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Thread: Help with chemicals - Please!

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    Help with chemicals - Please!

    First, I love your website - so glad I found it! OMG - I've read pool school and a ton of posts. I feel like I'm back in H.S. chemistry class. Sorry, this email is so long, but after reading your website I need some specific help now.
    So, on to the problems . . .
    We've lived here for 5 years. The house is old and so is the pool, but we had the floor replastered and had a pool cover installed 2 years ago. We were losing a lot of water to evaporation prior to that. Until this year we have never had a problem. But we were using only the paper strips to test our chemicals. All of a sudden chlorine was not showing up (probably b/c we were using trichlor tabs). So we purchased a chemical test kit from a local pool store. We were only shocking the pool when we saw the chlorine levels dip.

    Results from the pool store b/c our test does not test for CYA:
    FC = 1.0
    pH = 7.2 (only after we added 76 oz Borox at the advice of the "pool calculator" prior to that it was 6.8 or less- after reading all the posts and pool school we decided to try and bring up the pH first b/c we weren't having any luck with FC)
    TA = 170
    CYA = 100 (because my husband added stabilizer without doing any research and he thought it would help with stabilizing the FC)
    TDS = 1000

    Questions?
    1. Since our pool is indoors - will the CYA level ever go down?
    2. The "pool calculator" said we needed to empty out 60% of our pool to get the CYA to go down . . . is that the only way to get it to go down? Our pool is old and we have to empty it with a sumpump and a very long hose down to the street.
    3. Is it bad to have high CYA levels? Can we just leave it at 100? B/c I really do not want to have to empty 60% of our pool.
    4. High TA levels - the local pool store said I needed to add muriatic acid to decrease our TA. But "pool school" says muriatic acid is used to lower the pH. I'm confused.
    5. We don't have a waterfall or spa jets and we dont' use the pool all that often - can you give us a recommendation on what we can use to aerate the pool? How much aeration do we need in order to actually effect the TA level? 24 hours?
    6. If we switch from trichlor tabs to bleach how often should I expect to be adding bleach? The pool store said every week. True?
    7. Which problem do I tackle first? TA? CYA? pH? FC?

    Thank you and any advice is much appreciated. Also, if I make any mistakes on these posts I apologize ahead of time - I've never posted anything before to any website.
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    See my response in bold:

    Quote Originally Posted by ckf
    Results from the pool store b/c our test does not test for CYA:
    You need your own kit, read about them here.

    Questions?
    1. Since our pool is indoors - will the CYA level ever go down?
    No. Basically draining/refilling is your only option to lower CYA

    2. The "pool calculator" said we needed to empty out 60% of our pool to get the CYA to go down . . . is that the only way to get it to go down? Our pool is old and we have to empty it with a sumpump and a very long hose down to the street.
    Yikes, see above.

    3. Is it bad to have high CYA levels?
    Yes. An indoor pool doesn't need much CYA, maybe a level of 20...

    Can we just leave it at 100? B/c I really do not want to have to empty 60% of our pool.
    Yes, but you have to maintain proper FC levels according to the CYA/Chlorine chart and shocking is not practical when CYA is that high. If your FC isn't holding, you need to shock.

    4. High TA levels - the local pool store said I needed to add muriatic acid to decrease our TA. But "pool school" says muriatic acid is used to lower the pH. I'm confused.
    The article in Pool School called How to Lower TA explains step by step what to do. Acid lowers both PH and TA. Then you use aeration to raise the PH back up.

    5. We don't have a waterfall or spa jets and we dont' use the pool all that often - can you give us a recommendation on what we can use to aerate the pool? How much aeration do we need in order to actually effect the TA level? 24 hours?
    You only need to lower the TA if the PH frequently drifts up and it becomes annoying having to add muratic acid daily. You apparently have had the opposite problem...
    Simply add muratic acid when you see PH of 7.8 or higher. Add enough acid to lower the PH to 7.2 and eventually the TA will drop into range. There is no critical reason to do it any quicker than that, and an additional source of aeration isn't needed because you aren't dropping the PH below 7.2.


    6. If we switch from trichlor tabs to bleach how often should I expect to be adding bleach? The pool store said every week. True?
    No. Not true. You have to add bleach daily. Adding bleach is literally 5 minutes a day if that, and overtime, you will get to know your pool and probably won't need to add bleach daily, probably every other day (that's what I do most of the time).

    IF you switch from trichlor tabs? Trichlor tabs raise CYA, lower ph and ta. These are the root of your troubles. You should not use trichlor tabs.


    7. Which problem do I tackle first? TA? CYA? pH? FC?
    Lowering CYA. Fresh water may require adjusting the PH/TA levels.

    Thank you and any advice is much appreciated. Also, if I make any mistakes on these posts I apologize ahead of time - I've never posted anything before to any website.
    No mistakes made, excellent first post.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    One more thing. Evaporation in an indoor pool? (Didn't know that would be an issue) And now you keep it covered most of the time?

    That's probably why your PH is so low, the cover makes the PH drop (complex chemistry something about outgassing.... ) Then combined with trichlor tabs, which are acidic... results in really low PH.
    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: Help with chemicals - Please!

    I just wanted to say thank you for the advice. I'm in the process of reading the article 'lower TA sticky' - I'll put a post up in a few days as to how it all turned out.
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    You're welcome, wish I had better news for you.
    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: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by ckf
    6. If we switch from trichlor tabs to bleach how often should I expect to be adding bleach? The pool store said every week. True?
    [b]No. Not true. You have to add bleach daily. :lol: Adding bleach is literally 5 minutes a day if that, and overtime, you will get to know your pool and probably won't need to add bleach daily, probably every other day (that's what I do most of the time).
    Actually, because it's an indoor pool and not exposed to direct sunlight, the chlorine usage should be fairly low so you will probably only need to add chlorine twice a week unless you don't want larger swings in chlorine level. See how much your FC drops daily and then figure accordingly for how often you need to add chlorine.

    You mentioned that the floor was replastered -- did you mean the floor of the pool? So the pool is a plaster pool? If so, then you need to measure the Calcium Hardness (CH) level. Your high TA might not be a problem if your CH isn't too high and if covering your pool keeps the pH relatively stable. You can see how things go before needing to think about the TA.

    As for dealing with the high CYA level, if it's truly 100 ppm and not higher, you could just keep the FC at a minimum of around 7 ppm. You probably won't be using up a lot of chlorine since there is no direct sunlight on the pool (since it's indoors and it's also covered).

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Actually, because it's an indoor pool and not exposed to direct sunlight, the chlorine usage should be fairly low so you will probably only need to add chlorine twice a week
    Well THAT IS good news! A light at the end of the tunnel.

    If they can get thru shocking with CYA that high and get the FC to hold overnight, they can continue to run with CYA at 100...

    Well you will go thru alot of bleach but at least you do have that option if you don't want to drain.

    Richard, would you advise them to use Polyquat 60 if they decide to leave it at that 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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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Actually, because it's an indoor pool and not exposed to direct sunlight, the chlorine usage should be fairly low so you will probably only need to add chlorine twice a week unless you don't want larger swings in chlorine level. See how much your FC drops daily and then figure accordingly for how often you need to add chlorine.
    Well, we ended up dumping about %50 of the water and adding new water. I still need to buy a test that can test for CYA, b/c of the holiday the pool store is not open tomorrow. So, I might have to wait till Monday to find out what my new CYA is.

    You mentioned that the floor was replastered -- did you mean the floor of the pool? So the pool is a plaster pool? If so, then you need to measure the Calcium Hardness (CH) level. Your high TA might not be a problem if your CH isn't too high and if covering your pool keeps the pH relatively stable. You can see how things go before needing to think about the TA.
    Yes, our pool floor was replastered. After dumping and refilling the pool the pH went up to 7.5 and the TA dropped to 160. We are going to go get a free floating fountain (as suggested by the TFP article) to help lower the TA.

    As for dealing with the high CYA level, if it's truly 100 ppm and not higher, you could just keep the FC at a minimum of around 7 ppm. You probably won't be using up a lot of chlorine since there is no direct sunlight on the pool (since it's indoors and it's also covered).

    Richard
    Thanks for the help. I feel more confidant and at least we have a plan now on how to get things balanced.
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Still having problems . . .

    So, we drained the pool about 60% (as instructed by the pool calculator) and added new water.
    Test results after draining . . .
    FC = .5
    TC = 1
    We could not test for CYA b/c pool stored closed for the holidays and we just ordered the CYA test online.
    We added 1 gal of shock just b/c I felt like we needed to do something.
    ______________________
    Next morning (over 12 hours later)
    FC = 0
    TC = .5
    So, we added 2 gal shock (I know I really need the CYA test results but since I cant' get that for another 72 hours I felt like we need to try and add chlorine. I dont' want to end up with a pool full of algae come Monday morning).
    45 minutes later test results were . . . I read in a post somewhere on TFP that we could test for FC 30 minutes after adding chlorine
    FC = 5
    TC = 5
    pH = 7.2
    TA = 130
    _______________________
    7 hours later we tested the water again . . .
    FC = 0 ( and I was so hopefully that things were starting to go right)
    TC = .5
    pH = 6.8 (could have been lower, but that's the lowest our test goes to)
    TA = 130
    So, we added 1 gal shock, 6 qts 6% bleach and 76 oz box of borox. Again I'm just guessing on the chlorine b/c we don't have a CYA test.
    _______________________
    5.5 hours later we tested the water again . . .
    FC = .5
    TC = .5
    pH = 7.2
    TA = 150
    We only had 3 gal's of 6% bleach in the house so we put all of that in the water. That was 9:30 PM tonight. We are going to the store tomorrow to buy more bleach.
    ______________________
    Question . . .
    1. So, I know I need the CYA test result to really know how much chlorine I need to add, but I feel like I need to keep adding chlorine so at least some of the algae is kept at bay. Correct? Should I be adding chlorine until I can get the CYA results?
    2. Does anyone know why the pH dropped 18 hours after we added the new water? 12 hours after we added the new water I tested the pH and it was still at 7.2, which is what it was before we dumped and added new water.
    3. Again I know I need the CYA results and I am just guessing but because I am having trouble getting the FC levels up does that mean the CYA levels most likely did not go down with the new water?

    Thanks and happy 4th!
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    You're doing fine, without the CYA test it's just guessing at this point, but yes, obviously organics are consuming it as you add it so you are doing the right thing by staying on top of it. Keep at it.

    It really doesn't matter why the PH is low, just get it into range with Borax. Keep adding the recommended amount of borax (use the pool calc) until it comes into range.
    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: Help with chemicals - Please!

    There are three possible outcomes when shocking if you don't know your CYA level. First, you might have added enough chlorine and the algae will die. Second, you might be holding the algae at bay. Third, you might be completely wasting your time. Algae will just grow back if you give it enough time after you add too little chlorine.

    If your water is relatively clear, I would just continue as you have been going. But if the pool is very green, then you are probably wasting your time.
    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

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Good news. This morning the pool chemical tests were . . .
    FC = 5
    TC = 5
    pH = 7.2
    TA = 190 (wow that shot up)

    We will see how long that lasts.

    If your water is relatively clear, I would just continue as you have been going. But if the pool is very green, then you are probably wasting your time.
    The pool is clear - yeah!
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    I see you are using paper test strips. Those are highly inaccurate. I own a Taylor Test kit and the TF100. I would defiantly advise you to order the TF100 kit! (I am not a paid spokes person) it is the best thing since sliced bread! I would also recommend the Apollo Stirrer: http://www.troublefreepool.com/porta...ols-t1489.html. It is well worth the money and makes you completely independent from your pool store.

    My 2 cents.
    22,000 Gunite, Cart Filter, Aquarite SWG

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Quote Originally Posted by frankgh
    I see you are using paper test strips. Those are highly inaccurate. I own a Taylor Test kit and the TF100. I would defiantly advise you to order the TF100 kit! (I am not a paid spokes person) it is the best thing since sliced bread! I would also recommend the Apollo Stirrer: http://www.troublefreepool.com/porta...ols-t1489.html. It is well worth the money and makes you completely independent from your pool store.
    Actually I am using a little chemical kit from the local pool store - it is the cheaper kit with only the basics. We were previously using only the strips and that's when all this chem business started - we couldn't get a reading for chlorine on the strips. So, my husband went to the local pool store and they said we needed a chemical kit. We got the cheaper kit b/c we didn't know what we were doing. But last week I ordered the chemicals for the CYA test and the CH test from the TFP store. I'm hoping they come soon. Thanks for the advice anyway.
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Update . . .

    Test results . . .
    FC = 6+
    pH = 7.9
    TA = 160 (we just finally figured out a way to aerate the pool so we will test again tonight.)
    CYA = 65 (after dumping 60% and adding water)
    CH = 230 (we have a plaster pool - I know TFP recommends 250 - but is 230 still ok?)

    TDS = 1000 (from the pool store - I saw on another post to ignore this #)

    Questions . . .
    *We have a plaster indoor pool are the recommended levels in Pool School still appropriate? (FC = 3 to 7; pH = 7.5-7.8; TA = 70 to 90+; CH = 250 to 300; CYA = 30 to 50)
    *I have resolved to live with the CYA at 65 - I'm not dumping the water out again. As long as I keep the FC levels up will the CYA at 65 be harming the pool in anyway?

    The plan . . .
    Maintain the recommended levels with BBB.

    By the way - my husband found TFP Pool Calculator as an application for the IPhone - very cool! We love it!

    Thanks!
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    TA = 160 (we just finally figured out a way to aerate the pool so we will test again tonight.) Just curious, are you adding MA to reduce TA? Aeration raises PH with no effect on TA, while MA additions lower PH and TA...I'm guessing your recent aeration is causing the PH to spike up to 7.9...you want to keep your PH between 7.2 and 7.8 Max


    As long as I keep the FC levels up will the CYA at 65 be harming the pool in anyway? I think you'll be fine...65 is a manageable level
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Yes, you can just keep the FC up higher given the CYA level. In your case the higher FC level for the higher CYA level isn't just to prevent algae, but also to try and oxidize organics and keep the pool clear. With an indoor pool, you don't have the benefit of the UV in sunlight helping to break things down. So you might have some more issues keeping Combined Chlorine (CC) low. If you are clean using the pool and don't have a high bather load, then I think you can manage it. In the worst case, you might need to go towards the higher "Target" range of FC in the chlorine/CYA chart rather than the minimum, but see how things go first.

    Please get yourself a good test kit, either the Taylor K-2006 you can get at a good online price here or the TF100 from tftestkits.net here with the latter kit having 36% more volume of reagents so is less expensive per test. It'll be the best money you've ever spent on your pool.

    230 ppm vs. 250 ppm CH is no problem at all. It's the overall saturation index in The Pool Calculator that matters and even that's a rather forgiving measurement. Yes, ignore the TDS.

    Congratulations! It looks like things have stabilized and you are on your way to an easily managed wonderful pool experience.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    TA = 160 (we just finally figured out a way to aerate the pool so we will test again tonight.) Just curious, are you adding MA to reduce TA? Aeration raises PH with no effect on TA, while MA additions lower PH and TA...I'm guessing your recent aeration is causing the PH to spike up to 7.9...you want to keep your PH between 7.2 and 7.8 Max
    I thought I read that article "lower TA the sticky" correctly but after you posted this last post I re-read it and I misunderstood. I thought it said that the aeration would lower the TA. We just tested the pH and it is 7.8. I am concerned that our aeration technique is not effective b/c it seems our pH should have increased more than that after 8 hours of aeration. I do have MA in the house but before I use that I am going to rethink my aeration device. Thanks.
    25x15 ft; 11,200 gal; indoor/in ground; plaster (redone 2006); cartridge filter; +40 years old original with the house;
    pool has a cover and we cover the pool half way b/c when it is covered all the way our numbers get screwed up;we don't use the pool very often; only indirect sunlight; Chicago area

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Help with chemicals - Please!

    not a problem at all....I thought you may have misread it...you can see what I used for aeration just some PVC parts from home depot and screwed it right into my return...I used a pvc end cap and drilled a whole bunch (about 10 1/4") of holes...similar to a shower head.

    to lower TA you lower your PH to 7.0 with MA..aerate to raise PH to about 7.6 and then repeat until you reach your TA target.

    here is a pic to get an idea of the contraption I used...I lowered my TA from 300+ to 80

    http://i702.photobucket.com/albums/w...g?t=1247110539
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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