1.5 months experience, but need help

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
Hello everyone,

I just bought a house and have been caring for the pool myself for about 1.5 months. When I got it, it was in really bad shape. Couldn't see the bottom and green as all get out. After the first week I had it looking much better, all based off of suggestions from my dad who has a pool. It has been good since about the 3 week mark. The water got cloudy at one point, but that was because of all the small dead algae still floating around I believe. Once I got the filter running optimally, all that cloudiness went away. At one point I had this thing crystal clear, sparkling. Every flaw in the plaster stood out like a sore thumb.

Here we are a few weeks later and the pool is taking a turn. I must admit that I don't test it as much as I should and the test kit I have is kind of ghetto. Only Chlorine and PH are included.

Any rate, the pool is roughly 18,000 gallons. I live in Bakersfield Ca. where it is really hot and sunny from about Apr. to Oct. The pool is in ground plaster with a cartridge filter system. I added DE to the cartridges based on the recommendation of some online posts. I believe that is what lead to the clearance of all that small particulate matter. Once that DE was in those cartridges, the pool cleared right up. The pressure in the filter is just under 20PSI. The pool is from the early 70's and chlorine is added via tablets in the skimmer, and water is added manually from a concrete buried pvc pipe. I'm sure you are all familiar. I do not currently have a vaccum, but I do borrow my dads about once a week to get the bottom.

Recently the pool has started to cloud up a bit. I also notice algae starting to develop in spots. Especially around the pool light. Some of the spots are in the plaster in the middle of the pool and won't scrub off. I keep about 4 chlorine tabs in the skimmer at all times but I have no idea if it's enough. I also have trouble reading my test kit, as it is old and just came with the house. I added some algae killer 1 week ago, and some more yesterday. There is a very thin, very faint layer of green silt on the bottom of the pool now, it brushes away easily.

I know that a good test kit is essential based on what I've read here and I will get one as soon as I can. But for now, is there anything anyone can recommend?
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
Welcome to TFP :wave:

Sounds like you may have already done this but read thru Pool School (button on upper right of this page) and log on to tftestkits.net and order a TF100...an alternate kit would be the Taylor K2006, but you get more reagent in the TF100.

Likely, your CYA is too high and your FC is too low, but we need test results to confirm :( Anyhow, while you're waiting for the kit, you can try bringing a water sample to the local pool store, don't buy anything, and post us back the results....here are the parameters we'll need to know

FC
CC
TC
PH
TA
CH
CYA
Salt - if applicable

Your pool store will likely start telling you your phosphates are too high...just ignore it. Get those results...post 'em here and we'll help you out :goodjob:
 

lightingguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 17, 2010
513
Glendale, CA
I have to agree - the test kit is the place to start. Without knowing exactly whats going on... How can you know what to do?

Ultimately you need more chlorine. No need for more algecide or phosphate remover or any other expensive wonder chemical the pool store will sell you.

If you really want to do yourself a favor (and save a lot of money in the long run) -

1) Buy a test kit with a FAS-DPD chlorine test (TF100, Taylor K2006)
2) Stop using tabs and switch to non-stabilized chlorine - (Bleach, etc.)
3) Really get comfortable with the information in the pool school.
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
Persona, I have been using chlorine tablets from Lowe's, Walmart etc.

I borrowed my dads test kit tonight because mine is just too old and worn out to be reliable. His kit doesn't test for all the stuff you guys have listed so far but it does better than the kit I have.

My results for several tests are as follows. Abbreviations are what the test uses.

CL (Chlorine Residual according to kit)= .2-.3 ppm
PH= roughly 7.2
TA= 80 (ppm? not sure)

Obviously my CL is way low, but does that mean FC? Or is chlorine residual a different measurement?

I've thought for the past 2 months that chlorine and PH were related somehow but I guess not huh?
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
So after seeing the test results I used the pool calculator to find that I needed to add 101 oz. of 6% Bleach in order to raise the CL to 3 ppm. I figure I'll keep it that high for a few days and continue to scrub the pool until I see that algae going away. Is this a good strategy?

Also, this afternoon after having circulated the bleach for about 7 hours, the pool seems to be absolutely sparkling this evening. My wife has even noticed and commented about it. Is this just placebo effect or something real?
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
So tonight I tested again and my CL is still only at about the .3 ppm mark. I figure that the 100oz. that I added this morning must have all been gobbled up and that is why the mark stayed about where it was yesterday. So I added another 100 oz. (approx) tonight. I'll test again tomorrow.

My PH is still hovering at the lowest end of the scale at 7.2. I added 32 oz. of Soda Ash as per the pool calculator to bump it up to 7.5. Now the pool is cloudy as get out. The last time it was that cloudy was after I had brought it from green to blue but there was still algae matter floating around in there. I added clarifier stuff last time to coagulate it all up and filtered it out. Should I do that again or do you guys recommend against those type of chemicals?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
10,964
Houston, Texas
We need to get complete test resultsbefore you tackle anything else. Have you looked at the test kits recommended on this site? Either the TF100 or Taylor K2006 (available from a variety of online retailers) are good, high quality kits that will handle the most common testing parameters. Without good test results you are just randomly tossing chemicals in your pool with hit and miss results.

The only time we recommend pool store testing is in a situation like yours, when there is a problem to be addressed and you are unable to order a high quality test kit. Pool store testing is frequently wrong, but it is better than nothing when we are trying to understand what is happening in your pool. Take a sample of water to the pool store and have it tested, especially for CYA and calcium, and post the results here. DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THE POOL STORE UNTIL YOU TALK TO US FIRST! Not intending to yell, just want to be emphaticly clear. Do not put any clarifiers or flocculents into the pool. They can increase chlorine demand and put you right back were you started!
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
Yes I've read through pool school. I have learned a lot there that I didn't know. But there are still somethings that are learned by doing. As these past few days have gone by I have become better at doing what I should be doing. I will still be posting my "official" test results when I get that TF-100 kit. I don't have any idea about my CYA or Calcium readings. I understand that that information is critical to proper advice from this community. I will comply with the requests that have been made and get those results.
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
So I have tested my pool with my dad's kit for 3 days in a row. The original test numbers can be found earlier in this thread.

Today's numbers:

CL=1.2-1.5 ppm
PH=7.2
TA= 60

Two days ago the PH was a little below 7.2 so I added 32 oz.'s soda ash per the pool calculator to bump it up to 7.4 or so. It worked well even though the water clouded up for a couple days, the PH went to about 7.4

BUT, today after only 2 days since adding the soda ash, the PH has dropped down to 7.2 The water is still cloudy from adding the original dose of ash, but do I add more?

Also, the TA number is trending downward at a rate of about 10 points per day. I started the first day before treating with anything with a number of 80, but yesterday was 70 and today is definately 60. Why is that TA number going down? I am adding small amounts of chlorine each day to get the number to stabilize at about 1.5 ppm. Can anyone give insight to these changes?
 

Jackslap

Active member
Sep 12, 2010
44
Soda Ash has cleared up after a few days. I've been consistently testing the water for a week straight. I've finally got the CL to even out and steady at around 1.5 ppm. The PH is around 7 and the TA has dropped to 60. How do I adjust those numbers to be more in accordance with recommended levels?
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,958
SouthWest Alabama
Without knowing your CYA level we can't suggest where your FC should be and without a good test kit you can't test for CYA. Get my drift? :)

We also need the rest of the numbers too.

You can use baking soda to raise your TA. That will also raise your pH a tiny bit so you might be ok there.
 

Other Threads of Interest