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Thread: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

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    JesseWV's Avatar
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    Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    My family and I went to a pool party today for my son's soccer team. The home owner was complaining about how he just replaced his DE filter with a sand filter because the pressure would max out after a day or two and need back washed and recharged. My thought was latent algae but the filter was already changed and he was happy with it.

    So then we started talking about the water chemistry. His neighbor happens to work at the local pool store and they test his water for him. He says they use some sort of big machine that makes a lot of noise.

    I told him about drop based testing and offered to test it for him.

    FC: 1
    CC: 1
    pH: 6.8
    CYA: ~35
    TA: 600+ (stopped at 60 drops, still not fully pink)
    CH: not tested
    15,000 gal vinyl

    I told him his FC was too low and we added a jug of 8.25% bleach.

    So after retesting TA, I asked if he added a ton of baking soda or TA up? He said the pool store indeed tells him to add 20lbs of TA up on a regular basis! He also said they've been selling him pH up but the pH isn't moving.

    I've never seen a TA this high. It was hard to even test because the solution was so very gradually changing color with each drop. I'm torn between taking advantage of the low pH to start the aeration process or just telling him to get his pH in range and worry about the TA later.

    So how much aeration is he going to need to get the pH closer to 7.5 with a TA that is so high?


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    --- edit

    This was supposed to be in Testing and Balancing, I have no idea why Tapatalk put it here. Please move. Thanks.
    Moved as requested. Zea3
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    I don't understand why his pH is not high with that high TA. It's weird. If it's accurate, he could start aerating and get the pH to go up and dose it back down with MA and keep aerating as outlined in Lowering Total Alkalinity.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    Tell him to stop adding the TA up immediately as well.

    When did he last add acid to the pool, and are you CERTAIN the pH and TA are accurate? If so, it won't take long for the pH to come up at the TA you show. He needs a kit and the willingness to learn some basics. If he will not do that and wants to continue taking the advice he's been getting, there is little you can do to help. Breaking down TA 600 with MA will take a long time, and water replacement would be more practical. Even in a vinyl pool, this is way too high, especially if he has a heater. If there is any substantial amount of CH, the heater will scale when it's running.
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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    Does he use chlorine pucks? If so that is why they give him so much baking soda (Have you told him that is all alk up is? Did his head explode?). Keeping TA high is a good idea with regular puck use due to their acidity, but 600+ is rediculous. Most likely their super-duper test computer is not reading the TA correctly.

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    He uses trichlor tablets, so I don't think he's ever used acid. I tested the pH and TA twice, the pH was probably closer to 6.6.

    The TA test was very unusual because each drop changed the color very little. The sample spent most of the time being that in between silver/grey color with only a hint of pink for a split second, right where the drop entered the sample before the speedstir mixed it up. I gave up at 60 drops because I didn't see the point in knowing whether it was 600 or 1000.

    He does have calcium in the water thanks to the pool store, but no heater.

    I'm thinking of doing a dilution test to see where the TA is really at to get a handle on how much water replacement will be needed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brushpup View Post
    Tell him to stop adding the TA up immediately as well.

    When did he last add acid to the pool, and are you CERTAIN the pH and TA are accurate? If so, it won't take long for the pH to come up at the TA you show. He needs a kit and the willingness to learn some basics. If he will not do that and wants to continue taking the advice he's been getting, there is little you can do to help. Breaking down TA 600 with MA will take a long time, and water replacement would be more practical. Even in a vinyl pool, this is way too high, especially if he has a heater. If there is any substantial amount of CH, the heater will scale when it's running.
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    When I told him Alkalinity Up was baking soda, we compared how much he was paying at the pool store. He's paying 3x's what he could be paying for baking soda. He was not happy about the price, but even more angry about the fact that they were making him add it in the first place with the level already being so high. Then I asked "Let me guess, they're making you buy calcium too?" "Yep, they sell me big bag of it every year."

    Quote Originally Posted by Donldson View Post
    Does he use chlorine pucks? If so that is why they give him so much baking soda (Have you told him that is all alk up is? Did his head explode?). Keeping TA high is a good idea with regular puck use due to their acidity, but 600+ is rediculous. Most likely their super-duper test computer is not reading the TA correctly.

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    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    If he is using pucks, his CYA should be much higher than 35. Have you had a ton of rain? I would think if there has been water replacement to explain the low CYA, the TA would be much lower as well. The data does not make sense to me.
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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    I agree and that's why I tested it multiple times. He was replacing large quantities of water due to his previous DE filter needing backwashed daily. That explains the low stabilizer. He did say the pool store told him to add 10 lbs of stabilizer, but he hadn't done it yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmhjgh View Post
    If he is using pucks, his CYA should be much higher than 35. Have you had a ton of rain? I would think if there has been water replacement to explain the low CYA, the TA would be much lower as well. The data does not make sense to me.
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    That combination of readings would be very unlikely. The pH would not be so low if the TA really was over 600 ppm.

    If you can't get the TA to fully change color, then something is wrong. The sample should start out green. A silver/grey color indicates something is interfering with the test or the reagents are bad. Does the test work properly on other water? If yes, I would run the test to completion.

    I would also recommend doing a calcium hardness test.

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    I tested a friends pool this spring and the ph was reading below 6.8. I then tested the TA and added the R-0007 then started adding the R-0008 and the solution turned red after 2 drops..no green. Never saw this before but estimated the TA be in the 10's if this is even possible. We added 12 lbs of baking soda and added box after box of borax to bring the ph up. Not sure what they dumped in the pool but they also had copper staining to the liner from the heater which wasn't surprising after reading the numbers. Are you sure you had a green color after adding the R-0007 and R-0008
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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    The sample did turn green, with a hint of blue when first adding the indicator dye. Each drop added slowly changed the green to a grey/silver. Then it slowly started moving from grey/silver to slightly pink at 60 drops.

    I used the same reagents today on my pool and got the same 70 I always get, started at normal green and ended with bright pink.

    Sadly he hasn't got ahold of me so I guess he's decided to stick with the pool store. Oh well.


    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    Quote Originally Posted by JesseWV View Post
    Sadly he hasn't got ahold of me so I guess he's decided to stick with the pool store. Oh well.
    Sticking with the pool store, say it ain't so

    It's unfortunate that all you can do is offer. It's like someone with a gun pointed at their foot and trying to warn them.
    At some point you need to get out of the way and just let them pull the trigger.
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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    I think that if the TA really is that high, it probably is not due to added sodium bicarbonate. If it were from added bicarbonate, then the pH would be higher. Maybe it's from added boric acid (such as Proteam), cyanuric acid or a phosphate based pH lock product.

    If they're selling him a pH up product, and the pH isn't coming up, but the TA is, then it's probably not sodium carbonate. I think that if you got the list of all products added, the case would be easier to diagnose.

    Part of what doesn't make sense is why they keep telling him to raise the TA. Do you know what TA the store is getting?

    Note, that if the TA is not carbonate, then aerating won't do much good. The pH will be difficult to raise due to the high TA. And, anything added to increase the pH would only push the TA higher.

    This is probably a case where a partial drain and refill would be in order, if it can be done safely.

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    JesseWV's Avatar
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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    His son is having a birthday party at the beginning of August so I have one more chance. I'll see what I can find out then. As far as the test results go, they don't actually show the customer the results at all. They just tell the customer what they "need."

    You guys had me second guessing my test results, then I realized I still had about 15ml of his water in my sample collection bottle. I tested the TA one last time, but using a 1/2 sample size of 12.5 ml. This should mean each drop = 20 TA.

    At around 40 drops the change to brighter pink began to be less and less. At 45 I could barely see a difference and even more so as I added a few more. So it took somewhere between 45-50 drops for the color to get to it's brightest pink.

    That puts his TA at 900-1000. Wow.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm trying to understand what you're saying about pH lock products. Am I right in thinking you're suggesting he may have used a pH lock product without properly adjusting the pH first? So he could have added it when his pH was low, and now it's stuck there?
    16k gal, 28'x3.5', Vinyl A/G, 1hp Pentair Dynamo 2-speed Pump, Hayward S160T Sand Filter, Intermatic HB800RCL Digital Timer, Intex 8110 SWG, TF-100 Test Kit, SpeedStir Author: Jesse's Graphical Pool Testing Log

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    Re: Friend pool stored, TA through the roof!

    The phosphate based pH buffer seems to be the most likely cause of the high TA. It won't make the pH impossible to raise, but it will make it difficult.

    It's hard to diagnose the issue without knowing what has been added. I don't think that there is any way that the TA could be that high from bicarbonate with the pH remaining below 7.0

    Note: I'm not sure that phosphate based pH buffers are available in pool style quantities. Something unusual is causing the high TA reading, but I'm really not sure what it is.

    You might want to avoid swimming in the pool until the issue is resolved.

    Perhaps a call to the neighbor who works at the pool store is in order

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