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Thread: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

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    Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Greetings - I'm new to this group. We have lived in our home for 5 years now - there was already a pool here - and we continue to use the same person to maintain it on a weekly basis. Last year he suggested that it might be a good idea to consider draining it this past spring, but California is in such an awful drought that it didn't seem prudent. I decided to take a water sample to the local pool store, which after reading several posts here, was maybe not the best idea. Anyway, here are our results, accurate or not:

    FAC: 5
    CH: 700
    CYA: 200
    TA: 200
    pH: 7.8
    TDS: 5000

    First, it sounds like we need to order our own test kit to have better results. In the meantime, I don't even know if the pool is safe for my kids to use. I imagine that some of these numbers are correctable with the proper chemicals, but are there others that definitely point to us needing to drain, or at least partially drain? The pool LOOKS good - very clear and clean - but I don't know if that really means anything.

    I don't even know the exact size of the pool. How can I find out? It's pretty average size, but I know that specifics are important for accurate help. I'm ready to take matters more into my own hands, and am frustrated with feeling so ignorant about the pool and its safety.

    Thanks for any thoughts about how to proceed, and whether to continue using until we have more information.
    In-ground, plaster, approx. 16k, cartridge filter system (Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filter)

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    You have come to the right place for help!

    First off please look at my siggy below to find where to order your own test kit. Please go ahead and order it today.

    Next find your best place for bleach/chlorine. Walmart=8.25% bleach (greater value plain bleach) pool stores =11% chlorine. It is all the same stuff just different % and price. What is easy for you to pick up for the best price????

    Measure your pool-------length, wide, how deep here and there. Punch those numbers into pool Math (link below) and it will tell your your gallons! How neat is that???

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html

    While you are waiting for you test kit here is some light reading. This will help you learn all about your pools and what it likes and needs.

    Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    I will check back in with you to see how you are doing after reading some of this.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Welcome to TFP!

    Kim's got you started. While waiting for your kit and reading up a little start thinking about doing a series of partial drains and refills. With CYA at (or above) 200 and CH at 700 you are going to need to lower those. CYA needs to get down to around 50. We usually recommend draining and refilling 30-50% at a time. Leave a foot in the shallow end.
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    If those test numbers are near correct it will be much easier to take care of the pool with a drain and refill. You also have the option of using a reverse osmosis service to save the water. There is a service located in Escondido but it is not cheap, somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 for an average pool.

    You want to start researching kimkat's links and keep enjoying the pool for now.
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    I got my test kit, and here are the results:

    FAS/DPD test: 5.5 and .5

    TA: 240 (Unsure about this test; the one page instructions posted on this site says "repeat until color changes, and stops changing." The instructions that came with the kit say "continue until the color changes to red." We stopped (and got 240 result) when the color was clear again, so not sure if we did it correctly.)

    CH: Stopped testing at 100 drops of R-0012 solution; the color had just barely turned purple at that point

    CYA: 145

    Do these results point to draining the pool? Can someone clarify the TA instructions - at what color to stop testing?

    Thanks, and happy 4th of July!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also - we just added some liquid chlorine yesterday, so I wonder if that affects the TA reading? Most importantly - even if we need to drain - is the pool safe to swim in temporarily with these numbers? Thank you!!I appreciate all of the responses so far.
    In-ground, plaster, approx. 16k, cartridge filter system (Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filter)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Did you get the TF100? Here is a link to videos of each test that might be more helpful, https://www.youtube.com/user/tf100te...e=results_main

    Chlorine does not affect TA.

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

    Draining about 50-60% would make it much easier to maintain your pool.

    With 150 cya you should keep FC at 18 at all times and never let it drop below 11 to keep the pool sanitized and algae free. Shock level is 59 ppm.
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    With a CYA of 145 a drain is in your future to bring that number down. Your FC to CYA ratio is low too. The pool is probably safe to swim in, but I'll let the experts chime in on that.
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    There is a reverse osmosis company near Escondido. It's not cheap, but it will return water that has no CH and no CYA to the pool. Depending on your water company's rate structure, it could come out close. Home - Pool Services Technologies - Never Drain Your Pool Again !Pool Services Technologies Never Drain Your Pool Again !
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Hi there,

    The TA should be done until the color change stops. I too struggled with this test at first, but keep adding a drop until it doesn't change and then subtract the last drop. (Adding chlorine shouldn't have affected your TA.). As long as the pool is clear, you are safe to swim with those levels. Once the holiday weekend is over, address the CYA. Depending on the method you choose, it may help your CH as well.
    22k gal, IG plaster pool, 1/2 hp Sta-Rite Max-E-Pro pump (P6E6C-204L), Sand Dollar Cristal-Flo 300# sand filter (CFII24), RayPak NG heater (P-R266A-MN-C), AquaRite T-15 SWG, Intermatic Hydro-King (T104P201), Aquabot Xtreme, Taylor K-2006

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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Thanks so much for all the advice. We swam on the 4th of July, added more liquid chlorine afterward, then I tested again today. I also called both the local water district and reverse osmosis company, and either way, it seems as if we'll need to wait until the fall and cooler temperatures to do anything. The reverse osmosis company is booked until then anyway, and from what I understand, it's unwise to drain a pool during hot weather conditions. Is that correct?

    As for the testing, the CYA is still too high - 150 if I did the test correctly. It sounds like what I need to do until we drain or use reverse osmosis in the fall is keep the chlorine between 11 and 18. Does that sound right? (FC is definitely too low - 2.5 right now, and CC is .5)

    The TA is also too high - around 250 - but here's what I read in Pool School on this site: "There are two reasons to lower your total alkalinity (TA) right away, because you want to slow down the rate that the PH rises, or if high TA is contributing to a high calcium saturation index (CSI) which puts you at risk of calcium scaling. You shouldn't lower TA just to reach a target number. Make sure you actually have one of the above issues before lowering your TA. "

    Since the PH seems okay and we can't address calcium until we drain, do we need to worry about the TA? I don't know that we have either of those issues.

    Thank you for the ongoing support,
    Shannon
    In-ground, plaster, approx. 16k, cartridge filter system (Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filter)

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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Thanks so much for all the advice. We swam on the 4th of July, added more liquid chlorine afterward, then I tested again today. I also called both the local water district and reverse osmosis company, and either way, it seems as if we'll need to wait until the fall and cooler temperatures to do anything. The reverse osmosis company is booked until then anyway, and from what I understand, it's unwise to drain a pool during hot weather conditions. Is that correct?

    As for the testing, the CYA is still too high - 150 if I did the test correctly. It sounds like what I need to do until we drain or use reverse osmosis in the fall is keep the chlorine between 11 and 18. Does that sound right? (FC is definitely too low - 2.5 right now, and CC is .5)

    The TA is also too high - around 250 - but here's what I read in Pool School on this site: "There are two reasons to lower your total alkalinity (TA) right away, because you want to slow down the rate that the PH rises, or if high TA is contributing to a high calcium saturation index (CSI) which puts you at risk of calcium scaling. You shouldn't lower TA just to reach a target number. Make sure you actually have one of the above issues before lowering your TA. "

    Since the PH seems okay and we can't address calcium until we drain, do we need to worry about the TA? I don't know that we have either of those issues.

    Thank you for the ongoing support,
    Shannon
    In-ground, plaster, approx. 16k, cartridge filter system (Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filter)

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Yes, the chlorine numbers are correct. And you are also correct about TA. The main problem you will encounter day to day is not being able to test PH. The PH test is not valid when FC is above 10. So, you will need to allow FC to drop to 10 to test PH. I would do it at least weekly with TA that high.
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Thanks. To raise the chlorine, do I just keep dumping in jugs of liquid chlorine, and test after each one? How do I then lower the chlorine again to test for PH? I imagine I just stop adding chlorine and keep testing until the levels are down to 10. Is it safe to swim with chlorine between 11 and 18?
    In-ground, plaster, approx. 16k, cartridge filter system (Sta-Rite System 3 Modular Media Filter)

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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Searching for cheap places to buy the chems I noticed that my county has the hookup:
    http://www.monroecounty.gov/files/Bi...act_080814.pdf

    Buying 8.9% bleach at $0.56 per gallon. Then again, they bought 1,348,060 gallons, so I don't think I can quite swing that kind of volume discount...

    I just thought someone might be curious how low the price for the chemicals really is, if it can be sold at this price, even given the volume.
    24' round above ground 52" vinyl pool - 12690 gallons at 45'' fill.
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Feeling Overwhelmed: to drain or not to drain? Is my pool water safe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shannonlf2000 View Post
    Thanks. To raise the chlorine, do I just keep dumping in jugs of liquid chlorine, and test after each one? How do I then lower the chlorine again to test for PH? I imagine I just stop adding chlorine and keep testing until the levels are down to 10. Is it safe to swim with chlorine between 11 and 18?
    Test FC and use Poolmath to calculate how much bleach/liquid chlorine to add. Yes, FC will drop over time, when it hits 9 test PH.

    It is safe to swim when FC is between minimum and shock level for your CYA, Chlorine CYA Chart. So, you are safe to swim with FC above 11 and up to 59ppm.
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