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Thread: Frustrated & Broke!

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    Frustrated & Broke!

    We've been fighting this pool in the heat & we're just sick of it. It's cloudy, but seems to be getting more clear, but every day the green accumulates on the bottom. We've 4lbs of granulated chlorine in the past week & just added 4 of the large jugs of bleach today. Seems like our levels are okay except for the FC keeps returning to zero. We were coming along nicely until we went on vacation and came home & our pool pump had knocked the breaker in the house during a thunderstorm while we were gone. The water had been sitting for a week and was green like a swamp & very smelly. We replaced the filter sand last week thinking it would help, but it hasn't. I don't know what to do & am at my whit's end! Please help.

    This was my first time to test our water. I have had the pool for 5 years & have never learned to do this myself. I usually let the pool store tell me what to do, but it has cost a ridiculous amount of money trying to follow their advice and it isn't working. Our closest pool store is 30 minutes away. I can follow directions, but all this chemistry has my mind boggled. I used a Pentair 78hr test kit:

    FC - 0
    CC - IDK - the kit didn't test for that
    pH - 7.6-7.8
    TA - 90ppm
    CH - kit didn't test for that
    CYA - don't know how to find this out
    Borates - don't know


    27,500 gallons, Sand filter, AG, the pool will be five years old in August. I don't know what size pump we have...it might be 1.5hp

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Hello and welcome to TFP! I am sorry to hear about your troubles!

    I am not sure if that test kit has a test for CYA. I will look into it and let you know. If you have been relying on the pool store recommendations for a while now, there is a strong possibility that your CYA is very high. If that is the case, then the chlorine you are adding to your pool is not as effective as it could be. This could be one reason you have had trouble getting clear water.

    You should check out pool school and read the instructions about how to shock your pool. It might seem intimidating at first, but you well be in complete control of your pool chemistry very soon!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Welcome

    I would suggest you order one of the recommended test kits (see my sig ... TF100 is the best option) today. And then spend the 2-3 days waiting for it to show up reading Pool School from start to finish a few times. After you get a little understanding of the terminology.

    Focus on understanding:
    Defeating Algae
    Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis
    Shocking Your Pool

    Like Blake said, if your CYA is very high, you really will need to replace some of your water and there is no point in adding chemicals ($) to the pool if you are just going to have to dump some of it out.

    We can certainly help you understand your pool and take control of it ... while doing so with spending as little $ as possible (but you do have to invest in the knowledge and the test kit).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Welcome to TFP!

    First, you should know that you've already taken a huge step towards having a clean, clear, and inexpensive pool just by finding this site. The folks on this site are by far the most helpful and friendliest folks on the web.

    Second, you should also know that in order to save money, ya gotta know what's going on with your pool. It will help if you read Pool School, particularly the parts under "Pool Chemistry." Then read it again. Now that you understand what you need for a clean pool, you need to understand what you've got. So you're going to have to get a solid test kit. The kit you've got is a basic kit, and it's okay for daily testing and verification of pH and chlorine, but it has its limitations, the chief being it can't test over 5 ppm of free chlorine, and you're gonna need to make sure your chlorine level is much higher than that in order to get your pool under control. So the next step is investing in a good kit. Most folks around here use a kit from tftestkits.net. If your pool is green, I'd go with the TF-100 with the XL option. It's just the best value of the testing reagents you'll use the most. It's the best investment in your pool you'll ever make, because it gets you out of the mercy of the pool store's often-wrong test results, and away from eager sales staff. Pool School has reviews of the various test kits if you want some more options.

    Until you know what's already in your water, its hard to recommend anything. For instance, you aren't sure what your CYA level is. Pool School will teach you that CYA stabilizes chlorine and protects it from the sun, but it also decreases the chlorine's effectiveness. So if your CYA level was too high, it's possible that despite adding 4 lbs of powdered chlorine and a bunch of liquid chlorine, you never actually reached shock level for your pool.
    33k in-ground plaster pool and spa / Goldline T-15 SWG w/ Aqualogic controller / RS2000 Hayward pump / Pentair Clean & Clear Plus 420 sq. ft. cartridge filter

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Welcome npittman! Listen to these guys. They're the best. Order a good test kit--you will never regret it if you are serious about taking control of your pool. I came to this site before pool season last year & so far the only stuff I have bought at the pool store was an O-ring, a skimmer net & Majic Lube!
    17,500 gal. ABG Doughboy Pool
    1/2 HP Pump/150 sq.ft. Cartridge Filter
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    I just ordered that test kit. We have a Leslie's pretty close, but I ordered the other kit anyway. I also ordered a new vaccuum because ours broke last year or the year before & my husband is about to work himself to death vaccuming every day.

    I have read a lot of the pool school info and tried to use the calculator, but little of it makes sense to me. I guess once I get the kit & can use all of the calculator it will be easier. Don't I still have to buy acid, etc. at the pool store?

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Nearly every chemical you need can usually be found other places for significantly less money. The only thing you have to buy from the pool store is cyanuric acid/stabilizer. This is covered in the recommended pool chemicals section in Pool School.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Most chemicals you need can be found at Walmart or big box hardware stores or in bulk at Sam's / Costco.

    Most likely Leslie's would not have had the appropriate kit anyways ... and they probably would have harassed you for asking for an "expensive" test kit.

    It will make more sense when you get hands on.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    One thing to do first on the calculator, go to the bottom to the last yellow row in the calculator and select "suggested levels from..." Traditional Pool, Vinyl, Bleach. It changes the recommended values on the entire calculator. Once you get that set, and enter the size of your pool, it will remember it the next time you open it up.
    27000 gal 18x36 rectangle In-Ground built in 1978
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    K-2006 Test kit

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Got some readings from the pool store ClearCare Expert analysis system today while waiting on my kit.

    FC - 4.12
    Total Chloring - 4.55
    CC - .43
    pH - 7.8
    TA - 110
    CH - 110
    CYA - 13
    Borates - don't know

    They gave my husband a bottle of "stabilizer" & he's adding it now.

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Please do not add too much stabilizer it is much more difficult to get rid of than add.

    Pool stores tests of CYA tend to be inaccurate ... so I hope it is not really higher than they think.

    How much did he add? Liquid or solid? What is the concentration?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    He hasn't added it yet. It just says Stabilizer - Swimming Pool Water Pre-Conditioner made by Haviland. It's a 2lb bottle of powder/granules.

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    The pool calculator says we can replace some of the water to help with CH & CA, but he's worried about losing more chlorine in the water that goes out. Since we've been vac to waste just about every day over the last week we have had quite a bit of water turnover.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Well, using poolcalculator, adding 2lbs will only raise your CYA by 8.7ppm ... so that is likely not nearly enough anyway.

    You probably can find the stuff cheaper at Walmart instead of the pool store.

    I do not think you are using the calculator correctly as both your CYA and CH are low ... replacing water will not raise the CYA and you would need to know the CH of the fill water to know how that would be affected.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    ok. it says to lower CYA & I need to raise it. ok. it should raise it to over 20, so closer to a normal range & we can retest tomorrow evening. does that sound okay?

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    The solid CYA takes some time to dissolve (BTW put it in a sock and hang in in front of a pool return, do not just dump it in the pool or skimmer). And then it takes up to a week to actually show up on a test. So just keep note of how much you add and then when your test kit arrives you can test it yourself and make further adjustments.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Get the kit! It is the best thing to have so you can stop depending on the undependable pool store people. Plus, it makes you look so smart, like a chemist, when you open it up to test the water. Oh, and do everything the people on this website tell you to. Such a smart bunch.
    Theresa and/or Gary

    Complete DIY: 20x40' rectangle. Resin walls, vinyl lined. 33000 gallons. Full width steps. 8' deep. Diving board, slide. Hayward pro series super pump, sand filter. Raypack 336K BTU heater. Main drain, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, 2 amerilite lights with quick change lens Aquamatic auto cover and a partridge in a pear tree.
    Breaking our backs in the hopes that one of our six kids will care for us when we are old ;)

  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    I have the kit & have used it to test my levels. This is what I have. We've put 10 - 186oz jusgs of chlorine in during hte last 5 days. Now I have the kit - Chlorine was 0 this morning. Following the pool calc info I added 4 - 186 oz jugs of bleach this morning, just tested and the level was back at 1.5. I added 4 more 186oz jugs to try to get my chlorine up to 14-15. It had looked like it was getting better, but we just keep getting pounded with rain here in South LA, and we are gone every saturday & sunday for baseball tournaments. It's sea green and very cloudy. We brushed & vac this morning. Thank goodness bleach is cheaper. I'm paying $3 for a 186 oz at Walmart, but at this rate it's still costing me a fortune if I'm going to have to add 8 a day.

    FC - 1.5
    TC - 1.2
    CC - .08
    pH - 7.7
    TA - 91
    CH - 102
    CYA - 25

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    must stay strong. Many of us have gone through the exact same thing. Stick with it and Re-read your posts next summer and you will see how far you've come.
    Theresa and/or Gary

    Complete DIY: 20x40' rectangle. Resin walls, vinyl lined. 33000 gallons. Full width steps. 8' deep. Diving board, slide. Hayward pro series super pump, sand filter. Raypack 336K BTU heater. Main drain, 2 skimmers, 3 returns, 2 amerilite lights with quick change lens Aquamatic auto cover and a partridge in a pear tree.
    Breaking our backs in the hopes that one of our six kids will care for us when we are old ;)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Frustrated & Broke!

    Check your post of your chlorine numbers. TC = FC + CC and they should all be multiples of 0.5

    What "kit" did you get as none of those numbers are in multiples of what we would expect? Hopefully you did not opt for one of the electronic ones.

    You just have to keep doing what you are doing and adding bleach as often as you can until it starts to "stick".
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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