This is mainly a big thank you to TFP, and partly a request for a reality check on what I’ve settled on chemistry-wise. I just joined about a month ago, and I have some questions, but thought that perhaps I should make sure I had the chemistry right before I bothered you all with other things. For what it’s worth, I’ve been reading on average 2-3 hours a day since I found this forum. Very interesting and helpful stuff!
I gave some details of how this adventure started out in my “Introduce Yourself” post back on 12 August, so I’ll try to keep it simple here. I took over the pool about 2 months ago after firing the Creature from the Green Lagoon that my wife and I now refer to as “The Pool Fool”. The pool was green 4-5 days a week for several years and was really, really green when I took over. He had installed (at my expense, of course) an automatic chlorinator and was using trichlor pucks as the primary source of chlorine.
I started at Leslie’s. Spent about $200 and still had a green pool. Talked to 6 different people in the 6 visits I made there before discovering this forum. They had me shocking with dichlor and also insisted that we jack up the TA.
I finally got rid of the algae on my own by following along with the stuff I found here, and the pool has been very nice since. I’ve been checking the overnight FC loss once a week since, and everything’s been fine. Also, no CC readings above 0.2 ppm since the initial shock treatment.
I’ve been checking the pH, FC and CC each day when I get home from work about 6 pm and adjusting (using the Pool Calculator) to just over the mid-range recommended for FC at my CYA number. I’ve been checking the TA, CH and CYA each Sunday. FYI, I’m using a Taylor K-2006 kit that I bought while reading another pool forum prior to finding this one.
By the time I’d finished wresting control of the pool from the Pool Fool and Leslie’s, the CYA was about 90 ppm as near as I can tell from the rotten testing done at Leslie’s. From vacuuming algae carcasses to waste and normal backwashing, and getting rid of rainwater, I have managed to lower this to 50 ppm. Since we get a lot of sun here, I decided to hold it there.
An aside here, if you don’t mind. I think (from my reading here) that what happened to my pool in the first place is that the Pool Fool was using the trichlor pucks, but still figured maintaining a few ppm of chlorine would be sufficient. So no big surprise that the pool turned green a day or two after he left (he would add liquid chlorine when he came by every week or so). In hindsight I see that the algae problems started aftert the chlorinator arrived on the scene. Anyway, after reading over and over here about pucks and CYA, I got mad and cut the chlorinator out of the line. It was a constant source of air leaks anyway. I asked Julie if I could throw it through the Pool Fool’s front window, but she said no. She also nixed the idea of hanging it in effigy from one of the palms in our yard and insisted that I just put it in the rubbish can. At least I got the pleasure of kicking, not carrying, it around the house to the can, picturing the Fool with each kick. Yes, I know I should rise above such base thoughts. I’m working on it.
Back on track now, concerning the pH and TA, Leslie’s had raised the TA to a bit above 100 ppm, which had my pH moving upward fairly quickly. After more reading here, I’ve slowly lowered that to 80 ppm, which holds the pH at 7.5. We (meaning the 9-year old and I) like 7.5, as it seems easiest on our eyes, even though it is at the low end of your recommended range.
I have the CH at 350 ppm, which is a little high maybe, but I’d read posts by waterbear and mbar suggesting that somewhat higher values might reduce staining problems in a fiberglass pool, so I did this because I do have some stains that I want to ask about later on. Also chem geek mentioned possible problems with some gel coats if the CH was too low. Finally, from talking to other pool owners around here, I’ve learned that many of the fiberglass owners keep the CH on the order to 400 ppm. In any case, I settled on 350 ppm. Note that according to the Pool Calculator, the CSI for my numbers is very close to zero.
So in summary, the numbers I’m maintaining are:
FC is adjusted daily based on the Pool Calculator using 10% bleach
CC has never been above 0.2 ppm since I got rid of the algae
pH = 7.5
TA = 80 ppm
CH = 350 ppm
CYA = 50 ppm
Temp is presently 84 degrees
Again, thanks very much to everyone on this forum. If you have any comments on what I’ve settled on I’d appreciate hearing them. As I said above, I’ve read your stuff for many, many hours, but it’s very likely that I’ve misunderstood some things.
P.S. Sorry for the length of this post and the inevitable (for me) meandering, but please be patient with this simple professor. Did you know that Webster’s defines a professor as “Someone who prefers the sound of his own voice to food”?