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Thread: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

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    New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Hi All-

    New To Pool Ownership (came with our new house); However very eager to learn about how to properly balance my water. At first i did not know about Troublefreepool.com , until numerous trips to the local pool store with unsatisfactory results. Once i found TFP i became hooked on trying to straighten out my pool issues the correct way. I and the pool store was testing with strips , so from what i read this was the first mistake. I ordered a TF-100 and just received it today , so i am able to post everyone the results and hopefully be under way to better, cleaner, healthier water.

    The past:
    After a day of figuring out how to hook up the filter/pump/heater plumbing, i uncovered the pool (4-18-13) i took notice the water was pretty cloudy and there was some slim/algae on the sides and bottom. Of course i went into panic mode and ran a sample of water to the local pool store. Immediately he told me that i had 1000PPM Phosphates and that was my problem (initially) . So he sold me some seaKlear Phosphate remover and some SeaKlear Natural Clarifier and also some SeaKlear 90 day algae prevention.

    I went home and according to his directions dumped the algae preventer in (1 quart), then 8 ozs of phosphate remover and 2 oz of natural clarifier . After this i spent the next 3 days backwashing the filter every hour (it would build 10psi in an hour!!) after that i went back to pool store and tested again. they said i still had 300-400PPM Phosphates and i had to keep treating the above way until they were down to 100PPM. and that I CAN NOT add shock or anything until then. So i went back and treated per their directions. once again spent many hours backwashing. went back to pool store and tested. they said i know had MORE phosphates (400-500ppm). Needless to say i was a bit frustrated. They now said it was ok to Shock the pool??????? then i was pretty confused on why it was ok now and not before (less phosphates before).

    So i purchased some Zappit Dry Chlorinating Granules and put 3lbs in the pool per the stores directions and some slow dissolving pucks for the automatic chlorinator.

    A day later i took yet another sample to the store and had more bad news. No FC at all. Their test results were:
    h2o Hardness 250PPM
    FC 0
    PH 7.5
    TA 100PPM
    CYA 100PPM
    Phosphates 400PPM

    My test strips said a little different , so then i got really upset and decided to start the internet search and fix this myself. I was shocked when i found your forum and started reading that i did pretty much everything wrong from the word GO. and that Phosphates do not really matter. So i educated myself from your pool school and other info on your site and waited patiently for my AWESOME test kit to arrive. Of course i tore it open and ran out to get some pool water and started testing. Here is were i stand currently

    CL .5 or less (no color)
    BR??? .5 or less (no color)
    PH 6.8
    Chlorine Drop Test- no pink (stayed clear)
    TA 80 or 90 (pink -vs- darker pink)
    CH 160
    CYA approx 120 (was below the 100 mark a bit)
    Water is pretty clear, have just a little bit of DE on the floor ( i think i messed up backwashing one time and some got circulated thru heater and to the returns. (i think)

    I did read that the CYA may be a problem and partial drain is needed ; however if it is at all possible to rectify this without, i would like to try that ( we have well water , and i must truck all the water in to fill the pool back up). As someone in a post said once everyting else balances out it may help solve this. ??????

    Sorry for the long post but i wanted to give you the history of all this first.

    I really appreciate and patience and help you can offer to this newbie.

    p.s.- awesome forum
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Your CYA is high. The only way to lower CYA is by exchanging the water.

    Not sure what type of day you had in your part of PA. In my part of PA I could not have tested CYA accurately as I didn't have the sun for it. Additionally when I was bringing mine up, our water temp was cold and I had to bring my sample indoors to warm and then go back outside in a bright day (back to the sun) to actually get my reading. I would think though if you got the reading you did regardless your lighting and temp your CYA is high.

    Experts will jump in, but when I was getting my pool in order I adjusted my ph, adjusted my CYA (I had to raise mine, you would need to lower yours by a series of water drains and replenishing) and then I began the shock process. With a high CYA level you will need an obscene amount of bleach. I have read on here folks do go through the shock process at higher levels of CYA, but I know how much bleach I went through at my level and I cannot imagine what it would take going through it at a level like yours. Once I finished the shock process (there is criteria that determines when a pool has completed its need for the shock process ~ pool school explains this fully) finishing touches, balancing other areas can begin and water can be enjoyed.

    You have the kit, so you are testing and have numbers necessary to start turning your water around. Read pool school, browse the forums and dive right in. Folks here are very cool about answering questions and helping. I would definitely look into your CYA, follow the advice you read and are given and go from there. I do understand the cost involved in partially draining and refilling, but you lay those costs out and compare them to the costs you will have in chemicals to get you where you need and you also need to consider the time involved too. Once you lay it out like that the cost of the water exchange won't seem as steep.

    Also it goes against what most people "know" as it relates to dealing with their pool, following methods here and avoiding the pool store. Dig into the material here. It will save you so much time and money. It will also have your water in a condition that is safe for your family to enjoy ~ that's so important. I came in and had a bit of blind faith. Stay out of the pool store and read, read, read here. Post when you have questions. It seems overwhelming at first but then things just click & initial blind faith feelings are replaced with feelings of trust ~ it's awesome.

    Good Luck and I promise you if you follow what you are told this place will help you and you will have healthy water in your pool that you truly enjoy & it will take minutes a day to stay on top of.
    AGP: 27' x 52" : 17,500 gallon
    300 lb. Sand Filter (75 gpm) / 1.5 hp pump
    Full Sun ~ All Day

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Welcome!

    You've been pool-stored.

    extended-test-kit-directions-t25081.html explains how to measure CYA when it's really high. You'll want to know this so you go through the PITA of a drain and refill once only.

    If there's any rain, take advantage of it and drain before the rain hits! Free water!

    With CYA down to a reasonable number, it's time-consuming but not especially difficult turning-your-green-swamp-back-into-a-sparkling-oasis

    Any questions, ask DKT113. He's just been through it.
    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 Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    DKT113- I looked at the extended instructions for the CYA testing and think i will re-test in the morning to make sure that first reading was accurate. However i am thinking it was semi-right anyways as the old test strips i was using prior was kinda reading on the high side anyways. I think i was ok with testing today (even with the not so good weather) the pool water heater has been on for a little over a week , so the water is about 78 to 80 degrees anyways. thought that would have been ok. Anyways i am going to wait for the weekend to pass i suppose to do a partial drain and refill if that is what it will take because i will have some extra time to spend monitoring and backwashing it all day. thanks for the input and the advice. i am hoping to get this solved as quickly as possible

    Richard320- yeah i think i have been Pool-Stored too Really sucks but that is what i get for hitting the panic button to early i guess. I am going to blame that one on my wife for really wanting to swim as soon as possible lol. Thanks for the links and article on getting back to a sparkling oasis . Hopefully i get there soon.

    Quick question tho to you all or anyone out there:
    With the numbers i have currently , is the pool still safe to swim in for a couple days till i can get the drain and refill scheduled or should i keep everyone out of it?

    Thanks again for the advice
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    You're asking the wrong people. We're all pool snobs now, and won't get any pool that isn't crystal 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 Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    lol.... i plan on joining that pool snob clan soon too i hope. I was just wondering because the water is really clear actually but i didnt know if maybe something would be in there that is harmful to my family or friends if they went in. Probably sounds a bit on the paranoid side but i would rather know about potential issues now before i have to figure out how everyone has the same infection or something. lol.. My thoughts are that is has to be cleaner than the ocean and some of the rivers i know everyone has been in. :P
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by da-waterboy
    lol.... i plan on joining that pool snob clan soon too i hope. I was just wondering because the water is really clear actually but i didnt know if maybe something would be in there that is harmful to my family or friends if they went in. Probably sounds a bit on the paranoid side but i would rather know about potential issues now before i have to figure out how everyone has the same infection or something. lol.. My thoughts are that is has to be cleaner than the ocean and some of the rivers i know everyone has been in. :P
    If you believe those test readings, you need to adjust pH and get FC up to 10 before anyone gets in. That's still less unbound chlorine than tap water.
    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 Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    I agree with Richard. If the numbers are believed, raise the pH into the 7s and then I would say get the FC up to around 15ppm and then keep it above 9ppm which is your minimum with that high CYA. Part of the problem with this is the pH test is invalid when the FC is that high, so do that adjustment first.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Ok, just so i understand all this correctly.
    1. I am going to re-test everything today just to make sure all my results are the same or close to rule out any testing errors
    2. Even tho the water is clear and looks fine, it is not safe to use with the first set of numbers i posted using my tf-100. because it is indicating that there is no Chlorine in the pool
    3. If I wanted to make it "swimmable safe" for the family to use over the weekend before i do a partial drain and re-fill (to lower CYA) i can still do this by getting the FC up to 15PPM and then trying to keep 9PPM and also raise the PH into the 7's prior?
    4. If # 3 is correct, then i am guessing in the pool Calculator i should make 15PPM my "target" FC reading and that will get me going in the right direction.

    Sorry if this is sounding redundent but im just trying to learn and give this a shoot for the first time

    Thanks again
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Everything in your last post is almost perfectly correct.

    1. Bring the pH up using 20 mule team Borax

    2. Get your Chlorine up to around 10 ppm and then keep it up there. The chlorine gives you the sanitary protection you need.

    3. After the swimming weekend, start the series of drain/refill in order to reduce your CYA down to around 50 ppm. Things will get VERY easy after that.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Ok, So i took everyones advice and got the pool safe to swim in by making sure I had the Right amount of FC while we had friends and family over for a swimming weekend (although the weather did not work out real good). But now i guess it is time to do the deed of ............... Partial Drain and Refill to try and get this CYA reading down as advised. SO may question is:

    Am i just draining down half way and then simply refilling and taking it from there or should i drain more or less water or???

    Anything i need to watch out for and/or not do so i dont ruin my pool? I have never drained and refilled before so i dont know what to expect or look out for.

    Thanks and i hope everyone had a good weekend
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    You won't use much more water if you will drain/refill in thirds.

    Drain 1/3, then refill....drain 1/3 then refill, etc. You may have to do it three times or perhaps more but I wouldn't test CYA again until the end of the second drain/refill sequence and go from there.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    No i figured i wouldnt use much more water, but being that i have to have it haul in , that means i incur trip charges every time they come up to deliver. It is not a huge deal but if it was avoidable to do 3+ trips then i was gonna go that route but like i said i will do whatever is necessary to get everything going in the right direction. thanks
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by da-waterboy
    No i figured i wouldnt use much more water, but being that i have to have it haul in , that means i incur trip charges every time they come up to deliver. It is not a huge deal but if it was avoidable to do 3+ trips then i was gonna go that route but like i said i will do whatever is necessary to get everything going in the right direction. thanks
    They key is to leave at least a foot of water in the pool so your 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 Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    We have the fees here as well. I do notice though the fees vary depending on who hauls it in. We have the option of several fire companies & water delivery services (geared towards pool owners). If you haven't call around to the various fire companies and water distributors a couple calls could save you some bucks ~ might end up panning out for you. Keep us posted. And once you get that water swapped out that pool is going to clear nicely if you follow the methods. There is just something about seeing water BBB Awesome ~ it is especially able to be noticed when you look at another pool that doesn't BBB. You will be thrilled once you get through the hurdles.

    Good Luck.
    AGP: 27' x 52" : 17,500 gallon
    300 lb. Sand Filter (75 gpm) / 1.5 hp pump
    Full Sun ~ All Day

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Yeah i am going to try to call around and see what i come up with price wise tomorrow morn, so i can get this over with. I may shy away from the local fire company because we have a neighbor which used them last year and unfortunately the water they started to pump in was a little muddy. At this point that is the last thing i want to deal with. But none the less i am going to start this process tomorrow one way or another. I have accepted the time and price of this project but i think the real kick in the shorts is that the water is literally crystal clear now and looks so nice and clean and now i gotta start all over because even tho it is super clear and clean, it just is not safe for my family to swim in without a ton of chlorine getting put in all the time.

    Either way it will be worth it in the end and i cant wait to go BBB exclusively and put all the pool store drama behind me. Of course i will keep you and everyone posted on the progress. Thanks for the input

    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Is the water from your tap not a viable option?
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Yeah water from our tap/house doesnt really work out in our case. We have well water in our location and i do believe the previous owner tried to top off the pool at one point last year and messed up some stuff with the well and had to do some work to it after. So his recommendation was to not try it. I was also thinking about possibly doing the reverse osmosis treatment to the pool but i cant really find anyone in the area that does it and it seems that it is not really that much of a cost savings anyways.
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    I didn't know you were on a well. You are smart to bring the water in.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New Guy Trying to Fix Water Problems

    Ok so i followed the advice and started my MANY Series of partial drain and refills. Almost a grand later (water hauling is expensive ) . The CYA reading went from 180+ to what i think is now reading . 70-80. So it is a good start. Of course we now have family in for fathers day so i had to put the brakes on another drain and refill until start of the new week. I am happy that the level has lowered but sad i have to go thru it all again next week. however here is the most recent test results as of this morning. I suppose i am just going to add some chlorine to keep it safe for swimming over the weekend , and the rest of it looks pretty good... i think.

    Water Temp, 72 Degrees (heater has been off while refilling, but currently running now)
    Color of the water = Really clear
    PH 7.5
    CYA 70-80
    FC .5
    CC .5
    TC 1
    TA 70
    CH 110

    I just put almost 2 gallons of Chlorine 8.25% into the pool about 20 minutes ago to start getting the FC up to a safe level. I will post back what that update is soon. I am guessing i just have to keep an eye on it over the weekend and add accordingly?

    I have not went thru the shocking process yet because i am not done with the drain/refills.
    23k Gallon, IG, Vinyl, Hayward Perflex 65A DE Filter, Heat Pump, In-Line Chlorinator, Pool Installed 2010 (however i just bought the house with this pool 1 month ago)

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