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Thread: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

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    Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    We have had our pool now for three seasons. We had the sand in our filter replaced last fall. When I opened the pool about 4 weeks ago, I got it clear and reasonably balanced without much hassle. I thought things were looking good. One of the issues was high alkalinity, so I put about 4 pints of muriatic acid into my pool (vinyl,about 20k gallons). The next day, the water became very cloudy. I introduced no other chemical into the water, and the pump was running.

    Since then, I have had the water tested a few times and tried a few different suggestions from my pool store people. The last water test yielded the following result 5 days ago: TC 1.6, FC 0, pH 7.1, TA 188, Hardness 242, CYA 113. Salt level was 3400. I have an Intellichlor salt generator. The chlorine level tends to stay under/around 1 for both TC and FC.

    I have tried to add supplemental chlorine through tabs and granular; I have tried all natural clarifier; I have tried the Angry Egg product recommended by my local pool dealer. I backwash the filter regularly as well. Nothing seems to be helping get the water clear again. It's a little frustrating because our neighbor has the EXACT same pool and system, and their water is perfectly clear and all they do is add salt to their water!

    I am hoping someone in this forum can point me in the right direction if you've had similar experiences. The only thing that I did when the water was clear was add the muriatic acid to try to lower the Alkalinity, and the water hasn't been the same. I run the pump 24/7 these days and I've only seen small improvements (i.e. I can sort-of see the liner pattern in the shallow ends, and sort-of see the main drains which are in the deep water (5.5')

    Should I just be patient? Will the filter eventually clear it up? Keep adding stuff? If so, what stuff?

    Thanks in advance for anyone who can point me in the right direction!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Welcome to TFP!

    You problem is almost certainly centered around your high CYA level. Worse, you are continuing to use products (trichlor tablets and granular dichlor) which raise CYA even higher. With CYA over 100 it is nearly impossible to ever kill of all of the algae. With CYA that high your FC level is not even remotely close to acceptable for routine operation let alone at a level for killing off algae.

    I strongly recommend replacing water to get CYA down to something more reasonable, preferably around 50 or 60.

    I am also very suspicious of test results that look like that, presumably something digital. What are you using to get those test results?
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Welcome!

    Jason already nailed it. There are three problems:


    • "I have had the water tested a few times and tried a few different suggestions from my pool store people." They're interested in selling products, just like anyone else in retail, not necessarily giving the best advice.
    • "TC 1.6, FC 0" That means you have no active chlorine and a whole lot of Combined Chlorine, which is that nasty stuff that most people know as "pool smell." It's sort of like Carbon Monoxide; the noxious product of incomplete oxidation. The chlorine is overwhelmed so bad it can't finish the job.
    • "CYA 113" That means the water is overstabilized. You need some stabilizer, or your SWG would run 100% all day long and never catch up. But too much means there's no unstabilized, active chlorine to go after algae spores and various viruses and bacteria it's also supposed to kill.


    I'm presuming you want a quick fix? In order:

    1. Order a proper test kit. You can study the article in pool school, or if you want to cut straight to the chase, go to http://tftestkits.net/TF-100-Test-Kit-p4.html and order a TF100. Better get the XL option now, so you don't run out in the middle of clearing the pool.
    2. Start draining and refilling your pool. You can't empty it all out, lest it collapse or cause the liner to wrinkle and shift. You'll need to leave at least a foot of water in the pool. You'll probably need to replace about 2/3 of it. I know, it's a tough nut to swallow, but there it is. With the high CYA, it will be virtually impossible to clear. You might as well do it now, instead of fighting a swamp all season long pouring hundreds of dollars of ineffective potions and powders into the water and never getting it clean and sparkling.
    3. Get yourself a cold drink and settle in to study Pool School a bit. Specifically, the get started threads on the first page, and the SLAM on the How-to page. The SLAM article will likely contain unfamiliar terms and has some links to other pages. Be sure to at least skim them.


    Here's some lighter reading, when pool school gets to be too much. These pools started off looking a whole lot worse than yours, but you'll end up like that if you don't take care of things quick.

    First Time Shocking with Bleach
    Pretty black pool
    A little encouragement for those with algae and new to BBB
    Frog Filled Green Swamp to Oasis---Work in Progress!!!
    Before and After Pool Pics
    Before and after!
    A final picture set of how well the BBB method works!
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    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: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    ^^^^ what those guys said.

    Especially the part RIchard said about the Pool Store being in business to sell you stuff.... whether you need it or not.
    Divin Dave,
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Thank you very much. I'll start the process of replacing the water ASAP. Hopefully it will do the trick!

    - - - Updated - - -

    And I'll get myself a good, reliable test kit.

    I appreciate all the advice!

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Sorry, one other question: how does water become overstabilized? Too many chemicals? Wrong kind of chemicals?

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Quote Originally Posted by soccerguy1971 View Post
    Sorry, one other question: how does water become overstabilized? Too many chemicals? Wrong kind of chemicals?
    Yes.

    Chlorine pucks and sticks add CYA, and so do 2 of the 3 types of common "shock" powders the pool stores push.
    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: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    "Stabilizer" is a functional name for the chemical cyanuric acid, abbreviated CYA. CYA stabilizes chlorine against sunlight, i.e. it helps prevent sunlight from using up all of your chlorine.

    A couple of different common pool chemicals add CYA. The most common a trichlor tablets, the common chlorine tablet. Most granular "shock" contains dichlor, which also contains CYA. Finally, the variously named stabilizer/conditioner/cyanuric acid also raises CYA. What commonly happens is that people use trichlor or dichlor to add chlorine, without being aware that they also add CYA.
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    I drained a little over half the water and replaced it. The pump has been running for about 24 hours since it's been refilled. I'm waiting for my new test kit to arrive, but using a test strip it seems my stabilizer and alkalinity levels have dropped to normal levels, but my Total Chlorine (over 1.0) is still higher than the FC. Anything I should do? Just wait for new test kit to arrive and figure it all out there?

    The appearance of the water is improved since replacing the water. It is clearer but still hazy.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Once the CYA level is down to something reasonable it is time to SLAM the pool. There are instructions in the How To section of Pool School.
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Then the bad news is once you get your chemistry under control it'll be time to add some cya back in to get it up to the 70-80 recommended for swg pools.
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Okay, that's what I think too.

    If the FC Shock level on the chart says 28, what does that mean? Does it mean raise the FC level to 28? Or does it mean something else? Trying to determine how many gallons of liquid chlorine I'll need for 17000 gallons and CYA probably around 50-60.

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Once you get your chemistry correct and your swg dialed in properly, you shouldn't have to shock your pool.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Quote Originally Posted by soccerguy1971 View Post
    Okay, that's what I think too.

    If the FC Shock level on the chart says 28, what does that mean? Does it mean raise the FC level to 28? Or does it mean something else? Trying to determine how many gallons of liquid chlorine I'll need for 17000 gallons and CYA probably around 50-60.
    If the FC Shock level on the chart says 28 then that means you need to raise the FC level to 28 and maintain it at 28 or slightly above as long as it takes to SLAM the pool. Using Pool Math, see the link in my signature, it calculates that it will take a little over 5 gallons of 8.25% bleach to raise the FC 28 ppm for 17,000 gallons of water. You will need a lot more bleach than this to clear the pool to complete the SLAM process.

    Make sure you understand the SLAM process, see the link in my signature. Most likely your pool did not turn green because the SWG was making just enough chlorine to keep the water cloudy but not green.
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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    So I've added about 7 gallons of Sodium Hypochlorite over the past 12 hours. I'm not showing any FC at all on the test strip, even when I dip it into the pool right after dumping in the liquid. I realize the test strips are what they are, so when the new test arrives tomorrow I'll be able to have a more accurate assessment of what's going on in the water. The water does look like it is clearing. After I pour the SH into the water, it does appear there is some kind of reaction happening. Should I be concerned that it doesn't show any FC? Is it okay to add CYA to raise stability?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Quote Originally Posted by soccerguy1971 View Post
    So I've added about 7 gallons of Sodium Hypochlorite over the past 12 hours. I'm not showing any FC at all on the test strip, even when I dip it into the pool right after dumping in the liquid. I realize the test strips are what they are, so when the new test arrives tomorrow I'll be able to have a more accurate assessment of what's going on in the water. The water does look like it is clearing. After I pour the SH into the water, it does appear there is some kind of reaction happening. Should I be concerned that it doesn't show any FC? Is it okay to add CYA to raise stability?

    Thanks.
    Really high FC can actually bleach out the dyes on test strips. I wouldn't trust any of the readings right now. If CYA is already good and you add more, you'll be kicking yourself when you have to drain again.
    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: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Okay, great good to know about the high FC reading bleaching out the dye on the strip. Didn't know that was possible.

    Like I said, I think I'm on the right track as water appears to be clearing nicely.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Got my TF-100 test kit and performed tests. Here are the results:
    Ph=6.8-7.2 (color of red was somewhere in that range)
    CYA= 60
    TA=110-120
    FC= .5 or less
    CC= 3-3.5

    I have poured a total of about 10 gallons of liquid chlorine into the water and the clarity is ALOT better. Still a little hazy, but can see pattern on liner all over the pool.

    What's the next step? More shock? Add enough stabilizer to raise CYA? Raise Ph a little? Drop the TA down?

    Please advise. Thanks.

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    Re: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool



    Clarity is only one of the stop points on the SLAM. The second one is CC is less than .5. You're still way above that.

    Chlorine is an oxidizer. Think of it as flameless combustion. Fire oxidizes wood. Chlorine oxidizes organic wastes. Combined chlorine is like charcoal - partially burned up stuff. Keep it in the fire long enough, and it will eventually burn up.

    Reread the SLAM directions again and again until you feel like It works! There's just no shortcuts.

    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: Need help with hazy water in Salt generator pool

    Retested tonight after adding another 3 gallons of liquid chlorine: CC 1.5 FC 1.0.

    I'm getting there! Water is clearer today as well.

    Seem to be in a good spot now.

    I'll follow SLAM directions and add stabilizer hopefully tomorrow and then we should be good to go for the weekend!

    Thanks for all the advice.

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