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Thread: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

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    low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    My husband and I are new pool owners and are becoming increasingly frustrated with trying to get our pool chemistry balanced. We opened the pool May15th and within a week it was sparkling and clear. This week, has been a disaster. The water has gotten cloudier and we can not maintain any level of FC. The TA is really high and has been every time we have tested it. The pH was at first high, but has gone as low as 6.8. Here are our most recent test results:

    pH-7.2
    FC-0.5
    TC-1.5
    TA-190
    CYA-0 (and we put 10 lbs of it in last weekend)
    CH-230

    We have a trichlor puck feeder from Hayward and it is currently set on 3. any help would be greatly appreciated.
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Welcome to TFP.

    Stop worrying about he pH and TA for now. They are good enough. If you put 10lbs of CYA into the pool and are using trichlor pucks, you have CYA. Apparently some kind of testing issue. You have some combined chlorine, which indicates you have a problem. You need to get your chlorine up to about 15ppm, and hold it there faithfully. It make take retesting and redosing every few hours for the first day. It's getting away from you quickly, so you need to be aggressive. I'd recommend using bleach or liquid pool shock, and use http://www.poolcalculator.com to figure out how much.

    How are you testing the CYA? Strips or liquid reagents. I'd highly recommend a pool store test to check your results. If your results are from a pool store, try a different one, or better yet your own kit.

    The feeders are fairly inconsistent, and may not be able to introduce chlorine quickly enough to deal with your issues.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    pool-school/ will help you a lot also.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    We actually have gone to the pool store for testing the CYA, and a home kit for TA, FC, TC and pH. My husband just purchased a more complete test kit today that I will try to figure out when I get home from work.

    We have tried liquid shock, but it seems to make the pH drop and then the next day, there is no chlorine again. I have read the pool school and it has been helpful.

    Which is more important, getting the pH right or getting the chlorine up? I t just seems like I am counter-acting one for the other.

    ps. we are planning on shocking this afternoon.
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    your kit probably won't do all the things that you will need for your pool, particularly the fas-dpd chlorine test which will help a lot now that you're fighting algae/organics. before using it, if it's not a taylor k-2006 or the leslies equivalent, which it probably isn't, see if you can take it back and get one of the recommended ones instead.
    pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison
    read through pool school! it will help you a lot.
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tatey34
    We have tried liquid shock, but it seems to make the pH drop and then the next day, there is no chlorine again.

    Which is more important, getting the pH right or getting the chlorine up? I t just seems like I am counter-acting one for the other.

    ps. we are planning on shocking this afternoon.
    Raising the chlorine can interfere with the pH test. Your pH and TA are close enough for right now. Worry about chlorine only until you get a handle on it. You have to test and add chlorine every 4 hours or so when you have a problem like this.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tatey34
    We have tried liquid shock, but it seems to make the pH drop and then the next day, there is no chlorine again. I have read the pool school and it has been helpful.
    How much did you put in, and how long did you wait before testing again?

    You need to use the pool calculator, it will tell you how much you CL you need to get to a shock level.

    You need to add enough bleach/liquid chlorine to get it to a shock level of at least 15, and then test in about an hour. If its still low, you need to add more bleach, to get up to 15. And keep repeating this.
    BTW, bleach should not change your ph very much.

    I am also worried about your CYA level. 10 lbs of CYA in a 30,000 gal pool means you added 40 ppm. If you are using a puck feeder, and have been for a while, your CYA may be high.

    Good luck
    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    We added 4 gallons of liquid shock @2:30. I just tested the FC level (4:10) and it is still 1. We are currently adding more shock. (another 4 gallons). I will check in later.

    Thanks to all for your help.
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Which is more important, getting the pH right or getting the chlorine up?
    For emphasis, I'm repeating what JohnT and the others are saying.....

    1. Chlorine is your #1 problem....get it up to 15ppm and hold it there.

    2. Disregard your pH.......it's fine for now.

    3. If you put in #10 of CYA, it's in there.......the pool store tested incorrectly

    4. Chlorine is an item that get consumed. You will have to add it ovger and over to maintain it @ 15ppm in your pool.

    5. Read "ABC's of Pool water chemistry" in Pool School for starters.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    You've gotten great advice from everyone - I'm just chiming in to say welcome!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    just an update. we are still adding shock. Thanks to all for the advice. I know once we get through this, it is all about maintaining. In the meantime, its just frustrating.
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Good luck
    It may seem frustrating, but just keep at it, until you get your CL up, and it stays overnight.

    Before I found this place, when I would try to get my pool going in the spring, I would add some CL, and then come back in a day or two or three, test, find little if any free CL, and then add some more. Over the course of 2-3 weeks, I would go through a LOT of CL, and wonder why. After reading the stickies here, I learned that you have to test and add CL VERY OFTEN at the start of a shock cycle. After you start getting high levels of CL, you can test/add CL less frequently.

    Plus you have a pretty big pool, so it will take even more CL to get it back in shape.

    It take some work, but my pool looks amazing now, water is crystal clear. Keep at it, and yours will too.

    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Well, after 24 gallons of shock, the chlorine level has maintained overnight. We are still at shock level and are going to take a new sample to the pool store.

    What's next?? the pH was @ 6.8 this morning.
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    What was the chlorine level?
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by tatey34
    Well, after 24 gallons of shock, the chlorine level has maintained overnight. We are still at shock level and are going to take a new sample to the pool store.

    What's next?? the pH was @ 6.8 this morning.
    Don't trust your pH reading while the chlorine is high. Maintain your shock level of at least 15ppm and filter 24/7 until the pool clears or until you can do an overnight chlorine loss test with no loss. Try to get an accurate CYA reading so you know what maintenance and shock chlorine level you need.
    TFP Moderator
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    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    FC level was 10+. our kit only goes to 10. I last tested last night about 11 and then this morning at 9:30 is was still at 10+.

    Water has also cleared and is sparkling
    18 x 36 IG vinyl, 29 K gallons, sand filter

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    May I suggest that you supplement your kit by ordering the FAS-DPD test. You will find it most helpful and much more accurate.

    Your PH is too low. High chlorine levels make the PH read false-high, and if your's is 6.8 at a FC of 10+ it could be even lower. I would raise the PH up to 7.4 using Borax or Soda Ash/Washing Soda, as soon as possible this morning.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Do you know what the active ingredient is in the liquid shock?

    Something seems strange, liquid chlorine/bleach has a high ph, so it should drive you ph up, not down.

    Whatever you are adding must have a low ph (acid) to drive the ph down that much.

    But, it does sound like you are making good progress. Congrats on a good start.

    And, as others have said, you really need to get a good test kit.

    The FAS-DPD chlorine kit and a CYA kit are really nice to have.
    Most people also use a OTO chlorine test kit. THe OTO kit is easier to use, so it can be used daily. The FAS can be used once or twice a week, or if shocking the pool.

    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Actually, I find the FAS-DPD test easier to use. I can't tell the difference between 2 - 5 on the OTO. With the FAS-DPD - there's no color matching, it's just counting drops. I find it much easier to use - I really don't even use the OTO anymore.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: low pH, High TA, almost zero FC...HELP!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by randytsuch
    Do you know what the active ingredient is in the liquid shock?
    It's gotta be sodium hypochlorite.
    Quote Originally Posted by randytsuch
    Something seems strange, liquid chlorine/bleach has a high ph, so it should drive you ph up, not down.
    Yes, but the process of chlorine combining with organics etc. drives it back the opposite way, and is a net wash.
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
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    Water testing instructions on one page

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