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Thread: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

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    Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    [Warning: this post will be long and dramatic because I'm freaking out right now.]
    First, I want to thank you all for having such a delightful place with so much information and so many kind people willing to help less fortunate souls.

    Now, a little background: my family has had a pool practically all my life. When I was younger, it was a big old boy with a waterslide and everything, brand new, custom, blah blah blah. Then we moved into an old house (built in the late 50s) with an equally old pool. Maintaining it has always been such a hassle, primarily because my dad insists on controlling the issue, yet works an insane amount. Up until a few days ago (and a big discussion and a lot of debating and drawing of diagrams), he's always stood solidly by pool store chemicals. And so have I. Until I realized it didn't have to be so complicated. Now I've been given the task by my parents to take over the pool for this season (even though I'm likely moving further south within the next month) and get it tip-top and ready to roll.
    Normally, pool maintenance has gone like this: it stays alright during the summer (lots of burning red eyes, constant shocking, etc.), but as soon as hurricane season hits they just sort of ignore it. No cover, no maintenance, nothing. Now, it doesn't get cold enough here for the pool to go without work. In this area of the country, it's never been uncommon to go swimming in, say, November. This means that algae takes a firm hold on the pool every year. Typically I get the dubious pleasure of draining it (late June or July, temps of 105+) every summer, mucking it out, taking a power washer to it, repainting if need be and then refilling it. Only to sit back and watch it go to waste a few months later. It's so frustrating.
    Fast-forward to now. As of Friday, my family was just ready to have the pool ready to go. It's been a very rainy spring, so draining it seems like a bad idea. So my sister gives me a link to this site and they all say, "Go forth and wreak havoc." Probably because they know how much the state of their pool bothers me, and they also know I'm an incredibly obsessive person. So I spend 7 hours reading up, and start to it. Crank up the filter, test the water, blah blah blah.
    At this point, the pool has gone from a deep, brooding green (complete with tadpoles being netted out and relocated to the creek nearby, as well as two water snakes being removed) to a milky green. The filter has been going non-stop. I'm attempting to keep a high FC level (10-13ppm), and I'm playing the waiting game to filter out as much as possible.
    However, as time goes on I'm facing a number of realizations. Here's a list for consideration.

    1) I don't have a good test kit. I started with a box of HTH test strips, which I promptly decided weren't worth the materials they were made from. Then I found an HTH 6-way testing kit, and that's doing better. I have a Taylor K-2006 (XL) on the way. I will provide test information at the end of this post, but be warned; it will not be very accurate because (a) it's a crappy kit and (b) I have been doing this for all of two days.
    2) This baby's got a leak in it. It's something we've tried to fix before, but it was always spearheaded by my dad who, while he's a very intelligent man, doesn't really know what he's doing. The pool has 6"x6" tile all around the top of the interior, so we've checked the grout on all of them. No help. I have noticed that water drops regardless of whether the pump is going, but it drops radically faster with the pump on. We're talking .5"/day with clouds to 1.5"/day with clouds. I plan to do the bucket test as soon as I can get the algae situation a little more under control, but at this point I'm basically going to assume it's the plumbing. It's very old, and if the rest of the house is any testament, it wasn't installed with any amount of foresight or intelligence. Any insight, additional resources (other than the bucket method link), etc. would be amazing.
    3) During all of this filtering, I keep noticing that the skimmer basket is not seating at all within the skimmer. I am constantly having to pick it up off its side and set it back into the skimmer properly. Quite frankly, I suspect that there's so much junk in the skimmer itself that it can't seat properly. Problem? I have no idea how to go about cleaning it, and I'm more than a little anxious about sticking my hand in to fish it all out; so far this year snakes are turning out a bumper crop, and I have something of a phobia regarding cloudy water. Just putting my arm in a pool of cloudy water to fill up testing equipment makes me a little shaky. Any advice there is appreciated.

    Here are the test results:
    TH: 0
    FC: 10+*
    pH: <6.8 (Ouch!)
    TA: ~40
    CYA: <30**

    Here are my target numbers:
    TH: (??)
    FC: 12 until shock is over, then drop to 4 and see how that works.
    pH: ~7.2 through shock, then up to 7.6 and see how that feels.
    TA: I'm going to shoot for a round 80, but I think that can wait until later.
    CYA: For now I don't care too much, but eventual goal is a consistent 75. This pool gets full sun most of the day.

    So far I have resorted to throwing in some things that weren't pure chlorine. This evening I will likely be hitting up the store for a lot of bleach. I know quite a bit of trichlor made it in, but I don't mind some CYA considering I have a leak.

    *This is taken from an HTH 6-way test strip, as the HTH 6-way test kit doesn't seem to give any info on FC. It measures only chlorine content and doesn't go above 5. Ugh.
    **I'm not overly worried about that just yet because (a) the water is still too cloudy for a reliable result and (b) I believe I should be focusing on pH and FC levels for now. Corrections are welcome.
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Hi, welcome to TFP!
    First you need to get the pH up to 7.2 When you have FC of 10ppm or more the pH is going to read higher. Since your FC is estimated to be 10+ a pH reading of <6.8 is not good.

    Don't go higher than 50 for your CYA. You will require a higher target level for FC and you will use more bleach to reach it. Also since you have used "a lot of trichlor" your CYA is likely higher than you think.

    Raise your pH, keep adding chlorine, and when your test kit comes post a full set of results and we'll go from there.
    Try putting a rock in the skimmer basket to keep it in place. Just make sure the rock doesn't block the intake.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Remember to release any air that might be trapped in the filter. Air trapped in the filter is the most common cause of the basket getting turned sideways/over in the skimmer. Air may continue to accumulate in the filter as long as you have a leak.

    I highly recommend getting a top quality test kit. It is very difficult to take care of a pool without accurate information.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3
    First you need to get the pH up to 7.2 When you have FC of 10ppm or more the pH is going to read higher. Since your FC is estimated to be 10+ a pH reading of <6.8 is not good.
    Gotcha. I'm going to assume that my pH is ~6.6 (positive thinking?) and add 142 ounces/volume of borax per pool calculator. (I might as well go to the store now!)

    Don't go higher than 50 for your CYA. You will require a higher target level for FC and you will use more bleach to reach it. Also since you have used "a lot of trichlor" your CYA is likely higher than you think.
    Agreed. My saving grace thus far is that the pool loses a lot of water. Trichlor is off the table. I had purchased some trichlor tabs, but those are going back to the store Wednesday.

    Try putting a rock in the skimmer basket to keep it in place. Just make sure the rock doesn't block the intake.
    I get paid to play with lasers all day and I couldn't think of putting a rock in a basket. Hah. Awesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Remember to release any air that might be trapped in the filter. Air trapped in the filter is the most common cause of the basket getting turned sideways/over in the skimmer. Air may continue to accumulate in the filter as long as you have a leak.
    I've been poking around the filter itself. It's a top-mounted multi-valve, and doesn't seem to have anything to bleed the air. I'll keep looking. Failing a valve itself, what are my options? It does push a lot of air out of the returns as soon as you kick it up, if that helps any.

    I do have a good kit on the way, just for the record. A Taylor K-2006 (XL) is in the mail to me and will be used with ruthless abandon. It should also be stated that I am switching over to BBB. I got lazy and used some chemicals on hand (hence the trichlor) and am already kicking myself for that lack of motivation.

    Pictures of the situation will be forthcoming. Any specific pictures needed to diagnose, just say the word and it'll be taken.
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Don't fret the rock in skimmer basket, we all overlook simple fixes.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Hello neighbor, welcome and hang in there

    Now down to your questions:

    1, You will get the hang of the K-2006 quickly, but We do suggest running it with the .5 ppm resolution on FC with 10 ml sample instead of the .2 ppm resolution with the 25 ml sample as is shown in the basic instructions, the .2 ppm resolution is higher than needed (typical pools burn through somewhere around 1-2ppm per day of FC from sunlight exposure alone) and just wastes reagent needlessly.

    2, If the leak gets worse when the pump is on chances are it is in the pressure side plumbing, I am not sure where in CenLa you are located, but there is a guy that owns a pool store and does repair work out of Vernon Parish that quoted me $450 flat fee to locate and repair an under concrete leak a couple of months ago, he says he has his on hyrdrophone setup and everything. At the time he was booked up out 4 or 5 weeks. I have never had the guy do any work for me, I tend to DIY when poosible.

    3, easy one, use a short section of 1/2 inch PVC pipe as a draw tube, stick it in the water, stick your thumb over the end and lift your sample out. It is best to take samples from 12-18 inches below the surface anyway.

    Ike
    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
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Until you get your good kit, you want a min of 30 of the CYA in there, your shock level is 12... we tend to guestimate that over 10 in FC is an orange color vs. the darker yellow shades.

    TH??? total hardness the test in that kit - doesn't tell you what you need to know which is actually Calcium Hardness but that can wait until the Taylor kit comes.

    Good luck!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vette
    Don't fret the rock in skimmer basket, we all overlook simple fixes.
    True. But if you knew the people in this region, you'd feel ashamed that you hadn't thought of something so... well, so redneck, haha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1
    1, You will get the hang of the K-2006 quickly, but We do suggest running it with the .5 ppm resolution on FC with 10 ml sample instead of the .2 ppm resolution with the 25 ml sample as is shown in the basic instructions, the .2 ppm resolution is higher than needed (typical pools burn through somewhere around 1-2ppm per day of FC from sunlight exposure alone) and just wastes reagent needlessly.
    Good to know! I always love ways to save on testing supplies, no matter what the testing supplies are for. I assume I will be able to find guidelines for this procedure in either the instruction booklet, on the mfg website, or in the testing forum?

    2, If the leak gets worse when the pump is on chances are it is in the pressure side plumbing, I am not sure where in CenLa you are located, but there is a guy that owns a pool store and does repair work out of Vernon Parish that quoted me $450 flat fee to locate and repair an under concrete leak a couple of months ago, he says he has his on hyrdrophone setup and everything. At the time he was booked up out 4 or 5 weeks. I have never had the guy do any work for me, I tend to DIY when poosible.
    I agree, I'm a big DIY person in a long line of big DIY people. And as luck would have it, I'm in Rapides parish, so that guy's practically in spitting distance. Thanks for the heads up! Would you be able to PM me his contact info?

    3, easy one, use a short section of 1/2 inch PVC pipe as a draw tube, stick it in the water, stick your thumb over the end and lift your sample out. It is best to take samples from 12-18 inches below the surface anyway.
    Bingo! I suppose I could also use some of my old winemaking siphons since I recently upgraded those. Derp. I think I may also just hit the skimmer with a shop-vac, as I am pretty handy with those. I could presumably put the water back into the pool by filtering the solids out in my leaf rake or skimmer net.

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Until you get your good kit, you want a min of 30 of the CYA in there, your shock level is 12... we tend to guestimate that over 10 in FC is an orange color vs. the darker yellow shades.
    That will also have to wait until I get my good kit, then. While the "chlorine" part of the test does turn a nice deep orange, there is nothing in the HTH 6-way test kit that states whether I'm measuring FC, CC or anything. It just says "chlorine." The test strips allegedly measure FC, so I am therefore postulating an FC of 10+.


    TH??? total hardness the test in that kit - doesn't tell you what you need to know which is actually Calcium Hardness but that can wait until the Taylor kit comes.
    Yeah, I was scratching my head over that earlier when using the pool calculator. I finally just decided not to worry about calcium hardness until I get a real kit to use.

    Updates:
    1) I did find a bleed valve on the filter. For anyone who hasn't found one on a Waterco S600, it is almost directly opposite of the pressure gauge and doesn't look like anything at all. It's just a black plastic scalloped thumbscrew that says "Waterco" on it. Just in case anyone here squirrels away random information like I tend to do. A small amount of air was trapped in the filter, but it bled off within a few seconds and drained steady water quite quickly.
    2) The pH is on its way to being under control. A quick trip to wal-mart showed Borax to be on a ridiculous sale ($2.85/76oz box). I'm hoping tomorrow morning's test battery should show ~7.2 on pH, though I expect it will still be low as I was assuming a value of 6.8 for measurements. This chemistry shindig seems to be a lot like cooking in that it's better to have too little than too much.
    3) I'm saying goodbye to trichlor (for now). Great Value 8.25% bleach was found for a not-so-good price of $3.28/121oz. I don't know the equation for determining whether that's good or not, but it felt like a lot. Either way I snagged 6 because I will be out of town tomorrow until Wednesday and I don't want my family to freak out when something on the instruction list isn't to be found.
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Good to know! I always love ways to save on testing supplies, no matter what the testing supplies are for. I assume I will be able to find guidelines for this procedure in either the instruction booklet, on the mfg website, or in the testing forum?
    The K-2006 comes with an instruction booklet. There is also a quick reference sheet in the lid of the box that covers the main steps for doing each test.

    More information about testing can be found here Extended Test Kit Directions

    There are also videos available from Taylor's site here Taylor videos showing how the tests look when done properly. Click pools and spas and scroll down the list at the bottom of the page to the K-2006 section.
    22K gallon in ground concrete. Hayward 1HP pump, Hayward EC65 DE filter. K-2006.

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Quote Originally Posted by H.M. Murdock
    Quote Originally Posted by Vette
    Don't fret the rock in skimmer basket, we all overlook simple fixes.
    True. But if you knew the people in this region, you'd feel ashamed that you hadn't thought of something so... well, so redneck, haha.


    Just don't do that and you're good
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Update:
    At this point I'm still waiting on a good test kit, so I can't truly provide any good test results. I apologize for that. I can say that pH is under control and FC is being maintained around 12.
    However, not a lot of progress is being made. I've brushed the walls, am running the pump 24/7, and I've also used a head that I found which uses a water hose to blast debris up into a net. This has removed a rather large wheel barrow full of pure concentrated nastiness. For all of that... the water isn't changing at all. It has not gotten any clearer since Sunday, and I am kind of worried. I know a lot of pool maintenance is chemistry, but cleaning up a pool like this must also rely on technique- doing the right things at the right time, even outside of adding chemicals. See attached pictures below. Is there anything I should really be doing? Should I be attempting to vacuum? Should I just keep blasting junk off the bottom and into a net to be removed, or wait until the water is clearer? Should the water keep getting clearer? I feel as though the pool shouldn't necessarily be less green (loads of debris on the bottom), but the water should be clearing up more than it is.

    I have read the pool shock guide as well as the thread on taking a pool from green swamp to oasis (which, by the way, is an excellent read that I thoroughly enjoyed). But I feel like I am missing something, or doing something wrong. As it stands, this is my plan:

    1) I am expecting my K-2006 to arrive tomorrow. When it does, testing will commence like crazy and any chemical levels will be adjusted in light of better test results. Said results will definitely be posted.
    2) CYA levels will be adjusted. It will have been a week since any CYA was added via trichlor.
    3) After CYA levels are fixed, proper shock levels will be enforced.
    4) The bottom will continue to be scoured to remove debris.
    5) The sides will continue to be brushed.
    6) As soon as I can get a reasonably clean pass with little/no large debris from the bottom, vacuuming will likely commence.

    Is this a bad plan?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    I have not seen you mention anything wrong, the first step is always to remove as much biomass gunk as possible, the less gunk, the less chlorine is going to be used up trying to disolve it. Once you get a good test kit in hand, you can confirm the basic levels, and decide if shocking or partial water replacement is called for first, then move on from there.

    Ike
    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
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    when my pool was green Richard320 suggested to remove any ladders and hand rails from the pool they might harbor algae
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyKid
    when my pool was green Richard320 suggested to remove any ladders and hand rails from the pool they might harbor algae
    Done and done! We removed the ladder ages ago just because it was a cheap piece of **** and we were tired of messing with it, haha. The only thing left is the railing left on the steps, but I've been brushing it off every day simply because, hey, it's another surface for algae to hang out on.


    Progress so far: I bring good news and bad.
    The good news is that the pool is improving bit by bit. I had a lot of problems boosting the pH until I realized that so much junk and a very low TA weren't really helping. A lot of biomass got removed and I attempted to bring TA up to around 65 as well as borax to boost back to 7.4. Hopefully that helps.
    The bad news is that I am about to call Waterco and inform them of any details they might be unaware of in their genetic heritage. Why? Because about five minutes ago after a very productive backwash, I went to bleed the air and the top of the air release valve screw just came right off like a piece of play-dough.
    Has anyone had this problem before? If so, what's a good fix? Should I, in fact, demand a replacement from Waterco (with complimentary overnight shipping)? Or is this something I can fix with a trip to the hardware store in the morning and not pay too much (like, say, $6.79 for an equally poorly made replacement)? I do NOT want to start over from square one here. It doesn't help that poorly manufactured equipment is my ultimate pet peeve. Nothing makes me want to scream more than an item which is built so poorly that it cannot perform its given duties adequately and with good endurance. Especially when such flaws render my filter WIA.


    As a special note, I suspected at first that it was my fault the thing broke. However, as I reviewed it, I've really handled the thing with kid gloves. No over-tightening, nothing. It didn't even take any real pressure to break the thing. It felt more like it melted off than anything else.
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Update time!

    A bit of handiwork with super glue and a pocket knife has gotten the filter back into service, but two more air release valves are on their way in the mail... theoretically. I placed the order Saturday but haven't even gotten a shipping confirmation. The pump and filter have been going for about six hours now with no trouble to speak of, the pool has received a thorough brushing, etc.
    I also got my Taylor test kit in the mail and tried it out today. Hooray! Here are the first results:

    FC - 0
    CC - ? (Not worried about that until tomorrow)
    TA - 110
    CH - 20*
    CYA - ~42
    pH - 7.4

    I have added bleach to raise FC to 12 and added 16oz/volume CYA to bring CYA to 50. I am concerned about my TA levels, as dichlor and trichlor will not be finding a home in this pool ever again. Should I not worry about it for now and let the high TA act as a buffer to maintain pH until the pool is not a green swamp?

    *This number is extremely suspect. The R0011L reagent turned purple, not red, to begin the test. I'm not sure what that means at all, but I do believe I will need to add calcium quite soon.
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
    Current test kit: Taylor TF100

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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Sounds like your getting there
    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
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    13,900gal 24'x52" Backyard Leisure Heritage AGP
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    TF100 test kit, BBB Baby!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    Your TA is fine - don't worry about it.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
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    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    I had come to the same conclusion. I worry too much sometimes.

    Update: Things are progressing. The pool is beginning to clear up, and calcium has been added. As an aside, I was totally unaware that dissolving that stuff creates an exothermic reaction. It was a pretty glorious way to start my Thursday, in the most awfully geeky way.
    I wasn't seeing a lot of progress attempting to shock at 12ppm/FC. This stymied me a bit, but then I realized that with CYA at 42 I needed to jump up to 14ppm/FC for consistent results. This realization happened yesterday, and the pool had already improved.

    I have to say that the Taylor test kits really do make a world of difference. Oh man. Such a difference. Thanks to everyone here for beginning every advice post with "If you don't have a Taylor, get one."
    18k Gallon rectangle IG concrete pool, Waterco S600 Sand Filter
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  20. Back To Top    #20

    Re: Taking over parents' pool problems. Oops.

    According to the Chlorine / CYA chart in the Pool School, I think you should raise your Shock level to 16 FC for a CYA of ~42. In a previous post you mentioned adding stablizer to bring CYA up to 50? I'm not an expert but during the shock process, I do not think you want to be raising CYA. Lower CYA means less Chlorine needed to reach your shock levels. For the 50 CYA, it appears you should be using FC 20 at this point. This should speed things along. Also remember that you need to try and keep it at shock levels 100% of the time at this point.

    Hopefully all the gunk from the bottom has been removed at this point? Keep trying to pull any biomass out so that you are only fighting the CC in the water, rather than organic material that can be removed.
    20K IG White Plaster - Hayward 1.5 HP Pump - Anthony DE Filter - TF100 Test Kit

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