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Thread: newby in Walnut creek, CA

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    newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Hi guys. Been following this forum for a few weeks...found it when I finally got sick of going to the "experts" at the pool store and getting incorrect numbers. We moved into our home a few months ago and I basically knew nothing about pool care, but was too cheap to pay someone else to do it, so I screwed it up all by myself. There were 2 floating (Trichlor) tablet holders in the pool when we arrived and a bucket of Dichlor in the shed. I had no idea that both of these evil products added CYA to the pool and as a result, used way too much of both. About midway through summer, I could not keep the water clear or the algae away. I finally took a water sample to a different pool store and was told that my CYA was over 200....doh! posting.php?mode=post&f=24#

    She told me to drain about 3/4 of the pool, which, after reading all the scary warnings about draining your pool, was terrified to do. I rented a pump and did it anyway, by running hoses into the shallow end and taking water out of the deep end. I did it twice, each time taking out about half. Hard to tell how much of the old I actually took out but apparently it was not enough, because I am having the same problem with algae now, even though I have switched to the BBB method.

    I finally bit the bullet and bought a Taylor K-2006 test kit and tried it for the first time yesterday. I knew for sure that my CYA was too high, even though the last time I took it to the pool store, they said it was only 60. posting.php?mode=post&f=24# I use only bleach for chlorine now, (8.25%), so I know I have not added any CYA to the water since the refill. (I no longer float any tablets either). The numbers for everything looked ok yesterday except for the CYA...my test kit only goes to 100 but it was well past that, probably 150 (plus).

    I know I have to do another drain and refill, but since the swimming season is coming to an end, I was wondering if I could just wait until the spring. If so, can I just leave it for the winter, let it go yellow/green, and then do a complete drain and fill in the spring? Would this harm the pool or plaster? Also, if leaving the water in it is ok, would I leave the solar blanket on, (for a cover), or take it off...or does it matter?

    Thanks in advance for any and all help....I've already learned a lot from this site and vow to NEVER return to those pool store morons.
    FC - 4
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.8
    TA - 100
    CH - 350
    CYA - 150+
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    The first step needs to be replacing water to get the CYA in range ... whether you do that now or just cover the pool and leave it for the spring is up to you. You likely do not need 100% replacement of the water in either case, but 75% may be good.

    You can do the CYA test starting with a 50/50 split of pool water and tap water, then add the reagent and double the reading. Be sure to do the test outside with back to the sun and tube at waist level. And you can pour the mix back and forth to get a few readings.

    Letting the pool go "swamp" over the winter should not cause any damage, it could stain the plaster some, but that will clear up while in the SLAM process. You should however make sure to lower your pH over the winter to avoid any calcium scaling issues.
    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: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Thanks Jason. If I do just cover it up and leave it for the winter, does the pump and cleaner still need to run everyday, and if so, for how long?

    Not sure I understand the 50/50 split...is that a more accurate way of testing the CYA?

    I do have some PH Down around here...should I just use that or is muriactic acid a better route?

    Thanks.
    Steve
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    It is actually less accurate to test the CYA that way, but allows you to estimate it higher than 100ppm ... it is a logarithmic scale so what you think might be 150 could be MUCH higher.

    How cold does the weather get there? (Add your location to your profile, not just the title here)

    If you are going to let it go to swamp, then you would not have to run the pump, but then you have to look at the mess all winter. How do you usually close the pool? If you generally leave it open like we do, then I would clear it up now personally and keep it looking nice over the winter.
    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: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Ok, got it...makes sense. I just tried it again, with 50/50 water and you are correct...it is closer to 200, possibly even more.

    Not sure because we just moved here, but I do think it gets to freezing, although no snow.

    Well, if I keep the solar cover on it, I wouldn't have to see it...although I don't want to damage my cover would all that algae be bad for the solar cover or no?

    Thanks.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Although Mt. Diablo gets an occasional dusting of snow during the winter, Walnut Creek is lower in elevation and rarely gets snow. It will freeze every now and then and the local media does a good job announcing freeze warnings. Being in the Bay Area, though, you will get a fair amount of rain over the winter. Which will help with your CYA issue.

    Lakeport, CA
    42K IG plaster, built early 70's?
    Jandy SFTM25 sand filter (NEW for 2015!)
    3/4 HP Hayward Super Pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    I would suggest just running your pump on the nights where the weather is expected to get below freezing.

    And if there is a lot of rain in the forecast, drain water out of the pool beforehand ... some members have setup pipes to direct the rain off their roofs into the pool to help lower the CYA and CH as well.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Thanks Jason. Should I use MA to lower the PH or should I just use the PH Down that we have on hand? Also, do you know if the algae in the pool affect/harm the solar pool cover? If so, I can leave it off.
    And, since the PH is currently at 7.8, how low do I want it...7.2?
    Thanks.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    You can use either to lower the pH, just no reason to go lower than 7.2. The algae should not affect the cover.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    Not sure because we just moved here, but I do think it gets to freezing, although no snow.
    Being just down the road from you, I thought I would add my 2 cents.

    The air temperature gets below freezing but the pool will never freeze and I have never had any of the equipment freeze either. The time below freezing is just too short in this area for pipes or other things to freeze.

    Also, I would encourage you to keep the pool open all year around. There is really no reason to close but many reasons not to. The pool would be a complete mess if you tried to close the pool because algae will grow during most of the time except for maybe a month where water temps drop below 50 degrees.

    Also, as water temp drops, you will find you don't need as much pump run time or FC. In fact, you may just find that next spring, you have lost much of the CYA that you are experiencing right now.

    I would leave the cover off too. The pool will be easier to keep clean with the over off than on.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Thanks Mark for your input. I'm a little confused though...I wasn't going to actually close the pool, like they do on the east coast or in the north....I was just going to neglect it till spring and then drain it and start over. I expect a lot of algae but I figured fighting it all winter would be more trouble, (and expense), than it's worth. The bleach I am going through now seems kind of crazy, especially when we are not really using the pool anymore.
    Would the CYA really drop enough over the winter to make it ok to use come springtime, without draining? (it is now about 200).
    Thanks again.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    Would the CYA really drop enough over the winter to make it ok to use come springtime, without draining? (it is now about 200).
    Nope.

    I would do your drain and fill now. It really isn't that bad. Now that it's cooler, you will have a much easier time managing the pool. You can work out any kinks before spring/summer and be ready to go. That way you can ease into increased chemical demand.

    For me, once November hits, pool maintenance isn't very costly or demanding. I'll go through about 5 bucks worth of bleach until the water warms back up to where the SWG can run again (usually mid-March). Really, the only reason not to drain/refill now would be excessive cost of replacement of water or some type of restrictions. I don't think you either is an issue for you .
    15'x30' IG - Roman-style - 14K - Pebble Fina Classico
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    I agree with UN1017. I live in the North Bay and it is nice to have the pool looking good year round. It would probably be easier to get it cleaned up now and maintain a clean and clear pool over the winter than tackle a bigger mess in the spring There are not that many winter nights that freeze and the freezing temperatures never last long.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Ok thanks guys. If I were to drain it now, how much would I need to take out? I thought I took out plenty last time but I guess it wasn't enough...I just want to make sure I don't have to do this again so am tempted to drain it all.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    Would the CYA really drop enough over the winter to make it ok to use come springtime, without draining? (it is now about 200).
    Several people on this forum and other forums, including myself, have experienced a drop in CYA over the winter months. This could be due to one of two things that are described in this post:

    degradation-of-cyanuric-acid-cya-t8880.html

    In my case, I don't close the pool but the SWG shuts off automatically when water temps drop below 50. I don't add any extra CL when this happens and I just allow the FC level to drop. Algae doesn't grow much during this time so I really don't have to worry about that. It usually stays cold for several weeks and when the water warms up again, I usually will hit it hard with some liquid CL just to get the FC level up quickly. This process tends to lower CYA and the higher the FC level relative to CYA, the more CYA that gets degraded. One year I had close to a 50% drop in CYA over a couple months. But because I allowed FC to drop, some of the CYA drop might be due to the bacteria degradation but it is hard to know for sure.

    It might be worth it to allow the pool to go idle for the winter and to see where it ends up in the spring. This might reduce the amount of water you have to replace although it might also be a messy cleanup in the spring.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Thanks Mark. I was all ready to drain it but now I'm unsure again. Yes the CYA may drop over the winter and yes, it will be a green mess come spring...since it is already getting that way. I just don't want to get nailed with an excess water usage charge, which will double our rate. So perhaps waiting might be a better idea, if I may not have to drain the entire pool.
    Dunno...confused.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    I just don't want to get nailed with an excess water usage charge, which will double our rate.
    Isn't that just in the summer? If not, I would just let it sit till spring. You may only need about 10 ppm of FC to keep the algae out. What is your FC level and does it drop fairly quickly? With a CYA level 200 ppm and of course no other FC demand, it stay pretty level over the course of a couple days so you may only need to shock it to get it back in line which may drop the CYA some too.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Not exactly sure when that penalty applies...I talked to the lady at the water company but she wasn't very helpful. But she told me what our limit is for this cycle so I assume it is still in effect. Just checked the chlorine and it looks like it is at 2, but I haven't added anything since last Wednesday. It appears the CYA may have come down a bit too...maybe 160? I find these tests to somewhat subjective...so what I see, (i.e., the black dot going out of sight), might be completely different than when you see it go out.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    It appears the CYA may have come down a bit too...maybe 160?
    Unlikely unless you drained a lot of water...probably just test error, it is really hard to accurately measure cya at those high levels (the dilution method is best, but you lose accuracy).

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemac213
    Just checked the chlorine and it looks like it is at 2, but I haven't added anything since last Wednesday.
    Why?
    With a cya of 160 ppm, you never want the FC below 12 ppm!

    What does your water look like?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Re: newby in Walnut creek, CA

    Yes, that is what I was thinking too, and kind of what I was saying...I'm sure it'd be different if I went out and tested it again.

    Well, mainly because we have stopped using it and I was just going to let it go for the winter...this is where the thread started.

    The water looks pretty bad but has for awhile. I'm just tired if fighting it with the CYA levels so high....it's a losing battle.
    27K gal IG gunite pool, with solar blanket (built in 1986)
    Purex Triton Cartridge Filter CC320P
    Centurion Switchless Motor 2 HP (ancient)
    Sat-Rite 333NA heater, (currently not working)
    Polaris 380 cleaner

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