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Thread: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

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    Question Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    After opening my pool and getting no free chlorine after shocking, I was a little concerned. All my other numbers are fine, but the more shock or chlorine I add, 99% of it goes to combined, and not to free. Current numbers are as follows from Sylvan. I ordered at Taylor K-2006 which should be here soon.

    Free .26
    total 2.65
    cc 2.39
    ph 7.1
    alk 120
    CYA 39
    Copper .4
    iron .1

    So I tried the bucket test and tested for ammonia and strongly believe I have some type of bacteria eating away at my CYA (I have been running the chlorinator constantly this my CYA levels are stable). I need to SLAM with 80 PPM chlorine which I will do in a day or so when I have time and my test kits come in.

    However, here is what I don't understand. If I have my water tested at Leslies, who use Taylor products ( don't know the exact kit they are using, because they don't even know) I get similar readings to above, with the exception of my free and total Chlorine which they say are both at a 3ppm. I have taken my water to two different Leslies and get the same results, whatever the total Chl level is, the free pretty much matches it.. When I take it to two different local places and Sylvan who use the electronic wheel tester from LaMotte, I am told I have no free and lots of combined as above. I have had Leslies run it multiple times and places and the answer is always the same. As everyone swears Taylor is the best, should I believe Leslie's or the other folks? Also, 2 different dips stick tests I use support the non-Leslies no free chlorine results, and the people at Leslies have even used strips from their store and come up with zero free.....

    Also...I met another customer at Leslies who told me EVERY year all the other companies tell him he has no free chlorine, which matches his dipstick results and that he needs to dump half is water. But not Leslies, they always say he's fine, so he keeps coming there. This has been going on for over 20 years and he says no one has ever gotten sick swimming in his pool.

    Now, either Leslies is accurate because they use the Taylor system, or they are really doing something completely wrong, multiple times in multiple stores...they have even repeated it several times and they always do free and total separately. So is Leslies correct and the electronic LaMotte system and dip stick tests wrong? Seems hard to believe, but it also seems hard to believe that no less then 5 different Leslies employees on 3 different days could run a test wrong...

    Can anyone shed some light on this? Thanks for reading and your help!

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    There is a very simple solution here. Stop letting pool stores test your water. We have seen over and over again how inaccurate and inconsistent they are and we simply do NOT trust pool store testing. We also do NOT trust test strips. Luckily it looks like you have ordered one of the recommended test kits, so just stick with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeRJGR View Post
    Also...I met another customer at Leslies who told me EVERY year all the other companies tell him he has no free chlorine, which matches his dipstick results and that he needs to dump half is water. But not Leslies, they always say he's fine, so he keeps coming there. This has been going on for over 20 years and he says no one has ever gotten sick swimming in his pool.
    This is hilarious to me ... sounds like the equivalent of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. Find one place that tells me water is fine and I will believe them, even if everyone else says it is not.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Where did you get 80 FC to SLAM? You can't even test that high with the K-2006!

    If you're using pucks and your CYA is only 39, something ain't right.

    Dipsticks can bleach out of the chlorine level is too high. Just ignore any test results done with dipsticks.

    My advice is to wait for your kit and do you own test and post your own results. Then we can work from knowledge.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    He got 80 ppm FC from a bucket chlorine demand test and from an 8 ppm ammonia reading. He reported this first on another forum and is now over here. This is a case of a bacterial conversion of CYA to ammonia. He needs to continue to add chlorine regularly until the FC starts holding well. Up to 20 ppm FC at a time should be OK until it starts holding since he's got some CYA in the water (though needs to test it with his own test kit, not pool store numbers).
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Hmmmm ... so are you going to work with us here? Or on the other forum?
    Seems silly for us to duplicate effort.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    He's moved here. At one point he thought he wasn't able to register here.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Correct..I'm here to stay...thanks Chem Geek and others! Can I just ask a few questions before I embark on my Slamming adventure?

    1. I followed a recent post form someone also from NJ and it took them about 4 - 5 days to manage the SLAM. I don't have that kind of time and probably wont for a week at least. What do I do in the mean time? I am currently running my chlorinator with Pucks on high and running my filter 24/7. I don't want to feed the CYA eaters, but what else can I do till I get 3 - 4 days in a row free.

    2. Do I SLAM during the day as well? I would assume I would have to keep the FC levels up.

    3. The pool is crystal clear, but I have been preventing my son to use it till after I resolve this issue. Is that a smart move or can he use it?

    4. Earlier in the week I let the pool place talk me into MPS...sounded reasonable..oxidizes CC to free....added 12 pounds and didn't do a thing....now I am not surprised. I ordered the extra reagent from Taylor to deal with this.

    Thanks again everyone...really have to tell you I'm not looking forward to this.....when I start I'll let you know....stay up with me please...just kidding...

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    For getting rid of ammonia, it won't take as long and most of your chlorine loss will be in the first day. You can see a log of my personal experience of this in this post where I kept adding chlorine frequently on Sunday, April 5th until it started to hold. The chlorine demand was still higher than normal where overnight I lost 1.5 ppm FC, but I just let the chlorine drop at that point and noticed the loss rate returning to normal. I didn't SLAM because I didn't have algae and wasn't in a rush and noticed the water was clearing from "dull" rather quickly. The main purpose of a SLAM is to get ahead of algae growth especially when clumped. That's not the situation if you only have ammonia and no algae.

    Note that you add chlorine rapidly, every hour or so, though in your case having some CYA in the water may slow down the process since it may take around 4 hours for 90% oxidation. Even so, I can imagine that the FC will drop enough in 2 hours for you to add chlorine that frequently.

    I would not have your son use the pool until you are able to hold chlorine in it so add chlorine until the FC holds first before letting him use it.

    Yes, it is unfortunate the pool store had you buy expensive non-chlorine shock that doesn't do any better at getting rid of this kind of CC than chlorine and in fact it's much slower to get rid of ammonia or monochloramine! And now you will be registering artificial CC that isn't real, so yes you need the Taylor K-2042 to remove that interference at least until the MPS gets used up (may take weeks).
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to drain and refill than buy three hundred dollars worth of bleach?
    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: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    OK Thanls Chem G

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Thanks Chem Geek,

    So add 20 ppm at a time in 1 hour intervals? I assume at night? Can my son use in the meanwhile and should I keep the chlorinator on? I'm off on Weds but need to leave town on Friday. I don't want to start only to stop again....will it hurt anything to wait a week or so? Will the situation get worse? Just saw Richards post and that's something I wondered as well. Would it make sense to drain and refill at maybe half the water?

    Thanks

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Good point regarding drain/refill as an option. If the 80 ppm FC were to take 40 gallons of 8.25% bleach (based on this post) then that implies a 43,000 gallon pool. Joe, is that the size of your pool (that is unusually large)? 40 gallons of 8.25% bleach will cost $200 at $5 per gallon though you may be able to find it for as low as $3 per gallon (at Walmart) so $120, but water replacement might be less expensive for you.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Richard,

    First of all thank you so much for helping me out. This has really got me stressed out as I have a couple business trips I need to go on and don't know if I should cancel them to stay home and take care of this. Would you mind answering me a couple more questions? Actually I did my calculations on a 40,000 gallon pool because honestly we don't know exactly how big it is. I think its probably around 35,000, but I know my wife once said 37,000 so....water here is about 6.50 per 1,000 gallons

    1. If I do drain and fill, how quick does this stuff grow? Doing this will take several days as I would do it in 2-3 intervals. Would the bacteria just grow back from say day 1 - day 2 or day 3?

    2. Does the bacteria only eat the CYA or chlorine as well? If CYA, am I making this worse by keeping my chlorinator on (with pucks in it) till I can get to it? If I wait a week to do this will things be worse and require more bleach? Should I switch over to non CYA pucks if I cant get to it in a couple days?

    3. You mention I don't need to add the bleach all at once, but at 20 ppm intervals. I don't understand this. Do you mean 20 mm wait an hour, 20 mm wait an hour? Should this be done at night only? Originally I added about 30 gallons of bleach in about 5 gallon intervals and nothing happened. (looks like I was sooo close)

    4. Finally, I ordered a k-2006 kit which I believe only does 50 free Chl readings, is that correct?. If this procedure takes 2 -3 days I'm not sure I'll have enough reagents. I'll have to order more before I even start.

    I'm sorry to dump all this on you. This could not have come at a worse time and Im really stressed over it.

    Thanks again for all your help.

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    All,

    Got My Taylor kit today, but have not received the MPS neutralizer. I added 11 pounds of MPS about a week ago, so I'll take these readings again once I get that. I have to leave town Friday, so I don't want to start this process until I get back Sunday night. I followed the progress of another couple from NJ and it took them 5 - 6 days to get this under control. Next week I'll have the whole week to play if needed.

    My Taylor results are as follows:

    Free 1.8 (it stopped at 1 but before I could add the next reagent it turned pink again and it took an extra 4 drops to go clear again)
    Combined 2.2 ( turned a slight pink after I recorded it, so might be a little higher)
    PH 7.3
    Alk 100
    CYA 32

    Again, I hope waiting an extra 4 days wont make things way worse....pool is still crystal clear. I am vacuuming some type of dead algae or something out of the deep end every couple days.

    Thanks for your help!

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    You basically started killing off the bacteria when you added chlorine. Even forming monochloramine which registered as CC would kill bacteria, albeit more slowly than chlorine itself. So if you want to wait to deal with the pool later, you can do that. Just make sure there is either some FC or if no FC then significant CC and your pool should not go south from either bacteria or algae. Since it sounds like you've got some FC holding so is it possible for someone to just keep adding some chlorine to the pool each day while you are gone?

    As for adding the bleach in 20 ppm chunks, yes I meant add it, wait an hour and retest and if the FC is low again add chlorine to raise it to 20 again, wait an hour, repeat. If the chlorine drop is slower, you can wait longer in between doses and you could target 10 ppm FC instead (the only reason I said 20 was if the chlorine was still getting rapidly consumed). The point is to keep an FC level high enough to keep oxidizing and not get used up. This can be done during the day since you do have some CYA in the water so should not lose too much from sunlight though you can do it at night if that's easier for you.

    For measuring higher chlorine levels with the FAS-DPD test kit, you can use a 5 ml water sample in which case each drop represents 1 ppm FC. That will save on reagent. Based on your estimates, you'll probably only be doing around 5-10 tests so you shouldn't be running out of reagent especially if you use a 5 ml water sample which should be good enough for what you will be doing.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Chem Geek,

    Thanks so much, that makes me feel much better. I have the chlorinator on full and that seems to keep at some free Chl and total in the pool...I have not been shocking at all, just using the chlorinator and running the filter 24/7. I will be away for 2 days and I'll have to shut it down at night, but maybe I can get a neighbor to dump in 4 gallons or so a night before the filter goes off. Maybe I'll put some floaters in...that sound OK?

    Thanks again for all your help...

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Sure, that sounds OK since it won't be that long (i.e. just a week) and your CYA isn't too high.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Richard,

    I decided to train about a 3rd of the pool water and then do the procedure above. I redid my bucket test which basically showed a 10 ppm would satisfactory! Because my CYA levels had actually increased to around 50ppm from so much tri-chlor dispensing, I decided to shoot for 20 ppm. After my first reading I'm at 19.5 PPM Free and 1 PPM Combined. I think you guys and several prayers have helped dramatically. If I stay around 20 ppm on the free CHL, do I continue adding bleach until I see the combined drop to .5?

    Thanks again to everyone on the forum for assisting!

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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Sure you can do that, but if you are really near the end of dealing with this you can back off, expose the pool to sunlight, and operate normally and I'd bet that the CC will drop on its own. Up to you. If the CC is something for chlorine to oxidize, keeping the FC higher will make that go faster.
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    Re: Leslie's says I"m fine, dipsticks and 4 other places say I'm not????

    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly Richard,

    So I'm getting ready to do my second check. So are you saying if its close to the 19.5 I had an hour ago, just let go and see where its at tomorrow? If I have less then 1 ppm loss, let it drift back to 5 ppm for maintenance level? Also, Ammonia is now at 0.

    Thanks again to you and all who have helped.

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