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Thread: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

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    New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    First of all I wanted to say, I have learned so much from this website already! I've been stalking the forums since Saturday (when we purchased/setup our pool) and what I've learned thus far has really helped me feel more confident in maintaining our pool throughout the season and not wasting a ton of money on the wrong stuff.

    My question: is it safe to swim while adding stabilizer to the pool? Since our pool is a Summer Escapes above ground (13' x 31") I was pretty lost as to how to add the chemicals correctly to the pool. I tossed a small amount in directly but saw that it dissolves very slowly. I opted to tie a sock to the ladder with the full 12oz dose inside (it's been in there about an hour now). Can we swim with the sock still there? Should I remove it and, if so, how long should we wait (an hour)?

    Just for completeness sake, my tests today (I'm using the PoolPal app on my Android phone to track and treat):

    Water Temp: 68F
    FC: 2.0
    pH: 7.4
    TA: 78
    CH: 90
    CYA: 0
    Calculated CSI: -0.66
    Calculated LSI: -0.71

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Yes it is safe to swim while the CYA is dissolving. Do you have a skimmer? Could put the sock in there or hang it in front of the return jet. Either way squeeze it when you walk by to help it dissolve. Do NOT just throw it in or let it rest against the side or it will fade the liner.

    What test kit are you using? For a vinyl pool, the CSI and LSI do not really matter.

    Generally it is safe to swim within 30 minutes of adding any chemical. Some are perfectly safe all the time. See this for how to add chemicals: Recommended Pool Chemicals

    These are a good read too. How are you chlorinating?
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    (OMG - the reply to thread button completely wipes out any response you've typed. As a Web Developer, this makes me sad... and now I'm retyping my response).

    Skimmer: No, currently just have the stabilizer in a sock tied to ladder. In terms of pumping/suction - all we have is what comes with the pool. A pretty measly pump with cheap plastic hoses/clamps, single intake, single return. I already know I'll have to replace much of this - running the pump 24hrs currently and have a significant leak in the return hose fitting).

    Test Kit: Started with some really basic strips but I purchased an hth-brand drop-based kit from Wal-Mart today - I definitely need to compare it to the recommended kits here, but it was an immediate solution to our problem.

    Chlorine: I was using Dichloride tablets in a floater (purchased as part of a starter kit) combined with Trichloride granules on each day to try and hit the target (4ppm). Today, while cleaning the filter/pump I noticed a pocket designed for placing the tablets, so I've placed some in there and removed the floater (for fear of over-chlorinating). My current plan is to continue using the tablets within the return while using the granules to adjust daily until I understand what's going on a little bit more. I definitely plan on using bleach, simply to save some money, once this kit runs out.

    My concern now, and I need to watch it a bit more, is pH. I think the pH may be dropping currently so I still need to hit the store and grab some Borax and continue monitoring this. Otherwise, on hand I have: Dichloride Tablets, Trichloride granules, dry CYA (sold as Stabilizer & Conditioner at Wal-Mart) and pH down (bicarbonate sulfide I believe, haven't had the need for it yet and the Pool Pal app doesn't even offer it as a pH lowering option).

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    I think you got a couple things backward. The tablets are usually Trichlor and the granules are usually Dichlor .. anyway, both of them are adding chlorine, but do you realize that they are also adding stabilizer and lowering the pH? You need to be careful that you do not continue to use the tablets and powder if you have already added stabilizer. The higher you let the CYA get, the higher you are going to have to maintain the FC. See the FC/CYA Chart

    I would also suggest you take a look at PoolMath on the bottom it has a section to tell you what the effect of adding chemicals is ... like how much each tablet is adding to your CYA. I do not know if PoolPal has that functionality.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    Good to know, that may be why I believe I am experiencing a pH decline. You're right, I was trying to recall the chemicals off the top of my head but had the tablets/granules mixed. I knew they were adding stabilizer (despite the packaging not mentioning anything specific) today the CYA results were completely unregisterable (black dot at bottom of cylinder test - filled the cylinder completely, clear as glass).

    The rest of the week is scheduled to be cold so I'll certainly take this time to continue daily testing and learning more. With your advice, I plan the following: my 12oz of stabilizer is almost completely dissolved, I won't mess with CYA for another week (having read that it can take some time to get accurate results). I'll continue to use the trichlor tablets within the filter/pump and see how they affect Chlorine levels, if those levels drop I'll add more tablets to the filter/pump (I currently only have the pocket 1/3rd full and I believe half is the recommendation). Continue monitoring pH levels and add Borax to maintain a 7.4-7.6 level.

    I appreciate your comments and help - it's amazing how helpful this community is. Absolutely love it!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    I am going to guess you have about 2500 gallons of water. That 12 oz of stabilizer should raise your CYA by about 36ppm which is a good place to start. Each 8oz Trichlor tablet will add 22ppm FC and 13ppm of CYA ... if you use more than 1 tablet in your pool, you will be above the recommended CYA levels ... and that does not even count what CYA you added with the Dichlor.

    Get all the tablets out now! And stick with only bleach. Retest the CYA in a week.

    Can you see why people get in trouble using the tablets and powders?
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    Absolutely. And pulling the tablets right now as we speak - although, if I had 5-6 tablets in place would I not have some sort of register on the CYA test? I literally flooded the cylinder and could see the black dot as plain as day. Regardless, ditching the tablets from the filter/pump right now and will focus on the granules based on daily testing results.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    Aren't the granules Dichlor? You should not use that either for the same CYA and pH reasons.

    Lay the tablets out and let them dry in the sun and then you can store them in a bucket to use later as needed.

    Anything under 20ppm will not really register on the CYA test.

    When did you fill the pool and how much of the tablets dissolved? How much dichlor have you used?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    Roger that - pulled everything for the time being. Pool was filled on Sunday, very little of the tablets have dissolved - if I had to estimate amongst the whole bunch I'd say half of a single tablet (if that). Dichlor - 2.5 oz, 2oz for startup and 0.5oz earlier today based on the calculator's recommendation.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New User, New Pool - Stabilizer/Conditioner Question

    So that dichlor added about 4ppm of CYA as well. Plus half a tablet is 6ppm. Plus the 12oz of stabilizer ... should put you around 45ppm which is near the upper suggested level.

    You should now be using bleach and keep the FC above 3ppm at the very minimum, above 4ppm would be safer. So likely you should target 6ppm each day when you add bleach so that it is still above the minimum by the next day.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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