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Thread: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

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    bbrock's Avatar
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    Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Hi,

    I am so grateful I found this website/forums. There is such a wealth of info for the newbie and experienced pool/spa owner. Just reading through Pool School (and I need to do it over and over again to really GET it), I feel that I am learning more than the average pool service person.

    Currently, I am on my second pool guy b/c the 1st one hit 3 strikes, so he's gone. I am now on pool guy #2, but at this occurred at the same time as having found this website. Eventually, I want to take over handling my pool chemistry, but for now with having recently moved into our home, still getting settled, and having 1 year old twins, it would just be easier to have a competent professional handle it. Even though we have a spa I am managing, I would prefer not to store muriatic acid or other pool chemicals for the time being while the boys are young.

    Regards competent pool pros, I have been in contact with a service company who manages many pools including public recreational pools. Hence, they are monitored by DPH. Anyhow, they use Taylor 2005 test kits, and that brings me some added comfort vs. the pool guys who use test strips. Yes, it is the 2005 vs. 2006 kit, but if I am really concerned I can purchase my own 2006 or equivalent TF kit. As such, I will be switching to this company who uses the Taylor kit.

    The company told me that my conditioner level is >100. Also, I asked if they use floater for tablets, and they donít. From what I have read here, the tablets will add to an already high CYA level. I was told and understand that my best bet is to do a partial drain. Will anyone chime in on this? For Non-SWG pools, the chlorine/CYA chart just goes up to 100. Can this pool be managed/maintained with CYA at or above 100? What are the pros & cons?

    Secondly, about 2 weeks ago, a big chunk of the plaster on a side wall came off. Just my luck that that would happen and we recently bought our home. From what I have gathered, the pool was built in the 70s and was acid washed a few times from leftover records I found that were passed from one owner to the next, but I canít determine when the last time it was plastered. This poses some questions:
    1. When is it necessary to replaster?
    2. Is it wiser to re-plaster or to repair? Yes, I understand there is a big cost difference between a repair vs. replaster, but my thinking was that why repair if we are going to be here for quite some time.
    3. Is it smarter to repair and try to squeeze as much life out of my existing plaster job?
    4. Could the unbalanced water chemistry have added to this plaster problem?
    5. If we had to eventually replaster, we had thought about gunite because of its durability, but we were not sure about the other stuff such as pebble tech or quartz finishes. What are my best options for strength, durability, and chemical/wear resistance.

    Lastly, I read about reverse osmosis on this site. Could that be an option for the high CYA? May not help the situation though with having to repair or replaster.

    Thanks for any help.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Quick suggestion:

    Knowing you are in CA, are you under water restrictions in the bay area? If not, you can drain to just below the damaged area and have it patched.

    This will do two things, fix the plaster, and fix the CYA issue. With that high CYA, you know you will have to drain at least half.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    We do not recommend trying to maintain a pool with a CYA over 100ppm, but you are using a pool service and they do not maintain pools like we do. We generally test and adjust daily, they are once a week at best. In order for them to do that, they usually require higher CYA levels so the FC does not get lost to the sun. When they show up, they will jack the FC way up high and then it will drift down over the week and they will come back and hope that the water is clear and there is still some FC left and then jack it way up again. This means that the FC levels might be very high and damaging at the start of the week and might be too low to be safe at the end of the week ... so you will have a few days in the middle where the water is nicely balanced.

    So, it is going to be hard to mix what you read here with how they are going to maintain the pool.

    BTW, when I got rid of my pool service company, they had my CYA over 300ppm
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Your wife should probably get rid of the bleach she uses to do your laundry with... I mean because that's what I use to chlorinate my pool.

    5 minutes a day to test your water... Maybe you can watch the babies while your wife sweeps the pool... It's not worth the wasted money you're throwing at the 2nd pool guy that you could do in less than 5 minutes. Save the money and put it towards a replastering job.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I can't answer your inground questions, but as a fellow parent of multiples, I can completely sympathize with your time constraints. That being said, I would never let anyone touch my pool. I know exactly what's in it, and why it works. Plus the amount of money I've saved is incredible.

    Welcome to the forum!
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Tx for posting you all and giving some great input. Couple of comments/questions back:
    1. Charlie R, last week I had already contacted the H20 company in anticipation of problems w/ a drain/fill or partial. Fortunately, I am still allowed to do this. Not that I want to waste this much water as I care about the shortage and try not to waste (****, I don't even wash my car anymore), but this seems like something that needs to be taken care of.

    2. Jason/jbizzle, wow, 300! And I thought 100 was high. Can water even be maintained with CYA that high? Yes, I do understand that the pool co. would be 1x/wk to balance chem, where as the TFP approach is check & adjust daily. You are probably right that they would be dumping mass chem in 1x/week. As I stated, they don't use trichlor tabs/floaters. But, when questioned on the fact that the chlorine may be depleted by the time they come the subsequent week, they said that if only necessary a floater with only 1 tab trichlor could be used, and only 1 tab at a time. What are your thoughts on this?

    I mean, if the TFP approach is to check daily, even 5 min., how do any of you get away or go on vacation "from the pool." Sorry to say this, but If I take on the TFP approach, it is as if the pool owns me, vs. me owning the pool. We are both fortunate and unfortuante to have a pool, but personally, having to do daily checks and play w/ chems as much as is needed, I don't believe I will feel I "enjoy" our pool as much as feeling "burdened" by it.

    3. You must have the system down pat Casey if you are able to get it done in 5 mins. daily. Impressed. Does it realistically take you 5 mins. daily? Also, why would my wife be sweeping the pool?

    4.Smykowski and all you, yes, I am sure that it would save me some $ to ditch the pool guy. But, what is it costing you money wise on chem/mo? And, have you all ever put a price on your time? Time is money as well.

    Thanks for all the great input.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I am new to TFPC. I usually test every other day but sometimes daily. During the week, I test FC, CC and pH. Running those tests takes less than 3 minutes. I plug the numbers into PoolMath and it tells me how much Chlorine or MA to add so I will add another 3 minutes. I am probably a little slower than most people here as I am new to this whole thing.

    I am spending less than $15 per month on Chlornie. I need to find my receipt for Muratic Acid but I know I don't spend over $10 per month.

    Did the pool service tell you how much over 100 your CYA is? It could be 200 or even higher.
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Quote Originally Posted by cottielee View Post
    I am new to TFPC. I usually test every other day but sometimes daily. During the week, I test FC, CC and pH. Running those tests takes less than 3 minutes. I plug the numbers into PoolMath and it tells me how much Chlorine or MA to add so I will add another 3 minutes. I am probably a little slower than most people here as I am new to this whole thing.

    I am spending less than $15 per month on Chlornie. Is that the price for bleach or chlorine per mo.? If bleach, do you get it at the Fontana Costco? I used to live in the SB mountains so I am familiar with Fontana, CA and the Inland Empire. Not to mention, being familiar with where my local Costcos are located. I need to find my receipt for Muratic Acid but I know I don't spend over $10 per month.

    Did the pool service tell you how much over 100 your CYA is? It could be 200 or even higher.
    Tx so much for the input cottielee. So, your daily tests are just FC, CC, and pH? What is the purpose of testing CC is that is not the active chlorine that is needed? If the pool is not odorous or cloudy, does CC really need to be tested? From what I understand/read, it is in those situations that it is obvious that the level of CC would be high. See above in red.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    What about a hybrid method of TFP and typical pool service chemistry? More specifically, I read a post (maybe I bookmarked it somewhere in my favorites) about someone following the TFP methods, but straying in that he did you trichlor tabs in a floater for sake of simplicity/less to deal with. I believe he mentioned he got the tabs from Costco and his water chemistry/CYA was okay throughout the summer.

    If, after the water is balanced, why not use a trichlor floater (at least a tab) if it makes life simpler? Who really wants to test water daily or every other day for that matter? Further, if I am following Waterbear's 3 step water chemistry for maintaining spas with bromine, which calls for the use of a bromine floater, why not do the same in the pool? Maybe I am answering my own question in that the effect of CYA from bromine tabs would be negligilbe and not impact the spa water chemistry as much as CYA from trichlor when used in a pool.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Why I test CC...see the following link. (I hope I am doing this right)

    ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    The CC test is sort of an extension to the FC test in that you use the same sample from your FC test and it takes maybe another 10 seconds. I always test for CC when I test for FC because I want to know if and when my CC is greater than 0.5. I believe a CC result that is greater than 0.5 is indicative of something in my water and I want to know this before it becomes a problem.

    Is it necessary to always test CC....I don't know maybe one of the experts can give us more clarification.

    I buy Hasa 12.5% Liquid Chlorine at PoolSupplyUnlimited in Ontario. It is the same as bleach from Costco but in a higher concentration...12.5% HASA vs 8.25% Clorox. My last purchase was $13.65 for a 4 gallon case on April 5th. It has been 3 weeks and I still have over 1.5 gallons left which means this will last me at least 1 month.

    The last time I bought Muriatic Acid was on March 1st. A box containing 2 Gallons of 31.45% MA for $8.67. I still have almost 1 gallon left.

    So the last month I have spent less than $17.98 plus tax on chemicals total. That is for both chlorine and muriatic acid. I do expect to spend more on chlorine as it gets warmer.

    Edited: I had a problem with my mathematics.
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    For an example of prices, take a look at my signature.

    Yes, you will need to test and dose the pool every day at first. But like everything else, it will get easier and easier the more you do it. Eventually, you will learn how your pool behaves, and you won't need to test every day. There are strategies for leaving multiple days on end. I do a lot of traveling for work, and between my wife helping out just a little and using the knowledge I learned, I can very easily walk away from my pool for a week with no issues.

    My wife echoed a lot of your same concerns regarding time commitment and being tethered to the pool when I told her I wanted to switch. After I got everything dialed in and promised/showed her that her contribution would be minimal ("put 96 oz. of bleach in the pool sometime tomorrow") she got on board very quickly.

    Last thing I'll say is that because the way we do things here is so different from the traditional way of pool maintenance, it is pretty much impossible to mix our advice with the advice of a pool store. It's really one way or the other, you can't do both. If you decide to follow the TFP way, there a ton of people who will be happy to help you get started.
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    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I know it seems like a lot at first ... and starting the tfp method does take more time on the front end. But, I would say that after a few weeks or a month after your pool is balanced the time is really minimal. And, yes, I spend 5 minutes or less each day ... that is thanks to spending 10 minutes each day for the first few weeks as I now know exactly how much chlorine I am going to need each day with slight adjustments if we have had extra swimmers ... and then once a week I spend 30 minutes or an hour messing with the pool - that is the time where I run the robot (if needed), backwash (if needed) etc ... As for vacations ... we really only go out of town for 2 weeks a year ... long weekends with tfp really just mean a slighly higher chlorine dose before we go, and when we return ... when we go for a week I generally float a few pucks. Rain water replacement generally off sets the slighly higher CYA from the pucks for me. If we went on vacations more often, or if working out of town was an issue then we would consider an automatic chlorinator or a SWG system.

    The most important thing is to make pool care part of your daily routine ... I am still surprised at how inexpensive the tfp method is ... and how little time it takes.
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Just to clarify here the TFPC method has a lot of flexibility built into it, you can chlorinate with whatever is appropriate for your situation, the key is understanding the side effects of each method of chlorination. For most people this means using bleach/liquid chlorine, and while we suggest daily testing at least while you are getting started, once you get a feel for your individual pool and its trends, then you can adjust your testing schedule to meet your needs. For me that means every 2 or 3 days for the the basic FC, CC and pH (to tell the truth pH often becomes weekly, but mine is far more stable than most, and usually only needs adjustment about once every 2 months). For me CH, CYA and TA get tested far less often as I have very low CH fill water (at the moment around 30 ppm, it varies seasonally) with a vinyl pool so no low CH concerns, also I already mentioned stable pH so little TA concern.

    Ike
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I share your interest in making the pool as low maintenance as possible. That's the main reason I went with a SWG. I have no issues leaving for a week or more on vacation.

    But if I didn't have a SWG, I would use bleach and I would use a floater with trichlor tabs during vacations. According to Pool Math, if I needed 2.1 ppm of CL each day it would add 1.2 ppm of CYA per day. Assuming two weeks a year of vacation it would add about 17 ppm of CYA annually. Not sure how much rain you get, but unless we are in a major drought in Houston I would lose that much or more from rain dilution (I just topped up my CYA by about 30 ppm--what a difference that made to my SWG!).

    Bottom line: the TFP method does not result in the pool owning you.
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I also use a SWG system. My FC is well maintained. I still test as the SWG will raise the PH.
    Gerry
    27' x 54" AG Salt Water Pool Installed 2014, Hayward 23" Sand Filter, 1 HP 2-Speed Power-Flo Matrix Pump, AQ-TROL SWG, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I test every day or every other day. My pool is small but the test is the same. I keep my kit by the side door and grab my little chlorine test bottle to dip in the pool and bring it in to test. It takes a minute to do the drops, see I lost the same as I always do (lol you do get into a routine) I hardly need the calculator because my numbers are always the same. 5.5, 6, 7.5 and I know how much bleach I need to add to get me back to my target.

    I go to the kitchen, grab my bleach measuring cup fill to what I need and carry it out in a bucket. I sit the cup in a bucket which is why I don't have to worry about splashing bleach!

    I don't think the whole process even takes 5 minutes and like others have said, I don't even always do it every day. Especially at this time of year and this weather.

    Best of all I don't worry about what's going on with the pool!
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    I appreciate all the feedback. Thank you.

    Even though I am fully on board w/ what I read here, at this time, I just don't think I want that "chore" of testing every day/every other day and adjusting as necessary. We also have an above ground 300 gal. spa that I have learned about and take over managing. Yes, it is nice to be able to take care of it and know exactly what is in it and where the levels are at, but I don't want to duplicate this with the pool. As I have just recently gotten on board with using the 3 step process for managing water chemistry following Waterbear's approach here at TFP, it already seems as though I am testing this every other day or so. Hence, as I stated originally, I just really don't care to have to do the same for the pool, and not to mention start storing and using muriatic acid vs. the dry acid I use for the spa.


    But, again, I definitely enjoy reading and learning from this website. I have already learned so much. Perhaps I will take on the pool mgmt one day. I do still think I will buy a TF 100 or Taylor kit. That way I can test along with the pool service guy and keep tabs on things. Right now I am using a test kit for the spa that is an older Taylor model that was sold at Leslie's. It measures CC using OTO, pH, TA, and acid demand if I wanted to. B/c it has OTO, I used it for bromine measurement in our spa. I have thought about getting the TF 100, but even though it is a good value vs. the Taylor K2006, 1) I don't need another OTO kit, and 2) that FAS-DPD would only measure the FC and CC, and can't be helpful to me w/ my bromine spa. As such, wouldn't it be smarter for me to buy the Taylor K2005 which has everything the K2006 does, but just not the FAS part? The K2005 uses DPD for measuring FC. I ask this b/c 1) the OTO is carcinogenic, 2) I can stop using the OTO test in the spa and use the DPD test from the K2005 for both the pool and spa, and 3) is the water is not foul smelling, or what not, it doesn't seem necessary to test for CC. Thus, perhaps for my purposes a K2005 w/ the DPD vs. the FAS-DPD would be more practical and good enough.

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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    The FAS-DPD test is probably the most important test in the TF-100, as to the rest, you might consider the TF-50 for now, it is a smaller version of the TF-100 which does not include the pH or OTO test, it is mainly marketed for people that have seasonal pools, which already have a basic test kit like you do, and want to make a half step towards our methods. I think the TF-100 is still a better value, but the TF-50 is a good test kit, just with less reagents.

    Ike.
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    Re: Newb problems galore from pool service co. to high CYA to plasster

    Good Luck with your pool and pool company!
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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