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Thread: Severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

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    Severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Moved to more appropriate forum by Moderator - MikeInTN


    I am FRUSTRATED as all GET UP and CONSIDER this a DEEP END problem even though it is probably not very TECHNICAL as I'm CHEMICALLY INEPT-So apologizes ahead of time for any inconsistencys.
    Here goes. Inground pool of gunite, 22000 gallons (kidney shaped with palm trees and one evergreen tree for shade) with an attached spa. The house is 25 years old and we are here 3 years. It has a heating system and a water fall and uses a chlorine system. We are located in Las Vegas NV.
    Year one-beautiful pool.
    Year two-problems with the pool turning green and cloudy. PHARMACIST HUSBAND handles situation with chemicals which solves the problem momentarily (2-3 weeks at a time). Time to hire the pool man who tests water and says it is OLD. He drained the water, acid washed the pool and rechemicalized it and proceeded to get a HEART ATTACK leaving his assistant as A NO SHOW. POOL TURNS BLACK within month.
    Three monthslater pool man returns and restores pool at his expanse on the grounds we buy a new filtration system. Bought a Haywood 525 4 cartridge monster that LESLIE POOLS says was WAY OVER THE TOP for the kind of pool that we have. BUT WE BOUGHT IT ANYWAY.
    Pool held for about 3 weeks and turned. BY THE BY we call pool man ASAP when pool turns. The response isn't the quickest but he EVENTUALLY gets here. This time it was an ALGAE problem due to the trees. Leslie Pools chemical analysis showed the tree levels were fine and so, we split the costs on the PLATINUM (?) algaecide used. Pool held a month and it rained and pool turned dark green blackish murkish. Used Aquashock to shock the pool added muriatic acid and pool was good to go for 2 weeks. Pool turns murky. Shock and muriatic acid added.
    Now it may be a leak. Time for a leak specialist . FOUND a leak (so did my plumber who repaired the leak on the main line near the pool). The leak specialist requested that we compartmentalize the spa from the pool and run the spa for 2 hours 3 times a week until we repair. That was in June we are repairing the leak next week. The pool held for a month and turned. Now we are being told that we may have to redo the pool ( 2 other proffessionals looked at the pool including the engineer who inspected the house and said the pool would not need repairing for at least 5-10 years that the gunite was in EXCELLENT shape).
    Aside from paying the pool man. Aside from paying for the extra treatments. Aside from adding chemicals that are pitting the pool and MY SKIN. We are PERSONALLY at OUR EXPENSE adding chlorine at midweek and buying 80 gallons of muriatic acid for onhand use. We used the hayward robo cleaner 3 times a week. We run the filtration system 8 hours a day except when pool starts to turn then we run it 24/7 until pool man comes. We clean the skimmer and the pot belly as the pool turns or after a rain and ARE NOT ENJOYING OURSELVES.
    So, why the LONG POST-we are from NYC COOP APARTMENTS what do WE KNOW ABOUT POOLS other then it is costing us upwards of 3000 dollars a year to maintain and we are NOT GETTING SATISFACTION and don't really KNOW if our 30 year EXPERIENCED POOL MAN is DOING THE JOB or if WE HAVE SEVERE POOL PROBLEMS. Oh yes the pool man claims he never saw such a stubborn pool.
    HELP and thanx for your patience reading the POST OF A LONG WINDED HUMAN BEING.

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    Guest

    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    First, take a deep breath and relax. You are in the right place (this forum) to find the help you need!
    Next, look at the menu at the top of every page in this forum, click on the pool school link ( or click on the link in my signature) and read everything there. Once you have done that read it again then get your water tested and post the full set of test results here. (seriously consider getting yourself a GOOD test kit and take control of your pool yourself. It's not hard at all. There is a discussion of test kits in the pool school section of the forum.) I suspect that you are chlorinating with trichlor tablets in an automatic feeder (or a floater) and you stated that you have a cartridge filter so I have some suspicions about some of your problems. Once we get the test results we can start with that.

    As far as the leak, where is it. Is it in the plumbing or has the plaster been damaged? (You stated that the pool was recently acid washed.)

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Waterbear is giving you good advice. With far less aggravation, far less money, and very little work you can take care of the pool yourself much better than what you describe. About the only step that should require professionals is leak repairs, though even many of those can be handled by someone who is moderately handy. Do some reading at Pool School, get your water tested and post the number, and you should be back on track soon.
    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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    monkeywrench's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Welcome to TFP
    You can certainly handle doing this yourself with a good test kit. In fact you probably have already done more than you'll need to do in the future once you get it under control.
    AND you have two of the best in Jason and waterbear advising you so far.
    We're here to help you empower yourself

    jb
    14x28 IG Vinyl
    12.5k gal
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    First off THANK U ALL I will go back and read and re-read and will get to Leslie's Pool for testing ASAP.
    I guess I did leave out the good stuff like we do use a floater with tabs and add chlorine to the pool as well. It seems like the problem WAS and CONTINUES to be the fact that the pool will not hold the muriatic (SP?) acid. We even considered buying a CHLORINATOR but Leslies said it was NOT NECESSARY for a POOL our SIZE. I guess I ALSO LEFT OUT the fact that hubby is a PHARMACIST and after 3 years of chemistry in school he gave up trying to balance the pool which is when we DISCOVERED you can't balance old water.
    The leak is an AIR (?) leak one foot to the left facing side of the spa and two foot down. This is the leak that we will be repairing next week.
    The filtration system I think runs on 1 horse power. It circulates the 22000 gallons four times a day so running it 24/7 is an extreme measure.
    The pool was acid washed last October and has some small pits. We all walk on it and barely notice them other then they are rough spots. We do want to PEBBLE TEC the pool but NOT UNTIL we FIGURE OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS that we can't seem to balance it and by the way we buy our products at LESLIE POOL.
    SO, I HAVE WORK TO DO but, I WANTED TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY APPRECIATION of these RESPONSES IMMEDIATELY. Please EXPECT to HEAR BACK from me shortly with the chemical analysis.
    THANK U all.
    m

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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Welcome to TFP!!

    The Bear and the Lion have you pointed in the right direction 8) With your husband's chemistry experience, he'll surly understand why we say what we do about pool water chemistry, once he learns why we say it

    There's an article in Pool School about finding leaks, if you can try the things mentioned there and report the results back - we may be able to help you fix it yourself

    I wish you well with your issues and hope that you will find the information you need here to make your pool 'Trouble Free'
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Welcome!

    "Old" water. That's a new one for me....

    Believe me, you have come to the right place and your pool will be in tip-top shape in no time. Just follow the great advice you've been given thus far, and your headed in the right direction.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    I DO WANT to STRESS again that this is going on for 2 years that my pool balance does NOT HOLD. I also want to STRESS that when we show him Leslies' chem results we were told that their analytic equipment is usually wrong.
    My pool man comes every Monday-2 mondays ago my pool turned and he's analysis was to add muriatic acid and Aqua shock. He said it would be cheaper if we bought it and to buy 80 lbs and that the Aqua Shock would be in the following Fri. To date the Aqua shock is not in and Monday he added 40 lbs of Muriatic Acid. It is still in the upper 90's and I'm missing all that good swim weather.

    We went to Leslies Pool this morning and this is the chemical analysis-they KNOW US WELL and KNOW what to TEST for in our water.....
    FAC-free available chlorine-0 (zero)
    water ph 7.2
    Total Alkaliy (TA) 50
    Cyanuric Acid (CYA) 90
    Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) 2800

    recommend the following-10lbs of Alkality up (14) wait 8 hours
    2.5 lbs of soda ash wait 4 hours
    2 lbs of Power Powder Plus wait 10 hours
    test water and repeat again.

    Out this way OLD WATER is a FUN topic-its water that NO LONGER HOLDS chemicals. This also CRACKS hubby up!!!

    thx
    m

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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Hi, and welcome.

    It is not that your water is 'old', or that your water will not 'hold chemicals'. That is a bunch of baloney. Is is that the people you are relying on to help you solve your problem are clueless!! Stop tossing things in that you HOPE will fix the problem.

    PLEASE, for you own sake, go to Pool school and read, get a good test kit, fire the pool guy and Leslie's, and take matters in your own hands. Really, it takes 5 minutes a day to test and add some bleach or other chemicals as needed. Most folks here don't EVER have to shock their pools, once they get things under THEIR OWN control!!!

    8200 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, manually chlorinated with 10% liquid, salt added to ~2000, 12" sand filter, 1600gph pump, TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, Chlorine/CYA Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    First, Welcome to TFP.

    Second, if your PH is actually 7.2 and your pool man is telling you you need Muriatic Acid, don't do it. 7.2 is pretty much the lowest you ever want the PH to be. Ideally you want to keep it between 7.2 and 7.8 because anything lower can cause problems with the pool (corrosion).

    Also, with your CYA being 90, you will probably need to do a partial refill to get it to a more managable level. This may have been why your pool man told you to drain the water. Tri-chlor adds CYA(stabilizer)to the water and the higher your CYA, the more chlorine you will need to keep the pool sanitized(and algae free). Generally CYA levels should be between 30 and 50.

    I'd reccomend you STOP using Tri-chlor immediately and start using Liquid Chlorine(or plain, unscented bleach) to sanitize the pool.

    One last thing... You NEED a good Test Kit it's the key to taking control of your pool. Everybody here will reccomend the Taylor K-2006 or the TF-100 sold by a member here(Duraleigh).

    HTH,
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

  11. Back To Top    #11
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Quote Originally Posted by launboy
    First, Welcome to TFP.

    Second, if your PH is actually 7.2 and your pool man is telling you you need Muriatic Acid, don't do it. 7.2 is pretty much the lowest you ever want the PH to be. Ideally you want to keep it between 7.2 and 7.8 because anything lower can cause problems with the pool (corrosion).

    Also, with your CYA being 90, you will probably need to do a partial refill to get it to a more managable level. This may have been why your pool man told you to drain the water. Tri-chlor adds CYA(stabilizer)to the water and the higher your CYA, the more chlorine you will need to keep the pool sanitized(and algae free). Generally CYA levels should be between 30 and 50.

    I'd reccomend you STOP using Tri-chlor immediately and start using Liquid Chlorine(or plain, unscented bleach) to sanitize the pool.

    One last thing... You NEED a good Test Kit it's the key to taking control of your pool. Everybody here will reccomend the Taylor K-2006 or the TF-100 sold by a member here(Duraleigh).

    HTH,
    Adam
    Ditto!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    I just wanted to say please listen to these folks. I had almost the same issues. DH took care of the pool. I just watched as he did all kinds of things on advice from the pool store. We were paying a lot of money for chemicals every month even with an SWG.

    I took over the pool, got the pool kit everyone here recommends, balanced the pool and it's been clear as day since.
    14188 Marcite pool. 1/2 hp pump Hayward cartridge filter. SWCG Goldline T-15 Turbo cell. Spillover spa. Birdcage.

  13. Back To Top    #13
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Well,you confirmed the suspicion I had mentioned in my first post. Your CYA is too high. The only way to lower it is to do partial drain and refill. Then stop using trichlor for chlorination and use either bleach or liquid chlorine (they are the same chemical). Get a good test kit and start testing your own water and fire the pool guy. If he wants to put muriatic acid in your pool when the pH is 7.2 he certainly does NOT know what he is doing. If you want to know about me I work in a pool store and also do commerfial pool maintenance in the summer so I do know a bit about this.
    Your CYA of 90 ppm requres a Free chlorine level of about 10 ppm for normal chlorination and a shock level of about 35 ppm! If you continue to use trichlor your CYA will continue to rise. There is a section of Pool School that talks about the chlorine/CYA relationship. If you have not already done so please read the pool school. If you have read it again. The more you read it the more you will understand about taking care of a pool and the faster you will learn that it's really very easy! There are just three step:
    1. test your water so you know what you need and how much (This has to be done daily for chlorine and pH and weekly for the other tests, usually. We are talking about 5 munutes a day to care for your pool, btw!)
    2. adjust the water based on the test results. (The pool calculator in Pool School makes this an easy task!)
    3. Enjoy a sparkling, clear, troublefree pool!

    If this didn't work we would not have so many happy members in this forum!

    Getting back your test results from Leslies:
    I would not worry about the TA (total alkalinity) right now, it's the least of your problems but it will need to be addressed once everything else is in line. If you do the recommened partial drain and refill to get your CYA in line it might take care of itself, depending on the TA of your fill water.
    you have NO chlorine in your water. Add bleach (plain unscented laundry bleach) or liquid chlorine to bring the level up to 10 ppm NOW. If your pool is cloudy, green or has visible algae then you need to bring the free chlorine level up to shock level, which is about 35 ppm for your pool right now because of the high YA level. You need to keep it at shock level until the pool is clear and the algae is gone. Use the pool calculator to see how much you need for your pool.
    Your pH is FINE right now. Do NOT add Soda ash or muriatic acid!
    STOP USING TRICHLOR!
    I find it strange that Leslies did NOT test for calcium hardness. It is an important part of water balaning and if the calium hardness is too low it can lead to damage of the plaster surface of your pool!

    Getting a GOOD test kit and testing your own water (it's easy!) is the best way to go. I have to stress that you should get a GOOD test kit (see the pool school section on test kits) or you are just wasting your money. The test kits we recommend here work well, are easy, and don't have some of the problems other test kits have (like chlorine tests bleaching out) so they are worth the money. In the long run they will save you a LOT of money and time!

  14. Back To Top    #14

    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    We did HANDLE the pool ourselves for the first year until we ran into trouble. AFTER READING all the wonderful posts in the forum I BELIEVE the problem was our CHEAP test kit. I'm off tomorrow to pick up one of the recommended brands SO I THANK U ALL 4 that.
    Second of all-the pool man CLAIMS he is ADDING LIQUID CHLORINE as well as the TABLETS.

    Hubby dearest has been adding BLEACH to my SPA to keep me in water so, he understands that concept and is going to hit the store AFTER emptying the pool and will try bleach. PINKY BET it will BE A LOT BETTER on my skin then the chlorine.

    Lastly-how much is considered a partial refill. Do I do this like my fish tank and empty 33% of the tank. I"M SO FRUSTRATED because I have a 55 gallon tank whose water balance (maintained by me) has been perfect for 7 years (I have a 22 lb 5 year old needle nose catfish happy as a clam) and I CAN"T KEEP MY POOL CLEAN-just joking as a way of appreciation.

    So, I'm off to get some heavy duty work done. Just waiting on how much pool to empty.

    thanx u all again.

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    launboy's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    In the end, you will probably end up replacing about 50% of the water in the pool. You can do this all at once, but it's generally not reccomended unless you know what your water table is. If it's to high, you might end up with a bigger problem, like the pool popping out of the ground.

    If you want to be safe, only empty maybe 12-18" at a time and then refill. It might take 2 or 3 of these partial drain/refills to get the CYA where you want it. Make sure you check the CYA after each refill.

    HTH,
    Adam
    18' x 42" Intex Easyset Pool, with 16' x 52" deep end in the middle. Approx. 5500 Gal.
    Hayward Power-Flo LX 1 HP, 100# Jacuzzi Brand Sand Filter(Piped underground so it looks nice) 8)
    3 - 2' x 20' Solar Pool Heater Panels(roof mounted)
    Goin' on 9 summers...NOBODY thought it would last this long.
    Buried Portable Spa sharing pumps and water with pool (Almost complete project)

  16. Back To Top    #16
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Quote Originally Posted by mgoobles
    We did HANDLE the pool ourselves for the first year until we ran into trouble. AFTER READING all the wonderful posts in the forum I BELIEVE the problem was our CHEAP test kit. I'm off tomorrow to pick up one of the recommended brands SO I THANK U ALL 4 that.
    It's not the brand but rather the specific model. The TF100 is only available online from TF Test Kits (link in my signature). If you get a Taylor be sure to get the K-2006 and NOT the K-2005 (different chlorine tests in the two kits). The leslies equivalent of the K-2006 is not sold in the Leslies store but only from their website.

    Second of all-the pool man CLAIMS he is ADDING LIQUID CHLORINE as well as the TABLETS.

    Hubby dearest has been adding BLEACH to my SPA to keep me in water so, he understands that concept and is going to hit the store AFTER emptying the pool and will try bleach. PINKY BET it will BE A LOT BETTER on my skin then the chlorine.
    Bleach IS liquid chlorine! Same chemical!

    Lastly-how much is considered a partial refill. Do I do this like my fish tank and empty 33% of the tank. I"M SO FRUSTRATED because I have a 55 gallon tank whose water balance (maintained by me) has been perfect for 7 years (I have a 22 lb 5 year old needle nose catfish happy as a clam) and I CAN"T KEEP MY POOL CLEAN-just joking as a way of appreciation.
    So, I'm off to get some heavy duty work done. Just waiting on how much pool to empty.
    The only way to know is by testing but it will be around a 50% water change. The safest way to do it is to do several partial changes (drain about a foot or two below the skimmer) and refill, circulate to mix, and repeat this 4 or 5 times and then test your CYA. Repeat until the CYA is around 40-60 ppm (I am suggesting a slightly higher CYA level for you than the 'norm' because of your geographic location).

    thanx u all again.
    Hope this is helpfu.

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Leslies in Las Vegas DOES carry the Talor-K-2006 in store and we picked it up and tested our water. The figures do match Leslies balance. Today the water is Swamp black with a hint of dark green. Even the spa is greenish.
    We also emptied the WHOLE POOL TWICE before without a problem so emptying the entire pool should NOT be a problem.
    The guy at Leslie mentioned TWO things. He said the pool water in Vegas gets changed every 3 or so years because of HARD WATER (our water SUX even with water conditioning treatments).
    And he ASKED what type filtration we had and what it was CALIBRATED at. We told him we had the HAYWARD POLARIS 525 calibrated at 20lbs of pressure. He said that the pressure was to HIGH and that might be backwashing the chemicals. THOUGH before we got the new filter we also could not maintain the chlorine.
    We R off to FIGURE out how to DRAIN the pool....something about a sump pump. LIVE AND LEARN!!!
    will be checking in...
    thank U all again

  18. Back To Top    #18
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    You really shouldn't believe everything the person at the pool store says. Some of what they are telling you is good advice and some of it doesn't make any sense at all.

    In arid areas it is usually safe to completely drain the pool, but just because you have done it before doesn't mean that it will always be fine. The odds of something going wrong when you drain the pool are very low, but the amount of damage that can result is very high. Besides, there is absolutely no reason to completely drain the pool. From the numbers you posted a couple of days ago you only need to replace just over 1/3rd of the water.

    Did you ever get a CH test result? It is particularly important to know you CH level in arid areas. The "replace the water every three years" rule of thumb is sometimes way too often and sometimes way too infrequently. It is much better to know your levels and only replace water when you actually have to.

    You don't have to have a sump pump to replace water, though that is one way of doing it. There is usually a garden hose style water valve somewhere near the filter/pump that can be used to let water out of the pool when the pump is running (or you might have a backwash setting) and you can fill the pool back up at the same time so that the water never goes below the skimmer.
    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

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    ch=680
    cya=100
    ph=7.6
    NO CHLORILE AT ALL-NO FREE CHLORINE-NO CHLORINE CHLORINE NOTHING.....nobody knows where my chlorine keeps going.....
    That is todays results. We cleaned the cartridges because the pump was running high and they were filthy.
    During the floods of the 80's I travelled cross country by train. I FOUND THE SWAMPS IN La. to be cleaner and lighter colored green/black then mine. The kids R scared that the LOCH NESS monster is going to crawl out of there and eat them during the night.
    We temperarily added 3 gallons of chlorine as the holidays creeped up on us. As soon as we pass the holidays we will drain out the pool (1/3).
    AT LEAST WE GOT THE SPA BALANCED-real easy-emptied the water and started all over again.

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: severe pool problems or pool ineptitude

    Quote Originally Posted by mgoobles
    NO CHLORILE AT ALL-NO FREE CHLORINE-NO CHLORINE CHLORINE NOTHING.....nobody knows where my chlorine keeps going.....
    Your chlorine is being consumed by the algae and dirt in the water. Unless you stay on it and keep adding chlorine every few hours to maintain shock level, you will never be able to hold any chlorine. Shock level for your CYA level is 39ppm. Raise it to 39ppm, then go back and check it again in 4 hours. Add whatever it takes to get it back to 39ppm. Repeat until the chlorine only drops a few ppm between tests, then change the testing cycle to every 8 hours. Every time the chlorine drops to zero, you are starting over with the clearing process.
    TFP Moderator
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