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Thread: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spring?

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    Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spring?

    Hi y'all! We recently purchased a house (in the Fort Worth, Texas area) that has a pool that has been serviced by a pool company. As a "courtesy", they continued to service it through the end of September. Since then I've been trying to educate myself on the BBB method so I can get up to speed and take over. I've been taking my samples every day using the TF 100 test kit and they are as follows:

    FC: 16
    CC: 0
    pH: 7.8
    TA: 180
    CH: 800
    CYA: ~130 (not sure how accurate this number is since it's over 100-I plan to do another test using the dilution method to see if I can get a better idea of exactly where that number is)

    From what I've read, for a CYA level that high, I need to target a FC level of 16. So that's what I've been doing. The pH started at about 8.2. My original plan was to leave it like it is and drain it in the spring. But with the CH level so high I'm worried about scaling.

    So would y'all suggest I go ahead with the draining now in order to get all these out of control numbers back in range? Or would I be okay just keeping the FC and pH levels in check over the winter (even though the TA and CH are so high) and dealing with it by draining in the spring?

    Thanks!
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    UN1017's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Welcome to TFP!

    Honestly, your CYA issue is more important than your CH. I would go ahead and do your drain/refills to get your CYA in check now. There is no sense waiting until spring. Since you will still be managing your pool throughout the winter, it will make that easier.

    As a byproduct of that water change, you will see how your CH will be affected. Have you tested your fill water yet?
    15'x30' IG - Roman-style - 14K - Pebble Fina Classico
    Filter: Jandy CL460 Pump: Jandy Stealth SHPF1.5 SWG: Jandy AquaPure 1400 Cleaner: Jandy RayVac Test Kit: TF-100 w/SpeedStir

    Chlorine/CYA Chart----Extended Test Kit Directions----SLAM

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    This is so embarrassing, but I assume by "fill water" you mean the water that comes out of the garden hose that I would be using to refill the pool. Is that correct?
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    techguy's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Yes, in your case, it sounds like your fill water would come out of your hose.

    Some people use water from a well, others use rain water. Some need to buy water and have it delivered via truck.

    Fill water is whatever water you use to fill your pool. The source depends on your local situation and may change depending on how much water you need and what time of the year it is. This may be too much of an answer for you but it may help another reader.
    -- Guy --
    10K gallons in 21' Round 52 inch wall Aqualeader AG, Hayward Power Flow LX 1.5 HP pump motor, Hayward Perflex EC50AC DE filter w/Cellulose, Wide mouth skimmer, 2013 new Diver Dan (craigslist) to replace the faded old Hayward AquaBug. TF-100

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Gotcha. Thanks for the speedy reply!

    Yes, I would be using a hose and I have not yet tested the CH of that water. I will do that when I get home this afternoon. Do I just need to test the CH of the fill water or run all the normal tests on it?
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Welcome to tfp, roxyrhoads

    Your CH is pretty high. Let us know what your fill water is and we can go from there. Most likely you should work on lowering TA some this fall still to prevent scaling over the winter. It may make sense if you fill water is a lot lower than your pool waters CH, too do a partial/drain refill yet this fall.
    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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    UN1017's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    Do I just need to test the CH of the fill water or run all the normal tests on it?
    CH is really all that's needed although you can check pH and TA and post that too. TA and pH can be reduced fairly easily. CH....not so much.
    15'x30' IG - Roman-style - 14K - Pebble Fina Classico
    Filter: Jandy CL460 Pump: Jandy Stealth SHPF1.5 SWG: Jandy AquaPure 1400 Cleaner: Jandy RayVac Test Kit: TF-100 w/SpeedStir

    Chlorine/CYA Chart----Extended Test Kit Directions----SLAM

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Ok, I tested the CH of my fill water and it was 100-110 (tested twice). So I retested the pool CH to see if maybe I made a mistake tv first time. Unfortunately I didn't, as this time it read 790.

    So would it be best to go ahead and do a drain and refill now so I can get these under control? Or would I be okay leaving it until spring, knowing I might have scaling? If that did happen, is scaling a difficult issue to deal with?
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    is scaling a difficult issue to deal with?
    Yes...it requires draining and acid washing or a really really long time of maintaining your ph, TA,and CH lower to dissolve the scale off.

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    Ok, I tested the CH of my fill water and it was 100-110 (tested twice).
    My guess is the pool has been chlorinated often with cal-hypo, hence why the pool CH level is so high since you fill water is pretty low.

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    So would it be best to go ahead and do a drain and refill now so I can get these under control?
    Two ways to deal with this imo, but you will need to familiarize yourself with "Calcite Saturation Index" (csi)...then the two ways are:

    • 1. Lower your TA down to ~ 70 and keep your ph low (7.0) when you close. If your cya is high when you open next spring (and it probably will be) do a partial drain/refill then. If your cya is lower then, you can maintain your pool with the high CH by carefully controlling ph and TA next year.
      2. Do a ~50% partial drain/refill now.
    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: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    I'm interpreting your post to mean you're not planning to "close" your pool; you'll just maintain it through the winter and run the pump during those times the temperature drops to freezing. This is what many of us in the area do over the winter. Right now, you'll need to maintain the pH and TA pretty tightly since temperatures are still quite warm.

    As the water temperature drops, it will become easier to prevent scaling from the high CH. You could continue to keep TA and pH low over the winter, and then do the drain/refill in the Spring. The more indirect UV from the sun will also reduce chlorine consumption in the colder months, making it a little easier to maintain the higher FC level for your CYA. (Have you redone the CYA test with diluted water? It could be higher than 140. The scale on this test is not linear, making it complicated to extrapolate at levels above 100.)

    As long as you can be consistent in checking and adjusting pH and TA to keep them on the lower end of the scale, you can delay the drain/refill and avoid scaling. It will be a little more costly to go this route because you'll use a bit more acid and chlorine until the drain/refill. If you'd rather be more lax in monitoring these 2, do the drain/refill now.

    What is driving your desire to wait until Spring?
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    To be honest, the only reason driving the desire to wait until spring is the intimidation factor of draining it. I've only been taking care of the pool for about 1-2 weeks. And while I've been reading as much as I can on this website to get educated, it just feels like a big deal to drain it. However, that might just be perception and I'm making it out to be a bigger deal than it actually is. I'm definitely game for draining it, as long as I can get things straight in my head beforehand so I'll know exactly what to do, how to do it, what to watch during the process, how often to test, etc. I have the next 6 days off from work, so I imagine this would be the perfect time to do it since I'll be home so much.
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    I have the next 6 days off from work, so I imagine this would be the perfect time to do it since I'll be home so much.
    I'd say so!

    You'll have to drain sooner or later to lower that CYA. One question is how much rain do you get over the winter? Last year I got 5", which wasn't enough to do much. If you can expect a couple feet, then you won't need to manually drain and fill as much.

    The CYA is an easy calculation. Tap water will have no CYA (nor will rainwater) so if you want to lower it 50%, replace 50% of the water. The CH is a little harder to crunch. 800(1-X) + 110X where X is the percentage of water replaced as a decimal. So, let's say you plan to replace 60%. That's .6.
    800(.4) + 110(.6) = 386. So your CH value after draining would be somewhere around 380.

    As an aside, I deal with CH numbers like yours. I found my CH reading dropped when I started using the speedstir. It really needs a lot of mixing to get that test right. Second, use a 10ml sample, as explained in http://www.troublefreepool.com/exten...ns-t25081.html so each drop of R-0012 counts as 25. It's fine enough resolution when you start getting into huge numbers. No one cares if it reads 790, 800, or 825. The CSI won't change much.
    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.
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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Here's what I've learned about draining:
    - You can do one big drain, or multiple small ones. Draining once uses the least water and takes the least time, but there are some other considerations.
    - If you will expose plaster by draining, pick a cloudy day with temperatures less than 80. (Tomorrow might be good for you.)
    - If your water table is higher than the pool, it could "float" it. A good rule of thumb if you think this might be the case is to always leave at least 1 foot of water in the shallow end.

    It is also possible to keep the water level steady while replacing water on warm days. This will use more water than a straight drain and replace, but it can be done without risk to plaster. Place the refill hose at the bottom of the pool in the deep end. As long as the refill water is colder than the pool water, it will want to stay on the bottom. Next, place the siphon hose at the top of the water in the shallow end. Adjust your refill rate to match the siphon or pump-out rate so that the water level stays stable.
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    So I'm in the process of draining it right now. I figure I'll err on the conservative side and drain more than I may have to since I can raise levels with chemicals, if needed, but getting them back down would mean draining again.

    Couple more questions:

    -1-I've currently got the pump off. I hope that's what I was supposed to do. If so, do I leave it off the entire time I'm draining it? Do I leave it off while I refill it? When should it be on?

    -2-once I've gotten it refilled, do I have to SLAM it, or just test the CYA and then proceed to add FC to match that level of CYA?

    -3-and I guess to go along with both of those questions, once I turn the pump back on do I need to run it for 24 hours straight or anything like that?

    Thanks for all the help and I apologize for all the questions!
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    1 - Yes, you can leave the pump off while draining and refilling. Once the pool is refilled enough for the skimmers to properly function, turn the pump back on.

    2 - There is no need to slam just because you drained and refilled, however it is important that you get chlorine in the water as soon as you can. Once you're able to turn the pump on, test for CYA and chlorine, and get your FC up above minimum for your CYA. You'll also want to adjust pH if it's outside the limits. Run a full test once the pump is on, post results, and someone here can help you with what to do based on your numbers.

    3 - You'll want to run the pump long enough to mix all the water well (~60 minutes), add chemicals to adjust as needed, and mix the chemicals in. If you need to add CYA, you'll want to leave it on while the CYA dissolves. Otherwise, leaving it on for a few hours is fine. You can leave it on longer, of course, to get more cleaning.
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Drained and refilled the pool this weekend and here are the current numbers:

    FC=1
    CC= 1/2
    TA=110
    CH=220
    pH=7.8
    CYA=40*

    As y'all know, the CYA is a bit tricky to master. So I think it was about 40. But obviously that could be a little off in either direction since I'm still new to checking that.

    Regardless, it looks like the drain and refill was successful in that the levels that were high have now come down. So, based on those numbers, do you have any recommendations?
    ~20,000 gallon, plaster, sand filter, not currently sure of the pump size or flow rate of the filter, Forth Worth, Texas
    **clearly I'm a newbie, so please forgive my ignorance--I will update as I find out more about the equipment that we have**

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    Re: Is it okay to leave CH high and deal with it in the spri

    Quote Originally Posted by roxyrhoads
    Regardless, it looks like the drain and refill was successful in that the levels that were high have now come down. So, based on those numbers, do you have any recommendations?
    Yes, get your FC up ASAP and keep a good handle on it. See the FC/Cya chart for the correct level. Good Job on getting things in line!
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