Become a TFP Supporter Pool Math Forum Rules Pool School
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Damascus
    Posts
    3

    New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Hello,

    First post. Our pool was built this summer and finished in early August. Pool was being maintained by pool company and was turned over to us in late August. Readings were OK during the first few weeks but now I'm having issues with low Chlorine readings. Initially we were only using the Aqua Chek Chlorine strips but I recently purchases a PoolMaster 5 way test kit and the Aqua Check 7 test strips.

    Starting around 9/11 and 9/12 I was getting the following readings using the Aqua Check test strips.
    FC .5 CC .6 pH 6.4 TA 80 CYA 30-50

    I contacted the pool company that built my pool and he said to bring in a sample of my water, which I did on Friday the 12th. He said my readings were close but the TA was at 40. He said pH was 6.8. I'm not sure the test kit he was using. He said he would first like to start with raising the TA so he sold me some Alkalinity Rise (their brand product). I did 15 lbs at 5lb every two hours. He said to bring in another sample on Monday morning. I put out a bottle in their outside bin but did not hear back from him. I called today but no answer. I will have to try later.

    I received the PoolMaster test kit on Saturday 9/14 and started doing my own readings every day around 6pm. I am at the point where I am getting consistent readings over the period of 4 days 9/14 through 9/17 as follows. Note that this kit does not have a CYA test.
    FC .5 CC .6 pH 7.2 TA 80-90

    Let me add that because of the Chlorine readings I have steadily increasing the dial on the Frog XL Pro which uses the 540C Chlorine Pak that has tablets inside the plastic casing. The dial can go from 0 to 8. The dial was initially on 2. I raised to 3 on day 1 and have had it on 4 the last two days, but the Chlorine level is not increasing much at all. I do remove the Chlorine Pak each day to look and it is using the tabs as I can see a marked difference in the amount of tabs remaining.

    And, yesterday (9/17) I also accompanied my PoolMaster test kit with using the Aqua Chek 7 test strips I received. The readings from the strip are as follows. You'll notice a difference in some readings from the PoolMaster, so I'm not sure which to believe. They list Total Chlorine instead of CC.
    FC .5 TC 5 pH 7 TA 120 CYA 30-50

    At the rate that the Chlorine Pak is being used I think I would have to replace it again in about a week, and I know it is supposed to last much longer than that. I think the goal is to get the dial at about 1 and maintain good chlorine levels.

    I'm thinking that I have to shock the pool, but I think about what the guy at the pool store said, "You know you should never shock your pool, right?" I wonder if this is true.


    Any help you can provide in what I should do the get the levels back in order is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    17,800 gal 16x40 IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter, Hayward pump, Frog XL pro mineral & chlorine, SharkVAC vacuum, Coverstar autocover, MD

  2. Back To Top    #2
    poolnoob.ca's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Georgetown, ON, Canada
    Posts
    277

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Welcome bwelshon to TFP! Don't have time for a long answer, but a couple of things stick out. First the practice here is to use liquid chlorine instead of tablets, as those lead to other problems (high CYA e.g.). Second your point about which to believe, the test kit or the strips, is an indication that the strips are too inaccurate to put any reliability in. Third, i thought all pool store guys would say that you should shock your pool regularly, as it is better for their sales. In truth, the TFP method is also not to do one-time shocks, but complete the "SLAM" process to super-chlorinate when the need arises based on reliable test results.

    Someone will likely be along soon to tell you to get the TF-100 test kit, read Pool School above, and to get rid of the tablets, and to stop listening to the pool store.
    32,000L Fibreglass Leisure Pools IG 12.5'x23'x5' Pump: AstralPools BX1 1.0HP
    Filter: AstralPools ZX-310 SWCG: AstralPools VX7T
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN Test Kit: TF-100

  3. Back To Top    #3

    TFP Guide

    Catanzaro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Monmouth County, New Jersey
    Posts
    2,187

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Ironically Pool School is "Free" and College is around $35K-$50K per year. LOL
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

  4. Back To Top    #4


    TFP Guide

    kcindc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    1,272

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    First, you need to get a reliable, recommended test kit and stop listening to the pool company. The pool company has an interest in draining your wallet and their advice has led to adding expensive products and too much of some products which increased your TA to a level that is too high. We are here to help you learn so that you can control your pool and only add what your pool needs with products that are affordable and generally available from grocery and big box stores. The best test kit value is the TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net/splash-page.html.

    Comparison of test kits:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...its-comparison

    I suggest turning off your pool frog for now. It is expensive and unnecessary, adds FC which gets used up, but also adds CYA which builds up and increases the amount of FC you need to keep your pool clean. The pool frog will turn blonde hair GREEN once the copper levels get high enough and it will eventually stain your pool. Take a look at the Chlorine CYA Chart:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/conte...art-slam-shock

    Check out pool math at the top of this page, add enough liquid chlorine (aka bleach) to get your FC to 10. Add 3/4 jug of 8.25% bleach (or equivalent) each day until you get your test kit.

    Read pool school while waiting for your test kit. Ask questions. Post your results when you get a test kit.

    Most folks here fall into two categories: a) people who manually dose with liquid chlorine or b) folks who have a SWG. Some manual (jug tossers) use pucks when going on vacation to keep their FC up when they are away.
    Last edited by kcindc; 09-18-2014 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Hair will turn green instead of brown, duh!
    Karen
    33K IG w spa plaster, Pentair 1HP Whisperflo, DE Filter, SWG CircuPool RJ-60, Dolphin Triton Plus, Raypak Dig 336K BTU, TF-100.
    Pool Math Chlorine / CYA Chart SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    2017 replaster/retile

  5. Back To Top    #5

    TFP Guide

    Catanzaro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Monmouth County, New Jersey
    Posts
    2,187

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    My Frog is empty. My pool is closed. Although, I would suggest you test for metals in the pool. I stopped mine before any metals caused damage.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Damascus
    Posts
    3

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Thanks everyone for your responses.

    I tested again tonight with both my PoolMaster test kit and the AquaChek7 strips. Here are the readings.
    PoolMaster FC .5 CC .6 pH 7.2 TA 100
    AquaCheck FC .5 TC 10 pH 7 TA 120 CYA 100

    So, compared to yesterday and the last couple days this would mean my Chlorine levels are not increasing even though I have increased the Chlorine dial. I wonder if this is because of the rising CYA levels. Of course, these were measured using the strip so not sure how accurate, but that may explain why the chlorine is not increasing.

    I'm pretty bummed about all this see how you're supposed to get all your levels right before closing for the season. I'm new at this, only been taking care of the pool chemicals myself for a few weeks, but I guess you learn as you go. I've found TFP to be a great resource. I've read a lot on the site even before posting. Oh, I also forgot to mention and I need to add to my signature that I also have a Coverstar autocover on the pool.

    So I guess my two biggest issues now are how to get the chlorine up, the Combined Chlorine and the CYA down. I'm not really sure how to proceed now, almost sounds like water replacement. The pool company is going do my closing for me around the beginning of October. Like mentioned by others., I may have to invest in the TF-100 kit.

    Thanks
    17,800 gal 16x40 IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter, Hayward pump, Frog XL pro mineral & chlorine, SharkVAC vacuum, Coverstar autocover, MD

  7. Back To Top    #7
    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    8,499

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    The only way to get CYA down is to dump water. It goes away so slowly on its own that it would be hard to measure.

    The only way to get chlorine (FC) up is to keep adding liquid chlorine until it oxidizes everything bad in the water and is able to start sticking around.

    You have to get a real test kit, stop using any form of solid chlorine (tabs or shock) and ignore what those folks who got you where you are tell you. While you are at it get rid of the frog. If I am correct it is not only adding chlorine, but metals which can turn blond hair a nice shade of green.

    As has been suggested, read pool school and have a Trouble Free Pool.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

  8. Back To Top    #8

    TFP Guide

    Catanzaro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Monmouth County, New Jersey
    Posts
    2,187

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Question: Is your pool water clear, cloudy, have algae or green? Can not find it in the posts?

    Open the frog canister and remove the mineralizer and bac pacs. I just put mine for sale @ a 50% discount. Then you will need a recommended test kit to test all your levels and then start moving forward from this point. With the average temperatures being high there in Virginia, the frog will not cut it. Unless I missed your location? You will need liquid chlorine additions daily or every other day, but can only tell what you really need when you test with a real test kit. I have friends that now bring me there water for testing and chip in to the jar so they can get accurate readings & I have no products for sale at my home, so they walk out of here with the same $$$ in their pockets.

    Your CC can not be higher then your FC, so right away something is wrong. Then you list TC @ 5 and FC @ .5, which does not sound right, meaning your CC is 4.5 (very bad) . Please check the recommended levels on the forum based on your CYA. Then you can figure out how much you will need to add daily to your pool. At least 1X per week you should perform your extended tests, etc.

    You still have time to accurately check your levels and adjust them properly before closing. Your CYA is important and can be fixed very easily if you have an external pump. You can pump water out from the steps and add water to the deep end. If you are pumping more then adding, then just slow down the water flow. Again this is based on a correct CYA reading with a quality test kit.

    When they closed my pool (because of warranty issues, I had no choice to use the pool company) & the company said that it looks like you do a great job of taking care of the pool. Although when he mentioned phospates, I giggled and kept quiet. He said that he has had to close many "Green Pools" and it is probably because people slack off when the kids go to school. I said to him that there is a 99% chance that their stabilizer level was too high (CYA) and they stopped shocking the pool weekly and now that is the problem. Good luck and keep us posted.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Damascus
    Posts
    3

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Catanzaro,

    Thanks for your reply. My pool water is very clear, it looks fine. I am in MD. A lot of responses have been to get a reliable test kit, does that mean that the test kit I just purchased, the PoolMaster 5Way is not a useful kit?

    I'm getting different readings on combined chlorine, liquid test kit .6 and strip showing much much higher, at 5 like I posted earlier, so which to believe? I might have to make a trip to your house and contribute to your jar?

    Like mentioned, the only CYA reading I can get is from the strip as the liquid kit does not have this. So, if accurate at CYA level of 100 I've got to figure out what to do here. I guess I should take another sample to my pool company. But, would adding liquid chlorine daily or every other day help the CYA levels? I do have an external Hayward pump and I'm not sure what setting you're recommending, would that be a backwash or waste, or something else. Or, are you talking about a pump like a Little Giant and removing water directly from the pool? Is this is what you mean I do have a Little Giant pump which we use to get water off the autocover when it rains. I'm new to all this so excuse me if I'm not using the right terminology.

    Thanks so much for your (and everyone's help).
    17,800 gal 16x40 IG vinyl, Hayward sand filter, Hayward pump, Frog XL pro mineral & chlorine, SharkVAC vacuum, Coverstar autocover, MD

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    728

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    TC (total chlorine) = FC (free chlorine) + CC (combined chlorine)

    I'm not sure about Catanzaro's claim that CC cannot be higher than FC -- the basic equation above certainly allows it.

    Getting a good test kit, so you know where you really stand, is the first step to being in control of the pool -- rather than wondering what the heck is going on with it (which is the unpleasant situation you're in now).

    So, compared to yesterday and the last couple days this would mean my Chlorine levels are not increasing even though I have increased the Chlorine dial. I wonder if this is because of the rising CYA levels. Of course, these were measured using the strip so not sure how accurate, but that may explain why the chlorine is not increasing.
    This isn't quite right -- at higher CYA levels, the chlorine in the pool will be less effective in doing its job (sanitizing and oxidizing). However, higher CYA doesn't mean that you would measure less chlorine than there actually is. In other words, if you put an additional 5 parts per million of chlorine into a pool with CYA at 100, you'll certainly be able to measure that additional 5 ppm in the water. It just won't be as effective (at killing germs and algae) as putting an additional 5 ppm into a pool with CYA levels at 30.

    If additional chlorine is actually being put into the water (when you turn up the dial on the Frog), the only way for residual levels in the pool to stay low is if the additional chlorine is being used up (degraded by sunlight, or used up in fighting organics).

    If you like to experiment, you could put a gallon of plain bleach in the pool, let it circulate for half an hour to get mixed in, and then use your existing test materials to see what they report for chlorine levels. If you use standard 8.25% bleach, a gallon should give you about 5 ppm rise in your chlorine levels (see PoolMath -- http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html).

    As you already realize, finding out what your CYA level actually is (reliable test kit will help) is important in deciding how to proceed.

    And, as was asked by the previous poster, how does the water look?
    18' x 48" ring top pool (Summer Escapes); 5500 gallons; set up June - October, stored during winter; Intex 2500 gph pump (B size cartridge filter) Hayward 21" sand filter + 1.5 hp single speed Powerflo Matrix pump (upgrade October 2016) *** K-2006 test kit, refills from tftestkits

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Columbia, SC
    Posts
    8,499

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Quote Originally Posted by bwelshon View Post
    A lot of responses have been to get a reliable test kit, does that mean that the test kit I just purchased, the PoolMaster 5Way is not a useful kit?
    it is not that it is not useful in its own way, it is just limited in what you can test. FC only goes up to 5 and as you discovered no CYA test.

    Ignore the guess (test) strips. They are less than useful. Their ranges are too wide and are extremely inaccurate.

    You need to purchase one of the recommended test kits. They all contain a FAS-DPD chlorine test and the accurate CYA test which are the basis for our methods. Without one of these we are all just guessing at what your problems/solutions might be.

    Plus, you need to stop using the chlorinator and switch to liquid chlorine. You are just driving your CYA ever higher.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Central Minnesota
    Posts
    5,079

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    CC can be much higher than FC but only when dealing with lots of organics and for short periods. For instance, in my pool when I was dealing with an ammonia issue... for short periods when starting to SLAM the pool I had FC levels below 1 and CC levels in the double digits. This only happens when your FC is rapidly being consumed and you're testing frequently after adding bleach. Most CC dissipates quickly when exposed to UV light and open to the air. Only when you "catch" it before it drops down in this type of situation do you see CC levels higher than FC.
    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

  13. Back To Top    #13

    TFP Guide

    Catanzaro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Monmouth County, New Jersey
    Posts
    2,187

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    Edited my post. Sorry, I meant the CC would have to be @ 4.5 if TC is 5 and FC is .5, which I have never heard of before. I am a newbie and learning as I go along.
    14,700 gallons IG Pool Vinyl Liner - Octal Circulation System
    Hayward Pro-Series 350 LB. Sand Filter Model # S270T - 2" Plumping
    Hayward CL2002 Chlorinator - Hayward Super Pump 2 HP Model # k48m2n111
    Hayward AQR9 SWG 25K Salt Cell & TF-100 Test Kit + Speed Stir
    Gulfstream HE125RA - 117K BTU Heat Pump - Date of Build is 11-2013

  14. Back To Top    #14
    swoopman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Annapolis, MD
    Posts
    213

    Re: New pool having trouble getting proper Chlorine and pH levels

    I'm in MD too.

    Totally agree with investing in a good test kit today (pref. TF-100). Sorry you just bought a different one but after all the money you spent on a new pool it is well worth the investment in a good test kit so your brand new pool doesn't get damaged by corrosion or scaling over the winter. That is quite possible if the water isn't properly balanced esp. with the pool being so new.

    TFP recommends not closing until the pool water temp reaches 60 degrees. So you have time to get the kit and get your water properly balanced before closing. Even if you have them do the close you will understand and be in control so they only add what you want when closing and not all the other junk they will likely add if you don't know otherwise.

    You can prevent so many problems if you follow the advice here now
    - get rid of the Frog so you don't have a metal problem
    - find out and address the CYA issue if there is one or you will have an algae problem
    - you'll need to be watching pH as the pool continues to cure
    etc, etc.

    I just did a drain and fill to fix CYA. Yes, once you know a real CYA number from a good kit (not pool store or strips) the fix for a high CYA is to drain water from the pool and fill with fresh water. How much water needs to be drained from the pool depends on the CYA number. There are several methods to drain including draining to waste or using a submersible.

    Only you can decide if you want to get a good test kit and then take the leap of faith and follow the TFP methods. If you do then the people here will be glad to help you and I can attest that by following TFP your pool with thank you.
    TF-100 Test Kit
    22,000 gallon, 20x40 kidney-shape IG plaster pool built in 1986
    Nautilus NS-36 DE filter, Hayward Self Prime Super Pump 1HP
    Polaris Automatic Pool Cleaner, PB4-60 3/4 HP pump

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •