Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    I am a new homeowner with a pool and spa (completely separate). The previous owners had a weekly service, and that company checked out all of the chemistry a few weeks ago (including a shock of both pool and spa). I could continue that service....but I'd like to think that I could handle this on my own.

    I've done some reading and looked at the pool calculator, but I am admittedly apprehensive to dive in for fear of doing it wrong! Here are my numbers as of yesterday:

    Pool:
    FC = 1
    TC = 1
    pH = 8.0
    Alk = 160
    Hardness = 380
    CYA = 100
    Water is clear
    I see what I have to do from the calculator:
    Add bleach.
    Add muriatic acid.
    Replace water.

    So my questions are: 1) In what order? 2) Is there any way to get around adding water? I'm in California, and we are experiencing a drought of epic proportions (I'm really NOT exaggerating, it is terribly bad). Draining a portion of my pool is going to be very painful (on my wallet and conscience). I feel confident that I could maintain the right levels if I can get it all to the right starting point.

    Additionally, over the last few days we noticed some white powdery material near the drain. We also noticed that the water level was low and added an inch or two yesterday. My understanding is that the powder may be a result of the water level being too low, and it therefore wasn't filtered out. Hopefully increasing the water level will allow it to be filtered out -- but are there any tips or thoughts on that?

    It is a plaster pool, ~13,000 gallons. I'm sorry that I don't have specs on the system. I haven't figured that out yet. I'm thinking of having someone from a service give me a tutoring on the setup so that I understand the configuration, coordination, and operation of the pumps, filters, sweep, etc.

    Now, on to the spa:
    FC = 0
    TC = 0
    pH = 8.0
    Alk = 160+ (lost count)
    Water is very slightly cloudy

    I assume that I can use the same BBB approach for my spa? The previous owners had a chlorine tablet floater. It has been empty (which is why my FC and TC are at zero...) but is this a better/easier option than using bleach?

    I appreciate the input! I would like to do this myself, if for no other reason than to save face with my husband . He grew up with "Call the [insert service provider here]" as the first option, while I never understood how plumbers, mechanics, electricians, and seamstresses made any money because my parents never used them -- just did it all themselves.

    Cathy
    What I know so far: ~13k gal, in ground, plaster

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,347

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Welcome to TFP.

    It sounds like you have a good understanding of what you should do, and you seem to understand the need for draining, but are having to weigh that against the present water issue in your part of the country. I applaud you for that understanding and clear thinking.

    What test kit are you using?
    How large is the spa?
    Does the spa have it's own circulation system completely separate from the pool?

    Now on to what you should do.
    1) Get some FC in the spa.
    2) Get some FC in the pool.
    3) Adjust the pH in the spa and pool to the mid to lower 7's.
    4) Dilute a pool water sample half and half with tap water and rerun the CYA test and double the result by 2. Let us know what you get.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  3. Back To Top    #3
    Isaac-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    6,711

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    To follow up on Bama's statement, the CYA test has a hard time reading anything over 100, so 100, 150, 200, etc. all appear about the same on the test, therefore when people post CYA test as 100 or higher we tend to ask them to redo the test diluting the sample with CYA free (tap) water. Then multiply the results by 2 to get a better idea of the true CYA level, this of course lowers the accuracy of the test, but increases its range.

    You asked if there was any alternative to draining, the answer is maybe, reverse osmosis treatment to lower CH and CYA is available in some parts of California, it is not cheap though, and still losses a substantial amount of "waste" water in the process (often 10-20%). Generally these RO service companies either bring a large trailer with a generator and RO pumps and filters onboard that can filter a typical residential pool in a few hours to a day, or they bring a smaller cart sized unit that plugs into the customer's electrical outlet, and leave it in place for several days as it filters the pool water. You will just have to check your local market and see what is available, pricing for these services vary considerably so if there are multiple ones in your area I would suggest pricing all of them.

    Ike

    p.s. you may also look at alternative water refill methods during the draught, we have members that have in the past under similar situations rigged rain water catching tarps over their pool decks to funnel rainfall into the pool, as well as ones that have went to the extreme of running water from roof top gutter systems through barrels of sand to filter it then into the pool. If they had high CH or CYA they would drain the pool down a few inches ahead of anticipated rainfall and let the CH and CYA free rainwater help dilute their pools.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    9,200

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Hi welcome to TFP! First let's check the CYA again. The test maxes out at 100, so it is possible for the CYA to be higher. Take a cup of pool water and combine it with a cup of tap water and run the CYA test again, the double the test result to read the test. If your result is 75, double it and the CYA is 150. If your CYA is truly over 100 you can look into the availability of reverse osmosis in you area. It will lower the cya and calcium loosing less water than a partial drain and refill.

    You could manage the high CYA and calcium without draining but you must be diligent and either install a saltwater chlorine generator or use liquid chlorine only in your pool. Most pool services will use granular/powdered chlorine and tablets to raise and maintain the chlorine level. These dry chlorines will add more calcium or CYA to the pool and make the situation worse over time.

    If you decide not to drain or use reverse osmosis you need to lower the pH to 7.2 and try to keep it between 7.0-7.5 and lower the TA and try to keep it between 70-90. This will help prevent calcium scale formation since your calcium is high. Use the poolmath to determine how much chlorine you need to add and test chlorine levels daily.

    You can maintain the spa using the trouble free pool care method using liquid bleach or you can use traditional spa care methods. It sounds like this is a free standing spa. If so they are much less painful to drain and refill to balance the water if needed.

    Edit:it took awhile to type this out on my iPad, so some of this info is duplicated.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
    Love TFP? Become a
    TFP Supporter!

  5. Back To Top    #5
    Smykowski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Gurnee, IL (North Suburban Chi-town)
    Posts
    3,065

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Welcome to TFP!

    I don't need to repeat the above, because everyone gave you good info. However, I will touch on your attitude and your perspective, which is exactly how many new members feel when they get here. Intellectually, it makes a lot of sense, but taking the practical jump seems a little scary. Don't worry....while there is a pretty steep learning curve, you'll get there. Keep posting questions and updates on your progress, and there are plenty of people here that will keep you from "doing it wrong." Keep reading and keep posting, and we'll help you make sure your pool is the sparkly oasis it's supposed to be.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Richard320's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Dimas, CA (LA County)
    Posts
    18,768

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Welcome!

    What test kit are you using? The reason I ask is because you can maintain the pool with that high CYA, if you have a FAS-DPD test kit. I've done it. It's not easy, but it can be done. You simply forget about using the color matching FC test and rely completely on the FAS-DPD test. That said, the pH reading will always be suspect with FC up so high. Assuming the water is clear, so you don't need to SLAM the pool, you can also slowly reduce the numbers by continual dilution. Use a pump to suck water out and use it on the lawn, then refill the pool with what you would have used on the lawn. Grab as much rain water as you can, if we ever get any more. I aimed the gutter downspout at the pool. It does tend to get more dirt in that way, especially the first day of a storm, but the water is Calcium free.
    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!

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Thanks for all of the advice and support! Here are the answers to a few questions you all posed:

    Test kit = Leslie's Total Pool Care DPD. So it was a color-match FC test.
    Is the spa separate? Yes, completely -- it has its own system.
    Spa size = ~305 gal.
    The water is clear.

    I went to do the diluted CYA test and found that I am out of reagent, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

    I also found that there is a leak in one of the lines by the pool pump/filter. This would explain why we had to add water last weekend! It is just spraying out when the pump is on. So I'll have someone come and fix that.

    zea3 noted that pool services tend to use granular/powder chlorine, which could raise CYA. This pool had been serviced by a company for 10+ years -- if that's what they used, could the high CYA just be a residual result of that? I did have it serviced by the same people about a month ago, just to get it all in line. He told me that he shocked it then, and I assumed that everything else was fine. Out of curiosity, I did a round of testing a few days after the shock, and even then, pH was up at 8 and CYA was still > 100. Do pool guys just not pay attention to those other numbers? If it was that high then, could it just be the "normal" condition?

    Anyhow, first things first, I'll redo the CYA test (diluted) and then add some chlorine and update. Thanks!

    Cathy
    What I know so far: Pool -- ~13k gal, in ground, plaster.

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Patrick_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Midland TX
    Posts
    15,001

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    The FC test you need will be the FAS DPD test which is a drop test like the ones for TA and CH. Easier, but still a drop count instead of a color match test.

    Unfortunately, most pool service pools do get high or very high in Cya because of the chlorine source they use. Many of them don't test for Cya at all. They put in enough Chlorine to do a so called "shock" and leave enough tabs to keep up the FC until next time. One or both of these sources contain Cya. These "serviced" pools tend to be very high quite often.

    The real problem comes when you get an algae outbreak. High Cya in the pool will then require a very high amount of FC to kill off the Algae.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    SouthWest Alabama
    Posts
    22,347

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Leslie's Total Pool Care DPD is the equivalent of the Taylor K-2005. Depending on the age of your kit and the amount of refills your need, you can either buy the TF-100 from www.tftestkits.net or you can just buy the refills and a FAS-DPD stand alone test.

    Just be aware that if you go back to Leslies and ask for the FAS-DPD they may try to sell you the DPD test and tell you it's the same. It's not!

    The reason I asked you to dilute the water and retest the CYA is so we'd have some idea of just how high it really is.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    9,200

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Usually a pool service company will tell you that you have "old water" that needs to be drained and refilled to fix. That tends to happen when your pool is in the middle of an algae bloom that "doesn't respond" to a "shock treatment". What they are really saying is the CYA is so high, the standard one-size-fits-all approach to "shocking" a pool is no longer effective and replacing the water is the only way to get rid of the algae. You may hear other terms such as "chlorine lock" to describe the same situation.

    The heart of the matter is most pool store employees and pool service technicians have not been trained to understand the properties of CYA and how the CYA to chlorine ratio is an critical element of pool care. Dry chlorine products are the easiest to use. You have a nice pre-packaged dose so you dump it in once a week to raise the chlorine to "shock level" maybe add a couple of pucks to a floater to "maintain" the chlorine level over the week until the next service date. No measuring or testing. What could be simpler? What most people don't know is that the degradation rate of CYA is so slow it may as well be considered permanent. Thus, the CYA level builds every time another package of dichlor based "shock" is used. Chlorine is consumed at a much faster rate and needs to be replenished frequently. The amount of chlorine in the package remains the same, and over time the CYA has built up so that the dose of chlorine is no longer sufficient to sanitize the pool and the pool starts to turn green. Now 2 packages of "shock" are used because you need more chlorine to do the job and it works for a while, but the CYA continues to build up and eventually the pool turns green again. At this point the only solution is to remove the excess CYA by draining (most common) or reverse osmosis treatment (very limited availability).

    This is why we recommend liquid chlorine to sanitize the pool. It does not contain CYA or calcium and only leaves behind a small amount of salt. You only add the amount of CYA needed for your pool ( 30-50 ppm for regular pools and 70 ppm for saltwater chlorine generator pools) and the level stays consistent and is only diluted by heavy rain or reduced with frequent backwashing or splash-out.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
    Love TFP? Become a
    TFP Supporter!

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Patrick_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Midland TX
    Posts
    15,001

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    +1 Zea.

    Very well said, and a nicely detailed explanation.
    TFP Moderator
    Essential Links:
    ABC's Of Pool Chemistry, Test Kits, SLAM Your Pool
    28K Gal IG FreeForm, CLI Quartz, Pentair 36"SF & VS Pump, Dolphin M5, Rheem

  12. Back To Top    #12

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    California
    Posts
    3

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    Hi everyone –

    Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my pool! With your encouragement I have been making some adjustments and I'm not afraid to get out that bleach. Also, the leak has been repaired, we got a little bit of rain, and the pool is now back to a full level and filter regularity. I’ve ordered a FAS-DPD kit so that I can measure higher FC levels, but it isn’t here yet. Here are my latest numbers:

    FC = 2
    TC = 2
    pH = 8.2
    TA = 130
    Hardness = 290
    CYA = 100 (undiluted), 80 (diluted 50% = 40).

    I will keep trying to bring the pH down and get that chlorine up, but I feel more confident than I did before. Other suggestions?

    Now, the spa. This is another story.
    FC = 1
    TC = 2
    pH = 8.2
    TA = 550
    Hardness = 400
    CYA = >100 (undiluted AND diluted)

    The CYA is so high, and the TA is making it difficult to get the pH down. I could try to work with this, or cut my loss and drain and refill. I’m going on the guidance to drain/refill every 3-4 months; since we’ve been in the house 3 months and I have no idea when or even if the previous owners drained it (or how frequently they used it), I feel like the clean slate may be the better option. The water is a little bit cloudy, and the high hardness can’t be good for the pumps. Do these numbers seem out of whack enough to start over?

    Thanks everyone!

    Cathy

    What I know so far: Pool -- ~13k gal, in ground, plaster. Spa -- ~300 gal VitaSpa 100.

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    4,052

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    You don't need to completely drain, but I wouldn't hesitate to drain half and refill.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
    If TFP has helped you, please click to SUPPORT TFP!

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Isaac-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    SW Louisiana
    Posts
    6,711

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    I would say do a complete drain and refill on the separate spa, and probably follow Richards advice on using pool water for the lawn, etc. and get the CYA there down over time if you don't want to drain and replace at least 25% of your water. At a CYA of 80 ppm you are pushing the level that is maintainable with careful monitoring, and certainly well above the ideal level.
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

  15. Back To Top    #15
    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    8,999

    Re: Reluctant to get my feet wet....

    The "Learning Curve" may be steep-----but it's short, and we'll help push you uphill with any questions you have.
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
    2 Speed Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 85 g.p.m. 22" 250lb. sand filter hard plumbed
    Pool Rover Jr., Pool Blaster Max, Diver Dave TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir
    Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker, Liqour Chiller, & Drink Mixer & Party Tub----Collect 'um all!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •