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Thread: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

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    High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Wow, I need help!
    This is my second year with this pool and I seem to be getting dumber. Last year I had no problems.
    This year when I opened everything was good, within recomended limits, but no chlorine and the water was blue but cloudy. I kept dumping tons of shock, different kinds of shock, and running the automatic chlorinator and pump 24/7. Eventually I read on here not to use test strips. So I bought the kit and new drops and I haven't had low chlorine since.
    I have struggled all summer to keep the PH up however. I have a metal problem and so I add a bottle of metal control every other week. That seems to eat up some PH and some chlorine.
    About 2 weeks ago my chlorinator was out of tablets and my pool turned cloudy. So I shocked it and refilled the chlorinator. Ph and chlorine were perfect so I let it run for a few days and it was still cloudy. I added clarifier and it did nothing. So I added more. Still nothing. So I test the alkalinity and it's 200. But my PH was 7.4. So I added 1 gallon of acid (only half of what was directed) and it's down to 160. But my ph is crazy low!! What do I treat now? PH or alkalinity?

    I have a 16 by 32 inground with a vinyl liner. 3 feet in the shallow and 8 feet in the deep end. (22,000 gal) I have a Hayward pump, and a big heater that we know dumps metal into the pool because it was not properly maintained before we bought the house. We can't afford to replace it so we run it very little and clean the DE filter often. I always seem to have powder in the bottom of my pool too. I vacuume and waste it to try to keep it clear. I have an automatic cover and it stays closed most of the time for the safety of my little ones. The pool is not used very much.
    Thank you for any help you can give me!!

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Welcome to TFP!

    You need to get your pH up right away. It will damage your heater fairly quickly if it is very low. Borax is probably the best choice now for raising the pH without adding TA.

    Forget about your TA. It isn't a big deal unless you struggle to keep pH in range.

    Post a full set of test results, including FC and CYA for best advice.
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    twesterd's Avatar
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    I may be misunderstanding, but you test chlorine, pH, alkalinity, etc. at the same time, right? I always check all the major numbers (except hardness and CYA, they are weekly for me). From my experience, pH is everything... if its not between 7.2 and 7.6, I always fix that first. It seems like nothing works right if PH is off. I never use test strips any more, they have always been misleading for me. I never rely on the chlorine drops that turn the water yellow. I learned that the drops that turn pink/red are okay but not very precise. So, I ordered the FAS-DPD test. With it, you add drops until a color disappears. Balance must be right or the water will quickly go haywire. Also, I never add clarifier or any other chemical. I use the BBB method. From my experience, the other chemicals make things worse.

    It sounds like the low pH may be eating the metal in your heater and anything else metal and is adding the metal eaten away to your pool water. I wish they made an affordable monitor to a pool that would send a text message whenever pH goes out of range. A heater can be destroyed very quickly with the wrong pH. Correct your pH NOW!
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Quote Originally Posted by twesterd View Post
    From my experience, pH is everything... if its not between 7.2 and 7.6, I always fix that first. It seems like nothing works right if PH is off.
    I would not agree with this. A pH > 7.0 and < 8.0 will have very little impact on the rest of the chemistry.
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    twesterd's Avatar
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    I would not agree with this. A pH > 7.0 and < 8.0 will have very little impact on the rest of the chemistry.
    My test for pH with the Taylor kit ends at 8. Discerning the color when its close to 8 is very difficult and it could be much higher and look the same. So sticking around the top or bottom seems to have similar effect. Additionally, from my experience, if I am satisfied with something between 7.8 and 8.0, it puts me very close to the edge and my pH tends to naturally climb. My next thought is when do I test next? If its always consistent and routine, then I'm okay. However, for me, things come up and I can miss a normal interval. I really don't like hanging around the edge and I even more don't think its wise to be anywhere near the edge of what a test can perform.

    I used to use the pucks and those tended to drop my pH. My last final reason is the swimmer's eyes. Matching the pH of the human eye seems to be a big deal. I may be new to this forum, but, I think its better to be between 7.2 and 7.6 and its seems to be very easy to do. pH between 7.0 and 7.2 will sting and is very close to being damaging to metal. pH above 7.6 also stings and starts to get close to where chlorine is not as effective.
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    I will get that PH back up, thank you! I usually use washing powder to raise it. Is that wrong? Is borax better? How much borax should I add if my ph is reading around 7?

    I do watch my PH very closely because of the existing heater damage. We bought the house (for a good price) because the pool was dark brown. No one would even make an offer. I have the stains removed but have to add the metal remover about every 2 weeks because the steps turn yellow. I know the metal stuff lowers my ph so I add it at night and test again the next morning and fix it. I would love an app that told me it was low! This pool has been here since the 70s and now the neighborhood doesn't allow pools so I'm trying to learn as much as I can so my children and the neighborhood kids can enjoy it.

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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Borax for the raising PH...also, if your treating for metals sequestrants can cloud your water and take time to clear. I used a powder sequestrant and mine was cloudy for 3.weeks. I use Metal Klear once a week now and it's been working great. I keep my PH at 7.3 due to the metals. Also if you use higher level of chlorine it may release the metals back into the water. You have to find a fine balance.
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    My numbers now- after adding borax ph 7.2 TC 3.0 TA 160
    I will add more after that circulates some more.
    I did not know that about the metal sequestrate but I do have to use a lot. It may be time to clean the filter, again, and try to get it cleared up.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterysrider View Post
    My numbers now- after adding borax ph 7.2 TC 3.0 TA 160
    I will add more after that circulates some more.
    I did not know that about the metal sequestrate but I do have to use a lot. It may be time to clean the filter, again, and try to get it cleared up.
    Without knowing CYA, we don't know if your chlorine level is high or low.
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    CYA is 40

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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    You posted your TC but not your FC (FC+CC=TC). Can you tell us your FC?

    The minimum FC for your CYA is 3. You should never allow your FC to get below 3. Your target FC is 5. I like to overshoot my FC target by 2. This way my FC will never get to, or below, the minimum FC. Although, those with metal may have a better method.

    Take a look at this chart:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock

    Do you know where the metals are coming from? Fill water? From a heater? (FYI low PH will break down the heater plumbing and introduce metals. Also, some algaecides have metals.
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    I'm sorry I'm still learning these things. My FC is 3 my CC is O so my TC is 3. So I will add some to get it to ideal. I'm still trying to learn the products to use. Just a gallon of Walmart bleach?
    My metals are from the heater for sure. We knew there was a problem when we bought the house. I have considered bypassing the heater. I'm not sure how if if that's a good idea.

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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    If you know it is your heater, then the cause is that you are not keeping your PH in check. Otherwise, your heater would not be leaching metal into the pool.

    We normally don't suggest pool store testing, but it would be nice to know what metals and how much metal in your pool. Depending on your levels, you could drain and refill. Adding metal sequestrant only binds the metal temporarily and it doesn't get rid of the metal. In the long run, it is cheaper to drain and refill. I would suggest that you stop using solid forms of chlorine (pucks, powdered) because that is causing your PH to drop.

    Use liquid bleach.

    Use pool math to determine what quantities to add:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    Use this chart to determine your FC target for your CYA:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock

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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    I added this stuff called sparkle up to my DE and it's "supposed" to catch the metal? I don't know if that's true but I find metal in the filter when I clean it. I was told the damage to the heater from before I bought the house was extensive and the heater needs replaced. But it's not in the budget at this time. It's Iron, again this what a pool store tells me so I'm not sure, but if I put vitamin C on the steps they go right back to sparkling white.
    I tried to put some stuff in my signature. The only pool place I know here that tests the water makes you buy tons of stuff. I wonder if there is somewhere else?
    I appreciate the information! I'm reading through pool school now and learning a lot there too.
    22K inground, vinyl liner, Hayward super pump, Pentair DE filter, Raypak gas heater, Polaris cleaner with boster pump, Olimpic chlorinator, Coverpools automatic cover, and Taylor test kit, pool built in the 70's liner replaced in 2008. I have no idea how old any of the equipment is.

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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Get the water tested, pat your pocket "Oops, guess I forgot my wallet, thanks!" Lol
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    Re: High alkalinity, cloudy pool

    Well, you should get a test result for metals so we know what and how much you are dealing with. You do not have to buy stuff if you get your water tested. Just tell them you aren't ready to make a purchase of any products and that you need time to consider your options.

    Have you had your water source tested for metals? It would be a good idea to get that tested so you can rule that out.

    I don't have a lot of experience with metals, so I'll let someone else chime in on whether sparkle up will help, but don't buy anymore sparkle up until you hear from a more experience member.

    You should probably bypass the heater ASAP which shouldn't be too expensive.

    Also, don't add too much acid at one time. You should never add it so that your PH goes below 7.2. Use Pool Math to learn the effects of adding chemicals.
    Karen
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