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Thread: a little help please

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    a little help please

    I have a 30,000 gallon outdoor in ground pool with an auto cover, Frog chlorine system, heater and DE filter. Things have been going well up until last week.

    Chemistry had been fine as far as I know. I do not have the recommended test kit I read about here, but am using a Taylor K1004 which uses DPD reagent, so maybe I can muddle through while I order another kit? But based on my testing confirmed by the evil pool store people who apparently don't know much except how to suck money out of my wallet was as follows.

    FC 4
    CYA 40
    TA 150
    CA 200

    We had some very heavy rain overnight. Kids had left something plugged in outside, and when it got wet, it tripped the GFCI which included the cover pump. With the cover pump not running, the pool cover filled with water and flooded. Saw it in the morning, reset GFCI, got cover pumped dry. Did not think to look at the pool at the time. Weather was cool all week, nobody swimming, did not check chemistry all week. I guess I should have, but honestly, I have left it alone for several days before, and as long as the FC was good at the start, it was fine after a few days. The worst thing I have had happen was the FC get to zero and a light algae get started. And I was always able to kill it quickly with a good shock. Well, that all changed this time. Next time I opened the cover, the water smelled BAD, there was an oily film on the water surface, and it was terribly cloudy - If I stuck my arm in to my elbow, I could not see my hand. It seemed to be "white" cloudy - no green tint. Also, the liner surface did not feel slimy, so it did not seem like algae was the issue. All the chemistry seemed the same, except no FC. I did not check CC. The only thing unusual was that the DE pressure was way high, and as a result, the circulation was minimal. I am guessing the rain water dirtied up the pool and clogged the filter, and I did not notice. So for a week, there was little or no circulation or filtration, and there was little or no chlorine addition occurring since the Frog depends on circulation to add chlorine. I went ahead and backflushed and recharged teh DE since that was obviously an issue. I also added a couple of pounds of granular I had in the skimmer since a zero FC was obviously not good.

    Then I went to the evil pool store. Their results were the same as mine, and they checked CYA which they said was low at 10. They said I needed to add CYA and shock the pool and suggested granular and oxy. I added 4 pounds of stabilizer, 3 bags of oxy and 4 more pounds of granular in the evening. I have not ever tested chemistry after adding chemicals until at least 6 hours later, although maybe I should. When checking the next morning, the FC came up to maybe 3, no change to water appearance, then FC dropped right back off by the evening. That evening, I hit it with 8 more pounds of granular - same result the next morning - came up to maybe three, and no change to water. So I hit again with another 8 pounds. That evening, again, no real gain to FG and no improvement to water. So I really hit with 10 more pounds of granular and 5 gallons of 12% liquid I still had. By the next day, still no improvement. But by now the pH was low about 6.8 due to all the granular I had added. Note that for about 24 hours after the first DE backflush and starting to add granular in excess, the DE would build pressure and need flushed - the first time after maybe 4 hours, then six then 10. But for a couple of days now, the DE pressure has been steady like it is not accumulating anything.

    I went to the pool store again. They confirmed my results and said the CYA was up to 40, maybe due to the CYA in the granular. They just said I needed to shock it more. I questioned how that was going to help since it had not helped until then. They ran a few more tests and said my phosphates (which I have read in here don't mean squat) were 1500 which is way high according to them. They also suggested that I use 12% liquid for any more shocking since my CYA was good and the granular was driving the pH down. And they suggested pH up to get that back in line. And after I pressed about what else could be wrong, they suggested treating the phosphates. All I have done since then is add the pH up to get the pH back to 7.3 which seems OK.

    Note that throughout all of this, the appearance of the water has not changed AT ALL. The only thing that has really changed is that it stopped stinking after the first shock. But it is still totally cloudy.

    Then I did some reading here. And I am thinking SLAM is the solution. But I have a few questions. In a 30,000 gallon pool, I understand a gallon of 12% liquid should get me about 4ppm of chlorine, and that a pound of granular is about the same as a gallon of 12%. So I would have expected that 6 pounds of granular would get me 24ppm. And 8 would get me 32. And 10 plus 5 gallons of 12% would get me 60. But I have not seen anywhere near those kinds of increases. Is it just because I am not checking frequently enough, and it is dropping back off by the time I am checking?? How long after adding liquid in front of the jest until it is dispersed and I can get a good read? I am thinking to hit it with the 12% liquid to get to 16ppm since my CYA is at 40, but I don't know if that should just mean 4 gallons at 4ppm gain per gallon, or if that means add and add and add and add until I see 16 (which I can not measure with my test kit, but thought I could dilute 4X or 5X to get in range???)? Or if something else is going on since I am not seeing the gains I would expect from the amounts I have added?

    Despite the trash talk I have read on here about phosphate myths, should I actually be concerned if they say it is 1500?

    I apologize for all the rambling, but I am trying to share what I have seen and what I am thinking. And I am sorry I do not have all the results and test kit yet. I will. But in the meantime, I am hoping to make some progress.

    Thanks in advance for your generous and patient assistance.

    Bryan

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: a little help please

    Your pool store is one of the rarest of rare ones that understand CYA buildup! They suggested 12% liquid instead of more powders. That's awesome!

    Is the oily film gone? I ask only because I'm wondering if you have a heat pump or something (Please fill out location and signature) that blew and leaked refrigeration oil in or something.

    With the cover on, at least you didn't get mountains of leaves in the pool to scoop out.

    I suspect you've just got some virulent form of algae feeding off whatever washed in. I hope you didn't recently fertilize the lawn or something and get a bunch of that runoff! You know the solution, and you know your test kit isn't quite up to snuff. Good news is you can get just the FAS-DPD test to fill out what you're lacking.
    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!

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: a little help please

    I assume the "granular" you've been putting in is dichlor, which means, from the time your CYA was tested to be 10, you have added roughly 16 additional pounds of stabilizer (in the dichlor), which will drive your CYA up into the 70ppm range. It can take a week before it fully registers on the test.

    Unless you have a Saltwater Chlorine Generator (SWGC), a CYA level of 70ppm is too high, and you're probably going to need to do a 50% drain and refill. Or split it into multiple 25% drains and refills.

    The DPD chlorine test can bleach out at high chlorine levels, making you think you have 0 chlorine when actually you have over 20ppm. Test strips often have the same problem. Don't know if this is what is happening here. Have you done the test mixing pool water 4:1 with distilled water? Most likely the chlorine is just being used up by oxidizing the gunk in the water, or being used up oxidizing ammonia in the water. But without a FAS-DPD test, it's difficult to tell. (The pool store testing probably uses the DPD test, or test strips with a computer analysis, which will have the same problem.) So, as you expected, I'm going to suggest you get one of the Recommended Test Kits.

    Phosphates generally aren't a problem. As long as the Free Chlorine level is kept above the minimum for your CYA level (Chlorine/CYA chart), phosphates are irrelevant. However, since your chlorine was too low for too long, the phosphates did contribute to the problem. But they are still irrelevant to task of cleaning up the problem. The only time phosphate remover is needed is when you are intentionally reducing your chlorine level as part of another treatment.

    At this point, you need to stop using any solid form of chlorine. Stick with liquid chlorine, either the 12% from the pool store, or regular 8.25% bleach from the grocery store, whichever is cheaper relative to the concentration. Assume for now that your CYA is 40ppm (which it most likely isn't), try to get your FC up to 16ppm, and keep it there, testing every hour or two. This would be easy with a FAS-DPD chlorine test, but with yours, you'll need to do the dilution with distilled water every time you test. By the third time, you'll be ordering a proper test kit.

    In a couple days, when your Recommended Test Kit arrives in the mail, you can do a proper CYA test, determine your proper shock level for that CYA, and start the SLAM correctly.
    25000-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster pool, Triton II sand filter
    750-gallon semi-public IG concrete/plaster spa, cartridge filter
    Volunteer pool caretaker for my condominium complex

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: a little help please

    thanks for the responses - here is some more info and replies to your questions...

    the oily film has been gone since the first shock same as the smell

    I added details to my signature after I posted - I have a natural gas heater, no heat pump - let me know if there is more detail I should add

    no recent fertilizer on the lawn, but we did mulch shortly before the rain - I thought about that, but it seems unlikely they would add fertilizer to mulch to encourage weeds, but who knows

    yes, the granular is dichlor 56% - I knew it added CYA, but I had no idea adding 32 pounds of granular would add 16 pounds of CYA - I will keep watching the CYA to see if it continues to come up and how high it gets - I did see where excessive CYA levels can cause issues (I do not have SWG), so I will look to drain and refill if necessary - at what CYA level does that become necessary?

    I thought of bleaching - the pool store uses liquid, but I do not know what type - they said it was not bleaching (I asked them about that), but I can't say for sure - I did try diluting and the diluted results seem to confirm what I am seeing undiluted - I get the feeling you are right, that the chlorine is just being eaten up super-fast by whatever is in the water

    I will definitely stick with liquid - 12% or plain bleach, whichever is cheaper equivalent

    to get to the 16ppm (or whatever is appropriate once I get the right test kit), do I just do the math (1 gallon of 12% in 30,000 gallon pool = 4ppm per gallon)? or do I just add add add add until I get the test results?

    interesting new info

    I tested after the pH was in line and before adding any chlorine - trace of FC, 2ppm CC
    then I added 4 gallons of 12%, waited an hour and tested - trace of FC, 5ppm CC
    then I waited an hour and tested again - 1 ppm FC, 4ppm CC

    I am going to add 4 more gallons and see what happens

    thanks again

    Bryan
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

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    Re: a little help please

    Poolmath will crunch numbers for you. Hopefully it won't be long before the FC holds a few hours and you'll be dealing with a starting point above zero. Take a few minutes to read the tutorial, don't just jump straight to poolmath.

    Glad the oily film and the stink is gone. Just out of curiosity, it didn't smell like ammonia, did it?
    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: a little help please

    To do any calculations for chemicals use Pool Math Calculator. It is in the top menu bar of this forum.

    Towards the bottom you can also plug in the amount of something and select the chemical and it will tell you the effect.

    Using 30000g up top as the volume, then adding 512oz of dichlor (32lb) the following effects take place. FC +71, CYA +64, pH -2.7, Salt +58. Huge CYA jump!
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
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    Re: a little help please

    it did not smell like ammonia - it smelled like a dead animal

    thanks for pointing me to poolmath - I did not understand what you were saying before about the CYA increase, but I get it now

    just to confirm, do I understand correctly that I just have to add chlorine more more more more until I get the 16ppm (or whatever the target is based on CYA)? I can not just calculate - I need to add until I get the test result as it is being consumed by whatever nasties are in the water until I finally see the test results start to come up?
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

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    Re: a little help please

    Test water. Calculate using PoolMath what you need to reach target (or a little above target). Retest in a few hours. Recalculate. Eventually your Chlorine consumption will come down enough that you can start testing and adding 2-3 times a day.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
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    Re: a little help please

    Quote Originally Posted by bkfamily1 View Post
    it did not smell like ammonia - it smelled like a dead animal

    thanks for pointing me to poolmath - I did not understand what you were saying before about the CYA increase, but I get it now

    just to confirm, do I understand correctly that I just have to add chlorine more more more more until I get the 16ppm (or whatever the target is based on CYA)? I can not just calculate - I need to add until I get the test result as it is being consumed by whatever nasties are in the water until I finally see the test results start to come up?
    Almost. You test, calculate dose, and raise it to shock level. That's going to be hard because we don't know what your CYA level is now. An hour or two later you test again. You plug that number into poolmath now and target whatever shock level is and add that much again. Right now, no matter what you add, the next time you test, it's all gone. What I'm saying is that at some point when you test, you'll have better than zero left. That's when it's not just the simple (1 gallon of 12% in 30,000 gallon pool = 4ppm per gallon) because you won't be some easy multiple of 4.

    But we're getting waaaaay ahead. Your shock level could be anything from 10 to 40 at this point depending on CYA, and it doesn't matter what it is because your test kit can't read that high.

    Check out some of these threads and see what they did. Then do 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: a little help please

    Ideally you want to test and add enough that your FC never drops below SLAM level.

    Here is an article teaching how to SLAM if you did already have it linked to you.

    SLAM Directions
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
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    Re: a little help please

    Really, this is so hard to justify for some.

    Buy a proper test kit. Don't go cheap, just get the TF-100 with XL option. Its worth the few extra bucks. The XL will bump your total past free shipping range.

    It is essential if you are going to care for your own pool! It is not an expense, it is an investment!

    How much is your 30k gallon pool worth really? How much is an $81 test kit compared to that? How much is your time and frustration worth?
    More important, how much will you spend at the pool store to "fix" this problem? (I quoted because you really will never fix pool issues at the pool store.)

    I got my kit shipped to me in 3 days from http://tftestkits.net/TF-100-Test-Kit-p4.html. That was with the standard free shipping.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
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    Re: a little help please

    Steve - no arguments here - I ordered the TF100 as suggested - the basic kit I have has been fine until now, but facing a big upset, it is clearly not cutting - and I would gladly give up the $81 to have the pool good right now - until it arrives, I will muddle along diluting and supported with what i can get in test results from the pool store for now
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

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    Re: a little help please

    !

    Let us know if you have any issues with your new .
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
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    Re: a little help please

    after adding 4 more gallons of 12% liquid (8 total in about 3 hours), the FC is staying around 1ppm, but the CC keeps climbing and is up to 10ppm - does that make sense? that all the chlorine I am adding is getting tied up as CC? at what point does it start to generate FC?

    I am going to add 4 more gallons

    *edit* I figured if 4 gallons was good, 8 would be more good - we shall see
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

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    Re: a little help please

    Uhg. You have ammonia. A certain type of bacteria will convert CYA to ammonia. It is not very common, but you have it. Tell tale signs, FC drops to nothing within about 1/2 hour, and cc rapidly rise.

    Stop following normal SLAM procedures.

    Add enough chlorine to bring you to 10 every half hour-hour. Test and readd until your chlorine begins to hold.

    Assume you have 0 CYA at this point. Preferably test to verify. Add 30ppm CYA and slam assuming you have that level. It will take 4-7 days to show up on a test, just assume it is here.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Wait, first do one last thing to verify this. Add enough bleach to bring you up to 10. Scrub the walls really good to help mix it up and then test in 1/2 hour. If FC is 0 or near 0, follow above instructions.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
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  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Re: a little help please

    can the water be tested for ammonia?
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

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    Re: a little help please

    Yes, take a sample to an aquarium store. Petsmart/Petco will do. They can test your water and you can buy a kit for about $10-$15.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
    TF-100
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  18. Back To Top    #18

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    Re: a little help please

    well, something seems to be happening - after adding the 8 gallons of 12% liquid, I waited a half hour and tested again - the FC has climbed a great deal to 8ppm - and the CC has dropped significantly down to maybe 2ppm - and the pool is starting to form foam on the surface which I (perhaps wishfully thinking) take as a sign that something is happening chemically

    I may be out of luck right now as it is now after 1am in Ohio (land of the stupid short pool season [or crazy high heating bills]), and I need to get some sleep - and I have used all the liquid I have

    but I think i am getting the idea - I just need more time and more bleach - next time I start really early with the whole day open - add - test - add - test - add - test - until I get the FC to shock level, then keep testing and adding to hold it there

    I will get the CYA checked again at the pool store if my test kit does not get here by Friday, and I will stock up on liquid and plan to hammer it on Saturday

    if anyone has any more thoughts or advice, I am all ears

    thanks
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: a little help please

    Steve, I will indeed check the ammonia as you noted - thanks

    did I gather from reading about ammonia that the solution is the same - add enough chlorine? I think I saw it takes 10ppm of chlorine per 1ppm of ammonia? so if I find I have 5 ppm ammonia, then I need to add 50ppm chlorine (about 12 gallons of 12% in 30,000 gallons) to overcome the ammonia?
    30,000 gal IG 20x40 8ft deep end vinyl liner in NE Ohio DOB Sept 2012
    Hayward 4820 DE filter, Hayward SP2610x15 1.5HP single speed pump
    Hayward H400FDN natural gas heater, Frog min'l/Cl2 system (not in use)
    autocover, Dolphin DX4 cleaner, well water, TF100 test kit

  20. Back To Top    #20
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    Re: a little help please

    Foam sometimes means your using scented bleach or some auto measuring thingy bleach. Get the cheap unscented stuff. If not, disregard.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Dont know the ratio, but yes. Just dont add 50ppm all at once! 10 at a time.

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, if you held at 8 for any period of time, I think you have it beat. If not, your really close.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Edit: your obviously not using scented stuff. I don't think 12% is sold in anything other than regular.
    6425g Intex Ultraframe 18'x48" AG
    Stock 1500gph cartridge filter / Intex SWG CG-28669 with E.C.O.
    Install date: 5/26/2015
    TF-100
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