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Thread: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

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    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Camp Lejeune, NC
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    Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    Hello everyone. I found your site trying to figure out how to keep my pool algea free and still keep the pH and ALK in check as those have been serious issues for me all summer. So to begin with let me tell you tests results, though until the other day I thought the two tests I had would be perfect. YES, I have switched already to using Borax and Baking Soda though I am still trying to use up last of bagged shock and tablets this season. Is that okay to do by mixing the two variations?
    Anyway, yesterday I shocked the pool with not just 1 bag but 1 1/2 due to one bag per week has done nothing to keep the pine needles that fall into the pool each night from creating algea every couple of days in the pool bottom. Though pool water is always clear, never green or cloudy. However, my readings from the 6-way test strips from wal-mart that were suggested in the pool school if I did not have the required testing kit, which along with numerous posts on here, I have read several times!!! I will honestly admit though that now I am just beyond confused due to trying to do this half a#sed. I am getting the suggested pool testing kit from Leslie's for 2010 summer but until then want to keep the pool balanced so that closing it when the water drops between 50 - 60 degrees it will be easier for me to do and hopefully open it up easier come spring again.

    I have had serious issues with either pH and ALK being to low or to high all year and it just keeps yo-yoing to no avail, which I know is from the chemicals I was putting in just counteracted the other. However now I no longer use those and still have issues. I have used Muratic acid serveral times and destroyed my husband's air compresser nozzle by placing in the pool for literally days upon end trying to remedy this whole problem and though it did work I always have the same problems.

    Today however is the first time that my CYA isn't reading 100! And all year my FC has been at the last color, dark purple to no avail of anything I do. Is there a way to lower this without anything else? I drained almost half the pool yesterday before shocking which, Is this what finally lowered my CYA.

    My tests results as of a few minutes ago are as follows:

    TH - 250
    TG - 10
    FC - 10
    pH - 6.8
    ALK - 120
    CYA - 50
    Water temp is currently 75 degrees!

    So my questions are as follows:

    1. Is there a way to know my true FC and TC without having the new testing kit?
    2. How can I raise my pH without having to keep fighting to loser the ALK which shows to be perfect right now?
    3. And lastly, I know it is not suggested to leave this pool up for Winter but we did it last year and it was perfect come spring minus all the disgusting water left in the pool we had to clean! We live in Camp Lejeune NC and this pool is the best we can do living in base housing as it can't be that large and this fits perfectly for what we are allowed. However, we had to beyond scrub the pool come spring due to all the algea that had grown under the winter cover even though I did put in extra shock in Feb and also algea plus when closing last year. How do i prevent this? I read on here that I should wait to close the pool till pool temp is at around 50 to 60 and that is why it is not already closed now.
    4. How do I lower the FC to normal as just leaving alone for days with no chemicals added or cover has done nothing to lower it. The TC lowers to almost nothing but the FC always reads high.
    5.

    I put in a new filter every week and vacuum about every couple of days due to the pine tree in our neighbors yard that I really hate but cannot due anything to prevent it as the cover that came with this pool was a piece of **** and with the kids always in and out it was too much of a pain to always put on and remove at several different times of the day for each of them and upon the 100th time I did, it ripped upon cinching down. I am already looking at replacing with a different type of cover for next season.

    I am going nuts here because i am at a loss on doing this the right way with what I have to do it with at this time. I can honestly say I do not remember my parents ever having this much trouble with our pool growing up in Texas. Can someone please help me without telling me to read the pool school as I have seen many suggest when reading other posts. I have read it numerous times but I just get more frustrated due to not having the testing kit that I need but due to swimming season ending and Christmas around the corner I have to wait till after Jan to purchase. Also, I will be getting a larger pump come January for this pool also as I think this one is struggling to hard though it does keep it clear with regular expensive filter changes each week.

    I am sorry if I am bouncing around and am if I confused anyone. I just want to do this the best way I can right now with what I currently have or little more invested until I can properly obtain what I need after the first of the year.

    thank you for reading and I welcome any suggestions anyone might have!!
    Intex round AGP 15' x 48" / 5300 gallons
    Krystal Clear Model # 637R / 800gph
    Disposable filters that are changed every week.

  2. Back To Top    #2

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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    Step 1: Deep breath, inhale... exhale... Ommmmmmmmm...

    Lots of questions you had, I'll try to get them all.

    Yes, draining and refilling is what lowered your CYA. That's about the only way to do it.

    The high CYA was likely making your chlorine less effective and that's why the algae kept coming back. Now that your CYA is in a more reasonable range, hopefully you can wipe it out for good. The pine tree really didn't have anything to do with it.

    The "bagged shock and tablets" are probably dichlor and trichlor, respectively, and continuing to use them will cause your CYA to go back up again. They last roughly forever so I suggest you tuck them away somewhere and switch to bleach/liquid chlorine. Somewhere down the line if you find your CYA has dropped, you can use them to help bring it back up.

    When you listed "TG - 10" did you mean TC? I don't know what TG is.

    Sounds like you're using test strips until you can save up for the big fancy kit. The new kit will give you a much better handle on your FC/TC. In the meantime, use what you have.

    FC ought to drop on its own, especially if you have algae it should get used up in a day or three. Chlorine is something you have to keep adding because it gets used up all the time.

    Regarding your pH and TA, the TA is reasonable where it is but the pH really wants to be up in the mid-7's. If you can get some 20 Mule Team Borax, that will raise pH without affecting TA very much. Use the Pool Calculator to figure out how much to use. Because you've been having trouble with overshooting, I'd suggest using maybe half what it says at first, let it circulate for an hour, and see where you are.

    Post back here if I missed anything or something didn't make sense. Heck, post back anyway and let us know what happened!
    --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
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
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    Camp Lejeune, NC
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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    thank you so much for making me not feel as "pool stupid" as I thought I was!

    After posting my last, I went out and added about 24oz of Borax, though the pool calculator suggested larger like 70 or 73oz. It worked and my ph is ideally where it should be by both the testing strips and the liquid droplet test.

    However, I know that I seriously shocked the pool yesterday with larger than the normal 1 bag a week but I knew this was one of the only ways to cure the constantly reoccuring algea growing in the bottom of the pool since the algea plus I was putting in over and over again would only take it away for a few days and then it would settle and return. I didn't think that the 1 bag was raising it enough so 1 1/2 bags would have raised it higher was my thought process and now I am worried I went to far.

    With that all being said, with the weather cooler now and knowing that the sun/heat is what burns the chlorine away, how long should my levels be off the charts? Is this okay or is there something I need to do to make a chemical reaction towards lowering them both but still killing the aglae? Out weather is currently low to mid 80's during the day and around 50 to 60 once the sun goes down. It is already to cold for anyone to swim so I am not worried about the chlorine so high other than needing the water balanced before I do have to close it in hopefully a few weeks time.

    When I said the TC and FC are off the charts, I did the liquid drop OTO test about 30 minutes ago and it is supposed to be clear to yellow normally and let's just say by the second or third drop it was already turning orange and just got brighter as I added the remaining of the 5 nor changed when I inverted to shake it a few times!!! Worse I think is when I let it sit for the five minutes afterwards to get the FC level it turned red like the pH testing liquid that comes in the kits bottle upon purchasing!!! And yes, I redid the test a second time as I was worried I might have grabbed the wrong bottle of solution for each test, but I grabbed the correct ones as the results were the same the second time around. The only thing good was that my pH is now at 7.6!

    The last bit of the shock went in yesterday so there is no more to use for later and all I can say is THANK GOD! And I intend to close the pool with is bleach! The last two 3" tablets are already in the trash with the bottle they came in. Actually, I trashed all of the chemicals and unneeded stuff the pool supply place and aqua chem told me I needed to make my water perfect!!! I don't even care to know how much we wasted on them at wal-mart, the exchange on base and the pool supply place. I swear I could have bought an larger more stable pool and it just urks me but I have found the cheaper mroe sensible route now so I guess live and learn right? LOL

    I just went out and tested with the strips again and my current levels are now reading:

    TH - 100
    TC - 10 - And it is beyond the pink they have shown as the highest!
    FC - 10 - And it more dark purple than what the bottle shows for the highest!!1
    pH - 7.6 - The strips showed it in between 7.2 and 7.8 but the liquid test showed 7.6 so I am using that!
    ALK - 120
    CYA - 100 - it went up drastically and I did nothing but add the borax!
    water temp is now registering 72 1/2.

    My first thought is to lower everything again by removing more water and adding new but doing that always makes the numbers go crazy! the TH, pH and ALK are the worst as they always seem to be worst. It raises the TH by a slilght bit but it typically comes down to typical in a couple of days. It does lower the CYA levels and the TC but the free chlorine is always high. So am I just needing reassurance that my path is the correct one or is there something else I need to do, add or not do to get things where they need to be in time for closing?

    Thank you again and I am trying to breath but the weather is always so crazy around here. We actually got snow last year for the first time in 5 years but it does rain all the time here, which it is supposed to do tomorrow and the following day. Should I do anything speical after or before the rain as it does overflow the pool if it is hard enough and lasts long.

    Oh and to make sure everyone knows I am not crazy, the only reason I am stressing and NOT taking it down is because with the new commerical company running housing now our pool was grandfathered in that we could have it despite their current new rules that say they aren't legal to own. My husband already checked and once we take it down we will not be allowed to put it back up per the housing office. It has to stay up or we lose it or trust me it would save me the headache of trying to figure all this out!!!

    Intex round AGP 15' x 48" / 5300 gallons
    Krystal Clear Model # 637R / 800gph
    Disposable filters that are changed every week.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    Hi,
    if you used the 1 1/2 bags of shock after the testing you put in the first post, then it did raise the CYA. Also if you are getting the CYA number from the strips those are very inconsistent. Go ahead and use the pool calculator with 100 for your CYA number for the next time when you add bleach. Test the FC right before you add bleach, let the pump run for 30 minutes and test for FC again to see if it raised it to the level you targeted. If the FC was higher than you thought it should have been after adding bleach then your CYA is likely lower than what the strip said.
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    According to the Pool Calculator, 1 pound of dichlor in 5300 gallons will raise FC by 12.5, CYA by 11, and lower pH by 0.48. If you habitually use that amount of dichlor, it's no wonder everything is out of whack!

    I wonder if you should just completely drain, scrub down the insides, and refill. Then you're starting from a known quantity (your tap water) and you can use the guidelines in the Seasonal/Temporary Pool article. The procedure applies to any smallish pool including yours. The major advantage to this approach is that your CYA won't be out of control. As long as the housing office doesn't consider this "taking down" the pool, then you should be okay, and it will be a whole lot easier than trying to fix the water you have.

    --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
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    Evening, Redneck... welcome to TFP!

    It seems you're getting the high-level of education that many of us here did and in the same manner: the school of hard knocks!

    Quote Originally Posted by redneckdiva
    The only thing good was that my pH is now at 7.6!
    Small victories... the wise & excellent advice you're receiving from PaulR and zea3 will work for you and you're going to have lots of swim time next year. Good luck!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
    __
    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Help with unbalanced water and closing - Please!

    HI and welcome, you have been giving lots of great advice - and you are not pool stupid - we've all made similar mistakes.

    Ok, keep in mind your PH reads high when the FC is above 10. So if your strips read 10, the FC could be higher.... it's always good to test PH when you haven't shocked or the chlorine isn't high like that - so you can get a more accurate read.

    Keep in mind the Intex pumps are very inadequate for clearing a problem - they are just o.k. for normal use - but if your water turns green or you see algae on the bottom, you will have a hard time trying to clear it up with the existing filter (as you learned previously). Just keep that in mind - maintain your chlorine level to keep the algae away and you should be in a better situation when you upgrade the filter.

    The test strips are notoriously inaccurate - especially when it comes to CYA. I'd suggest you try to get to a pool store that uses a taylor drop test kit and have them test the CYA level.

    I agree with Paul - You will have an easier time keeping the water clear if the CYA is 50 or less - so confirm the actual number and if it really is that high - partial drain/refill/recirculate and retest and get it to a more manageable number.
    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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