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Thread: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

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    Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Hi All-
    I have owned a pool for about 2 weeks now (first time pool and first time homeowner) and naturally have no idea what I am doing. This site has helped tremendously in learning some lingo and beginner tips, so thanks to all who contribute.

    Now on to my problem: which is sort of two-tiered.

    Roughly a 15,000 gallon pool, in-ground, chlorine, Dallas suburb of Highland Village.

    I took in a sample to Leslie's just so they could help me get the lay of the land. I knew well in advance they like to scare people into buying very expensive unnecessary chemicals. Summary:

    FAC, TAC, PH, Copper, Iron, Phosphates: OK

    Calcium Hardness 460 (High)
    Cyanuric Acid 150 (Extremely High)
    Total Alkaliknity -190 (High)

    The dude at the counter told me I need to drain my pool, which to a first time pool owner in a pool store basically threw me into a panic. He didn't even recommend I buy chemicals until I go through this procedure. He suggested I drain the pool entirely and start fresh as "dilution wont fix the CYA issue." I then took it to a Leslie's competitor (small local shop) and even explained that I had just been to his competitor and he verified their findings and recommended the same thing.

    Question 1: Do I need to really go through and drain the pool? The water looks fine....this just seems so extreme.

    Question 2: Where on earth do I put the water?! I have a pretty long driveway with no storm drains anywhere near my house and can't find a sewer clean out anywhere on the property....we live on a .3 acre lot surrounded by houses so draining down the driveway will surely interfere with other properties and **** off our new neighbors. It's a bit of a snooty suburb so the city may not like it either.


    I'm stuck and need some help here, folks! Thanks a lot.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    The Calcium is manageable, but since you need to drain off some to deal with the high CYA....

    You don't need to drain it all. Leslie's is full of it. Tap water has no CYA, so replacing half the water will remove half the CYA. It's simple arithmetic. CH is a little harder to calculate, since tap water will have some. But it's sure to be less than what's in the pool now.

    That being said, do you really trust these pool stores? If you've done any reading here, you'll know you need to invest in a proper test kit. You can do it yourself, following the Extended Test Kit Directions for high CYA, and decide then how much water needs to be replaced. If you don't wish to call attention to yourself, a small sump pump and a long garden hose will bring the water around to the washing machine drain, or the sink cleanout, or even a toilet, which will probably have a 4" drain pipe that can take huge volumes of water. Pool water also works on the lawn.

    In the meantime, no more pucks or powders! Use liquid bleach!

    Almost forgot: Welcome!
    Last edited by Richard320; 04-28-2014 at 04:05 PM. Reason: forgot the welcome
    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: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Welcome to TFP!

    Here you will get advice that will actually mean something.

    First, pool stores generally get the CYA wrong. Not testing in the correct lighting etc, so your CYA may not be even close to that high.

    Next, this is why we strongly suggest buying your own test kit, and learning to use it. Best value for ANY pool owner is the TF-100 by TFtestkits. Sure, it may seem like it costs a lot, but look at it as an investment both in money and time saved over bad advice from pool stores. With your own testing, you know what your pool needs, and how much it needs.

    Also recommended is to read through Pool School (link in upper right of every page here) to learn what your pool needs and doesn't need.
    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: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Welcome! You will get to know your pool so well through TFP!

    So you've just found out you seriously don't have to drain all your water! Richard gave you a few outlets to drain some of your water without making your neighbors mad too. You can do a few drain refills as to not overwhelm everyone and in the mean time, order yourself the best test kit around which would be the TF100 XL!

    Read Pool School! There is so much valuable information there that will make pool care so simple! We can not do the work for you. We also can not come to your house and meet your pool care needs but you sure can and we're here to make it as simple as possible. Just get yourself a nice beverage, a comfortable chair and dive into Pool School.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Thanks a lot for the quick responses!

    Yeah so I am comfortable draining the pool itself (friend nearby has a pump, but a much easier place to drain his water) and even if the results were exaggerated it seems like it needs it to some degree. Plus as a first timer it might be a good time to start fresh.

    Remembering I am a first time homeowner here, so am still learning tons of nuances, I am sure a hose could go through the back garage door by the pool and into the garage entry where there is a washing machine and sink. Could this be a potential spot for it or are standard home sinks generally a bad idea to dump this? Sorry for the idiot question

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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    I agree that you should read the articles and learn about pool chemistry. But, right now, do the following:

    1) Stop using shock with stabilizer. For that matter, don't use shock at all.
    2) Do not use tablets. Buy liquid chlorine
    3) Use liquid chlorine (i.e., Clorox) for the chlorine. (*REGULAR* Clorox at Costco is $12.00 for 6 gallons, if I remember correctly.)

    We had the same problem last year and had to drain the pool, and that is when I learned about pool chemistry.

    CYA is a chlorine stabilizer. It bonds with the chlorine so that the chlorine does not completely dissipate in the sunlight. If the pool is correctly balanced, excess chlorine is absorbed by the CYA. When sunlight dissipates the chlorine, then the CYA releases chlorine into the pool water.

    If there is too much CYA in the pool, any chlorine you put into the pool will be absorbed by the CYA and will not be "free chlorine" to combat the algae.

    As the CYA level goes up, the more chlorine you have to add to the pool to fight the algae. If you use stabilized shock (shock that contain Dichlor or trichlor), then are adding chlorine and more stabilizer...meaning that the next time you will need to add shock more frequently. Chlorine tablets also have stabilizer...so, as the tablets dissolve, stabilizer is added to the pool

    It is a vicious cycle...

    The CYA level will slowly in a year or so go down.

    Draining the pool isn't that big of a deal... you don't have to get it "bone dry".

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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Quote Originally Posted by WallyWorld View Post
    Thanks a lot for the quick responses!

    Yeah so I am comfortable draining the pool itself (friend nearby has a pump, but a much easier place to drain his water) and even if the results were exaggerated it seems like it needs it to some degree. Plus as a first timer it might be a good time to start fresh.

    Remembering I am a first time homeowner here, so am still learning tons of nuances, I am sure a hose could go through the back garage door by the pool and into the garage entry where there is a washing machine and sink. Could this be a potential spot for it or are standard home sinks generally a bad idea to dump this? Sorry for the idiot question
    As long as the drain can keep up with the flow, and you're not on a septic, it doesn't really matter if you go in through a sink, a toilet, a cleanout, or the tub. It all goes to the same place. However, don't try backwashing into those plumbing fixtures! If the pump is faster than the drain, wrap the hose with a rag and crimp it down some with some vise-grips.

    The automatic dishwasher drain water is probably 100 times nastier than anything you'll pump out of your pool.
    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: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    You should also be aware of your water table. That's ground water if you didn't know that... Draining a pool with a high water table can be disasterous. You do not mention whether or not you have a vinyl, concrete/gunnite, or fiberglass pool. Draining could pop the pool out of the ground and you think you have issues now? Wait til you see what that will do! With that said, DO NOT drain the whole pool! You don't need a fresh start just because you're a new pool and home owner.

    Please fill out your signature with your pool specs.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    HI!!!!!!!!! You have come to the right place! So many people here who can/will help you!

    Do NOT drain your whole pool.

    DO order your own test kit. Spend a little money to save MUCH money!

    DO post your test results and we can lead you on the path to good pool ownership!

    Good luck!
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Once you confirm your CYA is that high, you can choose to do a partial drain of the pool, or if your pool is clear now you can maintain it with liquid chlorine. Do not use any powdered "shock" products as they contain either CYA (dichlor and trichlor) or calcium (calcium hypochlorite), neither of which you need at this time. You can manage a pool with high CYA if it is clear but you will have to test and dose the pool with chlorine on a daily basis. It is easy for algae to get a toehold in an over stabilized pool so you must be diligent. If the pool is cloudy algae is probably already started. Much easier to do some partial drain and refill cycles. You don't want to drain it all the way down since you do need some CYA.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Thanks very much. Remembering I know NOTHING about this sort of stuff.....how much of the water should I drain? Dilution will really work? It makes total sense in theory, although the pool store folks said I had to do a full drain and dilution wouldn't work, which when I was poking around and was confirmed on here, is "something you should NEVER DO." What do they have to gain for telling you this? That you'll come in and buy a truckload of brand new chemicals? I did love the response my guy gave when I told him the previous owners left a bunch of chemicals they were clearly using on an ongoing basis...."it's always good to buy new, fresh chemicals in case something happens to them."

    I used the pool calculator tool and it gave me a 70% drain to get the CYA level down to 40. I think I will go ahead and give that a shot over the weekend.

    Once the water is drained, what do I need to add to the pool to get it back to "normal?" How do I add it? Again, complete, total, utter beginner. Think your wording as if you are teaching someone how to drive who has never ridden in the front seat of a car.

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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    My best advice is to read, and read again, Pool School. It will give you more detailed and complete information with respect to balancing your pool.

    And pay particular attention to how to add chemicals. Did you get the good test kit yet? Again, that's about the best advice you can receive for what to do first.
    9,200 gal. Gunite Luna Quartz French Grey pool with spill over spa, two fountains on tanning ledge (rarely used)
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)



    Welcome to the forum!

    Start with the link in my signature.
    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

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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    Test kit first Wally. (I have the TF-100) Get that on it's way. You are getting your result in the calculator by using the test result from the pool store. They almost always get the test for CYA wrong.

    You probably do have really high CYA, but maybe it's not as high as they say, or maybe it's higher. Whatever it is, you can find that out with your own test kit and then you can trust the number.

    Everyone here will help you every step if you post your question make sure you give a little time to get an answer and make sure you understand the answer before moving ahead. Questions are good and like everyone else is saying read the articles in Pool School. At first it will seem like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and you'll say whaaaaaa?? After you read it a few times it starts to click. When you get your test kit you'll look at it and again say whaaaaa??? but once you start everything will start to make sense and the pool school stuff will start to make even more sense.

    We're here to help!
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    Re: Cyanuric Acid High - Do I need to drain?! (New Pool Owner)

    I just did a successful partial drain.

    It really isn't hard. particularly if the pool is starting out looking great.

    Use POOLMATH> takes all the pain and too much thinking off your plate.

    Ed Buell
    Pool home in Venice Florida. No pool home upstate NY. Retiree from Navy Nuclear Power Design Laboratory.
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    Part time requires a pool service for pool maintenance.

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