A friend referenced your site as the best for the scientific and DIY home handyman questions I would have

casius

Member
Jul 27, 2020
5
Silicon Valley, CA
I try to stick to facts instead of guesses.

A friend referenced your site as the best for the scientific and DIY home handyman questions I was asking him! :)
Mainly I'm hoping to learn how to maintain & repair my system as inexpensively as possible.

I'm here for scientific answers, and handyman solutions, mostly.

A bit about my pool background is that I've recently re-opened & refilled the 30K gallon pool with well water two months ago, and am bringing it into balance ever so slowly with a few issues to overcome, where I've read EVERYTHING I can find on the net on pool chemistry (and where I have a science degree so I'm aware most of what's on the net is lacking in details).

The self-cleaning system isn't working well (there are no vacuum ports) so I'm manually brushing, vacuuming & skimming daily, and I'll eventually replace that problematic PCC2000 with a vacuum but that requires plumbing and a pump, so it's a longer-term solution.

My initial problem sets that I will be asking in the appropriate forums for scientific advice are (in order of priority importance):
a. Get the pool chemistry to proper static balance
b. Fix the most critical broken or degraded eqipment (heaters, heater controls, spa jet motor, pop-up cleaning, portable tools)
c. Replace the self-cleaning system (over time) with a more reliable setup

I'm slowly getting to water balance, where my last Leslie's readings were:
FC = 2.88 mg/L
TC = 2.98 mg/L
pH = 7.7
TA = 200 mg/L (should be around 100)
CH = 165 mg/L (should be at least 200)
CYA = 40 mg/L (I brought it up from well water with the granules)
Iron = 0.1 mg/L
Copper = 0.1 mg/L
Phosphates = 0 mg/L
TDS = 450 mg/L

Water is perfectly clear, no algae, temperature is in the high 70s F and low 80s F, only "visible" problems are a fine dust on the plaster and pollen, bugs, and seeds from nearby plants blown into the pool daily. I run the pumps manually daily, and when needed.

I'm a firm believer in HASA 12.5% liquid chlorine (about $4 per gallon in the Silicon Valley), where I add about 1/2 gallon daily at dusk. I've been adding a half gallon of 31.5% HASA muriatic acid ever couple of days and manually aerating to lower the alkalinity.

I need to attack calcium once I get the TA in balance.

Mainly I need to fix/replace equipment as inexpensively & durably as possible.

One perplexing problem I'll ask on the appropriate forums is for scientific help to identify is a fine white dust daily on all the pool plaster surfaces which I need to diagnose as it's not likely algae, nor is it a new pool, nor is the calcium level high (it's too low). I've read everything on this, but what's missing is a way to IDENTIFY the components of that dust chemically (although it's almost impossible to gather up in your fingers but it comes off in swirls with a wire brush).

In summary, I'm here to fight the pool chemistry & equipment and win using scientific brains, but not money (only two people use the pool and I'm the only one with handyman and chemistry experience and I hate wasting money at the pool supply store, particularly since what they sell is overpriced plastic and unnecessary goop in my humble opinion) - where I hope your scientific brains can help me solve my chemistry & repair problems.

Over time (years), I hope to replace the problematic pop-up cleaning system with a pool vacuum (which I can add since the pipes were put in by the pool builder, Lifetime Pools, but there's no pump), where I've rebuilt pumps and done PVC plumbing and replaced Jandy valves, etc..

Mostly, I'm a regular guy, scientifically inclined, who needs your scientific brains to help me solve my problems. :)
 
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casius

Member
Jul 27, 2020
5
Silicon Valley, CA
Hi mknauss,
Thanks for your suggestion to:
a. Read about the ABCs of Pool Chemistry (which I've read and where I've read EVERYTHING I can find on the net already).
b. Ask about the specific issues in the appropriate forums.

Mostly I wanted to simply explain WHY I'm here (i.e., to pick your scientific & handyman brains!) where I'm a detail oriented person. :)

I'm hoping to find science here, and not what I mostly find on the net, which is pool-store "bro science", in my humble opinion.
:)
 

bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
6,407
Central MD
Hi mknauss,
Thanks for your suggestion to:
a. Read about the ABCs of Pool Chemistry (which I've read and where I've read EVERYTHING I can find on the net already).
b. Ask about the specific issues in the appropriate forums.

Mostly I wanted to simply explain WHY I'm here (i.e., to pick your scientific & handyman brains!) where I'm a detail oriented person. :)

I'm hoping to find science here, and not what I mostly find on the net, which is pool-store "bro science", in my humble opinion.
:)
Haha, you can have as much or as little science as you want here. The ultimate advice is the same, but it comes with ketchup, carolina reaper chile pepper or anything in between. ;)
 
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Mike1162

Silver Supporter
Jun 13, 2015
717
N Tonawanda, NY
Welcome to TroubleFreePool!
We advocate testing your own water & not trusting pool store testing which is often inaccurate.
Most of us use the TF-100 kit from tftestkits.net
The SpeedStir is also a popular option, also from tftestkits.net. If you get the SpeedStir I'd also reccommend getting two extra stirring bars.

The other biggie is holding chlorine to the levels in this chart - Chlorine/CYA Chart
 
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PoolNewb2020

Well-known member
May 7, 2020
297
Lathrop, CA
This site is great and I'm sure the experts here will give you all the help they can. However, they will not be able to do so if you do not test the water yourself with a proper test kit. Test strips and pool store testing is too unreliable to be trusted.
There are two test kits recommended on here, Tf100 and Taylor K2006C. Both of them use the same reagents, however the TF100 is more suited for a home user as it gives more of the reagents for the tests that are needed more often, like FAS-DPD and CYA, and less of the other ones. Taylor kit has all the same reagent bottles.

In the meantime, download the Pool Math app and use it to calculate the volume of liquid chlorine needed for 5ppm worth of daily additions. Add 5ppm worth of chlorine daily until your test kit arrives.
Stop adding muriatic acid until you have your test kit.
 
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casius

Member
Jul 27, 2020
5
Silicon Valley, CA
The ultimate advice is the same, but it comes with ketchup, carolina reaper chile pepper or anything in between.
Thanks for that advice on the ketchup, where my main goal is science, and where I'm quite well apprised that the pool stores sell unnecessary "liquids" as much as they sell expensive cheap "plastics", neither of which fit my two main goals of:
a. Maintaining my pool myself economically, and,
b. Maintaining the smallest useful set of good tools possible.

We advocate testing your own water & not trusting pool store testing which is often inaccurate.
Most of us use the TF-100 kit from tftestkits.net
The other biggie is holding chlorine to the levels in this chart - Chlorine/CYA Chart
Thanks for the warm welcome, where I've read everything on the net I could find, and hence I'm quite well informed that the green/yellow/black algacides, for example, aren't needed (and are essentially the same thing), and I'm prepared when they tell me I need to lower my phosphates (even as I don't have algae as my "algacide" is chlorine, so to speak) and I'm aware of the CYA buildup pitfalls of the dichlor/triclor which is why I use only HASA 12.5% liquid chlorine by the case, and with only two adult swimmers, there are no chloramines to speak of, so I don't regularly "shock" (used as a verb) all that much unless I goof like I go on vacation or whatever and the water turns green because of a boo boo on my part, and where I'm balancing new water at the moment where I know what to do, in general, but the water doesn't always cooperate - which is where I'll be asking for advice (e.g., aeration is a PITA when you don't have any water features).

I'm also well aware that the pool stores don't take into account the "locked up" chlorine in the CYA, where I added a few pounds of the granular CYA (appropriatrely socked in the skimmer with the popup pump running) to bring it to the current level of 40 ppm (aka 40 mg/L).

As for accuracy at the pool store, the TA went from about 200 on 7/23 to 225 on 7/28 without me doing anything other than about a half gallon of 12.5% HASA liquid chlorine a day and adding 31.5% HASA muriatic acid every couple of days in half-gallon increments to lower the pH/TA while the filter pump and popup pump was running, where I did as much "manual aeration" as possible (splashing and using a garden hose to add water to replace minor evaporation) to bubble out the CO2 (at about 78 to about 83 degrees F), where my "chemistry" problem is I didn't even think it was possible for the TA to go up without me adding anything alkaline.
Q: How does the TA go up without adding anything alkaline?

In the meantime, download the Pool Math app and use it to calculate the volume of liquid chlorine needed for 5ppm worth of daily additions. Add 5ppm worth of chlorine daily until your test kit arrives.
Thanks for that advice, where my main problem with the otherwise excellent and well-written "Pool Math app" (which I have installed long ago) is that it requires a login (either this site, AppleID, FaceBook, or GoogleID), and since I'm a tech professional who cares greatly about basic human privacy, I don't use any app that requires a login on any of my Android or iOS devices (I don't even use a Google login on my phone for privacy reasons).
* Pool Math by Troublefreepools

There are pool math apps which don't require a login, but I don't wish to openly advertise them here, but they certainly exist as I use them daily, and if anyone reading this wants me to privately give them a pointer, even the admins, I'd be glad to, since I'm a very firm believer in basic human privacy where an app to do pool math shouldn't need a login, in my humblest of opinions (but maybe I don't know why the login is necessary to run pool math).

For my pool, in sunshine all day, every day (with a goal of 100 for TA and 300 for CH)... if I punch in 78 degrees F with CYA at 40 mg/L using 12.5% liquid chlorine in 30K gallons, with a current FC level of 2 mg/L & a target of 1ppm higher (i.e., 3 mg/L), and given I punched in a current pH of 7.6, & TA of 200 & CH of 175, the pool math app I use tells me to "Add 30.68 oz of 12.5% bleach".

Unfortunately, that no-login pool math app doesn't have any concept of sunlight exposure, so I add roughly about 1/2 gallon daily, but it varies depending on the test-kit readings of course.

Using another no-login pool math app, and punching in the same numbers, nets similar results of "Add 30 fl. oz. bleach", and it also calculates a CSI of 0.23 (with a goal of 0.12 based on the goal numbers I punched in) and a LSI of 0.28 (with a goal of 0.23). Unfortunately, that no-login pool math app also has no concept of sunlight exposure, where my exposure to sunlight is direct, unrelenting, and daily (there is no cover on the pool, nor an ounce of shade).

My main issues, at the moment, is IDENTIFYING the composition of a fine white dust which I brush to the deep end daily, where my filters are huge and clean (I cleaned them myself) and where the dust is so fine that it's impossible to "capture" in a garden-hose vacuum sock, nor is it possible to pinch it in your fingers.

The IDENTIFICATION of the composition of the dust is my chemistry problem, although I do very much realize and understand that I need to get the pool balanced before I delve too deeply into that problem set (e.g., my CH is low and my TA is high, where I'm attacking TA first, as CH seems simple enough to resolve by adding calcium chloride).

The other issue I'm hoping for advice on is I hope to find some DIY aficianados on this forum who can benefit from the hints that I have found out (e.g., replacing the cheap expensive plastic handle spring clips with stainless steel bolts) and who can help me (e.g., 3D printing models of those fragile manual pool vacuum wheels, which I found on the net and those nice 3D printed clips for holding 60 feet of vacuum hose in nice loops, for example, that I found on the net).

In summary, my main two reasons for being here, given I've read everything I can on the net already, are:
a. Identify & solve some of the basic chemistry problems (e.g., the composition of that fine white dust), and,
b. Disseminate & learn new tricks for DIY replacements for otherwise expensive cheap pool store plastics.

Much appreciated your advice, where I realize that most people might not be as privacy conscious as I am; but then again, I doubt most people know what I know about computer privacy holes. :)
 
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Bigpaws

Active member
Mar 29, 2020
33
Wilkes-Barre Pa
For my pool hose I use ladder hooks in a series to create a track that my hose can lay in.
I use a regular vacuum to vacuum the pool a couple times a week. At some point will be
investing in a robot to reduce the manual vacuuming. No additional pumps or pipes needed.

My pool is averaging 100 Oz of 10% chlorine a day. The pool is in direct sunlight 7 hours a
day. The cya in the pool is 40 so lower than yours.

I test much more than most so I use a lot of reagent. You can order larger quantities of the
reagents like R 0871 in 16 oz is much cheaper in the long run.

-Bigpaws
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
14,408
Evans, Georgia
Let me introduce you to the non-registering web version of PoolMath, TFP's handy dandy app. I iike this version myself as I can enter my actual numbers in one column and play around with the numbers in the second column to see how it changes everything up.


Maddie
 

JoeSelf

Gold Supporter
Jun 18, 2014
728
Glassboro, NJ
If your CYA is 40. Your FC @ 2 its too low for your CYA and that stuff is dead algea. FC/CYA Chart

You need to add everyday to be above the minimum, never falling below. Target higher to account for losses to the sun and swimmers. Normal losses are 2-4 during summer. I target high to account for my wedding cake steps that are like a wall in the pool. I need to have FC above minimum in the DEAD ZONE.

Try out the web page. And i used to use pool pal, but go with POOL MATH app to support the site.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
1,519
Prosper, TX (DFW)
After you get your test kit, you can perform an OCLT to see if your chlorine is being used up fighting organics and contributing to your "daily dust". If it is, then you can follow the SLAM process to kill the algae and end the dust forever. If that's not what it is, we can look at filter issues next.

I cant help you with the cleaning system, but post away on those specific questions and I'm sure someone can.

 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,308
Tallahassee, FL
Here is input on "testing" what the stuff is in the pool...............a turkey baster! Use this to suck up some of the stuff. Put a paper towel in a strainer and squirt out the turkey baster. Let the stuff dry and we can go from there to see what it is.
 

Rossterman

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2016
503
Martinez, CA
Once you get one of the 2 quality test kits and complete a testing round, post results and folks can provide any info as to adjustments. Also good reading is the fc/cya chart which outlines recommended Fc levels based on Cya level.
 

casius

Member
Jul 27, 2020
5
Silicon Valley, CA
Here is input on "testing" what the stuff is in the pool...............a turkey baster! Use this to suck up some of the stuff. Put a paper towel in a strainer and squirt out the turkey baster. Let the stuff dry and we can go from there to see what it is.
That's a GREAT idea to buy a turkey baster, particularly since I have a microscope at home.

THANKS!

I ran out and bought a turkey baster where you can see it easily picked up the fine white daily dust that my fingers couldn't!

You can see my footprint in the picture below where the daily dust is extremely fine & it covers all wet surfaces.
 

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kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
46,308
Tallahassee, FL
This is going to be interesting to see what it dries out like. It sure did "cloudy" up that water in the cup! Now go pour it onto a paper towel inside a strainer.
 

skimmerswimmer

Well-known member
Jul 30, 2013
360
Long Island, NY
Agree on the chlorine levels, yours is too low for your CYA level. Recommended FC level is where most of the Internet and pool stores get it wrong. If adding chlorine once per day, you should target the high side of the recommended range, so in your case 7-8 PPM FC with CYA of 40.

If you really like science, try this paper by Richard Falk on the FC/CYA relationship:

Richard was known on this forum as ChemGeek I believe.
 
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casius

Member
Jul 27, 2020
5
Silicon Valley, CA
Agree on the chlorine levels, yours is too low for your CYA level. Recommended FC level is where most of the Internet and pool stores get it wrong. If adding chlorine once per day, you should target the high side of the recommended range, so in your case 7-8 PPM FC with CYA of 40.

If you really like science, try this paper by Richard Falk on the FC/CYA relationship:

Richard was known on this forum as ChemGeek I believe.
Wow. I LOVE that paper!
* The 
Chlorine
/
Cyanuric 
Acid
 Relationship
 and 
Implications 
for
 Nitrogen
 Trichloride

Thanks! That's EXACTLY why I'm here... to get real chemisty advice (and DIY pool equipment suggestions).

What's really nice is that is that paper is so well respected, many others cite it!
* Patent #US20150119245A1: Method for producing shelf stable hypochlorous acid solutions
* Results Of Study May Change Guidance On The Use Of Chlorine Stabilizers In Swimming Pools
* Six factors that weaken chlorine in swimming pools
* Orendatech Pillar 4: minimal CYA
* Orenda Five Things to know about Cyanuric Acid
* The complex world of oxidation reduction potential
* CYA’s Role In Chlorine’s Efficacy Questioned
* Cyanuric Acid/Chlorine: It’s All About Ratio
* Ad Hoc Committee Report on Stabilizer Use
* Fresh thoughs on cyanuric acid
* Chlorine CYA Ratio (pdf)
* Liquid Chlorine Raises pH, or Does it?
* Results of a New Study May Change Guidance on the Use of Chlorine Stabilizers in Swimming Pools
* New Thinking: Chlorine/Cyanuric Acid In Balance
* The Great Cyanurate Debate
* Cyanuric Acid, Ratios, And Problematic Models
* Advanced chemistry & its impact on disinfection (quotes Falk on page 22)

And, on this TFP forum:
* Health department rules on FC/CYA ratios
* Equilibria in aqueous solutions of chlorinated isocyanurate (O'Brien)
* TFP Chlorine / CYA Chart

And by Richard Falk himself:
* Assessing the impact of cyanuric acid on bather's risk of gastointestinal illness at swimming pools, by Richard Falk
* A possible strategy for ameliorating chlorination problems in swimming pools, by Richard Falk
* Cyanuric Acid: It’s Not Just About Crypto (speaker Richard Falk)
* Meet Richard Falk, Voice of the CMAHC Cyanurate Ad Hoc Committee
* Cyanuric Acid Debate (with Richard Falk, committee member)
* Suggestions for Improvement to 2009 CPO Handbook, by Richard A. Falk

Obviously I have a lot of reading homework!
 

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mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
380
Melbourne, Australia
Hey casius,

welcome to the forum!

If you are scientifically minded and want the "real deal" to calculate your pool chemistry, then check out Richard's PoolEquations spreadsheet, see the link in this post:

It wasn't really created for "public" use, but with the instructions in this post you should be able to work it out:

The spreadsheet basically solves the equilibrium equations from the O'Brien paper: