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Thread: New pool startup in AZ

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    lissyloo's Avatar
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    New pool startup in AZ

    We have a brand new pool this week, and are unsure of where to start and hubby and I have never owned a pool before.
    (brand new to this site) Our pool was built by Shasta, inground, 16800 gallons, quartz select interior, pop up cleaning system, cartridge filter with ozone also.

    They were just out yesterday and did our "pool school" with us, and showed us how to work the equipment. We are so lost when it is coming down to chemistry though!! We really want to get the hang of this and do ourselves.

    We took a sample of our water to Leslies yesterday, here are the results:

    Free Available Chlorine-0
    Total Available Chlorine-0
    Cyanuric Acid-99
    Total Alkalinity-120
    pH-7.8
    Phosphates-300

    So, the guy at Leslies was telling us that we needed to get some chemicals in the pool, because the weather has been warmer lately and we were going to have trouble if we didn't. He told us to start by adding two bags of SHOCK and then put a chlorine tablet in the dek-clor tube we have. We did this yesterday. He also told us that our phosphates were too high at 300, and got hubby to buy two bottles of Phos-free ($99)....which we did and added this also to the water yesterday.

    The problem is that I have spent all day on this site, and am seeing that we didn't really need to do anything about the phosphates....and that we should not use chlorine tablets.......and that our CYA is already too high even before we added any chemicals!!! What should we do? We really want to get this figured out ourselves...

    Thanks so much for any help you can give!

    Lissyloo
    brand new Shasta built IG-plaster with quartz interior, 16,800 gallons. Two skimmers, in floor cleaning system, cartridge filter.

    Melissa
    AZ

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZpp

    First off, deep breath and a warm welcome goes your way! You'll find our "Pool School" will kick their butts.

    Your first step is to order a quality test kit. I suggest the TF-100. After this is ordered, head over to Pool School. Read read and read again. It will start to click once you start performing a few tests and seeing various results.

    As for your results. Disregard all for now. While it is possible the results, I find them very suspect. A CYA level of 100 in the first week would be a record that I've seen. I'd be shocked if it turns true.

    Welcome once again!! We're here for ya!!!

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Welcome!

    You've been pool-stored. I'd say you actually got off cheap, based on other tales here.

    Yes, your CYA is too high if you believe them. Pool store readings are at best suspect, especially if they used test strips.

    Do you have any kind of test kit yet? Even a tiny 2 test pH and Chlorine tester is better than nothing. You'll need to use bleach to chlorinate until you get a good tester. Just as a guess, probably a quart and a half of plain unscented everyday 8˝% Chlorox every day until you can get your own reliable test results. Also adding 2 cups of 31% muriatic acid will get the pH down to the middle of the safe zone.

    Since you've already gotten used to whipping out the credit card for pool expenses, whip it out one more time and go to http://tftestkits.net and order a TF100. You might get lucky and find a Taylor K-2006 at a pool store, but the TF100 is a better value, and it's more common than not that the pool store will sell you a K-2005 and tell you it's the same. It's not. Order a TF100 and know you're getting what you need. I recommend the XL option, just so you don't get caught without the FAS-DPD reagents because it's hard to find those refills in stock anywhere. The rest are readily available. A speedstir is also a welcome addition. No one who has one regrets buying it. Order the stuff tonight, you'll probably have it by Thursday or Friday. It will more than pay for itself. Before June it will have saved you more than it cost. Run all the tests, post the results (or questions about testing) and we'll get you straightened out.

    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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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    I went back and re-read the 1st post and see that I missed something. Being a startup plaster pool you are very open to stains. Brush the heck out of the walls/floor. The more the better. Keep your pH down around 7.2-7.4 as much as you can too. Your levels will raise rather quickly, but keep them low. This article will help you in lowering the pH levels.

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    pwrstrk's Avatar
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    New pool startup in AZ

    Welcome to TFP !! You've landed in the right place.

    You've gotten great advice from some of the best. There are plenty of good people here to help you out and get you on your way to taking control of your water maintaince. Just take the time to read and read and read some more. It will all make sense in due time.

    Any questions don't hesitate to ask. 😎
    Jeff
    24'x54" AG Morada RTR (by wilbar) 13'500 gal. Hayward Powerflo Matrix 1hp 2 speed. Hayward Perflex EC65 DE filter.

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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Hi Lissy,

    A lot to absorb at first, but don't let it daunt you. It's only overwhelming in the beginning, but it will be easy before you know it.

    I just want to address the Cyanuric issue here.

    Cya should not be high unless the builder added some chemicals already.

    Just to be clear, this test was before you guys added anything correct? If so, the builder had to put some in, or the store is flat wrong. And based on that number, they should NOT have given you anything with Cya in it. Often, those little bags of "shock" contain Cya. Unfortunately, that is something we see a good deal. Our basic tenants here are knowledge and understanding first. Understanding of what you are putting in and why with the least possible side effects, and what the likely results will be from that.

    Most importantly, we confirm, monitor, and add, based only upon good, accurate testing results. If you want to do this on your own, a good kit is essential, and you can do a much better job with the pool this way to be honest. Most likely, you will also save a great deal of money. Hang in there, and ask questions if you need too. We'll be around to help.
    TFP Moderator
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    lissyloo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Thank you so much for your responses. I did go on and order a test kit from the tftestkits.net site provided last night. My question now is this: Do I just wait to test the water again until it comes, this week or next....or should I do something more with it this week? I can't wait to find out of that CYA number was accurate or not....if it was, what do I do about it, since the test was done with the water before any chlorine was added at all? I mean, draining and adding more tap water probably won't fix this, since it was essentially tap water when it was tested, right?

    Lissy
    brand new Shasta built IG-plaster with quartz interior, 16,800 gallons. Two skimmers, in floor cleaning system, cartridge filter.

    Melissa
    AZ

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Quote Originally Posted by lissyloo View Post
    Thank you so much for your responses. I did go on and order a test kit from the tftestkits.net site provided last night. My question now is this: Do I just wait to test the water again until it comes, this week or next....or should I do something more with it this week? I can't wait to find out of that CYA number was accurate or not....if it was, what do I do about it, since the test was done with the water before any chlorine was added at all? I mean, draining and adding more tap water probably won't fix this, since it was essentially tap water when it was tested, right?

    Lissy
    If those test results are from what came out of the faucet, then you have all the proof you need that the test was done wrong. Tap water will have no CYA. If the water was out of the pool, the pool builder may have added some. I'd just go ahead and add some bleach right now and wait impatiently for the test kit. Maybe watch the youtube videos on how to run the tests. http://www.youtube.com/user/TF100TestKit/videos
    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 startup in AZ

    Quote Originally Posted by lissyloo View Post
    Thank you so much for your responses. I did go on and order a test kit from the tftestkits.net site provided last night. My question now is this: Do I just wait to test the water again until it comes, this week or next....or should I do something more with it this week? I can't wait to find out of that CYA number was accurate or not....if it was, what do I do about it, since the test was done with the water before any chlorine was added at all? I mean, draining and adding more tap water probably won't fix this, since it was essentially tap water when it was tested, right? Lissy
    Indeed it was. Provided you got the sample before anyone added any pool chemicals. Should be fun to find out with the new kit!

    If it were my pool, and knowing what you do as of now, I would use the Pool Math above to determine how much Bleach I needed to gain and hold 1.0-2.0 PPM Free Chlorine. I might check with the builder first to be sure it was ok, incase of finish warranty concerns, but that's what I'd do. Then wait patiently...Impatiently is harder.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Tap water has zero CYA in it -EDIT- a refresh of the page would have been helpful for me lol oops
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

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    lissyloo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    I got my test kit today!!! My very first results were:

    CYA <20
    FC - 2ppm
    CC - .5ppm
    TC - 2.5ppm
    CH - 425ppm
    TA - 280

    Okay, I got this far, our pH was also high at 8 or higher. I know I need to add some bleach and some muriatic acid. My question is how much? When? And this may seem like a really dumb question, but do I just dump these in the water?? If I use 10-12% bleach.....how long after we add this do we have to wait to swim?

    You have been so helpful to us so far!!! Thank you Thank you!!

    Lissy
    brand new Shasta built IG-plaster with quartz interior, 16,800 gallons. Two skimmers, in floor cleaning system, cartridge filter.

    Melissa
    AZ

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    lissyloo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Also, we had Leslies test our water today (we had to go there anyway to take back the Phos-free stuff they sold us this last weekend), and My results were pretty close to what they said, here are their results from today....

    FC-0
    TAC-0
    CH-270
    CYA-10
    TA-120
    pH0-8.0
    Phosphates-300



    They also told us again that the phosphates are around 300, and he shook his head at me as I was getting my money back for the Phos-free......

    One other question I have is, since the CYA is so low, should I shock with granular and get the CYA up a little, use pucks until it is around 50 and then switch to bleach? I am lost!

    Lissy
    brand new Shasta built IG-plaster with quartz interior, 16,800 gallons. Two skimmers, in floor cleaning system, cartridge filter.

    Melissa
    AZ

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Quote Originally Posted by lissyloo View Post
    Also, we had Leslies test our water today (we had to go there anyway to take back the Phos-free stuff they sold us this last weekend), and My results were pretty close to what they said, here are their results from today....

    FC-0
    TAC-0
    CH-270
    CYA-10
    TA-120
    pH0-8.0
    Phosphates-300



    They also told us again that the phosphates are around 300, and he shook his head at me as I was getting my money back for the Phos-free......

    One other question I have is, since the CYA is so low, should I shock with granular and get the CYA up a little, use pucks until it is around 50 and then switch to bleach? I am lost!

    Lissy
    You probably don't need to "shock," unless the water looks cloudy or green. In fact, lose that verb from your vocabulary around here. The word you want is SLAM.

    You could use trichlor or dichlor powders to chlorinate. Your pH and TA are high enough that the acidity might actually be beneficial. If you choose to go that route, use Effects of Adding Chemicals at the bottom of http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html so you can see how much effect things will have and go accordingly, switching to liquid when the CYA is up. Realistically, though, it's a whole lot easier - a whole lot - for newbies to adjust pH, add CYA, and chlorinate using three different chemicals. Did I mention it's a whole lot easier?

    Your TA results are awfully high, and Leslie's got close to the same both times. You might have static electricity buildup on the tip of the R-009. Wipe it off with a damp paper towel between drops and try again. The TA reading is necessary to calculate the acid dose on http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    I'm sure the guy at Leslies clicked his tongue and shook his head when you asked about liquid chlorine. Forget him. You can probably find a better price on pool chlorine at Lowes or Home Depot anyway. They usually sell the acid, too, and the CYA granules. Have you been reading Pool School? Go back and read up on recommended chemicals and how to add them.
    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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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Melissa,

    Sorry It's taken me a bit to get to your questions. I've been swamped busy and somehow or another missed your new test results. The very first thing you want to do is to lower your pH down around 7.2. Being a new plaster it's going to go up frequently for the first while. Keep lowering it anytime it hits around 7.6 or so down to 7.2.

    Your second thing is to get some CYA in the water. You COULD do this via "granular shock" or pucks......but I would HIGHLY suggest not. Being that you're still learning about your pools' chemistry it will make it 10000x's easier on yourself to just use 100% CYA. Add enough to get yourself to a 40ppm for now. Once the weather starts to warm up, then you can increase it if you find yourself losing more than 2ppm chlorine per day.

    Third thing to do......while the CYA is dissolving in the water, add enough chlorine to get you to a 2ppm level. Keep your chlorine level at this for the first few days by checking and adding daily.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    Just to hit on a few of your other questions:

    - Learn to use PoolMath to tell you how much of each chemical is required to achieve a desired result
    - Read Recommended Pool Chemicals to tell you how to add each chemical. Liquids are just poured slowly in front of a return jet in the deep end of the pool. A quick run of the brush can ensure nothing pooled on the bottom
    - You should run the pump at least 30 minutes after adding any chemical to the pool ... after that, it is safe to swim.
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    Re: New pool startup in AZ

    I still can’t believe that Shasta did not show you how to do the pool chemistry. We recently had our pool built too out here in Arizona (Completed in January) and our builder (California Pool and Landscape) sent a guy out and showed me step by step how to measure everything. They did give me the cheap test kit. I will buy the TF-100 before the summer hits us. Another funny story about Leslie’s pool supplies they told me I had to use the Tricholr Pucks and not liquid chlorine “because, Arizona does not get enough rain to keep the CYA levels up in the pool.” I just nodded my head and smiled and did not say anything. I am glad I found the forum months ago and knew the guy was lying to me. On a side note I am currently using the Tricholr Pucks the pool builder gave me at startup, but once they are gone I will switch over to liquid chlorine.

    Mod Edit: I split the discussion that this post started to a new thread HERE. jblizzle
    17k IG pool (34' X 19'), Pebble Plus Interior - Artic, Hayward ECO Star Variable Speed Pump, Hayward ProLogic P-4, Hayward 480 Cartridge Filter,
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