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Thread: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

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    Question New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    To begin, I bought this house in Northeast Ohio this past January, 2015.

    I have absorbed as much information as I can from family and boards like this, and I feel fairly confident.

    Previous owners have not opened the pool for at least the last two seasons. A peek under the mesh cover shows a small/moderate layer of dirt all around, and a slight, but not overpowering green tinge. (some furry growth in the skimmer on and around the winter "gizmo". They had left a bunch of Sodium-Hypo shock, Tri-Chlor pucks (which worries me), and baking soda.

    I had hoped to open, brush, vacuum, and take readings for initial SLAM yesterday. As it turned out, the sand filter was in desperate need of new sand. So I spent most of my day on that and making sure equipment was ready.

    At the end of a very sweaty/sandy day, I still wanted to get an initial chemistry reading to know where I stand.

    Pump has not run, so water has not circulated for a long time.
    Water was cold, certainly below 70F, but I didn't take a temp reading.

    Before I even post the results, should I trust the numbers I got, or ignore until I scrub/pump/filter significantly?


    Test results:
    FC/CC - both 0
    Ph - <7, base demand test took over 40 drops to show any change. (however, I read that the reagent doesn't even show yellow if Ph is <6.8, not sure if that is accurate.)
    TA - didn't register, started at pink (which is 4.5 or below, from what I read)
    CH - started purple, remained purple, never definitively red or blue)
    CYA - I didn't try the diluted test last night, but the standard test read at way over 100. (took less than half the distance from the bottom of the tube to the 100 line on the K-2006 tube. I did NOT let the water come to room temp, though. Doh!)


    I'll apologize to begin with, as I know I've already done things in a less than optimal manner, and I may be worrying preemptively. But, the more information I can get, the better. Any and all help is appreciated!
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Welcome!

    Your immediate concern should be the pH. It's very important you start on that immediately. Start by raising the pH with WASHING soda, or Borax until it reaches a stable 7.2-7.4. Don't try to raise the pH with the Baking Soda. You should be concerned, so your worries are well placed. Begin with that.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Welcome to TFP!

    The first step is to get the pump running, let it run for at least an hour, and then repeat the tests (except perhaps for FC/CC which are surely zero). While you are working on that, you might want to try the CH test on your tap water, and see if that also do the purple thing or if you get a better sense of what the colors should be.

    The odds are you will be raising PH and replacing water to get CYA down, but best to wait on actually doing that until the water is mixed and we see if those results are actually representative of the pool as a whole.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Wow, two responses within 10 minutes. Thank you both.

    Weather calls for thunderstorms for the next three days. I don't believe I should try adding any borax without the pump running. Should I push to get it running ASAP, regardless of the bad weather? Or just as soon as it clears up?

    From everything I read, I knew the numbers were bad, I just needed experience to know HOW bad they were, and gauge my concern accordingly. You have both helped with that a great deal, thank you.


    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    If you can get the pump running soon that would be great. If that is not going to happen in the next week or so it is worth exploring alternatives.
    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

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    You definitely want to get the pump running as soon as you can.
    Lisa
    Intex AG vinyl 15' x 48" 4,300 gallons due to skimmer install, Krystal Clear SF pump combo 2800 GPH, Krystal Clear SWG, Pool Blaster Max vacuum, Hayward thru the wall skimmer, TF 100 test kit with speed stir, K 1766 Taylor salt test, My SLAM Process

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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    why cant you run your pump? if lightning hits the pump, wont matter if it was on or off. full steam ahead!
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninFLA View Post
    why cant you run your pump? if lightning hits the pump, wont matter if it was on or off. full steam ahead!
    I haven't finished opening the pool for the season. The mesh cover is still on and the plugs are still in. I planned on removing them yesterday, but got occupied with the filter sand replacement. (and taking time with my 2yo son.) So, it's a bit more than flipping the power on at the moment.

    Looks like I'll be working in the rain tonight.

    Bonus is that the three days of thunderstorms should help dilute/displace the CYA at least a little bit.
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    I did presume you knew you should get the pump going. Even I f you get 3-4" of rain it won't change the Cya much. No matter, that can be addressed later. Let us know when you get some water moving and a fresh set of numbers.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by phibroptic View Post
    I haven't finished opening the pool for the season. The mesh cover is still on and the plugs are still in. I planned on removing them yesterday, but got occupied with the filter sand replacement. (and taking time with my 2yo son.) So, it's a bit more than flipping the power on at the moment.

    Looks like I'll be working in the rain tonight.

    Bonus is that the three days of thunderstorms should help dilute/displace the CYA at least a little bit.
    ok, gotcha, I didn't catch that in your original post. I read it as you didn't want to run the pump due to thunderstorms. I mean if the pool has just been sitting there for a while, I don't think a few more days is gonna make a huge difference.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry &amp; Procedure Questions

    Update:

    Finished opening the pool in the pouring rain last night. I let the pump run and circulate for 1.5 hours during dinner, and retested. Same results.

    Being new to this, I wasn't willing to completely believe that the pH is down at 4.5 or below and add the 10.7 boxes of Borax that the PoolMath Calculator suggested. I added 1 box, retested after an hour of dispersion, with no discernible difference. I added 2 more boxes before heading to bed, and allowing the pump to run all night. I checked quickly with a test strip this morning, and while still low, I was able to notice a difference. I added the fourth box before leaving. (WalMart only had 4 boxes when I stopped on my way home yesterday, I plan to get more elsewhere when I leave work today.)

    Slow but steady progress, I'll keep you guys updated. Thank you all again for the help.

    Once I get the pH up, should I worry about adjusting the TA first or just start a SLAM and fix it after?

    Also, since I know everyone here loves pictures, I'm adding two of my newly opened pool. (Taken when the rain stopped, right as I went in for dinner, one from the second floor window.) Sorry for the poor quality, I only had my phone with me, and not my nice camera.

    Edit: It looks like I will have to post the pictures a bit later, since I am not (yet) a supporter, and imgur/flickr/photobucket are all blocked on my company internet.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I should mention that I know I need to retest after the pH is fixed, and figure out where my CYA is and what needs to be done to it before I consider starting a SLAM.
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Please check the pH with the K2006 test. Don't depend on the strips for making more pH adjustments.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Patrick_B - Understood. I knew I was being lazy in a hurry to get to work, but I figured the strip would be good enough to tell me if I "moved the needle" or not. I will not be lazy again.

    Attaching the pictures that I mentioned earlier.

    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    No worries, let us know what you find later.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Recap: pH and TA too low to get a good measurement or repeatable base demand test, so I slowly added 5 boxes of borax, and hadn't tested after the last addition, due to stupid work getting in the way. (Don't these people realize I have a pool I need to rehabilitate?)

    Update:

    I stopped at the Walmart by my office on the way home, and bought all 5 boxes of Borax they had, in preparation for what I might find when I got home. (assuming our local hadn't restocked yet.)

    Tested the water when I got home, and I was able to get a repeatable base demand test, as well as a TA test that didn't immediately turn pink! (though 1 drop of reagent immediately did, without swirling, so I don't know if that should be 0, 10, or 5 ppm.)

    I think my math and Logic were correct for the borax additions, but I am putting it at the bottom of the post for someone to hopefully confirm. (Or point out my mistakes.)

    The base demand test took 30 drops to raise the color to the 7.2* range. By my initial calculation, it should have taken roughly 12 boxes of borax (math below) to bring the pool up to 7.2*.

    Being cautious, skeptical of my math, and only having 5 boxes at hand, I put them all in and let the water circulate through dinner. (roughly 1.5 hours)

    Tested after dinner:
    pH - 15 drops of base demand test to get to the 7.2* range -> need ~6 boxes of borax to get to 7.2* (math below, as well)
    TA - 30ppm

    I managed to run to target and buy the 7 boxes they had there, but did not add them last night, due to a minor toddler emergency. I added 6 boxes before leaving for work today, and I will retest the water tonight.


    Quick question before the math: Would the low pH or drastic addition of borax throw off the CYA test? I tested CYA once initially, without circulating the water, and one more time last night. (trying to conserve the limited CYA reagent in the K-2006 kit for now) and they were both similar/identical off the charts >100 (I will try the diluted test once the pH issue is resolved.)


    Math:
    The K-2006 booklet has a table for raising pH with Soda Ash only, and only goes to 10 drops of base demand reagent, so I extrapolated. (it lists 3.2 lbs of Soda Ash for 10 drops in a 10k Gal pool.)
    30 drops -> 3.2 lb Soda Ash = 51.2 oz -> 51.2 oz * 3 (30k Gal pool) * 3 (30 drops) = 460.8 oz Soda Ash
    Using the PoolMath Calculator, I plugged in the goal pH of 7.2*, TA of 10 (which may have been too generous, but I know it will rise as I add borax) and tweaked the starting pH until the recommended Soda Ash addition was around the 460 oz calculation. This resulted in a guesstimate current pH of 5, and a suggested addition of 12.1 boxes of borax.

    Math for Second test, after adding 5 boxes:
    15 drops -> 51.2 oz * 3 (30k Gal) * 1.5 ( 15 drops) = 230.4 oz Soda Ash
    Using goal pH of 7.2* and TA of 30, the calculator gave me a guesstimate pH of 6.1, and suggested addition of 5.9 boxes of Borax


    *I know I should be shooting for 7.5-7.8 for a Vinyl, non-swg pool, but I would rather not overshoot, so I am being cautious, maybe to a fault.
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Measured after work

    pH - 7.6
    TA - 70 ppm
    CYA (extended/diluted test) ~200

    Algae has gotten much worse. (I'm guessing they like the balanced pH a bit better)

    I know I need to continue pulling **** off the bottom with leaf rake and vacuum. I think finding the time to drain/fill/repeat to lower the CYA is next. Should I bother with any chlorine before I get the CYA down to a more reasonable level, or wait until I'm ready to SLAM?


    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    I just noticed that the post from my phone last night got censored. I didn't know anyone considered that word offensive. Maybe I should have said junk or sludge instead of "the c word"
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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    Defgufman's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    If you don't get the cya down, you're going to be buying a lot of bleach.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Yea, there are a lot of dirty, and almost dirty words in the filter.

    You really need to get the Cya down, or this will be really impossible to fix. Until you do, the problem is going to grow unless you start bringing in Bleach by the 55 gallon drum with that Cya level.
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    Re: New Pool Owner - Chemistry & Procedure Questions

    Yeah, I wasn't expecting to SLAM or expect any results from the chlorine before I lowered the CYA, I just didn't know if it was a good idea to keep the FC at 0 until I get the CYA down.

    Also, in my price shopping, the cheapest chlorine I could find (taking percentages into account, obviously) was liquid chlorine at the local pool store. (Great Escape) 4 gal of 12.25% was $14 + tax, which beat out walmart/target/aldi.
    25k Gal, IG Vinyl, 26" Sand Filter, Hayward 1HP (SP-2607x10), Installed late 90s? (bought house in 2015), K-2006 Test Kit w/ SpeedStir & extra reagents from TFTestKits.com (Buying TF-100 next year instead of Taylor refills!)
    Helpful Links - Pool School - Read Everything Twice! : SLAM Procedure to clean up a green monster : CYA-FC Relation Chart : Pool Math Calculator : My First Pool Opening

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