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Thread: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

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    Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Hi, I'm new to pool care (five months) and this is my first post. I have done some reading here and have bought the TF100 test kit and used it for the first time a few hours ago. Also --I'm technically challenged, but willing to learn. (Can't seem to find how to create a profile).

    City/conditions: Houston. Shady yard, with lots of leaves and acorns that I regularly remove from two skimmer baskets, Polaris mechanically removes what falls to the bottom two hours per day.
    Age of pool: decades, but five months ago we refurbished with all new equipment, plaster, decking (bricks with sand between)
    Size: 23,000 gallons (using pool size estimator on Pool Calculator - it's sort of kidney shaped and in ground)
    Type filter: cartridge
    Plaster/Aggregate: "Diamond Brite" (I think)
    Size pump - not sure, can find out, we run it twelve hours per day at the suggestion of pool builder
    Per the visual encyclopedia we have the following: intermediate mechanical timer, Polaris, 3 way valve, in-ground skimmer, adjustable return eyeball, gas heater
    Care: brushing with 50-50 wire/nylong bristles once every week or ten days. Have vacuumed a couple of times after rain when the leaves/acorns settle on bottom.
    Appearance: water is clear

    Up until two weeks ago, I've followed pool builder advice and used stablized chlorine pucks, shocking periodically using two one-pound bags each time. The bucket of pucks I bought in June is about 1/3 full, and the box of shock packets is about half gone. Measurements taken as of 5:30 p.m.:

    FC = 11.5 ppm
    CC = .5
    pH = 7.5 (from looking at color in test block in TF 100 kit, is this how you find pH?)
    TA = 90 (one place I saw a recommended range of 70-90, another place I saw 100-120 and advice not to go below 100, not sure what to do?)
    CH = 280 (how would I know if the pool water contains copper - this was a question from the test kit instructions I didn't know how to answer)
    CYA = 90 (pool calculator said "replace 56% of water" - can this possibly be right after only five months? I didn't think we could go so wrong that fast!)

    I hope someone here will know how I should approach this! Many thanks in advance!

    HoustonMom

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Hello HoustonMom,

    Welcome to the forum!

    A bit of what's probably an unusual introduction, but I must comment.

    You mentioned you are technically challenged, not to worry, we will help you every step of the way. The people of this forum are very knowledgeable and very patient, so long as we know someone is trying their best, that's all we can ask.
    You most certainly are off to a great start!!

    I can see that with as far as you have come, the information you have collected, ascertained the need for the kit and which one, not to mention performing your first test. All on your own, just by reading in the forum?
    You, HoustonMom are far from technically challenged, so please don't sell yourself short.
    Congrats on coming so far!

    As for your pool, yes, the biggest concern right off would be your CYA levels. Trichlor pucks and Dichlor as well, they add CYA "chlorine stabilizer" to your pool, more and more with every puck you use.
    Without knowing the size of your bucket, thus, roughly how many you have used, but for the simple fact you have used enough for 5mo worth, I'd say a CYA of 90 isn't far fetched at all.

    CYA rule is, easy in, drain to get out.

    The reason you don't want such a high CYA level is because it becomes too hard to manage the high chlorine "CL" levels that are required with that much CYA. Too easy to end up with an algae outbreak and very expensive to clear it if it happens, not to mention the cost involved on daily CL consumption.

    It is best to lower your CYA before you proceed with anything else, stop using those pucks and switch to bleach instead. It is all explained in the Pool School, the bleach process, BBB.
    Start with a 50% drain. This will bring you down to around 45ppm CYA. This way, if your calculations are off since the pool is irregularly shaped, you won't drastically undershoot your target, needlessly draining excess water. You want to shoot for about 40-50ppm CYA in that crazy Texas heat & sun.

    Also, with all that "shock" you are adding, it's just raising your CH each time, which is OK to raise for a plaster pool, to a point though. But once you have reached the recommended range, then you stop. But that's what calcium powder is for.
    If you have read much of Pool School, you may have seen that shocking is not a product, it's not a magical packet you dump in the pool and it's supposed to fix your algae or prevent it. Instead, it's a "Process", a procedure that is followed.
    So long as you get your CYA levels down, maintain proper chlorine for your CYA number and keep your pool vacuumed, brushed and the filter function. You should never have to shock it.
    If course, things happen, pumps die, filters have problems, you go on vacation and the neighbor kid doesn't add CL like he's supposed to, etc...
    Then your CL can get low, or circulation stops and you get an outbreak, then you have to shock. But you'll know when, you'll see the little devils growing in your pool.

    BTW, for an CYA of 90, the minimum you never want to go below is 7ppm, you always want a reserve. 11.5ppm is a bit high, but not worrisome or anything, just wasting chlorine by running it higher than needed. But only if you don't loose a lot during the day, if you do and it's low point hovers just above 7, say 7.5 or 8ppm, then it's fine.

    Regarding pH, yes, that is exactly how you read it. It's best in daylight, outside, with a white background, use the little pad that came in the blue clam shell box and always take it in similar conditions. As the color's appearance changes based on lighting.
    This is very helpful as well. It lists 2 different viewpoints, use whichever makes the most sense to you. We all think differently.
    Interpreting pH colors
    BTW, 7.5 is fine.

    As for metals in the CH test.
    Take a look at the notes section in the link below. This whole post is very helpful for answering questions, or troubles with any of the tests. Good to read, or just reference when you need some adl. help, or have a question. But we're always here to help you, so feel free to ask.
    Extended Test Kit Directions - CH Calcium Hardness

    Re: TA
    Don't worry about this, you're fine. Pools aren't so much about target numbers other than things like FC (CL) Levels & CYA, but more about how each individual pool behaves and what it needs to be happy.
    Your TA should only be adjusted if you have a SWG (Salt Water Generator), or if you have a problem with fluctuating or rising pH that you can't control.
    TA controls pH and some other things that it impacts on a smaller scale.
    What you were reading was the 1st range listed for the std. recommendation, the second, higher range for SWGs or if you are using pucks. But your going to stop the use of those and be switching to the BBB methods, so no worries.

    You do have a newly plastered pool, I'm not sure if it's fresh enough for you to worry about any special TA/pH values, so someone who is more familiar with the plaster curing process will have to weigh in here.
    But aside from that, you're fine for a normal, established pool, just keep maintaining your pH.

    You have Muriatic acid, right? If it's dry acid, that's OK, but once you use it up, switch to MA, it's cheaper.
    Newly plastered pools have a high acid demand for about the 1st 6-12mo.
    Test the pH daily and don't let it climb above 7.8.
    You're brushing weekly, so this is good.

    You will find links in my signature to Pool School and the BBB method.
    To create your own signature, follow this guide, keeping your total lines to 5 or under. Setting Up Your Profile

    Have fun and enjoy your new found freedom from the pool guy and pool stores with their expensive "magical products" with their mystery guesses and advice.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Good advice. ^^^^


    - Sent using Tapatalk
    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

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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Thank you, y_not for the detailed and thoughtful reply, and your kind comments.

    In light of my husband's reluctance to drain the pool halfway, I am wondering if over the next several months of fall/winter I can try to "vacuum to waste" and allow rain to lower the CYA to 45ppm?

    [How do you vacuum to waste?]

    And in answer to your question, I don't have muriatic acid, just the pucks and shock bags, which are put away now. So I will go get some to add to pool if pH climbs above 7.8.

    I haven't added anything to the pool in over two weeks, it is just a matter of time before chlorine gets down closer to 8 ppm, so I will be testing daily to see when to add my first liquid chlorine.

    I looked in our stash and I have a Pro Outdoor Clorox brand that I don't think I'll use, as it appears to have additives to stop splashing.

    Thank you again and if you have any more comments, I'm all ears.

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Sure thing HoustonMom, anytime. That's what we're all here for.
    Glad you're feeling ever confident. Knowledge is POWER!!

    As to a partial drain, vs. vacuum to waste.
    You could do the latter, but it'd take a small eternity with that much CYA.
    You have a 22k gal pool, so to make things easy for purposes of some bonehead math, lets say you need to drain 50% of it. That's 11k gal.
    Well, let's say if you vacuum to waste and you use up, say 400gal of water, then you fill it back up with 400gal. Well, you have now diluted your pool by 1.8%, then you do it again a few days later, well, you haven't diluted it by 1.8% again, nope, it's by half that, so 0.9%, then the 3rd day of vacuuming is half again, 0.45% and so on.
    If you vacuum it every 2 days, in a period of 2 weeks, you will have diluted your CYA by 3.571875%, loosing 2800 gallons of water for what should have only been 786 gallons at the above dilution percentage of pool water drained, to fresh water filled.
    That's means you have wasted 28% of your water.
    And this is just the 1st 2 weeks, it will compound even more as time goes on, you will have likely filled the pool at least once, if not many times over at this rate, just so you didn't have to drain it by my math hypothetical 50%.
    In 60days, 2months time, you will have drained off 12k gallons, over half your pool capacity, but only gained a dilute of 3.66% or 805 gallons, wasting 67% of that water.

    Every time you dilute something by a certain fraction that is far, far less than what you wish to dilute it by overall, it will always take longer to fully empty out the contents down to where you want. Simply because your always keeping some of the original solution behind, just slightly diluting it more each time, making it so you have to drain more and more off in order for your dilution efforts to have enough effect. Try it in a glass of water filled with a deep colored dye, drain off about 10% and keep replacing that with fresh water each time, do this until the glass is clear. You'll give up before you complete the experiment. Unless you're really committed to science.

    See the pattern? It'll take a very, very, very long time to do it this way.
    Note, my math might be off, more than likely it is, but the concept still exists as being the same.

    As far as vacuuming to waste, I'm not familiar enough with the plumbing end of professional cartridge systems to know if they have that option, sand does, but I'm not sure on cartridge.

    Buy your MA as 31.45% or higher strength. Do not, I repeat, do not buy the "Gree" or "Safer" versions, they don't match the percentages in the calculator. Lowes, or as I call it, "Slowes".
    They have both versions, as I call it the worthless stuff & the good stuff. The good stuff is in a white bleach like container and has a red label on it, it's about $7.69 here, we have a farm supply store that has it for $6.99 in their paint/deck wash stuff, maybe you have something similar there, since you'll likely be using a bit over time. If you want to protect yourself, get some acid resistant goggles or glasses, acid resistant gloves, wear long sleeves or long gloves and if you're sensitive to the vapors you can either use a normal 3M disposable household dust mask /w relief valve, which does help take some of the edge off, but isn't made for acid gas nuisance vapors (AG), hence it won't eliminate the strong smell entirely, just making it easier to handle. Or buy a 3M filter that does this, they sell them in 10+ packs, so they're awfully spendy that way, but some places sell them in onesies and twosies. I doubt most on here bother, but I do because it really gets to me, no matter how careful I am. But everyone is different. That's what makes us all SO AWESOME!!

    Yeah, don't use that Clorox type, it's baaaad. Leaves goo and slime on the surface of your water, not good. You were right and smart to check the label/msds.
    Being in Tejas, you have lots of options for CL, but our cheapest here is Kroger !@ $2.69/182oz container, even though it is rated as 6%, it's actually about 8%, comes out to about 18.5c/CL Oz. Quite cheap, even by Texas standards.

    BTW, the CL formula goes like this, to figure the cost per CL Oz., taking the dilute water out of the equation.
    Multiply Oz by percentage of CL in decimal form, then take the total CL number and divide that into the cost.
    Like this.
    182*0.08=14.56
    2.69/14.56=18.5c/Oz
    **Rounded up to the nearest 100th of a cent.

    Let your CL drop to 8, you can do seven so long as you keep testing and keep an eagle eye on it. Then bring it up to 10ppm using pool calc, you figured this tool out, right?
    Then watch it over the course of the next day, dosing at night is best, gives CL the most time to do it's deeds and get rid of all the bad guys, before the sun hits and starts hammering it.
    Then if she doesn't drop to less than say 7.5ppm by nightfall on a typicall hot sunny, tasty day, then you're good. Wash, rinse repeat.
    If you anticipate high bather load or you have an exceptionally nasty het wave rolling in, then dose it up a few PPM higher to account for the increased CL demand from organics, or heat, respectively.
    Daily testing is recommended until you get a feel for what your pool needs.

    Any luck getting your signature done?
    You can post labels, or photos of your labels on your pump, filter, etc... anything you're unsure of and we can help identify them for you. We love pictures!!

    Well, I have typed long enough, I think that covers it for now.
    Have fun adn enjoy your pool and your new mad scientist kit!! ;P
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Hi -- a quick thank you to y_not - your last post was very much appreciated!

    I'm a couple weeks into testing and dosing with liquid bleach now. Usually I test for chlorine only. Several nights I've needed to add no bleach. Once I used 17 oz of 8.25% bleach, three times I've used 35 oz. I have not drained the pool halfway yet. If the amounts of bleach needed will stay in this range of none to 17 to max 35 ounces per night, I think I can live with that. Do these amounts sound like the right ballpark for a 23K gallon pool?

    Note: The level has once fallen to less than 7 ppm. On 9/18 it was 6.5 ppm, hopefully not for very many hours. I added chlorine using the pool calculator; the pool has looked clear for a week after going that low (crossing fingers).

    Also: On 9/20 I didn't have time to test and I added 32 oz chlorine as a precaution (a guesstimate); at 8pm that night I measured 7 ppm. I don't want to do that on a regular basis but was glad I could ballpark it (kind of).

    I should have a profile soon. Thanks for listening -- this seems to be getting easier!

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    My 13500 gallon in ground vinyl pool in North Carolina took about 96oz of 6% bleach daily during the main part of the swimming season. That would translate into roughly 70oz of 8.25% daily.
    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

  8. Back To Top    #8
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    RE: Vac to waste - if you have a cartridge filter which I think I recall reading - then it depends on how it was setup in your system. Most do not have what is called a multiport valve. The multiport valve would have labels on it like "filter, waste, rinse, etc". This is the most common way to vac to waste. Some installers add a standard valve to allow redirecting the pump output to a pipe that bypasses the filter and goes to "waste" not easy to tell without pictures.

    With some Intex or other brand temporary pools you can disconnect the flexible line from the pump to the filter and then vac to waste that way. Most in ground and many above ground pools are plumbed with hard PVC lines and this option is more difficult.

    Lastly some have had some success using the drain plug on a cartridge filter to allow water to waste - but this is usually a bit messy and not as fast as far as I can tell. There are some who have been able to attach hoses to the drain plug and make this less messy - but I'm not sure this is really the best choice for most people.

    If you don't have an option to vac to waste - don't sweat it. Add a skimmer sock to the skimmer and vac via the skimmer suction attachment so that you double filter - once as the skimmer and then again at the cartridge - this should help. Oh wait the concern was CYA - duh! You'd still need to pump off water slowly - maybe a sump pump or just siphoning slowly with a garden hose would be best.
    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

  9. Back To Top    #9
    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonMom
    Also: On 9/20 I didn't have time to test and I added 32 oz chlorine as a precaution (a guesstimate); at 8pm that night I measured 7 ppm. I don't want to do that on a regular basis but was glad I could ballpark it (kind of).
    Actually once you get history with the pool and learn what the normal need is - you shouldn't need to measure nightly - 1 to 2 times a week is probably sufficient. Anytime there is a change - large number of swimmers in a day, change in weather for an extended period - you would need to measure then to see what impact this has.

    You can use the daily ph/Chlorine block to make sure Chlorine isn't zero and pH is in range. The Chlorine will be > 5 so you won't know if it is 7 but you will know if it is < 5 or really low.
    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

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Hi UnderWaterVanya -- thanks a lot for the posts. Your 70 oz of 8.25% bleach for a 13,500 gal pool has me worried that I am not doing this right. I'm wondering if the shade over the pool could have such a drastic protective effect on the little bit of chlorine that I'm adding. Also thinking I may be in for a bad surprise if I'm seriously underdosing. Will work on getting some photos up with measurements so I can get this right!

    Testing one to two times a week would be great...

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    jcowart's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    You were asking if your CYA could be right. If it was a new refill after work was done and the pool builder had you add CYA in a sock and you used trichlor pucks, then yes it could be that high. Each puck will add about 1.5ppm on top of what you added after the fill. This is my first season with a pool. I had a frog system from the install. Two months into my pool I found this site and got my test kit. My CYA was almost 80. I got it down to 55 now. I target 8 and drop to 4.5 every two days in the southeast texas sun. You might loose less if your pool is in the shade. Mine sees full sun from rise to set. I work a 24/48 shift and only test every two days. I am also getting a hand at eye balling it also. Two full days of sun gets 96oz, Two cloudy days gets less and I usually hit my target.
    17500 gallon Doughboy AGP, Hayward DE filter, waiting for the 1.5hp DB pump to go out.
    Learn to take the advice here and be trouble free or use the pool store's advice. "You can't do both and get very far"

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Day One Readings - seeking guidance

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonMom
    Hi UnderWaterVanya -- thanks a lot for the posts. Your 70 oz of 8.25% bleach for a 13,500 gal pool has me worried that I am not doing this right. I'm wondering if the shade over the pool could have such a drastic protective effect on the little bit of chlorine that I'm adding. Also thinking I may be in for a bad surprise if I'm seriously underdosing. Will work on getting some photos up with measurements so I can get this right!

    Testing one to two times a week would be great...
    Every pool is a little different. My pool is in shade in the morning and late afternoon - full sun from say 11-5 or 10:30-5:30 depending on the angle of the sun. The temp matters also - my pool was running 78-82 when using that level of chlorine.

    My CYA is around 55 or so. Higher CYA will protect the chlorine more from sunlight - however higher CYA means it requires higher FC and higher shock levels than practical when required. A solar cover (any cover) will dramatically reduce the amount of FC lost also.

    If you check and you see the right level - you are doing it right. Don't fret that your numbers are different from my numbers - just beware that in the hot summer sun - with recommended levels of CYA - the FC loss per day may escalate.
    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

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