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Thread: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

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    Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Help - I cannot get my alkalinity to come up. The pool store hasn't been able to help me and I don't know enough to figure it out!

    Pool sample last Tuesday (10 days ago)
    CYA = 108
    Tot Chlorine = 5.1
    Free Chlorine = 5.1
    PH = 7.3
    Total Alk = 0
    Adj TA = 0

    Added about 25 lbs sodium bicarb per pool store on Thursday and another 50 lbs on Sunday.

    Pool sample last Tuesday (3 days ago)
    CYA = 130
    Tot Chlorine = 15
    Free Chlorine = 15
    PH = 8
    Total Alk = 86
    Adj TA = 47

    Added another 50 lbs sodium bicarb, 1 bottle scale inhibitor, 16 oz backup (Algaecide), 4 caps pool perfect w/ ph. I haven't added any chlorine. I have chlorine sticks in feeder.

    Pool sample TODAY
    CYA = 147
    Tot Chlorine = 15
    Free Chlorine = 15
    PH = 8
    Total Alk = 71
    Adj TA = 27

    Store said chlorine could be higher, it only tests to 15. Told me to turn feeder off and retest on Saturday. This doesn't make sense to me - I've added around 125 lbs of sodium bicarb now! Pool is vinyl lined, 30,000 gallons, cover stays on. Also, I have a Taylor kit and it does not show any alkalinity either.

    Thank you so much for any advice!!

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Welcome to TFP!

    It is impossible to have zero TA, which means the test turns red immediately instead of the usual green, and have a pH of 7.3 that you first indicated. The initial red in the TA test means the pH is at 4.5 or below. So either the pH or the TA test was not correct.

    If you added 125 pounds of sodium bicarbonate to 30,000 gallons, that would raise the TA by nearly 300 ppm. Obviously something is very wrong with the testing. Your higher pH numbers are indicative of probably having the TA be way too high. Perhaps your Taylor reagents are old?

    Also, you are adding all kinds of chemicals you do not need to your pool -- the algaecide, the pool perfect, and probably the scale inhibitor (why isn't anyone testing for Calcium Hardness to see if it's actually too high?). You are going to have to make a choice of whose advice you listen to because you can't mix pool store advice and this site's advice.

    I suspect at this point you have a very high TA level, but before you start to lower that you have to get a test kit that correctly reads TA. Which Taylor kit do you have? If it's not a K-2006 kit, then I suggest you get either the TFTestkits TF-100 or the Taylor K-2006 where the TF-100 is the better value (see Test Kits Compared). I suggest you get a proper test kit and then we can figure out what to do next. If the CYA is truly that high, then a partial drain/refill will lower that along with the TA.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Thank you for responding. My kit is a K-1004 that I bought last summer. If the reagents go bad over the winter, mine are probably bad. I usually depend on the pool store since I am such a novice - are their tests that far off? I would love to get the advice on here!

    Total hardness on the test is 277. Don't know if that is calcium?

    If I don't have to, I don't want to partially drain - it made my liner wrinkle last time I did that.

    When I test TA with the Taylor, it turns green, but I can never get it to turn any shade of red!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Yes, CH is calcium hardness.

    Yes, pool store tests are terribly inaccurate. We really don't even want to know what they are because people want to receive advice based on test strips or pool store tests and their pools just get worse and worse.

    Your CYA is likely way too high also. But, get one of the test kits from the Test Kit Comparison. I use the TF100 from tftestkits.net. Then we can see what is really happening in your pool and get it back in shape and figure out if you need a partial drain.

    Update you signature with your pool info as shown here, Pool School - Read This BEFORE You Post

    Here are some of my fave Pool School articles to get you started.
    TFPC for Beginners
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry

    Here are the Recommended Levels for your pool.
    Here are the Recommended Pool Chemicals and how to add them.
    Use PoolMath to figure out how much to add.
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by sdaggie View Post
    When I test TA with the Taylor, it turns green, but I can never get it to turn any shade of red!
    How many drops are you adding before stopping the process? Try up to 50 drops. If that doesn't work, try new reagents.

    Your numbers don't make sense. I would recommend getting the TF-100 test kit. It's the best investment you can make.

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    I ordered a kit and will wait for that to get here and update my numbers. As for drops added, I just redid it and stopped counting around 90 - still no change!

    Should I leave the pool open to burn out some of the chlorine or is the CYA too high to allow that to happen? I haven't added chlorine in a few weeks - why isn't the chlorine being used - because the CYA is too high?

    Thanks again!
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    What do you mean when you say open? Do you have an auto-cover or something? What does the water look like?
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Yes, auto cover. It is usually kept covered. Water is beautiful. Kids are swimming and say their eyes do not burn at all.
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    It is fine to leave it covered. The sun isn't going to burn off that much FC anyway. With high CYA the chlorine will be pretty mild. PH is a bigger concern. Post some test results when you get your kit and we'll get it figured out.
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Here is the latest weird twist!! Kids were swimming and the bottom of their feet get an oily black residue all over the bottom. Hard to scrub off - almost like tar. Sometimes when I brush, I can see black particles disperse. Pool co did test for black algae and said not there. Any ideas?
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Scuba_Steve's Avatar
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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by sdaggie View Post
    I usually depend on the pool store since I am such a novice
    Don't get discouraged or defeated because you are new to all this btw. Read the articles that were shown to you in this post. Post #4.

    Don't read them once. Read them repeatedly until you fully understand them. It can be a bit of a learning curve. Once you get it though, it really does become easy. Your pool will be shimmering in no time!

    Most importantly, stay out of the pool store, or do not ask them questions. Thier advice will contradict everything that is taught here. They do not want you to use these methods after all. These methods do not make them money!
    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: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Is this a fairly new pool? I did some research and found that sometimes new vinyl liners leach out a plasticizer that can cause this black residue. Should go away eventually.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Edit: Did it just get opened from winter for the first time? Were algacides used heavily?

    http://www.cgtpoolliners.com/tb-7
    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
    Helpful Links

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Yes - pool liner was replaced last summer! Thanks so much for finding that @scuba_steve! Opened about a month and a half ago but haven't swam it in since. Algaecides - just weekly maintenance dose except for adding 16oz this past Tuesday. My chlorine is high so not sure I should superchlorinate as article suggests. Thanks again - feel much better
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    No, follow the recommended levels given here. Recommended Levels

    And stop using algacide! If it is not in here do not use it! Recommended Chemicals

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, their advise is sound... somewhat.

    They suggest that you super FC to a level of 6-8 every other day.

    Your pool SHOULD be at a CYA level of 30-50. The target FC at a CYA level of 50 is 6. So you should ALWAYS be super chlorinated by their definition.

    - - - Updated - - -

    With that being said your CYA level is very high. The only way to get it down will be to partial drain and refill.

    Wait until your test kit arrives so you can get an accurate reading. It will probably be higher than the kit can effectively read though.

    After that you may want to drain a small portion, then replace. Keep repeating until your CYA is down to 50. This way your liner will not be at risk. It will take a bit more water this way though.
    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
    Helpful Links

  15. Back To Top    #15

    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Try doing a TA test on your tap water to see if the kit works.

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    I did a TA on my tap water and got the water to turn red. Instead of 25 ml's, I did the TA test on 12.5 ml's and also 6 ml's of pool water and used the same amount of reagents. I could not get either to turn red after 100+ drops of R-0009.
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

  17. Back To Top    #17

    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Get a new kit and go until it turns red.

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Got my new Taylor k-2006 and tested today. Here are the results:

    FC = 32.5
    CC = 0
    PH 7.6
    Calcium = 325
    TA = ???
    For TA I followed the directions using a 25 ml h20 sample. I added 250 drops of R-0009 (not kidding!) and it never turned red. I decided to try it with 6 ml's of h20 and it took 14 drops to turn red and with 12.5 ml's it took 25 drops to turn red. (Almost used the entire bottle of reagent).

    CYA = 170 - 155???
    For CYA, the black dot disappeared fairly quickly so it was well below the 100 mark where there are no hashtags. The spacing of the hashtags are not evenly spaced above the 100 mark (the 100 to 30 numbers) so I am not sure how accurate my 'guesstimate' of the difference between my water mark and the 100 was. My first test came to 170 and next test was around 155.

    Still haven't added chlorine or any other chemicals since sodium bicarb last Wednesday. Turned chlorine feeder off Friday.

    Help!?!?
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

  19. Back To Top    #19

    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Using 25 ml, did it go from blue to yellow?

    What is the calcium level?

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    Re: Can't Raise Alkalinity - Help!

    Yes, 25 ml changed from blue to yellow only. Calcium = 325
    30,000 gallon, 20x40, IG, vinyl, sand filter

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