Chemicals Slipping Out of Control....

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
I am ready to pull my hair out. We are going into our third season as pool owners. We have a 12,000 gallon in ground gunite pool. Last year we noticed this awful staining on our pool. We called the guy who opens and closes our pools and he explained it was likely a metal and we couldn't do anything about it until winter because chlorine had to be zero to treat.

In March, we treated the pool with Vitamin C and watched the stain clear up before our eyes. We were amazed! Our pool guy explained that we needed to treat the pool with Metal Free to get rid of the metal in the water and then be careful to bring the chlorine level up slowly. So we did that. We poured in one bottle of Metal Free, waited a week or so and then poured in another bottle. Then we filled our chlorinator duck with the 3" chlorine tablets and slowly started bringing our chlorine up.

We were doing GREAT.

After about a month we brought a water sample to the pool store to be tested. We explained what we did and they tested for metals and there were none in the water. Whoo hoo!

They said it was time to shock our pool and to add two pounds of shock.

We listened to them.

The next morning we had a green pool and that was when the fight began.

I called and explained what happened to my pool guy who replied "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!" and went on to explain that we got bad advice.

We purchased two more bottles of metal free as well as Cellulose to add to our Sand Filter. It took 48 hours but our pool returned to perfect. We ended up with two stains from the treatment. Not too bad...

We also purchased the CuLator Metal Remover bag to put in our skimmer to capture any additional metals.

Over the last two weeks we have been noticing more and more stains appearing. We have no idea where the metal is coming from and cannot figure out what to do about it. But THAT isn't even why I am posting.

On Wednesday my chlorinator broke and I had to purchase a new one. We also received our new solar cover and put it on the pool. Since Wednesday we have had ZERO chlorine in the pool. Scarred from the last time I shocked the pool, I added 1/2 pound of shock to the pool Thursday morning. Chlorine was still zero on yesterday morning. I added another 1/2 pound yesterday morning and ensured that my chlorinator is all the way open (to the setting of a 25,000 gallon pool) and still my chlorine is zero. From the lack of chlorine in the pool for two days now my pH is low.

I feel like my pool chemicals are slipping out of control and I have no idea what to do. I am scared to death to shock my pool and have it turn green again. I don't know where the metal is coming from (I don't have a heater). And I don't understand how you can have a reading that shows zero metals in the pool, shock it, and have metals be off the charts.

HELP!
 

JohnT

Admin
Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Apr 4, 2007
9,874
SW Indiana
Welcome to TFP!

I think the key piece of information that you are missing is that none of those treatments actually remove metals from the water. The vitamin C dissolves the metals from the pool surface into the water, and the Metal Free holds them in solution. Eventually the Metal Free breaks down and releases the metals and they end up back on the pool surface.

You need to keep adding Metal Free as a maintenance task to keep the stains from returning.
 

txnole

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 18, 2014
544
Amelia Island, FL
Great news!! You've come to the right place. We are going to have you back in the clear blue in no time, but it will require a few things on your part.

#1 - Say goodbye to the pool store. They're in business to keep you coming back. Think about it.
#2 - Purchase a reliable self-test Kit. This can be something that you, your family, or your pool guy do, but you must test your own water. This should be a TF100 or Taylor K2006. You can find these through links on this site, through Amazon, or perhaps through your evil pool store. ;)
#3 - Share those results with us online and the good folks here will have you back in the blue in just days.

Given your water conditions and your comment about chlorine, I'm going to suggest that you go to WalMart and purchase generic bleach (without splash proof additives) and post what the chlorine content is for the bleach in your follow up post. Your chlorinator May not be able to take you from zero to ideal, so we can supplement with bleach. I suspect you will also need to adjust your CYA, but we need to see your testing results (not the pool store tests).

In the interim, please adjust your forum profile to add your pool details in your signature.
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
I was told the CuLator Metal Eliminator was the maintenance task that would keep the metal out and should be replaced monthly. Is this not the case?

- - - Updated - - -

Thank you both for your help. Is this signature what I need? Also, what is CYA that you mention in your thread? And I have read other threads that mention BBB...wondering what that is? On my way to Wal Mart now....
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,545
Fletcher, OK
CYA is stabilizer that is being added every time you use those shock packets and every puck you add to your chlorinator, we use it in all of our pools but we add it so we know exactly where it is... This is how we know exactly how much chlorine to add to the pool... With that said, to know all these things you need a test kit that will tell you what you water is at..

The best test kits are the Taylor K-2006C or the TF100, click on the link below in my signature

BBB is what we started out saying, Bleach, Baking soda, and Borax But we have made it even simpler :)

We only use what your pools needs from testing your pool water.. Because you have metals, it gets a little hard but you can learn to take care of your pool, could you answer a couple questions for us.

Do you know where or how the metals got in the pool?
Do you have well water
Did you close the pool using an algaecide with copper in it

With that said, the easiest way to get rid of metal in water is to replace the water without metal in it and at 12000 gallons is not that hard to do :)

I hope this helps
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
We have no idea where the copper is coming from. There was a heater in the pool but that was years before we owned it and we have owned it for almost two years so we don't think it is that. We don't have well water and we have someone close the pool for us. He does use an algaecide; however, we are pretty sure he uses this one which claims to be metal free. He also is very familiar with our metal problem and is also a proponent of "don't listed to what the pool store tells you" so I don't think he would use one with metal.

We are going to have to resurface our pool in the next 1-2 years. It is severely overdue. So we would like to wait to drain the pool and refill until then.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,545
Fletcher, OK
That old heater is probably where your metal came from, with a very low PH it can strip every bit of copper out of a heater and put it into the water... Did they replace it or is the heater still there?

You really need a good test kit so you can know exactly what your water is doing, metals in water require a very precise way of adding chemicals....

With that said, if you are going to resurface your pool within 2 years and the stains do not bother you the metals are not really hurting anything.... If it is copper anyone with blonde hair may turn green....
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
I purchased generic chlorine. breakdown is as follows:
8.25% sodium hypochlorite
91.75% other ingredients
Yields 7.86% available chlorine
Contains no phosphorus

I am about to order the testing kit but it will be days until it gets here. What should I do to get my chlorine up until then? It's supposed to be in the 80s the next few days here and I don't want a swamp on my hands. Thank you!
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,545
Fletcher, OK
Ok, That is exactly what you need but I need to know how you want to handle this...

option 1, put 1/2 gallon in the morning and the rest in the evening until you get your test kit, this option may bring more stains out, it also has the possibility of your pool turning green again ( it suspends the copper in the water) but your culater should get some of it..

Option 2, put 1/2 gallon a day until you test kit arrives, this option has a less chance of turning green but it still may... metals in water are hard to manage and almost impossible without a test kit..

Also could you fill out you signature so we know what equipment you have, just like mine below :) Trouble Free Pool
 

BattleOfYakima

TFP Guide
Apr 15, 2016
1,683
Central Florida
After you get your test kit and start to use PoolMath, to calculate based on that bottle you have there just specify/select the "8.25% bleach"

Also, I'm suggested two very quick reads, just because they are so important and, especially in Florida, completely unknown to most pool owners, and certainly not explained by most pool stores, if not outright ignored for profit and facilitating laziness in pool owners. First read the paragraph on CYA here then read this entire short but sweet page on how to chlorinate your pool. Remember to clear your head of what everyone else does with their pool or whatever the pool stores say and just embrace this site :) You know the other way only frustrates you anyway.
 

grottoguy

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 24, 2014
462
NJ
You mention that you would rather not drain your pool but with a 12000 gallon pool the cost may be every small ( it cost me less than $ 250 for a 40000 gallon pool) and it may make your life much easier since you won't have to deal with the metals.
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
First off...I do have a signature and I cannot figure out why it is not showing? I have "Show Your Signature" selected? Maybe because I didn't start the thread with a signature? In any case, I have pasted what I entered below. Let me know if I need to add anything.

Second, I am confused about one thing. For the two options that Cowboy Casey suggested, is that "each day"? Or is that one time until we get the test kit?

I ordered the TF100 yesterday but I can't imagine I will get it before Wednesday. I figure it will ship out Monday, and since we are in Georgia, it should only take 2 days. But still...as I am watching my pool chemicals slip out of control that really seems like eternity.

One additional tid bit. It seems we are having trouble "holding onto" chlorine...not getting the chlorine level up. Yesterday, my husband put 1/2 pound of shock in, not realizing I was working on these boards to get advice. Most of the day we had normal chlorine levels (according to dip sticks) but as the day went on, we watched the chlorine levels fall and, sure enough, this morning there is none again. I didn't know if that information would help.

I think we are going to take the risk and try option 1 from Cowboy Casey's two options. We will add a half gallon this morning and, if it still looks ok tonight, we will add another 1/2 gallon.

Let me know if that seems like the right plan in light of the information about chlorine not "holding".

I appreciate everyone's help more than you know!

Kristina

Signature that should display....
14.5'x32' irregular shape gunite pool; 12,000 gal; Purex Triton Tagelus Sand Filter; Dolphin Triton Plus robot; 16mm Clear Solar Cover
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,545
Fletcher, OK
Good Morning :) I see your signature, your good

Sorry for the confusion, yes, that is every day until you get your test kit.. you have picked option #1, so 1/2 gallon in this morning and 1/2 gallon this evening and the same every day until your test kit arrives... What this is doing is just keeping your pool from getting any worse than it is.

On the "holding" chlorine I think your CYA is so high that you're just not able to bring your FC up and that 1/2 pound of shock added even more CYA... I want to say that you are not alone on this, pool stores want you in this situation so they can continue to sell you more and more chemicals, that's how they make money..

Just to give you an idea of what is going on, if your CYA is 100 (I think it is higher than this) Your FC for the SLAM would be 39 FC, yesterday I doubt your FC went above 2 or 3

Things you can do now waiting for your kit:

Stock up on liquid chlorine 10% or 12.5% or regular bleach 8.5% from walmart or wherever, if you have a HASA dealer near you they are sometimes cheaper for 12.5%, they all do the same thing :) If regular walmart bleach you will need about 30 bottles to start and a little less if higher % bleach.

think about how much water you want to replace (if your CYA is really high) do you have a way to drain your water halfway or more? What is your ground water level at?

I believe your best option is to replace almost all of your water, this will accomplish 2 things, it will get your metals out and drop your CYA and you will start over with nice fresh water :)

Here is where it gets interesting, if you do want to replace all your water, we want to turn your water green by taking your FC up to SLAM level, this will get most of the metal off your pool shell and suspended in the water so you can pump it out, some will think this is a waist of chlorine but the more metals you can get out the better :)

How does this sound to you, I am very happy that we are able to help :)
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
Gulp.

Drain the pool??? Half way or more????

That's going to be a hard sell for a number of reasons. First, the pool "looks" amazing. Sparkling and crystal clear. Hard to convince my hubs that it is a problem severe enough to drain the pool when it looks as good as it does. Second, we are already planning to drain within the next 12-18 months (after this season or next) and resurface the pool. My husband may be too cheap to do it twice in that timeframe. Third, and most importantly, kids have been using the pool for two weeks. How in the world do I tell a 6 and 8 year old they are out for a few weeks :-(.

Are there any other ways to get CYA down? Please say yes...please say yes...

Some other questions...
I have the chlorinator filled with tablets and floating in the pool. Is this ok? At this point I don't know what products are ok from the evil pool store and what are not! :D
I have a brand new box of shock. Does this mean I won't likely ever use it again and I wasted that money?
Can I buy liquid chlorine cheaper online?
Do I care that my pH is slightly low or can that wait until I get my tester kit?

Many thanks again and again...
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
11,061
Franklin, NC
Drain the pool??? Half way or more???? It will depend on how high the CYA is

Hard to convince my hubs that it is a problem severe enough to drain the pool when it looks as good as it does. Looks can be deceiving

Second, we are already planning to drain within the next 12-18 months (after this season or next) and resurface the pool. My husband may be too cheap to do it twice in that timeframe. As a member of this club, we prefer to be called thrifty

Third, and most importantly, kids have been using the pool for two weeks. How in the world do I tell a 6 and 8 year old they are out for a few weeks :-(. Why a couple of weeks? Drain & refill should take a day at most.

Are there any other ways to get CYA down? Please say yes...please say yes... Sorry, no

I have the chlorinator filled with tablets and floating in the pool. Is this ok? Solid forms of chlorine add something, most add CYA. Yes, the tabs are adding more CYA

I have a brand new box of shock. Does this mean I won't likely ever use it again and I wasted that money? You may use it. If it's Dichlor it adds CYA if it's CalHypo it adds calcium

Can I buy liquid chlorine cheaper online? Generally, no

Do I care that my pH is slightly low or can that wait until I get my tester kit? High/Low pH causes damage to equipment like pumps and heaters. You want it in range all the time

It seems you have high CYA, but only testing will tell. If you have no algae you can live with high CYA and slowly work it down without a huge drain/refill. The problem is that you appear to also have metals. With high CYA you tend to need high chlorine levels to keep algae away. High chlorine & metals are a bad combination as it becomes even harder to control the pool.

Oh, and your pH issues..... pH doesn't drop due to lack of chlorine. pH drops when you add acidic things ot the water. Muratic acid lowers pH. What many folks don't understand is that solid forms of chlorine in addition to adding CYA are very acidic. Tabs and shock push down the pH, the more you use the lower the pH drops. This is what you will see some folks say that they don;t like to use liquid chlorine because they "think" liquid causes pH to rise, when in actuality the solid chlorine is just artificially pushing their pH down.
 

cowboycasey

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 3, 2013
4,545
Fletcher, OK
First, right now we do not know where your CYA is, it may be ok, until you can test it is unknown. I really wish there was another way to lower CYA, there is not :(

The chlorinator is adding CYA and also the box O shock so I would take the floater out for now and only use liquid chlorine. I have not heard of anyone buying bleach/liquid chlorine online but that does not mean it can't be done. The good thing is if you go on vacation you can still use those pucks, they have their use, it is knowing when to use them...

If you do have to drain half it won't be that long :) they will be able to get back in the pool once it is filled and you add chlorine.. We just had 1 person start at 5pm and had it filled back up the next day.

It is a good thing you water is looking clear :) once you get your test kit we will get you going...
 

txnole

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 18, 2014
544
Amelia Island, FL
Tim's advice is spot on. Some of the things you are using (pucks) are exacerbating your problems (high CYA). Without a real good test kit, I would probably recommend calling it a bicycle day and limit / reduce the pool time for little ones. Your pool may be in the "good" range, it may not.
 

kikiganz

Well-known member
May 7, 2016
92
Atlanta, GA
So far so good...half a gallon of bleach about 5 hours ago and still sparkling and clear!

I didn't realize draining and refilling could happen that fast. I thought it would take at least a week and then another 2-3 for it to warm up to a swimable level.

Shows you how new we are to this! :oops:
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
47,350
Tallahassee, FL
No worries! We have all been there in the beginning. That is why we are here helping! We KNOW what you are going through and how to best help you have a Trouble Free Pool! hehe

Ask any and all questions you might have no matter how small!

:hug:

Kim:cat:
 

BattleOfYakima

TFP Guide
Apr 15, 2016
1,683
Central Florida
You are looking at a lot of variables and facing big choices. You have awesome help here.

If you wish to be super prepared for your new testkit you can read the test kit directions and extended directions and/watch the videos. The experts on this site rely on you providing accurate testing results so make the most of your investment and learn how to store, use, and clean your professional tools.

Lastly, try to return EVERYTHING you bought at the pool store that you paid full price for, even if it was used partially or fully. You have stains, clouds, and algae following their advice. It was wrong. Worst that can happen is that they say no. Best case, you have cash! You can also sell leftovers on Craigslist. Pool store addicts love a good deal.