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Thread: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And Stab

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    Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And Stab

    I am using chlorine tablets through a chlorine feeder to keep my pool under control.
    On two occasions I omitted to replace new tablets quickly enough, as the old ones had dissolved and finished.
    My pool water had started to go cloudy, and thankfully increasing the dosage, within three days the water returned to sparkling again.
    In using an AquaChek test strip, it is reading that although I have a good free chlorine result, my ph, total alkalinity, and stabilizer readings are zero.
    What are the disadvantages in ignoring these three last indicators, and what are the advantages in rectifying them please?

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    Welcome to TFP.

    There are a few things you need to understand.
    1) It's almost impossible for a pool to have zero pH. That would be so acidic that it would dissolve everything in sight.
    2) If you're using trihlor pucks you do not have zero CYA (stabilizer). Tablets add CYA as they add chlorine so it can't be zero.
    3) Test strips are notoriously bad. It also sounds like your's may be worse than most. How old are they?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    Welcome to TFP!

    Extremely low PH will permanently damage the pool, more quickly the lower the PH goes. TA is for helping maintain PH, and has no direct effect of it's own.

    Your CYA isn't really zero, it is probably very high. Chlorine tablets add chlorine and CYA as well as lowering PH. If you have been using them for a year and haven't done massive amounts of water replacement your CYA level must be quite high. This is one of the disadvantages of using test strips, their test results are not always reliable (especially for the CYA test).
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Your test strips are wrong. It is highly unlikely that you have a 0 level for pH, TA, or stabilizer, especially if you have been using trichlor tablets. You need a good drop based test kit to accurately test your water. The TF 100 or the Taylor K2006 are both good, high quality test kits that will give you accurate results. The problem with ignoring the pH, TA, and stabilizer readings are that when pH is too low it can cause damage to the pool and pool equipment over time. It will also be uncomfortable to swim in (burning eyes) and could cause problems with your skin, depending on how sensitive your skin may be. If your stabilizer is too low your chlorine will be consumed quicker and could lead to cloudiness or algae if you don't stay on top of it. If the stabilizer is too high your chlorine will be too buffered and not enough will be available to sanitize the pool. You will need to continually raise your chlorine levels to stay in proportion to the stabilizer levels. Over time the high stabilizer level becomes unmanagable and the water must be drained and replaced to lower the stabilizer level.
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    First of all I would like to thank everyone who has responded to my post.

    My AquaChek test strip bottle was only only opened a month ago, tightly resealed, cap details 511242A 2052 2014/01

    I have now retested my pH with a waterproof pHTester 10 by Oakton.
    This has given me a revised reading of 1.6 - 2.0

    With a similar salt tester device I am getting a reading of 3.0

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    1.6 to 2 pH is still very very low. You need to do something about that right now. Don't even wait until tomorrow!

    Are you using this pool?

    I'd probably start by adjusting the TA to about 70.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    I have no where near the amount of knowledge about pool related topics as the previous responders, however, I do have a degree in chemical engineering and I know a thing or two about ph. I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that you DO NOT want to be swimming in anything with a ph of less than 2. That's highly acidic. Think of it like this, if you bought 20 Baume muriatic acid and diluted it with an equal amount of water, that's roughly what you would be swimming in at a ph of 2. That's likely why you still have sparkling water with sky high cya from using pucks for a long time. Your ph is so low that there's no way any algae can grow. You really need to get a good drop based test kit such as the TF100 or Taylor K2006 accurately test your water so you can know where you're at, and then use the Pool Calculator on this site to figure out what to do. READ POOL SCHOOL MORE THAN ONCE. It will teach you a great deal about all of this. It's sounds like its very likely that, with all the pucks you've used, you'll need to do at least a partial water change, at least half, maybe more. There is no other way to lower CYA. Really high CYA essentially renders your FC useless.
    24' Round AGP, Vinyl Overlap Liner, 13,500 gal, 1.5 hp single speed pump, huge sand filter, unsure of capacity though, TF100 test kit with Speed Stir.

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    UnderWaterVanya's Avatar
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    Quote Originally Posted by up2you2
    I have now retested my pH with a waterproof pHTester 10 by Oakton.
    This has given me a revised reading of 1.6 - 2.0
    Nice tool but it does require periodic calibration - have you validated it is calibrated?
    Inlaws Pool Boy since June 14th 2012, Pool built ~ 2003, In-Ground, 16'x32'
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    Re: Sparkling Pool In Spite Of Zero Ph Total Alkalinity And

    I find it highly unlikely any of the pH values stated above are correct, pH of 1.6/2.0 would be akin to swimming in liquid that is more acidic than vinegar!

    Listen to what everyone is telling you here, read pool school and throw the test strips in the bin, as that is the only place they are fit for, as for the pH tester it likely needs re-calibrating using the calibration solution which is supplied with it.

    Until such time that you get a good quality test kit (everyone on this site recommends the tf100) you could nip a pool water sample into your local pool store to at least get an idea of what is going on, but do not buy anything from them, crept for perhaps Sodium Carbonate (pH up) if you get a similarly worrying pH result from them.
    Stuart Murray
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