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Thread: low ph high alk no chlorine and 2nd yr of having to drain

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    low ph high alk no chlorine and 2nd yr of having to drain

    Just opened the pool again and took water to be tested at pool store and ammonia was way high- don't know the number but really dark green test. spent most of last summer draining and adding water. really tired of the pool store giving me that answer.. maybe it's right but there should be a way to stop it. pool is 5 or 6 yrs old. I'm the original owner and really need to get a handle on understanding what's what with the chemicals as I think the pool store is also "draining my wallet" I've heard that adding M. Acid will cure all. Is this true? if not, what is the best way to get my alk down, ph up and to have some chlorine in the pool? I have test strips or the chlorine and hp drop test that came with the pool. Any help appreciated.
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
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    Welcome to TFP!

    Start out by getting yourself a high quality test kit. Either the Taylor K-2006 found here:

    http://www.taylortechnologies.com/produ ... KitID=2230

    or the TF100, an excellent kit made by one of our members, found here:

    www.tftestkits.com

    Once you get your test kit, test your own water and TRUST YOUR RESULTS over the pool store's.

    Post your results on this forum and the help will start flooding in. You'll be clean and clear in no time.

    Read the stickies while you are waiting on your test kit to arrive.

    Once again, welcome to TFP!

    Craig

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    Hi kkuster and welcome

    If you don't have a good test kit yet, post the numbers you got from the pool store.

    That will give the folks a place to at least start to help you.

    Also, if you will list all your pool and equipment information in your signature, it will be a big help.

    You have come to the right place.

    ETA: Where are you located? Country, State??
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

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  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Once the ammonia level gets very high there are really only two choices, replace most of the water or use ridiculous amounts of chlorine. It isn't uncommon for there to be a low ammonia level on opening in the spring but a high level is unusual. High ammonia usually only happens if you are getting fertilizer washed into the pool.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Thanks for the tips so far... I will definately get the better test kit and will respond soon with the pool stores reported #'s as I've added more chemicals since their last reading... Stay tuned

    27,000 gallon in ground pool 36X18 8'deep Modular Media Cartridge filter (Nature 2) heater raypak 265

    Installed 2003 Indianapolis IN.

    Once again thanks for the help and I will be back asap w/ the numbers
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    OK my pool store was not open (closes at 5:00 on Saturdays... brilliant) so I went to Leslies Pools and I must say they were more helpful in explaining things. But I'm going to post what I was told and see if the general public agrees. As I'm kinda leary of retail stores help at this time.

    Free Chlorine 1.5
    TAC 2
    PH 7.0
    Total Alk. 240
    Calcium Hardness 230
    Cyanuric Acid 0
    TDS 1450
    Phosphates 0

    OK the game plan is to lower the TA to about 180 which will in turn lower the PH so we will then start to raise the PH without lowering the TA to much and at the same time work on increasing the chlorine level.

    Right now I'm supposed to add 2 gallons of muratic acid 48 oz every 4-6 hours and then take in for retesting to work on the PH and chlorine.

    Does this sound like I would be heading on the right track?
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Guest
    First of all, do you have high ammonia or high total alkalinity? These are two very different thing with different causes and different cures.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You do not want to add acid that will bring the PH below 7.0 because that can damage the pool surface and pool heaters.

    To lower the TA you want to alternate adding acid to lower PH to between 7.0 and 7.2 (already there the first time around) and then aerate the pool to raise the PH back up. This process is then repeated over and over until you get to the desired TA. You can aerate the pool with a fountain, waterfall, spa jets, rain, kids splashing, air compressor, or pointing a return jet up so it breaks the surface.

    You need to get some CYA into the pool. Add stabilizer/conditioner/cyanuric acid to raise the CYA level to between 30 and 50.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  9. Back To Top    #9
    I told Leslies that I was told I had high Ammonia but they were not aware of what this was(?) so I'm guessing it was not tested for. There has been ongoing construction behind my house so the new lawns may be fertalizing but I know we drained at least 1/2 the pool at the end of last season and added fresh before closing hoping to avoid the issue this summer. Pool has an automatic cover so would hope that would keep ammonia out. Since Leslies didnt test ammonia I'm not sure of the level now but I drained the pool to the top of the bottom step in the shallow so I would hope that would decrease it.

    Thanks for the aerating tip and will try that.
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    kkuster,

    Can you post the pool store numbers? That will give us all something to start from and you'll get really solid advice on how to get your pool cleaned up.

    I can only guess but, from experience, I am willing to bet your issue is not ammonia.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Guest
    I tend to agree with Duraliegh. Although Leslies did test you as having 0 ppm CYA. If you closed the pool with CYA and it disappeared while closed it is possible that it was broken down by anerobic bacteria into urea and other ammonia and nitogren compounds. I would be interested in how the first store tested for ammonia. Did they use strips or a drop based test? You metioned a dark green color of the test. This would be consistant with a salicylate test for ammonia/monochloramine when high levels are present. Ammonia is usually dealt with by shocking but sometime it DOES take a lot of chlorine. Your high TA is more of an issue when opening however.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Here are the latest numbers as of yesterday afternoon from Leslie's. The ammonia testing was done at pools of fun who installed the pool and who I normally test with but was getting frustrated with and it was a liquid drop test.

    Thanks for all the help so far, I'm so glad I found this site.



    Free Chlorine 1.5
    TAC 2
    PH 7.0
    Total Alk. 240
    Calcium Hardness 230
    Cyanuric Acid 0
    TDS 1450
    Phosphates 0
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    K,

    1. I see nothing in your test results to indicate ammonia is an issue....I would suggest to disregard that test at least for now.

    2. Tell us how your water looks

    3. You need to keep some chlorine in your pool as you are adjusting other items.....Step #1 would be to put a small jug of clorox in the skimmer (pump running) each evening just before sunset.

    4. Step #2 would be to establish some CYA in your pool.....around 40ppm for starters. Use JasonLions calculator in any of his posts to help you figure how much you need.

    5. We can work on your pH and Alk a little later but I think you should focus on Chlorine and CYA for now. That'll keep your pool sanitized and healthy.

    6. There's a "sticky" section in the header of the home page. Look at those and especially read up on how you will lower your alkalinity without raising your pH. That's a process, not an event, and that's what I'd work on AFTER my chlorine and CYA levels were up to speed.

    7. You will need to post some more test results after you begin your adjustments so consider more trips to Leslie's or your own kit. The Taylor K-2006 and the one I make are probably the two most relevant for this forum and your needs.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  14. Back To Top    #14
    thanks!! I will upate the test results. the pool is cloudy and I wouldn't call it green like swampy or algae more of a turquoise greenish..
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

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    Since your water is not clear, I believe you have algae in your pool. Big doses of chlorine are need. Modify #3 above to be.....add enough chlorine to your pool to bring it up around 10-15ppm[EDIT JasonLion] and hold it there 'til your water clears. This may require adding additional chlorine 2-3 times daily at first then gradually tapering as the water clears. Run your Pump 24/7 and backwash as needed.

    Read Jason's sticky on clearing a green pool for more info.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Guest
    I have to agree with Duraleigh. IF high ammonia was the problem your water would probably be clear and you would have NO FC and only CC on testing! The problem with the ammonia test you described is it tests for ammonia AND monochloramine. Monochoramine is just CC (combined chloramines). Your CC is only .5 ppm (TAC-FC=CC). This amount of CC along with cloudy water indicated to me that you probably have an algae bloom you are trying to fight. Guess what trying to kill algae in your water causes, especially without ENOUGH chlorine to really do the job? Ammonia and chloramines!!!! I guess the lesson here is that it's possibe to overtest sometimes! Remember, it's only a swimming pool, NOT a chemical research lab!!!!!!


    Also, Duraleigh had a small typo in his excellent advice to you above. He meant to say:

    "Modify #3 above to be.....add enough chlorine to your pool to bring it up around 10-15ppm and hold it there 'til your water clears."

    NOT 10-155ppm!!!

    (Dave, no worries...I do the same thing all the time! )

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    What's a 100ppm among friends?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18
    IkeRay's Avatar
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    I would like to add that my local leslie's uses the taylor K2006 kit, and I believe that is a universal company thing. I would trust their numbers over the other pool store's simply because I don't know what brand test kit they use.

    I do suggest getting your own TF100 kit (or Taylor k2006 but the TF is a better deal) and doing your own testing, its the only way to be 100% certain.

    To aerate, create yourself a pvc aerator. Go into local pool store and pick up a Hayward Eyeball Removal tool, will run you ~$2-3. then stop by your local hardware store and pick up a 1 1/2" threaded 90* connector, and a 1-2 ft pipe (1 1/2" of course). then just thread the 90* piece, after removing the eyeball, and stick the pipe in so that it shoots the water up and makes bubbles. This will raise your pH while you add acid to lower the Alk.

    may I inquire about what kind of chlorine you are using?
    30,000gal In-ground Gunite Pool DE filter
    Polaris 380 APC

    BBB method all the way - Newb, like to absorb info and chatter, but take the experts' advise

  19. Back To Top    #19
    I think I 'm getting closer but not sure at this point. If nothing else I've learned alot the past few days.

    I've added stabilizer and according to strip test I would put it at about a range of 10-12

    Using the taylor drop kit

    FC 5
    TC 5
    PH 6.8
    TA 300

    The water is a "tad" clearer I think I can see the filter in the deep if I squint real hard. So from here I think I need to raise my PH because it is to low. I did the pool calculator and it said approx 9 lbs for the soda ash. does that sound right?

    Last nite I added 2lbs of the Cal-Hypo 73%

    Should I raise my PH and then add more of the Cal-Hypo?

    Also, what is a good range for TDS? My last test at Leslies yesterday was 1500 which they said was fine.

    Incidently, I took my water to the old pool store yesterday also just to see what they told me compared to Leslies. They told me I needed to drain more. Maybe I just don't know enough about pools yet but since I just drained to the top of the bottom step last week, I didn't see how this would help.
    18x36 IG concrete w/ vinyl liner - 28,000 gal; 1hp Hayward SP w/ sand filter.

  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Get some more chlorine in there. Keep your chlorine up at 15ppm and run your pump until your pool clears. That you lost 10ppm of FC overnite tells me you still have algae. Chlorine is the cure for algae. Don't perceive this as rude but here's what I suggest:

    1. Stay out of the pool stores unless you need your water tested.....do not listen to their advice.

    2. Keep your chlorine level at 15ppm until your water clears

    3. Keep your chlorine level at 15ppm until your water clears

    4. Keep your chlorine level at 15ppm until your water clears

    5. Use Borax to raise your pH up to about 7.2 or so

    6. Keep your chlorine level at 15ppm until your water clears

    7. Keep your chlorine level at 15ppm until your water clears

    There you go....the Seven-Step approach to a clear pool
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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