1st test results using TF-100 kit

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#1
New to me pool, built in 1996, Pebbletec with popup cleaners. Also a spa connected to it, everything works. Test results:

[TABLE="width: 0"]
[TR]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Date[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Cl (test kit) ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Br (test kit)[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]pH (test kit)[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]FC ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]CC ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]TC (ppm)[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Ca ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]CYA ppm[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="align: right"]11/6/2018[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]5[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: right"]8.2[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]11[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1.5[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]12.5[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]750[/TD]
[TD]> 100[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

Seems like the chlorine count is high? I suppose it's better to have more chlorine than too little, especially if a pool is changing hands and the transition might have it neglected for a couple of weeks, right? I'm in Tucson, AZ where the water is very hard, I'm not sure if the 750 ppm calcium test results are too high for the region or not. CYA looks fantastic, right?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,264
Laughlin, NV
#2
If your CYA tests higher than 100, and with a CH of 750 ppm, it is time to drain and refill with fresh water.

The FC (did you use the FAS-DPD test?) is too low for a CYA of 100.

Please add a signature. Read Pool School - Read This BEFORE You Post
Information in your signature will show up each time you post and it makes advice more accurate as we know what equipment we are dealing with.

- - - Updated - - -

OK -- I see you reported FC twice. The 11 ppm is ok. The 1.5 ppm CC is not. But again, time to drain with your CH and CYA.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#3
Unfortunately, I'm not that familiar with some of the equipment and can't actually identify the pumps, so haven't updated my sig.

I think I'm just going to bring a sample in to Leslie's down the road to see what they say about the chemistry - the pool looks great, but this was the 1st time I've ever tested water with a kit in my life. Not sure if it was done 100% correctly. I would really hope it doesn't require a full drain - that would be an immense amount of water!
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#4
I think I'm just going to bring a sample in to Leslie's down the road to see what they say about the chemistry
I would reconsider that option. Pool store results will almost never match your testing .... or ever their own an hour later. Their results bounce all over the place. You have one of the best kits available for home testing. If you have a question about the instruction card or any specific test, let us know. We'll walk you through it. As Marty was saying, we know from history that water in your area is typically hard which drives your CH level high. If you chlorinated with tabs (pucks), or used those pool store bags of shock in the past, your CYA (stabilizer) level also continued to climb - but the pool store still sells more of it. :grrrr:

While some folks "may" be able to compensate for a CH of 750, a CYA over 100 requires too much chlorine to compensate. Please see the [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA] as an example. So what to do now? Like Marty said, a water exchange is probably your best option. Maybe not all of it, but a good amount. But first, try this today .... a CYA "diluted" test. You can see how to do that on the Pool School - CYA starting at Step #8. Once you do that, you'll get a better idea of exactly how high the CYA really is since the normal test stops at 100.

Once you do that, post back with your new (diluted results) CYA number and any other test questions you may have. Keep this in mind .... the CYA test is the most important for you right now. If it is as high as you expect, a water exchange (to some degree) is the only way to lower it. By coincidence, the water exchange should also lower your CH at the same time. Once that's done, the CYA will never go up again using TFP principles unless you want it to go up. You can use the following tips to help:
CYA Testing:
Proper lighting is critical for the CYA test, so you want to test for CYA outside on a bright sunny day. Use the mixing bottle to gently mix the required amounts of pool water and R-0013 reagent, let sit for 30 seconds, then gently mix again. Recommend standing outside with your back to the sun and the view tube in the shade of your body at waist level. Then, begin squirting the mixed solution into the skinny tube. Watch the black dot until it completely disappears. Once it disappears, record the CYA reading. To help the eyes and prevent staring at the dot, some people find it better to pour & view in stages. Pour some solution into the viewing tube, look away, then look back again for the dot. Repeat as necessary until you feel the dot is gone. After the first CYA test, you can pour the mixed solution from the skinny view tube back to the mixing bottle, gently shake, and do the same test a second, third, or fourth time to instill consistency in your technique, become more comfortable with the testing, and validate your own CYA reading. Finally, if you still doubt your own reading, have a friend do the test with you and compare results.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,331
Sebring, Florida
#5
Previous owner was likely chlorinating with pucks.......that's what drove your CYA too high. Your CH is also too high because that is the nature of arizona pools.....too much calcium in the water.

A piece of info that you will need is the CH of your fill (tap) water. Post that when you get it.

The entire point of a high quality test kit like the TF-100 is so you don't HAVE to go to a place like Leslie's.......experience teaches us their testing is unreliable. What will you do if their results differ from yours? Believe them instead of yourself? That's most always a mistake.

You will not require a full drain but it will likely be a lot. Water is pretty cheap most places in AZ.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
4,377
Central California
#6
+1 for stay away from Leslie's!! You can't mix'n'match pool testing results and advice. If you want to take care of the pool yourself, and have the best water quality possible, then TFP will get you there. Leslie's most certainly will not. Practice with your new test gear. Do a test twice, or three times. At least until you get repeatable results. Gain some confidence. As previously suggested, ask all the questions you need to here. I tortured poor Marty when I first found TFP, trying to learn everything all at once. He and the other experts here could not be broken!

Please forgive me for saying, based on your first post and the assumptions you made, you need to study up a bit more. Have you read through Pool School yet? I found the eBook to be much easier to use. Just read it (or read it again) from end to end. Ask questions about anything you don't understand. Here's the eBook. Put it on your phone.

Trouble Free Pool School

Don't give up on TFP just yet. Put a little more effort into your test kit learning curve, and a little more into Pool School, and I promise it'll pay off.

Everybody here went through the same thing you're going through. Exactly. We all made it through (1000s and 1000s of us), and we all have amazing pools. None of us go to Leslie's for testing...
 

Jcvader99

Bronze Supporter
Feb 8, 2018
34
Charleston SC
#7
Another recommendation to just stay away from Leslie's. I spent 3 months having to watch my builder service my pool with basic testing kits and tossing in whatever chemicals felt right week after week. During that time I was taking water to Leslie's for testing and they were telling me to put even more chemicals. 3-4 tests a week from both the builder and Leslie's and nothing was ever consistent.

Finally, once the 3 month service period was over, I got the TF-100 and started testing myself (get the SpeedStir, its well worth it). After a few weeks of doing my own testing and buying only the necessary chemicals (from Lowes and WalMart, NOT Leslies) I finally got all the chem levels stabilized and its been ridiculously easy to keep them there. I almost get surprised when I look outside every day and see how crystal clear my water is. I give the guys/gals on this site all the credit for that. I haven't been back to Leslie's in months and I am no longer confused about what needs to be done.

You already have the kit... don't go relying on anyone else to tell you whats in your pool.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#8
Alright, alright, I'll stay away from Leslie's. However, they offered a free pool water test and use some of the same equipment (Taylor) that's in the TF-100, so I went ahead and had them run a test. Their results match mine exactly, so there's no surprises there. The tech literally ran the tests in front of me. There's a few additional pieces of data I didn't collect with my test kit as well, like TDS and phosphates count. Here's some of their additional results (my results are in the 1st row, their's in the 2nd):
[TABLE="width: 0"]
[TR]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Ca ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]CYA ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Total Alk ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Acid Demand[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Cu ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Fe ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]TDS[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Phosphates ppb[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="align: right"]750[/TD]
[TD]> 100[/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[TD][/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="align: right"]550[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]150[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]190[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]6[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]0[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]0[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]2100[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]1000[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

The guy was very helpful, he said it looks like the water is pretty old and hasn't been replaced in many years and likely needs to be drained and replaced, just like you folks!

I'm not giving up on TFP at all, I just wasn't sure whether I needed some professional help immediately before the pool situation got bad or not. I've contacted a friend of a friend who is a pool professional and will be visiting me on Saturday, so he'll help show me around operating some of the equipment and double check test results, etc. It's definitely looking like a drain is in order. I might spring for one of those Pentair Intellichlor units if it goes that way.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#9
Sounds like you got lucky with someone that knows how to do the tests correctly (although they usually do not use the right lighting for the CYA test). Often they rush and screw things up.

Also, TDS is completely meaningless (it is just all the things in the water added together, like salt, CYA, CH, etc)
And phosphates are generally nothing to worry about either if you maintain adequate FC.
 

Griswald

Well-known member
Jul 7, 2014
641
Hope Mills, NC
#10
The guy at Leslies told you your water is old?????
That right there tells you everything you need to know about Leslies.

Your water is millions of years old, as is all water. Does he think its "born" when it comes out of the hose? What a tool...
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#12
Alright, so I had a friend come over several weeks ago and he added some muriatic acid to the pool, brough the pH down a little bit and within check. It's fairly chilly in Tucson these days over the holidays and haven't been using the pool or the spa much at all lately. There's been some serious windstorms that resulted in a lot of accumulated debris in the pool, but the combination of the pop-up cleaner system and skimmer seem to be doing a great job of cleaning the pool and spa. Everything looks very clear and there's no debris anywhere. I did purchase a 30' vacuum hose and a vacuum head, which I used about 2 weeks ago - made a huge difference in the cleanliness of the pool bottom. Pretty happy with the pool, so far... although my wife developed severe eczema from overuse of the spa. We'll need to figure that out later.

So the latest test results from this AM show that the total chlorine level is now low. What would you folks recommend that I do? I'm not planning to drain the pool to reestablish my CYA numbers until January/February timeframe when it's very cold out, but I feel that I should never let the Cl get this low. Thanks guys!

[TABLE="width: 0"]
[TR]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]pH (test kit)[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]FC ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]CC ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]TC (ppm)[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Ca ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]CYA ppm[/TD]
[TD="bgcolor: #b7b7b7, align: center"]Total Alk ppm[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD="align: right"]8.14
[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]2[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]0[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]2[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]625[/TD]
[TD]>100[/TD]
[TD="align: right"]180[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#13
Well, you're kind of rolling the dice with that elevated CYA. As you can tell from the [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA], your FC is way too low. I wouldn't be surprised if you have subtle amounts of algae, even if you can't see it right now. Since your CYA is over 100, the FC would need to be very high to compensate. That elevated FC (over 10) will influence your pH level as well (making it higher). But if you are keeping the water as-is for now, adjust the pH before you increase the FC. Your elevated pH, TA, and CH are making your pool prone to scale. Get the pH down to about 7.2. With your CH and TA elevated, I wouldn't let the pH get over 7.4. This is assuming the test results above are YOUR test results and not from the local store. Then get some chlorine in there as soon as you can right after with an FC goal of about 10. Keep that FC around 8-10. If it drops more than 4ppm in a 24 period, it's time to do an to see if there is algae in the water.

Please add your test kit to your signature. It will help us later.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#14
In 2.5 weeks, the TC has dropped from 9.5 to 2 ppm. The pH has increased from 7.86 to 8.14. I definitely don't see anything, things look pretty crystal clear, but the low chlorine level surely indicates that it's being consumed somehow, right?

So I can pickup some muriatic acid and attempt to regulate the pH down, but you're suggesting that I should tackle that first, correct? If I drop the prescribed amount in, how long do I need to run the pump for before I can attempt to deal with the FC issue? I was planning on using liquid chlorine so as not to exacerbate the CYA overage I'm currently facing.
 

duraleigh

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
31,331
Sebring, Florida
#15
The single most important thing you can do is elevate your FC to around 7 ppm and KEEP IT THERE until you reduce CYA

Have you read "The "ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#16
In 2.5 weeks, the TC has dropped from 9.5 to 2 ppm. The pH has increased from 7.86 to 8.14.
This info concerns me a bit. Are you saying you only tested the FC once in that 2-week period? FC will drop a little each day, hopefully no more than 4 ppm in 24 hrs. This time of year, the water may only drop .5 - 1.0 ppm if the water is cold. But you should be testing the FC every 1-2 days to make sure. As for the pH, how did you get those numbers? Do you have a digital tester or is that from the pool store? The TF-100 and K-2006 test kits do not produce such a result.

I suggested testing the pH before increasing the FC because with such a high CYA, you will want your FC around 10 or so. That elevated FC level can influence the pH test, so it's best to validate first. Add the acid and let it mix for about 30 minutes with the pump running strong then you can test again to see if you reached your new pH goal.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#17
We are in the process of moving into the home that has this pool, so I am not able to check levels very frequently, but it's also been very cold and overcast so I was a bit surprised at the drop in chlorine. I have a digital tester, a Oakton pHTestr 5, which I purchased specifically for its ease of calibration and high level of accuracy. It's now in my sig.

I am aiming for an FC of 11, using the PoolMath feature here... I dumped 0.5 gal of 29% muriatic acid in last night and that has dropped the pH to 7.79 as of this morning, had one of the pumps running all night. I guess I'm just going to add another dose of muriatic acid to it and check again this evening, before chlorinating.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,264
Laughlin, NV
#18
You do know you can address the pH and FC simultaneously. No magic about waiting. Just space out the additions by 15 minutes or so with pump running. As you have a pH tester high FC will not effect its results. That is only with the OTO test.
 

Motozoic

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2018
45
Tucson, AZ
#19
Haha, no I did not know that you can address chlorination and acidation (is that a word?) simultaneously. I'm going to go get some chlorine right now, however... I've got my pH down to 7.53 now. That took about 1 gallon of 29% muriatic acid.

Thanks everyone for the help and clarification.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
#20
no I did not know that you can address chlorination and acidation (is that a word?) simultaneously.
We like to make-up words here. Kind of like our own dictionary. :) In all seriousness though, as Marty noted, simply space the chlorine and acid doses by a few minutes apart with good circulation. Brush a little if you think necessary. Never add them both at the "exact same time" in the "exact same location". The two products are not chemically compatible.