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Thread: just starting...am I on the right track?

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    just starting...am I on the right track?

    I know there are only six weeks or so of pool season left here in central IL, but we're just getting started. We have an 56xx gal "quick set" that we're in the process of filling (we're on well water, so it's time consuming...next summer we'll have it delivered...that is lesson # one so far!). We wouldn't be bothering this late in the season under usual circumstances, but some things just can't be helped (and our kids have a really late school start date this year). Plus, I can "get my feet wet" as it were in terms of water quality before next summer comes.

    I've read a TON of pool chemical information on this forum, and I'm trying to sort it all out. I think I have a fair understanding of the various tests and what the ideal results are. I also think I understand to some extent how to get the numbers where they should be if they aren't (love that pool calculator!). What I don't feel comfortable with is all the options out there in terms of chemicals...I realize that ingredients, not name, is what is important, but as pools go, we're not dealing with much water, so I don't want to "overdose" it, etc. I also don't want to buy what I don't need. I wanted to run my plan by some "experts" and see if you think I'm on the right track...

    I've run the tests and my for my completely untreated water, the ph, alk., hardness are all good (ph was 7.5, can't remember the exact # for other two right this second). The water is not treated yet, so there was no chlorine to test (it's unchlorinated well water). The test kit I'm using now is the six-way (not strips) test from Walmart. Not too fancy now but hoping to get by until spring, at which time I'll get a good kit...we're numbers and science geeks in this house, so we want the better testing supplies.

    I've used the pool calculator to calculate the amount of 6% bleach to add for shocking and added it this evening. I will check chlorine levels early in the morning.

    I have not yet added any kind of stabilizer...I first wanted to make sure my ph, alkalinity, and hardness were good, before doing anything else. And I wanted to get shock load of chlorine in now, even though we aren't quite full yet, to kill off whatever is there.

    So, if you're still with me, here is my plan...feel free to correct or amend as necessary...

    Tomorrow (pool full by then I'll pick up a container of CYA and add the appropriate amount (I read where I should put this in a sock and put it on the pool ladder...for extra safety, we intend to remove the ladder while not in the pool...when I read the container at the store (HTH stab./cond.) it said you could broadcast it and it would take about three days (or a week to dissolve...is this OK?). I'd like to maintain my chlorine levels and shock with 6% bleach for the rest of this swimming season (about six weeks here). I like the convenience of the tabs, but I don't want to be constantly adding CYA to the water (especially since partial refills to lower a too-high level are inconvenient when we're on a well). Plus, I haven't figured out how to dose the tabs to the correct level.

    So, provided I'm testing regularly and I don't run into any weird test numbers (or weird-looking water), will this plan work for my chlorine needs for the rest of the summer? Anything I'm not considering here?

    Thanks, everyone...I hope I don't sound like too much of an idiot here!
    Nikki in IL
    18'x33'x52" AGP, 1.5hp Hayward pump, 200# Hayward sand filter, Aqua-Trol SWG
    "Intex graduate" from a 5400 gal, 18'x48" Intex quick set, crystal clear everyday (with the original Intex equip)for 3 seasons thanks to TFP and BBB

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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP! Now just hush up about sounding like an idiot. There's no such thing here. It sounds to me like you're right on track. Once you get your chlorine up to shock level, make sure it stays there overnight. If it does, then you don't have any nasties growing in the water, and you can let it drift down to your normal sanitizer level. You'll lose a lot of FC during the day until the CYA level comes up, so just be aware of that, test often, and maintain your FC level. You shouldn't have any problems whatsoever sanitizing and shocking w/ 6% bleach. Keep your pH between 7.4 and 7.8, your FC where it needs to be for your CYA level, and you should be good to go.

    One thing that might cause you problems since you're on well water would be iron in the water. This can cause staining in the pool and can cloud the water, so if you know you have it, it might not be a bad idea to get a metal sequestrant and add it to the water as well.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Thanks for the quick reply. Your mention of FC leads me to a question I meant to ask...

    My test kit tests TC, not FC. I understand the difference between the two, and I believe the FC level should be 1-3ppm, right? My test kit indicates a target range for TC of 2-4 ppm. Is this right for TC? Intuitively, it seems to me the target TC level should be higher, since TC=CC+FC.

    So, can I continue on testing TC and aim for a range of 2-4 ppm? I did see FC test STRIPS at the store (no drop tests for FC that I could find). Are the FC strips accurate enough to use?

    Thanks for the reminder about iron in well water. We're one of the lucky ones that doesn't have significant iron (we test our well water regularly for several things, so we have fairly comprehensive records). I'll keep an eye on it, though, just in case, b/c well water chemistry can change over time.
    Nikki in IL
    18'x33'x52" AGP, 1.5hp Hayward pump, 200# Hayward sand filter, Aqua-Trol SWG
    "Intex graduate" from a 5400 gal, 18'x48" Intex quick set, crystal clear everyday (with the original Intex equip)for 3 seasons thanks to TFP and BBB

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I would put the CYA in a sock. It is mildly acidic and I don't like the idea of that sitting against the liner for several days. Besides, putting it in a sock (in the skimmer, or in front of a return, or tied to a ladder) is simple enough and works at least as well without the risk to the liner.
    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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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikki in IL
    Thanks for the quick reply. Your mention of FC leads me to a question I meant to ask...

    My test kit tests TC, not FC. I understand the difference between the two, and I believe the FC level should be 1-3ppm, right? My test kit indicates a target range for TC of 2-4 ppm. Is this right for TC? Intuitively, it seems to me the target TC level should be higher, since TC=CC+FC.

    So, can I continue on testing TC and aim for a range of 2-4 ppm? I did see FC test STRIPS at the store (no drop tests for FC that I could find). Are the FC strips accurate enough to use?

    Thanks for the reminder about iron in well water. We're one of the lucky ones that doesn't have significant iron (we test our well water regularly for several things, so we have fairly comprehensive records). I'll keep an eye on it, though, just in case, b/c well water chemistry can change over time.
    Your FC level (and shock level, as well) will depend on your CYA level. For CYA level of 40 ppm, your FC level should be 3ppm minimum, and be in the range of 3-6 ppm. A lower CYA level will require lower FC levels, but you'll lose most, if not all, of your FC to sunlight, since the purpose of the CYA is to be "sunscreen" for chlorine. Until you get your CYA up to around 40, go ahead and keep your FC at around 3ppm.

    Ideally, you would want your FC to equal your TC, with zero CC. CC's are where the chlorine has combined with a nasty, and are what causes a strong chlorine odor from the pool, irritated eyes, etc. They are also an indicator that you do indeed have nasties in your water, and when they reach a high enough level (usually 1ppm), then you need to shock the pool. I wouldn't go with "guess" strips, as they are notoriously unreliable. Since your test only measures TC, I would test in the evening after the sun goes down, and then test again in the morning, preferably before the sun starts shining on your pool. If your TC drops overnight, then you have something in the water that's using your FC, and you'll need to shock the pool. If the TC holds overnight, then either (a) you have no nasties in the water, and your FC =TC, or (b) you have FC=0, and your TC=CC's. Usually you'll have another indicator of item (b), such as an algae bloom or a smelly pool. To be able to accurately measure both your FC and CC, you would need to get a FAS-DPD test kit.

    Yes, you are one of the lucky ones. My brother uses well water too, and evidently he's got your iron plus his in his water.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    I have to post very briefly because of time....just a thought folks, Nikki is talking about draining her pool in 6 weeks....I would consider forgoing CYA and simply chlorinating at night...I think she'd save some trouble and headaches and be off no worse moneywise.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    nikki,

    I have more time now to think thru your post. First of all, you have an excellent grasp of pool water chemistry....quite astute for a newbie (actually, pretty darn good whether you're a rookie or not)

    I still would suggest you forgo the CYA this season. Since it sounds like you're going to drain anyway, you could simply use bleach or some pucks for the remaining season and start over.

    In fact, if you plan on draining and refilling each year, tri-chlor pucks might be the perfect method. You may have to add a little borax from time to time to keep your pH up but I doubt your CYA will ever be a problem over one swim season.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    I agree, if you are going to drain it in 6 weeks. I'd use trichlor pucks the entire time and perhaps dichlor shock the first couple of weeks. At least you'll get some CYA, that way.
    Buggs

    14,000 gallon, in ground, plaster, free form, play pool.
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    MikeInTN's Avatar
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    Dave, now that you mention it, you're probably right. I forgot to add a dose of common sense in with my advice.
    24' x 52" AGP - approx 13,500 gallons
    Pentair Optiflo 1 hp/2sp pump w/ Swimpro Voyager 150 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intex 8110 SWCG
    "Fear the Schnauz!"

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    Thank you to everyone for your help.

    Although it sounds like the trichlor route might have been more convenient, we ended up going with CYA anyway (thanks to the neighbors with more than they needed for this year and the fact that I had a hard time finding any trichlor pucks at the time I needed to get something). So I guess my experiment for the rest of this summer is to see how fast the CYA level rises.

    The good news is that the pool is now full, the water looks great and feels great, I'm getting good chlorine levels (even though it's hotter than blazes here right now and worse the next week or so), and the kids are having a great time.

    But, on to thinking about next year...several of you have suggested the trichlor pucks for the whole season, since we're draining every fall. I know that they'll add CYA...someone mentioned they didn't think the CYA would get too high over just one season, but that is a concern I had with pucks...as I explained earlier, we're on a well, so having to do a partial drain and refill in the middle of a dry summer for a too-high CYA would be a huge pain. Keeping the pH up with borax is no big deal, so from that respect, if the constant addition of CYA won't be a problem, it may be the way

    So how exactly do you use them? My newbie assumption is that I use a certain amount of pucks to achieve a certain chlorine level based on gallons of water (maybe the 1" size, I would assume, for my small 5400 gal pool). Other posts have mentioned floating the pucks in the skimmer...can't you also get puck floaters (probably not the right term)...of the three stores I've been to, only one had any trichlor in puck form -- I didn't get a chance to look at it b/c it was stored on a too-high shelf with no one in sight for help). Floating them in the skimmer seems to my newbie mind that it could be hard on the skimmer plastic...is this a legitimate concern? This is just one of those "easy set" pools and filter, skimmer, etc., e.g. not designed to last forever...our two or three summer test to see if we really want a regular A/G pool when we build the new deck.

    Thanks again for everyone's comments...you have all been quite helpful.
    Nikki in IL
    18'x33'x52" AGP, 1.5hp Hayward pump, 200# Hayward sand filter, Aqua-Trol SWG
    "Intex graduate" from a 5400 gal, 18'x48" Intex quick set, crystal clear everyday (with the original Intex equip)for 3 seasons thanks to TFP and BBB

  11. Back To Top    #11
    a puck in the skimmer is ok IF you run the pump 24/7. You can buy a floater (yes, that is the right term) if you prefer.

    For next year, use the pucks, but monitor your CYA every month. When it gets to the proper level, then switch to bleach

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
    Handy Links: PoolMath, TF-100 Test Kit, Pool School, CYA-Chlorine Chart
    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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