2-4 Weeks until test kit arrives, warm weekend coming - What can I start now?

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Ugh.... I figured there would be a downside. Thanks. Please feel free to pile on the constructive feedback (i.e., where I'm being an idiot).

Based on my test strips, as of this morning I think my levels are:
FC - 0 (they were over 10 by Saturday evening, down to 8 Sunday morning, down to 5 Sunday a 1pm, and now 0)
PH - 6.8
TA - 40
CH - Don't know
CYA - 20 (which surprises me... we supposedly had a very high CYA issue 2 summers ago... exchanged some water to bring it down, but I'd still expect it to be on the high side)

20200406_073044.jpg

So now I'm looking at the PoolMath app and there are recommendations for 4 levels that are off. I'm not sure if I should be doing SLAM... or if that's reserved for major issues? Just watched the SLAM video and it lists 3 criteria for SLAM:
1. Clear Water - Yes, its very clear
2. Pass the overnight chlorine loss test - I think there's no question I failed. My test strips registered 5 FC yesterday mid-afternoon, and now zero (unfortunately I didn't do a test last night after sunset... will get that right next time). I *do* have the readings from Saturday night to Sunday morning, and that was a drop from 11 to 8 FC.
3. CC Level 0.5 or less - I can't test this with strips...

Does it seem like I should be doing SLAM (recall, I don't have my proper test kit yet... supposedly it shipped yesterday)?

Should I be bothering with any other chemicals? The video makes me wonder if I need to get my Ph up to 7.2? I know it says "forget PH until the SLAM is done", but it also makes note of a target Ph....

Also worried my TA is too low and that will be an issue.
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
So, assuming the answer is that I should SLAM (due to OCLT fail)... referencing the chlorine/CYA chart, I think I'm around 20/30 CYA, so my target SLAM FC would be:

10-12?

If I enter 11 in the App (with the "SLAM" toggle selected) it says this is out of range. It will accept 2-5...but that doesn't seem to be the "SLAM" target... not sure what I'm missing.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,276
Laughlin, NV
See Post 18. 5 ppm per day of FC. When you get your test kit, post up your water chemistry results. No need to think much about anything until then. The strips are garbage. Throw them away.
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Any opinion on the safety of using the pool/spillover spa while we're waiting for our full test kit to arrive so i can really get the chems "right" (and while I add 5ppm per day)?

After last nights 5ppm addition the strips told me I had about 3ppm on chlorine as of this morning (I understand the strips are garbage... but its the only data I have right now to gauge things). Water *looks* great as good as it ever has.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,252
Northern NJ
Any opinion on the safety of using the pool/spillover spa while we're waiting for our full test kit to arrive so i can really get the chems "right" (and while I add 5ppm per day)?

After last nights 5ppm addition the strips told me I had about 3ppm on chlorine as of this morning (I understand the strips are garbage... but its the only data I have right now to gauge things). Water *looks* great as good as it ever has.
Assuming your CYA is 20 then you are safe to swim as long as your FC is below 10.

If the water looks good and the FC seems at a reasonable level then go swim.
 
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sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Alrighty then... my K-2006 arrived today and I took my first stab at a set of tests. Here were my results:
Screenshot_20200415-134157.png20200415_133409_HDR.jpg

NOTES:
  1. Combined Chlorine/CC - I also did CC and it *seemed* to be zero. Solution never turned back to pink.
  2. CYA - I'm having a hard time believing the CYA is approaching zero given the level my pool store was telling me it was at last year. I dropped the pool almost 18inches last year to address the issue, but I think I was still in the range of 60+ IIRC. Would it be reasonable to add chlorine pucks to my chlorinator now, since that will add CYA which I do want to be in the 30-60 range, and assist with a slow application of chlorine?
  3. On PH I believe 1 drop of R-0005 (Acid Demand Test) brought me to a Ph of 7.5. Should I address this given I'm only at the edge of the recommended range?
  4. CH - I don't know why that says 37 in the screenshot. My phone says 375 right now. Might actually be lower as I was looking for a deeper blue and went up to 40 drops before realizing I was pretty much at blue... so I backed the estimate off a bit.
In general the water looks great better than it ever did all last year. Since post #24 I've been adding about 3.3L of 12% liquid chlorine *almost* every day (skipped a few days where I put the cover on overnight to heat it).

So that's my status. If I can take all the test values above as accurate, I'm wondering what would be the best strategy next.... I don't *think* a SLAM is necessary due is it? Should I address PH? CYA?

Thanks in advance! Felt like a serious scientist with this test kit!

?‍?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,000
Tallahassee, FL
Oh, I guess the OCLT is something I should do?
It will not hurt at all to do the OCLT but with the cc being 0 I bet you will be fine.

CYA-was that with cold water? Do you still have it or did you pour it out? Go grab some more water and let it sit and warm up in the house for a while. If you had a lot of rain/snow then the CYA might be correct. If it gets even a tiny bit cloudy then think of it as 20 to be on the safe side.

pH-lets push that down to at least 7.8 to make sure it is not over 8.0 as that is pretty pink

TA-it will flash a couple times but once it CHANGES color and stays changed call it. The colors are not true blues or reds. It more like blueish and redish.

You can use pucks to get the CYA if you want.

DO get some FC in the water!

Did I get everything? Let me know if I missed anything!

Kim:kim:
 
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sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Awesome, thanks @kimkats!

It was pretty cold water (although my kids still jump into it ?). The solution in the bottle was a tiny bit cloudy... but for interests sake I'll try warming it up. We've had a bit of precipitation in the last day (1/2 inch of snow maybe).

pH - I'll focus on bringing this down.

TA - I'll try this test again. I felt like I caught the colour change ... I did see the flashing (unlike the CH... which I'm sure I overshot).

FC - More will go in tonight, and I think I'll try adding some pucks too.

I've read some of the pool school articles on chemistry, but dont' think I caught any guidance on the order of operations for this stuff. Can I put my liquid chlorine in tonight and also add something to address pH? Or should I spread those out somehow?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,000
Tallahassee, FL
Okay I have a link for you!! Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

Now lets talk about the two who do NOT play well together. Chlorine and muriatic acid. They should not even be store by each other. Muriatic acid should be store way away from metal and chlorine. It's fumes are nasty and leave an oily residue and can cause metal to rust. A lot of people keep it outside in a vent plastic something. If you have kids find a way to lock it shut. You should wait about 15 mins or so between adding these two.

Everyone else can play together without any worries.

Kim:kim:
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,384
OV, CA
I've been following your chemical roller coaster ride.. nice job. And congrats on taking on the pool maintenance yourself.

One thing I noticed is your CYA levels are on the low side for sure,... and its hard to get a good reading especially when the water is cold. I also see you are having problems keeping your FC up... I think once you get your CYA levels up that you will have an easier time holding your FC levels, since that is what CYA does, it protects the FC from solar degradation. then follow this good ole chart: FC/CYA Chart.

CYA can degrade over time , it also gets flushed out if you have lots of rain/snow and you have to drain your pool compensate. So its entirely possible to have high CYA last year and then see it get diluted over the winter. In my pool once I get the CYA level set for the season I usually only have to add more once mid season-ish.. hope that adds to the convo.
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Okay I have a link for you!! Pool School - Basic Pool Care Schedule

Now lets talk about the two who do NOT play well together. Chlorine and muriatic acid. They should not even be store by each other. Muriatic acid should be store way away from metal and chlorine. It's fumes are nasty and leave an oily residue and can cause metal to rust. A lot of people keep it outside in a vent plastic something. If you have kids find a way to lock it shut. You should wait about 15 mins or so between adding these two.

Everyone else can play together without any worries.

Kim:kim:
Thanks for the tips!... I'm not sure I even have muriatic acid, but going to check now.

What about daytime/nighttime? I'm thinking if I have what I need to lower pH I'll put that in now (afternoon) and I can add liquid chlorine tonight after sunset.

... hope that adds to the convo.
Definitely adds! Helps to have the extra data points :)
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Quick Update:
  • Regular TFP "Way" Testing:
    • Been testing my pool regularly (FC+CC+PH twice a day). I'm out of the CYA testing re-agent already (only had enough for 3 tests), but from the first few tests it seemed very low (tracked it as CYA==20).
  • pH/TA
    • Started tackling a high pH (>8) and slightly high TA (~100). Used granulated acid a few times and now they both seem to sit at pH 7.4 and TA 90.
    • Not doing anything to change these right now.
  • CYA
    • I was regularly adding liquid chlorine every night, would see FC around 4.5-8 the next morning, and then it would be all the way back to < 1 by evening. I figured this is partly the opening/sanitizing of the pool, and largely the low CYA?
    • CYA was a bit of a nemesis for us a few years ago, so very afraid to mess anything up there again. "Low and slow" has been the approach.
    • Started by adding 5 tri-chlor tablets in the chlorinator (set to around 3.5). I'm not 100% sure, but I *think* was able to step down the amount of liquid chlorine I added each night.
    • PoolMath was telling me to add about 1.7Kg of CYA to hit my target level of 45. I added 1Kg because I didn't want to overshoot.
    • As of last night I saw the chlorine only drop from 6 to 4.5 from morning to evening... I was seeing much bigger drops last week. I guess this is the CYA doing its thing?
    • I can't test CYA right now (waiting for more reagent to arrive) so I've turned chlorinator off. I'm adding much less liquid chlorine (added 1.5L 2 nights ago, and it hasn't dropped much). Not sure if this rate of liquid chlorine addition seems about rate (~1-2L per day?)... I think my CYA is probably still under target.
All the gory details are shared in my PoolMath feed in my signature... overall I'm a SUPER satisfied TFP Community member!
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,384
OV, CA
Yeah, you need to get your CYA up to the values in that chart FC/CYA Chart.. With low CYA you will loose Chlorine to breakdown by the sun. So don't stop chlorinating. once you get your CYA levels up, the FC will stabilize. This is all assuming you don't have any underlying algae.

I can't tell from you sig, how are you chlorinating your pool, are you using tab dispenser?
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
I have a Hayward Tab feed chlorinator... only put 5 tabs in 11 days ago and they were still 70% whole when I looked 2 days ago.

I've been using mostly liquid chlorine.

Under "steady state" (with no algae problem, CYA at target level) what kind of schedule do people get onto with adding chlorine? Is it still expected to be daily? Or does it move to more of an "as needed" pattern?
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,384
OV, CA
The most common "stabilized" tabs will add CYA to your water.. you probably already knew that. So you can use your tab feeder up to point. The point where your CYA hits your target. After that just use Chlorine. A lot of other members will use liquid chlorine to sanitize there pool then load up the tab feeder if they go on vacation somewhere,
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,000
Tallahassee, FL
Your post makes me SO happy!!! I love it when a pool starts behaving under good care!!!

Did you know you can become a supporting member??? That helps us keep the servers fed! We are all volunteers and do this because we want everyone to have a pool that SPARKLES in the sun and is easy to care for!! Here is the link: Become a TFP Supporter :hug:

Kim:kim:
 

sadohert

Silver Supporter
Oct 10, 2016
29
Waterloo, Ontario
Did you know you can become a supporting member??? That helps us keep the servers fed! We are all volunteers and do this because we want everyone to have a pool that SPARKLES in the sun and is easy to care for!! Here is the link: Become a TFP Supporter :hug:

Kim:kim:
Yes for sure! This is a no-brainer for me. I've made my donation.

Wondering if someone can give me a sense for what to expect with this question: "Under "steady state" (with no algae problem, CYA at target level) what kind of schedule do people get onto with adding chlorine? Is it still expected to be daily? Or does it move to more of an "as needed" pattern?"

I'm down to adding ~900ml of Chlorine each night. Setting aside heavy usage days (e.g., hosting a big pool party ... when Covid lets up) how often are people adding Chlorine to a healthy pool? Or is it still a daily thing, but the amount is gauged based on my test levels?