Am I getting hosed?

Sep 28, 2020
6
San Antonio, TX
Moved into a house about 2 months ago with a roughly 30,000 gallon in-ground gunite pool. The guy who had been maintaining it for the previous owners showed up a few times to clean and adjust the chemicals, but then went AWOL. After about a month of not hearing from him, I hired a company to come out and start doing regular maintenance. Here's what they measured my chemicals at:

Free Chlorine - 0.5
Total Alkalinity - 160-170
pH - 8

Those are the only measurements I got.

I was told that my stabilizer levels are way too high and we'll need to drain and acid/power rinse the pool. I was quoted $700 for the job.

The pool looks clear currently, but I know with the chemistry being off it's just a matter of time until the algae creeps in. But googling around, $700 just seems way higher than the average cost to drain and clean a pool. Should I be shopping around? I know things can vary by region, so I will say I'm in San Antonio, TX.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
1,647
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Why do they also want to clean the walls? Are they stained? Typically high CYA is reduced by simply partially draining and replacing the water with fresh water that does not contain CYA.

We can guide you through the process, and it will only cost you the water to refill it. First step would be to make sure you have a quality test kit so we know what we are dealing with. If you need one, the TF-100 in my signature is the preferred test kit.

This site is all about doing your own testing and maintaining your own pool. Do you have any interest in firing your pool maintenance company? Typically they maintain your pool with pucks, which contain CYA, which is how you got here. Hopefully you will maintain it yourself and break that puck/high CYA cycle.
 
Sep 28, 2020
6
San Antonio, TX
There is some slight staining on the bottom of the pool, but nothing worth fussing over. I assume they want to clean it because they get paid to do so?

My goal is indeed to be able to maintain the pool myself, but I am quite new to this. I thought I would begin by hiring someone to take care of things so I could have some time to educate myself, but being slapped with a $700 bill right out the gate has me rethinking that approach.

I'll pick up some of the test kits you recommend.
 

Turbo1Ton

Gold Supporter
Dec 26, 2019
271
NE Oklahoma
I found it best to learn by doing. The TFP method of pool care is really easy. The first time you test your own water while paying a pool guy to take care of it, you'll want to get rid of him anyway. :laughblue:

Read through the ABC's of pool water chemistry and the pool care basics in Pool School, and you'll start to understand. It is all about understanding the chemicals you are putting into your pool and what they do. Most (I won't say all because there may be some out there) pool guys and the pool stores won't care about your pool, the way you do.

--Jeff
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,812
Northern NJ
No big deal to draining the pool. You are mostly paying them to stand around while the water is flowing out or being filled.

You just need a submersible utility pump and garden hose or you can rent a higher capacity pump and hose at HD and get the drain done a lot faster.



For the stains follow our guide..

 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
20,821
$700.00 might be reasonable depending on exactly what they are going to do.

If they manage the entire process and refill and balance, it's probably a good deal.

However, it might not be necessary at all.

Post a full set of test results from your own test kit and we can go from there.
 
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Sep 28, 2020
6
San Antonio, TX
I went and picked up one of the Taylor test kits from Leslie's. While I was there I had them run their own test so I could compare the results. I followed the instructions in this video

My measurements:
Free Chlorine = 2 ppm
Total Chlorine = 1
Combined Chlorine = 1
pH = 8.0
Total Alkalinity = 210
Calcium Hardness = 760 ppm
Cyanuric Acid = off the chart
PXL_20200929_180001403.jpg

Leslies's Measurements:
Free Chlorine = 1.49
Total Chlorine = 1.54
pH = 7.9
Total Alkalinity = 115* (adjusted due to effect of CyA on tested Total Alkalinity)
Calcium Hardness = 603
Cyanuric Acid = 172
Iron = 0
Copper = 0
Phosphates = 540
TDS = 1100
 

ComputerGuyInNOLA

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 20, 2012
686
Mandeville, Louisiana
You are off to a good start! Members will weigh in and help get everything balanced. Your calcium and CYA are way to high which will require some draining to fix. You will need to check your water table to make sure the pool does not pop out of the ground when you do drain. If you have scaling due to the high calcium you can drain, pressure wash or acid wash, and start with new fill water. I knew absolutely nothing about pool care until I joined this site. Now all my neighbors come to me for help. Pretty soon you will be a pro. Good luck and welcome to the forum. Also, Run a test on your tap water to see what You will be dealing with when you refill the pool.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
19,812
Northern NJ
My measurements:
Free Chlorine = 2 ppm
Total Chlorine = 1
Combined Chlorine = 1
pH = 8.0
Total Alkalinity = 210
Calcium Hardness = 760 ppm
Cyanuric Acid = off the chart
No point in dwelling on your current water chemistry when you will reset it with an 80% water replacement.

Test the pH, TA and CH of your fill water. That will tell you where you will be restarting from.

For future information if your CYA is off the charts then do the following...


If your CYA level is 90 or higher, repeat the test adjusting the procedure as follows:
  1. Fill the mixing bottle to the lower mark with pool water.
  2. Continue filling the mixing bottle to the upper mark with tap water.
  3. Shake briefly to mix.
  4. Pour off half of the contents of the mixing bottle, so it is again filled to the lower mark.
  5. Continue the test normally filling with R-0013, but multiply the final result by two.

If you need to dilute the pool water further then apply these ratios:


Pool waterTap or distilled waterMultiply result by
112
123
145

Note that when doing a diluted test not only do you multiply the range of the test you multiply the error rate of the test, so results are a ballpark - not an absolute.

See CYA Testing for tips in how to read the test results.