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Thread: Why would pool store tell me to add shock and not stabilizer

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    Why would pool store tell me to add shock and not stabilizer

    I'm trying to figure out why the pool store, knowing that I had a 0 stabilizer reading and 0 free chlorine reading, would instruct me to add 12 cups of pool shock every three hours until I got a chlorine reading ... but not recommend that I add stabilizer first? This comes after bringing them my water, which clearly showed no stabilizer at all. I went through an enormous amount of shock, at a cost of $170, and THEN they suggested I add stabilizer and shock again. (It still hasn't done the trick -- but at least I got a chlorine reading after the stabilizer.) Granted, all that chlorine did make my water turn sparkling clear. Was that the purpose? I'm a new owner of an IG, chlorine pool, trying not to feel taken advantage of by the nice people at the pool store.
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    If you have algae problems, it wouldn't be unusual to shock without stabilizer, as the stabilizer reduces the effectiveness of the chlorine. However, it's impossible to really reach any conclusions about the quality of their advice without some test results, a description of your pool, and a description of your water when you started.
    TFP Moderator
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    hijack in progress:

    singerteacher posts: 1
    JonhT posts: 1111

    Welcome singerteacher!

    end hijack!

    8000 gallon 20' x 48" round vinyl frame pool, 12" sand filter (don't have the specs on the pump), TF100 test kit
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    "Shock" is a process, not a product!

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    restart hijack:

    TMQ, you are observant. Nice work

    Does that make JohnT 4 times older than singerteacher?

    end hijack, again:
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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  5. Back To Top    #5

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    Thanks for the welcome! Here's my pool novella:

    What a nice forum this is, compared to others out there where you get grilled instead of welcomed at your first post!

    My pool is an 18 x 36 oval, in-ground, using chlorine. I was told it's about 22,000 gallons. It was green when we opened it, and I don't know how long it had been since it was maintained. The house was vacant when we first saw it in August, pre-foreclosure. We moved in in December, and the pool was frozen.

    The pool folks initially shocked it for me (6 lbs) this spring when they were repairing a hole in the liner, after taking a diptest reading that showed no chlorine and low stabilizer. Nothing happened to the pool chemistry after that shock. I backwashed and vacuumed and kept chlorine pucks in the skimmer until they returned with a 25 lb bucket of shock, of which I added 4 lbs at a time (two times) as instructed, but again nothing happened to my diptest readings. By then, the pool was finally clean (lots of leaves, dirt and worms in it before) but still cloudy. (By the way, I bought a Taylor K-2006 which should be here soon.) I then took some water to their store for testing:

    Free chlorine 1.6
    Total chlorine 5.0
    Combined chlorine 3.4
    pH 7.8
    Cyanuric acid 12
    Adjusted alkalinity 158

    They sent me home with another 25 lb bucket of shock, and instructed me to add 12 lbs every three hours until I got a chlorine reading on the diptest. Well, I went through both my remaining bucket and the new bucket (close to 50 lbs of shock) and never got anything above 0. (I tested the dipsticks on a bucket of shock-water before I added it to the pool, and they were okay.) My feeling is that pouring $170 of shock treatment into my pool without a decent stabilizer level was poor advice, but I'm not an expert. And besides, the water did become very clear!

    I called them and explained the lack of chlorine, and after the next water test (they were repairing a small leak in the pipes and took the water and called with results -- didn't get numbers, just "low stabilizer" and "no chlorine") ... they finally recommended that I add stabilizer. I added 6 lbs of stabilizer into the skimmer, waited overnight, then another 12 lbs of chlorine in the morning.

    In the afternoon, we finally got a 1ppm chlorine reading, and 30-50 stabilizer. My 4-year-old has been pacing around the pool while I add chemicals, vacuum and skim, begging me to go swimming, so we did yesterday. No problems. After swimming, though, chlorine and stabilizer were back to 0.

    I'm not sure whether to trust this pool supply company's expertise. They do primarily installations and sell some chemicals on the side, but don't do any pool maintenance. They are about 15 miles away, and the next closest place is 25 miles away! I think I should take over the water maintenance at this point (although I feel like it's over my head -- pun intended!). But I'm not exactly sure how to proceed now. I've heard that getting rid of stabilizer can be tricky, so maybe I should add it 1 lb at a time?

    I'm interested in your opinions!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Guest
    Take a deep breath, get a good testkit and start testing your own water, and read the stickies section of the forum for the basics of pool care. Oh, yeah, I alsmost forgot--get a good testkit , either a Taylor K-2006 or the TF100 testkit (see the link in my signature). IMHO, the TF100 is a better value for the money.
    If thew pool is green with algae and there is CC then your chlorine is NOT going to hold whether there is stabilizer or not. Keep hitting the pool with chlorine several times a day to keep the FC at about 15 ppm until the pool clears. (If the pool is not vinyl then you can 'nuke' it with much hifgher chlorine levels,say about 30 ppm, and clear it much faster. Once the pool is clear and the FC has dropped below 10 ppm worry about the rest of your water balance. You really can't do much about it until you kill the algae and clear the pool anyway. Just keep adding chlorine about every three hours like the pool company told you (basically sound advice) until you kill the algae. If you had a good testkit you could test exactly how high the chorine was and know when it started to drop so you would know EXACTLY how much chlorine to add and how often you needed to add it to kill the algae quickly so it might be a good idea to get a good test kit. You are going to need on anyway if you want to take control of your pool and not let your pool control you!

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    Oops -- forgot to mention a few things

    I forgot to mention that it's a vinyl liner. And my Taylor K-2006 is bought and should be arriving soon (this info is buried in my novel/post).

    As noted in my loooong post, my pool is now clear, has been since the massive shock infusion a week ago (close to 50 lbs). However, I'm still at "low" stabilizer and 0 chlorine on the diptests (hurry, test kit, hurry!). I wonder:

    Should I try to "stabilize my stabilizer" before I add more chlorine?
    Or should I keep adding chlorine?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Guest

    Re: Oops -- forgot to mention a few things

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    I forgot to mention that it's a vinyl liner. And my Taylor K-2006 is bought and should be arriving soon (this info is buried in my novel/post).

    As noted in my loooong post, my pool is now clear, has been since the massive shock infusion a week ago (close to 50 lbs). However, I'm still at "low" stabilizer and 0 chlorine on the diptests (hurry, test kit, hurry!). I wonder:

    Should I try to "stabilize my stabilizer" before I add more chlorine?
    Or should I keep adding chlorine?
    I missed those pieces of info because they were both buried in the posts. As a mod I have to do a lot of reading of the posts on here and sometimes I miss things if they are not evident.
    Wait for your test kit to arrive before you do anything then post a full set of test results. Test strips are notorious for inaccurate results. they might be bleaching out or might have been exposed to moisture.
    CYA can take a week to fully dissolve and show in the water and if you clean your filter in that time period it can wash out before it dissolves.
    Personally I recommend killing algae first and then balancing the water but it does help to add some stabilzier, just know that you will lose some of it as you clean the filter and will need to add more later.

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    Thank you, waterbear!

    Thanks for the reply. By "killing algae first," do you mean adding tons of chlorine without stabilizer? If yes, then that is what I did, as the pool store recommended, so that's good. I wish they had explained to me what I was doing, and why!

    I put the CYA in the pool on Friday, and didn't backwash the filter until this morning. So backwashing couldn't account for the low CYA readings in those three days. But, I didn't know it took so long for CYA to dissolve! That might explain the low readings, or perhaps I didn't use enough. When I read the container, it looked like the whole 6 lbs was only going to be enough for an 18,000 gal pool. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to backwash this morning ...

    As soon as I get my water test results, I'll post them. I will hold off on adding anything to the pool until then.

    Also, there is a little tan-colored dust-stuff on the bottom that I keep vacuuming but it eventually reappears. I'm not sure if it's pollen -- there is plenty falling in the water. with a cottonwood tree in my neighbor's yard -- or the dreaded yellow algae? How can I tell the difference? It's possible to move the stuff with a brush. I've been "sweeping" it into a little pile and vacuuming it up, but then it'll need to do it again in 3 days. It doesn't seem to reappear in the same place. I'm guessing pollen, but hoped for your opinion. Swimming in the pool did not seem to make it cloudy. It's still very clear!
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  10. Back To Top    #10
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Thank you, waterbear!

    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Also, there is a little tan-colored dust-stuff on the bottom that I keep vacuuming but it eventually reappears. I'm not sure if it's pollen -- there is plenty falling in the water. with a cottonwood tree in my neighbor's yard -- or the dreaded yellow algae? How can I tell the difference? It's possible to move the stuff with a brush. I've been "sweeping" it into a little pile and vacuuming it up, but then it'll need to do it again in 3 days. It doesn't seem to reappear in the same place. I'm guessing pollen, but hoped for your opinion. Swimming in the pool did not seem to make it cloudy. It's still very clear!
    Mustard Algae normally prefers the walls. I'd bet it's pollen.
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    Should I keep pump running?

    It's definitely on the bottom, so that's good news! I'm in a rural area of Wisconsin, surrounded by farms and trees. Found a mouse in my skimmer yesterday, so apparently lots of things are falling in the pool.

    Two more questions:

    1) Should I keep the pump running while I wait for my test kit? It's been going 24/7 since the stabilizer was added.

    2) Is it safe to swim, or should we wait on that too?

    Thanks so very much for your kind replies,
    Melyssa
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    I'm in a very rural area too. Lots of dust, especially while field operations are going on. Lot's of extra pump run time to clear dust. As long as you can see the bottom and you have ~3ppm FC (assuming low CYA), you are safe to swim.
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    Melyssa,

    Welcome O Mighty Cheesehead! (This from a former Flatlander!)

    I would bet that the "bucket of shock" is sometype of dichlor based granular shock? If so, it has stabilizer in it. Does the bucket the pool folks gave you have the ingredients listed? And yes, if the water is clear keep that pump running a minimum of 12 hours. If the water is cloudy, go for 24/7.
    CaryB
    36 x 18 IG vinyl, 25K, 1 HP pump, sand filter
    1 skimmer, 2 returns, no main drain
    Old school: PoolSolutions test kit

  14. Back To Top    #14

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    Test kit is still not here; took water to pool store

    My test still hasn't arrived, so I took some water to the pool store. Here are yesterday's results from their "PINPOINT computerized water analysis system":

    Free Chlorine 0.3
    Total Chlorine 0.5
    Combined Chlorine 0.2
    pH 7.2
    Cyanuric Acid 54
    Total Alkalinity 112
    Adjusted Total Alkalinity 97
    Temperature 75F

    I'm happy that everything looks good except chlorine! After reading the posts here, I realize that it just took a while for the Cyanuric Acid to show on the test.

    I have this type of shock: OMNI Breakout Extra: Calcium Hypochlorite 47%, Clarifyer/Scale Inhibitor/Filtration Enhancer 53%. I think this is low in chlorine, which would explain why I had to use so much, but I'm interested in your opinions. It doesn't seem to have stabilizer in it, which would explain why the pool couldn't hold chlorine until the stabilizer was added despite the massive amount of shock.

    What's your advice about using this shock to raise my chlorine level? Should I try it, or go buy some bleach?

    Thanks!
    Melyssa

    P.S. The cheese here really is quite wonderful.
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Without know your calcium hardness level, I can't tell you whether cal-hypo is a good choice.
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    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  16. Back To Top    #16

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    Sorry, I didn't know that was important.
    Calcium Hardness: 203

    Also:
    Saturation Index: -.30
    Total Dissolved Solids: 0
    Copper: 0
    Iron: 0
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  17. Back To Top    #17
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    I love posts that start with "Why would a pool store...."

    Why would they tell me when I had CYA levels of over 100, "not to worry about that" and to add Calcium to my Vinyl AGP? (I went in to ask about brown stains on the bottom of my pool)

    90% of pool stores and their employees (there are exceptions - wink-wink) will not give you the correct information or explain "why" because they don't know or understand it themselves.

    Why would they sell me over $60 of metal sequesterant without inquiring if I had a mineral reservoir adding metals to my pool? hehehehe

    Sorry for all the sarcasm...I'm in a wierd mood.

    Add bleach! Everything else looks good!
    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
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  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by singerteacher
    Sorry, I didn't know that was important.
    Calcium Hardness: 203

    Also:
    Saturation Index: -.30
    Total Dissolved Solids: 0
    Copper: 0
    Iron: 0
    Cal hypo is fine right now. Your calcium is not that high. I would not use it if your calcium was at about 300 ppm. You are right that 47% cal hypo doesn't have that much chlorine. 68-73% cal hypo is becoming very hard to find because it is a class III oxidizer (the stuff you have is a class II oxidizer) and it requires special handling and insurance for distributors because it can cause fire and explosions if stored improperly in warehouses.

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Thanks much. Since I have the calcium hypochloride on hand, I think I'll use that. Should I add 12 lbs, as I did before, and then test after an hour? Any suggestions for "dosing"?
    -----------------------------------
    26000 gal, in-ground, vinyl pool
    Hayward S200 sand filter, 1 skimmer, 2 returns
    BBB since the first month! :-)

  20. Back To Top    #20
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    Ballpark figure is that one pound of 47% should raise FC in the neighborhood of 5 ppm in 10000 gallons. Use that as a starting point for dosing and test about an hour later.

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