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Thread: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balancing!

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    First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balancing!

    Hi everyone...
    I recently bought a house in New Jersey with an in-ground pool. Here are the stats:
    1) Size of pool: 20,000 Gallons
    2) Filter: Hayward DE 4820 Filter & pool heater
    3) In Ground Pool
    4) Vinyl
    5) Hayward Super Pump...Don't know flow rate...
    6) Approx. 5 years old (installed and lined by previous owners)

    Here's my problem: I can't seem to balance the pool and I have no idea if what I'm doing is right. For the past 3 weeks I've been going to Leslies and employing all their recommendations, which have cost me hundreds of dollars but the pool is still not balanced properly. The pool looks clear, but when we swim it really stings our eyes and I can't even smell the chlorine. I feel like I'm being scammed by leslies.

    Here's the test info Leslies gave me (I just ordered my own test kit today...)
    FAC = 0
    TAC = 0
    Total Bromine = (they just put a slash...?)
    Water PH = 7.0
    TA = 70
    CYA = 0
    CH = (they just put a slash...?)
    TDS = 700
    Salt = (they just put a slash...?)
    Copper/Iron = (they just put a slash...?)
    Phosphates = (they just put a slash...?)

    They recommended I add 6 lbs of Alkalinity Up & Wait 4 hours.
    Then add 1-1/2 lbs of soda ash (after mixing in bucket of water) & Wait 4 hours.
    Then add 3 lbs of Chlorobrite & Wait 4 hours.
    Then add 4 lbs of conditioner through the skimmer.

    All this didn't do anything to help balance the pool...right now I only have basic test strips, and they show both my free chlorine and PH are very low. I realize I need to boost my CYA if I want the chlorine to be replenished and long-lasting, but adding the conditioner didn't work.

    My typical maintenance regime is as follows (as prescribed by the previous owner):
    Vacuum every couple of days and regularly clean out skimmers.
    Add 4 puck-sized chlorine tablets into the chlorine canister weekly
    Add 2 bags of Chlor Brite Granular Chlorine around pool weekly
    Add 6 oz of Algaecide weekly

    Backwash DE filter if gauge gets up to 25.
    After backwashing, add 6 scoops of D.E.

    What could I be doing wrong? Should I stop trusting Leslies? I've been reading through this site and the pool school maintenance suggestions but I have no idea if those recommendations (like using bleach, etc) is compatible with my filter system. Do you have any suggestions or ideas about what I'm doing wrong? Is there a more earth-friendly and natural way to keep my pool sanitary and balanced? I feel like a fish out of water!

    Any help or suggestions would be appreciated!
    21,000 Gallons; Filter: Hayward DE 4820 Filter; In Ground Pool; Vinyl Liner; Hayward Super Pump...Don't know flow rate; Approx. 5 years old (by previous owners), New Jersey

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    When did you order your test kit and which one did you order?
    If those numbers are accurate (which I doubt) you do have some work cut out for you.
    At this point it's going to be hard to justify what to do since your numbers are way out of whack. As soon as you get your test kit, go ahead and post the numbers so we can get you going in the right direction.
    You could go to Walmart. They sell an inexpensive 6 way drop based Swimming Pool & Spa Test Kit. You can use this temporarily until your kit arrives.

    These are the numbers we try to stay within here.

    All this information can be found in the Pool School section
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    Chlor-Brite is dichlor, which adds chlorine and CYA and lowers PH. The chlorine part is fine, but the CYA and PH lowering tend to cause problems. From the sound of your description you probably haven't been raising the PH enough to compensate for how much dichlor lowers the PH. CYA also tends to build up and if it gets to high, which is practically impossible to avoid when using dichlor, there can be all kinds of problems. The slash through the CYA box means they didn't do that test, so there is no telling what your CYA level actually is.

    The correct place to start is with a complete set of reliable water test results. By far the best way to do that is to buy your own top quality test kit. Right from the first day you will be getting better results than the majority of pool stores can give you. The second thing to do is to do some reading at Pool School. Those are the two keys to success, knowing what you levels are and having the information you need to know what to do is response.
    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

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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    Thanks for your responses. The test kit I just bought online was the Taylor Complete FAS-DPD Pool Water Test Kit K-2006. I should receive it in about 1 week and will test right away and post results.
    In the meantime, is it safe for my kids to swim in the pool? They've been swimming for hours in it every day...
    Thanks!
    21,000 Gallons; Filter: Hayward DE 4820 Filter; In Ground Pool; Vinyl Liner; Hayward Super Pump...Don't know flow rate; Approx. 5 years old (by previous owners), New Jersey

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    Add enough FC to get to about 5 ppm and let them swim.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    aa62579's Avatar
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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    Actually, the OP said CYA was 0 (and CH had the slash). With using di-chlor and tri-chlor (in the pucks/tablets), there is no way that your CYA is zero. And now you have just added 4 more pounds of CYA which should raise your CYA by 23. If your pucks are around 8oz each, 4 of them per week will have raised your CYA by around 6.3 per week. Assuming these are the 1 lb bags of di-chlor, using two per week will raise your CYA by 5.8. Combine the two and you are adding 12 ppm CYA every week that you have done this routine. If you did this for three weeks, you have added 36 ppm CYA plus 23 ppm CYA from the conditioner your just added. Your CYA is now probably at least 60. I'd also be surprised if the CYA was zero before you started all of this, so it is probably much higher.
    ~~ Allison ~~
    Intex 18' x 48" Easy Set Pool, approximately 5455 gallons
    Krystal Clear 1500 GPH Filter Pump Model 56635EG - 635 with Auto Timer
    BBB FOR BEGINNERS ~ THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE OVERWHELMED!!

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    Re: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    How much water is added to the pool each week? If the DE filter is washed a lot or you vac to waste a lot there is a chance that CYA has not run up as high as the chemical additions suggest. Not likely, but possible. Is there a lot of water added to the pool during winter by rain or snow? You may be starting the season with CYA near zero in that case.

    You said you added Conditioner to the skimmer.... did you backwash the DE filter in the week after that? If so you may have lost some of what was added.
    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: First time pool owner - Totally confused by pool balanci

    anonapersona,

    We've only had the home for 3 weeks...and we usually need to add water (via a hose) once a week to keep the water up to the middle of the skimmer. Evaporation, kids splashing, etc will bring it down a few inches and that's our cue to add water.

    Yes, I added the conditioner 5 days ago and I deliberately have not backwashed since.

    I should note that I've noticed a few leaks on the Hayward filter (both at the head and the main ring). They're small leaks, but they're definitely there. Could this be contributing? Maybe the filter is being compromised and is affecting the balance? I tried calling a pool service but they just never returned my calls.
    21,000 Gallons; Filter: Hayward DE 4820 Filter; In Ground Pool; Vinyl Liner; Hayward Super Pump...Don't know flow rate; Approx. 5 years old (by previous owners), New Jersey

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