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Thread: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to DIY?

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    What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to DIY?

    Totally new to pool care and have been using a pool service for $50/mo. We decided to try DIY for at least a month. I was hoping for some money savings and to learn water chemistry better.

    If after the learning curve, the potential savings is small; then plan to return to pool service.

    QUESTION #1
    What benefits did you see in the first year of DIY pool maintenance?

    QUESTION #2
    If CYA increases the amount of Chlorine needed, why use it?


    QUESTION #3
    Is there a safer method of dropping PH than using muriatic acid?

    QUESTION #4
    If you just add chlorine to a pool, over time will the PH move acidic or basic?

    Do not have a test kit yet, but will order this week. All I have is the AquaCheck 5 test strips.

    Test results, initial {10 days post end of pool service}
    FC 0
    TA 40
    TH 1000
    PH 8.4

    Today's results
    FC 4
    TA 100
    TH 500
    PH 7.8

    {note strip does not test for CYA}

    Changes:
    1. Add 1.5 gallons "shock", liquid chlorine
    2. Add 16 oz muriatic acid

    Current issues and any comments would be appreciated
    1. some algae, duh
    2. some cloudiness in water
    3. can't figure out how to turn off the pipe to the solar heater so I can rinse the pool filter.

    Sorry about all the questions but really new to this and any help at all will be much appreciated. Next time I'll try to reduce questions to one/post.
    36K gal, gunite w/ plaster,[18W x 38L x 8 deep end] 300SF cartridge, 80-100 GPM filter, Sta-rite S7M120 and Polaris 9300 electric robot. Rooftop 6 panel Solar heater, Sacramento Valley, Climate Zone 8

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    While you will save money by maintaining your pool yourself, you'll gain a lot more than a few dollars savings.

    1) You'll learn the intricacies of your pool and equipment. You'll learn how to maintain your pool and what affects each parameter. And you'll learn a lot more.

    2) Without some, your chlorine will be gone in minutes. Therefore your pool will be unsanitized.

    3) Muriatic acid is actually pretty safe. Like a lot of other things, it requires careful handling.

    4) I only use bleach and almost never have to adjust the pH.

    As you know a good test kit is the first thing you need.
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    #1
    You are going to learn how to take care of your own pool.
    #2
    Your pool needs Atleast 30-50 ppm of cya to reduce the sun from burning off the cl.
    Too much cya from pucks will cause problems with your pool as the cya rises.
    #3
    Not really, muriatic acid seems to be the best, just respect the stuff.
    #4
    All pools are different but most times the ph will rise with bleach, and salt.
    There are steps that can be taken to reduce this, borax etc. check pool school

    I refer to test strips as snap shots, but you must have a real test kit if you plan to do this
    On your own.

    But first and foremost you need to kill the algae in the pool, check your cya levels and shock appropriately until it is gone.
    The Most Interesting Pool Man in The World
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    There is a tricky aspect to #2 that tends to throw people. Higher CYA levels mean less total chlorine needs to be added to the pool. This is true even though you need to maintain a higher level of chlorine in the water.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    1, You will likely find your water is much nicer to swim in, people will not complain about burning red eyes, etc. The simple fact of the matter is for the vast majority of pools it is impossible to maintain them properly and keep them balanced when servicing once per week, as a result they are in a constant out of balance overshoot this or that state.

    2, CYA is a double edge sword, it buffers Chlorine, but if you add too much it over buffers, the problem is if you use trichlor pucks you will always be adding more CYA at a rate far higher than it can naturally drop (through water replacement mainly)

    3, Muriatic acid is very safe once diluted, from a chemical point of view it has 2 elements, chlorine and hydrogen, the chlorine part effectively just becomes some more free chlorine ions in your water and the hydrogen becomes hydrogen ions which change your pH. The only dangerous part involves handling, spilling, and not mixing it well with the pool water.

    4, It depends on what you use for your chlorine source, dichlor and trichlor (which both also add CYA) are very acidic, by contrast bleach tends to move you more basic (exact amount depends on the bleach impurities)
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    I'm pretty sure you can use a dry form of acid if the liquid form bothers you. Somebody help me here.
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    For me I never had a pool service and relied on the pool store for about a month. I felt as though I was throwing money away.

    I guess the biggest thing for me would be the ability to not have to rely on someone else to do something I can do for myself and reap the benefits when someone give you that compliment that says wow that looks good.
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    Depends on what the service is actually doing.

    My friend had a service running their saltwater pool. The pool frequently turned green, the grand kids were getting ear aches, and they found black spots in the pool that were nearly impossible to get rid of. I tested and found the pool service was not testing the stabilizer level and the pool had none at all. The saltwater generator was running at full speed but the chlorine in the pool was zero. Thus the ear aches and green and black algae. The 3 of us, my husband, my friend and I spent about 10 man hours scrubbing the pool and shocking it. The salt water generator was fine and was not replaced, saving them something like $1000.

    Turns out the service never ran more than a pH and FC test "unless the pool looked bad". Apparently black and green algae did not warrant a full water test. So they just shocked the pool with cal-hypo which can tend to foul the salt cell when pH is high, like when the salt cell is running at 100% all the time. The service did back wash the filter and do a quick brush and cleaning of the pool. I think the on-site person felt that was the job, to brush and wash and shock. No more. So, be clear on what they are getting paid to do.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    Thank you. The only chlorine was "shock" product from leslie's as that was one of the items recommended. I don't know if it has cya or not. Labeling is very light.

    My pool service would:
    1- turn on the filter
    2- empty the skimmer
    3- take some test
    4- poor a rough amount of liquid into the pool from one bottle. Once they added an algae killer liquid also.
    I don't know what they used.

    I guessed they were just adding chlorine weekly. There are only 2 users of the pool, so very light load.
    36K gal, gunite w/ plaster,[18W x 38L x 8 deep end] 300SF cartridge, 80-100 GPM filter, Sta-rite S7M120 and Polaris 9300 electric robot. Rooftop 6 panel Solar heater, Sacramento Valley, Climate Zone 8

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    I was paying only $40/month for chemical maintenance. I ditched them because I never liked the water quality ... either the chlorine was high right when they can or low before they can back, pH seemed to be off, irritated eyes and skin, etc.

    And at the time they had my CYA over 300ppm, so I had to replace almost all of the water to get it to a reasonable level to maintain myself.

    Likely I am actually spending a little more now, but I KNOW the water is perfect by maintaining it every 1-2 days instead of every 2 weeks.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    Quote Originally Posted by Notri4MeBikeSwim
    Totally new to pool care and have been using a pool service for $50/mo. We decided to try DIY for at least a month. I was hoping for some money savings and to learn water chemistry better.

    I.
    50/ month is pretty cheap. I use about .65 gallons of bleach a day which is about $45/month in the summer. I use about 4 gallons of acid a month, so about $20 i think.

    Im not sure how your pool service is so cheap!
    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: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    guess it's lots of competition and pool service is 12 months a year. didn't know that was cheap
    36K gal, gunite w/ plaster,[18W x 38L x 8 deep end] 300SF cartridge, 80-100 GPM filter, Sta-rite S7M120 and Polaris 9300 electric robot. Rooftop 6 panel Solar heater, Sacramento Valley, Climate Zone 8

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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    So, does this service charge extra when they have to use other chemicals? Here in The Woodlands I was quoted $169 for monthly chemicals, vac, and skim and an extra $89 to clean the cartridge filter.

    I'll guess that what they are adding is not sufficient to prevent algae. Odds are they are not testing CYA, so they have no idea what level of FC you actually need to maintain. Odds are you are using trichlor daily plus some level of shock on their visit day. Odds are that CYA is building up to unmanageable levels.

    IMO, you can do much better on your own. Maybe not cheaper but certainly better, in that you will be able to be certain that the pool is clean. You might do as my friend did, retain the service, but do your own testing and adjusting as needed and just rely on them to brush the pool and maintain pH and FC on the days they arrive.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    Quote Originally Posted by mynewpool
    For me I never had a pool service and relied on the pool store for about a month. I felt as though I was throwing money away.

    I guess the biggest thing for me would be the ability to not have to rely on someone else to do something I can do for myself and reap the benefits when someone give you that compliment that says wow that looks good.

    I'm jealous! Took me two months and hundreds of dollars in chemicals before I ditched my pool store. The straw that finally did it was when I brought one bottle of water to three stores on the same day and got 3 totally different readings.
    Austin, TX, 15,000 Gallon, Sand Filter, IG plaster, 8 Gallon Liquidator

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    Re: What are the benefits of migrating from Pool Service to

    Quote Originally Posted by Noggin
    Quote Originally Posted by mynewpool
    For me I never had a pool service and relied on the pool store for about a month. I felt as though I was throwing money away.

    I guess the biggest thing for me would be the ability to not have to rely on someone else to do something I can do for myself and reap the benefits when someone give you that compliment that says wow that looks good.

    I'm jealous! Took me two months and hundreds of dollars in chemicals before I ditched my pool store. The straw that finally did it was when I brought one bottle of water to three stores on the same day and got 3 totally different readings.
    Google became my friend and I found this website and it was my new friend.
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