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Thread: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

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    Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Hi, everyone!

    This will be my first season on BBB - started late last season and liked what I was seeing. I'm looking forward to being a full BBB guy this season, but need some guidance.

    Here are my specs:
    16'x36' rectangular, 3.5' shallow, 6.5' deep = 21,600 gallons (give or take a few hundred gal. for steps and 2 benches)
    In-ground, Plaster
    2" PVC
    Challenger PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump (around 50-60 gpm, I think??)
    Intermatic digital pump timer
    Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow) - changed out sand at end of last season.
    Aquabot automatic cleaner (electric powered)
    TFP test kit

    I'm in NC, so Av. outside temps are around high of 70-80 / low of 50-60 right now.

    Pool was opened 2 weeks ago after being covered for the winter. Water was dark green. First week did not have great filtration, because my pump was not completely catching prime (pump basket needed new gasket). First week, was filtering 7-8 hrs per day, backwash every few days revealed lots of yellow & green (pollen & algae/slime?)

    Starting values (2 weeks ago):
    FC: 0
    CC: 0
    TC: 0
    pH: 8.2
    T/A: 110
    CH: 320
    CYA: ~90
    Water Temp: 65

    Vacuumed out leaves and muck 5 days ago (dumping vacuum water to waste), emptied about 10" of water, which I replaced from tap. Also ran Aquabot for several 4-5 hour sessions, he is now just picking up silt and a little green slime.

    Added 20 x 96oz. jugs of plain Walmart bleach (6.0%) Sunday evening to shock the you-know-what out of it. Tests for the next few days showed off-the-chart FC, ran pump (now operating properly) 24/7 since then. Water has turned to somewhat cloudy with light green tint. Can now see bottom in shallow end, but can only see 4-5 ft down in deep end (deep end is still dark green, but a little lighter than it was when pool opened).

    Today's test results:
    FC: 4
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 4.5
    pH: 7.6~7.7
    T/A: 80
    CH: 300
    CYA: ~90
    Water Temp: 65

    I know that I went a little crazy with the bleach (was under pressure from significant other!)

    What are my next steps? I'm filtering 24/7 and have not sen much more progress. Backwashed today and saw some yellow, but not much.

    Thanks!
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Hi!
    Are you following the steps in How to Shock your Pool?
    Have you performed an Overnight FC Loss Test?
    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Welcome to TFP!

    I addition to the questions frustratedpoolmom asked, you should think about lowering your CYA level. With CYA at 90 it is very difficult to kill all the algae. With CYA around 90, shock level is FC over 25. Everything be much simpler if you lower the CYA level down to around 50.
    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: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Welcome to TFP!

    Just to make sure, are you doing your tests with the pump on and water circulating? This makes sure that everything is mixed in the water and ensures an accurate sample.

    You are making some progress and this is good.

    Your CYA level is fairly high. The only way for you to practically lower it is by replacing water. You want it somewhere around 40 to 50. Consider draining 1/3 to 1/2 of your water. Then, fill it back up and retest your CYA. It should then be around 45 or 50 which is much more manageable. The less CYA you have, the less chlorine it takes to shock. See the Chlorine CYA Chart for the realtionship between CYA and FC. It will tell you what your FC levels need to be for each purpose.

    Once the above has been completed, retest your numbers and post them here and we will see where you need to go from there.
    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
    "It depends."- JohnT

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Um, yeah, missed that CYA thing...
    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: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Quote Originally Posted by frustratedpoolmom
    Um, yeah, missed that CYA thing...
    That's okay FPM. You're still awesome!

    10K gallon IG gunite with waterfall; Pentair CC320P filter; WhisperFlo 2 HP pump
    TF Test Kits - Pool Math - Pool School
    "It depends."- JohnT

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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Thanks, everyone.. I was looking at the shock chart and wondering whether it would be better to drain 1/2 and refill to lower CYA rather than buying all that bleach.

    Sounds like that is the concensus.

    Do I need to worry about anything when removing that much water for a plaster pool? Don't want to mess anything up!

    Thanks!
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    If you're only draining by half, then you shouldn't run into any potential water-table issues (trying to turn your pool into a boat ).

    Be ready to refill as soon as you've drained all you want to; plaster doesn't really like to sit dry for a long time.

    Check with the local water dept regarding any rules about draining pools; where I am, I have to drain into the sewer, not the street or on the ground.
    --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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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Also, some pics of the progress so far! (Haven't started pumpung out yet..)

    Greenness..
    [attachment=2:144kwh11]IMG00036-20100429-1057.jpg[/attachment:144kwh11]

    Shallow End
    [attachment=1:144kwh11]IMG00037-20100429-1058.jpg[/attachment:144kwh11]

    Pump / Filter setup
    [attachment=0:144kwh11]IMG00043-20100429-1059.jpg[/attachment:144kwh11]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Yes, I would also suggest you drain about 1/2 and get your CYA down around 40-50.

    Once done, your FC level to shock will still need to be 14-18ppm at least. Read "How to shock your pool" in Pool School.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Ok.. I went a little aggressive with the draining. Figured it would be better to get 60% of the water out while I was at it. I figure better to get the CYA down to 20-30 and work up, rather than being frustrated with high chlorine needs.

    It's going to take a while to fill back up at 10 gpm, vs the 60-70 gpm I was pumping out!

    Do I need to do anything while filling back up to protect the plaster? Just making sure I don't need to be keeping it wet, spraying it, etc.

    Is there anything else I need to do while the water is low? Wasn't sure if there was something it would be helpful to do with the staining while I have the water level low.

    Thanks!

    [attachment=0:17cxbbxu]IMG00047-20100430-1116.jpg[/attachment:17cxbbxu]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

  12. Back To Top    #12

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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    The stains look organic, unless you have cause to suspect metals there's no reason to do anything special at the moment. The shock treatment after the refill should clear them up.

    I'm not a plaster expert but my impression is that just a drain and refill over the course of a small number of days, especially if it's shaded, should not require any special care for the plaster while it's exposed. Somebody is bound to correct me if I'm wrong!
    --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

  13. Back To Top    #13

    Replaced water to lower CYA - Validation of next steps..

    Thanks everyone for the advice so far!! We pumped out 60-70% of the water and replaced.

    The green is gone, and we have sparkling blue water and white walls (not greenish) in our pool for the first time!! (Last year was a high CYA nightmare!)

    Last Friday's full test results:
    FC: 4
    CC: 0.5
    TC: 4.5
    pH: 7.6~7.7
    T/A: 80
    CH: 300
    CYA: ~90
    Water Temp: 65

    Been out of town for a few days, but the wife has been dosing with some bleach each day. Here are my new readings after drain & fill and a few days of shocking:
    FC: 1.5
    CC: 0.0
    TC: 1.5
    pH: 7.5
    T/A: 40
    CH: 90
    CYA: 25~30
    Water Temp: 75

    So, per the shock chart, I'm going to put in 3 gal + 3 qts of 6% bleach, see if we're losing FC overnight, and start monitoring every few hours tomorrow..

    Also, per the pool calc, I need:
    1 lb. Borax (target 7.7 pH)
    13 lb. Baking Soda (target 80 TA)
    42 lbs. Calcium Chloride (target 300 CH - am I shooting too high? I have a plaster pool..)

    Planning to leave the CYA for now, until I get things stable.

    Do I need to get the FC straight first, or go ahead and add all of the above to start adjusting pH, TA, and CH?

    I'm going to have to try to find some Calcium Chloride around here.. I'll search the forums, but if anyone has a good idea for a source, that would help a ton!
    ~edit~ I found the post about Ace Hardware. We have a great local Ace, so I'm going to check with them for Calcium Chloride!!

    I appreciate all the help!!

    Thanks!!
    Forrest
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    First things first, raise the TA only not the PH. Adjusting your TA is all you need; PH is fine where it is.

    When you are sure the FC is holding; you can raise the CYA to 50 and then adjust FC levels accordingly.
    You can then raise your CH. 250-300 is fine.
    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: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Woo hoo!! FC had been bouncing around on me, but I've been shocking the last 4 days. Finally, this morning, no FC lost overnight and CC <0.5!!

    I feel so -accomplished- thanks, guys!

    Water is looking blue and sparkly.. So happy!

    Now, what is next? Here are my readings - I added the Baking Soda last night and brought TA up to 90. Also added (via sock in front of return jet) the correct amount of CYA to bring up to 35-40. I went conservative on that, since I don't want to drain & refill again!

    Latest readings:
    FC: 20
    CC: <0.5
    pH: 8.2
    T/A: 80
    CH: not measured this test, but should be holding at 90
    CYA: not measured this test (just added last night)
    Water Temp: 75

    So, what's next? I was thinking I need to call around and get to calcium chloride / ice melter - if I can find some.. If not, I suppose the pool store ($$) will do.

    My pool is plaster, and it's been a week with a CH of 90, so I'm thinking I need to get that in soon to avoid damage to my walls.. Is that correct, or is there any reason I shouldn't add it yet?

    Also, any other tips? Where should I shoot for my CYA? I get shade in the morning and sun on shallow end starting at Noon - full sun for most of the afternoon.

    Thanks so much, guys! Can't tell you how happy I am to be making progress.

    New pic attached! BLUE WATER!!

    [attachment=0:3ivkcapd]Copy of IMG00079-20100508-1241.jpg[/attachment:3ivkcapd]
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Love my sparkling water!!!

    21,000 gallon, In-ground, Plaster, 2" PVC, PAC-FAB 1.5 HP pump
    Intermatic digital timer, Heyward S244T sand filter (3.1sf, 20gpm/sf max flow)
    Aquabot (electric powered), TFP test kit

  16. Back To Top    #16

    Join Date
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    Re: Newbie with a test kit - am I headed in the right direction?

    Quote Originally Posted by elgumpo
    Woo hoo!! FC had been bouncing around on me, but I've been shocking the last 4 days. Finally, this morning, no FC lost overnight and CC <0.5!!

    I feel so -accomplished- thanks, guys!

    Water is looking blue and sparkly.. So happy!
    Awesome... we live for this!

    Quote Originally Posted by elgumpo
    So, what's next? I was thinking I need to call around and get to calcium chloride / ice melter - if I can find some.. If not, I suppose the pool store ($$) will do.

    My pool is plaster, and it's been a week with a CH of 90, so I'm thinking I need to get that in soon to avoid damage to my walls.. Is that correct, or is there any reason I shouldn't add it yet?

    Also, any other tips? Where should I shoot for my CYA? I get shade in the morning and sun on shallow end starting at Noon - full sun for most of the afternoon.
    First--let the FC drop down to normal, then recheck pH and fix it if necessary.

    Your CYA target of 35-40 sounds good. After a few weeks you'll know what the daily FC loss is like, and if it's 2ppm or less you're doing fine.

    Addressing the low CH would be next. Not like it's an emergency or anything, but just get your "round tuit" pretty soon (the priority is in terms of weeks, rather than days or months).
    --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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