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Thread: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

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    Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Pool specs: 18x36 20,000 gallon pool

    I opened my pool 2 weeks ago.

    My initial testing has shown that my ph and alk is low and my total chlorine is reading highest on test strip which is 10. Free chlorine is also reading highest which is 10 on the strip. I added 12 lbs of baking soda today for my alkalinity hoping that will bring my alkalinity up to par as well as ph. Last week I also added a 12 lb bag.
    i shocked my pool last night because my total chlorine was so high. Today my free and total is still out the roof and now I can see a hint of green in my deep end. Help!!! I am getting confused and I dont really want to go get ripped off by a pool dealer.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Hi, welcome to TFP! Could you please post a current set of test results? That will help us determine what you should do next.
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    Hi, welcome to TFP! Could you please post a current set of test results? That will help us determine what you should do next.
    pool.jpgpool.jpg

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Also, I am using the chlorine floaters. I am curious as to how many 3 inch tablets I need to keep in the pool. Whenever we opened the pool the previous owner came over and told me that he used two floaters with 5-6 tablets in each. This seem like a lot considering my pool is 20,000 gallons. I am wondering if this is contributing to my free chlorine being so high. So aggravated! I am expected company tomorrow and my free chlorine is out the room and the pool has a slight green tint to it now!

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    I am happy you are testing your own water. However the test strips can be just as inaccurate as the pool store. I highly recommend you buy a recommended test kit. This is really the only way we can help you learn the TFP methods. There is a link in my signature for the TF 100. We also don't encourage the use of pucks. All you need is regular 8.25% bleach no easy pour or scents. You can buy that at your local grocery store and most other stores. Pucks are ok if you are going out of town for a few days but they also raise CYA levels in your pool.

    - - - Updated - - -

    If you have a slight tinge of green and it is clear there could be metals or algae bloom in there.
    Lisa
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Can anyone make anything out of my test results and help me here?

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    We cannot make recommendations based of test strip testing. I am sorry.
    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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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Oh ok. Well, test strips are getting me in the ballpark and the test kit I have concurs with it ph and chlorine wise. I am just needing help understanding why my free is so high and my total is high. I shocked last night. I don't know what to do to get free down.

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by lindz18 View Post
    Oh ok. Well, test strips are getting me in the ballpark and the test kit I have concurs with it ph and chlorine wise. I am just needing help understanding why my free is so high and my total is high. I shocked last night. I don't know what to do to get free down.
    Pool "shock" is chlorine. That's why it's so high. Free chlorine is the good stuff. Combined Chlorine is the bad stuff, the stuff that smells like a public pool. Free + Combined = Total Chlorine. Ideally, your Free Chlorine and your Total Chlorine will read the same.

    And if your water is getting green and/or cloudy, you WANT high chlorine to kill off any algae faster than it can reproduce. There are better explanations in Pool School. I'd recommend the ABCs and Recommended Chemicals and How to Chlorinate to start.

    And I might as well jump on the bandwagon and say that you need a proper test kit. It will be the best investment you make for your pool.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    I'm relatively new here as well, but I can tell you that the members here are VERY helpful and are quick to answer your questions accurately. The cool thing is almost everyone will say the exact same thing, which is how you know this stuff works. With that being said the reason people aren't jumping to give advice based on test results that can't be verified is that you could do more harm than good by adding things that might be doing the opposite of what you need. I've been in your shoes and I know you want to start trying to fix your pool water immediately, but the best thing you can do is order one of the good kits that's been recommended (TF 100 or K-2006) and wait. Once you get it you can post some accurate results, get some good instruction, and be swimming before you know it.
    17x41 Sun Fiberglass Pool 21,500 gallons. Jandy 1hp pump, Hayward Top Mount Sand Filter, Coverstar Auto Cover.

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by heugeneo View Post
    I'm relatively new here as well, but I can tell you that the members here are VERY helpful and are quick to answer your questions accurately. The cool thing is almost everyone will say the exact same thing, which is how you know this stuff works. With that being said the reason people aren't jumping to give advice based on test results that can't be verified is that you could do more harm than good by adding things that might be doing the opposite of what you need. I've been in your shoes and I know you want to start trying to fix your pool water immediately, but the best thing you can do is order one of the good kits that's been recommended (TF 100 or K-2006) and wait. Once you get it you can post some accurate results, get some good instruction, and be swimming before you know it.
    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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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Pool "shock" is chlorine. That's why it's so high. Free chlorine is the good stuff. Combined Chlorine is the bad stuff, the stuff that smells like a public pool. Free + Combined = Total Chlorine. Ideally, your Free Chlorine and your Total Chlorine will read the same.

    And if your water is getting green and/or cloudy, you WANT high chlorine to kill off any algae faster than it can reproduce. There are better explanations in Pool School. I'd recommend the ABCs and Recommended Chemicals and How to Chlorinate to start.

    And I might as well jump on the bandwagon and say that you need a proper test kit. It will be the best investment you make for your pool.

    Thank you so much! So to get my CC I do what with my total and free?

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    I will do my best to help you based on the information you have posted. You said your total chlorine was high, so you shocked the pool. Unless you are using a non-chlorine product for pool shock, all you did was add more chlorine to the pool. Your strip only goes up to 10 so the chlorine is likely much higher. The only way to drop that much chlorine quickly is to drain and refill part of the volume of the pool or to use sodium thiosulfate from the pool store, however I do not recommend that at this time. I'll explain why further on in the post. Chlorine levels will drop on their own with exposure to sunlight.

    Free chlorine is the amount of chlorine available to sanitize the water. Combined chlorine is the waste by product of chlorine sanitation. Total chlorine is free chlorine plus combined chlorine. Total chlorine should always be equal to or higher than free chlorine. Since your test strips do not measure combined chlorine, and only measure free and total chlorine within a range, there is no way to tell what the combined chlorine is based on your test strip.

    Since the former owner was using a lot of tablets it is very likely the CYA, (Stabilizer on your strip) is much higher than the strip indicates. CYA is removed by draining and replacing water. It does not filter or evaporate out. CYA binds the free chlorine and protects it from premature burn off in the sun. Too much CYA will render the free chlorine ineffective, so even though the free chlorine tests high, it can't unbind itself to fight the algae, which is why your pool is starting to turn green.

    I'm not sure I would trust the pH test result since free chlorine over 10ppm causes the pH to read high. According to the strip your pH is very low.

    Test strips can be affected by humidity, temperature, and age. This is why we recommend drop based test kits. FAS/DPD drop based kits are recommended because they allow accurate testing of high levels of chlorine and CYA, which are very important for managing your pool.

    We need accurate, drop based test results to see if your Free chlorine and CYA are in the correct ratio. It is possible to have high free chlorine and be fine as long as it is in correct ratio to the amount of CYA present in the water. Since you are starting to see algae, I suspect the free chlorine is actually too low for the amount of CYA currently in your pool.

    I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by zea3 View Post
    I will do my best to help you based on the information you have posted. You said your total chlorine was high, so you shocked the pool. Unless you are using a non-chlorine product for pool shock, all you did was add more chlorine to the pool. Your strip only goes up to 10 so the chlorine is likely much higher. The only way to drop that much chlorine quickly is to drain and refill part of the volume of the pool or to use sodium thiosulfate from the pool store, however I do not recommend that at this time. I'll explain why further on in the post. Chlorine levels will drop on their own with exposure to sunlight.

    Free chlorine is the amount of chlorine available to sanitize the water. Combined chlorine is the waste by product of chlorine sanitation. Total chlorine is free chlorine plus combined chlorine. Total chlorine should always be equal to or higher than free chlorine. Since your test strips do not measure combined chlorine, and only measure free and total chlorine within a range, there is no way to tell what the combined chlorine is based on your test strip.

    Since the former owner was using a lot of tablets it is very likely the CYA, (Stabilizer on your strip) is much higher than the strip indicates. CYA is removed by draining and replacing water. It does not filter or evaporate out. CYA binds the free chlorine and protects it from premature burn off in the sun. Too much CYA will render the free chlorine ineffective, so even though the free chlorine tests high, it can't unbind itself to fight the algae, which is why your pool is starting to turn green.

    I'm not sure I would trust the pH test result since free chlorine over 10ppm causes the pH to read high. According to the strip your pH is very low.

    Test strips can be affected by humidity, temperature, and age. This is why we recommend drop based test kits. FAS/DPD drop based kits are recommended because they allow accurate testing of high levels of chlorine and CYA, which are very important for managing your pool.

    We need accurate, drop based test results to see if your Free chlorine and CYA are in the correct ratio. It is possible to have high free chlorine and be fine as long as it is in correct ratio to the amount of CYA present in the water. Since you are starting to see algae, I suspect the free chlorine is actually too low for the amount of CYA currently in your pool.

    I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.
    First of all, I appreciate all your time so far! Attached are two pics of my pool at 7pm cst. I thought it looked light a slight tint of green earlier, but now it doesn't really look like it at all. It only looked tinted in the deep end which also has a reflection of the green landscape. Don't laugh... I will order the test kit. In the meantime while I am waiting on it, what would you suggest do? Should I test everyday and not add any chlorine and see if my FC and TC goes down? If it does, does it indicate that I don't have the problem that you are afraid that I have? Going back some... Two weeks ago when we opened the pool the FC and TC was barely registered. That is the hope that I am holding on to that the pool was shocked twice and the TWELVE 3inch tablets he put in the pool is the reason why it is so high all the sudden. 20150509_190221_resized.jpg

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by lindz18 View Post
    Thank you so much! So to get my CC I do what with my total and free?
    Total - free = combined. Ideally, Combined is zero so the two numbers are the same.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused


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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    For now just keep an eye on the FC and wait. If you order a TF 100 it should only take a couple of days to arrive.
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    No swimming right? Chlorine too high?

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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Quote Originally Posted by lindz18 View Post
    No swimming right? Chlorine too high?
    i would say no swimming, but that is based on my level of caution. It is safe to swim up to your shock level, which is based on your CYA. But, in your case with strips all you know is the chlorine is above 10. Is that 11 or is that 65???? Without knowing, I would not swim.
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    Re: Newbie! needing help with chemistry. confused

    Correct, it is safe to swim if your FC level is below the shock level for your CYA on the Chlorine CYA Chart. Unfortunately, I don't think you know either number.

    Here is some information to read in Pool School while you are waiting for the test kit.
    TFPC for Beginners
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry

    Here are the Recommended Levels for your pool.
    Here are the Recommended Pool Chemicals to maintain your pool.
    Use PoolMath to determine how much to add.
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