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Thread: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

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    Question New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my situation! My name's Zach and until this season my father took care of the pool. I got my pool algae free and is blue again but it is really cloudy. I took my water to a friend at a Pool and Spa store to test my water and I now have my results. I know my dad used to use household chemicals to maintain our pool and I'm interested in learning how to continue to do so.

    Some facts needed about the pool are:

    15' X 30' X 53'' above ground vinyl pool.
    not covered

    The test results are as follows:

    Temp: 78
    Sat Idx: -0.1
    TDS: 400
    CYA: 0
    Tot. Chlorine: 0.4
    Free Chlorine: 0
    pH: 7.9
    Tot. Alkalinity: 87
    Tot. Hardness: 85

    I've been researching a little today about what chemicals to use in substitute for pool brand chemicals but I realized there's a lot to learn! For example, I tried the pool calculator and it suggested using baking soda for raising my Total Alkalinity but that will in turn raise my pH which seems to be too high. The fix to lower pH seems to be acid.

    I'm assuming I want to start changing certain levels before other levels because of the affect they might have on each other. What would be a good start for me at this point in time?

    Thanks in advance for the advice,

    Zach

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Welcome to TFP!!!!

    I would not suggest you do much based on pool store test results. We do not trust them. So, if you want to take control, you need to invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits.

    If the CYA is truly 0, that is going to be a problem as the sun will destroy all your chlorine every day.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Welcome to TFP!

    Cloudy water is usually not algae free, it just hasn't turned green yet. Definitely need to get a great test kit. I use the TF100 from tftestkits.net

    No need to worry about TA or CH at this point. Need to get CYA, chlorine and PH under control first.

    Please add your pool info to your signature as shown here, Pool School - Getting Started

    One more pool school article, Pool School - Recommended Levels
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    I bought a recommended test kit and got my first set of results:

    FC = 0.5
    CC = 0
    PH = 7.5
    CH = 50
    TA = 66
    CYA I could not get a reading; the black dot was visible when full.

    The chlorine test I'm not sure if I read it right. When I added the regeant that was supposed to turn it red it was almost unnoticeable. Against a white backdrop it looked a little pink. The one drop turned it clear.

    So what is the first steps to get a balanced pool? I'm aware of the pool math calculator but I'm nervous to go trying things without advice. I have a friend at a pool store who's telling me not to use certain things such as bleach and baking soda.

    Any recommendations?

    Thanks in advance,

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Well, your friend is ill-informed ... ask him to look at the ingredients of his "liquid shock" and "Alk Up" and explain how it is different from bleach and baking soda.

    That TA number does no make sense, must be a multiple of 10.

    So your CYA is clearly too low, did it get cloudy at all? If not, I would add about 30ppm of stabilizer (CYA) in a sock.
    And then follow the ShockLevelAndMAINTAIN Process to get your CC down and clear up the water ... using ... dare I say it ... BLEACH!!!

    Did you read the links I previously provided?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Got my chemicals today and just want to be sure before I start the SLAM process I understand it fully.

    Does it matter which I raise and lower first: CYA and pH? CYA is 0 and pH is 7.5.

    On Pool Math it states raising CYA will lower pH. So do I start with raising the CYA and test pH to see how much to adjust it after CYA is raised?

    Also, how long should I take in between steps? Ex. if I add solid stabilizer will it take hours to dissolve before I can test pH?

    Thanks,

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    The CYA will take awhile to dissolve, so I would not worry too much about it lowering pH. Just put the CYA in a sock and plop it in the skimmer. Right after that, lower the pH, verify after 30 minutes. Then start to SLAM.

    Squeeze the sock fairly often to help it dissolve, you can not test the CYA for about a week after it dissolves. Just assume you are at your target to determine your FC levels.
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Good afternoon,

    I went ahead adding the CYA and lowered the pH. After verifying the pH dropped, I began the SLAM. This morning I did a chlorine test and received a FC of 10 and CC of 0.5.

    So I just need to test and adjust the FC back up to 12 (my shock level) maybe once or twice a day correct? Also, should I be using the legitimate chlorine weekly test for all my chlorine testing or the generic Taylor kit for daily checks? I'm assuming I want to be as accurate as possible and use the weekly one.

    Seeing how my CC is 0.5 which tells me I'm one step there, should I wait for water to clear up and then worry about the OCLT?

    Should I really keep my pump running 24/7 until the SLAM is done? Motor can handle that?

    I also remember reading to vacuum once a day and backwash as needed but I also remember reading not to backwash when adding CYA. It's been a day for CYA am I all set to backwash?

    It also rained last night... Just keep on the tests to make sure FC is still high?

    Sorry the list of questions but I just want to make sure I'm handling everything right.

    Thanks,

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Hi Zach, sorry no one has replied yet i'll do my best to answer some questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by Zprescott View Post
    Good afternoon,

    I went ahead adding the CYA and lowered the pH. After verifying the pH dropped, I began the SLAM. This morning I did a chlorine test and received a FC of 10 and CC of 0.5.

    So I just need to test and adjust the FC back up to 12 (my shock level) maybe once or twice a day correct? You want to check and adjust it as often as you can at hourly intervals, especially the first days of the SLAM Also, should I be using the legitimate chlorine weekly test for all my chlorine testing or the generic Taylor kit for daily checks? I'm assuming I want to be as accurate as possible and use the weekly one. Yes you want to use the FAS/DPD drops based test each time. Using a 10mL sample with each drop being 0.5FC is accurate enough

    Seeing how my CC is 0.5 which tells me I'm one step there, should I wait for water to clear up and then worry about the OCLT? The CC may still rise or fall so that step is not completed yet. When your chlorine level is holding well and the clarity is improving you can try the OCLT test

    Should I really keep my pump running 24/7 until the SLAM is done? Motor can handle that? Yes that is an important part of the procedure and your motor can handle it

    I also remember reading to vacuum once a day and backwash as needed but I also remember reading not to backwash when adding CYA. It's been a day for CYA am I all set to backwash? If you used the sock method of adding CYA you can backwash when the pressure goes up 25% above normal. If you added the CYA to the skimmer, you will lose some if you backwash

    It also rained last night... Just keep on the tests to make sure FC is still high? Yes, rain has little effect on chemistry

    Sorry the list of questions but I just want to make sure I'm handling everything right. Don't forget to brush the pool daily also

    Thanks,

    Zach
    32,000L Fibreglass Leisure Pools IG 12.5'x23'x5' Pump: AstralPools BX1 1.0HP
    Filter: AstralPools ZX-310 SWCG: AstralPools VX7T
    Heater: Hayward H250FDN Test Kit: TF-100

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Yes to all that except to test and chlorine 2-3 times per day or more at beginning. Here is the process: Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Thanks for the advice everyone. I've been testing every hour or so and it drops 1 or 2 ppm every time. I'm not worries here because I assume either the sun is using it up or the chlorine is being used to disinfect.

    What did make me go "huh?" is the fact that the first test today had 0.5 CC and the last two test didn't have any CC. I still don't fully understand what CC is but is this normal? From what I understand a CC of 0 is ideal.

    Thanks again,

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Yes, the CC should be zero.

    Clearly you did not absorb everything in the ABCs article I linked to in my first post which explains all the parameters.
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    I'm still having trouble understanding CC fully. Is it the stuff left over when chlorine is done sanitizing it or the chlorine itself after its been used? Or is it a byproduct the chlorine makes when sanitizing?

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    The last two ORs from your questions are the best answer I know.

    " or the chlorine itself after its been used? Or is it a byproduct the chlorine makes when sanitizing?"

    both are really the same thing...
    Bob - Palm Beach by San Juan Pools. approx 5000 gals., Pentair 320 cartridge filter (all new guts installed by me), Goldline SWG, 'New to me' Kreepy Krauly Sand Shark, Intermec 104 Timer Test kit: TF-100 w/Speed Stir

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Time for a trip into the Deep End ... I am sure chem geek has explained this before in more detail than most of us can understand
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    FC dropped 4 last night. Going to keep shocking. I'm noticing no CC though. Doesn't that seem weird?
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Not really. That's why there are three criteria to know when you stop the slam process.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zprescott View Post
    I'm still having trouble understanding CC fully. Is it the stuff left over when chlorine is done sanitizing it or the chlorine itself after its been used? Or is it a byproduct the chlorine makes when sanitizing?
    Combined Chlorine (CC) is chlorine that is bound fairly tightly to either ammonia or to an organic compound, usually bound to a nitrogen in such a compound. It is usually an intermediate chemical that is on its way to getting more fully oxidized by chlorine though this may take some time.

    CC is not the result of chlorine being completely used up. When chlorine doesn't just combine with a chemical but oxidizes it, the chlorine becomes chloride (as in sodium chloride salt).

    As an example, I show below what mostly happens when chlorine reacts with ammonia:

    Chlorine + Ammonia ---> Monochloramine ......... the monochloramine shows up as CC and this reaction occurs quickly, in less than a minute
    Chlorine + Monochloramine ---> Dichloramine ....... the dichloramine shows up as CC and this reaction occurs more slowly
    Monochloramine + Dichloramine ---> Nitrogen Gas + Hydrochloric Acid ...... the CC is used up and the chlorine becomes chloride salt (part of hydrochloric acid so pH drops as well)

    While the chlorine will combine with ammonia to form monochloramine in under a minute, it takes about 4 hours for 90% of this chloramine to get oxidized to nitrogen gas. So in the meantime one will have CC show up. In practice, you don't see this in residential pools because the bather load is so low. In your 13,100 gallon pool, one person-hour in the pool only creates a chlorine demand of 0.08 ppm FC so unless you have a pool party or urinating kids, you likely won't notice the temporary increase in CC.

    It also turns out that most of what is sweat and urine that chlorine reacts with is urea, not ammonia, and urea is slower to react. Exposing the pool to sunlight helps because the UV breaks down chlorine into powerful but short-lived oxidizers called hydroxyl radicals and these can help deal with the urea. In commercial/public pools with high bather load and seemingly persistent CC, it's often chlorine combined with urea. Fortunately, its rather innocuous at low levels.
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Thank you for shedding some light Chem Geek.

    Pool water is pretty clear now and I'm going to record a OCLT tonight and see if I'm ready to let the FC drop to normal levels.

    Question: When I do allow the FC to drop to normal levels how long will it take? Will the pool be swim able while the FC drops?

    Also, should I switch to a different chlorine source after SLAMing or can I continue using bleach?

    Zach
    15 X 30 AG Vinyl Pool (13.1k Gallon) | Well Filled | Starbright SBP-150 Pump | Sta-Rite Cristal-Flo T-210WF Sand Filter | TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: New to pool balancing. Got first test. Now what?!

    Bleach or liquid chlorine are best because they don't add CYA or calcium to your pool.

    It is safe to swim when
    PH is 7.2 to 7.8
    Chlorine is above minimum and below shock level for your CYA
    Water is clear
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