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Thread: Test kits are vital, ...but...

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    Test kits are vital, ...but...

    I have read here where someone started and was halfway done with a slam before the test kit arrived. And was very successful. Many many more were told to wait.

    So this is my question... What is THE most important criteria that must be known when/before starting a SLAM?

    Is it CYA?

    PH?

    I would think that the amount of gallons of the pool and putting the chlorine into the pool after the mechanics (pipes and filters and whatnot) would be an awesome first strike in the war.
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    CYA and the volume of the pool are the key pieces of information. The reason for waiting is that it is very difficult to monitor shock level chlorine without a FAS-DPD chlorine test. You are blind without it.
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    DaninFLA's Avatar
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    CYA and accurately measuring FC

    sometimes people get lucky and/or use way too much chlorine, I guess its ok if you have plaster but its a waste. people complain about a $65 test kit that will last them two years, but they willing go to the pool store and drop $200 on useless chemicals and don't bat an eye. never understood it. you need the test kit.
    Dan
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    JohnT... Is it really critical to wait? I know you are blind without the proper test kit. But wait and watch your pool get worse?

    I guess I'm asking what is the worst thing that can happen to a pool and plumbing by adding chlorine without a test kit?

    DaninFLA I'm asking this question in the waiting period before the test kit arrives.

    Thanks for all the responses.
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    PH is important too. At lower levels of pH chlorine is more effective.

    I think just because one gets lucky wagging it doesn't mean it should be emulated.

    The test kit is essential to proper overall pool maintenance, not just the slam.

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    I'm guessing you already have the OTO test kit. You could take the chlorine up to 5ppm & that should help keep the pool from getting worse. At that level you can also get the PH balanced.
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Quote Originally Posted by poolfool1961 View Post

    DaninFLA I'm asking this question in the waiting period before the test kit arrives.

    .
    sorry, I didn't get that from your initial post at all, and seemed like you were more trying to justify SLAMing with out the test kit to be honest.

    this comes up a lot, and typically everyone recommends just adding chlorine to the pool a couple times a day based on the volume in order to provide some chlorine to keep the pool from getting worse. usually around 1-2 gallons a day depending on the pool volume.

    TFTkits ships fast, usually same day from my experience and with USPS priority which means the delivery is 1-2 days for most of the USA, probably 3 days for west coast.
    Dan
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    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Also, once high fc is in the water, slam level, pH readings are meaningless. So if one started before verifying pH at outset one could get hamstrung and have pH way off the chart.

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    wrems... Thanks for your response.

    But not what I was asking. My brain and my writing skills don't coincide most of the time.

    After someone finds this site and decides that this is the proper way to proceed... must they then wait until they get the test kit before proceeding?
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    It's OK to add up to 5 ppm FC if you have an OTO kit to keep the pool from getting worse, making some progress but you don't want to go wild with the bleach and then when you kit arrives, your FC is at 50 and you have to wait another day or two before it comes down below 10 to verify pH before proceeding with the SLAM. Unbridled FC will also shorten the life span of an AG pool or vinyl liner.
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    The answer is simple. Without a proper test kit, you don't know what to do.

    Doing stuff 'blindly' is the pool $tore way. TFPC is knowing what your pool needs and then giving it. Hard to do without a proper test kit.
    Is it impossible, no. Is it HARD,yes. Can you get into a real pickle, YES. (imagine a CYA of 200!!)
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    From experience learned just starting here, you will have a poor tfp experience prior to getting the kit. All advise is based on testing from an approved kit. So yes, you wait for the kit. I just adjusted ph down with my cheap kit and manually dosed chlorine until my kit arrived. These people do not support guesswork or pool store results because there are just too many factors to consider.


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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninFLA View Post
    sorry, I didn't get that from your initial post at all, and seemed like you were more trying to justify SLAMing with out the test kit to be honest.

    this comes up a lot, and typically everyone recommends just adding chlorine to the pool a couple times a day based on the volume in order to provide some chlorine to keep the pool from getting worse. usually around 1-2 gallons a day depending on the pool volume.

    TFTkits ships fast, usually same day from my experience and with USPS priority which means the delivery is 1-2 days for most of the USA, probably 3 days for west coast.
    My apologies to everyone. This is a what if. My pool and test kit are fine.

    I'm just wondering why so many threads advise to do nothing and wait, instead of "Hey when in doubt add liquid chlorine for the size of your pool (and assume some generalities about PH and CYA?)
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Worst case: you have extremely low CYA and add too much FC and bleach your liner and cause damage to your equipment.

    More typical case: you will undershoot your FC and waste chlorine.

    Odds are if you have some CYA in your pool you won't damage it. So bottom line, why do we say wait? Because we don't know any tesg results and so we do not give advice. The advice given here is never to wing it and hope for the best. Especially someone new who is not even completely sure what they are doing. How do you know you won't make things worse? You don't, you are just being impatient and trying to justify your desire to start now. I don't mean that negatively towards you, seems to be a cultural thing that we lack patience, myself included. I blame the microwave.

    It is your pool, nobody is literally holding you back. It is also 100% on you what happens, be it good, bad, or really ugly. I hope whatever you do turns out well.

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    again, I think that is what is recommended....to wait till test kit comes in but in mean time add chlorine to keep it from getting worse, usually to 5ppm since that's safe. I don't recall people advising to leave the pool as is and don't add chlorine (unless its a green swamp, in that case, doesn't matter).
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart; Pool School - Test Kits Compared;

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    If the person has an OTO test kit, they'll survive. The shades of yellow-orange-brown give some indication.
    If the person uses test strips, the colors can bleach out and falsely indicate no FC when in fact there may be plenty, in which case they might bleach a vinyl liner and at minimum waste a lot of bleach
    If they use a DPD test kit, the pink indicator can also bleach out with the same consequences

    I know the thread you mean - and he wasn't working blind. He did have a test kit and diluted the sample to estimate FC between doses. Most of the people who try to do it attempt it with pool store or test strip CYA results, which are almost certainly wrong and can lead to overchlorination - wasted money - or underchlorination - a SLAM that lasts too long and wastes money and bleach; love pats rather than knockout punches.

    Chlorine losses to the sun are not a fixed parts per million. Overdosing just leads to faster UV losses. Check the graph from this thread Pool Water Chemistry



    Overchlorinating leads to more waste. The SLAM level we advocate are a balance of killing power, UV losses, and experience. Without a test kit, once could easily just add 50 FC and dump another 20 in every hour until everything is dead. A whole lot of pool services do just that... the Nuclear Option. They don't care if they shorten the life of the liner and the seals inside the pump and filter; more money for them down the line.

    At the end of the SLAM, there's no way to run an overnight loss test just using colormatching. It's just not accurate enough. I could find countless threads here where the water is crystal clear yet the pool is still losing FC overnight, and it ends up being an algae colony hidden within the light or the ladder or something. By measuring the loss accurately and not stopping too soon, the algae is eradicated for keeps. There are equally countless threads whining that the algae came back after a SLAM and further discussion shows it was stopped too soon.

    It's your pool - you can do what you want with it. But do not come into the forum whining that your liner is discolored, or it's taking too long, or that you "shocked" the pool and the green came back, or that it's taking so much bleach, because you'll get hammered mercilessly for it. How do you know if you're adding enough bleach to get ahead of the algae growth or just enough to make the green monster laugh at your puny efforts? If you need to add 15 and you add ten, it's not even a speed bum,p to the algae. The bleach went in and died for nothing. You just don't know, not without a test kit. And I pointed out at the beginning that the wrong test kit can't measure FC at the levels needed.
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    I see.

    I think, like others have stated, adding some fc to keep the problem from degrading is smart. At the same time, to answer your original query, the most important pre-SLAM criteria is the whole picture. A full diagnosis. Even though it can seem like the prescription is the same, that's not always the case.

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Quote Originally Posted by poolfool1961 View Post
    wrems... Thanks for your response.

    But not what I was asking. My brain and my writing skills don't coincide most of the time.

    After someone finds this site and decides that this is the proper way to proceed... must they then wait until they get the test kit before proceeding?
    I would have to answer no, but you are limited as to how much you can do. It is important to get some chlorine in their. I would use pool math to target 3-4 PPM, assuming a CYA of 0. Like mentioned above if you have a basic kit test the PH level, so you can adjust it before beginning the SLAM.


    If your pool is a green swamp higher FC probably wouldn't hurt. As you have probably read already the FC/CYA ratio is important to avoid to high or low of an FC. Those that have jumped in before test kit arrived were probably in "swamp" mode and it was going to be a day or two before FC and CC would be helpful in measuring progress.

    Also, it probably comes down to them having and knowing their pool for a few years and having an idea of what it needs.
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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    Wow.

    Those are awesome answers!

    I thank you, deep heartedly, for my education.
    Intek 18' X 48" AG, filled to 36-42"(slope?), Intek sand filter/pump, Hayward skimmer

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    Re: Test kits are vital, ...but...

    First off.......WELCOME TO TFP poolfool1961. Great question right off the bat!

    As for why we suggest to wait to start a Slam. Often it's based on money. I can't tell you how many times we've seen a member attempt to start a SLAM using a Pool Stores CYA level. Then once their kit arrives they find their CYA levels are off the charts and they're forced to drain/refill their pools. All that money in chlorine flushed right down the drain. Add to that the risks mentioned above about damaging your pool, and it simply isn't worth saving a day or two. My personal suggestion to members finding the forum for the first time with a green pool is to add 2PPM chlorine to your pool each night after sunset. This will assist in holding off algae somewhat while not costing a ton of money.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrems View Post
    PH is important too. At lower levels of pH chlorine is more effective.
    I'd like to also address this comment. This is a 1/2 truth comment. While it is true when there is zero CYA in the water chlorine works noticeably better with low pH levels........as soon as CYA is added to the water the effect pH has is greatly reduced. A Pool Store myth based on outdated methods of Pool Care.

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