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Thread: Trying to get chemistry right

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Trying to get chemistry right

    I am new to the forum and just went through pumping out about 3' of pool water, at the recommendation of the local pool store, to reduce CYA, Nitrates and Calcium. I want to make sure I am on the right track to avid having to pump out the pool again so I bought a TF-100 test kit and found/joined this forum.

    My most recent (self) test results after removing and replacing pool water are as follows:
    PH 7.5
    FC 4.5
    CC 0
    TA 80
    CH 250
    CYA 50

    Prior to removing and replacing pool water, based on a test at Leslie's, CYA was 100 (had been higher in the past) and CH was somewhere between 350 and 400 and Nitrates were 30 (I don't know it that was ppm or ppb but was told it was bad). The rest of the readings were OK.

    TA: After removing/replacing the water I added a total of 3.5 gallons of muriatic acid based on TA readings from another test kit which listed ideal readings for TA at 80-100. The newly acquired TF-100 kit lists ideal for a chlorine pool at 100-120. Do I need to adjust this or will it eventually rise on its own? Almost every time I went to the pool store to have a test run I ended up having to add Muriatic Acid, so something happens on its own to lower the PH.

    If I need to raise the TA is Arm and Hammer baking soda OK to use?

    FC: When I refilled the pool it was pretty cloudy so I initially added muriatic acid to raise the PH and then when it got toward the correct level used 2 pounds of Leslie's Power Powder Plus to shock it and ran the pump for 2 days straight. I then replaced the filter cartridges with new cartridges and monitored the FC level. I had the auto chlorinator turned off since I didn't want to add too much chlorine due to the pump running 48 hours straight. As the chlorine level from the shock dropped and I set the pump to the normal schedule I turned the auto chlorinator on.

    CYA: I use 3" tri-chlor chlorine tablets (most recently punched at Leslie's) in the Pentair 320 auto chlorinator and, at the recommendation of the Leslie's to reduce the increase of CYA, a non-chlorine shock call Fresh N' Clear. However, our chlorine levels fluctuated all over the place from 0 to over 5 and we ended up with algae. So they recommended using their Power Powder Plus whenever the FC got to 0.

    Re the auto chlorinator, I replaced the check valve in the bottom, made sure it was not clogged and still had the problem with chlorine levels all over the place. We set the knob from 3 to 5 and never could get it consistent this summer It worked fine the last 2 years. Could the inconsistent FC have had something to do with the high CYA levels we had? At the suggestion of the pool store I replaced the lower hose to the auto chlorinator with a longer hose that lets water in to the top of the cylinder rather than filling from the bottom.

    I know the forum lists liquid bleach as a way to go, but the guy who installed my pool recommended against it since it was not stabilized and would lead to inconsistent chlorine levels. Since I have had that lately anyway, is the liquid bleach the way to go and if so, how do I make the transition?

    Weekly treatments: I add 1 pound of shock (Fresh N' Clear) on Sunday mornings and 2.5 capfuls of Pool Perfect + PhosFree on Tuesday mornings. The PhosFree keeps our phosphates level in check. It had been over 3000 and using the PhosFree keeps it at 0 (we have a bunch of Crepe Myrtles in our yard that supposedly contribute to that high level).

    Nitrates: I don't know where it came from how to test for nitrates, but we don't use any fertilizer near the pool.

    Pump Schedule: I run the pump at the following times:

    8am - 12pm 3000 RPMs (booster pump with Polaris runs from 8am - 11 am)
    12pm - 8pm 2000 RPMs
    8pm - 10pm 700 RPMs

    In the past I had it running at 450 RPMs from 12pm to 4pm and then at 2000 RPMs from 4pm to 6pm but found that the auto chlorinator would not fill with water unless the pump ran at at least 1400 RPMs.


    18,000 gallons Chlorine Pool
    AG
    Pebble
    Pentair 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump
    Polaris 280 with Polaris booster pump
    Installed 2012
    TF-100 test kit
    Pentair/Rainbow 320 auto chlorinator

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    mrcarcrazy's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    I am new to the forum and just went through pumping out about 3' of pool water, at the recommendation of the local pool store, to reduce CYA, Nitrates and Calcium. I want to make sure I am on the right track to avid having to pump out the pool again so I bought a TF-100 test kit and found/joined this forum.

    My most recent (self) test results after removing and replacing pool water are as follows:
    PH 7.5
    FC 4.5
    CC 0
    TA 80
    CH 250
    CYA 50
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    Prior to removing and replacing pool water, based on a test at Leslie's, CYA was 100 (had been higher in the past) and CH was somewhere between 350 and 400 and Nitrates were 30 (I don't know it that was ppm or ppb but was told it was bad). The rest of the readings were OK.

    TA: After removing/replacing the water I added a total of 3.5 gallons of muriatic acid based on TA readings from another test kit which listed ideal readings for TA at 80-100. The newly acquired TF-100 kit lists ideal for a chlorine pool at 100-120. Do I need to adjust this or will it eventually rise on its own? Almost every time I went to the pool store to have a test run I ended up having to add Muriatic Acid, so something happens on its own to lower the PH.

    If I need to raise the TA is Arm and Hammer baking soda OK to use?
    Yes, Personally I'd look at the CSI. and not mess with the TA unless you need to to keep the CSI within range. My TA is 70 right now...I keep an eye on it, but I don't get too worked up. If it drops add some Arm and hammer, easy peasy. The pool math tab above is possibly the best thing since sliced bread. It will tell you how much of anything to add for whatever you're trying to achieve.
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    FC: When I refilled the pool it was pretty cloudy so I initially added muriatic acid to raise the PH and then when it got toward the correct level used 2 pounds of Leslie's Power Powder Plus to shock it and ran the pump for 2 days straight. I then replaced the filter cartridges with new cartridges and monitored the FC level. I had the auto chlorinator turned off since I didn't want to add too much chlorine due to the pump running 48 hours straight. As the chlorine level from the shock dropped and I set the pump to the normal schedule I turned the auto chlorinator on.
    Couple things - Acid Lowers the pH
    - Auto chlorinator...what kind of chlorine does it use?
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...nate-your-pool
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    CYA: I use 3" tri-chlor chlorine tablets (most recently punched at Leslie's) in the Pentair 320 auto chlorinator and, at the recommendation of the Leslie's to reduce the increase of CYA, a non-chlorine shock call Fresh N' Clear. However, our chlorine levels fluctuated all over the place from 0 to over 5 and we ended up with algae. So they recommended using their Power Powder Plus whenever the FC got to 0.
    Please read the above link. - those tabs will keep raising your CYA. If I were you, I would change to liquid chlorination or get a SWG.
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    Re the auto chlorinator, I replaced the check valve in the bottom, made sure it was not clogged and still had the problem with chlorine levels all over the place. We set the knob from 3 to 5 and never could get it consistent this summer It worked fine the last 2 years. Could the inconsistent FC have had something to do with the high CYA levels we had? At the suggestion of the pool store I replaced the lower hose to the auto chlorinator with a longer hose that lets water in to the top of the cylinder rather than filling from the bottom.

    I know the forum lists liquid bleach as a way to go, but the guy who installed my pool recommended against it since it was not stabilized and would lead to inconsistent chlorine levels. Since I have had that lately anyway, is the liquid bleach the way to go and if so, how do I make the transition?
    Ask yourself this. What's the stabilizer in the granular/pucks? The Answer will open your eyes to the source of their confusion...especially when you remember why you had to drain off some water...This Stabilizer they speak of doesn't go away magically...it will build up, and you will have problems.

    To change to liquid chlorination, you stop using the granular/pucks and start using the liquid. To dose it, plug in your pool volume in the calc. and put your current and target FC numbers. this will tell you how much bleach to add (make sure to set the % of bleach to the correct one).

    Basically here's what it comes down to. You can follow the advice of the pool stores, or you can follow the advice of this forum. The two are mutually exclusive....We think they are wrong (due to fundamentals of Chemistry). and they think we are wrong....Their method has led to your frustrations....Give the liquid a try. You will not hurt anything, and you may just find that the "dark side" is the bright side . Dose daily! keep the FC above the "minimum".
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    Weekly treatments: I add 1 pound of shock (Fresh N' Clear) on Sunday mornings and 2.5 capfuls of Pool Perfect + PhosFree on Tuesday mornings. The PhosFree keeps our phosphates level in check. It had been over 3000 and using the PhosFree keeps it at 0 (we have a bunch of Crepe Myrtles in our yard that supposedly contribute to that high level).

    Nitrates: I don't know where it came from how to test for nitrates, but we don't use any fertilizer near the pool.

    Pump Schedule: I run the pump at the following times:

    8am - 12pm 3000 RPMs (booster pump with Polaris runs from 8am - 11 am)
    12pm - 8pm 2000 RPMs
    8pm - 10pm 700 RPMs

    In the past I had it running at 450 RPMs from 12pm to 4pm and then at 2000 RPMs from 4pm to 6pm but found that the auto chlorinator would not fill with water unless the pump ran at at least 1400 RPMs.


    18,000 gallons Chlorine Pool
    AG
    Pebble
    Pentair 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump
    Polaris 280 with Polaris booster pump
    Installed 2012
    TF-100 test kit
    Pentair/Rainbow 320 auto chlorinator
    You've taken a very wise step in the right direction by:
    - buying a good test kit
    - finding this forum

    Now go read pool school above a few times. It will all make sense once you put it into practice.
    IG gunite/plaster pool/spa Started 1/17/14, Plastered 5/16/14
    Size: 12'-21'x39' free form, depth ranging from 4' to 7, attached 6 person spa with spillover.
    Equipment: Whisperflo 2hp pump, Pentair 30" sand filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400k BTU heater, 1hp Whisperflo for waterfalls, and a blower for spa floor

  3. Back To Top    #3

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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    Welcome aboard!

    First, you are on the right track by getting the test kit, its gonna save you a ton of time and money.

    To answer a couple of your questions: TA is ok at 80 (that's where my pool likes it). You can monitor it and see how the pool reacts with the pH and adjust if needed, but no need to rush to get it fixed. Take the time to study on TA/pH/CSI relationship before you try chasing it around. Arm and Hammer is fine to use if you want to adjust.

    I know the forum lists liquid bleach as a way to go, but the guy who installed my pool recommended against it since it was not stabilized and would lead to inconsistent chlorine levels.
    Partially correct, liquid bleach is not stabilized, but as long as you know the concentration percentage of the bleach you buy, you can easily control the chlorine level. Remember, it doesn't have to be exact, just in range. If we say "maintain 5-8ppm chlorine" and you accidentally hit 10ppm, its not a big deal.

    Others will be along soon to help with your other questions.

    Tad
    33K gal vinyl IG, 1.5 HP SuperFlo pump, Hayward S244T sand filter (62GPM)

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Current: Singapore Previous: Clayton, Victoria, Australia
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    Welcome to TFP!

    Thank you for getting a TF-100, it helps us help you.

    Replies in red.
    Quote Originally Posted by rkschaller View Post
    I am new to the forum and just went through pumping out about 3' of pool water, at the recommendation of the local pool store, to reduce CYA, Nitrates and Calcium. I want to make sure I am on the right track to avid having to pump out the pool again so I bought a TF-100 test kit and found/joined this forum.

    My most recent (self) test results after removing and replacing pool water are as follows:
    PH 7.5
    FC 4.5
    CC 0
    TA 80
    CH 250
    CYA 50

    Prior to removing and replacing pool water, based on a test at Leslie's, CYA was 100 (had been higher in the past) and CH was somewhere between 350 and 400 and Nitrates were 30 (I don't know it that was ppm or ppb but was told it was bad). The rest of the readings were OK.

    TA: After removing/replacing the water I added a total of 3.5 gallons of muriatic acid based on TA readings from another test kit which listed ideal readings for TA at 80-100. The newly acquired TF-100 kit lists ideal for a chlorine pool at 100-120. Do I need to adjust this or will it eventually rise on its own? TA doesn't rise on its own. Almost every time I went to the pool store to have a test run I ended up having to add Muriatic Acid, so something happens on its own to lower the PH. Muriatic acid lowers TA and pH. pH tends to rise on its own in a pool.

    If I need to raise the TA is Arm and Hammer baking soda OK to use? Yes, definitely.

    FC: When I refilled the pool it was pretty cloudy so I initially added muriatic acid to raise the PH and then when it got toward the correct level used 2 pounds of Leslie's Power Powder Plus to shock it and ran the pump for 2 days straight. I then replaced the filter cartridges with new cartridges and monitored the FC level. I had the auto chlorinator turned off since I didn't want to add too much chlorine due to the pump running 48 hours straight. As the chlorine level from the shock dropped and I set the pump to the normal schedule I turned the auto chlorinator on.

    CYA: I use 3" tri-chlor chlorine tablets (most recently punched at Leslie's) in the Pentair 320 auto chlorinator and, at the recommendation of the Leslie's to reduce the increase of CYA, a non-chlorine shock call Fresh N' Clear. However, our chlorine levels fluctuated all over the place from 0 to over 5 and we ended up with algae. So they recommended using their Power Powder Plus whenever the FC got to 0.

    Re the auto chlorinator, I replaced the check valve in the bottom, made sure it was not clogged and still had the problem with chlorine levels all over the place. We set the knob from 3 to 5 and never could get it consistent this summer It worked fine the last 2 years. Could the inconsistent FC have had something to do with the high CYA levels we had? FC needs to be added daily as it is consumable. At the suggestion of the pool store I replaced the lower hose to the auto chlorinator with a longer hose that lets water in to the top of the cylinder rather than filling from the bottom.

    I know the forum lists liquid bleach as a way to go, but the guy who installed my pool recommended against it since it was not stabilized and would lead to inconsistent chlorine levels. Since I have had that lately anyway, is the liquid bleach the way to go and if so, how do I make the transition? It doesn't matter whether chlorine is stabilised or not, it is a consumable and you need to add it daily. You make the transition by entering your test results and pool details into PoolMath, and adding whatever amount of bleach it returns. That being said, with increased stabiliser, you need to increase FC levels to prevent algae. See the chlorine/CYA chart.

    Weekly treatments: I add 1 pound of shock (Fresh N' Clear) on Sunday mornings and 2.5 capfuls of Pool Perfect + PhosFree on Tuesday mornings. The PhosFree keeps our phosphates level in check. It had been over 3000 and using the PhosFree keeps it at 0 (we have a bunch of Crepe Myrtles in our yard that supposedly contribute to that high level). Phosphates are meaningless in a properly balanced pool. Phosphates are algae food, if you don't have algae it doesn't matter how much algae food you have. PhosFree might as well be liquid gold for the price.

    Nitrates: I don't know where it came from how to test for nitrates, but we don't use any fertilizer near the pool.
    Nitrates are meaningless in a properly balanced pool.

    Pump Schedule: I run the pump at the following times:

    8am - 12pm 3000 RPMs (booster pump with Polaris runs from 8am - 11 am)
    12pm - 8pm 2000 RPMs
    8pm - 10pm 700 RPMs

    In the past I had it running at 450 RPMs from 12pm to 4pm and then at 2000 RPMs from 4pm to 6pm but found that the auto chlorinator would not fill with water unless the pump ran at at least 1400 RPMs.


    18,000 gallons Chlorine Pool
    AG
    Pebble
    Pentair 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump
    Polaris 280 with Polaris booster pump
    Installed 2012
    TF-100 test kit
    Pentair/Rainbow 320 auto chlorinator
    I would recommend you read Pool School, in particular ABCs of pool water chemistry, how to chlorinate your pool and recommended pool chemicals.

    Edit: see above 2 posts for comments on your TA.

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    Welcome to the forum! You'll love it here. Lots of knowledgable people who are willing to teach you what you need to know. I'll answer as best I can (I'm but a newbie myself), and others will fill in the gaps.

    Your numbers now look pretty good. Good job getting the CYA and CH down.

    Your TA is fine, and one of the last parameters you worry about. I think the consensus here is for it to be somewhere around 70-80. Don't mess with it unless you're getting wild swings in pH.

    You said you added muriatic acid to raise pH, but it does the opposite.

    Your continued use of pucks and powdered shock will have you back in the same situation you were in before (high CYA and CH). Your pool guy is full of...prunes when he says chlorine isn't recommended. The CYA (aka "stabilizer") helps protect the chlorine levels. That's its job. Liquid chlorine is definitely the way to go, and to transition, you say, "Now I'm using bleach," and dump it in.

    Pool perfect and Phos-Free are potions developed by pool chemical companies to sell you more (expensive) stuff to put in your pool. You don't need to worry about phosphates, and if you keep your water balanced, your pool will be perfect.

    I don't know anything about nitrates, I think that's something else you can ignore.

    Hope this helps get you started; sorry I can't help with your chlorination questions as I have no experience with them.

    Good Day!
    Last edited by Smeade; 08-01-2014 at 09:00 AM. Reason: Wow. I take too long to type.
    24K gallon IG gunite (built 1976), plaster (Diamond Brite) redone (poorly) 2012
    Hayward EC65A DE filter Taylor K2006-C test kit
    Ft. Wright, KY (Cincinnati area)

    Don't argue. Just get the kit. TF100 or Taylor K2006C

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    You've gotten some detailed advice so I won't add any more. But I have questions and suggestions in general.

    Have you read through Pool School? It's a wonderful resource to learn about the chemistry of pools and reading through will give you a great picture of what TFPC is all about. Once you've read and digested that, you need to decide if you want to follow the methods here or the pool store/builder advice. They are not compatible and mixing them will only lead to confusion. You're PB doesn't want you to use liquid chlorine because that doesn't put money in his pocket.

    How does the water look? Cloudy? Blue? Yellow? Green? Purple?

    Don't get too bogged down in the advice until you've made the decision to go with TFPC and have read as much Pool School as you can handle and understand it for yourself. It's a question of you being in control of your pool or paying someone else to give you advice.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

  7. Back To Top    #7
    wellsnlisa's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    You have AG in your signature which here means above ground. You also list a pebble finish. Are you sure you don't mean in ground gunite pool?
    19,000 gal aqua blue pebble sheen, 3.5-7 ft. depth, chiseled flagstone coping, spillover spa, raised back wall with stacked stone face including two columns and curved wall water feature with three 18" sheer descents, two bubblers on 5' x 10' suntanning shelf, Pentair IntelliFlo Variable Speed, Pentair FNS Plus 60 sq ft DE filter, Pentair Mastertemp 400K BTU, Pentair Legend, Rainbow 320 chlorinator (now unused), K-2006 test kit.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Yes, it is IG, not AG - my mistake - too many acronyms!


    I read through the pool school the other day. It was a little overwhelming.

    I'm going to try the liquid chlorine. What do you suggest if we are going to be away from the pool for a week or so to prevent ending up with zero chlorine if we don't have anyone around to add it? Does someone make an auto-chlorinator for liquid chlorine?

    We used to have a SWG pool in Florida. I thought about doing that here but the Inteliflo pump requires a add on panel called an IntelliTouch costing about $500 to be able to work with the SWG (turn it on and off only while the pump in running). I don't know if I'd ever recover that cost.

    18,000 gallons Chlorine Pool
    IG
    Pebble
    Pentair 520 Cartridge Filter
    Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump
    Polaris 280 with Polaris booster pump
    Installed 2012
    TF-100 test kit
    Pentair/Rainbow 320 auto chlorinator

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Chapin, SC
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    I run all my equipment (filter pump, SWG and Cleaner boost pump) with an intermatic digital timer. The boost pump and main pump start/shut down whenever I set them individually (The boost pump for only 3 hrs from 9-noon), While I have the SWG set to run at the same time as the filter pump. I bought the freeze sensor to protect the equipment during the winter. Best investments I ever made include the SWG in that.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
    Intermatic P1353ME digital timer w/freeze sensor
    CircuPool Si-45 SWCG System
    Polaris 280 vacuum/Polaris PB4-60 boost pump
    Pentair IntelliFlo VS 3hp Pump--Pentair sand filter

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to get chemistry right

    The best thing to do if you're going to be away for an extended period is to do the following:

    - Bring your FC level up to the recommended shock level from the CYA/Chlorine chart in Pool School. This should give you several days, maybe a week.
    - Cover your pool if you have a cover that will protect it from sunlight/UV.

    Alternatively if you have a CYA level that is not too high or hard to manage already such as 30-40 for a manually chlorinated pool, you could use Trichlor pucks in a floater (in the skimmer is not recommended). Add enough to keep your FC at a reasonable level, knowing that your CYA will increase due to their usage.

    Another alternative is that if you have been managing your pool for some time with manual dosing, you will know about how much your pool needs each day. Have a trusted nearby relative or neighbor who is willing to add chlorine for you while away. Set it up for them to add a certain volume each day or every other day to keep it in range. Them being able to check your FC and pH with the basic color match test would be even better. That way they could contact you if they see something off of normal or have questions.

    There are also liquid chlorine stenner pump set ups that can replace your normal daily additions and trusted associate.

    TFP can be very easy with knowledge of Pool School and daily testing. Read more of it and ask questions once you let it sink in.
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
    40x20 Pool: 32K Gallons * Vinyl * Bleach Chlorination * Hayward S270T Sand Filter * Pentair SuperFlo 1 HP * Teledyne/Laars Heater * AquaVac Tigershark * TF-100 w/ SpeedStir
    Isolated Spa - 345 Gallons

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