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Thread: Another first-time pool owner thread

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    Another first-time pool owner thread

    Hi folks,

    Been reading here for a couple weeks and have a few questions. My wife and I purchased a home with a pool in Tempe, Arizona, in December. We moved into the home in February and kept the previous owner's pool guy. Neither my wife or I had owned a pool and knew nothing about maintaining one. With a list of home-improvement projects to tackle, we put off taking over the pool maintenance ourselves. When he came, the pool guy seemed to only rake the surface and empty the skimmer basket. I had enough of this when he made his last visit in April and didn't pick up his monthly check, which was a few feet from the skimmer. He clearly wasn't doing much if he didn't notice the payment. After that, I nicely told him we were going to handle the pool maintenance ourselves.

    I've kept a log of the pool chemistry readings, beginning May 1, the day I took over pool maintenance. I took a water sample to a Leslie's Pool store nearby (I know, I know). They said the FC reading was 0 and pH was 7.8. He told me to add chlorine and muriatic acid. I bought a couple gallons of muriatic acid there and then picked up AquaChem Plus 3" chlorine tabs and a box of one-pound bags of Aqua Chem Shock Plus at Costco. I went home and added 1/4 gallon of muriatic acid and two 3" tabs to the floater. The next morning, the readings were FC 0.5 and pH 8.2. I added another 1/4 gallon of muriatic acid and two one-pound bags of Shock Plus. Twelve hours later the readings were FC 3.5 and pH 7.6.

    At this point, I felt like a genius and that I had this pool thing down. Ha.

    Over the next two days, the FC readings were steady between 5 and 6. The pH went back up to 8.2+ and after adding a gallon of muriatic acid, it dropped to 7.4 within a 24-hour period. On May 4, the reading was FC 5, pH 7.4 Perfect. I took one tab out of the floater, leaving one in, hoping the chlorine level would not get too high.

    Life happened and I didn't get a chance to measure again until May 8. The FC reading was 0.5 and pH was 8.2. I added back another chlorine tab and a half gallon of muriatic acid.

    This morning, May 11, my Taylor K-2006 kit arrived. The readings were FC 1.5, ph 7.8 and CYA 30 (maybe 25). Impatient and curious, I added a half-gallon of liquid chlorine (10%). I did not have a chance to take other readings (TA, Calcium, etc).

    I've read Pool School a few times and am sure I'll be back there many times. I'm hoping I can be pointed in the right direction from some experienced people. It seems that I need to increase my CYA, correct? The pool receives direct sunlight all day and the spillway from the raised spa aerates the pool, as do the sheer descent fountains (these automatically go one for five minutes a day, unless I'm outside and turn them on). Is it normal for pH to fluctuate? How can I stabilize it?

    Thanks for any advice, and I apologize for the long, long post.
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    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    It seems that I need to increase my CYA, correct?
    Yes, I would increase CYA to between 50 and 60 in your case, having full Arizona sun.

    Is it normal for pH to fluctuate? How can I stabilize it?
    With those fountains and your spillway, your pool's pH will always tend to drift up. It is similar to mine with a spillover waterfall spa. The aeration of the water will increase pH. The other contributing factor to the stability of pH is TA, but we don't know what that number is for your pool. You would stabilize the pH drift by reducing TA to the point where the pH stabilizes somewhat. The TA number that achieves that goal will differ for each pool. You lower pH and TA with muriatic acid (MA). Since you have the K-2006, I would run a test for TA. Then, use the pool calculator to determine the dosage of MA.
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Thanks for the advice, BoDarville. I'll measure the TA tonight and plug the information into the Pool Calculator.

    Once I get the pH stabilized, how often will I have to add MA?
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Quote Originally Posted by dmpacey
    Once I get the pH stabilized, how often will I have to add MA?
    That depends on the TA level and how often those spillovers run. The more aeration of the water the faster PH will tend to rise, which will require muratic acid additions to reduce PH. The good news is that over time the acid will also lower TA and slow down the rate of PH rise. Hope that helps some!
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Every time the PH hits 7.8, you will lower it 7.2. Eventually the TA falls into range and the PH should stabilize. As to how often that happens there are too many variables, every pool is unique.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Ah, thanks for the info. I run the spillway for about four hours a day -- 9 am to 1 pm. Maybe I'll reel it back to a couple hours.

    I feel like I'm back in high school chemistry class -- not my finest subject, but I'm enjoying the challenge of getting the water right. I'm a little impatient, but understand I probably won't get the results I want immediately. Gives me something to work on, at least. At least the water is crystal clear so far.
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Measured this morning and here are the results:

    FC 4.5
    pH 7.8
    TA 160
    CH 220
    CYA 30

    I know my TA is high and CYA is low. My pH is slightly high and FC slightly low. What should I address first and what's my next step?

    All help and advice is very appreciated. And Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    I couldn't find in the above posts or in your signature: vinyl or plaster?
    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: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski
    I couldn't find in the above posts or in your signature: vinyl or plaster?
    I've wondered that, too. We bought the home and the pool was already built. Is there a way I can easily tell without trying to contact the previous owners?
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    vinyl is slick and smooth, plaster is, well, like plaster. Like smooth cement but far rougher to the touch than vinyl.

    About a 95% chance you will have ceramic tile around the waterline if it is plaster.
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    There are ceramic tiles around the water line. The pool floor and sides is PebbleTec, or something like it.
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    You have a plaster pool.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Plaster? I'm learning new things already. Much appreciated, folks. I have seen the recommended levels for plaster pools in Pool School, although I think my CYA should be a bit higher because the pool gets sunlight all day in Phoenix. How should I get there with these measurements?

    FC 4.5
    pH 7.8
    TA 160
    CH 220
    CYA 30
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    One more question...what's the pool water temp?
    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: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski
    One more question...what's the pool water temp?
    EasyTouch tells me it is 79 F.
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Those numbers look pretty good. Here's what I would do.

    1. Drop your pH to between 7.2 and 7.4
    2. Raise CYA to 50-60.
    3. Add enough bleach to bring FC up to 6 or 7 (your new FC minimum is 4 if you raise your CYA to 50).
    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: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Smykowski
    Those numbers look pretty good. Here's what I would do.

    1. Drop your pH to between 7.2 and 7.4
    2. Raise CYA to 50-60.
    3. Add enough bleach to bring FC up to 6 or 7 (your new FC minimum is 4 if you raise your CYA to 50).
    Many thanks. I know to add bleach to raise FC and MA to lower pH. To raise my CYA, pool calculator says to add 221 oz of liquid stabilizer or 85 oz of solid stabilizer. Is one better? I've read to put the solid stabilizer in sock?

    Last question, how long after I add these is it safe for swimming?

    Again, thanks for the guidance and help.
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    Add stuff, let it mix for a half hour or so - brushing helps mix things faster - then add the next. Then get in and go swimming! That will mix things up in a hurry.

    Liquid CYA mixes in minutes, granular is cheaper but can take days to dissolve. You can go swimming while the sockfull of CYA is dangling there.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Another first-time pool owner thread

    I'm only getting 67oz of stabilizer to raise your CYA from 30 to 60. It's 16K gallons, right? And you have that in the top field?
    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: Another first-time pool owner thread

    You are right. I had a different target for cya.
    16,000 gallon, inground plaster pool with raised spa; Pentair EasyTouch 8 automation; IntelliFlo VS pump; Clean & Clear Plus cartridge filter; Poolvergnuegen cleaner.

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