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Thread: Newbie with questions

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    Newbie with questions

    We purchased a house with a pool last year. Initially we had a pool guy (family friend) get us up and running for the first few months and trained us on the maintenance. After a few months, we went it alone and had a great pool season last year. This year, we have been battling algae and chlorine levels and surviving with opinions and guesses from others until finding this site.

    My Taylor test kit will not arrive until Wednesday, but here is the data that I have:

    With a Basic Test Kit by Poolmaster (from Home Depot)
    Chlorine 0
    Bromine 0
    PH 7.8
    Alkalinity 130

    With HACH Aqua Check Test Strips

    TC 0.5
    FC 0
    PH 7.8
    TA 180
    CYA 100-150

    I had the CYA verified by a pool store and he indicated that it was well over 100

    Based on what I have learned in the past few days, I need to address the CYA by draining some of pool and adding fresh water. That is my plan over the next few days, then retest with the Taylor K-2006 and follow the Pool Calculator suggestions. Is this the correct way to proceed?

    I’ve also read that the CYA has a specific gravity of 2.5 and collects in the bottom (deep end) of the pool. Is this true? I ask because my plan was to draw water out of the pool via the drain at the deep end, that is until I found that I could not get it to operate at all. So with that, the pool store was going to loan me their submersible pump, my idea was to put it in the deep end of the pool (assuming cord length allowed) and pull water with a higher concentration of CYA, thereby reducing the amount of water I have to change.

    Does this make any sense?

    Thanks for all of the help.
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    There are all sorts of rumors out there about CYA, some say it floats on the surface, others say it sinks, I think the general accepted wisdom here is that it mixes with the rest of the water. Note if you do drain and refill at the same time, base your plan on the relative temperature of your fill water. Cold fill water sinks, warm fill water (relative to the pool water) tends to float, so if you have cold fill water you you don't want to drain from the bottom, etc..

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    MikeInNH's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    I would be concerned that your CYA number is not accurate using test strips and the pool store. Most people find neither are very accurate. I see you ordered a test kit so that's a good thing. As for the CYA, I've read that an option is to lay plastic sheathing on top of the water. You add water to the top of the sheathing and drain water from underneath the sheathing. When you get the desired amount replaced then remove the sheathing.
    Mike
    2007 1st full year with AG pool~15k gallons 18'x33' JW
    6/2010 added 2 button Intex SWG-painless except for when reset
    Switched to BBB from Baquacil (couldn't pay me to go back)

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Newbie with questions

    Thanks for the responses. I was planning on draining about 2 feet of water then adding back the fresh water. When the Taylor test kit arrives, I'll be able to get definative numbers and I'll post those.
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Newbie with questions

    I'm with the others - I don't know that CYA is "heavier" than the water itself. I have battled a large CYA problem (around 200) this year, and I ended up having to drain 80% of my water in increments.

    That said, I have two questions:
    1. What are you using to chlorinate your pool? Trichlor (tablets/pucks) and dichlor contain CYA.
    2. Not trying to doubt you - but are you sure your pool is 55,000 gallons? Sounds pretty big. The one I manage is for a townhouse complex and it's only 27,000 gallons.

    In either case, you'll likely have to drain about half your water, which you can do in increments. But please post a full set of test results once you get your kit and we can help you more accurately from there.
    27,000-gallon plaster IG, sand filter, flow rate 80-90.

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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    Based on what I have learned in the past few days, I need to address the CYA by draining some of pool and adding fresh water. That is my plan over the next few days, then retest with the Taylor K-2006 and follow the Pool Calculator suggestions. Is this the correct way to proceed?
    .
    Pool School and the Pool Calculator are your best friends now.

    Yes, you will need to drain and refill. Best to do it once, to the correct amount, or else you will have to drain some of the refilled water on the second round. Get the CYA into the 30-50 range. Then you will adjust pH to 7.2 and begin the Shock Process as outlined in Pool School. In short, test and maintain the pool at all times above the shock level. Shock level up to near mustard shock level is OK, just not below shock level for your CYA and not above mustard shock level. Be sure to clear any debris out of the pool first, and keep the filter running 24/7, and brush everywhere. Do not retest pH while above shock levels as it will not read correctly.

    So you will use the Pool Calculator to keep the pool at shock levels, don't obsess over the other stuff at this point, just maintain FC vs CYA after adjusting pH at the start.
    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.

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Newbie with questions

    Thanks for the input.

    Per the pool guy that we originally had, we chlorinated the pool with liquid chlorine and had 2-3 tablets floating at all times. In addition to that, when we started having trouble keeping the chlorine ppm up, he suggested adding some stabilizer. So the source of the CYA does not seem to be a mystery.

    Yes, 55K is a large pool. This is the number that previous home owner indicated. I math’d it out and got close to his number, so I have been using his number. The shape is an irregular peanut shape with the deep end at 9.5 feet and ½ sphere.

    The test kit should show up today or tomorrow, so some solid numbers should be forthcoming. My pumping project has been delayed for a few days as the pump is on lone elsewhere, it is supposed to be available by Friday.

    I’m still trying to figure out the plumbing schematic for the pool. I thought that Main Drain at the bottom of the deep end would be one of the three inputs to the low pressure side of the pump. With a Drain King and hose, I was able to determine that the MD goes to the Skimmer at the shallow end. The Skimmer has two pipes at the bottom, one to the MD, the other to the low pressure side of pump. The second of the three pipes on the low pressure side of the pump is the vacuum. These two (Skimmer and Vacuum) join together prior to entering a Pentair 3-way. The other side of the 3-way is the mystery pipe that I formerly thought was the Main Drain and have proven it is not. When I turn the 3-way to shut off the Skimmer/Vacuum, the flow rate goes down drastically (measured by the spillover from the spa) and the Pump starts to cavitate, so wherever this mystery pipe leads, it does not supply enough water for the pump to remain happy.

    I also have a problem on the High Pressure side of the pump, after the DE filter. Two pipes lead underground with a Pentair 3-way between them. Switching between the pipe that goes to the Spa for the spillover to the other pipe leads to a very unhappy pump and drop in DE filter pressure.

    Chemistry issues first!!!

    I’ll follow anonapersona’s directions and get this thing under control. I’ll post number and progress under a few watchful eyes.

    Many thanks for all of the input.
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Newbie with questions

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    I’ll follow anonapersona’s directions and get this thing under control. I’ll post number and progress under a few watchful eyes.
    Find the article in Pool School, my post was a shortened version. You need to know the details.
    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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    cramar's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Just some encouragement, you ordered the kit and sound motivated so everything will fall in line.
    THe first few tests might be clumsy or complicated but stick with it, after a while you'll have the process to memory and will see how your treatment affects levels, once you start to see that action/reaction you'll understand it all. It's challenging trying to learn/understand without a good test kit.

    ALso, use poolcalculator.com, I don't know what I would do without that site.
    20' X 54" Sharkline Matrix Resin AGP, 9400 Gallons, Sta-Rite 1 HP Dynamo Pump, 150 lb Pentair Sand Filter, Gorilla Pad,
    Foam Cove, Taylor K-2006 kit, BBB method, 8'X20' Fafco Sunsaver Hard Plumb, DIY Fountain, Margarittaville Fiji


    My Build: one-man-one-pool-and-one-deck-agp-pics-t37172.html
    My Build 'To-Do' List for other DIY'ers: my-pool-build-list-t40249.html?hilit=list

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    I thought that Main Drain at the bottom of the deep end would be one of the three inputs to the low pressure side of the pump. With a Drain King and hose, I was able to determine that the MD goes to the Skimmer at the shallow end. The Skimmer has two pipes at the bottom, one to the MD, the other to the low pressure side of pump.
    That's a common scenario. You need a diverter in the bottom of the skimmer, if you dont' have one, to get the MD to work correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    The second of the three pipes on the low pressure side of the pump is the vacuum. These two (Skimmer and Vacuum) join together prior to entering a Pentair 3-way.
    Is there a valve between the two?

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    The other side of the 3-way is the mystery pipe that I formerly thought was the Main Drain and have proven it is not. When I turn the 3-way to shut off the Skimmer/Vacuum, the flow rate goes down drastically (measured by the spillover from the spa) and the Pump starts to cavitate, so wherever this mystery pipe leads, it does not supply enough water for the pump to remain happy.
    That pipe should be the spa drain or skimmer if it has one. It could be partially clogged causing the low flow.

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    I also have a problem on the High Pressure side of the pump, after the DE filter. Two pipes lead underground with a Pentair 3-way between them. Switching between the pipe that goes to the Spa for the spillover to the other pipe leads to a very unhappy pump and drop in DE filter pressure.
    The other pipe should be the pool returns. The drop in filter pressure and subsequent noise from the pump leads me to believe there is very little restriction in that plumbing. I would check to see if the eyeballs were in them and what size they are. You could also have pratially blocked suction line(s).
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11

    Re: Newbie with questions

    Many thanks for all of the input.

    Anonpersona, I’ll follow the instructions in Pool School and the Calculator. Didn’t mean to put you out on the limb. Thanks.

    Dave J, thanks for the questions on the piping situation.

    I’m not sure how the diverter in the skimmer will work. Two pipes at the bottom of the skimmer, one to the MD and one to the low pressure side of the pump. Once the pool water level gets below the level of the skimmer, isn’t the MD essentially useless at that point?

    I have three pipes coming up through the concrete for the low pressure side of the pool pump. One labeled Vacuum, one labeled Skimmer and one that is unlabeled (labeled by our pool guy last year). The Vacuum and Skimmer pipes each have a ball valve that can adjust flow. In order for the Vacuum to work properly, I have to partially close the Skimmer ball valve, leave the Vacuum all the way open, and then the Barracuda/Vacuum will work. Downstream from the ball valves in both the Vacuum and the Skimmer pipes, these two pipes join and enter one side of the Pentair 3-way. The unlabeled pipe goes into the other side of the 3-way. Again, if I move that 3-way valve at all (90 degrees or 180 degrees), the pump does not like it and the spill over flow goes down.

    I took apart the 3-way and shot water down the unlabeled pipe. The spill over from the spa started again….so it goes to the spa, but not sure where in the spa. The spa does not have a skimmer, but does have a floor drain with two pipes. With the Drain King and a hose, I shot water down each of the pipes of the spa drain and the water seems to go to the separate spa pump. Essentially this is a separate circuit/pump with one pipe into the spa pump from the concrete, one pipe out of the pump through a heater then back through the concrete. I assume that these lead from/to the spa such that the spa can be used and heated without leakage into the pool – so that part makes sense, but it does not make sense that there are two pipes in the Spa floor drain and both go to the Spa pump…maybe there is a flaw in my test procedure…I’ll have to revisit that part.

    I’ll take a look at the pool returns. I assume these are the ports in the pool side walls, I’ll see what they have in them as far as eyeballs, if any. From your comment, seems that there should be eyeballs in them to restrict flow, correct? Seems counter intuitive as lower restrictions seems like it would lead to higher flow rates and the pump working less…..so much to learn…..

    Great stuff guys, I welcome all input.
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    The diverter does two things.
    1) It allows you to adjust how much water is boeing drawn in by the skimmer and therefore how much is drawn in through the MD.
    2) If the water level gets below the skimmer it seals off the skimmer inlet and all the water is drawn in through the MD, allowing the pump to keep pumping.

    Since the flow over the spillway slows when you select the unlabeled line it's most likely drawing water from the spa and returning it to the spa. That makes sense.

    Since you have a spearate spa pump I'd say your assessment about it is correct.

    Pumps are a little counter-intuitive. Lower head (restriction) means more flow but at the same time it also means the pump is working harder (drawing more current) than it would be if there were some restriction in the plumbing. It seems kinda backwards but that's how it works.
    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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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Pictures would help... understand that I took over an existing pool and had no turnover from preivous owners or pool service - I have had to piece this together the same way you have done - but it sounds like I have a less complicated setup.

    Here's a sample of what I have done to diagram the setup:



    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: Newbie with questions

    For the next episode in this ongoing saga…..

    To get a jump on the process, I drained much of the pool and refilled, took most of the weekend to do so.

    The Taylor K-2006 test kit showed up late on Monday night and this morning I have the following results.

    FC 0
    CC 0
    pH 7.2
    TA 300
    CH 475
    CYA 35

    It looks like I’m on the low end of the acceptable CYA range. Should I be concerned about this CYA level?

    I have some “Kem-Tek Super Shock Quick” left over from when we were using that stuff. I know that it has CYA in it per the manufacturer. It’s active ingredient is Trichloro-s-triazinetrione at 67%. Can this be used to raise the CYA if needed? My understanding is that with very low CYA, most of the chlorine that I add will be lost to the sun.

    I’ll start the shock process with liquid chlorine based on the Pool School, JasonLion’s “Sparkling Oasis” post and the Pool Calculator.

    The fun is about to start…..

    Many thanks for the info so far. Hope to get the algae eliminated in the next few days then work on the other parameters as well as a plumbing schematic to figure that all out.

    The TA and CH seem like they are high, should I be concerned here as well?
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Ignore all the other parameters except FC......that's what you need to clear the pool.

    Bring FC up to around 14ppm and plan on redosing it again in the first few hours if it falls rapidly. The secret to shocking properly is replenishing your FC level keeping it constantly at shock value.

    Adjust everything else when your pool is crystal clear.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Unless you live in the middle of the sunbelt 35 is an acceptable CYA level for now, I would not do anything to change it yet, get everything else sorted first, then if need be tweak it a little. Even then with it getting late in the swim season I would not worry about it until next year.

    Ike
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

  17. Back To Top    #17
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with questions

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    To get a jump on the process, I drained much of the pool and refilled, took most of the weekend to do so.
    How much did you leave in? Is that where the CYA that is there came from?

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    The Taylor K-2006 test kit showed up late on Monday night and this morning I have the following results.

    FC 0
    CC 0

    pH 7.2
    TA 300
    CH 475
    CYA 35

    It looks like I’m on the low end of the acceptable CYA range. Should I be concerned about this CYA level?
    Honestly anywhere from 30-50 is fine without an SWG. Try it as it is unless you just want to bump it to 40. Keeping some headroom will help if you want to go on vacation and use pucks.

    Lastly the chlorine is your most immediate problem - toss some liquid in asap or if you're dead set on adding CYA you can toss in some of the Trichlor you have. The Trichlor shock takes a lot of work to get fully dissolved - I would recommend predissolving it before adding it to avoid it sitting around on the bottom.

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    I have some “Kem-Tek Super Shock Quick” left over from when we were using that stuff. I know that it has CYA in it per the manufacturer. It’s active ingredient is Trichloro-s-triazinetrione at 67%. Can this be used to raise the CYA if needed? My understanding is that with very low CYA, most of the chlorine that I add will be lost to the sun.
    A large part of the CYA benfit is already there with 20ppm - more is going to hold more FC for longer but conversely take more FC to be effective. 30-50 is the recommended range here. If you want to bump by 5ppm and you are fairly confident about the volume of the pool - try adding some of that shock (predisolved) and comparing the results to the expected results from Poolcalculator.com - if I understand correctly then you'd need about 70oz of pure Trichlor to get 5ppm of CYA and 8.7ppm of FC. You'd (of course) do this in batches and not let the FC go too high and ensure that your measured volume was correct to avoid overshooting targets.

    I'd also be concerned as to what the other 33% is in that bag? I assume some type of clarifier or inert filler.
    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    I’ll start the shock process with liquid chlorine based on the Pool School, JasonLion’s “Sparkling Oasis” post and the Pool Calculator.
    Good plan! Keeping your CYA as low as it is will help you shock more economically...

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    The TA and CH seem like they are high, should I be concerned here as well?
    The Calcium Hardness is interesting. Is the fill water high in CH? Otherwise your CH levels must have been crazy high before you did the partial drain.

    The TA will take care of itself over time. As you lower pH you lower TA - using non-solid forms of chlorine you will see pH rise over time - particularly with that high TA.
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
    13500 gal, Vinyl Liner, Fiberglass Slide, TF-100 Test Kit, Hayward 210T
    sand filter, A.O. Smith 1.5HP main pump motor (C48L2N134C1),
    Hayward SuperPump (model ?), Polaris 380 & PB4 Booster Pump

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Newbie with questions

    Quote Originally Posted by whillyjo
    For the next episode in this ongoing saga…..

    To get a jump on the process, I drained much of the pool and refilled, took most of the weekend to do so.

    The Taylor K-2006 test kit showed up late on Monday night and this morning I have the following results.

    FC 0
    CC 0
    pH 7.2
    TA 300
    CH 475
    CYA 35

    It looks like I’m on the low end of the acceptable CYA range. Should I be concerned about this CYA level?

    I have some “Kem-Tek Super Shock Quick” left over from when we were using that stuff. I know that it has CYA in it per the manufacturer. It’s active ingredient is Trichloro-s-triazinetrione at 67%. Can this be used to raise the CYA if needed? My understanding is that with very low CYA, most of the chlorine that I add will be lost to the sun.

    I’ll start the shock process with liquid chlorine based on the Pool School, JasonLion’s “Sparkling Oasis” post and the Pool Calculator.

    The fun is about to start…..

    Many thanks for the info so far. Hope to get the algae eliminated in the next few days then work on the other parameters as well as a plumbing schematic to figure that all out.

    The TA and CH seem like they are high, should I be concerned here as well?
    35 isnt bad for shocking. It means you dont need such high FC levels. but it is enough that you wont lose too much to the sun. Once you are done shocking get it to the 40-50 range.
    17,800 gallon, IG pool, 595 sq feet (17x35x4.5 avg rectangle), Hayward 525 cartridge filter, diamondbrite, 2 hp 2 speed hayward tristar filter, Stenner 45mhp10 automatically chlorinating

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Newbie with questions

    so, basically, everyone is saying do not use the trichlor, or if you must, do not use much at all. Better to go to bleach or liquid shock at this point.
    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.

  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Newbie with questions

    An update on progress --- so far so good, or at least as far as I can tell. Added 5 gal of 10% to get up to 12 ppm FC at 9:30am. Today’s chlorine results:

    7:30 am FC = 0, CC = 0, pH = 7.2

    9:30am Added Chlorine

    10:30am FC = 10, CC = 0, added Bleach

    1:00 pm FC = 12, CC = 0

    3:00 pm FC = 8, CC = 0, ph = 7.6, Added Chlorine

    4:15 pm FC = 10.5, CC = .5, Added Bleach


    I have algae in parts of the pool, so I would have thought that I would show greater readings on CC…?

    If the pH continues to climb (as UnderWaterVanya predicted), I assume that I should add acid….true?

    To UnderWaterVanya ---- regarding the question on the CH, yes we have very hard water here. I verified with the city water department and told him of just recently filling the pool and indicated that it is testing 475 ppm CH. His comment was that was actually a low reading for here, so I assume that maybe the city water was diluted somewhat as I only drained about 75% of the pool, so maybe the existing water was less than 475 ppm CH. On your question on CYA, yes, I’m assuming that the CYA is left over from the 25% of the old pool water that I left in. I have now burning desire to increase the CYA if there is now benefit, as you indicated, it should make the shock process more economical…so I’m all for that. So I’ll stay away from the Trichlor and stay with the liquid.

    Overall the pool is looking better between the manual brushing and the Barracuda doing it’s thing. Interestingly, the surfaces that were exposed to the air/sun during the partial draining look great. Those surfaces that remained underwater still have the algae… but we’re gaining on it.

    Thanks to all for the assistance and input.
    55,000 gallon inground pool and with spa spillover
    Plaster finish
    Hayward DE filter with 1.5HP pump
    Build date -- 1997 +/-

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