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Thread: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

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    Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    I"ve been trying to get this pool "balanced" since June and am still struggling. But I'm not sure if I should be that concerned about it - the water looks great, no smells, no cloudiness, no complaints of stinging eyes. We keep the solar cover on when no one is in it (only use pool about 1-3 hours a day).

    I've been using both the test strips and the 6 part test kit from walmart. I'm reluctant to get the recommended test kit with less than 6 weeks before we probably have to close for the season and then have the chemicals sit around for 8 months.

    I am trying to get TA balanced and CYA at the correct level. I have tried aerating with positioning return jet to break above surface and no solar cover for 24 hours (about a week ago) to raise PH so I could treat with muriac acid. It didn't seem to do anything except make the water cooler (dislike). I continued to keep the return jet breaking the surface and pool cover partially on.

    Last night I got fed up with waiting and added a box of Borax in hopes of getting the PH up. That worked, but I took a sample to pool store to make sure I was doing it right just because FC was so different from drop and strip test since adding Borax. He recommended adding stabilizer and getting ph down (it was 7.8 this morning). He said the chlorine was great (it looked pretty yellow to me). He was also concerned about water being too soft. Is that really a concern for a vinyl pool?

    Test strip says:
    PH 6.2
    FC 2
    TA 120
    CYA 20ish

    Drop tests say:
    PH 6.2
    FC 5-10 (doesn't seem that high)
    CYA just started showing up but ran out of reagent
    TA 120-140

    I added a bottle of muriac acid this afternoon and got the above results tonight. I added a box of borax tonight to get PH up. I also added 4 lbs of stabilizer from Walmart via the sock method. I will report my results in the a.m. I know CYA won't change but I am getting nervous about the chlorine level. Am I freaking out about nothing when everything is looking so good?
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Ignore TA until everything else is balanced. You're just going like a yo-yo with pH. It will eventually find it's sweet spot. Don't worry if it's a hair higher than "recommended"? It comes from your tap - you've been bathing in it and drinking it with no ill effects, right?

    Since you keep the pool covered most of the time, your CYA level should be fine.
    pH needs to be gotten into range, always.
    FC should be above minimum for your CYA, always
    CH doesn't matter with a vinyl pool.

    If you buy the test kit now, and keep it stored in the house over the winter, it should still be fine next spring. The strips are useless, and the drop kit you have doesn't include the FAS-DPD test, which you'll especially want at opening, in case you need to shock.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Richard beat me, here is my take...

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    We keep the solar cover on when no one is in it (only use pool about 1-3 hours a day).
    Solar cover at night is a great idea, to prevent evaporation, but in the day, if you want warmer water then you should leave it off in the middle of the summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    I'm reluctant to get the recommended test kit with less than 6 weeks before we probably have to close for the season and then have the chemicals sit around for 8 months.
    In my experience the shelf life is not an issue as long as you don't store the kit at temperature extremes. I have used reagents that are more than a year old without a problem (some even 2 years old).

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    He was also concerned about water being too soft. Is that really a concern for a vinyl pool?
    If he is considering to little calcium and magnesium as being soft, then you should ignore his concern. Low calcium (or magnesium) is not an issue for vinyl.

    Stop using the test strips, they will only mislead you. The HTH drop based kit can not read down to 6.2 ph. Recheck the ph only with the drop based kit and dose accordingly. I strongly recommend an appropriate kit for your nice new pool you put so much work into.
    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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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    If you add the reagents to your HTH kit, you'll have all you need.

    Can be done for less than $30 with shipping and TFTestkits reagent bottles. If you buy the Taylor refills, even cheaper. The FAS-DPD kit that TFTestkits sells doesn't have CYA in it, and you have a cylinder, which is why I suggest getting reagents only.

    You need these ones:
    R-0003
    R-0870
    R-0871
    R-0013
    Little Blue Scoop - $.15

    TFTestkits are Taylor reagents, in different (bigger) portions/bottles. Look at the TFTestkits website, in the refills sections.

    Soft water is so not an issue in a vinyl pool. We have next to no CH (~2ppm). All is well.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Thanks for the replies. So now the question is - how do I get the PH in range? It's at 6.8 tonight, the same as last night before adding a box of Borax (previous result was incorrect - my memory is pitful). Do I keep adding Borax?
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    Thanks for the replies. So now the question is - how do I get the PH in range? It's at 6.8 tonight.
    Soda Ash or Borax. You may have some pool store bottle labeled pH Up or similar.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Great. Off to Walmart before the lacrosse tournament tomorrow.
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Quick quesition, would adding baking soda do the same thing or will that mess with my TA? I've got two 4 lb boxes in the basement.
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    Quick quesition, would adding baking soda do the same thing or will that mess with my TA? I've got two 4 lb boxes in the basement.
    No, Baking Soda does more for TA than pH.

    If you plug your numbers into Pool Calculator it will do the math and tell you how much of what will raise/lower your values to where you want them. Be sure to enter the pool volume at the top. And down near the bottom, there's a not-so-hidden secret: "effects of adding chemicals". As long as the volume is correct, it will give you a pretty good idea what certain quantities of the common chemicals will do.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Baking soda will have a much, much greater effect on TA than pH. From the pool calculator, if you put all 4 lbs. in your pool, you'd raise the TA by 17, and raise the pH by .03
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Richard
    You beat me to it....the Pool Calculator is your friend!!!!!!!!!!
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
    1 large fountain 1 inch sch 40 pvc,shut off ball valves on all

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Straight out of pool school -"Lower Total Alkalinity": Aerate until PH rises to around 7.6 (the only way to raise PH without also raising TA)
    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    "Straight out of pool school -"Lower Total Alkalinity": Aerate until PH rises to around 7.6 (the only way to raise PH without also raising TA)"

    Tried that last week - it didn't seem to make any difference. I had the return jet shooting up so it was breaking the water surface. Took at least 4-5 days to get pH high enough to bring down with acid. Am I just too impatient?
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    The more bubbles you can create, the better. Breaking the surface won't create good bubbles for aerating if you want it to rise fast. Think of a sprinkler type aeration. Lots and lots of tiny bubbles.

    Can you rig something up perhaps? There are some threads, and I think some images in Pool School about different types of aerators people have created.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
    Year 3 BBB -15' x 48" Intex Metal Frame - Was using (2) 1000gph Intex cartridge filters (see Full time pumping Intex). 2012, converted to 1600gph and sand filter+SWG = Sand filter love affair!
    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    "Straight out of pool school -"Lower Total Alkalinity": Aerate until PH rises to around 7.6 (the only way to raise PH without also raising TA)"

    Tried that last week - it didn't seem to make any difference. I had the return jet shooting up so it was breaking the water surface. Took at least 4-5 days to get pH high enough to bring down with acid. Am I just too impatient?
    You need to get aggressive! Like these. The first two are linked in the lowering TA how-to, the third is from yesterday.[center:3gl3l9j3]



    [/center:3gl3l9j3]
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Taterfink's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    The more you can aerate the faster it will come back up. My return didn't work fast enough for me either. So I installed a fountain. The thing is, if I understand correctly, if you try to raise your PVC thru chemical additions, you will also raise the TA which takes

    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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    Taterfink's Avatar
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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Auto correct is a pain! Not PVC. pH ! Sorry.

    Angie M.
    AG, 26' x 52" Intex Ultra Frame, vinyl, 14667 gal. And LOVING it!!! Hayward S15922S 1HP, 2SP pump and Hayward S220T Sand Filter. Hard plumbed with PVC, added second return, intex SWG, Hydro Pool widemouth skimmer. Set up in May 2012!
    N.E. Florida. TF100 - Best investment EVER! (Well, for the pool anyway)

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Bubbles -- ah now I get it. Thanks.
    blondemarcello
    18x33 16,700 gallon AG
    Sand, TFP Test, Gas heater
    Minnesota

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    Re: Levels don't seem to match up with what people report

    Quote Originally Posted by blondemarcello
    Tried that last week - it didn't seem to make any difference. I had the return jet shooting up so it was breaking the water surface. Took at least 4-5 days to get pH high enough to bring down with acid. Am I just too impatient?
    Yes, have some POP (Pool Owner Patience). Each round of lowering the TA may get you 10 ppm maybe a bit more, or that has been my experience. Hardly worth the effort for me, now I just add acid regularly to adjust pH and TA does what it does. I test TA every month just so I know where it is, as that does affect how much MA one adds to adjust pH correctly.

    I try manage the pool so that as I leave for a vacation the CYA is low and the TA is not low. Then when we use trichlor tablets for a week or two I will see maybe 10 ppm increase in CYA per week and maybe a 10 ppm decline in TA per week. Sometimes I have to let the pool sitter add bleach as well, sometimes we can rely on the chlorine tablets alone.
    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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