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Thread: High phosphates

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    High phosphates

    I am new to this site and I'm hoping someone can help me. I have a 24' round pool that is only 1 year old with a sand filter. A few weeks ago (after a few days of heavy storms), we had algae. We put liquid chlorine in and that cleared up, but every time I went to the pool store to have the water tested, they told me something else was off. I must have bought $300 worth of chemicals in the past couple of weeks.

    The problem now is that the water is super cloudy (there is a chemical smell to it and the top of the water looks kind of oily). I can barely see the bottom. I've tried almost everything and today when I went to the pool store they said the water is perfectly balanced, but that my phosphate level is 1000. They want to sell me phosphate remover (which costs $43) but I'm not sure if that will clear the pool or if I'm just putting more money down the drain!

    Another pool guy told me that maybe I need to add something to the filter to make it pick up the small particles. I feel like I am just sinking too much money into this pool. It has been more than two weeks and we haven't been able to go in the pool. Please help!

  2. Back To Top    #2

    Join Date
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    Central New York
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    Re: High phosphates

    Do you have a complete set of test results? We need to know where you are in your reading.

    Also, can you list the stuff the pool store sold you that you have used.

    Oh, and welcome to this site.
    Hotrod30

    20 X 40 foot vinyl Borates and Salt Pool
    Rolachem Chlorine Feeder
    Hayward 27 inch sand filter with 80 lbs of pea gravel
    Jacuzzi Splash Pak SP55 DE filter in parallel
    Pentair VF3050 pump

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: High phosphates

    With a full set of water test results we can probably figure out exactly what is happening.

    Phosphates almost never make any difference. The pool stores have been pushing phosphate remover this year to help them make money.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4
    Guest

    Re: High phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion

    Phosphates almost never make any difference. The pool stores have been pushing phosphate remover this year to help them make money.
    Not only this year. We stopped routinely testing for phosphates about 2 years ago. Phosphate removers are useless in actual use 99% of the time. The 1% where they are useful is not disputed but most pools never need to use them.

    As far as adding something to you sand filter to improve filtration the best and cheapest thing to use is DE powder.
    post67061.html#p67061

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: High phosphates

    Thank all of you for responding so quickly. I suspected that the pool store was just trying to make even more money from me.

    I don't have exact readings because the pool store employee checked and just told me everything was fine. Was I supposed to ask for the exact numbers? I only have a test kit for ph and chlorine - the kind you put the drops in. The ph is in the 'ideal' levels and the chlorine is a tiny bit high.

    The stuff I have bought/used over the past weeks is:
    liquid chlorine - 5 gallons
    conditioner
    clarifier
    algaecide
    ph raiser
    soda ash
    alkalinity raiser

    I think that is everything.

    Thanks.

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    Re: High phosphates

    Nancy,

    The way to save money on your pool and get control is do your homework. Go up to "pool school" and start to read.

    Take your time and reread the very basic ones.

    Knowing and understanding your own pool water will save you time, money and you'll be able to spend your energy swimming rather than trips to the pool store.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Re: High phosphates

    The best money you can spend right now is on a GOOD testkit. You want a test kit that uses the FAS-DPD method of chlorine testing and will test for free chlorine, combined chlorine, pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and cyanuric acid. There are very few test kits that meet these requirements. Two of the most popular and dependable are the Taylor K-2006 (NOT the K-2005) and the TF100 from TF test kits.

    Testing your own water will save you a LOT of money on unneeded chemicals and we are here to help you every strep[ of the way!

  8. Back To Top    #8
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: High phosphates

    Almost all of the pool stores will give you a sheet with the water test numbers on it.

    We have found that it is quite common for a pool store to say the numbers are fine when there is an obvious problem. Some pool stores are better than others, but bad ones are more common than you might imagine.

    You really need to know your water test numbers. Without that it is just guessing and the odds aren't all that good on guessing. By far the best solution is to purchase your own high quality test kit. I recommend a kit from TF Test Kits, see the link in my signature. The Taylor K-2006 is also good.

    In the mean time, what are your PH and chlorine numbers? The PH/chlorine tester must surely give numbers to go along with 'ideal' and 'tiny bit high'.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: High phosphates

    JasonLion,

    The chlorine is about 5 and the ph is about 7.4.

    Nancy

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    Re: High phosphates

    Does anyone have any suggestions based on the limited test results I've given? Or do you need more?

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Guest

    Re: High phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by nancym
    Does anyone have any suggestions based on the limited test results I've given? Or do you need more?
    We really need to know if that is FC or TC (I suspect it's TC which doesn't tell us much)
    We really need to know FC, CC, pH, TA, CH (just because you have a vinyl pool does not mean you don't need to TEST Calcium--calcium levels can sometimes give us a clue as to why a pool is cloudy), and CYA (this one is crucial to knowing what might be happening in your pool!)

    These are the basic tests that you should be doing on your pool if you want to take control of it and not be at the mercy of the pool store so I say to you again that you need to get a good test kit and start testing your own water!

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: High phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by nancym
    The chlorine is about 5 and the ph is about 7.4
    These numbers are all right, given that I am making various assumptions about your other numbers.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Guest

    Re: High phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by nancym
    A few weeks ago (after a few days of heavy storms), we had algae. We put liquid chlorine in and that cleared up, but every time I went to the pool store to have the water tested, they told me something else was off. I must have bought $300 worth of chemicals in the past couple of weeks.

    The problem now is that the water is super cloudy (there is a chemical smell to it and the top of the water looks kind of oily). I can barely see the bottom. I've tried almost everything and today when I went to the pool store they said the water is perfectly balanced, but that my phosphate level is 1000.

    It has been more than two weeks and we haven't been able to go in the pool. Please help!
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Quote Originally Posted by nancym
    The chlorine is about 5 and the ph is about 7.4
    These numbers are all right, given that I am making various assumptions about your other numbers.
    This is why we need a full set of test results. The two numbers you gave us look good BUT you have a cloudy pool and haven't been able to clear it. I am going to make some guesses here. You have not finished killing the algae and you have combined chlorine in the water. The total chlorine measurement you are giving us is really not very meaningful. Also, without knowing your CYA levels it's impossible to know if your pool is getting algae because it's overstabilized, understabilized, or you just didn't keep the FC levels up.

    Get a full set of test results from the pool store,post them, and let us see what's going on and then get yourself a good test kit so you can keep on top of your water so this doesn't happen to you again!

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: High phosphates

    First of all, thank you for your patience. I am going to buy a good test kit. But in the meantime, I went to the pool store tonight and these are my numbers:

    CC - .77
    CYA - 59pp
    FC - .79
    pH - 7.44
    Calcium - 99
    Total Alkalinity 111

    Thanks.

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    Re: High phosphates

    Nancym, those numbers seem suspiciously exact. I think that it's time to get your own test kit or go to another pool store.

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    Re: High phosphates

    Quote Originally Posted by PoolOwnerNumber9
    Nancym, those numbers seem suspiciously exact. I think that it's time to get your own test kit or go to another pool store.
    I agree, how did they test, btw. Did the use test strips in a reader? Did they have little vials with dry reagents that they dispenesed pool water into and read in a machine? Did they use liquid reagents? I suspect it was the first.

  17. Back To Top    #17
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: High phosphates

    It looks like you need to shock the pool, because CC is higher than 0.5, FC is low, and the water is cloudy/murky.

    Assuming your test results are right there is nothing significantly wrong with your numbers other than the CC being a little high and the FC being significantly too low. Combined with cloudy/murky water that almost always means algae.

    With a CYA of 60, shock level is 18 and normal day to day FC level is 5 to 9 and never below 5. When you are done shocking, you want to make sure the FC level is always 5 or higher. That will be much easier to do if you get a good test kit with a FAS-DPD chlorine test.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: High phosphates

    Thank you for the suggestions. The tests were done with vials and I think liquid. This was a different pool store and I was dealing with the owner. He said it is probably algae that has not been totally killed and also suggested shocking the pool. He also said to use a filter aid, which I bought and used last night and again today. So far today I can see the bottom of the pool - which really needs to be vacuumed! - and I will check for further progress when I get home from work. I am happy to finally have something succeed.

    I really appreciate all the good advice here and I will be buying my own test kit. Thanks!

  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: High phosphates

    I will caution you not to buy just any test kit, get one that has the FAS-DPD chlorine test and NOT one that uses the DPD chlorine test. There really only are three that are reasonable and that test all the parameters that you need that meet this criteria. Read this article for the info:
    category/pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison

    Any other test kit and you are really just wasting your money!

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