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Thread: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

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    New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    I've a 12,000gal fiber-glass indoor salt water chlorine generator pool. I have had it for about a year, but let the pool guy maintain it. This year, before I started swimming - I decided to maintain it myself, without really knowing what I was getting myself into. The pool guy said it's easy to maintain and you don't have to do much. On his advise, I turned on the super-chlorination at the start of summer. Due to an emergency at work, I had to go on a trip and forgot to turn it back off. I was running the filter for about an hour a day.

    After I came back, I turned the generator to Auto and started swimming. Water was crystal clean, so I didn't think anything was wrong. Then after couple of weeks, my skin started to get super itchy on the days I was swimming. Eventually, I decided to order some AquaChek 7 strips. I got them yesterday, and tests are super-high. That's when I looked for help online and found this website - and learned a LOT about what I need to do to maintain it. I didn't know anything about pool maintenance, so I apologize in advance if I still use some terms incorrectly. After going through the forum, I'll be ordering the Taylor k-2006 kit in a day or two to get exact results. Anyway - enough of my sad story - I knew chlorine in my pool was going to come out high, but I'm really surprised pH is very high levels as well. These were my results:

    Free Chlorine - 20+ (strip goes up to 20, color was darker than the highest level)
    Total Chlorine - 20+ (strip goes up to 20, color was darker than the highest level)
    pH - 8.4+ (strip goes up to 8.4, color was darker than the highest level)
    Total Alkalinity - 120
    Cyanuric Acid - 30-50
    Total Hardness - 250

    So, I come here for help. I've drained about 500 gallons of water, but then stopped and figured before doing anything - I should ask the people here. Help me out, what should be my first step towards getting the chemistry right.

    Thanks for reading and any help will be much appreciated.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Welcome

    Hard to say if it was the high FC or the high pH that may have irritated your skin. Although, (at least for the drop tests), the pH reads false high whenever FC > 10ppm ... not sure if the strips suffer the same way. Even if they do not, I would not trust them.

    There is really no point in draining any water, the FC will come down eventually ... turn off (or at least way down) the SWG for now.

    I would wait for your good test kit and then run a full set of tests to figure out a path forward.

    If the FC is still WAY high and not dropping very fast, we could consider a chemical to speed up removing the chlorine ... but generally we (here at the forum) try to only add what the pool needs.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Help me out, what should be my first step towards getting the chemistry right.
    1) Turn off the SWG. Unplug it, set the % to zero, something.
    2) Order a proper test kit right now. http://tftestkits.net
    3) Start reading Pool School - upper right corner of this page
    4) Wait it out. The sun will get rid of the high FC in a day or two. When it gets below 10, check pH and adjust.
    5) Then worry about CYA. You want about 70 in a SWG pool.
    6) Play with the SWG to maintain the proper FC level for your CYA level.

    The good news is, you probably have very clear water with no algae!
    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: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    If his pool is indoors, he doesn't need CYA correct?
    11,000 Gallons, Clean and Clear Plus Cartridge Filter, Pentair SWG IC40, IG Plaster/Pebble, Intelliflo VS Pump, Build Completed Feb 2012

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by rimalm
    If his pool is indoors, he doesn't need CYA correct?
    Correct. Would not need the normal higher recommended CYA levels for SWG pools.
    But, it still seems good to have it around 30ppm for its buffering effects on the FC.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Quote Originally Posted by rimalm
    If his pool is indoors, he doesn't need CYA correct?
    Correct. Would not need the normal higher recommended CYA levels for SWG pools.
    But, it still seems good to have it around 30ppm for its buffering effects on the FC.
    Ah ok. Good to know. Def love this site for the wealth of knowledge.
    11,000 Gallons, Clean and Clear Plus Cartridge Filter, Pentair SWG IC40, IG Plaster/Pebble, Intelliflo VS Pump, Build Completed Feb 2012

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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Welcome

    Hard to say if it was the high FC or the high pH that may have irritated your skin. Although, (at least for the drop tests), the pH reads false high whenever FC > 10ppm ... not sure if the strips suffer the same way. Even if they do not, I would not trust them.

    There is really no point in draining any water, the FC will come down eventually ... turn off (or at least way down) the SWG for now.

    I would wait for your good test kit and then run a full set of tests to figure out a path forward.

    If the FC is still WAY high and not dropping very fast, we could consider a chemical to speed up removing the chlorine ... but generally we (here at the forum) try to only add what the pool needs.
    Thanks for your advise. I turned off the SWG this morning. The only thing is, I don't get a lot of sun in my pool room. I'm not sure if FC will come down fast enough. I ordered the complete test kit.

    What chemicals should I use if Chlorine levels don't come down significantly in next day or two?

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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Quote Originally Posted by rimalm
    If his pool is indoors, he doesn't need CYA correct?
    Correct. Would not need the normal higher recommended CYA levels for SWG pools.
    But, it still seems good to have it around 30ppm for its buffering effects on the FC.
    That's good to know. Thanks.

    Yes, currently (according to the test strips) - the CYA is between 30-50.

    But, I'm curious - why isn't CYA required for indoor pools?

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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Help me out, what should be my first step towards getting the chemistry right.
    1) Turn off the SWG. Unplug it, set the % to zero, something.
    2) Order a proper test kit right now. http://tftestkits.net
    3) Start reading Pool School - upper right corner of this page
    4) Wait it out. The sun will get rid of the high FC in a day or two. When it gets below 10, check pH and adjust.
    5) Then worry about CYA. You want about 70 in a SWG pool.
    6) Play with the SWG to maintain the proper FC level for your CYA level.

    The good news is, you probably have very clear water with no algae!
    Thank you.

    I've never had a problem with algae...and yes, water is super clear. That's why I didn't know anything was wrong till I noticed crazy itches and my hair on arms and legs starting turning white.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    We can talk about the possible chemicals to reduce FC later when you get your kit ... not a priority. (Although if you search around you will find some info).

    CYA does 2 jobs.
    First, it protects the FC from being broken down by the sun ... this is why it was believed it was not needed in indoor pools.
    Second, it buffers and holds some of the FC in reserve, this lowers the active chlorine level in the pool so it is not as harsh on people and suits.

    The second reason is why it is good to use inside as well. I think you could get the benefits with very low levels (like 10ppm), but most tests start at 20ppm so there would be no way to test the very low levels.
    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
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Once you get the test kit you'll know for sure but with the FC at above 20 ppm (and we don't know how much above 20 it is) you're most likely above the shock level for your CYA and that's most likely the reason for your itchy-ness.

    If your pool is totally enclosed to where it's not getting any UV from the sun you can use sodium thiosulfate to lower the FC once you get the kit and know exactly what the FC is.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Once you get the test kit you'll know for sure but with the FC at above 20 ppm (and we don't know how much above 20 it is) you're most likely above the shock level for your CYA and that's most likely the reason for your itchy-ness.

    If your pool is totally enclosed to where it's not getting any UV from the sun you can use sodium thiosulfate to lower the FC once you get the kit and know exactly what the FC is.
    Thanks. I'll try that. Yea, I get very little sunlight on the pool and after two days, haven't seen a lot of difference. Someone told me to add Hydrogen Peroxide...but I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do.

    Will Hydrogen Peroxide help?

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    Re: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    not to me knowledge i would only add what the pool needs nothing else, once your test kit arrives and you take ownership of your pool and know what you are adding and why you are adding it it becomes very fun, plus the money you will be saving is a WIN,WIN. I sure would like to see some pics of your pool.....indoor pool.....hmmmmm.....LOL.....Mike
    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: New to pool maintenance - everything is too high [Help]

    Just tested my pool after putting about a gallon of Hydrogen Peroxide after reading it helped someone on this site. I added Peroxide early in the morning and turn on my filters and after 6 hours - my readings are muchhhh better now.

    FC - 6
    TC - 6
    pH - 8
    TA - 100
    Calcium Hardness - 250
    CYA - 40

    Looks like pH and TA is still a little high. What's the best way to lower the pH and TA? I read Muriatic Acid is the best for SWGs to do so. I got some Muriatic acid from Home-depot but it doesn't have any Baume or %

    ?

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