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Thread: Need a little advice

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Need a little advice

    My wife and I just bought a home in March, and it has a pool. While I was not looking for a pool when purchasing, I am certainly excited by the idea of having one, as I grew up with a neighborhood pool. I have read a lot of posts on Trouble Free Pool, and am very happy with the knowledge I have obtained. Thank you everyone. Now to the point. This is my first opening. I paid local pool shop to open, as they had closed it. They opened it, and I won't complain here, all I need to do is fix my water, as I want to swim. I have taken water to the pool store a few times now to be tested, and I just keep leaving with more chemicals in hand and less money in pocket. I also keep getting differing advice from the store attendents, so I need some good advice. I am interested in getting my water balanced and then using the BBB method (With SWG) to maintain it.

    First test results: (5/15/2013) (Water was slightly cloudy, brown/dirty stains on walls)
    Water temp was 70 F (Per my thermometer).
    TC 0.4
    FC 0.2
    pH 7.6
    TA 130
    CH 275
    Stabilizer 30
    TDS 835
    Salt 4560
    Phosphate 300
    Shock Treatment 0.2
    Nitrate 1

    I was advised to replace about 1 foot of water to get salt down, then add 8 gallons liquid chlorine, leave pump running, SWG and heat off. Then retest in a few days. On 5/16/2013, I drained probably 33%, cleaned the pool, and added 5 gallons of chlorine as I had removed so much water and different pool employee on phone advised to not add full 8 gallons. No one was home, so could not fill pool to top. 5/17/2013 I brought pool up to full level with hose water (non-softened municipal water).

    Test results (5/17/2013) Stains on wall faded significantly when under water that was shocked.
    Water temp 72 (per my thermometer)
    TC 0.6
    FC 0.5
    pH 7.8
    TA 140
    CH 175
    Stabilizer 45
    TDS 580
    Salt 3170
    Phosphate 500
    Shock Treatment 0.1
    Nitrate 0

    I was advised to add 32 oz muriatic acid, wait 2 hours, recheck pH, then if in range, add 1 pound Aux Brite Shock, and 17 ozs Phosfree.

    I purchased a vacuum so I could finally vacuum the pool. I added about 32 oz muriatic acid (probably more). Rechecked pH with dip strips purchased at pool store. Then added 1 lbs of aux brite and 2 gal liquid chlorine, since I brought my pH to about 7.2 per my dip strips. Also added 17 ozs Phosfree. I tested with strips, and my FC was 3-5ppm, pH 7.2, TA 120 ish (Color did not match picture on bottle, so I went by darkness if that makes sense) ,CYA was lighter than the 30-50 color, so somewhere between 0 and 30, and Salt read 1290 but I think i performed the test improperly.
    The next moring, my FC was 5 ppm, pH 7.2, TA 120, CYA 0-30, Salt 3320. Water clear enough to read a dime in the deepish (6.5 ft) end. After 7 hours of sun light, FC now 0 with all others unchanged.

    I have questioned adding stabilizer as my stabilizer has been low on the tests at the pool store, and was told that we could not measure stabilizer until all chemicals were properly balanced and the pool was at operating temp of 78-82. Other than that the stabilizer test is not accurate. My SWG is currently off, and I probably need a new cell, as my Salt has always read low, even after I cleaned the cell. The cell was caked in light bluish green to white buildup, probably 2 mm thick on all sides of the plate. I am assuming it was not checked or cleaned regularly. I cleaned the cell and ran overnight with it off. I then turned it back on and got he error, although it is reading 2300 salt now vs 1200 before I cleaned it. I will probably keep using Chlorine until my pool is stable, then retry turning on the cell to see if it still fails.

    Now I am looking for advice for what to do next. I figure I need to add more chlorine, but should I be adding CYA at this time? I feel like everything I add is disappearing in the sun. I have been told to leave the cover off until we get everything stabilized. The pool shop also wants me to bring my CH up, but I am not sure that is necessary since I have a vinyl pool. Any advice? I currently have 2 bottles of chlorine liquid, with I am considering adding when it gets dark out, as I need to keep some chlorine in the pool. I am calculating 2 bottles of chlorine to raise the FC to 14 ppm for another shock, as I keep getting advice to keep shocking until we get an FC of 1-3 two days after the shock. I am planning on ordering a test kit as recommended on this site (TF-100 or similar). But, will be using my strips until then.

    The water looks fantastic. It is clear and the pool is a nice blue color. I really want to get in. Please let me know if you have any advice. I am a DIY'er at heart, so I love to do my own thing and to get away from using overpriced experts that have "only worked here (pool store) for 2 weeks." I like all of the info I learned from the pool store, but believe I have seen a lot better on this site. Thanks in advance.

    -Brandon
    13000 gal. IG vinyl w/ auto cover
    Sand Filter - Tagelus TA50/50D - 50 gpm
    3/4 HP Centrury Centurion Pump
    Rheem Heater
    Nature 2 Cartridge
    Built in 2005
    SWG added after build unknown age- AquaRite w/ Turbocell T-Cell-9

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Richard320's Avatar
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    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
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    Re: Need a little advice

    Welcome

    Stop planning on ordering a test kit and do it now. You can't rely on the pool store test results! There is no way your CYA went up from 30 to 45 after you drained a foot of water and refilled it without adding anything but bleach.

    I hesitate to tell you to add anything until you get test results you can trust.

    Have you ordered that test kit yet? You'll buy phos-free, and some snake oil called aux-brite, but you won't spend money on the one thing that will turn this mess around?

    You may or may not be losing FC to sunlight due to low CYA. It's more likely you're losing it to organics (algae) in the water. If strips are all you have right now, you'll have to use them to keep FC up around 5.

    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!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Need a little advice

    Test kit ordered. I will re-post with results once it is obtained. Sounds like I should plan on adding chlorine targeting 5ppm, can I cover my pool during the day to prevent loss. I don't want to damage our cover.
    -Brandon
    13000 gal. IG vinyl w/ auto cover
    Sand Filter - Tagelus TA50/50D - 50 gpm
    3/4 HP Centrury Centurion Pump
    Rheem Heater
    Nature 2 Cartridge
    Built in 2005
    SWG added after build unknown age- AquaRite w/ Turbocell T-Cell-9

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Denton, TX
    Posts
    5,061

    Re: Need a little advice

    It's best to leave the cover off during this process. The sun gives you UV light for free and that does an awesome job of breaking down CC.

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Need a little advice

    Sorry if this duplicates, I could not see my reply posted.

    Received my kit and tested today. I did jump the gun and ordered a taylor kit off of amazon, before realizing the TF-100 is a better deal...although the taylor kit works fine, I will order the TF-100 next time I need to refill. Anyway my test results:

    5/23/2013 - (Water temp 78)
    FC = 8
    CC = 0.5 (quickly cleared with one drop)
    pH = 7.4
    TA = 220
    CH = 280*
    CYA < 30

    *CH test question... When I tested, I noted a pink color liquid with pink flecks floating in it. After adding reagent, it turned purple with purple flecks in it. I never did see a full blue color. I re-read the instructions on TFP, and see that I might be having a metal ion interference occurring (Nature 2 probably). I believe I should retest by adding 5 drops of the final reagent (R-0012 i think) before the other reagents and counting those 5 drops towards my CH count. Please let me know if I am correct with my thinking about the CH test. Also, if the CH test should have the fleck like appearance when I am testing it.

    My TA is very high, (Added sodium carbonate at pool shops instruction...whoops). Anyway, My pH has been stable at 7.4 all week. My understanding is that I do not need to correct this unless my pH is rising uncontrollably. Also, my SI is 0.3 according to my dial calculator thingy from the test kit, so I should be at low risk for calcium issues. Should I adjust this, or wait and see what happens when the pool gets aerated by kids between 2 and 35 years of age?

    My CYA is less than 30, I can barely see the black dot. I added 3 lbs of stabilizer on Sunday, so it may still come up more. According to pool calculator, I need to add at least 6 lbs to reach my goal of 60 ppm, so I might go ahead and add the rest of my 6 lbs bottle. I did test after the pump had been off from 0800 to 1600, so I was surprised to see such a high FC. I will be turning down my SWG and installing a timer so I can get my numbers where I want them and save some money. We have been running mostly 24/7 while I was trying to get the hang of everything, while considering the bad results I was obtaining from my pool place. I did take two samples to two different pool shops and received significantly different numbers (pH was 7.1 at one and 8.2 at the other). So, should have used my own testing kit all along.

    Two other questions while I am at it. Should I just pull the Nature 2? It is a shame to put $120 into it, just to read that it is not necessary and has mixed results as to whether it is beneficial or harmful. I do have a few rust colored stains on my steps, but they are not bad.

    Last question. My SWG frequently shuts off due to low salt concentration. My test at home with strips showed 3300, but my SWG display shows 2300-2600. Obviously I am making chlorine with it, and as long as I can re-calibrate it to keep the display above 2600 I am still making some chlorine. I did test it by testing my pool water, and comparing to water collected at the return jet, which showed a higher FC than my pool water. My question is, does this sound like a cell that is dying? Should I be planning on replacing it soon?

    I think I am getting the hang of this thanks to all of the advice and information on this forum. And, I have a background in chemistry, so I am feeling nerd-tastic playing with reagents while testing my water. Thanks again for all of your help and advice.
    13000 gal. IG vinyl w/ auto cover
    Sand Filter - Tagelus TA50/50D - 50 gpm
    3/4 HP Centrury Centurion Pump
    Rheem Heater
    Nature 2 Cartridge
    Built in 2005
    SWG added after build unknown age- AquaRite w/ Turbocell T-Cell-9

  6. Back To Top    #6
    linen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Twin Cities, MN
    Posts
    8,649

    Re: Need a little advice

    Welcome to tfp, brajande

    Quote Originally Posted by brajande
    *CH test question... When I tested, I noted a pink color liquid with pink flecks floating in it. After adding reagent, it turned purple with purple flecks in it. I never did see a full blue color. I re-read the instructions on TFP, and see that I might be having a metal ion interference occurring (Nature 2 probably). I believe I should retest by adding 5 drops of the final reagent (R-0012 i think) before the other reagents and counting those 5 drops towards my CH count. Please let me know if I am correct with my thinking about the CH test. Also, if the CH test should have the fleck like appearance when I am testing it.
    Sounds like you found the extended test kit directions and are following them correctly. I am not entirely sure what the flecks are, but definetly try the 5 drops of R-0012 at the beginning.

    Quote Originally Posted by brajande
    Anyway, My pH has been stable at 7.4 all week. My understanding is that I do not need to correct this unless my pH is rising uncontrollably. Also, my SI is 0.3 according to my dial calculator thingy from the test kit, so I should be at low risk for calcium issues. Should I adjust this, or wait and see what happens when the pool gets aerated by kids between 2 and 35 years of age?
    I would just keep an eye on ph and wait.

    Quote Originally Posted by brajande
    My CYA is less than 30, I can barely see the black dot. I added 3 lbs of stabilizer on Sunday, so it may still come up more. According to pool calculator, I need to add at least 6 lbs to reach my goal of 60 ppm, so I might go ahead and add the rest of my 6 lbs bottle.
    60 ppm is a good midpoint to shoot for. Once you are confident in your new cya value (~a week after the cya has disappeared in the water), I would nudge it up to 70-80 ppm since you have an swg. Just be careful, cya is easy to add but drain/refill to remove.

    Quote Originally Posted by brajande
    Two other questions while I am at it. Should I just pull the Nature 2?
    I would, you do not want any more metal in your pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by brajande
    My SWG frequently shuts off due to low salt concentration. My test at home with strips showed 3300, but my SWG display shows 2300-2600. Obviously I am making chlorine with it, and as long as I can re-calibrate it to keep the display above 2600 I am still making some chlorine. I did test it by testing my pool water, and comparing to water collected at the return jet, which showed a higher FC than my pool water. My question is, does this sound like a cell that is dying? Should I be planning on replacing it soon?
    It could be dying. For now, I would just keep the swg happy by adding a little more salt.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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