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Thread: Newbie to TFP

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    Newbie to TFP

    After a bad experience at our LPS that I have frequented the past several years, I decided to search for a pool forum. Glad I found this site and have a lot to learn. I just opened our pool (concrete with pebble tec finish) about 17,000. It is now about 4.5 years old. I have been having our water tested at the LGS and have been using Bioguard products since it was built. Like I said, this last visit left me frustrated at the push to purchase more products. I have a number of questions.

    So prior to opening the pool, I drained about 3/4 of the water and refilled with fresh water. I did this since the LPS said my TDS were too high last year and suggested doing so prior to opening this year. Actually they said it was a good thing to do every 4-5 years. Is this true? A couple of other notes, our pool receives just about full sun all day long. I use the 3" silk tabs. Pool water is crystal clear.

    I have not yet purchased a test kit, but will be ordering one later today. My initial measurements and the LPS suggested levels are as follows:

    CYA 23 suggested range 30-200
    Total Chlorine .4 range 1-3
    FC 0 range 1-3
    PH 8 range 7.4-7.6
    TA 89
    Adjusted TA 82 range 125-150
    Tot Hardness 139 range 175-225
    Borates 13 range 30-35

    Question? the ranges suggested by the LPS are different than what I am reading on TFP? is that a regional thing?

    They suggested I add 13.5 pounds of Balance Pak 100. I had almost 7 pounds from last year and added to the pool. my test strips seem to indicate that the TA is fine so I did not add more.
    They then suggested adding 2.3 pints of acid which I did. I saw no noticeable change in the test strip measurement.
    I then added 4 gallons of Champion liquid pool shock before going calling it a night.

    This morning, all measurements look ok except for the CYA. I assume that the tabs will help in that regard.

    Question, 13.5 pounds of PB 100 seems like a lot for my size pool but that is when I noticed their suggested TA range is far higher than TFP?

    lastly they suggested Optimizer which I have not added. I have done so in prior years and from what I have read, it is a good thing. is there an equivalent lower priced convenient alternative to the bioguard optimizer?

    thanks in advance

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Are you done being pool stored?

    Get the TF100. Test your water and get back to us with the results!

    CYA should be 30-50 and no higher. If your TF100 reads anywhere between there, use liquid chlorine. That's mainly what we use. Your strips are worthless to go off of. Read Pool School and keep reading til you get the TF100.

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Welcome to TFP,
    this is my second year on TFP so I am not an expert. Everyone I talked to before had a different suggested ways of maintaining a pool with different chemicals and different suggested levels. Since coming to TFP, the only thing I have put in my pool is liquid chlorine, muriatic acid and CYA crystals. It is really a lot easier to understand, cheaper and my water is crystal clear. I would start reading the Pool School Section and jump onboard. Forget about those optimizers and paks etc. just get a good test kit and add only what you need. Your levels are close, a little chlorine (bleach), a little muriatic acid from the hardware store and some cya and you are good to go.

    Mark
    IG plaster, 22,000 gallon, Jacuzzi Laser Sand filter

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Much of the Bioguard chemicals are just repackaged things at a very high markup that you could buy at the grocery store for a lot cheaper.

    The TFPC method is really just about understanding your pool’s chemistry and through accurate testing, adding only what the pool NEEDS and not what someone wants to sell you.

    Order one of the Recommended Test Kits and read Pool School and ask questions. The first trip you skip to the pool store, you will have saved yourself more money than you invested in the test kit.

    Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad woodyp's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Welcome to the forum!
    16x32x52" Steel Cornelius Miramar AGP Vinyl liner 13,100 gal. Buried 2 ft.
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    To answer your question there is almost never a reason to drain and replace water in a properly managed pool unless you live in an area like the Southwestern part of the U.S. where there tends to be low rainfall and high CH fill water where water evaporation over time leads to higher and higher CH levels left in the pool. The problem with the pool store method is usually build up of CYA through the over use of stabilized chlorine products (primarily pucks), also TDS is a nearly useless measurement, it stands for total dissolved solids, which is made up of a number of things, CYA, Salt, CH, borates, etc. The problem here is it does not tell you how much of each you have, and while a pool may be fine with 4000 ppm of salt, you will likely run into problems with only 100 or so ppm of CYA, and 500+ ppm of CH is cause for concern. At one time before there were separate tests for CYA, TDS was used as a poor proxy, even then it required comparison to other area pools with the same fill water source and maintenance style to be useful.

    Ike
    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
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Welcome!

    Bioguard Optimizer is just Borax. They sell it at a lot of grocery stores, Target, Costco, etc.

    By the same token, Stabilizer 100 is pure Cyanuric acid aka CYA. No different than anyone else's CYA, pool or hardware store.
    Balance Pak 100 is Baking Soda. Grocery store, Costco, wherever. It's under 50/ lb. at Costco in a 14 lb sack.
    Balance Pak 200 is Soda Ash aka Washing Soda. Harder to find than Borax in the laundry aisle, but available.
    Balance Pak 300 Is Calcium Carbonate. Some ice-melt stuff is the same.

    There are two approaches: Get free testing and buy overpriced chemicals OR Invest in a good test kit and only add what your pool needs from the cheapest source possible. My pool hasn't been green in the four years I've owned it, never drained out more than 4" at a time - and that's to get CH below 4 digits! - and has been clear enough to throw a quarter in the deep end and call heads or tails from the deck the whole time. Take your pick.
    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: Newbie to TFP

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Welcome!

    Bioguard Optimizer is just Borax. They sell it at a lot of grocery stores, Target, Costco, etc.

    By the same token, Stabilizer 100 is pure Cyanuric acid aka CYA. No different than anyone else's CYA, pool or hardware store.
    Balance Pak 100 is Baking Soda. Grocery store, Costco, wherever. It's under 50/ lb. at Costco in a 14 lb sack.
    Balance Pak 200 is Soda Ash aka Washing Soda. Harder to find than Borax in the laundry aisle, but available.
    Balance Pak 300 Is Calcium Carbonate. Some ice-melt stuff is the same.

    There are two approaches: Get free testing and buy overpriced chemicals OR Invest in a good test kit and only add what your pool needs from the cheapest source possible. My pool hasn't been green in the four years I've owned it, never drained out more than 4" at a time - and that's to get CH below 4 digits! - and has been clear enough to throw a quarter in the deep end and call heads or tails from the deck the whole time. Take your pick.
    Great post! Always wondered how those magic paks translated. They oversimplify stuff and charge you for the convenience. I saw at the pool store they had big color coded numbers. You tested this, buy everything with a yellow 2 and dump it in. Awesome business model.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
    Pool School + Test Kit + Pool Math = Trouble Free Pool

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    thanks everyone for posting. Couple of questions, and yes I am ordering my TF 100 today. In the meantime, do I stay the course with the tablets etc...? My FC is still showing 0 after shocking with liquid chlorine 2 days ago. Test strips appear that the other numbers are ok (other than CYA which is testing low). once I receive the test kit, ok to stay with the tablets until I deplete the container. Unfortunately I have already invested in those as well as the Bioguard weekly shock. will try to return the other "stuff". speaking of which, once I start following the TFP process, is there then no need for the Bioguard Inhibit and clarifier? I was sold those items as well.

    last question, deals with the TF. I plan on also getting the speedstir but will I also need the borax strips and the XL version? I suspect I will probably play around with thetesting since it is new.

    thanks
    17k gallons, IG pebble, cartridge; TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Chlorine gets used up every day, just from the sun, whether it came from a jug or a puck or a powder or from a saltwater chlorine generator. So you need to get some in there somehow. If you trust those test results, pucks will be okay. Your pH needs to come down and your CYA and FC need to come up and pucks will handle all of that at once.

    Realistically, the answer to how long you can use up those leftovers depends on the test results you get when you have the test kit.

    You only need borate strips if you plan to use borates. A lot of us don't, and have no problems. The XL option is a good idea. Those two reagents are hard to come by if you suddenly run out. The others are common Taylor refills you can get at a pool store in a pinch. So you might as well keep some spares on hand.

    The rule of thumb here is not to add anything to the water if you don't know what it is, don't know what it will do, or you don't need it. What, exactly, is clarifier? Hmmmm. Is that weekly "shock" dichlor or trichlor or Calcium Hypochlorite? Some of that stuff might be useful, but wait until you have test results and decide from knowledge, not from the manufacturer's blind recommendations. If you just keep pouring in stuff, you cause the total dissolved solids to rise, and that's what got you on this expensive roller coaster in the first place.
    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: Newbie to TFP

    The speedstir is a great add-on. I would skip testing or adding borax until maybe 30 days from now. Since you may use quite a bit of the R-0870 and R-0871, the XL option is another add-on which will save you a few bucks.
    Dave S.
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    I'd keep the tablets, they are great when you are vacation or have to leave the pool for a few days. I wouldn't use them for all your chlorination though.

    For the TF-100, get the XL, it has more chlorine test stuff. You should order a refill of the CYA agent too (R-0013?). Speed stir is awesome, I just bought one. I went a year without it though, not required, but a nice thing to have. Intead of swirling with on hand and counting drops with the other, it just spins the water handsfree. Pretty slick. I haven't used borax strips- you only need borax if the Ph needs adjusting.
    45'x12' 17k gal, IG plaster, Pool Pilot Nano+ SWG, 1/2hp Whisperflo pump, PAC-FAB TA-60D sand filter, Raypak 266 heater
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    I received my TF 100 Kit today. First test results:

    FC 3.5
    CC 1
    TC 4.5
    PH 7.5
    TA 100
    CH 200
    CYA 33 (was hard to tell the first time testing in that i was not sure what I would actually see. the actual number could be a little lower. is it ok to use the light of the magnetic spinner?

    I am still using the Bioguard tablets. what is the best way to see off of those? just empty the chlorinator? if so, then how much bleach do most people keep on hand. My pool is direct sun and hot and humid days are approaching? Also, I shocked the pool yesterday evening after some heavy swimming. The water is crystal clear. i am sure that would have an impact on my numbers. I previously posted about the Bioguard Inhibit algacide that the LPS sold me. it is 95% alkyl so I assume no need to use it further (at this point I am not sure i really needed to use it). I have never had an algae or green looking pool. once i am fully off the tablets and following TFP, do not use, correct? The shock was the Bioguard smart shock 63% sodium dichlor.

    Also, silly question, but i read on the site that if you can dispose of the test water in a drain better to do so than back into the pool. so my question relates to the magnetic tablet that goes in the spinner to spin the water. do people just reach in to get it (although then you are touching the test chemicals) or just be careful dumping the water?

    Next steps and suggestions?

    thanks
    17k gallons, IG pebble, cartridge; TF-100 test kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Do not use the light of the Speedstir for the CYA test. You should do that test outside in bright indirect light with the tube at your waist. Pour it back and forth a few times.

    Since you CYA is not too high, just leave the puck in until they are gone. Do not add any more and stop using dichlor or the CYA will get out of control.

    I just put my hand under running water and dump the "pill" into my hand. Only once have I had to dig it out of the disposal

    You should not be seeing CC that high. What does the water look like?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Don't have a speedstir but have a stir plate (same thing, larger scale, I use it to grow yeast! And test my pool ). I use a magnet to hold the stir bar in place while dumping mine came with my stirplate for that purpose but any reasonably strong magnet should work.

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    jblizzle, my water is crystal clear and has no smell. I had many folks swimming on Sunday and shocked it sunday night with 4 cups of Bioguard smart shock. i just opened the pool about 1.5 weeks ago. On 5/7 my FC was 0 according to the LPS and TC was .4. I added 4 gals of liquid chlorine. This was also my first time using the test kit so it is possible my numbers are off slightly. Heavy rain is expected tonight so i am sure my numbers will be interesting tomorrow.

    If understand the CC test, if it does not change back to clear with 1 drop, then your CC will be higher than the range.
    17k gallons, IG pebble, cartridge; TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    For the fas-dpd test (using the 10ml sample) add a scoop of the powder then drop by drop the r0871. Drops X .5 is your FC. Then add 5 drops of r0003. If it stays clear CC is 0. If it turns pink do the r0871 drop by drop again, multiply drops by .5 to get CC.

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    that is what i did. the water turned pink after the 5 drops. I think it turned pink at 4 drops but i added the 5th. then took 2 drops back to clear. now that I am thinking about it, maybe my shock level was too low or i have my chlorinator set to low for the demand?

    thanks.
    17k gallons, IG pebble, cartridge; TF-100 test kit

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Ok, so your CC is 1 then. Just make sure your FC is above your minimum and check it again tomorrow.

    Btw, I've been a reader here for almost 9 years but have just very recently posted anything (primarily about a problem with my heater) so if.anything I say sounds wrong disregard it

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    Re: Newbie to TFP

    Was pouring this am so I did not mess with the pool other than to clear the skimmers. I started thinking, will high levels of pollen increase the CC? This spring has been terrible and I have been cleaning full baskets of pollen and debris falling from the trees 2x /per day for the past week. yellow scum from the pollen has been heavier than usual. that combined with maybe not shocking high enough on Sunday is creating my problem.
    17k gallons, IG pebble, cartridge; TF-100 test kit

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