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Thread: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

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    new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    I spent the last 9 years with a Nature 2 low chlorine mineral system from Litehouse Pools. The biggest problem I have with LP is that every person I talked to had a different answer. I could even go to 2 different store with the same water sample, and get different results and different recommendations. The lack of consistency was very frustrating, especially when following a recommendation, usually resulted in another trip to buy another chemical to counteract the the 1st one.

    After reading several times through the Pool School topics on this site, I am ready to make the switch to BBB. However, I still have a few questions just to make this transition easier for me to understand. The pool is still covered, so I have no test results yet.

    For the 1st few years, it was a simple formula - once a week clean the filter and add some clarifier and algecide, and shock it twice a week. Over the last 3-4 years, I have dealt with very high phosphate levels (resulting in several jugs of commercial phosphate remover and lots of aggravation). I think it was finally under control at the end of last year. Are phosphates something I should be concerned about initially, or will the daily/weekly testing show me when it becomes an issue?

    Also, we fell into the cycle of no chlorine reading, then being told to add chlorine granules and pucks, which raised the CYA and PH, resulting in more chemicals to attempt to balance. At the end, the PH was ok, but the CYA was still very high and the chlorine very low. Everything I have read indicates that high CYA limits the effectiveness of chlorine, and that the only way to reduce the CYA is a drain and refill. Should I start with draining half, 2/3, or all the water before refilling?

    I still have LP clarifier and algecide left over. Will I need to use these with the BBB method? Or can I dispose of them now?

    Litehouse always sold "Start Up" kits and "Winterizing" kits. The BBB methods for start up and winterizing seem so simple, I fear that I am missing something. And I just want make sure I get it right the first time. I am about 3-4 weeks away from opening the pool. I just ordered the $68 test kit. I guess I am just looking for some feedback and assurance that I am starting off on the right track. Sorry for the rambling...
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    First, the phosphate level is meaningless. They are essentially food for algae, but if you maintain the correct FC level, then the algae can not live regardless of how much food there is.

    The endless addition and use of trichlor and dichlor "shock" make the CYA go up to a point where you can not maintain a high enough FC level. Draining part of the water is the only way for you to lower the CYA level (I would not do this until you test your CYA level ... if it initially reads over 100, dilute your mixed sample with 50% tap water and then use the tube again ... doubling the result).

    We rarely recommend the use of clarifier or algaecide. Proper FC levels make the algaecide pointless and your filtration should make the clarifier pointless as well. No sense in throwing them away though, they could be useful in the future.

    The kits are usually a waste of money as they are not based on YOUR pool's water. You may or may not need everything in the kit.

    The BBB method is really just about understanding your pool’s chemistry and through accurate testing, adding only what the pool NEEDS and not what someone wants to sell you.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Quote Originally Posted by big daddy G
    ...
    Are phosphates something I should be concerned about initially, or will the daily/weekly testing show me when it becomes an issue?
    Phosphates are only an issue if you're a pool store owner who sells pool chemicals for a living. I haven't ever had mine tested in three years - I haven't got a clue what my phosphate level, my nitrate level, or my TDS numbers are. Yet I've never had a green pool, it doesn't smell, no one's ever complained of dry skin or burning eyes, and you can toss a quarter into the deep end and call heads or tails from the deck.
    Also, we fell into the cycle of no chlorine reading, then being told to add chlorine granules and pucks, which raised the CYA and PH, resulting in more chemicals to attempt to balance. At the end, the PH was ok, but the CYA was still very high and the chlorine very low. Everything I have read indicates that high CYA limits the effectiveness of chlorine, and that the only way to reduce the CYA is a drain and refill. Should I start with draining half, 2/3, or all the water before refilling?
    There is no way to know without testing it. And don't try to get a head start by having the pool store test it for you; they're notoriously bad about testing and especially that test.
    I still have LP clarifier and algecide left over. Will I need to use these with the BBB method? Or can I dispose of them now?
    Dispose of the clarifier. Read the label on the algaecide. It's it's Polyquat you can save it to use at closing. If it's something else, dump it, too.
    Litehouse always sold "Start Up" kits and "Winterizing" kits. The BBB methods for start up and winterizing seem so simple, I fear that I am missing something. And I just want make sure I get it right the first time. I am about 3-4 weeks away from opening the pool. I just ordered the $68 test kit. I guess I am just looking for some feedback and assurance that I am starting off on the right track. Sorry for the rambling...
    Once you have the test kit and http://www.poolcalculator.com/ bookmarked, you're on your way. Expect it to take a couple weeks to have the water balanced perfectly and your anxiety level to come down. After that, it's easy.
    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: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    You got good advice from two of our smartest posters. I'll add one more thing: Read pool school once. If you start to feel overwhelmed by the volume of info, push away from the computer, and after a day or so, read it again. Then start asking questions. We're here to help.
    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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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Thanks for the great responses everyone! Just one more question: since I am concerned about the high CYA and the potential drain and refill, when should I do the initial water test? Immediately while the water is still at the low winter level? Or do I need to fill it up and get the pump/filter going first, even if a partial drain and refill is inevitable?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Draining water is such a pain in the you-know-what that I, personally, would test the CYA now and do one drain and one fill and be done with it. For all you know, you might be one of those lucky few who have that bacteria that breaks down CYA over the winter. Remember that tap water has no CYA, so stick a tape measure in there and figure out how much of the water is missing and crunch some numbers. If your pool is only 60% full and CYA reads 100, when you refill you will be at 60, which is high, but easily manageable. Just leave enough water in the pool so the liner doesn't shift.
    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: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Ok - cover is off. Pool water is at 75% full. First attempt at CYA test - could not see dot and CYA was over 100. Second attempt - 50% diluted with tap water - and level was 80, so doubled is 160. A little rough on the math formula for this, but I am guessing I would need to drain pool to 25%, and refill with fresh water to get a target of 40 CYA. Does this sound right? Should I do a 2nd test with the 50% diluted solution just to see if my original reading was good?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Quote Originally Posted by big daddy G
    Ok - cover is off. Pool water is at 75% full. First attempt at CYA test - could not see dot and CYA was over 100. Second attempt - 50% diluted with tap water - and level was 80, so doubled is 160. A little rough on the math formula for this, but I am guessing I would need to drain pool to 25%, and refill with fresh water to get a target of 40 CYA. Does this sound right? Should I do a 2nd test with the 50% diluted solution just to see if my original reading was good?
    You did the math correctly. Be careful that draining that much won't leave your liner floor exposed which could allow it to shift.

    After it's refilled and has had a few hours to circulate, maybe even a day, then recheck CYA. If it ends up 45 or 50 instead of 40, it's not a crisis, but you'll need to know what it is to maintain proper FC level.
    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: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    If you are at 75% full with a CYA of 160ppm and just filled you would be at 120ppm. I think you are right if you drain down to 25% and then refill with 75% fresh you should be around 40ppm.

    Usually you do not want to drain more than leaving at least a foot in the shallow end to avoid liner shifting.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    I will not be able to do any other tests (PH, FC, etc.) until the drained & refilled pool has circulated for a day and then I do another CYA test, right?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Quote Originally Posted by big daddy G
    I will not be able to do any other tests (PH, FC, etc.) until the drained & refilled pool has circulated for a day and then I do another CYA test, right?
    Yep. Run all the tests.
    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: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Drained pool to 25%, refilled with fresh water, and circulated for a day. Ran all tests:
    FC - .5 or less?
    CC - .5 or less?
    PH - 7.5
    CYA - 40 (tested 3 times just to make sure)
    TA - 130
    CH - 170

    Now, do I follow pool calc and add 102oz of bleach? Or do I need to raise it to shock level? Or another plan altogether?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Is the water green? cloudy? I'd at least plan to raise to shock level and do and overnight chlorine loss test (OCLT). If the water is green or cloudy just plan on going through the shock process.
    Dan D
    Used 2003 Aqua Leader 27'x52", 17,800 w/10" hopper, SwimPro SW256T 250# sand filter, Hayward PowerFlo LX pump 1hp impellor, Emerson 1 1/2 hp motor, setup Aug 2012 Summer 2011 used Summer Escapes Ring pool 14' x 42", Intex 1600gph sand filter, HTH 6 way test kitTF-100 w/stirrer, Well water @ FC=0, PH=7.2, TA=290, CH=320

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Water is clear and sparkling (should be after refilling 75% of the water!), just a small amount of soot at the bottom and tree droppings and helicopters that a good vacuuming should take care of. Best it has looked for startup in past 4-5 years! Glad I switched to TFP this year. Water bill is going to hurt a little, but should be well worth the cost.

    So if water is clear and sparkling, do I shock or just add the suggested dose of bleach from pool calc?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Raise to shock level and do the OCLT to ensure there is nothing in the water.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Per pool calc, I added 4.5 jugs of bleach at 7:30 pm for shock level, then did the chlorine test at 10 pm. FC only showed 2, but CC was 10? Does this sound right? Did I test too soon after adding bleach, or is CC really so high that I need to keep adding bleach? If so how much more should I add?
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    You should have only needed about an hour of pump in time before testing.

    Does it seem like your CYA dropped a lot over the winter? Having CC that high is strange and if true, you need a lot more chlorine.

    Posted from my Droid with Tapatalk ... sorry if my response is short
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    Unfortunately, my only CYA reference from last year was the pool store telling me it was "off the chart". The readings I got this year before and after the drain/refill are the only CYA measures I have.
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    After several more testing & adding bleach (it took a total of 18.5 jugs) cycles yesterday, I finally got FC up to 18 with 0 CC by 4 pm. In fact, all day yesterday, the CC was at 0 - surprising since it was 10 the night before - I thought it might take longer to come down, but glad it didn't.

    OCLT - at 9 pm last night, FC was 12 and CC still 0. Water was a little cloudy after I vacuumed yesterday, but was beginning to clear up last night. This morning at 7 am, FC was 11 and CC still 0. Water is almost clear.

    Questions:
    Is it normal for FC to drop from 18 to 12 during the day?
    Is this shock process now complete, where I can let the FC drop down to 4?
    Is there any reason to run all the tests again?
    Will the OTO test be good enough to check chlorine daily, and how often should I use the drop test to check on FC and CC?

    Thanks for your help and patience!!
    15K gal, 24' round AG, 75 sq ft cartridge filter, 1 HP 2 spd Jacuzzi pump, June 2004 install
    Former (& fed up!) 9 year Litehouse Pools customer 2004 - 2012!!
    Joined TFP in 2013 - swimming more and spending less $$!!

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    Re: new BBB convert - general pre-opening questions

    The shock process is complete when....

    1. Your pool water is sparkling
    2. Your CC's are .5ppm or less
    3. You can hold your FC overnight without losing more than 1ppm.

    Sounds like you are there.

    1. Yes

    2. Let your FC come down now and maintain it at normal levels according to the FC/CYA chart.

    3. No

    4. Yes. We suggest OTO test daily and FAS/DPD drop test once weekly
    Dave S.
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