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Thread: chemistry ? & how to replace water

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    chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Howdy!

    I am so pleased to have found this site and I am going to say a big "THANK YOU" in advance for all the great advice I know we will get from everyone on this forum. So...here goes...

    We took over from our pool service about a month ago. I have been reading up on BBB and trying to get educated. I began testing the water with the suggested kit from Walmart (because of cost and accessibility) and we have been adding liquid chlorine as well as vacuuming/brushing/netting out the gunk. We live in Palmdale, California, which is the high desert. The water in the pool LOOKS fantastic, crystal clear. The tile and plaster, not so great. The previous owners let it go and the pool guy we hired on when we moved in 2 1/2 years ago gave us the history of draining and dealing with it prior to its sale to us. It was black and nasty.

    Here are the current specs. I did the chemistry test today with a TF-100 kit we just purchased.

    15,500 gal. Nautilus NS36 DE filter, IG, plaster, 1.5 HP pump

    PH= 8.2 +
    CL= 2
    FC = 4
    CC= 0
    TA= 180
    CH= 1100
    CYA= 200

    These results are completely consistent with what I was getting using the Walmart kit, so I am fairly confident they are accurate. I had to dilute the water for the CYA test and this is the third time I've done it. The ph is just bright red, off the charts, so I really don't know what it is.

    By all accounts it seems as though we will need replace around 75-80% of our water in order to get it balanced. Am I wrong to be a little bit annoyed that the pool guy would allow the water to be so out of whack? Anyway, here are my questions.

    1. HOW do we drain the water out of the pool? (Perhaps a stupid question, but we honestly don't know!)
    2. Will it be pretty straight forward how to balance it once we refill?
    3. Are there things we should have done since we need to remove so much water? (our light is out, for instance, so probably a good time to replace the bulb?)

    I have included few photos of our equipment.

    Thanks for taking the time to help us!

    [attachment=2:3lsvscf2]pump filter.jpg[/attachment:3lsvscf2]
    [attachment=1:3lsvscf2]pool.jpg[/attachment:3lsvscf2]
    [attachment=0:3lsvscf2]tile.jpg[/attachment:3lsvscf2]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Gina
    15,500 gal, IG, plaster, DE Nautilus NS36, Pentair WhisperFlo pump 2-speed 1.5 HP, 1993

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    I can't help with much, but there is one thing I can say. Your CYA might be over 200. Since I am assuming that, even when diluted, it disappeared at or below 100, it might be higher. I don't know about the water table level in CA, but if it is high, you may want to be careful about draining too much water, as your pool could float.
    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
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    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: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    It is not surprising that the CYA is high. Most pool companies raise it up high because they only want to come add chlorine every week or so. The high CYA protects it from the sun. BUT, when a problem develops, the required amount of chlorine is VERY high. Being homeowners, we can add the required chlorine every 1-2 days, so the CYA can be much lower.

    On to your questions:
    1) Rent a submersible pump (Home depot < $50 for a day). Your pool equipment is not set up with a multi-valve that has a waste function, and I am not sure if you have floor drains and if you could isolate them anyway.

    2) Once you refill, circulate for an hour and retest everything to know what still needs attention

    3) The light fixture should have a cord on it long enough to replace the bulb on the deck while the pool is full. The pool looks in decent shape to me.

    Be careful that you are aware of your ground water level if you plan to drain everything at once. If the ground water is high, there is a chance that the pool could float out of the ground. Multiple smaller drain/refills are safer, but if you know the ground water level is low (like 100s of feet for me), there is not problem draining completely is you so wish (not needed in your case).

    You CH is pretty high. That along with the high pH is a recipe for calcium scaling. Have you tested your fill water? Hopefully the replacement water will lower the CH, but you need to keep a close watch on the pH.
    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
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    I seriously doubt you will have any issue with floating your pool due to high groundwater out in Palmdale!

    Pump it out and fill it back up and adjust pH first, then add chlorine.

    If you have a plumbing cleanout nearby, you could direct the flow through that. A few thousand gallons of water will clean out any buildup in your sewer!

    The white film on the tiles can be dealt with with a p[umice stone. Sounds awful - fingernails on a chalkboard - but it works. They sell pumice stones at the pool store and I've also seen them in the hardware store for cleaning griddles and toilet bowls. If anybody in the house has flabby upper arms, they won't by the time it's done. I also recommend stocking up on Motrin before you begin.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    You can also buy a cheap submersible pump from Harbor Freight if you have a store nearby for $30 (1/4 HP 1200 GPH) -$60 (1HP 2600 GPH), they are of course low quality made in China junk, but if it gets you through more than one use it would be cheaper than renting.

    Ike

    p.s. the smaller pumps often have garden hose adapters, so you don't have to invest in a larger discharge hose
    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~

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Submersible pump, OK. We will have to see about that. Right now the money is tight since we had to purchase equipment to take care of cleaning the pool. We do have a Harbor Freight though.
    There is a bottom "drain" (which I understand is really not for draining the pool but is actually an intake to the filter, right?)
    Our tap water CH = 140, if I am doing the test correctly. How would I know if there is copper in my water? When I do the hardness test there are particles floating in the water that hold their color (red then slowly pink to purple) while the water begins to change to clear then very light blue. (I have to guess at when I think the "water has changed to blue")
    Last summer we had an outbreak of yellow algae that our pool guy couldn't get rid of. Eventually he used a bottle of, if I remember correctly, silver nitrate? Is that right? I'm wondering if it had copper in it too? Is that affecting my results?

    Anyway, the MAIN question now is: what are the implications of working with the water we have for awhile? Is it worth it to try to lower the ph with acid or just carry on as is until we can replace water?

    We have a solar cover and would like to start using it to warm up the water (currently 66F).(I would like to know what problems occur with warmer water, but that is probably another topic for another post.) Needless to say, my kids are ready to swim!

    Thanks!
    Gina
    15,500 gal, IG, plaster, DE Nautilus NS36, Pentair WhisperFlo pump 2-speed 1.5 HP, 1993

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Quote Originally Posted by Cravensheep
    Anyway, the MAIN question now is: what are the implications of working with the water we have for awhile? Is it worth it to try to lower the ph with acid or just carry on as is until we can replace water?
    There are three problems with the water you have now.
    1) The CYA is so high that you will need to maintain a minimum of 15 FC all the time, which will require the use of a FAS-DPD chlorine test every time. And should algae take hold, you'll be buying bleach by the pallet to get rid of it.
    2) From personal experience. When CH gets into 4 digits, it's almost impossible to keep a neutral CSI. You WILL start scaling. As the water temperature increases, so does the CSI. That 1100 will climb every week, every time you add water.
    3) pH needs to be maintained all the time. If you're draining today, forget it. If you're waiting until next week, adjust pH now.

    Draining is a nuisance and an expense, but in your case, it's the best option in my opinion.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    OK, I get it. Still having trouble wrapping my brain around how we have been able to swim the last two years with it like this. Our pool guy only cleaned and added chlorine once a week. I have been maintaining chlorine around 4ppm, but no bather load and cool temps, so I guess that's why.

    Would it be better to completely drain or just 80%?
    Gina
    15,500 gal, IG, plaster, DE Nautilus NS36, Pentair WhisperFlo pump 2-speed 1.5 HP, 1993

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Personally I would drain all the water and start from new. You will know that your water will be free of added metals and the high CYA issue will for sure be taken care of. With the dilution method there is concern for error as the CYA test is logarithmic. The CH will be low a little low with a 100% drain, but will most likely raise quickly. By keeping 20% of your water you might save $20ish in chemicals to balance the water and my guess of $15 in water, but is that worth it to you? The down side of draining 80% is your CYA might still be too high and your starting CH will be higher than a full drain.
    16k gal plaster with raised spa, Jandy DEV60 filter, 2 HP 2-speed SHPF Jandy Stealth pump
    Hayward Aqua Rite T-15 SWCG, Jandy LXi 400k BTU NG heater, 350 sq.ft. of Sun Star solar panels, TF-100 Test Kit, Dolphin s300i Cleaner
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Quote Originally Posted by Cravensheep
    OK, I get it. Still having trouble wrapping my brain around how we have been able to swim the last two years with it like this. Our pool guy only cleaned and added chlorine once a week. I have been maintaining chlorine around 4ppm, but no bather load and cool temps, so I guess that's why.

    Would it be better to completely drain or just 80%?

    Think of it as the pool is reaching a tipping point, you may not be there yet, but you are getting very close, it is hard to say just how close you are to that edge, but it is one you don't want to go over. Or perhaps a better way to put it is you are getting close to 2 or 3 tipping points at once and if you continue on your current course you will reach one, this may just take the water warming up to reach as some of these things have continued to build through the winter. As to your pool guy, we see it over and over again here, the expectation that someone's pool guy or former pool guy correctly managed their pool, the truth is some are better than others, but even the best of them are in a hard position to maintain a pool. Pools need daily care, or at least care every other day, pool guys usually show up once per week and try to keep the water sort of balanced so it will last until the next week, over dosing on this or that, guessing what trend will be, etc. sooner or later this will all come crashing down, and when it does the pool guy does not have time to address this properly, so he again tries to do a quick fix which just makes something else worse in the long run.

    Ike

    p.s. to answer your question on doing a full drain or an 80% drain, if money really is so tight that you worry about the purchase of a $50 pump do the 80% drain and deal with the other stuff later, otherwise you are probably better off to do the 100% drain and get everything balanced from the start.
    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~

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    I seriously doubt you will have any issue with floating your pool due to high groundwater out in Palmdale!

    Pump it out and fill it back up and adjust pH first, then add chlorine.

    If you have a plumbing cleanout nearby, you could direct the flow through that. A few thousand gallons of water will clean out any buildup in your sewer!

    The white film on the tiles can be dealt with with a p[umice stone. Sounds awful - fingernails on a chalkboard - but it works. They sell pumice stones at the pool store and I've also seen them in the hardware store for cleaning griddles and toilet bowls. If anybody in the house has flabby upper arms, they won't by the time it's done. I also recommend stocking up on Motrin before you begin.
    Pretty much everything Richard said and having Motrin on hand is mission critical. I had calcium deposits at the water line, used acid and pumice stone.....ate pain killers for two days afterwards

    My pool also suffered from what you are describing....high CH, CYA, TA and desert conditions. I kept my pH and chlorine in line, although on the higher end of the scale. Until I read through pool school and discovered with amazing site, I thought I was good to go. I never had a high bather load, so my low chlorine to high CYA never hit the tipping point. However, my high CH and TA (pH rise) did.

    I recently drained the pool (checked with local water company to reaffirm water table) I had it acid washed and polished to get the extensive calcium scaling off (which I suspect you have also) and refilled with 100% FRESH NEW water (feels so good!) I balanced the water myself with the help of the Pool Calculator (which I still use daily) and now feel as if I truly understand what is going on and how to prevent such costly issues in the future.

    As others have said, each pool has it's own personality......mine, I'm still chasing pH drift and cannot figure out how to get that to stop. Knowing this, I purchased a pump (less than $60, much better option than renting at $40+ a pop) so I can control the CH.....if my pH drifts while I'm away, I will still be safe with manageable CH....can also load up on trichloro pucks and not worry about all the excessive CYA from them. I think there are special considerations if you have hard water and desert conditions.

    Anyway, I learned the hard way and hope to share a bit of the wealth of information that I have learned here. TFP is the best!
    10 x 26 IG gunite/plaster
    7300 Gallons
    Hayward Tristar single speed 1 HP
    Hayward CF C4025
    Pool DOB 1/10

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Thanks everyone! I think we are going to borrow a pump from a friend and replace ALL the water. I would love to be able to afford to acid wash and/or repair the surface in a few places, but we will just have to put up with the roughness for awhile. Seems like hard water is going to be an ongoing issue and we'll be draining it again in another year or more anyway. I'm hoping that the refill plus using BBB and our solar cover (much less evaporation!) we can stay good for a lot longer. The more I read the more I can tell that we have all the tell-tale signs of scaling (leaking around the stainless steel filter ring, probably pitted) so, who knows how may years it has been this way?
    Gina
    15,500 gal, IG, plaster, DE Nautilus NS36, Pentair WhisperFlo pump 2-speed 1.5 HP, 1993

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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    One more thing....pumace stone to remove scale on tile seems to dissolve into the water. I'm guessing this isn't something I want to do AFTER replacing all the water, right? After spot testing a few tiles I'm seriously thinking this will require hiring someone to blast it off!
    Gina
    15,500 gal, IG, plaster, DE Nautilus NS36, Pentair WhisperFlo pump 2-speed 1.5 HP, 1993

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Quote Originally Posted by Cravensheep
    One more thing....pumace stone to remove scale on tile seems to dissolve into the water. I'm guessing this isn't something I want to do AFTER replacing all the water, right? After spot testing a few tiles I'm seriously thinking this will require hiring someone to blast it off!
    Unless someone in the house is handy.
    blasting-limescale-off-my-pool-walls-done-report-posted-t11530.html
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: chemistry ? & how to replace water

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    Quote Originally Posted by Cravensheep
    One more thing....pumace stone to remove scale on tile seems to dissolve into the water. I'm guessing this isn't something I want to do AFTER replacing all the water, right? After spot testing a few tiles I'm seriously thinking this will require hiring someone to blast it off!
    Unless someone in the house is handy.
    blasting-limescale-off-my-pool-walls-done-report-posted-t11530.html
    Bookmarked that!!! I know I had read that someone was using baking soda. I also wonder if pool salt could be used instead of the glass beads?
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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