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Thread: Recommendations after opening

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    Recommendations after opening

    I had the pool opened this year, and have resolved to do everything myself from here on out. From what I understand, they threw 2 gallons of 12.5% shock and an unspecified "strong algaecide" into the pool. When it was uncovered it seemed a little green, but is now fairly blue and while not what I would consider sparkling (like when it was in season last year), not cloudy or anything.

    Current TF100 results are:

    FC - 0.5
    CC - 3.0
    pH - 7.2
    TA - 100
    CH - didn't test (can do if required)
    CYA - 23 (best guess, I feel like the test is pretty subjective; this is when I REALLY couldn't see ANY hint of the dot)

    I'm stuck on the next order of operations. I use the poolcalc to show methods to raise pH, raise stabilizer, and then SLAM? Can I do everything sort of at once, or should I do like pH then CYA then SLAM?

    Last year I was pretty happy with the pool store's results (BioGuard dealer), I'm sure I got raked over the coals, but I was just starting to read TFP as I was getting the pool running so I decided to see how it went with their recommendations. They gave me a nice printed sheet with what to add, how long to wait, in what order, etc. I guess that's the expertise I'm looking for now. FWIW I have left over chlorine sticks from last year (I believe they're the Silk Smart Stiks), but I'm not married to using them up if they're going to cause unpredictable results or add extra garbage.

    I'm not desperate to jump in the pool ASAP, the water temp is still only 60 deg and I don't anticipate hot weather here in MA until probably 2016 (at the rate our spring is going). Hence, I'm happy to take my time.

    Thanks in advance for your help, I'm looking forward to playing with my ten thousand gallon chemistry set all summer.

    I know you guys love pics, but I hadn't thought to snap any yet, all I have are last year's swamp to sparkling comparison somewhere...
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    They gave me a nice printed sheet with what to add, how long to wait, in what order, etc. I guess that's the expertise I'm looking for now.
    Really? All volunteers here so I doubt we can accommodate that.

    We can teach you how to manage your pool but we won't manage it for you. We can provide Pool School for you but if you need that printout, I don't think we can be much help.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    Save those sticks. While you do need some CYA, you don't need them to lower the pH any lower than it is. It's perfect for the SLAM right now. Check out Effects of Adding Chemicals down near the bottom of Poolmath and see for yourself what every pound of trichlor will do to the chemistry.

    First thing to do is take a picture of the green mess. We like pictures.
    Second is to check CH. Low CH is no problem, high CH could be. It's better to know if you need to drain some water now, before you start pouring expensive chemicals into the pool.
    Third, adjust CYA. Raising CYA is easy. Just go buy some. The granular is cheapest. Hang it in a sock in front of the return like this:


    Just raise it up by 10 for now.

    Assume your CYA is 30 and look up the shock level and let poolmath tell you how much bleach to add. Pour it in the pool in front of the return jet. Take pictures.

    Start brushing and vacuuming as needed. Test FC only every couple hours and raise FC again. Just follow the SLAM directions explicitly until you pass all three tests. Take pictures.

    Then let FC drop to below 10, run all the tests again, (assuming CYA has had a week to dissolve and mix) and fine tune the rest. Once the water is sparkling clear, adjusting everything else can be done easily in an afternoon.
    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.
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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    I think you should just concentrate on SLAM for now...
    8,000 gallon, in ground, fiberglass pool with a cartridge filter.

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    You got some good info from above, so I'll just add this: I still have some of my Bioguard printouts from a couple of years ago. They're comical. Based on what I know now, those instructions are one step above wishing on a star.

    I promise, if you spend enough time reading and learning, you will know way more than those sheets ever told you (and we'll obviously help you get to that point).
    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: Recommendations after opening

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh View Post
    Really? All volunteers here so I doubt we can accommodate that.

    We can teach you how to manage your pool but we won't manage it for you. We can provide Pool School for you but if you need that printout, I don't think we can be much help.
    I can see how that may have sounded...

    I don't actually expect a printed, bound, personalized glossy printout of exactly what to buy! The aspect I was looking for was an order of operations and perhaps tips to avoid pitfalls. I feel like I've read up on the basics (read all the linked articles here, etc.) and have a rudimentary grasp of what to do for any one issue, but I tend to find out the hard way I should have done X before Y when I'm learning something new.

    I think Richard320's advice will get me started. I didn't see any pH recommendations (except in the poolmath page), is that not as important right now, or is it because it will it creep up over time? From my lawn and reef tank experience it seems like pH is sort of the foundation but admittedly that's for nutrient availability for things I want to keep alive. 7.2 may not be the worst either, not sure.

    Again, appreciate the help, I will keep you apprised of my results.

    As I mentioned, I only have last year's green monster (from sitting for 3 weeks uncovered while waiting for wall repair) transformed to "perfect pool," are you sure you guys want to see good results perpetrated by the pool store?
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    Quote Originally Posted by uwaeve View Post
    I didn't see any pH recommendations (except in the poolmath page), is that not as important right now, or is it because it will it creep up over time?
    The recommendations for pH are on the page linked below, along with all other parameters. This should be the first page to commit to memory. Have your kids (or DS) take a copy of that page and test you on it! The only difference is that when you slam you want the pH to be from 7.2-7.5 to start.

    Pool School link - ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry
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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    OK, I've brushed up and still have some questions about the order, what are related, and what things can be done in parallel.

    For chemicals, today I grabbed some granular stabilizer and 6 gallons of 12.5% chlorine.

    On the above recommendation, I tried to test the CH with the TF100 kit. I'll be honest, I'm not sure what to use for the "threshold" of the solution turning blue. I just kept adding the reagent, and it went from red gradually to purple then deep violet, I wouldn't say I hit blue until 80 drops. It was basically a continuous change for red to blue through various shades of purple. I'm a little skeptical that the actual hardness is that high, but I may be misremembering last year's results or missing a way it could have risen. If it helps, I can re-do the test taking pictures every 10 drops, for instance.

    When I got home tonight I went to vacuum and noticed I was cutting through an almost transparent green (or yellow, looking green against the blue liner) layer on the bottom. Algae? There's a fine yellow dusting of pollen on everything, but I sort of thought pollen floated.

    Vacuumed half the pool before the skeeters won and drove me inside.

    So

    1. First order of business seems to be validating the CH level to see if I actually need to replace 2/3 of my water. Let's assume for the rest of the questions that this is solved. That is, I will fix this first, as suggested above, since otherwise I may be balancing water that I wind up throwing out, wasting time and money.
    2. As I understand it, pH readings will be unreliable during SLAMming, and the fact that I need to add stabilizer will mean my 7.2 will likely drop. Should I bring pH up to 7.5 or 7.8 before the potentially long CYA and SLAM? I guess another way to ask is: is it better to fix pH first or worry about a pH level likely to be less than 7.2 after CYA or SLAM?
    3. As I understand it , CYA test levels may not be reliable for up to a week after adding it. This leads me to think that, since shock levels are dependent on CYA, I shouldn't START the SLAM until I get a stable CYA reading?
    4. Am I potentially making things worse by not getting some chlorine in the pool as I figure the rest out? I understand it's a moving target and signs may point to going through a lot of chlorine fast with low stabilizer and highish CC levels, but is that better than waiting, or will it be just as effective starting in 1-2 weeks?
    5. Perhaps it's a purely academic question, but just so I understand the process, assuming my only issues are 7.2 pH, low CYA, and low FC/high CC: are the two following situations sort of equivalent? SLAM now, with a relatively lower appropriate FC goal due to low CYA, then correcting the CYA while trying to maintain a nominal (2-4 ppm maybe?) FC level. Or raise CYA levels, waiting the week for the reading to stabilize, then SLAMming with a relatively higher appropriate FC level (due to the CYA level). I guess maybe I'm just asking in a roundabout way about the equivalence between the different shock FC goal levels at different CYA levels, and if there is a preference or susceptibility to other problems doing it one way vs. the other.

    As ever, thank you for your help. Materials still needed: Borax and pantyhose.
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    Quote Originally Posted by uwaeve View Post
    OK, I've brushed up and still have some questions about the order, what are related, and what things can be done in parallel.

    For chemicals, today I grabbed some granular stabilizer and 6 gallons of 12.5% chlorine.

    On the above recommendation, I tried to test the CH with the TF100 kit. I'll be honest, I'm not sure what to use for the "threshold" of the solution turning blue. I just kept adding the reagent, and it went from red gradually to purple then deep violet, I wouldn't say I hit blue until 80 drops. It was basically a continuous change for red to blue through various shades of purple. I'm a little skeptical that the actual hardness is that high, but I may be misremembering last year's results or missing a way it could have risen. If it helps, I can re-do the test taking pictures every 10 drops, for instance.

    When I got home tonight I went to vacuum and noticed I was cutting through an almost transparent green (or yellow, looking green against the blue liner) layer on the bottom. Algae? There's a fine yellow dusting of pollen on everything, but I sort of thought pollen floated.

    Vacuumed half the pool before the skeeters won and drove me inside.

    So

    1. First order of business seems to be validating the CH level to see if I actually need to replace 2/3 of my water. Let's assume for the rest of the questions that this is solved. That is, I will fix this first, as suggested above, since otherwise I may be balancing water that I wind up throwing out, wasting time and money.
    Good thinking. Next time you test, use the directions for the 10 ml sample. Post 7 notes. Saves reagent, saves swirling. And mix-mix-mix. Sometimes just another minute will push the purple to blue. Trust me, I know. My CH runs close to four digits! It's also useful to know how hard your water is. If it's 300 out of the tap, you'll never get it down to the generic recommendations.
    2. As I understand it, pH readings will be unreliable during SLAMming, and the fact that I need to add stabilizer will mean my 7.2 will likely drop. Should I bring pH up to 7.5 or 7.8 before the potentially long CYA and SLAM? I guess another way to ask is: is it better to fix pH first or worry about a pH level likely to be less than 7.2 after CYA or SLAM?
    Don't sweat it. Your TA will raise the pH over time. Deal with it after the SLAM.
    3. As I understand it , CYA test levels may not be reliable for up to a week after adding it. This leads me to think that, since shock levels are dependent on CYA, I shouldn't START the SLAM until I get a stable CYA reading?
    No. Your first dose could be based on zero CYA, but if your pool is green, it won't last long. Just assume the CYA you added is already dissolved and dose accordingly.
    4. Am I potentially making things worse by not getting some chlorine in the pool as I figure the rest out? I understand it's a moving target and signs may point to going through a lot of chlorine fast with low stabilizer and highish CC levels, but is that better than waiting, or will it be just as effective starting in 1-2 weeks?
    You could have the bleach in there now, killing algae! And the sun won't be attacking it overnight, so it can give its all to killing algae!
    5. Perhaps it's a purely academic question, but just so I understand the process, assuming my only issues are 7.2 pH, low CYA, and low FC/high CC: are the two following situations sort of equivalent? SLAM now, with a relatively lower appropriate FC goal due to low CYA, then correcting the CYA while trying to maintain a nominal (2-4 ppm maybe?) FC level. Or raise CYA levels, waiting the week for the reading to stabilize, then SLAMming with a relatively higher appropriate FC level (due to the CYA level). I guess maybe I'm just asking in a roundabout way about the equivalence between the different shock FC goal levels at different CYA levels, and if there is a preference or susceptibility to other problems doing it one way vs. the other.

    As ever, thank you for your help. Materials still needed: Borax and pantyhose.
    Assume CYA is there and Go! For whatever reason, it starts to work before it actually registers well. And an old tube sock will work if you don't have a nylon handy.
    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: Recommendations after opening

    I would leave the pH alone. Add the CYA and get to SLAM'ing the pool.
    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: Recommendations after opening

    I see replies above but haven't digested them, I just wanted to report some hardness findings before I fell into bed.

    Dug out the poolstore test from last year, the initial test of the truck-delivered water that filled my empty pool after the wall repair. I'm assuming their report of "total hardness" is the calcium hardness, as I didn't see any other line item pertaining to either calcium or hardness.

    06/29/2013 - pool store reported total hardness 73, gave me 5 lbs of "Balance Pak 300" to "remedy."
    07/02/2013 - TF100 CH reports 140
    07/18/2013 - TF100 CH reports 120

    (those are the only 3 measurements I have close at hand, perhaps at all, for 2013)

    05/13/2014 - pool opened
    05/16/2014 - TF100 CH reports 800+

    OK, the science began.

    I'm using a glass from the cupboard to sample, perhaps it's contaminating, so I grab pool water collected directly in measurement cylinder gathered from 1 ft below surface. Still 800 or so, and very very gradually turns colors continuously as I add drops, with vigorous mixing after each drop.
    Double-check test kit instructions. "Hm, doesn't explicitly say MIX after each drop of the last reagent, maybe (counterintuitively) that makes a difference." Tested without mixing after each drop of final reagent: still 800.
    "Hey, the pool store test did mention a copper level of 0.3 (ppm?), let's try the "if you have copper" instructions for the TF100 CH test, maybe it's really nonlinear and those 2 drops make all the difference." Still 800.
    "Maybe the reagents aren't that great anymore, what's some control water I can use?"
    Test kitchen tap: 120, flips directly from red to blue after 12th drop, similar to what I remember from last year. Not a perfect control, but the behavior shows it's not inconclusive and my test kit is likely working as intended.
    "Hm, we have a water treatment system the outside tap is not hooked to, and I DID have to fill somewhat heavily for the water displaced by snow this winter."
    Tested hose bib at poolside: 130.

    All to report for tonight, I plan to call the place that opened it again and ensure they added only the shock and algaecide.

    Is there anything else anyone can think of that could cause either spuriously high results or actually add that much hardness to the water?

    edit: OK, I read the above and I half understand, the test will be repeating it back tomorrow coherently. I absolutely missed the CH "Extended Director's Cut Special Edition" notes, I will retest with those in mind. Not tonight, though, it's 1:30 and as fun as this snipe hunt is, I need some rack time before work.
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    Did you use Cal Hypo last year to chlorinate your pool?
    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: Recommendations after opening

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    Did you use Cal Hypo last year to chlorinate your pool?
    No, I chlorinated all last summer with BioGuard Silk Smart Stiks, which the MSDS tells me are trichlor, with <5% "TRADE SECRET!"

    Based on the pool math calculator, to go from 140 to 800 in my pool would have required the addition of 65 pounds of ice melt. I'm not against a partial drain and refill or another truck of water, but am very against doing it every year, as I'm on a well (slow going, balancing with other water needs) and the water delivery last year was $215. Hence, I'm really trying to figure out what in the **** could cause this. I'll test again tonight using the extended instructions for the CH test, and I have a sample with me that I'll have tested at the local pool store (gasp) to see a) what the CH turns out to be and b) what miracle product they will try to sell me to fix it.

    emot-science.gif

    Reading more about the extended testing instructions as well as Taylor's literature makes me wonder if the "aggressive algaecide" they dumped is causing test interference, as I know algaecides can be copper-based. I should know more today, as the pool store printout I got last year shows the copper level (thus it stands to reason it will show it again for comparison), and I will try the TF100 CH testing again but see if the sequestration suggestion helps.

    I will be M.A.H. if they've blasted a bunch of copper into my nice pool water, but the only person to blame is myself for not demanding to know what every gram of substance they were putting in my pool was. This may be $215 lesson.
    Last edited by uwaeve; 05-16-2014 at 08:37 AM. Reason: clarity
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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    Re: Recommendations after opening

    Just an update as it's only polite when people are so helpful here.

    I think I was getting wrapped around the axle about order of operations or interactions, so I decided to take advice and add some stabilizer and just SLAM it, which worked as everyone suspected. After SLAMing, I have gotten pH readings of around 7.5, and a week after adding the stabilizer the CYA levels were as expected.

    I still haven't solved my mystery CH numbers, even after carefully following the extended test kit directions (thanks for the pointer to those, it's nice to have that extra information). However, all other parameters seem to be relatively good and I'm not seeing any adverse effects that would lead me to worry about the CH at this point, so I'm choosing to ignore it. It's likely either operator error or old reagents, which I'm too cheap to replace just to find out the answer, I can wait until I reorder the full kit to replace reagents.

    Again, thank you for the timely and enthusiastic advice. Basically happy to report the pool is serving us well despite being apparently full of ice melt.
    10K gal, AG vinyl, 1.5 HP Sta-Rite pump, Sta-Rite PLD50 DE filter, TF100 test kit, installed 1996ish

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