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Thread: Trying to balance my water

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    Trying to balance my water

    TA 180
    FC >5
    TC>5
    Ph 7.3
    CYA 40

    Hi, I'm new and trying to learn. I have a large elm tree which drops all of it's leaves in my pool. Now I'm trying to clear it. Normally I clean all of the leaves out, brush, vacuum, and use clarifier and it clears up, but I've never let it get this bad before.

    So now it's clean and free of debris, but the water is cloudy. I can see the main drain @ 8 ft, but barely. So here's what I've been trying to do:

    1. It wasn't holding chlorine, so I used the pool calculator and added about 1400 ounces of 6% bleach to superchlorinate up to 20 ppm. My test kit is the Leslie's Total Poolcare DPD Test Kit, but it only measures FC up to 5 ppm. The color is a way deeper magenta than the 5, and it held overnight, so I assume my superchlorination is in progress.

    2. I added acid to drop the ph to 6.8 to 7.0, and then began to aerate using my jacuzzi jets and my spillover. The ph today is 7.3. Should I add more acid now, or wait until the ph gets up to 7.6? And can I add acid while I'm superchlorinating?

    3. Should I continue to work on bringing my CYA up to 70?
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    74 GPM
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Welcome to TFP!

    The DPD test should come with instructions for using dilution to measure FC and TC levels up to 10. If it doesn't, all you have to do is mix 1 part of pool water with 1 equal part of distilled (or other chlorine free) water, test that, and multiply the result by two. You could mix 1 part pool water with 3 parts of chlorine free water and multiply the result by four, though by the time you do that you are losing a great deal of precision.

    Better yet, you could get a FAS-DPD chlorine test, which can measure FC and CC levels up to 50 or more with greater precision than the DPD test has. Taylor and TF Test Kits both sell the FAS-DPD chlorine test on it's own and Leslie's, Taylor, and TF Test Kits all sell it as part of a larger kit.

    While you are lowering TA, the more often you add acid the faster the TA level goes down.

    Since you have a SWG, raising the CYA level to 70 is a great idea. However, I would wait till you are sure you have beaten the algae before doing that. Fighting algae requires more chlorine when the CYA level is higher.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    I haven't really had an algae problem...really just the organic matter from the tree (dirt, leaves, branches). The pool isn't green at all now, just not super clear.

    I guess I really don't understand the purpose of the CYA. Why would chlorine levels need to be higher if the job of the CYA is to keep chlorine stable? And if the CYA makes the pool need more chlorine, why would it decrease the usage on the SWG? My father, an old school commercial pool builder, told me that using CYA would make me require more chlorine too. Why would anyone put something in the pool that makes you need more chlorine? I don't get it.

    Regarding the TA, how long does aeration take to bring it down? I've been running the jacuzzi jets and the spillover for 2 days now with almost no noticeable effect.

    Thanks for all your help. I'm confident after reading all of the posts here at Troublefree Pool that you will help me get this pool clear and sparkling.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    The cloudiness was almost certainly algae that hadn't really gotten going yet. Lots of organic debris falling in the pool lowers the FC level, giving algae a chance to get started. Given the chlorine levels you mentioned, most of it is probably dead algae at this point. You do want to take care to be sure that all of the algae is dead.

    As you raise the CYA level the disinfecting chlorine level goes down. The remaining chlorine is held in reserve by the CYA. At higher CYA levels you need a higher chlorine level to maintain the same effective disinfecting chlorine level. At the same time, as you raise the CYA level, less of your chlorine gets used up by sunlight. Since most of your chlorine loss is to sunlight, raising the CYA level lowers the total amount of chlorine that gets used up each day.

    When you are shocking the pool you need to go from a low disinfecting chlorine level to a high disinfecting chlorine level. With more CYA, a higher percentage of the chlorine gets held in reserve, so more chlorine needs to be added to get to the higher level. The net effect is that raising the disinfecting chlorine level takes more chlorine at higher CYA level, but maintaining an existing disinfecting chlorine level takes less chlorine at higher CYA levels.

    Aeration doesn't bring down the TA level. Aeration raises the PH. Acid brings down both the TA and the PH. The combination of acid and aeration leaves the PH where it was originally and lowers the TA. It can take several days or even several weeks to lower the TA. How fast it goes depends on how effective your aeration is and how frequently you add acid.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Quote Originally Posted by edakan
    I guess I really don't understand the purpose of the CYA.
    Perhaps this thread will help.
    water-balance-tips-for-a-swg-t3663.html

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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    OK...now I understand perfectly. I'll keep you posted on my progress.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Quote Originally Posted by edakan

    Regarding the TA, how long does aeration take to bring it down? I've been running the jacuzzi jets and the spillover for 2 days now with almost no noticeable effect.
    Aeration doesn't lower TA, acid does. Aeration just raises pH without also raising the TA. You need to drop your pH to about 7.0 and then aerate it to bring the pH back up to about 7.6 then test the TA. At first you won't see much movement of the TA but after a while it will start to drop. Repeat this until the TA is where you want it.
    These threads might be useful.
    pool-school/lowering%20total%20alkalinity
    how-to-lower-ta-t5341.html
    ta-what-is-it-really-t4979.html

    Do NOT try to adjust TA or pH while superchorinating. Chlorine levels above about 10 ppm can and will cause pH to read higher than they actually are and can interfere with TA testing. Wait for your FC to be below 10 ppm. Also, I would recommend getting an FAS-DPD test for chlorine. There are many drawbacks to DPD testing such as bleachout at high chlorine levels, not being able to test over 5 ppm without doing dilutions (which lower your precision), and not that great a precision above about 2 ppm with the standard plastic color comparator block from Taylor (also the same as the Leslie one, which is a rebranded Taylor). This is why we recommend the FAS-DPD test.
    pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison
    TFTestkits does sell only the FAS-DPD test separately. It is well worth the money!
    http://www.tftestkits.com/index.php?act ... oductId=23
    Leslie's does not list a "total pool care dpd test kit" on their website but if it is the same kit as their DPD complete
    http://www.lesliespool.com/browse/Home/ ... 00/I/81330
    then all you need to add to it is the FAS-DPD test to have the equivalent of the Taylor K-2006.

    If you have any other test kit then I would recommend getting one of the kits in the Pool School article on test kits that I posted the link for above.

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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    TA 150
    FC >5
    TC>5
    Ph 7.6
    CYA 40

    Thanks guys...the pool is clear today. I'll wait until the FC < 10 ppm and then start tweaking the TA down and the CYA up. I guess superchlorination was the immediate answer for the cloudy water. I just needed the experts here to teach me how to do it correctly.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Welcome to TFP!

    The DPD test should come with instructions for using dilution to measure FC and TC levels up to 10. If it doesn't, all you have to do is mix 1 part of pool water with 1 equal part of distilled (or other chlorine free) water, test that, and multiply the result by two. You could mix 1 part pool water with 3 parts of chlorine free water and multiply the result by four, though by the time you do that you are losing a great deal of precision.
    This is good to know as I do not like the OTO kit provided in my TF100 as the top 3 colors are too close. I use the TF100 on the weekend and Leslie's DPD daily for the basic pH and CL. With my 50 CYA level I try to maintain 4-6ppm of CL. Just tested your method and it works very nicely. A level of 4 ppm clearly shows up with looking at the 2ppm X2. Tomorrow I will do a calibration test against the TF100. The instructions that came with my DPD did not mention this.
    Thanks
    16,000 gal IG Double Roman Plaster Pool (16yrs - plaster redone 2014)
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    TA 160
    FC 5
    TC 5
    Ph 7.8
    CYA 50

    I've been through two or three cycles of acid/aeration with very little effect on my TA (180 before, 160 now). My water is clear. How important is it to bring TA down? What exactly will it do to benefit me? What level should I aim for?

    Thanks.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
    Sand Filter
    74 GPM
    SWG

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    High TA levels can cause two significant problems. If your CH level is also high (it is important to know your CH level) the combination of high TA and high CH can cause calcium clouding and/or calcium scaling. High TA levels also tend to cause the PH to rise.

    If you knew your CH level and it was fairly low and you don't have any problem with PH increasing then lowering TA isn't all that important.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    My pH tends to stay at 7.8 Should I just tolerate it there and skip trying to lower TA?
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Quote Originally Posted by edakan
    My pH tends to stay at 7.8 Should I just tolerate it there and skip trying to lower TA?
    no, it really is too high and can potentially lead to scaling condidtions. In the long run you will be better off lowering it.

    Also, the OTO test is really just for a quick daily check of whether you have chlorine in your pool or not.
    If it's clear there is no chlorine, break out the big test kit and find out why!
    If it's pale yellow the chlorine is too low, break out the big test kit and find out why!
    If it's yelkiw the chlorine is good, go swimming!
    If it's dark yellow to orange to brown the chlorine is high to very high or you are shocking, break out the big test kit once again!
    If you suspect any type of problem, your water is cloudy or green, you just had a big pool party,or you just had major rains then break out the big kit and see what's going on.

    When you do the daily OTO test also check your pH and adjust if needed.

    Do a full set of tests weekly. (You can do the CH and CYA every two weeks to monthly, depending on how often they change in your pool.)

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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    TA 130
    FC >5
    TC>5
    TA 130
    Ph 7.8
    CYA 100
    Phosphates 500

    Ok, so here's an update. My pool is crystal clear. You guys have essentially solved my problem. I'm just trying to fine-tune the water chemistry. It looks like I overshot on the CYA, although I added it very slowly and carefully over the course of several weeks. Will a CYA of 100 be a problem to swimmers? Should I lower it? It's certainly helping my SWG keep the FC too high, but that's just a matter of figuring out how much I have to lower my SWG settings I think. The TA has been resistant to coming down below its current levels, but I'll keep working on it. And now the guy at Leslies (who I don't trust because he recommended the "slugs of acid" method for reducing TA) says I need to add Phosfree to lower the phosphates. What do you all think?
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    You don't need Phos free, that's just a money maker for them.

    You are making slow but sure progress on the TA, and that's going to be a gradual process, just keep at it. Remember Jason said the more often you add the acid the faster the TA will drop.

    With an SWG, the CYA level of 100 shouldn't be too much of a problem and swimmers won't notice it.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    Thanks so much! You're the best. I'll keep at it, and skip the Phos free. Thanks.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
    Sand Filter
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    TA 110
    FC 2
    TC 2
    pH 7.2
    CYA 100

    I'm having a party with lots of kids in the pool next weekend. In the past my water has gotten very cloudy during parties. Do you all have any suggestions for preparing the pool for the increased bather load? Should I increase my FC to 5, or higher? My pH is low, by the way, because I am still in the process of bringing my TA down.
    35,000 gal, IG, Pebble
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    With that very high CYA, you should be maintaining the pool around 4-6ppmFC at least. If you're expecting a big party, I would bring the FC up to around 8ppm prior to the party.

    Reducing your very high CYA would be more important than your TA. The TA is within a range that fine for all summer. The CYA of 100 is inviting an algae bloom and/or not really sanitizing your pool properly @ 2ppm FC.
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  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    I would go higher than that, FC between 10 and 13. One of the issues is that CYA could easily be higher than 100. The common CYA test reads levels higher than 100 as 100.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  20. Back To Top    #20

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    Re: Trying to balance my water

    FC between 10 and 13 for the party, or until I get my CYA back down?
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