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Thread: Tablets and CYA

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    Tablets and CYA

    If tablets add 6ppm of CYA for every 10 ppm of chlorine why wouldn't most of the millions of pools using them be filled with algae? In only 3 months time CYA levels should be over 100ppm and I would guess that most of these users only run their chlorine between 3 and 5 and rarely backwash or drain and fill.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Splashout and too much backwashing can slow the rise a bit, but you're exactly right. In the northern latitudes, pool owners open in late May, luck their way through the season, get algae in August, then throw their hands up and close for the summer.

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    I have a lot of friends and neighbors with pools and when I tell them I use the BBB method they just laugh. "You test your levels nearly everyday? You add stuff how often? I rarely have to add acid. Etc...." Just pondering if high CYA level are as bad as their supposed to be, why am I the only one spending hours maintaining my pool?

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    phipsi1237's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    They likely have to add "shock" to their pools weekly.
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    I have a lot of friends and neighbors with pools and when I tell them I use the BBB method they just laugh. "You test your levels nearly everyday? You add stuff how often? I rarely have to add acid. Etc...." Just pondering if high CYA level are as bad as their supposed to be, why am I the only one spending hours maintaining my pool?
    You are not alone...there are 30,000+ members here and a good bunch of us from up north. No one believes me when I tell them how much my chemical cost is for the summer...If they want to learn I explain, if they'd rather do it their way...be my guest. I've found BBB (ok now SWGBB) and have not turned back. Over time you come learn how your pool behaves and testing will only take 5 mins per day...FC and PH tests are really all that is needed daily, others weekly. That said, when a visitor comments on how nice the pool water looks and how come they do not smell chlorine ....priceless.
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    why am I the only one spending hours maintaining my pool?
    If that's accurate timewise, you are doing something wrong. I spend about 5 minutes each day plus about 20 minutes once each week.

    Where are your
    hours maintaining my pool
    coming from?
    Dave S.
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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    why am I the only one spending hours maintaining my pool?
    If that's accurate timewise, you are doing something wrong. I spend about 5 minutes each day plus about 20 minutes once each week.

    Where are your [quote:3nwttcmr]hours maintaining my pool
    coming from?[/quote:3nwttcmr]

    Good catch Dave, I missed that part of the post....the BBB part maybe takes 20-30mins/week,...the rest, vacumining, covering and uncovering solar cover, brushing, etc is time spent on any type of pool.
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Many Pools Get Algae; In Any Given Year Most Do Not
    At least a million pools DO get algae in any given year. There are around 10 million residential pools in the U.S., about half in-ground and half above-ground. Why do you think pool stores stock and sell so much algaecide, phosphate remover, clarifiers, flocculants, enzymes and "shock" products? Do you think they would have these and that manufacturers would make them if they were not regularly sold and used? If only 10% of all pools got algae in a year, then that's 1 million pools. The real number getting algae is probably higher (perhaps up to 20% for pools using Trichlor-only), but at such percentages many pools don't get algae during one or a few seasons and then wham, they have a problem. Some pools never have a problem.

    Low FC / High CYA Alone Doesn't Cause Algae; Algae Needs Nutrients
    You see, it's a statistical thing since algae growth isn't a certainty just because the CYA level gets high. If a pool is poor in algae nutrients (phosphates and nitrates), then it won't take as much active chlorine to kill it faster than it can grow so you can have the CYA get quite high before algae becomes an issue.

    CYA Can Be Kept Low By Dilution That Isn't Intentional
    Smaller pools with shorter swim seasons and/or sand filters getting backwashed weekly and/or summer rain overflow can all help keep CYA levels in check. Winter rains, a partial drain when closing a pool, and bacteria conversion of CYA into ammonia, nitrogen gas, nitrite or nitrate can all lower CYA levels each season. And some pool owners intentionally do partial drain/refill when the CYA gets high if their pool store tells them to do so (usually not until it's well above 100 or sometimes 200, however). Nevertheless, it's no coincidence that most pool problems occur in August near the end of the swim season when CYA is typically highest.

    Weekly Shocking, Algaecides, Phosphate Removers Can All Reduce Likelihood Of Algae
    Many pool owners shock their pools weekly which helps make up for too low active chlorine levels during the week. Some use algaecides or phosphate removers. Remember, we never said that they didn't work, but rather that they were not necessary if one maintained the proper Free Chlorine (FC) level relative to the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level.

    Some People Driven To SWGs When Fed Up With Trichlor
    And then there's the mass movement of both existing and new pools to use saltwater chlorine generators (SWGs). Do you think that was just to avoid having to buy Trichlor pucks/tabs? Trichlor is pretty convenient. A big push towards SWGs comes from people getting sick and tired of their pool either getting algae or looking dull/cloudy. SWGs aren't just about convenience, but about being relatively more algae-free compared to Trichlor-only pools. Now even SWGs run under recommended levels from manufacturers can get algae (i.e. 1-3 ppm FC with 60-80 ppm CYA), but the CYA level doesn't climb so most don't and if one follows the slightly higher 4 ppm FC with 80 ppm CYA then SWG pools are generally in good shape.

    Algae Problems Reported Frequently Every Year
    Also, sites like this one, The PoolForum, and other pool sites wouldn't get the traffic they do with many reports every season of algae-filled or cloudy or problem pools from new members if it wasn't a real problem. It's not just nearly 40,000 members here at TFP, but over 1/4 million unique visitors during each peak month (May, June, July) this year (i.e. people who read but don't sign up or post) and the site is still growing rapidly.

    My Own Experience
    In my own pool 9 years ago, I used Trichlor pucks/tabs and had no problem during my first year. However, I was using algaecide though only every other week. I started having problems in the middle of my second season where I had a mysterious increase in chlorine demand and had to use more pucks/tabs to keep up. Then the water started looking dull and then cloudy. It was an impending algae bloom, though I didn't know it at the time. My CYA had risen from 30 ppm to 150 ppm over 11 active (non-winter) months. I have a mostly opaque electric safety cover so my chlorine usage was a fairly low 0.7 ppm FC per day since the pool was used 2-3 times per week (we use it every day now) and originally could maintain my 3 ppm FC target adding an additional 3" 8-ounce Trichlor puck every 5 days in a floating feeder. 11*30*0.7*0.61 + 30 = 171 ppm and with some splash out and slow oxidation of CYA from chlorine the result of 150 ppm is perfectly consistent with prediction. I have an oversized cartridge filter that only needs cleaning once a year so contributes almost nothing to water dilution. We get almost no summer rains and during the winter I used a pool cover pump and put the water into the sewer, not into the pool. So I had virtually no water dilution. I also have 400 ppb phosphates in my fill water and used metal sequestrants that were phosphate-based as well as non-chlorine shock, clarifier and enzymes (everything that was recommended by the pool industry). That's when I found The PoolForum, switched to using 12.5% chlorinating liquid, and never looked back.

    Testing Is Quick And Not A Chore
    Because of my mostly opaque electric safety cover, I only test and add chlorine twice a week, but my chlorine usage is so stable that even if I had to add chlorine every day or two without a cover, I'd probably not have to test every day. There's no way you should be spending an hour doing testing. Only FC and pH need to be tested most frequently. TA and CH and CYA don't change frequently enough to test that often. I only test these three times, once at the start, once in the middle, and once at the end of the season. Some pools might need a little more frequent testing of these if they change a lot, such as CH rising quickly from evaporation and refill with water high in CH, but still not that frequently (certainly not daily and probably not weekly either). The most time consuming part of my pool maintenance is something I need to do regardless of chlorine source and that is brushing the pool (usually weekly during the summer) and cleaning out the skimmer basket, the pool sweep bag, and when needed the pump basket.

    People Don't Always Tell You The Whole Story
    By the way, to the guys that told you "they rarely have to add acid", ask them how often they are adding pH Up and/or Alkalinity Up? They are still adding something in addition to Trichlor. For every pound (16 ounces weight) of Trichlor, you'd have to add 12 to 27 ounces weight of pH Up to maintain TA and pH (one or the other -- you can't do both equally using pH Up alone). Also, people may not be telling you that they shock weekly or use algaecides or phosphate removers or have copper in their Trichlor pucks. There's no question Trichlor can be more convenient because it takes about 5 days for a tablet/puck to dissolve in a floating feeder, but that's its only real advantage.
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    5 minutes a day? Maybe I'm quick but I test for chlorine and PH every morning. I test for the rest of the stuff once or twice a month.
    I can do the two daily tests in about a minute or less. Maybe another minute to add some liquid chlorine if need be and I'm done for the day. If for some reason I'm in a rush, I just add a cup or two of liquid chlorine and I'll check it that night or the next morning.
    My pool is in the sun from morning till night. No shade in sight. Last summer my pool had a fresh fill just before I moved in mid-July. It was just a couple weeks before it was green. I spent at least half of last summer fighting algae. This year I went with BBB and I haven't had algae yet and I don't expect it.
    Is it more work? In my opinion it isn't because when you consider how often you have to go to the pool store and then all the time you spend clearing your pool when an algae bloom hits, I think it's far easier to just do a tiny little bit every day rather than spend an entire week trying to clean up your pool not to mention how much less you spend in chemicals. I spend about 8 to 10 dollars a week to keep my pool clean. With that, it's clean EVERY day, not just sometimes like it was last year.
    For me, it's only a minute or two in the morning and that's time extremely well spent making sure it's done right. I hardly spend any time on my pool. Far less than I did last year before BBB. I'm way ahead of the game. Cheaper and easier. I just have to pay a little attention every day instead of a LOT of attention once in a while.
    Mesa Arizona. Old school 26,000 gallon in ground plaster pool with sand filter built in 1984.

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    My own experience with BBB isn't as smooth sailing as others apparently. I am also in Mesa, AZ and have bee n plagued by high Ph, CH and disolved solids issues. Perhaps I am not backwashing as often and splashout is minimal. I am thinking about using a combination of pucks/ liquid chlorine and backwashing according to CH/ CYA levels instead of waiting for filter pressure to rise. I have not really had algae issues using BBB but do have scaleing and clarity problems.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    My own experience with BBB isn't as smooth sailing as others apparently. I am also in Mesa, AZ and have bee n plagued by high Ph, CH and disolved solids issues. Perhaps I am not backwashing as often and splashout is minimal. I am thinking about using a combination of pucks/ liquid chlorine and backwashing according to CH/ CYA levels instead of waiting for filter pressure to rise. I have not really had algae issues using BBB but do have scaleing and clarity problems.
    Using bleach has no impact on the CH and we do not care about dissolved solids. What is your TA? Do you have water features or spa? These can lead to high pH.

    Also the water is hard here and there is a lot of evaporation, so you must keep the pH in check to have any hope at avoiding scale.

    True the pucks might help lower the pH, at the expensive of raising the CYA leading to requiring more water change in the future. Pucks just do not make much sense when the pool is not partially drained for winter closing.

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    My own experience with BBB isn't as smooth sailing as others apparently. I am also in Mesa, AZ and have bee n plagued by high Ph, CH and disolved solids issues. Perhaps I am not backwashing as often and splashout is minimal. I am thinking about using a combination of pucks/ liquid chlorine and backwashing according to CH/ CYA levels instead of waiting for filter pressure to rise. I have not really had algae issues using BBB but do have scaleing and clarity problems.

    Do you have your own test kit? Please post a full set of test results. TDS is rarely an issue and PH can be helped by adjusting TA or even adding borates.
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    My own experience with BBB isn't as smooth sailing as others apparently. I am also in Mesa, AZ and have bee n plagued by high Ph, CH and disolved solids issues. Perhaps I am not backwashing as often and splashout is minimal. I am thinking about using a combination of pucks/ liquid chlorine and backwashing according to CH/ CYA levels instead of waiting for filter pressure to rise. I have not really had algae issues using BBB but do have scaleing and clarity problems.
    The pucks cause more problems than they are worth. I've used them when I got my CYA too low but that's it.
    My PH does tend to rise but a cup or so of MA and it's back in line for a while. It's the CH that I initially had a problem with. I chose not to do a partial drain all at once so I did it in increments. I ended up just backwashing a LOT until I got the CYA and the CH in line so now, with everything in line, it's VERY easy to keep my pool sparkling clean.
    Do what these guys recommend and when you will ultimately be very happy.
    Mesa Arizona. Old school 26,000 gallon in ground plaster pool with sand filter built in 1984.

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    I RUINED my last pool with HIGH CYA. I could NEVER get the algae under control, the water was not sparkly. THEN the liner started creaking! The pool store just kept trying to sell me stuff that did nothing but drain my wallet! I took the pool down and called it quits!

    Then my husband started asking for a pool. I told him IF he found an easy way to maintain the pool I would give it a try. He found this site and I started reading and looking. I was hooked! I ordered my test kit THEN my pool! I am loving the pool like never before! Easy AND cheap!

    CYA=bad (over time)

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Tablets aren't the problem in and of themselves - it's people using them without understanding what they do and the effects they have.

    I live in S Florida and use a floater with 3" tabs in my pool all the time. We don't use the pool much but still want to keep it looking great and ready to go at all times. The chlorine in the tabs maintains the proper levels and the extra CYA added is diluted because of all the rain we get. The acidic nature of the tabs also helps keep my rising pH problem from the spa spillover under control.

    I test maybe once a week (usually every other week) and things are fine. Granted, my pool is in a screened enclosure and we don't have a heavy bather load, but my point is that if you understand what tabs (or any chemicals for that matter) do to your pool, they can be freely used to serve your needs.

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    I have a lot of friends and neighbors with pools and when I tell them I use the BBB method they just laugh. "You test your levels nearly everyday? You add stuff how often? I rarely have to add acid. Etc...." Just pondering if high CYA level are as bad as their supposed to be, why am I the only one spending hours maintaining my pool?
    1) it shouldnt take hours. My bleach is on automatic, but even when it wasnt I spent about 2 minutes measuring and then 2 minutes adding bleach and acid. These days I only test about once every other day. The stenner pump puts in a consistent amount but now that the days are getting shorter etc Im having to rachet down how much bleach it adds.

    2) Many people jump their chlorine levels (hesitate to say shock) at least once a week. My neighbor has FC at 13 and CYA 100+ and after it rains or after a party he always pours in an entire bottle of shock.

    3) even with high CYA, chlorine is still somewhat effective. I have a condo, the condo pool had CYA of 200+, FC was 38.
    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

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobba
    My own experience with BBB isn't as smooth sailing as others apparently. I am also in Mesa, AZ and have bee n plagued by high Ph, CH and disolved solids issues. Perhaps I am not backwashing as often and splashout is minimal. I am thinking about using a combination of pucks/ liquid chlorine and backwashing according to CH/ CYA levels instead of waiting for filter pressure to rise. I have not really had algae issues using BBB but do have scaleing and clarity problems.
    I am in austin tx and we have had similar problems (although this year hasnt been too bad). The only thing you really need to stay up on (from your list) is pH. Keep it at 7.2-7.4 and your CH wont really matter.

    If you have water features that can cause your pH to rise. I even had an air leak in a spa jet plus spa spill overs. I mostly fixed the leak (still aerating some) and reduced the spa spillover to a very minimal level and I decreased my ph rise substantially. I was adding 32oz of acid every day now I am down to about 15 oz/day.

    here is a link to a discussion about tds

    tds-t13253.html
    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

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Quote Originally Posted by Mesamav
    5 minutes a day? Maybe I'm quick but I test for chlorine and PH every morning. I test for the rest of the stuff once or twice a month.
    I can do the two daily tests in about a minute or less. Maybe another minute to add some liquid chlorine if need be and I'm done for the day.
    I agree. It might take me five minutes if you count getting a beer out of the fridge and drinking half of it after I finish testing. I was even surprised how little time I spent on the pool this summer. I'd say 4 or 5 hours total. Closing will add a few hours, but this has been a smooth season.
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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Some of my issues are self induced such as working 12hr days and procrastinating on testing. However, my constantly rising Ph level is a big issue. Lowering alkalinity to 60 had no effect and I have no aeration. Last summer I had an RO treatment (to hot here to drain) and my TDS levels were the highest they had ever seen, around 30,000. Already my CH is at 900 and TDS at 3000! I have used Walmart liquid chlorine almost exclusively. Perhaps that is causing some of my problems? We are having the pool resurfaced with Pebblesheen in about 2 weeks and will be trying my hybrid approach to maintenance.

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    Re: Tablets and CYA

    Bobba:

    One thing that you may want to consider is keeping a log of your test results. I keep a weekly log that includes my test results, water temperature, pump run time, and any other pertinent information (such as big pool parties, water top-offs, or unusual weather events). Although you could keep a daily log, that is overkill IMHO. Recording one set of tests on a weekly basis along with the amount of chlorine added to reach your desired target is sufficient to provide trend information on the chlorine demand at different times of year as well as how your pool reacts to other chemical levels over the course of the season. I now have over a year's worth of data. As you get to know your pool better, you might be able to back off a bit on your testing. If you are still manually dosing your pool with liquid chlorine, you will still need to manually dose on the days you test as well as on the days you don't. However, you will have the information needed to make an informed estimate of the daily chlorine demand.

    One final comment: Please consider providing information on your pool as well as the nearest large city to where you live. This will help all of us provide the best advice possible.
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