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Thread: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

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    poolgirl22's Avatar
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    7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Hello. I'm new to this forum, but have spent nearly all day on it re-educating myself and trying to make heads or tails of the chemistry of it all. I also want to simplify my pool maintenance. We had a bad year last year and I nearly pulled my hair out fighting algae. We also have an ugly permanent stain around the edge that appeared the first year of the new liner..same stain we had on previous liner GRRRRRRRRRR. So, something has to be awry..

    Here's the skinny...

    Opened last week.
    Tuesday (yesterday) I took sample in.
    Water is crystal clear, some debris on bottom but not bad. Test levels at left, then recommended treatment at right
    TC: 0 (3" Proteam pure tabs in the inline chlorinator) They are and the chlorinator is set at FULL
    Free CL: 0 (2 lbs Power Magic Superoxidizer)
    ph: 7.0 (9 oz PH Up)
    TA: 200 (16lbs 8oz PH Down)
    CH:330
    CYA: 0 (7 lbs CYA)
    TDS: 420
    Phosphate: 300 (8oz Phosaway)
    Langelier Index: -.42 This may be corrosive (WTheck is this????)

    So here were the steps my little printout told me:

    1: PH down broadcast over the pool (yesterday pm)
    2: Shock (last night)
    3: 9oz PH Up (did this with about 2 oz remaining PH Up, then 7 oz baking soda
    4: Stabilizer (dissolved then slowly added over the day
    5: Phosphate (I don't think this is worth a hill of beans but I had some on hand from last time I fell for it, so I used it)
    6: Algae Prevent (3 oz Proteam Prevent...I have not done this as I don't want to use algaecides or clarifiers this year.

    I was showing zero to nominal amounts of TCl throughout the day so I added bleach as per the pool calculator. I want to switch to this method over the tabs this year. Additionally, the ph was showing 6.8 or below consistently today so I put 12 lbs of baking soda in...now I realize I should have use sodium CARBONATE (ph plus as podunkville doesnt carry it in the detergent section) instead since TA is so high...lesson learned.

    Retested at the pool place this afternoon to confirm my ph and TC readings at home:
    TC: 1.3
    FC: 0
    PH: 6.4
    TA: 200
    CYA: 0 (not surprising as I know it takes several days to work)
    Langelier Index -.94 AGAIN WTHeck is this?

    The directions want me to again, PH Down 16# worth, shock, 2# PH UP.
    I added more bleach per the calculator, did not shock, then got 5# of PH Up and put that in. I do not mind using the little bags of shock from the pool place, but I hesitated to do it AGAIN before the ph situation is resolved.

    For crying out loud its like a merry go round. After researching this site I realize the baking soda jacked up the TA even more, so lesson learned. However, I'm on the washing soda now (PH plus is all that's available here). I also realize that really, the only way to raise PH without raising TA is to aerate the pool. I cannot reposition my jet. So, I'm thinking of putting a submersible pump into the pool then running a hose from the pump and leaving it rest on the pool edge so its breaking the surface of the water. I have the ability to even broadcast spray it with a garden sprayer over the surface of the water for 5 -10 mins per hour all stinkin day tomorrow if I have to...

    Help. Please. This ph down, ph up blah blah blah is makin me crazy!! And the whole phosphate thing was new last year to me...in 7 seasons I'd never heard of it. I'm thick skinned so it won't bother me to tell me I flubbed up.

    Pool info (I'll stick in my signature another day...my brain is fried!): 17200 gals 18x38 oval AG, vinyl liner, one outlet, one skimmer, sand filter, pump? I have one, but not sure and can't see it in dark to check its details)

    Edited to add: The water is currently cloudy after adding 5# of PH Up. Should filter out by morning...

    This is an awesome forum by the way.
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    I'm still new at all this, so I'll let someone else chime in with the chemistry.

    But it sounds like what's needed most right now is patience. It can take a while for the chemical reactions to happen, especially when the water is cold. It's like cooking. You have to allow time for the flavors to mingle before adding more salt or whatever.

    I wouldn't add any CYA until you know you don't have to shock. Otherwise you'll end up using more Chlorine than you have to.

    Lots of filtering/aerating will get the TA down. If I divert all my return to the spa it churns things pretty good - I can lose 30 ppm TA in about 5 hours! Assuming the pH is low enough when I start
    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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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Thanks Richard. Unfortunately, the CYA got added today...cuz I was following instructions when my gut was telling me to not do it till the PH and TA thing got settled. I don't have an attached spa either...its on the other end of the deck...so I'm gonna have to jimmy rig something. We are small community so supplies are few and far between and pricey.
    Yes, patience is key. And, since no one is swimming yet I'm not to concerned. I've got time so long as the lab stays out. lol.

    Heading to sleep. Thanks for the reply.
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Welcome to TFP! We'll help you get your water straightened out, fer sure. Actually it sounds like you've been reading up, catching on, and starting to understand; now remember to breathe, and never throw anything in the pool unless you know why and what it will do for you.

    So, dealing with pH and TA: I'm not at all surprised you're running in circles when you get advice like this:
    ph: 7.0 (9 oz PH Up)
    TA: 200 (16lbs 8oz PH Down)
    Woohoo! Add PH UP and PH DOWN at the same time! Might as well light the furnace with dollar bills.

    First off, you should get a better test kit so you're not depending on the pool store. Doing your own testing has a learning curve but then you can do it whenever you have a free minute, instead of turning into an errand. Also you'll trust your own results more than the store's.

    In the meantime, you have the right idea about rigging some aeration to get your pH back in range without making your TA any worse. That is definitely the first step. Although, since you just dumped in a pile of PH UP, make sure to test your pH again before you start the aeration. Know where you're starting from, and where you want to go, before you do anything.

    That said, it doesn't hurt to put in some bleach. With no CYA, bleach will last longest if you add it in the evening; during the day it will disappear quickly until the CYA has dissolved.

    Regarding some of your other questions:

    You can ignore TDS and phosphates, pool stores test it as a way to persuade you to buy more stuff.

    The Langelier Index is a way of determining your relative risk of calcium scaling (if it's high) or damaging your plaster (if it's low). You have a vinyl liner, not plaster, so a low index is no problem. Actually the Pool Calculator computes a more accurate Calcium Saturation Index, but again this is about the last thing to think about right now.

    I think that's enough for now... post back on your progress, and we'll help you along the way.
    --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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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    You can buy a cheap pool fountain that attaches to the return and use that to aerate the pool. Here is one I found online after a quick google search. Your local pool store may have something similar in stock.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    We've all been there at some point in time poolgirl.

    It'll be okay as long as you go over pool school and fully grasp the concepts.

    Pool Stores are like too many chefs in the kitchen when it comes to pool care.

    It'll be okay. You'll learn to stay away from them when they say you need pH up and down in the same breath.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Thanks a bunch already...
    It's 7am. Sun not over the pool yet, temps expected in 80s today. I just tested with a 6 way strip...not the best method I know, but at least it has something to go from and it shows
    FC 0
    ph 7.2 (yippee!)
    TA 180-200 (color was kind of not quite in line with one or other so my guess is its still hovering in 200 range)
    CYA 0 (again, not surprised as just went in yesterday)

    Water is cloudy, but not as cloudy as right after I added the ph up last night. It was so clear yesterday...boo.

    Here's my plan today:
    Add 128 oz bleach per The Pool Calculator recommendation

    Sweep up the little piles of whatever on the bottom.

    Muriatic Acid....but how much? to bring down TA

    Aerate to bring PH back up. I've got an old school sprinkler that I'm just going to attach to the submersible pump and aim at the surface of the water...how's that for a jimmy rig fountain?

    Order good test kit from web (done...TF100 from this site)

    Would it hurt to shock this evening or even this morning? And I know this forum is all about bleach for shocking and regular chlorinating but I have the bags still and truly they're not that much more than a couple large bottles of bleach that I'd need to reach shock levels. I'd enjoy using up the product I've invested dollars in.
    The shock I have is Proteam Power Magic Superoxidizer Cal Hypo 47.6%, Sodium Tetraborate Pentahydrate 29.8% (hmmm...isn't that BORAX?), Other ingredients 22.6%.

    So my main two questions today are:
    How much acid to bring down TA?
    Shock today or this evening or not at all and is it ok to use the bags?
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey
    It'll be okay. You'll learn to stay away from them when they say you need pH up and down in the same breath.
    Oh, I figured it out. 50 lashes with a wet noodle. My first clue with this place was the phosphate thing last year. Then this. I switched companies last year because the main service guy that I really do like and trust moved to this place. None of the guys that had worked on our pool since before we owned it were at the old company. Plus, it was closer so...it works. I just don't feel confident this place really grasps the chemicals. It makes more sense to use a little as possible, keep the chlorine up where it's supposed to be and the rest falls in line.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    How much acid to add? Use the pool calculator and figure out how much acid it would take to reduce your PH from 7.2 to 7.0, then add that much. Aerate until your PH is back up to 7.2-7.4 and then add acid again to get your PH back to 7.0. Repeat until your TA has hit your target value.

    dave
    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Attempting photo posting. These were taken this morning.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Live and learn. Can I tell you how many times I was pool-stored before I found TFP?

    For your pool, the high TA will only cause the PH to drift up. You can simply aerate by pointing your eyeball return up so that it breaks the surface of the water, let it drift up on it's own 7.2 is not dangerously low anymore.

    Then, each time the PH hits 7.8, use muratic acid and lower it to 7.2. There is no need to rush this process in your situation, since you have no SWG or other water feature that requires a lower TA. You can take your time with it.

    Now, are you going to use the tabs that you put in the chlorinator? The tablets are acidic and will cause your PH and TA to drop. If you keep the tablets in there you should aerate to get the PH up to 7.8. Then those levels will drop over time on there own, and occasionally you would need to aerate (via fountain or other source) to keep the PH up.

    The tablets will also raise your CYA levels, so keep that in mind.... because if you added all 7lbs - that should put your CYA level at 50. Refer to the chart for your "min" levels and your "target" - the target is what you use for calculating your dose of bleach. It is unlikely the tablets will be able to maintain that FC "min" on their own - and your CYA will continue to climb. You may want to consider taking out the tablets. But first...

    How did you add the CYA-what method did you use?

    Welcome to the forum, hope this helps.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    My responses are in Purple. Thanks so much!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Live and learn. Can I tell you how many times I was pool-stored before I found TFP?

    For your pool, the high TA will only cause the PH to drift up. You can simply aerate by pointing your eyeball return up so that it breaks the surface of the water, let it drift up on it's own 7.2 is not dangerously low anymore. Ok. I tried moving my eyeball and it just won't budge. I rigged up a sprinkler to the submersible pump and it seems to be working fine. I'm soaked! It's breaking water surface...even getting a tiny bit of dancing drops and foam. I'll post a photo. I'm quite proud of my effort! lol

    Then, each time the PH hits 7.8, use muratic acid and lower it to 7.2. There is no need to rush this process in your situation, since you have no SWG or other water feature that requires a lower TA. You can take your time with it. I added acid per the previous poster instructions, now I'm aerating to raise up again. Will monitor ph and when hits 7.8 will add acid accordingly

    Now, are you going to use the tabs that you put in the chlorinator? No. I have bypassed/shut off the chlorinator completely. I will remove the tabs. I am just using bleach to add chlorine now. I only had about a dozen tabs left. The tablets are acidic and will cause your PH and TA to drop. If you keep the tablets in there you should aerate to get the PH up to 7.8. Then those levels will drop over time on there own, and occasionally you would need to aerate (via fountain or other source) to keep the PH up.

    The tablets will also raise your CYA levels, so keep that in mind.... because if you added all 7lbs - that should put your CYA level at 50. Ok. I think this is the main reason I want to stop using the tablets and switch to bleach. Am I understanding that the higher the CYA, the more chlorine is needed to do the same job? ie, the more money is being sucked out of my checking account.?Refer to the chart for your "min" levels and your "target" - the target is what you use for calculating your dose of bleach. Found it. It is unlikely the tablets will be able to maintain that FC "min" on their own - and your CYA will continue to climb. You may want to consider taking out the tablets.done But first...

    How did you add the CYA-what method did you use?I predissolved as much as I could in a large bucket and added slowly to the skimmer. Then what particles remained, I added a soup ladle full at a time over the course of the day yesterday. Did I tell you about the time I added too much too fast and clogged up my filter basket...uh huh...it was a mess. Live and Learn.

    Welcome to the forum, hope this helps.
    Thanks and I already feel more in control. I may take another sample into the pool store just for fun and to see how much money I am saving myself.

    Here's what I have done today:
    just fYI and for my own record keeping. I think I'm paying attention to all the posts...so I hope my droning on isn't bothering anyone. It helps me have a good record of what I'm doing also...online journal so to speak!

    128 oz Bleach
    54 oz acid to lower ph from 7.2 to 7.0
    Aeration commencing (photo below)
    Getting ready to sweep up the crud.


    Finally, about shocking? Should I plan to do that this evening and is using the powder shock product aforementioned ok? I'm getting no FC at all but TC is going up up up...

    Incidentally, after the acid add and aeration...check out the photo...clearing up..
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    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    I wouldn't use the cal-hypo shock as your CH is already 330. Just stick to bleach.

    You are doing great, you are well on your way to a trouble-free pool.

    Ok, since the CYA is likely dissolving in the filter, don't backwash at all for 48 hours. If you have backwashed since adding it, you may have lost some. Keep filtering while you shock, run the filter 24/7 until the FC holds overnight.

    Very creative aerator. I'll have to remember that for my own pool if I ever need it.
    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: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    I wouldn't use the cal-hypo shock as your CH is already 330. Just stick to bleach.

    You are doing great, you are well on your way to a trouble-free pool.

    Ok, since the CYA is likely dissolving in the filter, don't backwash at all for 48 hours. If you have backwashed since adding it, you may have lost some. Keep filtering while you shock, run the filter 24/7 until the FC holds overnight.

    Very creative aerator. I'll have to remember that for my own pool if I ever need it.
    Thanks! No I have not backwashed.
    I'm still showing a 0 to 30 CYA, 0 FC and around 180-240 TA on my 6 way strip. OTO chlorine is showing TC going up up up so I think when I shock with bleach tonight I should use the CYA 20, Min to Target FC 2-3, Shock FC 10 as my goals. I will go get a test at the pool place JUST to calibrate it to my strips and confirm the CYA until my good test kit gets here. Their test is computerized so while the recommendations are jacked, I feel ok with the raw numbers...I WON't buy anything.
    I know the TA and PH thing are a slow process, but I'm on the right path now with the aeration and acid cycle we've got in place. And the sprinkler head on the steps is keeping the DOG from getting any ideas and she won't jump in from the side. I'm amazed at how clear it is just compared to this morning..
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Afternoon update and questions

    Afternoon Update: Questions in Purple

    I managed to get the eye to rotate on my outlet so its breaking the surface and I've got bubbles all the way to the center of the pool. I'm still running my 'country' fountain at the other end. Output isn't as much as the outlet, but its something. Kinda wish I still had that second pump...wonder if my friend down the road has one I could borrow?
    I got a test at the pool place to see how it lined up with what I was getting.

    Results:
    TC: .8
    FC: 0
    ph: 6.5 (I'm coming up with closer to 7 or 7.2 on the phenol red 5 drop test and 6.8 to 7 on my strips)
    TA: 200 (patience I know...and more aeration...and more acid...got it..just waiting on PH to go back up from aeration)
    CH: 433 (OUCH!!! Up 100 from 2 days ago, not a worry right now although the pool guy was concerned
    CYA: 10 (Awesome! At least I know that's working)

    So, the questions:
    To shock or not to shock tonight? It obviously needs it. But since the Ph is not in normal range by any test, will it be effective? When shocking with bleach rather than sodium dichlor or cal hypo is ph as much a concern? I know how much bleach and the target I'm heading toward given my CYA presence.

    Which PH reading do I go with until I get my good kit? Should I just not go back to the pool store at all? Their 6.5 seems low and two of my own tests yield more similar results. The phenol red scale is 6.8 and yellowish at the low end and the test shows it's much more orange closer to 7.2 guide.
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    I say go ahead and shock - your PH is probably around 7. Keep aerating, hopefully it will come up by tomorrow.

    Love the pool store story
    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: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Shocked with 403 oz bleach, which pool calculator indicated for 10 cya targeting a 12 Shock level for mustard algae (just in case).

    TC was DARK yellow at the 5-10 plus range or higher right after.

    How long before I should see a FC reading show up on a 6 way test strip?
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Let it circulate for 30-60 minutes before testing.
    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: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    Ok, and if there is no FC or it isn't near a 12 then shock again? Or should it be near the target of 1-4 as indicated by pool calculator? Sorry for all the questions, I've just never had such specific numbers to get to...
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
    16,100 gallon, 18x38 3.5 ft deep oval AG, Vinyl, Sand, 1hp pump
    http://www.poolservicestech.com Liquidator
    http://www.poolcalculator.com/
    http://www.tftestkits.net TFT100 test kit

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    Re: 7 year itch..Taking things into my own hands...

    10 or 12 would be your "target" -enter that in the target box. Enter the current test result as the "now" box.

    So if it comes up as 8, enter 8 and 12. Hit calculate. etc.
    If it comes up as 2, enter 2 and a target of 12. Hit calculate.

    Don't apologize, we've all been where you are now. We're glad to assist.
    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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