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Thread: Quest for a clear pool

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    Quest for a clear pool

    Long story but I'll try to be concise.

    Please forgive lack of BBB method; still using traditional pool chemicals (Trichlor, cal-hypo 73%) at this point.

    Drained and filled my pool this spring.
    Within a month of opening, my pool was permananently green with bubbles in returns.
    Uneducated maintenance (HTH shock, inadequate shock levels for high CYA, test kits, etc.) led to race with algae that I never won for reasons listed below.

    Through this period, I discovered:
    - Cartridge filters were busted (blowing debris right back into pool); replaced.
    - Pump seals/o-rings were shot; replaced.
    - Jandy valve o-rings were leaking; replaced.
    - Skimmer pipe was plugged; cleared.
    - Main drain was clogged; cleared.
    - Suction side vacuum was not walking well; haven't resolved yet.
    - CYA was about 80; did partial water replacement to drop near 40.
    - Shocking pool turned water GREENER. Country well water had metal in it; added Metal-Free.

    After this effort, pool appears to be mechanically sound. Good flow, no air leaks.

    Last weekend, (re)found this site and started proper shock treatment (albeit with 73% Cal-Hypo, instead of bleach). Over the course of 24 hours, maintained proper shock levels until pool went white, pump 24/7. Had to go out of town Tuesday-Thursday but managed to reach "no overnight FC drop" just before I left (testing, unfortunately, with HTH test using dilution to read high FC levels). Pool has never reached crystal clear but is now cloudy aqua-blue, can see shallow bottom (3-4') but not deep (10').

    Received TF100 kit couple days ago. First TF test results:

    FC: 4.5
    CC: 1.0
    PH: 6.8
    TA: 120
    CH: 260
    CYA: 30

    Added PH-Plus to bring PH up to 7.2 (currently), stabilizer in amounts to raise CYA to 40 (haven't retested yet) and cal-hypo to drop CC (now 0.5). Added SuperFloc last night, no appreciable clearing or fallout. Also, re-tested overnight FC drop with close to, if not acceptable, results. (Didn't test morning until after 2 hours of sun, drop 1.5 ppm).

    At this point, I'm inclined to restart shock treatment and see if pool will reach clear. Would you agree?

    Thanks in advance!
    20,000-gallon in-ground plaster
    Hayward Northstar SP4010X15NS pump
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 cartridge filter

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    your cc's are 1, therefore you need to shock.
    pool-school/shocking_your_pool
    also, metal free is not a recommended sequestrant. jack's magic and a couple others are. basically you want one that's HEDP based. be careful with continued cal-hypo use due to calcium hardness rise. bleach/liquid chlorine is a better choice.
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Welcome to TFP!

    Yes, you need at least one more night at shock level. The CC reading of 1.0 a little while ago means you hadn't finished shocking at that point. Bring the pool back up to shock level and do an overnight FC loss test tonight and also get a CC test result tomorrow morning.

    As long as you are using trichlor, you should raise the PH up to 7.8 with PH-Plus (soda ash). You don't want the PH going below 7.2, so you need to raise it higher to prevent the trichlor from bringing it right back below the desired range.

    Using trichlor and cal-hypo is fine for the moment, but they are going to constantly raise your CYA and CH levels, which will cause problems eventually, fairly soon eventually I suspect.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Well reebok and Jason beat me to it but, yes, you need to shock.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Okay, here's an update:

    Last 36 hours or so, I cranked up the shock level, arguably higher than I planned to. CYA level of 30-40 calls for 13-15 ppm to shock. I wasn't testing between doses yesterday and, by the time I tested last night, I was up to 21 ppm when I started overnight FC test. Unfortunately, I forgot to shut off feeder and remove tabs from skimmers. Needless to say, my results this morning (higher FC = 22.5) didn't tell me much. The pool, however, looks much better but not there yet. Shallow end is crisp clear; bottom of deep end is barely visible.

    I've left it pretty much alone today (but with feeder back on). Tonight, I'm retesting overnight FC (with feeder off and no additional chlorine sources available). Just tested FC=14 and CC=0. We'll see where it is in the morning.

    One question: pH tests are questionable at high chlorine levels. Define "high". I've tested pH a couple of times when chlorine > 10 ppm. Both times, pH shows low (6.8-7.2). I've added some pH plus but, even tonight, pH looks closer to 6.8 again. Is it possible that pH is actually dropping or should I not worry about this until I can test at normal chlorine levels?
    20,000-gallon in-ground plaster
    Hayward Northstar SP4010X15NS pump
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 cartridge filter

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Pucks/trichlor tablets are acidic. They lower PH and TA, and they raise CYA resulting in an overstabilized pool. STop using them. Yes, you should be worried about Low PH and the pucks are causing it to drop.

    Pucks should never be put in skimmers, unless the pump runs 24/7. Perhaps this contributed to the equipment failure you described? IDK. What happens is the water in the skimmer/plumbing becomes very acidic, and this can cause the skimmer parts to become brittle and break, can lead to failure of pump parts/seals and equipment damage to heaters, etc. It's just not a good idea.

    Using an inline chlorinator PLUS skimmer pucks will cause the CYA to build up rapidly and the PH to drop quickly.

    Just use bleach. You add enough each night to keep your FC above the min for the next day. It's simple and takes less than 5 minutes a day. It doesn't add anything unwanted to your pool and it doesn't cause side effects like lowering PH/TA.

    FC above 10 will make the PH read false high. Get some borax and raise the PH to 7.4, today.

    Repeat the overnight loss test tonight. Do you have adequate circulation in the deep end?

    Sounds like you're getting close.
    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
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  7. Back To Top    #7

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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Understood on the whole bleach subject. I firmly believe that it is a better method; I'm just not convinced that it's easier. I went through the bleach method last year when I opened the pool and about killed myself trying to keep enough bleach around here through the process. I am likely going to wean myself that direction but I'll start by replacing pH Plus with borax (no brainer!).

    Thanks for explanation of pucks in skimmers. I had seen warnings on some product, none on others. Right now, I've been running pump 24/7 but I'll avoid that technique.

    As of this morning, FC still at 14, CC at 0, so chlorine held overnight. Pool definitely looks better. Can even see deep bottom enough to spot and vacuum debris what little debris I had there. Haven't tested FC this afternoon accurately (still holding above 5 w/ quick undiluted test). pH around 7.2; added more pH Plus (had some already).

    Good point on deep circulation. I may adjust return jets. They're currently rippling the surface but directing them down should help deep circulation.

    Thanks for your input!
    20,000-gallon in-ground plaster
    Hayward Northstar SP4010X15NS pump
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 cartridge filter

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    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    when your water is balanced you'll use far less bleach.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Yes, you can't compare trying to clear up a green pool to everyday BBB method. I know my pool to the point where I don't even test every day, usually every 2-3 and I add bleach and I'm done in under 5 minutes. My water is stable and I haven't had any issues in over 2 years. No compare that to my trichlor days....you bet, bleach is easier.
    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: Quest for a clear pool

    Okay, so I'm gathering enough data to start to hypothesize what my real chlorine demand is. This morning, chlorine was at 14 ppm. Tonight, it's at 9. That's a drop of 5 ppm. I've also had the puck feeder wide open and a puck in each skimmer (pump running). Based on overnight scenario the other night where I screwed up and left the same setup while I was testing overnight chlorine drop, these puck sources provided ~2.5 ppm running all night, assuming near zero algae demand. That tells me I'm seeing about 7-8 ppm per day chlorine loss. That's basically a 128-oz jug of 12% bleach per day (or 24 oz. of cal-hypo). This seems like a pretty high maintenance requirement.

    I understand that my CYA could be higher (last measured at 30, have added stablizer ~+10 ppm but haven't retested yet) and that will reduce my chlorine loss. I'd like to get a sense of what are realistic expectations for chlorine loss and replacement requirements. Any real-world examples you could share?
    20,000-gallon in-ground plaster
    Hayward Northstar SP4010X15NS pump
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 cartridge filter

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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    As a "convert" of BBB for the last 120 days, let me give you some history, and some results of the conversion.

    Pool built in 03', used trichor since day uno, tested with an inferior kit, got mustard algae regularly during the "hot" months. Found this site, made the change.

    Drained pool to lower CYA from over 150 to current 40, got rid of pucks, use 12.5% cl only as source of santization.

    Bought Taylor 2005, then bought TF DPD test for cl, after reading MORE on this site about what is good/bad/needed, as far as testing goes.

    Last 120 days: NO algae, pool crystal clear(shimmers??), no swimmer eye complaints, couldn't be happier.

    Test EVERY day, add cl as needed. It is amazing how once you get ALL the values "in range", you can actually sense what/how much of a certain chem. your pool needs by looking at your water.

    I have kept dilegent records of every addition to my pool for the last three months, and my pool loses about 2 to 3 ppm a day of cl. I add anywhere from 33 oz to 50 oz of 12.5% cl to keep it on target, which is 6 ppm. No cover, temps 95 to 112(yesterday!!!) and moderate bather load. At the end of the day(always test at dusk) I consistently lose 2 to 3 ppm.

    Hang in there!!! Keep working at it. It is most DEFINATELY worth it in the end. I have a TFP!!!

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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    I don't understand why you are still using pucks.

    I live in sunny and hot Arizona, temps have been running around 115 degrees and I lose about 2 to 3 ppm in a 24 hour period.
    I choose to dose my pool with usually a couple quarts of 12% every other day or so. Which brings my CL level to the max range or a bit above for my CYA level. Still can swim and I never drift below my min level. If I used 6%, it would be a gallon every other day. That includes losing an average of an inch of water per day due to evaporation and topping off with fresh water. When temps cool, I need less liquid chlorine and less topping off with more water.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    So two examples where chlorine consumption is 2-3 ppm/day, requiring a couple gallons of bleach a week. Doesn't sound bad. On the surface (no pun intended), that makes me wonder why my pool dropped 7-8 ppm today with a CYA of 30. Admittedly, I did have about 6 teenage boys in the pool for a couple of hours. I'll just have to collect more data; the reality is that I'm still "getting to know my pool".

    This is my third summer as a pool owner. The first summer, pool maintenance was amazingly easy. Run the pump, use the auto-vac, add pucks to the feeder and shock once a week (at levels I now know to be amazingly low). Quite frankly, I don't understand why I didn't have any pool problems. The second summer, I used bleach to open the pool, continued shocking once a week and things went well for about half the season. By the latter part of the summer, algae took over and I fought a losing battle to get on top of it (never did). This year, I drained and refilled to start the season and have been fighting algae the last month. I guess in retrospect, the first summer spoiled me; it was just too easy.

    Why am I still using pucks? I'm still trying to determine what is the best method for my particular situation. Pool School points out the "convenience" of pucks and cal-hypo; for me, convenience is critical. I am on the road for at least 2-3 days at a time, I live 30 minutes from the nearest Wally World, I spend the summer mowing more grass than I'd like and, with two teenage boys at home, there is ALWAYS something to fix. Okay, so cal-hypo raises calcium and pucks increase CYA and drop pH: if loading the puck feeder allows me to be gone for days, an occasional water change and pH adjustment doesn't sound like that much of a downside.

    The question I'm still trying to answer is whether I can easily maintain my min FC levels using those methods. From what I'm seeing so far, I'm not sure that I can. I may eventually decide that BBB is the right way for me to go. More likely, I'll be looking at a SWG but I haven't seen enough data or studied it long enough to say yet.
    20,000-gallon in-ground plaster
    Hayward Northstar SP4010X15NS pump
    Hayward SwimClear C4025 cartridge filter

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Ah, okay. Well, perhaps BBB isn't for you.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
    Sta-Rite Max-E-Glass with a 1.5 hp Emerson motor
    WaterCo Micron High Rate sand filter S750 490 lb, 4883 sq ft - using ZeoBest
    In floor Polaris cleaning system
    Blue Diamond robot for those after storm days when I can't wait overnight for the in floor to clean it.

  15. Back To Top    #15
    reebok's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    I would definitely recommend an swg.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    You would lose a lot less FC during the day if your CYA was higher, at least 50. Maybe even 60 would yield you some benefits.

    If you like, use the pucks (adjusting PH/TA as necessary) until the CYA level reaches 50 or 60. Then for a couple of days (with no teens in the pool-tell those boys to go in the house to use the facilites ) calculate your PPM loss during the day. I think you'll find the loss goes down considerably if you ran with a higher CYA level.

    You still have to test and make sure that the amount of FC the pucks are putting out is enough to keep you above your "min" level according to the CYA chart. You may need to do a combo of bleach and pucks as the CYA gets higher, then switch to just bleach.
    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

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    You would also lose a lot less FC as well as water if you used a pool cover (especially one opaque to UV). With a pool cover, you should be able to add chlorine only twice a week and could even add more to go a week before adding chlorine again. With an opaque pool cover, I lose around 0.8 to 1.0 ppm FC per day (though the pool is open 1-2 hours every day, but the chlorine demand seems fairly similar even when not in use).

    If you want to continue to use Trichlor for the convenience (until you get an SWG), you must use a supplemental algaecide at extra cost to prevent algae growth (maintaining a higher FC level as the CYA climbs is usually impractical using Trichlor alone). Adding PolyQuat 60 weekly without fail would be the most straightfoward approach at probably around $3 per week after the initial dose.
    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"

  18. Back To Top    #18

    Re: Quest for a clear pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Lk4kTx
    So two examples where chlorine consumption is 2-3 ppm/day, requiring a couple gallons of bleach a week. Doesn't sound bad. On the surface (no pun intended), that makes me wonder why my pool dropped 7-8 ppm today with a CYA of 30. Admittedly, I did have about 6 teenage boys in the pool for a couple of hours. I'll just have to collect more data; the reality is that I'm still "getting to know my pool".
    Kids in the pool use up extra chlorine... bathing suits take some, body oils and sweat take more. Plus, you may still have some algae that you are working on.

    Why am I still using pucks? I'm still trying to determine what is the best method for my particular situation. Pool School points out the "convenience" of pucks and cal-hypo; for me, convenience is critical. I am on the road for at least 2-3 days at a time, I live 30 minutes from the nearest Wally World, I spend the summer mowing more grass than I'd like and, with two teenage boys at home, there is ALWAYS something to fix. Okay, so cal-hypo raises calcium and pucks increase CYA and drop pH: if loading the puck feeder allows me to be gone for days, an occasional water change and pH adjustment doesn't sound like that much of a downside.

    The question I'm still trying to answer is whether I can easily maintain my min FC levels using those methods. From what I'm seeing so far, I'm not sure that I can. I may eventually decide that BBB is the right way for me to go. More likely, I'll be looking at a SWG but I haven't seen enough data or studied it long enough to say yet.
    Two teenage boys can certainly handle testing the pool chlorine and dropping in a jug of bleach. Once you have a feel for how your pool goes, it will be that easy. I suspect that you will find that every 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) day you need a (big or small) jug of bleach. Plus, when there is a swim party, add an extra small jug at the end of the party. You will get familiar with the price of bleach as well as liquid chlorine from pool stores and begin to keep on hand a week or 2's worth of bleach. You can keep a bit of cal-hypo and a few pucks for a feeder, whatever you feel you need at the time. Easy enough to tell the boys to load a few pucks in the feeder or mis up a scoop of cal-hypo for the pool if you are out of town and they report chlorine is low and there is no bleach left. But, while you are around you can do this with bleach.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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