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Thread: I am praying for help - desparate

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    I am praying for help - desparate

    First this website and the people on it are incredible. I am having problems I wish I could fix but cannot find somebody to help; I'm praying one of you can point me.

    My pool is 4 years old. For the first 2 years the SWG worked great - would up it/down it depending on temp/sunshine and kept the FC at 1-3 (rec level according to manufacturer). My pH tends to drift up as well as the TA. I have been lazy over the years and there have been times when my pH was 8 or 8.2 for 1-2 weeks and my TA has slowly been drifting up and peaked at 200 - I'm now trying to get it back. Then 2 years ago, lightning struct a nearby house, and my SWG has not worked since then.

    I initially called the guys who installed the pool - it would take 2-3 weeks to get them out, first they said to clean my salt cell - I did, didn't work. They then told me to buy a new salt cell - I did, installed it - seemed like it worked for 2-3 days then stopped. I had kept the old "sensor" when I replaced the salt cell and I now started looking at the error codes on my SWG control panel - Jandy aquapure 1400 - they were 180, 172 - did some checking and those refer to the "flow sensor" - Oh, I said ok and put the new sensor on that came with the new salt cell - maybe that worked for 3-4 days. I was doing a better job keeping water balanced during this time. So I called the guys back - they came out - said I needed a new PCB "front board" - about 800 dollars - so we did - it worked for about 2-3 days then same error codes. Since then - i'ts been another 18 months - I've called 2 alternate "pool repair" companies who come out and tell me to clean my salt cell - I do it - it doesn't work - then I can't get any response. Jandy's website pointed me to "authorized service centers" in my area - I went to 2 of them - 1 doesn't sell SWG anymore and the other said they only have 1 tech and they are only working on pools they put in themselves.

    So during this time - I've been using trichlor tablets - not doing great with water balance or chlorine - it was running alkaline and with maybe 1 ppm chlorine - I run my pump 24/7 - water was always clear. I started seeing little green "spots" of algae on the sun shelf and steps. I decided to get serious again and starting lurking this site. I didn't realize trichlor tablets had CYA so I had that tested and it was off the charts.

    So I drained 1/2 my water and refilled it it (have well water, lots of metals/alkalinity/phosphates). It rained 8 inches the day of my water turn over. The water, for the first time,w as cloudy after the refill. I shocked with lithium hypochlorite, I flocked it, I added metal free from pool store and ran the pump/vacumed/swept and the water cleared in about 4 days. I added salt back to where my SWG wants it (3000-3500) - I'm implementing the BBB method with store bought bleach (8.25%) and have been trying to lower TA per this website's recs by taking pH down to 7-7.2 then running waterfall till pH rises to about 7.6 then I add more muriatic acid back to 7-7.2. The algae "spots" are gone and water is clear.

    So here are my issues now:
    1. I can't get anybody to fix my SWG - considering saying screw it and just not using it, or telling somebody to take out the whole system and put a new one - although I've basically done that already - I'm a little concerned there may have been something electrical going on - again - worked 100% for 2 years - lightning strike, - hasn't worked since for more than a few days - have tried new cell, new sensore, and new "front board" - Local pool repair companies don't seem to know how to help me.
    2. In the meantime, I'm doing BBB - I'm having to add almost a gallon of bleach each evening - now that seems to be slowing some - but see below on test results - is that standard for 25,000 gal pool?
    3. I'm also burning through muriatic acid; mainly in attempting to lower my TA back to reasonable level. - I think it's working - but not sure - see below on test results
    4. I went swimming today, there are several very small (3-4 mm) scale spots on the bottom of the pool - never saw those before - that don't brush off easily. I also found an area where the plaster looked "buckled" up a little - and a small crack in the middle - there was a lot of this white scale around that. I've had the white "scale" line at the water line since the first year of the pool - I've tried elbow grease with the soft stones and scale free products from pool store - but I think it's just my CSI has been so high for so long. Now I'm testing daily I hope to stop this process - wasn't worried about the scale at the tile water line but this stuff on bottom of pool is alarming as is the one area of buckled plaster - about 3 inches long, raised up maybe 1/4 inch. What do I do about that?
    5. I've been doing so much testing I now don't know what to think. I have the Leslie's pool deluxe kit (DPD)

    Same water:
    Took water to one LEslie's store: FC 5, pH 7.6, TA 120 (I was excited), CYA 60, CH 340, Salt 3300, phosphates 500
    Took water to another Leslie's - same day, 1 hour apart: FC 5+, pH 7.4, TA 190 (I was crushed), CYA 30, CH 240, salt 2800, phosphates 100

    So both professional pool stores differed on TA by 70 (190-120) and cya by 30 (60-30) and salt by 500 (3300-2800)

    Now on my home test - several times, I'm getting consistent FC levels of 1.5-2 - hence the massive amount of bleach I've been adding. But both stores have my FC 5 or more (off scale) - this is a trend I've seen several times - my home FC levels are measuring consistently much less than the stores -

    My home TA is 140, my home cya is 75, pH bouncing because I'm adding acid frequently to keep it low to get my TA down. My generator says my salt is 3300 but salt strips I bought say it's at 2750.

    So: which numbers do I believe? I can see some subtle variations from test to test but a TA of 120- is way different than 190, and my CYA level seems to be somewhere between 30 and 75! Am I putting too much bleach in (pool stores saying I'm 5 or higher) or not enough (my home kit in evening usuallya bout 1.5-2 1 day after 1 gallon 8.25% bleach).

    I'm tending to want to believe my home tests but the chlorine level seems to be pretty critical - and I'm consistently measuring much less than 2 stores - and I did buy new reagents by the way.

    Are these white spots on my pool bottom just scale b/c shame on me for letting ph/TA ride too high too long - will it get worse if I keep the balance better from now on? DO I need to get a professional to look at the "buckle" in the plaster? And can ANYONE give me the name of a person who will get my SWG working again - I am willing to pay well for it.

    Thank you for any advise.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Welcome! :ave:

    Wow, some first post. Remember: pray as if it all depends on God, act as if it all depends on you.

    I'd say ignore the SWG for now and get the pool chemistry in shape first.

    To do that
    • Use a decent test kit. Can you tell us what you're using?
      Stop listening to the pool store advice. You'll get conflicting advice.
      Study Pool School


    Your chlorine usage isn't extreme for a pool your size. And overnight loss test and a CC reading would tell us a lot. For that, a decent test kit is necessary.

    White spots could be scale, especially if you've been negligent with pH. Or it could be a lousy plastering job. Deal with that later. First get the water balanced and sparkling, then you'll be able to see what you're doing.

    And after it's clear and balanced, then decide if you miss the SWG.
    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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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    It's highly doubtful that you'll find anyone here to come to your location and help, but if you're willing to learn and fix it yourself, we are more than willing to help you figure things out.

    Are you seeing any errors on the swg now?
    Are you using 6% or 8.25% bleach?

    Does the kit you have, have the FAS-DPD chlorine test. The one that uses powder and liquid?
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Thanks Bama and Richard; you both had similar questions so will answer in 1 response:

    1. I am using Leslie's complete poolcare DPD test kit; I believe this was one of the three recommended on pool school
    2. I have and will continue to study pool school
    3. The error codes on the SWG are 180 and 172. I took the thing apart myself today - circuit boards looked ok - I ordered a new sensor module since both these error codes refer to the sensor - it's 180 bucks so I hope it works
    4. 8.25% bleach from Target/Wal-Mart
    5. It must not be the FAS-DPD chlorine test - there is no powder - it's DPD though - 5 drops reagent 1, 5 drops reagent 2 - then shades of pink-purple.
    6. My CC has been and remains 0 on my home testing
    7. Not certain I know what an overnight loss test is - I've been checking my chemistry twice a day for the last 1-2 weeks - since the water exchange - Initially I shocked it with lithium hypochlorite but my FC was falling fast and I ran out (and couldn't find any more) so I went to the bleach after visiting here - I kept the FC up as the water became clear it seems I'm needing to add less and less - but now I'm scared - pool store says my FC is 5 or 5+ where my home test kit (including when I bought new reagents today) is reading more like 1.5 - so am I 1.5 and need to add more or am I at more than 5 already? This is why I'm concerned - I think I'll go ahead and order the test kit most people talk about on these boards - name escapes me now but it's in pool school - will go order that now.

    Thanks guys.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Overnight chlorine loss test: two things eat up chlorine. Organics(algae etc) and sunlight. The OCLT ( overnight chlorine test) should tell you if it is organically because it takes sun as the culprit out of the picture. You need to test your chlorine level after the sun has gone down and before it hits the pool again in the am. If there is no (minimal <1ppm) chlorine loss the you SHOULD be algae free.

    That is my newbie explanation.......but you need an accurate test kit for this.
    18*36*23 true "L" vinyl IG 29,000 gallons. SWG. TF-100 test kit.
    http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Welcome Rossko......we're more than happy to help you out. The first thing I'd suggest doing is to take a little breath. It seems like the idea of pool chemistry has you running around crazy and ready to toss money at anything. This isn't needed in almost all cases. Don't fall for sales pitches that your pool doesn't need. A good test kit, bleach, some acid, and a tad bit of stabilizer is all you'll need.

    Let's slow things down a bit and start with basics. I know nothing about SWG errors, but I do know that there's a VERY good possibility that you'll have to go through the shock process. During this process it requires you to bring your FC levels very high, above levels that is practical for most SWG's. For now....let's just work on cleaning your water using only liquid chlorine (bleach). Worry about fixing your SWG at a later date.

    1. What is the name of the test kit you have now?? It sounds to me like maybe it's this one....
    http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 81330.html

    If it is then we can get a basic idea of your numbers, but will still be dark concerning the chlorine levels. Almost all the testing is the same in that kit with the exception of the FAS/DPD test. This test will allow you to know your FC number above 5ppm as well as more accurately read your CC number.

    2. Assuming the test kit above is the one you own.....go ahead and post the following test results.
    PH
    TA
    CYA
    CH

    These test results should be the same no matter what Taylor test kit you buy.

    To finish out your test kit (assuming I'm correct on the one you own) you'll need to add the FAS/DPD test. Some Leslies sells the test reagents, but it's much cheaper from TFTestkits.net. Once you get that test post these following test results

    FC
    CC

    Long post short......
    1. What test kit do you own?? The TF-100 is an AWESOME kit and nobody would be hurt if you go ahead, skip the hassle and buy this kit. Most members know this kit left and right and you'll get the best help using this.

    2. Post these tests using your OWN drop based test kit....
    PH
    CH
    TA
    CYA

    3. Take a few more minutes and poor yourself a adult beverage. Sit back and read pool school once again knowing that very soon you'll be taking charge of your own water.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Since you have the K-2005 equivalent you can just add the FAS-DPD test. However, if your kit is in need of refills you should consider the TF-100. The SpeedStir is a good option either way.

    There's not much we can do about the swg until you get the parts and see if it works, but we need to get the chemistry correct either way. So let's start on that.

    Post the results Leebo asked for and let's go from there.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    I have the same SWG. On mine, I had trouble getting it to work and had the same codes. My SWG was missing an addendum to the installation manual. Jandy was of no help to me, just kept saying to call an electrician to properly install.

    So first of all, make sure the cell is installed with the proper flow of water through it, consult the manual. It happens trust me.
    See if there is a small circuit board,about 1"x 1" that you plug the flow sensor into then that board plugs into the main circuit board. Also on that small board there is a small black piece of plastic that comes installed from the factory, it is a jumper that has to be removed, AT LEAST ON THE NEW STYLE GENERATOR. After four minutes, you can wait longer press and HOLD the small whitish calibration button on the small circuit board until it beeps. That is how I got mine to work. Here is a copy of the installation manual.

    http://www.zodiacpoolsystems.com/~/medi ... H/H0325600
    20 X 40 Vinyl IG 28K gallons, Heat Siphon Z700HP, Hayward 4820 DE, Hayward SP3400VSP, Jandy aquapure 1400, TFTest Kit, Pool School, Pool Calculator

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Thanks everybody - Lungs - that's probably it! I took it apart yesterday and saw the button you are talking about - I considered "calibration" since I had NOT done that since I put the new sensor in - however it was reading my temp and salinity accurately - Hmmm...maybe not the flow - well, I already ordered a new sensor - when it get's here I'll hook it up and follow your advise. OH and yes I have confirmed the flow direction is per the manufacturers recs.

    As for the water chemistry - Sorry if I sounded frantic - I was trying to "summarize" general trends. The greatest source of my frustration is that I get the BBB method but I don't know how to respond if I don't trust my tests - same water, same time, looking at 2 separate pool store tests and my own, my CYA is SOMEWHERE between 30 and 60, my TA is SOMEWHERE between 120 and 200, my pH is EITHER 1.5 or >5. I've been testing twice/day for 2 weeks (in AM before sun on pool and in PM after sun off pool) - I was doing this to go through shock but ALSO I'm adding muriatic acid twice/day to get my TA down - actually I'm trying to get it down to 80 and I plan to BORAX the pool.

    1. I have ordered the TFT-100 test
    2. Leebo is correct, my test kit is exactly that one : http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 81330.html
    3. Here are my numbers from this morning (Sunday) before sun hits the water:

    FC 2 TC 2 CC 0
    pH 7.4
    TA 120
    Cya 40
    CH 450

    4. Last night after sun was off pool, I put in about 1/2 gal muriatic acid to get the pH to 7.2 (working on the TA, have a waterfall I"m running to airate) and 121 Oz 8.25% bleach. After 2 hours of adding those I did have a pH of 7.2 and a FC that was at 5 (my kit only goes to 5). So I would say I did loose FC overnight without sun light on the pool. HOWEVER - 2 pool stores told me yesterday my FC was 5+ when I was reading 1.5. I did a dilution method last night before I added the bleach - I was reading 2 then and I diluted 1:2 with distilled water - and I got a 1 reading - I would normally tend to believe my own test over pool stores (I watch them closely, don't see them always rinse well and I am very careful about all that) - I bought new reagents (just for the FC test) - I am consistent with my own readings - but the 2 pool stores were consistent with each other - this is the source of my concern - my tests will say I need to shock some more - their tests say my FC is too high; or, well, at least greater than 5.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    HOWEVER - 2 pool stores told me yesterday my FC was 5+ when I was reading 1.5.
    If you are to manage your pool, you MUST stay out of pool store....They will frequently hurt you and seldom help you. Not intentionally but through ignorance.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    A man with two watches never knows exactly what time it is.
    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: I am praying for help - desparate

    OK ok - I will wean myself off the false sense of security I was seeking by wanting the pool store to get the same answer I get - I will wait for my TFT-100 test kit and then bleach shock until my overnight FC drop is less than 1 ppm.

    I'm planning on keeping my CYA level where it is for now - I know if I ever get my SWG working again I need to bring it up.

    I went snorkeling yesterday with a soft stone and was able to scrape some of the white deposit spots off the bottom - others did not come off. And I am worried about the small buckle - that's new - is it possible my negligence in maintaining proper pH and TA caused this or is the structural thing? It doesn't seem to be leaking, I see no air bubbles or dirt coming in - but there is ALOT of the white scale seems to be forming from the center of the crack.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Quote Originally Posted by Rossko
    3. Here are my numbers from this morning (Sunday) before sun hits the water:

    FC 2 TC 2 CC 0
    pH 7.4
    TA 120
    Cya 40
    CH 450
    Working off these numbers I'd say that you're not in that big of a jam. Your CH and TA are a tinny bit high, but are able to be kept in check. Keep your PH low around 7.2-7.5 and you'll avoid issues. Your TA should come down with the use of acid, but depending on your fill water, your CH will stay in that area (may wanna test the full water for CH levels).

    At this point keep some chlorine in there until your FAS/DPD test gets there. Then we'll work on shocking the pool.

    One other question I forgot to ask..... What does the water look like??

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Yeah my CH level is high in the fill water - never measured just aware of that in this area (well water). I'm working hard to get the TA down to 80 b/c I want to borate the pool (have all 20 boxes already) - adding acid twice/day - normally pH is around 7.4 and I bring it down to 7.0 to 7.2 - then repeat in 12 hours - it's brought the TA down from 200 when I started - I run a waterfall and turn my hot tub bubbles on for 15 mins several times/day. When the SWG was working it constantly drove my pH up - SWG manufacturer said it would often stabilize around 7.8 and that's ok - I noticed it like more like 8 or even 8.2 but I was always fighting the TA trending up - I was trying to fix it by adding massive acid once/wee or every other week - I think that was a big mistake - I'm now dealing with it on a daily basis, think it will be easier once I get the TA down a tad more.

    In my first post (the novel) I had mentioned I did a 1/2 pool drain and refill b/c my CYA was likely over 100 from all the trichlor i've been using since my SWG went out. It happened to rain 8 inches that day and the water was cloudy the next morning. I had about 1/2 pail of lithium hypochlorate left over from when they first opened my pool - I went through a "shock" process using that and basically used all I had (not at once, but over 3 days or so) - the pool "cleared" in 2 days and is crystal clear now - I couldn't find a local store that sells lithium hypochlorate and as I want to avoid calcium and CYA I was in a jam (pool store told me, BTW, that dichlor doesn't have CYA in it; they were wrong) - anyway that's how I found this place and decided to go with bleach - I was adding two gallons/day for a few days but now it seems the pool is settling down to a FC of about 2 and I'm putting in about 1 gallon every other day now. Because of my uncertainty on the FC tests I'm going to do exactly what you said - keep it around here for now until my TFT-100 gets here then will go through another shock process with bleach until my overnight test passes.

    A few questions about bleach shock:
    1. Since sunlight burns off the free chlorine fast - should I initiate the shock process in the evening to get the most bang out of the first massive dose? I'm a night owl so I can keep checking it up to probably about 2 AM on a weekend; my house shades the pool in evening so I can start around 1800 and that gives me 8 hours until bedtime.
    2. WHich chart should I use to calc shock level? - it is a salt water pool (salt level 3300, generator's recs are 3000-3500) - but i'm not using the SWG (b/c it's broke) - the FC in non-salt water pool chart in pool school says my goal is 16 for a cya level of 40 but in the SWG chart it's asking for a level of 24 at a cya of 60 (chart doesn't go below that down to 40) - I was going to use 16. I really don's want to bring my CYA level up yet b/c I'm not sure if I'm just going to dump the SWG or not yet. If I can get it working; I'll go back to it - I'm filling my trash can with empty bleach bottles!
    3. Should I wait to do the borates until after the shock process is done or does that matter (holding on borate until my TA is down to 80).
    4. I've read mixed results on this - will the 8.25 bleach at shock level dosing drive my pH/TA up much? IT says not to worry about pH during shock but I've worked SOOOOO hard to get that TA down. But oh well, killing algae or whatever is burning my FC is more important than getting the borate in I guess.
    25,000 gal in-ground gunite with spa and waterfall, Jandy Aquapure 1400 SWG, Jandy CL580 cartridge filter, Raypak gas heater

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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    Like I said if your control unit is the new one you have to take off the little black plastic "jumper from the mini circuit board. It just pulls right off. Once I did that it worked.
    20 X 40 Vinyl IG 28K gallons, Heat Siphon Z700HP, Hayward 4820 DE, Hayward SP3400VSP, Jandy aquapure 1400, TFTest Kit, Pool School, Pool Calculator

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: I am praying for help - desparate

    A few questions about bleach shock:
    1. Since sunlight burns off the free chlorine fast - should I initiate the shock process in the evening to get the most bang out of the first massive dose? I'm a night owl so I can keep checking it up to probably about 2 AM on a weekend; my house shades the pool in evening so I can start around 1800 and that gives me 8 hours until bedtime.
    If you can shock during the night that will be most effective. This way 100% of the chlorine will go towards killing any algae

    2. WHich chart should I use to calc shock level? - it is a salt water pool (salt level 3300, generator's recs are 3000-3500) - but i'm not using the SWG (b/c it's broke) - the FC in non-salt water pool chart in pool school says my goal is 16 for a cya level of 40 but in the SWG chart it's asking for a level of 24 at a cya of 60 (chart doesn't go below that down to 40) - I was going to use 16. I really don's want to bring my CYA level up yet b/c I'm not sure if I'm just going to dump the SWG or not yet. If I can get it working; I'll go back to it - I'm filling my trash can with empty bleach bottles!
    I myself use the pool calculators shock levels, however in this case there's not much difference. One says 15 the other says 16. Pick one as they'll both work fine.

    3. Should I wait to do the borates until after the shock process is done or does that matter (holding on borate until my TA is down to 80).
    Borates are a matter of choice. I can't answer this question due to the fact of I don't know. Never had a need to add any.

    4. I've read mixed results on this - will the 8.25 bleach at shock level dosing drive my pH/TA up much? IT says not to worry about pH during shock but I've worked SOOOOO hard to get that TA down. But oh well, killing algae or whatever is burning my FC is more important than getting the borate in I guess.
    For the most part, bleach is PH neutral. Using liquid chlorine won't mess with these numbers at all. Get to 7.2ish and shock away.

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