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Thread: Acceptable CYA level question

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Acceptable CYA level question

    Hi gang.

    Heres my dilema. My pool was algaed out. After reading the forums here and gaining much needed info, I bought a test kit that would enable me to test the entire pool water chemistry. While testing, I discovered my CYA level was well over 100. Well above the acceptable level as posted by some of the experienced moderators on this site. The excessive CYA level also explained why I was unable to effectively shock the pool before I started reading the forum on TFP, because I could not get the free cholrine to shock level with the CYA being so high. I immediately partially drained the pool to eliminate some of the excessive CYA. After doing that, I successfully started up the pool, treated accordingly with necessary chemicals and all my readings are currently in acceptable ranges as I type this post which is why I am not posting my numbers and the pool is currently sparkling clear. Heres my question, prior to draining the pool, when it was still full of algae, I was paying a pool service company which I wont name, a monthly fee to maintain all of my chemical levels. Their service technican was coming once a week and and just treating the pool with chlorine. Ofcourse, the technican could not get the free cholrine level to acceptable shock level with the CYA being so high BEFORE I drained it. That did not seem to matter to him. He just treated with chlorine and departed, not caring about the exsisting algae which he never effectively treated.

    I wrote a letter to the General Manager of this pool service company and asked him to explain to me why I should continue to utilize their service when they never effectively treated the exsisting algae. I explained to him exactly what I witnessed the technican do, which was just treat with chlorine AND THATS ALL HE DID. I never saw the technician test the CYA level. I explained in my letter, that I had to drain the pool after doing internet research myself , start it up, purchase a $100 test kit and take time off from work to covertly witness exactly what testing procedures his technician was doing (or not doing). His response to me was this. His company routinely keeps the CYA level at a minimum of 150 PPM and in some cases they maintain the CYA level at 200 PPM. Now, I'm knowledgable enough to know (after reading TFP) that with a CYA level of 150 -200, that would require an inordinate amount of free chlorine to reach the required SHOCK level to eliminate the algae, which would explain why this company failed to effectively treat and eliminate my algae problem even though that is what I have been paying them to do. At this point I'm waiting for a return call from this company as I'm curious to know how they reach a free chlorine shock level when the CYA is 150 -200? However, after reading TFP and doing everything else I already outlined BY MYSELF, I am inclined to cancel the service and take care of the pool myself. My question to the pros here is this; does a routine CYA level of 150-200 as described to me by this company's general mgr sound accurate and acceptable? It seems to be in direct conflict with everything I've read on this forum and I'm slightly confused. Please help. I would rather cancel the service and save my money instead of paying incompetent people who cannot effectively eliminate or figure out why my pool originally went to algae. The mgr also told me that his company only tests CYA levels every 2 - 3 weeks and not every service call? Thank you for your help and suggestions!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    MikeInTN's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Middle Tennessee

    Re: Acceptable CYA level question

    Howdy, and welcome to TFP!

    As you know from your own experience, a CYA level of 150-200 is NOT acceptable at all. The quantity of chlorine needed to just maintain the required FC needed for sanitation would be huge, much less trying to reach shock levels.

    Unfortunately, I do think that the mainstream pool service industry believes that high CYA levels are acceptable, so the manager of the pool service may be stating what he's been told by the industry (at least I think I've read that somewheres before). Testing CYA just a couple of times isn't that uncommon, especially if you're not trying to adjust the level. I test my CYA maybe once a month, if that, but I have mine adjusted to where I need it.

    If your pool service refuses to service your pool as you see fit, then I would send them on their way and do it yourself, if you have the time and inclination to do so. I maintain my pool, and it takes all of 5 minutes a day to do so. I rarely have to add anything (I have a saltwater chlorine generator), and I've shocked only once since I opened the pool back in June, and that was when I initially opened it.
    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!"

  3. Back To Top    #3
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Acceptable CYA level question

    There is a way to maintain pools at extremely high CYA levels, but it doesn't sound like your pool company knows what it is. When a pool with extremely high CYA levels has algae you have to add on the order of 50 ppm of chlorine. Special care must also be taken to buffer the PH changes that result from the addition and then consumption of that quantity of chlorine. There are also other complications that they need to be aware of. Special test equipment is required to be able to measure PH when the FC level is that high and the CYA measurement is also more complex. All rather annoying but not impossible.

    The big advantage of extremely high CYA levels is that they can add chlorine only once a week and still expect to see a reasonable FC level a week later. That can be a significant advantage for a service company that only comes over once a week. But if they are using this approach they need to know what they are doing and have the correct equipment to be able to do it correctly.

    If they left the pool with algae for more than one visit then they are incompetent. One visit I can excuse, they might have tried something and had it not work. But by the second visit, if there is still algae, then they really ought to have done something to take care of it for sure.
    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

  4. Back To Top    #4
    TizMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Covington, Georgia

    Re: Acceptable CYA level question

    tdown74, like Mike says I spend maybe 5 -10 mins each night or every other night to do a water test. I would tell the pool people to take a hike and do it yourself!

    You know the saying ......
    Don't have a pool right now. Just sharing what I have learned over the years!
    Helpful Links:
    Pool School,Pool Calculator,Cl/CYA Shock Chart,TF Test Kit
    Doing BBB and loving it!

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: Acceptable CYA level question

    First, I'd either let the service contract lapse ASAP or terminate it, whichever is in the best interest of you.

    Second, I've only been taking care of my pool for 3 years (still a noob?). I spend 5-10 minutes a day checking the chlorine and Ph levels and brushing it, and that's with teenagers and daytime pool parties. The salt-water generator helps, but I use the BBB method until June 1st of each year as the water is too cool for the SWG to kick in.
    I used to check the CYA every week until I read enough and convinced myself that it didn't make sense to do it unless there was a very heavy rainstorm (in NC we're in a drought so that's not too likely ) or when I open the pool in April.

    A neighbor of mine has seen been comparing my clear pool and his Baquacil mess. I've been able to convince them to move to the BBB method from Baquacil, and we live in the middle of 80' oak trees so there's always 'organic matter' floating down.

    There is a lot to be said for the "Do-It-Yourself" method!
    Triad Region of NC
    18x37 Vinyl IG (24,000 gal.), BBB & GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 SWG, Hayward 1 HP Superpump / Hayward Sand Filter / Polaris 280 cleaner / 6 deck jets / Sheer Descent Waterfall (in coping) / Brick Red Concrete Coping / Stamped Concrete Deck
    Lots of oak trees, maple trees, *and* leaves!

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Acceptable CYA level question

    Thank you very much gentleman. I've decided to cancel my pool service when my contract lapses and start utilizing all the info I have learned on this wonderful website.
    Thanks again!

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