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Thread: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

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    help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    I'll be the first to admit that it's taken me too long to buy a proper test kit, and the first to admit that i should have bought a good kit to start with. Now that i have that out of the way, let's figure out if I'm doing this right please. I bought a Poolmaster Premier Deluxe 5 way test kit from my local warehouse pools. I followed the directions word for word to arrive at these measurements. If these seem wrong or redundant please let me know.
    Free Chlorine 2ppm
    Combined Chlorine 2ppm
    Bromine 5ppm
    PH 7.7
    Total Alkalinity 130ppm
    The acid demand test required 2 drops(i've already forgotten what that even means!)
    I believe my phosphate level was around 300ppm and the cyanuric acid was 50ppm when i had the water tested during my lunch break. I have (what I believe) are mustard algae spots on the pool walls(hence the reason for the phosphate test). My TDS were high (but I don't remember the exact number) and my calcium levels were high(again, don't remember what the readings were b/c i left my paper at work.)

    They guy who tested my water suggested I drain the pool and start over but that seems a bit overkill in my uneducated opinion. I believe his reasoning was to lower the TDS in the pool. Also, I don't put much faith in the guys/gals at the store i visited and I'm going to take another sample to Miller Pools in Pasadena(highly recommended by a few fellow pool owners) for another test tomorrow to confirm the results. While there, I was going to inquire about Poolife Endure for my pool(but that will be added after I get my chemistry figured out). Am i in the ballpark here? I believe(based on the acid demand chart inside my test kit) that I need to add 1 gallon of acid to my pool to lower PH. I apologize in advance if this topic has been driven into the ground, flame away if you must, I assure you i can take it!!!! Oh yeah, thanks in advance for any help or information you can share, it's greatly appreciated!!!!
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    We don't allow flaming.
    Okay, how can you tell you have a CC of 2?
    Ignore phosphates and TDS - they don't know what they are talking about and you do not need to drain.

    You don't need to worry about the PH just yet - let's get you understanding the chlorine/cya relationship first.

    Refer to the CYA/Chlorine chart . If your CYA is 50, then your FC is too low- the higher your CYA the higher the FC must be to prevent unwanted things like algae. So you must ALWAYS keep your FC at 4 or higher. You need to target 6-7 each evening to keep it above 4.

    I'm going to look up Poolife Endure cuz I don't know what that is

    Edit: Oh, ignore reference to Bromine - I assume this is a chlorine only pool? The test can test for both chlorine and bromine so just ignore that reading.
    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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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Poolife Endure is just really expensive way of adding Borates to your pool. You can use Borax to do that, the instructions are in pool school. But let's get the other stuff figured out before you tackle Borates (which are totally optional btw... )
    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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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcycles
    I'll be the first to admit that it's taken me too long to buy a proper test kit, and the first to admit that i should have bought a good kit to start with. Now that i have that out of the way, let's figure out if I'm doing this right please. I bought a Poolmaster Premier Deluxe 5 way test kit from my local warehouse pools. I followed the directions word for word to arrive at these measurements. If these seem wrong or redundant please let me know.
    Free Chlorine 2ppm
    Combined Chlorine 2ppm
    Bromine 5ppm
    PH 7.7
    Total Alkalinity 130ppm
    The acid demand test required 2 drops(i've already forgotten what that even means!)
    I believe my phosphate level was around 300ppm and the cyanuric acid was 50ppm when i had the water tested during my lunch break. I have (what I believe) are mustard algae spots on the pool walls(hence the reason for the phosphate test). My TDS were high (but I don't remember the exact number) and my calcium levels were high(again, don't remember what the readings were b/c i left my paper at work.)
    I'd guess Total Chlorine is 2, Combined is also 2. Ignore Bromine; unless you've been adding it, you aren't really testing it. pH heading high, TA sounds right for our area (you are somewhere near Pasadena, I'm guessing) Ignore acid demand, Pool Calculator will do the math for you.

    You're going to need chlorine of some sort - I recommend liquid. The powdered/tablet stuff is going to add calcium (of which there is no shortage in SoCal water) or CYA, of which you have enough. You don't want to let that get too high. Trust me, it's a pain. You're also going to need some muriatic acid. I checked pricing and concentration of chlorine and acid, and around me, Leslie's is actually the best buy. It pays to read the active ingredients.

    And welcome.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320
    TA sounds right for our area (you are somewhere near Pasadena, I'm guessing) Ignore acid demand, Pool Calculator will do the math for you.
    Hey Richard! There is a Pasadena in Texas too! And they have a Miller's Pools!

    Jetcycle- Can you post a picture of your Mustard algae? It may be all the tree pollen that has been dropping this past month and not algae in your pool. When I talk to a pool store I tell them I use liquid chlorine. They freak out when I tell them I use bleach, but if I say liquid chlorine it is no big deal! The guy who recommended a drain and refill may have been refering to the Calcium level. Post the next set of test results you get and we will have a better idea how to advise you. You mentioned getting the last test on your lunch hour. You will get more accurate results if you test within an hour of drawing the sample.
    TFP Moderator
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Jetcycle -- I looked up your test kit and as I suspected, it will only measure FC up to 5 ppm. You really need a kit with the FAS-DPD chlorine test. It'll measure up to 50ppm and you'll need that whenever you shock. In fact with a CYA level of 50 ppm you need it for everyday testing because your target FC is higher than 5.

    You should really consider a REALLY good test kit as you now see the importance of good and accurate testing. You won't regret it. Of course I recommend the TF-100 test kit linked in my sig but the Taylor K-2006 is a good one too. Be careful if you try to buy one from your local Pool Store as they usually don't carry it in stock and will try to sell you the K-2005 which doesn't have the FAS-DPD test.
    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: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    frustratedpoolguy. . .I calculated a combined chlorine of 2ppm based off of my test kit(after the sample sat the required 1-2 minutes there was no change in color). Also you are correct about having a chlorine only pool, no SWG here. I did some research on the Endure as well, seems as if the BBB method will work if I decide I'm ready to tackle borates. Thanks for the info.

    Richard320. . .I have plenty of chlorine on hand to raise my levels and I've read about the bleach method and will probably go that route to avoid adding even more calcium to the pool. I believe the high calcium level is what led them to advise of draining the pool. Thanks for chiming in.

    Zea3. . .You're correct about miller pools in Pasadena, TX, I'm actually just outside of La Porte in Shoreacres(and i updated my profile to give location now). I wish I could hold the recent pollen accountable for my algea, unfortunately that's not the case. I'll try to snag a few pictures this evening and post them up. BTW, my water sample was collected and sampled within 30 minutes yesterday. I have a sample in my truck(protected from sunlight) to take to miller on my lunch hour, will that be too long? Your use of bleach confirms what my father tells me. . .keep the calcium out of the pool when it's not needed.

    Bama Rambler. . .I'll visit your link and get a proper test kit asap. I was afraid of "bleaching out" my chlorine test based on my reading on this forum. Also, isn't my CYA about where I'll ultimately want it?

    A little more background on the pool. It's estimated to be 15 years old and wasn't in the best shape when we bought the home late last year. The tidal surge from hurricane ike covered the pool w/ 3" of water where it proceeded to sit for an unknown amount of time(there was no power in the area for quite a while). I have very light brown stains on the pool surface(from who knows what) and a small chip on one of my steps from someone throwing one of the landscaping stones in the pool!!! I'm facing an uphill battle, but I'm tackling it head on with determination. From what I've read on this forum. . .I'll eventually get there with the awesome help you guys/gals provide to amateurs like me!!! Thanks
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Your kit uses the yellow-drop (OTO) test for chlorine. What you're trying to read after 1-2 minutes is Total Chlorine, not Combined Chlorine. So initially you get FC, then you get TC, and CC = TC - FC. If the color doesn't change, your CC is 0.

    This test does not "bleach out" in fact it will turn progressively darker shades of orange/brown as your chlorine level gets higher, although I'm not aware of any precise color guide that goes higher than 5. Because it doesn't bleach out, if you put in the drops and it stays colorless, you are guaranteed to have zero chlorine.

    CYA 50 is certainly reasonable. It would be nice to know your actual calcium (CH) level as well.
    --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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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcycles
    Also, isn't my CYA about where I'll ultimately want it?
    50 ppm is where I keep mine. In the full sun of South Alabama it helps the chlorine burnoff. I lose between 1 and 2 ppm per day due to burnoff whereas if I let it get much lower I lose 3 to 4 ppm per day.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulR
    Your kit uses the yellow-drop (OTO) test for chlorine. What you're trying to read after 1-2 minutes is Total Chlorine, not Combined Chlorine. So initially you get FC, then you get TC, and CC = TC - FC. If the color doesn't change, your CC is 0.
    I should do a better job reading the directions. . .thanks for the info. I've already ordered TF-100 kit suggested throughout this forum
    This test does not "bleach out" in fact it will turn progressively darker shades of orange/brown as your chlorine level gets higher, although I'm not aware of any precise color guide that goes higher than 5. Because it doesn't bleach out, if you put in the drops and it stays colorless, you are guaranteed to have zero chlorine.
    thanks for the info,
    CYA 50 is certainly reasonable. It would be nice to know your actual calcium (CH) level as well. I'll get that tested asap and post the results.
    --paulr
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcycles
    frustratedpoolguy. . .
    Ahem... 'Mom' here!

    Sounds like you have a handle on things and are headed towards a Trouble Free Pool!
    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 me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    seems as if the BBB method will work if I decide I'm ready to tackle borates.
    Nope. Many of us on the forum practice BBB principles without the use of borates.....it's an optional part that not everyone chooses.
    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: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    I don't have borates.
    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 me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Quote Originally Posted by jetcycles
    frustratedpoolguy. . .
    Ahem... 'Mom' here!

    Sounds like you have a handle on things and are headed towards a Trouble Free Pool!
    Sorry about that mom!!! seems as if my head isn't in it this morning. . .I'm supposed to be working on my technical reports for Valero this morning but I can't keep my mind off of my pool!!!!

    I'm going to get another water test performed during my lunchbreak, I'll be sure to post up the results this afternoon. I can't help but find it funny that i travel the globe solving complex refinery and chemical plant distillation issues but I'm stumped my simple water chemistry. This forum is rapidly expanding my pool knowledge. . .if only I would have found this place sooner!!! All of the help is greatly appreciated.
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Here's what I started with on Day 1 10-31-09. . .


    Here it is 11-7-09. . .Shiner thought he was more important than my pool photo!!!

    I'll try to get an updated picture this evening to show the algae spots on the pool walls and floor.
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Here are the recent test results; I pulled this bottle at 8am (protected it from UV and heat) and had it tested at Noon.
    Free available chlorine 3.3ppm
    total chlorine 3.3ppm
    combined chlorine <0.2ppm
    total alkalinity 97
    ph 7.8
    calcium hardness 388
    cuanuric acid 20ppm
    copper 0.0
    Iron 0.0
    total dissolved solids 1800
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Your numbers don't look bad, provided of course that we can believe the PS. After all they're notoriously inaccurate.
    Your pH is a little high and I'd recommend bringing that down first. Your CH (calcium hardness) is a little high but not unmanagable. CYA (cyanuric acid) is low but if you have algae that's actually in your favor because your FC levels don't have to be as high. Your TDS is high but I'm not surprised given the amount of pollen, etc. we're seeing this year.

    When you post the pics of your spots we can help figure out what they are and the best way to treat them.
    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
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Your numbers don't look bad, provided of course that we can believe the PS. After all they're notoriously inaccurate.
    PS? please elaborate
    Your pH is a little high and I'd recommend bringing that down first. Your CH (calcium hardness) is a little high but not unmanagable. CYA (cyanuric acid) is low but if you have algae that's actually in your favor because your FC levels don't have to be as high. Your TDS is high but I'm not surprised given the amount of pollen, etc. we're seeing this year.

    When you post the pics of your spots we can help figure out what they are and the best way to treat them.
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: help me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Pool Store.
    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 me help myself. . .figuring out test results

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Pool Store.
    gotcha. . .this is one of the few highly reputable companies in my area, one I drove 20 minutes out of my way for too!! I'll have a "proper" test kit by early next week and I've already started logging my test results in a notebook to monitor progress. Once i get the basic chemistry figured out I'll be able to start tackling these small algae spots and surface stains.
    16K IG Plaster Pool w/ Hayward 36sq.ft. DE filter I'll have to add the pump info when I can get to it.
    Testing with TF-100!!

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