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Thread: Help with levels

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    Help with levels

    Hi, I'm not new to pool ownership, but I am new to chlorine. We converted last year from bacquacel to chlorine because of cost. Had minimal problems keeping everything in level last year.. this year we've had troubles from the get go. I found your website and have read all through the pool school and will be switching over to the BBB method...I've been shocking and adding the chlorine pucks etc this year to no avail. Can't get my free chlorine levels above 0...So after reading everything in the pool school and sizing my pool with the pool calculator, I poured 2 gallons of 6% bleach in my pool and left the filter running.. I also have pucks in the 2 floating containers in my pool which have been there consistently plus adding powdered chlorine every other day...I have a faint chlorine smell this morning but when checking chlorine levels, I'm still at a 0... we changed the direction of the return outlet from bubbling up on the surface to pointing toward the floor and to the side some to attempt to circulate the water on the bottom more and now we have a slight foamy surface and bugs aren't being caught by the skimmer. My other numbers are this:
    TH: 400
    FC: 0
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 120
    CYA: 30-50
    and I'm sorry, thats all my little test kit checks....My water is cloudy and has been all year this year..Started the season with nasty green algae but didn't seem to have any problems getting rid of that, cleared up fairly quickly but as it cleared, the cloudy came on.. Using well water that is 'hard water' to refill, doing that every 2-3 days as it's very hot here, live in Missouri, in the states, high heat, high humidity...Have always used well water so that can't be the problem (I wouldn't think)...HELP!!
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    I posted more info a bit ago but somehow it didn't take so here I go again (just in case it posts twice).
    New filter sand this year.
    Filter/pump came with pool so should be correct size, pool is 27' AG round with 5 ft depths.
    New pool robot vacuum cleaner, used about every other day at this time
    Filter is left running 24/7 unless vacuum is being used (due to only having one power outlet at pool)
    Backwash when needed, filter runs at about 11-12 psi which it is maintaining right now...
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    It sounds like you still have an algae bloom in the pool. When TFP prescribes shocking they aren't saying drop in a bag of shock Mon/Wed/Fri or simply add x-amount of liquid chlorine. The process requires you to add chlorine to a specific ppm and keep the level there until comsumption of chlorine by algae has completely stopped. I saw your test results and you commented that "that's all my little test kit checks." You also mentioned that the pool smelled like chlorine.

    I'd recommend you purchase a Taylor 2006 or my preference the TF-100 (TFTestKits.net). My understanding is that if your pool smells like chlorine there's a strong possibility that you have chloramines. The Taylor and TF-100 kits test for more than just Free Chlorine. Those kits are also irreplaceable for monitoring the levels while you maintain shock conditions. I'd also recommend you confirm the CYA level with the new test kit especially since you've indicated that you're using a lot of pucks. Note: Ideal shock level is a function of both FC and CYA. It sounds like you're close to the finish line but you need to administer the coup de gras to the surviving algae.
    22 x 36 In Ground Vinyl - 23K Gal - Saltwater - Tara Liner
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    Re: Help with levels

    The biggest conceptual ideas to get are that chlorine gets "consumed" when it kills algae - and algae is a growing thing.

    So right now you are adding enough chlorine to kill 50% of the algae, the chlorine level drops to 0 and the algae is given enough time to grow back to previous levels. Do this over for a month or 2 and the pool feels "stuck"

    To properly shock the pool - add enough chlorine to bring it to shock level wait an hour and test. If FC is 0 - add enough to bring it to shock level wait an hour and test. If it's 0 do it again, etc. At some point (probably quicker than you think) you FC level will start to hold. Then keeping testing and adding, filtering and brushing until the pool clears.

    That chlorine smell may indicate there's something like ammonia in the pool. That would also provide a reason your FC level instantly drops to 0. If that's the case it will mean your pool will consume quite a bit of chlorine at the start but will then taper off. Once the pool is clean it wont smell of chlorine at all (if that was a concern).
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with levels

    You need to stop using powders and pucks. I am surprised that your CYA is what you listed given the amount of stabilized chlorine you mentioned. Some powers add calcium instead of CYA and given you're hard water you do not want to add that either.

    Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Help with levels

    Thanks for the replies: Smell wasn't a concern, just noticed that after 2 gallons of bleach last night it had a slight smell, the only other times I've been able to smell it is when I'm in the pool or right by the pucks...I keep 2 pucks floating at all times based on the instructions per my gallons...I'll buy more bleach today (that was all I had last night was 2 gallons)...I'll be an adding fool tonight when the sun goes down, as to the test kit, that is on my list of buys but the first of the month isn't the best time for me to be shelling out $75...so it'll be a couple of weeks, lol...my plan is to take the water to the pool place (where I used to buy baquacil) and have them test it (free) and then hopefully that'll give me a more accurate test to work with...I'm buying everything today (with the exception of muratic acid because I'm not sure if I'll find it) to start the BBB but I think based on my readings that it's mainly my chlorine thats wonky right now....Thanks! I'll try more and more chlorine and go from there!
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    After reading through the pool school over the last few days, I was worried about my calcium levels because of the pucks and the powder shock I've been using also so I'm switching to all chlorine as of today. Going to get water tested and add lots of chlorine this evening and see what happens (and no I didn't take it as a 'short' reply)....
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    Oh, and CYA levels? I also read to limit the chlorine consumption by the sun (my pool is in full sun all day long) I need my CYA levels to be 60-80, should I shoot for that???
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    Since you are shocking I'd leave the CYA where it is. Once the pool is clear you can choose whether to bring it up or not - but if it's 50 that's a great level to start your pool at.

    At the very least I'd pick up a cheapo OTO chlorine test at the store if you dont already have one. It wont be very accurate - but it's possible to go through the shock process with it. You'll want to be testing a lot and running to the pool store 4 or 5 times a day for the next couple days is probably more hassle than it;s worth.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Help with levels

    I fully understand wanting to hold off on a $70 test kit when you've got a bottle of 100 test strips on the kitchen counter or you can take your water to the local pool store for free analysis. The problem is that neither one of those is accurate. The test strips are terrible for just about everything except pH. And the results from one pool store to the next can vary wildly. In addition they usually try to sell you stuff you don't need.

    So here's the situation as I see it... You can go out and buy chemicals today (acid, bleach, pucks, algeacides etc) based on questionable information, try to fix the pool with a combination of the pool store's results and your current kit. But if I were to play the percentages demonstrated in similar posts at TFP, you'll just end up losing your money in chemicals and the algae problem will remain. If I were in your spot, I'd buy about 10 bottles of bleach and order the test kit. While waiting for the test kit, I'd add a gallon in the morning and one in the evening just to hold the algae bloom at bay. With the test kit in hand I'd use the pool calculator to start the shock process. The bleach is pretty cheap and you may find out once the kit arrives that your CYA is through the roof and the only way to lower it is to drain water. Better to not invest a whole bunch of chemicals in a pool you have to drain to get balanced.
    22 x 36 In Ground Vinyl - 23K Gal - Saltwater - Tara Liner
    1hp 2-speed Hayward Super Pump, Hayward 6060 Booster Pump
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    Hayward Aqualogic PS-4, Polaris 280 Cleaner, ColorLogic 4.0 LED

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    Re: Help with levels

    Ok, here is the pool stores analysis:
    FC: 0.18
    TC: 0.32
    CC: 0.14
    TA: 137
    pH: 7.7
    CH: 169
    CYA: 9
    Copper: 0
    Total dissolved solids: 600
    Saturated index: 0.1

    I've added 3 jugs of 6% 189 oz bleach since receiving this and have 3 more to add throughout evening/tomorrow...can get more as needed as I figure thats the biggest problem I have and I will be ordering a test kit...What else can someone see from this that I need to do to assist in the pool til I get my test kit? Didn't buy any chemicals at the pool store as I want to go with the BBB method...
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with levels

    OK ... now we see why pool store tests are bad.

    How in your first post do you state a CYA of 30-50ppm (maybe reasonable given the amount of powder/pucks you have added) and now the pool store says 9ppm???

    It is almost impossible to give you recommendations given that kind of discrepancy.

    If we assume the PS is correct, you need to lower you pH a bit, add CYA and get your FC up ... BUT
    If your first post results are correct, that last thing you want to do is add more CYA ... and all you need is to get your FC level up.

    It is all guess work until your test kit arrives. From this point on, I would only add about 1 jug of bleach in the evening (with pump on) while waiting.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Help with levels

    Thanks!
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Re: Help with levels

    That test is a computer read out. They do a little strip test - shove it in a "reader" and print the results. These tests are the worst when it comes to CYA

    Since you have a kit on the way I wouldn't add anything other than chlorine at this point.

    The other problem with those computer tests is the level of accuracy is kind of a joke. With a really good kit and experience using it you'll know your TA is somewhere between 200-220 and CH is 170-190 and FC is 4.5 Getting more accurate than that is unnecessary and would require very expensive equipment. So seeing a read-out like that makes most of us if you know what I mean.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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    Re: Help with levels

    Thanks, ok I have another symptom to add to the mix...I got in the pool this evening to really brush the walls and floor before adding more chlorine tonight and found that the walls and the 'crook' between the floor and the walls are like crusted...we have a pool brush plus a hand held scrubber that has a scrubber on it like what u use to scrub your dishes and crusties would come off but my husband had to put all of his weight behind the scrubbing...Never felt this before because I would just scrub and not feel but I accidentally rubbed up against it tonight and then went to investigate and it's all over the walls...
    21,400 gal, sand filter, AG, vinyl, don't know pump size/flow, 2005

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Help with levels

    Sounds like calcium scaling. Did your pH spend some time on the high side?

    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
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    Re: Help with levels

    It certainly sounds like calcium - we'll know more when the test kit arrives. It'll mean either your CH level is much higher than we think or the pool spent some time with the PH very high.

    IF it is calcium dropping your PH down to 6.8-7 and keeping it there for awhile will probably be enough to dissolve the scale. After that you just maintain your PH in range and it wont come back.
    16K Gal Plaster | Compupool SWG | Intelliflow VF | TF-100

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