I just spoke to the pool guy on my way home for lunch. I asked about the algae and water chemistry... his response was "well the biggest thing is I alway have to brush. As long as I brush, I'll keep it contained." But, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking WHY do you ALWAYS have to brush ... if algae didn't like growing in my pool, say because it has chlorine... wouldn't the brushing be less important?
    30K Gallons
    Hayward DE
    In Ground Plaster/Gunnite
    1.75 HP Hayward Pump

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    if algae didn't like growing in my pool, say because it has chlorine... wouldn't the brushing be less important?
    Ya' think?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Ok, back to the point at hand, your CYA level is well on the high side for a manually chlorinated pool, although not nearly as bad a some peoples, you also live in south Texas in the heart of the sunbelt, so under normal conditions you would want to keep your CYA a bit higher than most people. A target level of around 45-50 for your CYA would be reasonable, given the error range of the test, I would suggest starting with a 30% water drain and replacement, hopefully this would put you around the 50 ppm ballpark. As to how to drain it depends on what you have at your disposal, the pool pump is an option if you have a waste drain line, and a bottom of pool drain that can be isolated from your skimmer, if your pad is set up so your always pulling water from the skimmer then your pump will loose prime as soon as the water level drops below the level of the skimmer (sometimes plugging in a vacuum to the skimmer will work around this, but if it comes unplugged your out of luck)

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Regarding your plaster flaking, can you post some pictures? I wonder if you are seeing scaling instead of plaster flaking, pictures should help.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Alright... first time posting photos so here goes nothin'




    These spots showed up this week



    Easiest to see the plaster flaking off at the stairs... but there are lots of spots like this across the pool floor



    Water is a little cloudy today after the pool guy left... also there's a dark gray 'hole' down at the bottom that i have yet to investigate... but its been there a long time



    is that metal staining below the light?



    heres my pump... only about 6 months old... was replaced under home warranty



    so is this 1.5, 1.25, or 1.85?



    started to look into what was being dumped into my pool...



    trichlor pucks



    i have 2 timers... but no polaris



    here's the top of the main valve



    I'm guessing i can drain the pool by turning it to waste?



    My new filter also got with home warranty



    Pro grid DE filter
    30K Gallons
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Algae can get a coating on it that will protect it from the chlorine, that's why you have to brush once you have algae.

    To drain, pump to waste on your multiport valve, there should also be a valve to pull all the water from the bottom drain. That valve may be at your pad or a diverter in the skimmer.
    Dan D
    Used 2003 Aqua Leader 27'x52", 17,800 w/10" hopper, SwimPro SW256T 250# sand filter, Hayward PowerFlo LX pump 1hp impellor, Emerson 1 1/2 hp motor, setup Aug 2012 Summer 2011 used Summer Escapes Ring pool 14' x 42", Intex 1600gph sand filter, HTH 6 way test kitTF-100 w/stirrer, Well water @ FC=0, PH=7.2, TA=290, CH=320

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Quote Originally Posted by gruve
    OK i think i can handle that. I'll see if i can get it done during lunch.

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone use a "pool app" like to enter in your measurements, track changes, compare results over time, etc. Seems like that would be pretty handy... I shoved a pen and note card in my kit for now.
    I use a google doc spreadsheet to track mine
    17,800 gallon, IG pool, 595 sq feet (17x35x4.5 avg rectangle), Hayward 525 cartridge filter, diamondbrite, 2 hp 2 speed hayward tristar filter, Stenner 45mhp10 automatically chlorinating

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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Well I took a dip over the weekend. The gray spot on the very bottom is definitely a patch of what looks to be concrete underneath the plaster.

    Also, there sure was a LOT of debris floating around suspended in the water... little leaves or pollen or other unidentifiable pool junk. Does this mean my filter is dirty or that the skimmers arent working properly?

    Is there a way to repair all the plaster flaking or is that going to need a replaster?
    30K Gallons
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    Re: Just bought a house with a pool-Black Algae and No Chlor

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone use a "pool app" like to enter in your measurements, track changes, compare results over time, etc. Seems like that would be pretty handy...
    I use https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...d=com.plb.pool.

    works great - just set up your pool first in settings, put in your numbers and goals, and it tells you what to do. also keeps track of all your entries.
    1992 15X30 14000 Gal IG plaster, Pentair 011018 - Intelliflo VS Pump with Timer, 350 lb Sta-rite hrpb30 sand (yeah, the 32-bolt clamshell)

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