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Thread: Can't get ph level down...

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    Can't get ph level down...

    Let me start be saying that I'm new to the forum so I I'm posting this in the wrong section, I apologize.
    I have a 6300 gallon inground fiberglass pool that has had the chemical levels neglected for the past six months. Other than throwing in the occasional chlorine to keep the algae from growing, no other chemicals have been added. Recently (4 days ago) I decided to get serious about the chemicals to prepare for summer. So, for the last four days I have been adding ph minus and MA to lower the ph level, however, after approx. 3 pounds of ph minus and half a gallon of MA the ph level is still very high. Also, my chlorine level is high too. I know the chlorine level will diminish with time, but I'm not sure if it has an effect on the ph level as well? Let me finish by informing that I am using test strips to test the water, so I don't know what the exact numbers are, but the ph is at least 8.6 or higher.
    Thanks
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Welcome! High FC levels can make pH read too high, but since you're only using strips, that's really just speculation.

    We can help you understand and take control of your pool, but you'll have to do a little work. First, read Pool School (upper right corner of every page). Second, you have to get a quality test kit. Nearly everyone here uses the TF-100 or TaylorK-2006.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    The test strips are notoriously inaccurate ... readings change depending on how long you wait and how old they are. I have to 2nd the recommendation to invest in one of the recommended test kits if you are serious about taking control of the pool.

    I would stop blindly throwing chemicals into the pool until after you know the current chemistry and can then use poolcalculator.com to determine how much of what you should be adding.

    And while waiting for the test kit, read Pool School a few times
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    I will third (?) the recommendation for a good test kit from tftestkits.net. Like everyone else said, read pool school while waiting. To learn about test strips, you can read this. chemical-test-strips-t55938.html?hilit=test%20strips%20experiment
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
    Wanda the Whale pool vacuum, home made heater, Taylor K-2006
    Cloudy Pool? 1) Order test kit. 2) Follow SLAM
    New to TFPC? Read Pool School a few times, then post questions. PoolMath will help with chemical additions.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Thanks for the info that I have received so far, I very much appreciate it. However, I did find another test kit (Guardex) in my garage (probably 1 year old) that confirmed that my chlorine level is off the charts. So much so, that the test water appeared orange instead of yellow. Again, I don't know if the chlorine level can cause the PH level to be elevated??? Currently, my pool is not heated and is approx. 50 degrees (water is crystal clear). I know that the chlorine level will go down eventually, but I'm assuming that it will take awhile since it is so cold. Kinda wondering if I should shock it or not, or maybe drain some water out and refill it, or just let it dissipate on it's own.

    About that test kit (TF-100)...I just noticed that it costs $70...why? I do not fully understand what makes this kit so much more expensive than the others (like $19.99 at my local pool supply store)? It's not that I'm against getting it, just that I need to understand what makes it so much more "advantageous" over the other, less expensive ones? I'm not hosting a pool for chemically challenged children to swim in; just my wife and I. Can I assume that my other pool tests kit will at least give me an "accurate" measurement, or are the tubes just filled with colored water? I'm not trying to split hairs here, just want to get my water close to being chemically sound for summer.

    FYI, I'm not now, nor have I ever been "blindly" throwing chemicals in the pool. The only thing I have recently added is chlorine about five days ago and PH minus/MA (measured carefully) for the last four days. Each time I have added (small amounts of) the PH minus or MA, I've ran the pool pump for about 8 hours and then tested the water. So, total I have added 3 lbs of PH minus and 1/2 gallon of MA without the PH level noticeably decreasing.

    Again, thanks for the info, I appreciate everyone taking time out of their day to respond to my question. I will keep trying until I either get it right, or throw in the towel and call a pool guy (said sarcastically)
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    If the FC is > 10ppm then the pH test will read high. My guess is that your chlorine test goes up to 5ppm, correct? That is one reason the good kits are more costly, they have the FAS-DPD chlorine test that measures accurately (in increments of 0.2ppm) up to over 50ppm. It is this accuracy that is key to understanding and maintaining the pool. The only test that actually is color matching is the pH test. All other tests require you to count drops until the color changes ... this takes most of the guess work out.

    There are some cheaper kits that will test TC, pH, TA, CH, and CYA, but they do not have the FAS-DPD test. Once you add that to your cheaper kit, the cost is getting up there. Also note that while the K-2006 is a little cheaper than the TF-100, you may quickly run out of some of the reagents. The TF-100 kit is put together and sold by the owner of this forum, so the amount of each reagent you get is more in-line with what you will actually need while following these methods. Additionally, there is an 18 month warranty on the TF-100 and the customer service is great.

    You do not have to buy the TF-100, or any kit we are recommending to be here and learn and ask questions, but without one, taking control will be problematic.

    That said, please stay away from test strips ... they are a complete waste of money.

    Sorry if I was harsh with my words before, it just sounded like you dumped 3 lbs of pH minus in all at once. But without knowing the true accurate levels, I am not sure how you "measured carefully" for your additions. You really only need the pump to run for about an hours after you add chemicals BTW.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    EDIT: You might want to ignore this post, because it is rambling, and the one above is clearer and answers all questions better.

    Let me start with the question about pH. Yes, when chlorine is above about 10, which yours is, based on your comment about the test, will make the pH read falsely high. Ok, now the test kit. As far as price, it is because it is a quality test kit. For one, it has a FAS-DPD chlorine test kit, which, basically, is fancier (but in a necessary way) than OTO (which is in the cheap kits). I don't know how much more accurate the other 4 tests are, but I assume they are more reliable. Ok, I think I answered all the questions you asked, more or less... Anyway, done rambling but I will leave you with this: pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
    Wanda the Whale pool vacuum, home made heater, Taylor K-2006
    Cloudy Pool? 1) Order test kit. 2) Follow SLAM
    New to TFPC? Read Pool School a few times, then post questions. PoolMath will help with chemical additions.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Wow, you guys are amazing. Thanks so much for the explanation. Jblizzle, you are correct, my Chlorine test does only go up to 5ppm. Although, with that info, I still know that my chlorine needs to go way down. I guess I will just leave it alone for a few days or until the chlorine level drops, then recheck the PH level. BTW, the term "measured carefully" referred to the small increments of PH minus I added, then patiently waited to see if the level dropped. You're right, I didn't/don't know exactly how much to add since I don't know exactly how high the PH level is. Just thought that if I kept adding small amounts, eventually I would see the PH level go down.

    I'm not using the strips anymore.
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    This time I actually know what I am saying. You did not mention your CYA level, and you do not know what your actual chlorine level is. So you don't know that the chlorine needs to come down. This is why you need a good test kit.
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
    Wanda the Whale pool vacuum, home made heater, Taylor K-2006
    Cloudy Pool? 1) Order test kit. 2) Follow SLAM
    New to TFPC? Read Pool School a few times, then post questions. PoolMath will help with chemical additions.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    My CYA level is at 150....very high. I'm thinking I might need to drain the water (or could that be high because everything else is?). However, even though I don't know exactly what my Chlorine level is, I'm pretty sure it's high, because it was too low before I added chlorine (five days ago).
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    If your CYA is truly 150 (could be much higher, like 200) your chlorine should be 11 to 18, so realistically your chlorine may not be too high. But you really should get a good test kit so you know what your actual numbers are. I think I remember you saying you were using strips to test the water, which can be very inaccurate. I don't remember if I posted a link to this before, but it should give you an idea about the drawbacks of strips: chemical-test-strips-t55938.html?hilit=test%20strips%20experiment
    John
    7 year old ~13,500 gal 24' AGP with 1.5 hp Proline pump, 150 sqft Pleatco cartridge, filled with well water with pH of about 4.5.
    Wanda the Whale pool vacuum, home made heater, Taylor K-2006
    Cloudy Pool? 1) Order test kit. 2) Follow SLAM
    New to TFPC? Read Pool School a few times, then post questions. PoolMath will help with chemical additions.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Most CYA tests only go up to 100 (ignoring strips). Did that number come from a strip or a store? Either way, I would not believe it.

    John is right though, the first key piece of information is the CYA level ... and then getting it in the correct range.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    So I guess the best way to get the CYA corrected is drain the water, unless there is another option?
    It was tested at my local pool store and it was their recommendation to drain the water. However, I have a fiberglass pool and I was told never to drain the water completely out of it (not more than half way).
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    You can do multiple half drains if needed. Or do a search for the tarp method where you drain below and fill above at the same time.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    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
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    Okay, that's what I'll do then. Thanks
    16344 gal, AG, Fijian 52 Pool 27' round w/ 1.5 HP 21 Sta-Rite Above Ground Pool Sand Filter System. using ZeoBest ZeoLite Filter Media.

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    Re: Can't get ph level down...

    I'll give another endorsement for the TF-100 kit. I bought mine last summer after I had my pool put in. Once you get used to it, the testing is quite easy and will give you a clear picture of what kind of shape your pool is in. This site has been quite a treasure in helping me maintain my pool and understanding how to keep it in good shape.
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