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Thread: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

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    Question New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    I am new to pool care. I have maintained it since Nov (2016), St. George, UT, with a local pool store recommendations. (We heat the pool to about 82 degrees on the weekend we use it in the winter). I have been using a line chlorinator (Trichloro Jumbo Tabs) and Lithium Hypochlorite Shock. The pool has been clean and clear, but the CYA keeps getting higher and the Lithium Hypochlorite is expensive. I have also used Clorox Xtra Blue Pool Shock (Sodium dichloro -s-triazinetrione) in the past. So, I am changing to the Bleach, Baking Powder, Borax model. I love all the info I get from the TPC forum
    I have been using the Taylor K-2005 Reagent Test Kit. I have ordered the Taylor K-2006 test kit so I can get use the DPD-FAS test. It has not yet arrived.

    Here is my issue. The Baking Soda and Borax cloud the water significantly and it does not clear even over a few days. My CYA was at 120 and my intent was to backwash my sand filter about once a week and replace about 10% of the water each week to get the CYA down over time. It is now at 100. I have maintained the FC level at about 2 - 4. The chlorine/CYA chart indicates my target FC should be 11-13. I have not gone that high because I have grandchildren who want to use the pool almost daily. Can you raise the FC to that high level and still safely let people use the pool? And, is the high CYA the reason for the cloudy water? Will I have to raise my FC level to the target level in the chart for the water to clear? Or do I just need to "bite the bullet" and replace about 2/3 of my pool water to reduce the CYA?
    Thanks for any help and suggestions. My current numbers (with the Taylor K-2005 kit and AquaTech 7 test strips): Total Hardness - 500; Total Chlorine - 4, Free Chlorine - 4, pH - 7.4; Total Alkalinity - 120, CYA - 100.

    One more thing, the sun here is intense and it rapidly kills my FC. Can I leave the pool cover (floating cover) on while I treat the pool? The pool is at about 84 degrees and if I leave the cover on all the time, it will undoubtedly get hotter. Our daytime temperature high is approaching 90.
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Welcome to TFP, DWLarso.... you've added a lot of ingredients and money in to that water, haven't you? Ouch.

    Your continual use of *jumbo* pucks, shock products and such have caused your pool to be laden with high CYA and copper from the XtraBlue products. CYA buffers the free chlorine in the water so the higher your CYA is, the higher your chlorine needs to be. A pool with no cya and 3ppm of FC is far harsher than one with 100ppm CYA and 9ppm of chlorine. Really! Your grandchildren will be perfectly safe in a *properly* sanitized pool. See this --> FC/CYA Chart

    Keep in mind that chlorine is what you need to prevent algae, as well as human to human transfer of bacteria and viruses (such as herpes..kids get cold sores on their lips all the time, right?)

    The only way to lessen your chlorine requirements is to lessen the CYA through draining water and refilling with fresh. And then using products that don't add it back again. Either liquid chlorine (aka bleach..yup!) or a Salt Water Chlorine Generator.

    Copper in your pool causes stains to the pool surface, green hair and in one case a green dog! LOL Gotta drain water to remove copper too.

    Your pool may be on the verge of an algae outbreak with CYA that high and such low chlorine. That could be why its cloudy.

    Please consider a partial drain/refill of water to lower your CYA/Copper levels after you get your new test kit and can perform a full set of tests for us:
    FC
    CC
    pH
    TA
    CH
    CYA

    Looking forward to helping you... grandparent to grandparent

    Maddie

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oh yeah, one last tip- since you know your CYA is high you need to perform the test to find out how much over 100 it is.

    Take equal amounts of pool water and tap water and mix well. Use this mixture as your pool water sample and perform the test again but you double the results.

    If you get a result of 60, you'll know your CYA is really ~120. This will help guide you in how much water you'll need to drain and refill.

    Maddie
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Thanks Maddie. None of the Taylor Pool and Water Chemistry manuals I have say anything about increasing FC with increasing CYA. They just say keep it at 2 - 4 ppm as recommended by APSP guidelines. I was concerned that increased FC would be harmful to the pool users. I'm quite sure my CYA is very close to 100. Got that result from 3 independent tests: pool store water test, Taylor K2005 test, and an Aquatech 7 test strip. I have replaced about 10% of my water today so that should drop it a little. I have raised the FC to about 12 (target amount from the Chlorine/CYA chart on this site) and I will watch it for a while and see what happens. Over the next few weeks I will continue to replace water periodically to reduce the CYA to 40 t0 50 and reduce by FC accordingly. This site is so helpful for us novice pool owners.
    By the way, I ordered by new test kit from Amazon over a week ago and it still hasn't shipped. I will have to find out why. I need a new kit because I don't know how old the reagents are in the test kits left here with the home we purchased.
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    CYA acts as a buffer for FC and makes it less harsh to people, equipment and also algae. That is why you must maintain a higher FC level as CYA increases just to maintain the same level of killing ability. The pool industry seems to just ignore CYA and continues with the same old tired 1-3ppm recommendation all the while the pucks and powder shock that "everybody uses" dumps loads of CYA into the water making the 1-3 FC totally useless.

    Your pool is completely safe all the way up to shock level for your CYA level. So at 100 CYA your pool is still safe to swim even all the way up to 39ppm FC. At shock level it's probably a good idea to shower off the chlorine after use and wear your old everyday swimwear but it won't really hurt you at all.

    Lowering CYA will be a lot more efficient if you change a little more each time. Unless you have excessive ground water you should try to drain as much as 30-40%. Drain later in the evening and refill overnight to keep the sun and heat off your pool's surfacing.

    I would cancel the test kit and look elsewhere. You really need more reagents than the K-2006 will offer anyway, it contains only 3/4oz bottles that don't last long. Look into the K-2006C with 2oz bottles or the TF-100, these will have more of what you need the most. The links I provided are both good places to buy. Grab a speedstir while you are ordering, well worth the cost, it makes testing quicker and easier.
    AGP 24' x 54" approx 14000 gal Full sun all day, Hayward 1.5 HP and EC50 D.E. filter
    Stenner 45MPHP10 10 gal/day fixed rate with intermatic ET1125C timer
    Dolphin E10 robotic cleaner, 330 gallon Tiger River Spa, Taylor K-2006C test kit

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Thanks for your feedback. I followed your recommendation and ordered the TF-100 and speedstir. I am still having trouble with cloudy water even with much higher FC but I expect I will have to lower the CYA before I see results.
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Yeah, I would reckon you do need a bit of drain/refill for that CYA There is no reasonable way to maintain a pool with CYA that high when its been hit with algae (cloudy water).

    Let us know how that goes and run a full set of labs. If your CYA continues high (showing it is really high) do the dilution version of the test as in my previous message above.

    Maddie
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    I moved the FC up to the 10-12 range as recommended by the Chlorine/FCA chart. It took a few days but it finally cleared my water (I also added some Diatomatious Earth, DE, to my sand filter. I think that helped.) Yesterday I backwashed the filter and did the 50% drain/ refill (about 9500 gallons of water) to lower my CYA. I then added some Chlorine (bleach) to get the FC level up. The water is crystal clear. Today I will use the Pool Math calculations to do the Borax (and Muriatic acid to maintain pH) to get my Borate in the pool. I expect that will cloud the water for a while. My current readings are:

    FC - 5
    TC - 5
    pH - 7.5
    TA - 160
    CH - 250
    CYA - 45

    Any concerns with these levels while I continue down the BBB path of pool care? Thanks so much for your input and suggestions. They have been a huge help.
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    We round-up the CYA results, so we'll use a CYA reading of 50. That puts target FC at 6-8 with a minimum of 4 (so your 5 is still above minimum).

    I'm a fan of DE in sand filters. Keep in mind that the DE is sacrificed during a backwash, so you'll want to add it back in if you haven't already.

    - - - Updated - - -

    (is that Speedstir a fun gadget or what??)
    12,000 gal Diamond Brite indoor​ pool. Pentair Triton TR-60 Sand Filter +added DE, Lochinvar Energyrite ERN-200 gas heater, Pentair Multi-valve, Pentair SuperFlo VS pump, TF-100 kit, Pool Math App - iOS

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Please don't add borates yet. With your high TA (total alkalinity), adding borates is going to make managing your pool difficult.

    Start by stabilizing your pH and TA a bit, and once you have a good handle on pH rise, and know where your TA needs to be to facilitate minimal pH rise, we can talk about borates.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Thanks. I will hold off on the borates and work on getting the TA down a little. And see how stable the pH is.
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    To expand on my previous statement, TA acts like a buffer for pH (it also plays a factor in the scaling potential/acidity of your water which is very important for plaster pools).

    Official TFP recommended levels are about 80-100 TA, but many of us keep it lower (50-60) due to various factors like our fill water. Generally, the lower the TA (down to a certain point), the slower your pH will rise. Coupling borates with a TA value that works for your pool can assist in further slowing the pH rise, reducing the amount of acid you need to maintain a good pH value.

    So no worries. Don't stress TA for now, but let's wait on borates until we have a good handle on what TA your pool likes.
    8,500gal plaster in-ground with attached spa, two floor drains, one skimmer. Chlorine, City Water.
    Pentair WhisperFlo 1hp Pump, MagnaTek Midcentury EPlus motor, Pentair CleanNClear 200SF Cartridge filter, Purex Triton MiniMax 250 Gas Heater, Pentair SunLite, AutoFill.
    Kreepy Krauly Cruiser, TF-100 with SpeedStir. :D

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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    The pH seems to be pretty stable. The pool is crystal clear. I received my TF-100 test kit this weekend so I have confidence in my readings. Here are my current numbers:
    FC: 2.5 (I will raise to 6 with bleach, I had not added Chlorine for a couple days)
    TC: 2.5
    pH: 7.3
    TA: 120
    CH: 325
    CYA: 50

    Is it appropriate to begin adding Borax now? Or should I first reduce my TA further?Thanks for your help>
    Last edited by dwlarso; 05-15-2017 at 01:55 PM. Reason: punctuation and clarity
    In-ground, 18,000 gallons; Irregular Shape; 800 gallon attached Spa
    Variable speed pump, 3 HP, Pentair Intelliflo
    Pool Construction: Concrete and Plaster
    Sand Filter: Pentair Triton II
    Heater: Pentair Master Temp 400

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool Owner, Cloudy Pool and CYA

    Hold off on borates. You're not ready since you want to still adjust that TA. Go a few months before you go borates.

    Maddie
    Maddie :) 12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
    Skippy's Pool Cooler --> Skippy's New Fountain Our Build --> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard

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