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Thread: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

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    New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Hello everyone,

    I am in my first full year of pool ownership. I have a 35,000 gallon sand filter pool with a chlorinator. At the start of this year we shocked the pool with a large dose of liquid chlorine and a large amount of phosphorus remover (which the pool store is constantly selling me after showing me high phosphorus numbers). I have high phosphorus in the water I add to my pool from my well. My pool has gone from green to murky (I can see the shallow end bottom and barely the deep end 9 foot). I have been scrubbing the sides and vacuuming to waste all of the white slime that has coagulated to the bottom. I am currently registering very low ph numbers, low alkalinity numbers, no total chlorine, and low stabilizer numbers. Here are my questions:

    1. should I even be worrying about phosphorus amounts knowing that it will always be in my water?
    2. based on what I'm seeing on this site I should be using bleach instead of liquid chlorine??
    3. will adding bleach to shock (10 gallons or so) also increase my ph?
    4. is my only alternative for raising alkalinity to buy alkalinity rise powder from the store?
    5. what testing kits do people suggest (I was sold a VERY basic dip stick set that only shows TC, stabilizer, ph, and alkalinity).
    6. am I missing anything??

    Thanks so much in advanced for helping out a newbie who has already spent so much in pool chemicals from the pool store and is feeling robbed and ignorant.
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
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    central Illinois

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Welcome to TFP!

    1) No, there is no point in worrying about phosphorus/phosphates.
    2) Bleach and liquid chlorine are the same thing, and either name is fine.
    3) Yes and no. In the long run adding bleach has no significant effect on the PH. However when the bleach is first added the PH goes up, and then as the chlorine gets used up the PH goes back down.
    4) Alkalinity increaser is the exact same chemical as common household baking soda, which happens to be much less expensive.
    5) The TF100 from TFTestKits.net is the best choice, and the Taylor K-2006 is also good. Make certain you get something with a FAS-DPD chlorine test, which both of those include.
    6) You didn't leave anything obvious out, but there is always more to talk about.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Welcome to TFP.

    1) I'm sure it's phosphates that they're having you treat for and not phosphorus, but the point is moot, don't worry about it at all. Never treat for it again.

    2) In the context you see here bleach and liquid chlorine is the same thing. Usually Liquid chlorine is referred to when it's 10 to 12.5% solution and it's called bleach below that, but it's the same chemical (Sodium Hypochlorite). Use whichever is cheapest in your area.

    3) Yes and no. Adding it increases the pH but as it gets used up it lowers the pH so it's a pH neutral event.

    4) No. Alkalinity Up is actually baking soda. You can buy it at the grocery store.

    5) The TF-100 from http://www.tftestkits.net is the best bang for your buck, and contains all the tests you need unless you need a salt test.

    6) Probably, but you can ask plenty of questions and we're happy to answer.

    JL beat me typing but we're saying the same thing!
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Welcome!

    And congratulations on wising up so early in the season.
    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 Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Welcome, what they all said, plus once you get your good test kit ordered, I suggest reading over the pool school link in the upper right corner of this page, let it sink in a bit, then read it again, most people get a lot more out of it the 2nd or 3rd time through.

    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Very low pH is bad for equipment.

    Get very, very familiar with The Pool Calculator, found in Pool School. It will be your best friend as you learn to take control of your pool. Play with it, add in at the bottom the data for your pool surface, at the top the size of your pool. Calculate that at the bottom if you don't know it. Select your goals at the bottom, TFP recommendations. Then add in current water test data. Then play with it, seeing what you need to add to get to normal values for TA and pH. Notice the section lower down that tells you The Effects of Adding Chemicals.
    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: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    You folks are great--glad I joined. One quick follow up to the above: if the bleach/chlorine only raises ph temporarily, are you saying that I just need to stay on top of it with adding bleach when it falls or is there something I should be added to maintain ph? Heading to Wal-mart for baking soda and bleach tonight
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
    sand filter
    BBB method for 2 full seasons
    tf100 test kit
    central Illinois

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Don't adjust pH based on tests done while chlorine is high, don't over invest in Baking soda until you know how your pH will drift when being chlorinated with bleach / liquid Chlorine. Note if you have been using trichlor or dichlor dry chlorine products they are very acidic and generally require a lot of baking soda to compensate, this is part of the reason we teach the use of bleach for chlorination, less stuff to counter act.

    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Quote Originally Posted by birkesl
    You folks are great--glad I joined. One quick follow up to the above: if the bleach/chlorine only raises ph temporarily, are you saying that I just need to stay on top of it with adding bleach when it falls or is there something I should be added to maintain ph? Heading to Wal-mart for baking soda and bleach tonight
    For all intents and purposes, any bleach you add to the pool will be a pH neutral reaction.
    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 Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    OK--so I bought the TF100 test kit and put my results into the pool calculator.
    Results:
    FC-0.5
    PH-6.8
    TA-50
    CYA-90

    The suggestions say to add about 5 gallons of bleach, 2 gallons of borax, 2.6 gallons of baking soda, and no suggestions for CYA for some reason. Does all of this seem right or am I missing something here? The pool supply store told me I had high phosphates still and that I should continue to treat for them. The strange thing is that I have very clear water--looks and smells great. I'm eating up about 3-3 inch chlorine tablets every 3-4 days which seems like a lot. Suggestions/further input??
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
    sand filter
    BBB method for 2 full seasons
    tf100 test kit
    central Illinois

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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Quote Originally Posted by birkesl
    OK--so I bought the TF100 test kit and put my results into the pool calculator.
    Results:
    FC-0.5
    PH-6.8
    TA-50
    CYA-90

    The suggestions say to add about 5 gallons of bleach, 2 gallons of borax, 2.6 gallons of baking soda, and no suggestions for CYA for some reason. Does all of this seem right or am I missing something here? The pool supply store told me I had high phosphates still and that I should continue to treat for them. The strange thing is that I have very clear water--looks and smells great. I'm eating up about 3-3 inch chlorine tablets every 3-4 days which seems like a lot. Suggestions/further input??
    Your CYA is too high and you're making it worse by using pucks. Sadly, the only real solution is a partial drain and refill. Which will make you go through rebalancing everything all over. And stop using those pucks! That' why pH is low, TA is low, and CYA is high.

    Phosphates don't matter. I've never had mine tested nor treated in three years and you can toss a coin in the deep end and call heads or tails its so clear.
    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 Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    YEA .....what Richard said......lol

    They will tell you phosphates are algae food and as long as you are diligent with your testing and maintaining the target fc level for your cya you will never have algae to eat the phosphates.......read pool school and then re-read it it will make more sense second time around and stay away from the pool store they are there to make a living off of you this we site isn't...... Mike
    18x52 intex ultra frame pool 6981 gallons, 1 HP LL pump with 19 in sand filter,BBB method,borax 50ppm
    leslies DPD test kit + fas-dpd chlorine test kit + borates test strips
    thru wall skimmer,hard plumbed with 2 returns 1 1/2 sch 40 pvc
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    So the only solution is starting over with a partial refill? No chemical use can correct this situation? That seems like a tough answer for a guy on a well. Any other solutions?
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Unfortunately, once CYA is in the water, it stays there. You only lose it by dilution. Ask me how I know......

    The advise of a partial drain and refill is the only solution, if you decide to take it. There are some owners in hot areas (texas, Arizona, etc) that successfully run their pools with high CYA, so it is possible. A caveat in this is that the FC requirement goes up. You will use more bleach. Look at the chart here, and you can see what a difference it makes.

    I can tell you, if you slip up and get an algae bloom, the higher CYA does make it a bit more difficult to eradicate.

    The choice is yours.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Quote Originally Posted by birkesl
    So the only solution is starting over with a partial refill? No chemical use can correct this situation? That seems like a tough answer for a guy on a well. Any other solutions?
    You could try the shock process using 90CYA and once it's clear, do a series of partial drains to lower it over time. But it's not really practical. Shock level for 90 CYA is 35, which will require ten gallons of 8.25% bleach just to get you started. If the algae is a tough strain, it could use that all up in a couple hours, requiring another ten gallons. And again and again and again.

    Like I said, it's just not practical. Using powdered "shock" will just raise CYA some more or push CH through the roof. And to lower CH, you need to drain and refill...

    In summary,



    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 Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Perhaps I wasn't clear above--I DO NOT HAVE AN ALGAE BLOOM. My water is crystal clear and my eyes are not burning when I swim. The last post says until the water clears up. I maintained my pool this way for better than a month last year--same levels. I guess I just do it again this year or do a partial refill. If partial refill what are we talking about--half drained or quarter drained? Should I not pay any attention to the current pool calculator suggestions?
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
    sand filter
    BBB method for 2 full seasons
    tf100 test kit
    central Illinois

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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    So you've gone through the green>murky phase and now the pool is crystal clear?

    If you do this pool-school/overnight_fc_test we can/you can verify you have no algae alive. And you can start maintaining your pool at the appropriate FC level for your 90PPM of CYA.
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Quote Originally Posted by birkesl
    Perhaps I wasn't clear above--I DO NOT HAVE AN ALGAE BLOOM. My water is crystal clear and my eyes are not burning when I swim. The last post says until the water clears up. I maintained my pool this way for better than a month last year--same levels. I guess I just do it again this year or do a partial refill. If partial refill what are we talking about--half drained or quarter drained? Should I not pay any attention to the current pool calculator suggestions?
    You may not have an algae bloom, but you don't have ANY chlorine _preventing_ one, either.

    That's what folks here are trying to tell you -- with a CYA of 90, any FC under 7ppm is bound to the CYA and not available for sanitizing. You need to get your FC up to 10 or so (assuming your water is crystal-clear and doesn't need to be shocked. You should do the overnight-chlorine-loss-test to be sure you're safe. If you DO need to shock, you'll need to get your FC up to about 35ppm which will require about 15 gallons of 8.25% bleach (at a cost of $45-50+ just to get started, probably double or triple that to complete the process.)
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Quote Originally Posted by birkesl
    Perhaps I wasn't clear above--I DO NOT HAVE AN ALGAE BLOOM. My water is crystal clear and my eyes are not burning when I swim. The last post says until the water clears up. I maintained my pool this way for better than a month last year--same levels. I guess I just do it again this year or do a partial refill. If partial refill what are we talking about--half drained or quarter drained? Should I not pay any attention to the current pool calculator suggestions?
    You did have an algae bloom, and thus far I see nothing that indicates you have finished the shock process by passing all three tests as described on this message board. What is the CC level? How much was your overnight FC loss? Why be so secretive?

    If all you want to know is can it be maintained it with high CYA, my advice is the same as I posted in this thread. super-high-cya-t57905.html

    If you pass the overnight test and the CC is .5 or less, then just maintain FC between 7 and 10. But if you keep throwing pucks and powders at it, your CYA will go up which will raise the minimum FC level you need to maintain.
    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 Pool Owner Tired of Paying Big Pool Chemical Costs

    Why be so secretive?????? That's a weird comment. I live in Illinois so my pool gets shut down in the winter and I'm guessing that because I didn't open it immediately following the last freezing nights I got an algae bloom--does everyone suggest that I open early to avoid even an initial algae bloom next year? To start the year we just shocked the heck out of it, then vaccuumed everything on the bottom to waste (leaves, worms, flocked phosphates from using the phosphate remover) and now we're crystal clear. I've given you all of the readings that I know of that I can get based on the test kit you folks suggested-see initial post. I will perform the overnight test and get back with the group for additional suggestions. This will be a year of trial and error and learning, but I feel like I'm on the right track at least. I think I may also drain my pool at least partially. thanks.
    40,000 gallons (20' x 40'); IG; vinyl liner
    sand filter
    BBB method for 2 full seasons
    tf100 test kit
    central Illinois

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