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Thread: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story ...

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    California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story ...

    Hi all.
    I hoping this thread will bring some ideas of not using new water and ways of conserving existing water in our California pools. I'm a newbie here and veteran with my pool. I've always done my own work. No matter what that may entail. Electrical, plumbing, cleaning.

    Earlier this year around April, I got the great idea of buying a pool cover to reduce the evaporation in my pool. I travel allot and being home to monitor and check my pool was not an option and that would have to wait until the weekend.
    Once I put on the cover, (let's say the after first week) the water evap was hardly noticeable. I dropped a couple of gallons of chlorine along with my two tri-chlor dispenser which were floating in the middle of the pool along with a polaris 360 in hopes this would keep the pool clean while I was away the following week. Upon coming home for the weekend, (the second week the cover was on) boy was I surprised with the pool turning into a green swamp!
    But I put chlorine in and had the pucks going and the polaris was working?! Well, at least there was no water evaporation!!

    So off came the cover. Added 8 gallons of chlorine over a two day period with the pump running the entire time. Cleaned the filter on the second day before adding the rest of the chlorine and by the time I flew out on Monday morning, I could see the pool was recovering. When I return, I would have a big mess to clean up and there goes another weekend to the pool!

    The weeks following, I didn't use the pool cover and kept adding water to the pool every 4 days or so. So far, I am doing a lousy job of conserving water.
    Using the 4 in 1 test kit I've been using for the last 15 years, I constantly keep the chlorine above the 3.0 ppm. Who really knows where the chlorine was.
    I just keep on dumping chlorine and shock powder and tri-chlor pucks thinking I was a head of the game.

    Wrong!! I came back one week to find the algae is taking over again!
    After learning about CYA (on this website) I got a real test kit (I opted for the Taylor K2006) and found out what is really going on.
    You all know ... it's those stupid pucks and the years of using them. The cya is about 240!! I had to dilute the pool water to measure it (3:1 fresh water to pool water).

    Those of us in California are sensitive to the drought and would prefer to use other methods than dumping 3/4 of our pools to get the cya to a manageable level.

    Now given the cost of water, sewage tariffs, I figure it will cost around $350 to refill the pool (not taking in consideration of penalties).

    I checked for reverse osmosis water filtering for pools and the guy here in southern cal wants $875-975 for 20,000 gallons depending upon "where you want the cya level". 40 would be nice I thought. Oh btw, you'll need to pony up about a 1/4 of those gallons in clean water so your cost is $875 plus! If this cost was a little more reasonable I would do it. There wasn't any negotiating I guess he has plenty of business.

    So I am going with science and I have purchased two bags of Bio-Active. The guy at the pool store (not Leslies's btw) said it's a relatively new product he just started selling and was interested in the results. So I am using it and will hopefully see some reduction of cya. I'll let you know how it's going. I bought two bags because my cya levels were greater than 150 which the product claims it can do. I figure that two bags will be able to "eat" (absorb) more than 150 ppm of cya.

    I pose the question: What are we going to do about our water usage and keeping our pools alive, California pool owners? I would love to hear some feedback from others in the state of how to keep water evap to a minimum and what your plan is to get your cya under control.

    Thanks
    Northridge, CA
    36x18 - 25,000 GAL. IG Plaster
    PAC Fab 36 sq.ft DE filter, Pentair InteliFlo VF variable drive
    Old school Kreepy Krawly, Polaris 360
    Taylor K2006 test kit

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Read around the forum and you will find that the bioactive stuff, although really hoped to be successful by many, has not had good results by people here, and some forum members have even done small scale, laboratory style tests with controls and found it to not be effective.
    17.4k gallon IG pool with attached spa (spa itself is 730gal), Super Blue Diamondbrite plaster, Circupool SI-45+ SWG, BH/Hayward Cartridge Filter, 2hp 2speed Hayward Super II pump, , Jandy Valves, Waterway Skimmers, Rheem 400k Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, built 2000+-, replastered June 2015, TF-100 kit---Here's my pool test reading history

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Quote Originally Posted by bbayer View Post
    I pose the question: What are we going to do about our water usage and keeping our pools alive, California pool owners? I would love to hear some feedback from others in the state of how to keep water evap to a minimum and what your plan is to get your cya under control.
    Keep using your cover and stop using Trichlor! Trichlor is the problem. Most of the folks on this forum do not use Trichlor for this very reason.

    You might want to look into a SWG. Automated chlorination without the constant addition of CYA.

    Also note that a pool cover raises water temperature which encourages algae and reduces FC levels so you need to make sure you are at the correct FC level and based upon your CYA level, you are probably no where near what you need.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    I'm in AZ (Tucson) so water usage is a big deal here too.

    You have to realize that solar covers are great for evaporation control but, given your lack of time for pool maintenance, it is causing you problems. You are conserving water, yes, but you are also heating your water up at the same time which is causing your water to become much more friendly to algae growth. Covers, when used properly, are removed frequently to allow pool water to "breath".

    Can you harvest rain water from your roof and gutters? A 1000 gallon water tank is not as big as you think may think it is.




    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    What rain?
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long st...

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    What rain?
    Haha

    Well, it rains here in the desert (we're technically in a drought too) and I watch, sadly, as hundreds of gallons of water pours off my roof. I'm seriously considering some long runs of flexible gutter piping to redirect the rain water into my pool.

    Want some?



    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Yeah, I understand the key to any success is to get the CYA under control. If I can get the chlorine to the correct level needed for killing algae, and I get the CYA down, is it just a matter of getting the FC count corrected in a overly heated (which may not be too inviting) pool?
    I've read that you need to let the water breathe by removing the cover EVERYDAY which kind of promotes the evaporation issue. Some of these thoughts come from owners in the eastern part of the country where the pool cover is more for retaining or gaining heat.
    Northridge, CA
    36x18 - 25,000 GAL. IG Plaster
    PAC Fab 36 sq.ft DE filter, Pentair InteliFlo VF variable drive
    Old school Kreepy Krawly, Polaris 360
    Taylor K2006 test kit

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    You don't really need to remove the cover everyday. My current cover, covers about 75% of the pool and I have gone several weeks without removing the cover with no ill effects. Only those pool covers that cover 100% of the pool with no water exposed should probably be removed once in a while for gas exchange.

    And yes, JoyfulNoise, please send some water our way. We are desperate for water.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Hmmm..... LA DWP worst rate is $6.23 per hundred cubic feet - 748 gallons. $291 to refill the whole pool. Less if you can get away with leaving half. How much did the BioActive cost? Odds are, if you contact DWP they can arrange a pool fill without incurring penalties and fines. I'd start with a phone call to them. Tell 'em you're having repairs done.

    Then buy, borrow, or rent a small submersible pump and run the garden hose to a sewer cleanout or the washing machine drainpipe so the neighbors don't see thousands of gallons of water cascading down the gutter and come after you with pitchforks and torches.

    I took over my pool with 220-240 CYA and water restrictions in place, and Golden State Water is a lot nastier than DWP since they aren't tapping the Owens Valley dry. I managed, but it wasn't easy and I didn't have algae. And I went to a lot of trouble to use pool water on the lawns and used the irrigation water in the pool. And when it rained (several years ago) I put a downspout extension on and sent the rainwater to the pool. Life has been so much easier with CYA in the 40-50 range. I still pump pool water out to the lawn to reduce CH buildup and that also allows me to use pucks when I leave town without CYA getting high.

    Bottom line, if you want a pool, it's going to cost you this year. No matter how you figure it. BioActive, new water, or tankers of bleach to eradicate the algae at those CYA levels.
    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: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    I haven't called the DWP about pool repairs. Certainly wouldn't hurt to do that if they'll be willing not to penalize me.
    I have a small submersible pump and a longgggg hose that will reach an outdoor clean out. Not a problem with clandestinely emptying the pool. Lol.

    But having a cover with reduced CYA, can I just keep the FC at a nominal level, say 3 ppm?
    Northridge, CA
    36x18 - 25,000 GAL. IG Plaster
    PAC Fab 36 sq.ft DE filter, Pentair InteliFlo VF variable drive
    Old school Kreepy Krawly, Polaris 360
    Taylor K2006 test kit

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Quote Originally Posted by bbayer View Post
    I haven't called the DWP about pool repairs. Certainly wouldn't hurt to do that if they'll be willing not to penalize me.
    I have a small submersible pump and a longgggg hose that will reach an outdoor clean out. Not a problem with clandestinely emptying the pool. Lol.

    But having a cover with reduced CYA, can I just keep the FC at a nominal level, say 3 ppm?
    Just maintain the Fc level appropriate for the CYA level you end up with. The actual consumption won't be noticeably different whether at 3 or 8 and should be very low if it stays covered. I don't cover my pool at all, and in the summer I lose about 2 FC per day with CYA of 50 and a minimum of 5 FC. But I don't have algae.
    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: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    This will be the first summer with a pool cover. After I get the cya down, (still hoping on the $36 a bag bio-active solution) I will use as much chlorine as needed, per your statement.

    Out of mindless curiosity, how often to top off your pool from water evaporation?
    Northridge, CA
    36x18 - 25,000 GAL. IG Plaster
    PAC Fab 36 sq.ft DE filter, Pentair InteliFlo VF variable drive
    Old school Kreepy Krawly, Polaris 360
    Taylor K2006 test kit

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Quote Originally Posted by bbayer View Post
    This will be the first summer with a pool cover. After I get the cya down, (still hoping on the $36 a bag bio-active solution) I will use as much chlorine as needed, per your statement.

    Out of mindless curiosity, how often to top off your pool from water evaporation?
    Depends mostly on wind, not so much on temperature. This last week, about 3". Mostly only about an inch and a half. Experimenting with homemade sun rings to see if that slows it down any, but thus far I don't have enough to cover the surface very well.
    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: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Quote Originally Posted by bbayer View Post
    I pose the question: What are we going to do about our water usage and keeping our pools alive, California pool owners? I would love to hear some feedback from others in the state of how to keep water evap to a minimum and what your plan is to get your cya under control.
    Use a pool cover to eliminate evaporation. You only need to let the pool breathe and be exposed to the UV in sunlight perhaps part of one day a week at the most. Our pool is covered all the time except when used for about one hour most every day and that's plenty.

    If you don't want the pool to get hotter with the cover, then use a white or reflective opaque cover. If you want the pool heated by the sun, then get a clear cover.

    During the winter, use winter rain overflow to dilute the water because even though you will control your CYA by using chlorinating liquid or bleach, you'll still need to dilute the water some to keep salt levels in check over the years.

    Use an oversized cartridge filter and you will not need to clean it very often -- maybe only once a year -- so uses less water than backwashing a sand filter (not sure how much your DE filter uses and how frequently you need to clean it).
    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
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    What about trucking some replacement water in to get the CYA down? I don't live in CA, but I have had water trucked in to avoid running the heck out of my well pump. A few hundred bucks for 5,000 gallons, and the water had already been chlorinated.
    Lyle
    Professional product developer using & maintaining a dozen or so spas from 150 to 550 gallons, many pools from 1200 to 40,000 gallons (above-ground and in-ground), and a half-dozen test tanks.
    If it's not one thing, it's usually several others!

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Well, it's been five days since I added the Bio-Active.
    So far I haven't seen any reduction. Just for the record:
    FC ~ 1.5 to 2.0
    CC .5
    CYA still measures between 70 and 80 with a 3:1 dilution
    So there you have it. I will sample again on the 10th day in case those little bacteria are planning a surprise party!

    Even with the FC so low, no algae to report.
    Probably will up the chlorine to 2.0 tomorrow.

    Thanks All.
    Northridge, CA
    36x18 - 25,000 GAL. IG Plaster
    PAC Fab 36 sq.ft DE filter, Pentair InteliFlo VF variable drive
    Old school Kreepy Krawly, Polaris 360
    Taylor K2006 test kit

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Thanks for reporting. We've definitely had the vast majority of people trying this have little to no success, unfortunately.
    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
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    Mods, please split this if its not relevant.

    Anybody hear back from the BioActive guy that was posting earlier this year? He seemed receptive to discussing the product.

    Also, since this is a biological product, any chance the manufacturer shipped out bad (deactivated or dead) product? Could storage in the pool stores or shipping temperatures inactivate the bacteria?

    I remember my wife's summer intern days at the NIH where she did lots of work on E. Coli and other bacteria. The stuff is not indestructible and many experiments were susceptible to deactivated cultures if care was not taken to follow strict testing protocols.


    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: California pool- Water evaporation, High CYA level -NO WATER!! It's a long story

    The bioactive guy was Jose. I've spoken with him on the phone a few times. If you have any questions you can call, he's pretty easy to talk to. He was going to send me another bag to try, but I just ended up swapping out more water. And with all the rain this month my cya is down to 70, so I don't need to try it again
    17x41 Sun Fiberglass Pool 21,500 gallons. Jandy 1hp pump, Hayward Top Mount Sand Filter, Coverstar Auto Cover.

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