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Thread: New Pool Owner....duh

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    New Pool Owner....duh

    I'm a new pool owner, and new to this forum. So please forgive me for asking any questions that have probably been asked and answered here in the past.

    Just bought a home which already has an inground pool. The previous owners didn't offer any advice for pool maintenance as they had a pool service to take care of the pool. I'm hoping to do my own pool maintenance, but to be honest....it terrifies me! I don't want to mess it up, and especially don't want to cause any safety problems for potential swimmers.

    As well as we can calculate, the pool is approximately 20,000. (My husband is the math wiz, but the pool is irregular shaped, so I'm just trusting his calculations.) It's filled (when needed) from our well water - not city water. We're using an inline chlorinator and the 3" trichlor tabs, which we add about 3 a week. So far, the pool has been clear except for one bout of mustard algae. We treated that by shocking and algaecide about two months ago and it seems to have taken care of the problem. The algae hasn't come back.

    So my question is this. The FC reading (using test strips) has been consistenly around 10, and the CYA reading stays high -- maybe around 150. Is this something that needs to be fixed? As I said, the water is clear and I hardly ever have to brush the pool. I do it once in awhile just because I feel like I should. From my online research, I get the idea that this CYA level is too high and diminishes the effects of the free chlorine. So, should I be worried about my chlorine level and sanitation, even though my free chlorine reading is so high?

    I'm stumped. I want to be able to trust that the chlorine is doing its job so that I don't have to worry about any bacteria or other organisms in my pool!

    Thanks!!!
    1988 11K gallon IG PebbleTec pool - Hayward DE 360 Micro Clean Filter, 72 GPM flow rate - 1 hp Single Speed Pump - BBB Maintenance with TF-100 Test Kit and Hayward Navigator Cleaner

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    Welcome

    First, as you will realize quickly reading here, the test strips are notoriously inaccurate. Follow second by pool store testing (which some times uses a $$$$ computer to read the colors off strips). Your best investment for you pool would be one of the recommended test kits (see link in my signature).

    That said, if your CYA is truly that high, it is likely to be a problem sooner than later. Using the poolcalculator, for a CYA of 150ppm (questionable), the minimum level of FC is 11ppm ... maybe you are at that for now.

    The high CYA is due to your use of the tablets which add FC and CYA, the FC is used up by the sun and organics, the CYA stays in the pool.

    My recommendations:
    1. Order a good test kit
    2. While waiting for the kit, read Pool School a few times, stop using tablets and stick to liquid chlorine
    3. Post up a full set of test results with your new kit
    4. If the CYA is truly high, either maintain the high FC level, or if the pool turns cloudy/green, drain and replace enough water to get the CYA in the 30-50ppm range.
    5. If the water is cloudy/green, you will need to go through the shock process (see Pool School)

    If you have any questions while reading, feel more than welcome to post them here.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    ^ what Jason said, just use the tri-chlor tabs for topping up your CYA level, buy a good test kit and switch to Sodium or Calcium Hypochlorite as your primary disinfectant.

    I remember the first time I started looking after an outdoor pool for someone, outside authority pools, so I didnt have a test kit or anything else, only the owners silly baquacill test strips and enough chemicals to run a spa, not a 31,000 US Gallon pool, the test strips were shocking to say the least, I think I used around 5 each time to try and get a decent reading until I bought my own comparator.

    Stuart
    Stuart Murray
    Scotland UK
    UK NPPOC

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    florajo:

    Welcome to TFP

    Given your numbers of FC=10 and CYA=150, yes, that is something you need to correct...quickly. The CYA is literally off the chart. At that level, even an FC of 10 is not enough. The ideal CYA target is between 30-50 ppm. In order to get down to 50ppm CYA, you're looking at replacing 2/3 of your water.

    I would be remiss if I didn't say that most test strips are notoriously inaccurate, especially for testing chlorine levels and CYA. Would strongly suggest investing in a drop-based kit (see Test Kit Comparison link in my signature for recommended kits). A good test kit is an investment and not an expense in my view. It will pay for itself by helping you avoid problems. Even given the inaccuracy of test strips, if you are getting a CYA reading of 150ppm, there is still a good chance your CYA is too high and will require a partial drain & refill. If you order or get one of the recommended test kits within the next week, I would retest the CYA using that kit and take action based on those results.

    If you do need to do a partial drain & refill, I would caution against draining more than 50% at one time since I do not know what the local water table level is. Given that your refill water is from a well, adding multiple fill hoses to fill it more quickly (which works for city water) may not be an option for you. If not, you may consider employing a multi-stepped approach. I would start by draining about half the water and then filling it about half way up. Then drain down to about half-full again and refill to a higher level than the first time. At this point, I would test CYA and see where you are. If needed, do another partial drain & refill until CYA is at or below 50 ppm. Also, discontinue using the pucks as your chlorine source. This adds CYA. Recommend switching to unscented bleach or liquid chlorine.

    You have made the right choice to follow the BBB method (as I did after floundering with the "old way"). I would begin by becoming familiar with the tools/concepts available from the links in my signature, shown in bold. After that, I would read all of the other articles in Pool School. If you do this, you will be a pro in no time. You've got this!
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    Thanks for the replies!

    I have a swimming party this weekend, so I hope I can get the pool into 'will do' condition by then. Then I plan to start getting serious about regular and proper maintenance.

    I'm planning to go by a reputable pool supply store tomorrow to get a new test kit, which hopefully will be better than the one I have, until I can order one. Also, I plan to drain the pool by about 1/4 and replace with fresh water -- then test with the new kit. With those test results, hopefully I'll know how to proceed from there.

    I'll post back with the test results tomorrow. Thanks to the Pool School, I'm feeling better about this already.
    1988 11K gallon IG PebbleTec pool - Hayward DE 360 Micro Clean Filter, 72 GPM flow rate - 1 hp Single Speed Pump - BBB Maintenance with TF-100 Test Kit and Hayward Navigator Cleaner

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    Even if you get a DPD test you are still in a little trouble. Those can only read up to 10 FC and you need more than that for your CYA level. You are gonna have to wing it for the party. I hope all goes well though!

    Glad to have you one the forums! Hope your pool becomes trouble free!
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    Avoid the pool store! I think there was a test kit available at Wall-mart if your desperate, but can you not simply suffice with what you have and order your taylor kit online, should be with you before the end of the week surely, seems a waste of money to me would be better spent on something else or the pool

    Stuart
    Stuart Murray
    Scotland UK
    UK NPPOC

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    The only test you will not find locally is the FAS-DPD chlorine test which is key.

    I would just order the kit now and you will have it in a few days from tftestkits.net

    Alternatively you can get the complete DPD test locally and then order just the FAS-DPD test. Then you could at least get a better idea of your levels except the FC and CC.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner....duh

    I wouldn't waste money on getting 2 test kits. TFteskits ships super fast and you can pony up the cash for faster FedEx delivery (although mine came the fastest I've even seen a packaged delivered from the postal service!)
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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