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Thread: test results! Advice needed!

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    test results! Advice needed!

    Hi, thank you in advance for your help! We just purchased our home and are undergoing the daunting task of learning about taking care of a pool this summer.

    We opened the pool about a month ago and it was completely green. We followed a lot of your advice and finally got it clear and blue (after a lot of $$ on chemicals). However, we were putting tons of shock in it and the chlorine wasn't going up. (The combined chlorine was staying around .1). So, we had the nitrates and phosphates tested at a pool store.

    Nitrates - 20ppm at one store and 30ppm at another store
    Phosphates - 1000

    We followed the pool store's instructions and put in a bottle and a half of the stuff to remove phosphates. It has been about 5 days and the phosphates are still at 1000. The pool store said to let the pool go (no shocking) for a week (so another 2-3 days). Then backwash and bring a sample in. That should clear up the phosphates, and we would start shocking it again at that point. They also said we will probably have to partially drain/refill the pool b/c of the nitrates.

    Here are the current test results for the water:
    free chlorine - .04
    total chlorine - .18
    combined chlorine - .14
    PH - 6.8
    hardness - 169
    alkalinity - 53
    cyanuric acid - 59
    copper - .1
    iron - 0
    borate - 1
    total dissolved solids - 720

    Currently we were using the shock powder (Anthony and Sylvan brand). But, I was reading that we should use bleach (or liquid chlorine) so we don't raise our CYA any higher.

    I know we need to get our alkalinity up. We will start on that tonight.

    If there is any other advice, or direction you can give us, we would be soooo greatful!!!

    Thanks!
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Well, you missed a few of the basic tenets of our advice: Only add what your pool needs and not what someone wants to sell you.

    Phosphates and Nitrates and completely meaningless and just a way for the store to line their pockets.

    If you want to take control, cut ties with the pool store, invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits, and spend some time learning the chemistry for yourself.

    How much Pool School have you read? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    What you need to do to clear up your pool is simply follow the SLAM Process and that requires the use of a good test kit.

    And ignore the TA, that is the lowest priority ... focus on the SLAM process.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    At first, I stopped reading when you said you followed a lot of our advice and got your water clear and blue. Then I read that you spent a lot of$$$ on chemicals. Then is saw your test results and I said to myself, AHA you've been Leslied. They have never given an accurate cya test. They told me mine was 40 for months. Then I finally woke up to find tfpc and got my own test kit and found my cya was actually over 340! Now,I only go to Leslie's to get a part I need today!! No wait!! I never need anything today to spend that much more than what I can find that part on line for half what I would have paid Leslie's for it.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    yes, I know! We just ordered a test kit yesterday - so it should be here soon! We felt like we had to start somewhere with not knowing a single thing about pools. But, we are learning a lot that we should/shouldn't have done in the last month or so. This forum is so helpful.

    I'm very confused about the phosphates and nitrates though. I thought they caused a problem b/c they don't allow you to hold chlorine - so you keep having to add a lot more than you would have. Isn't lowering the phosphates a good thing? We were putting in 5-6lbs of shock every day for several days and the chlorine wasn't going up. Pool store said it was b/c of the high phosphates and nitrates. Is that inaccurate?

    Thank you! We are trying our best to understand all this. It is just so much more than we thought it would be!
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    The easiest way to lower the effect of phosphates is to kill the algae with as much chlorine as it takes to kill them all and keep them from coming back using bleach or some other liquid chlorine. And keep your cya at a level too keep as much of the fc as you can from being burned up by the sun. Like I said leslied or lescompetent -- which ever way you want to say it.
    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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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    Pool store said it was b/c of the high phosphates and nitrates. Is that inaccurate?
    Basically, it is complete nonsense.

    Imagine a room full of your favorite foods free for the taking and you and all your friends are in there having a feast. Then all the oxygen is removed from the room. How much of that food is going to be consumed? How many people will still be alive?

    Phosphates are algae food. But, adequate chlorine will not allow algae to live ... so who cares how much food there is?

    You need to stop using all the powders and solid chlorine as they all have side-effects and stick to liquid chlorine. I fear that you CYA may already be WAY too high due to all the "shock" you have been adding. You need to realize that the required FC level is a function of your CYA level as shown in the FC/CYA Chart.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Phosphates is food for algae. If you keep your FC correct, there won't be any algae, so phosphates won't matter. The cause for FC to not hold as it should is algae, but again if you have your pool properly balanced, there will never be any algae.

    Although I doubt it is accurate, if the FC is .4 and the TC is .18, that gives you a CC of .14, which may indicate you have a small algae bloom in the pool. The way to test is to perform the OCLT, but you are going to need that test kit before you can do it accurately.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...loss-test-oclt

    Whatever you do, do NOT put anymore of that shock in the pool. If the CYA test is right (probably isn't, this is one the pool stores get wrong most of all), you are already at the far top end of your range and adding more is going to cause problems in the future.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    As timerguy said above, you probably have a cya number up over 100 and not the 59 the store is telling you. They don't tell you that most of the powders and the chlorine pucks add cya. It is CYA that hampers chlorine. So you were adding 5 - 6lbs of shock every day? My guess is that shock was a powder and contained stabilizer (cya)... again, the more cya the less effective chlorine is.

    Also you chlorine numbers confuse me. You say you have .04 chlorine? Is that .04ppm or another measure that translates to 4ppm? So if your Free Chlorine is 4 and your Combined Chlorine is 14 then the chlorine is eating something..

    Remember CC is bad... FC is good.

    My pool is now healthy and my readings are as follows...

    PH 7.5
    TA 100
    CYA 40
    FC 4
    CC 0
    TC 4

    Every few days my test may show a .5ppm of combined chlorine. If it ever creeps up I will know it is time to SLAM it and totally kill what ever got into the water. Because I plan on maintaining a CYA of 30 to 40 I will not have to use nearly as much liquid chlorine to achieve the SLAM level and hold it than someone else with a CYA level of 100.

    This is my first advice vs asking questions so please other users proof read me... LOL
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    Vinyl AG Aqua Leader Influence 18' x 54" 7,650 Gallon, Hayward SwimPro CC1500 Cartridge Filter 100gpm w/ 2.0HP Hayward SP150Z1ESC Pump, Installed May 2013.

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Josworth, the only comment I have is that you should "never" have to go up to SLAM levels. Properly maintained, your pool should stay algae free year to year. And, a CC of .5 is nothing to worry about. If I were to see that on my tests, I would just raise the FC up a little, and wait for a sunny day, CC all gone.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieH View Post
    Josworth, the only comment I have is that you should "never" have to go up to SLAM levels. Properly maintained, your pool should stay algae free year to year. And, a CC of .5 is nothing to worry about. If I were to see that on my tests, I would just raise the FC up a little, and wait for a sunny day, CC all gone.
    Sorry I must have said it wrong.. Yes I know that a .5 CC is fine. From what I understand is if CC keeps creeping up, then it is an indication that something is up, and a SLAM will kill it. I didn't mean you need to slam every time CC moves from 0. Sorry if it sounded like that.
    _________________________________

    Vinyl AG Aqua Leader Influence 18' x 54" 7,650 Gallon, Hayward SwimPro CC1500 Cartridge Filter 100gpm w/ 2.0HP Hayward SP150Z1ESC Pump, Installed May 2013.

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Some of us have gone years without SLAMing. It can be done! I don't know if I count, because I recently replastered so I have all new water.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    So, should we wait until we get the testing kit to check our cya level before we SLAM? I'm assuming we shouldn't trust the results we have from the pool store...
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    My opinion is yes for two reasons - you need to have an ACCURATE CYA reading, and you need a kit that can test the FC at the levels required to SLAM.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    While waiting, you can continue to add 1-2 bottles of bleach every evening.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    okay - thanks!
    I'm just curious - is there ever a point that the phosphates/nitrates get to that you recommend taking some kind of action? I guess phosphates can go away on their own, but nitrates never do.

    Also, this isn't related, but I'm still trying to understand how liquid chlorine works. I think I read that you have to add it every day? Does that mean you are running tests on your water every day?
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by bbingraham View Post
    okay - thanks!
    I'm just curious - is there ever a point that the phosphates/nitrates get to that you recommend taking some kind of action? I guess phosphates can go away on their own, but nitrates never do.
    I don't know. I've never had mine tested!

    Also, this isn't related, but I'm still trying to understand how liquid chlorine works. I think I read that you have to add it every day? Does that mean you are running tests on your water every day?
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it! Given time, you'll know your pool chemistry intimately, and on busy days you can just dash out and dump the usual amount in and play catch up tomorrow. But not until you get to the point where you know what your results will be before you run the tests.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...-care-schedule
    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: test results! Advice needed!

    You'll never have to worry about them. I have used this method since my pool went up last year. I have never added anything to the pool except bleach and borax. I have the pool dialed in so that I know my FC floor is 4 and I try to keep at 7. I know from pool math that 1 cup of 12.5% chlorine adds .5 FC to my pool water volume. So daily I do a chlorine test and if the the is 6 I add 2 cups. 5.5 means 3 cups. It is that simple. No magic pool store chemicals. Takes less than 5 minutes to do, and that is only because I have a long walk back and forth to the pool. On heavy swim days I'll check again at the end of the day and add any necessary chlorine. I'll test ph every few days. I'll run the full set of tests on the weekends, mainly because they are fun to do and the kids like to watch! It is cheap and easy and you will be trouble free following what is taught here.
    24 foot 54 inch AGP, 14.5k gallons, 1hp pump, 120 sq foot cartridge filter

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    Okay, we just got our Taylor testing kit and were able to run tests on the water. The tests seemed pretty similar to the computerized tests that Anthony and Sylvan ran last week. I just have a few questions:

    1. We are just confused about the chlorine. For one thing, you can't be as precise with the home tests as you can with the computerized pool tests, right? A&S tests results were (FC - .04, TC - .18, CC - .14). When we did our tests, we got FC - 1, CC - 1, TC - 2. How can we get our tests to be more accurate?

    2. Also, can someone just give me a quick review of what the different chlorine parts mean? Is the CC the bad chlorine? Is the TC ever significant, or are we just mainly looking at FC and CC (and trying to eliminate the CC?).

    3. And, third, if our test results are somewhere in between the A&S tests and the ones we did above, do we actually need to SLAM the pool first (get it up to a FC of 18 since our CYA was about 45). Or, can we just get our chlorine up to the target (3-5)?

    Thank you so much!
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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    Re: test results! Advice needed!

    1) Use a 25 ml sample, then you'll be accurate to .2 parts per million. Which is more than accurate enough for our purposes, which is calculating a dosage of bleach or baking soda or whatever. I won't go into a lengthy explanation of significant figures and doubtful digits because that took three lectures in college chemistry, but consider this: do you know to within two decimal places exactly how much water is in your pool, your pipes, and your filter at this instant? Is it really 26,800 gallons, or is it maybe 26, 758.76 gallons? And how much evaporated between the time you took the sample and when you added the chemicals? You don't. And it doesn't really matter.

    Also, pool store testing tends to be rushed and inaccurate. A few days ago someone with a fresh fillup in a brand new pool was told he had 59 CYA by the pool store. He hadn't added any yet. Hmmm...

    2) Free Chlorine is the good stuff, ready to spring into action and oxidize organic matter like algae spores and dead skin cells and snot. Combined chlorine is sort of half-way oxidized stuff. CC is the smell you associate with a public pool. Total Chlorine is the two combined. I can't think of where I have ever used TC. Some test kits give one reading instantly, which is FC, and then after a minute or so, change colors and give TC. You have to do the math to get CC. With a FAS-DPD test, it will never come up.

    3) You could add bleach to get the FC level to the recommended level for your CYA level. Then give it an hour to mix, maybe even brush a little to ensure it's well-dispersed, and check it again. If CC is above .5, you need to SLAM. If it isn't above .5 CC, then test it again after the sun goes down and again in the morning. If you lost less than 1 FC overnight without the sun, nothing's growing and a SLAM isn't needed. It's called the Overnight Loss Test. If you did lose more than 1 FC overnight, then you do need to SLAM.
    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: test results! Advice needed!

    How do I change the chlorine test using a 25ml tube? Do I multiply the drops by .2 (instead of .5). Then, how many drops of R0003 do I put in (12?).
    Leola, PA; 26,800 gallon inground pool; DE filter; vinyl liner

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