CYA is zero. Really zero. I attempted to SLAM. Did I ruin my liner

EzriJax

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Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
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Hi! I was just poking around the site and I stumbled on This

Now I’m going to have nightmares I ruined my brand new liner. 😬

I hired a local pool company to open the pool because it’s my first season with the pool actually up and running. The saga of my pool’s rehabilitation can be found if you are curious. Long story short...it was hellish. We didn’t close the pool and get it covered until like November or something. It was cold. The pool guys were frozen. Anyway. I am totally clueless, and a little occupied with some family issues so I needed help opening.

The guys came right at 6pm on Friday (5/21) when I have to leave for a class so I have no idea what they dumped in there for chemicals. I did see them carrying large jugs of something with a skull and crossbones which I assume is chlorine.

I spoke to them only briefly. They said that the pool will be cloudy for about a day, and then should be “fine” as long as I run the filter continuously, keep brushing it, removing leaves, backwashing, and vacuuming*.

When I got home my husband said they said to add the rest of the container they left the following evening (Saturday night.) When I went to check I only found the remainder of a 5 gal jug of chlorine I had leftover from last year. Uh? Doesn’t it lose potency? I mean, I kept it in the cool dark basement but...it’s been like 8 months.

My pool wasn’t a swamp. It looked ok, I guess, having only faint memories of my aunts swampy pool from my childhood. Here’s how it looked after the cover came off:

17E33B2A-D623-47F6-AB78-A1A694B1A27B.jpeg

Not too bad. A lot of that is sand and cement debris from the patio install. I got it out with the leaf vac.

I tested the water on Saturday morning (10 am)
FC: 3
CC: .5
Ph: 6.8
CH: 75
TA: 30
CYA: ZERO

I brushed, vacuumed, backwashed, and then I added half the remainder of the 5 gal of 12.5% (originally, but who knows what after 8 mo. In the basement). Probably about 1.5 gal. I went to the pool store to ask them wth they put in the pool. Kinda hard to know how to balance if I don’t know what they put in it. They asked for a water sample bc my “numbers don’t make sense. What is ‘CC’ and ‘FC’ it’s just ‘chlorine’. Those #s should be the same. Also, you don’t need stabilizer because you will just backwash it out.” I left with only doubts. The place was mobbed- I chalked it up to just not being able to talk to the person I usually deal with, and the one who opened my pool.

I had other errands to run and didn’t get back home till 6pm. FC was at .5, CC .5. It was cloudy as can be. Couldn’t even see the bottom in the shallow end. I dumped in the rest of the jug. I regretted not buying chlorine at the store when I was there (the line was out the Dang door.) At 10 pm my levels were FC 1, CC .5. I had to backwash again bc the pressure had climbed from 10 to almost 30, and there was basically nothing coming out of the returns. I turned the pump off for the night bc I was nervous about how fast the pressure was climbing. (Paranoid, I know.)

Sunday I found the actual jug the guys left. Duh. It was with our recycling. Perfectly obvious...blue jug amongst same-blue recycle bins, 300’ away from the pool. It was almost empty...about a gallon. 12.5%. In the pool. That got FC to 1.5 (an hour after I dumped it). CC still at .5. Pool store was closed Sunday so I just brushed, used the leaf vac w/a knee high stocking attached to catch some of that silty stuff (it’s sand, mostly, and pollen.)

Today I was the first customer at the pool store. The owner was there. She wasn’t confused by my numbers. She said I needed to get the chlorine much higher to eliminate the cloudiness, but really needed to get the ph and TA straightened out. She told me to dump 18 lbs of baking soda, plus 3 gallons of bleach, and then 24 hrs later use some ph stuff to bring the ph up a bit more if needed. She said (as the pool math calculator also stated) that the baking soda would bring the ph up a bit but not enough, but I should see how high it goes before I add the ph stuff. SHE SAID STABILIZER DOESNT MATTER UNTIL I AM FINISHED “SHOCKING” the water. She sold me some, for “later.” But said not to bother bc I would just keep blasting it out as I backwash.

So, I went home and put the baking soda in first. I measured 255 oz, as stated on this website, after putting in my pool’s specs, not “18 or so lbs”. Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference, but I trust math, not guesstimates. I broadcast it gradually in the deep end and then brushed it after it settled to mix it in. I waited an hour then added almost 3 gal of chlorine (12.5%), again, according to pool math.

2 hrs later (2:30pm) my levels were:

FC: 12
CC: <.5
TA: 80^ (I don’t trust this so soon after addition of baking soda)
Ph: 7.5
CYA: ZERO
CH: 75

temp (I found the thermometer in a bush, thanks kids) was at 70 at 4:30pm and was around 68 tonight at 9, in case it matters.

At 4:30 FC was unchanged. At 6:30 it was unchanged. 9:00 same. CC has held at less than .5 which I figure by the fact that the test turns only the faintest pink after the 5 drops of R-0003, so less than a whole drop would turn it clear, I’m certain.

My pool is still cloudy. There is still some kind of silt in there. Tons of yellow foamy pollen in the skimmers, and on the surface. I have to backwash every 8 hrs, or less.

I was feeling good about this until I read that if you have ZERO cya in your pool, levels above 5 can damage the pool. I read here “it probably isn’t really zero” on several threads where people where asking how to figure SLAM levels with a CYA reading of 0. then the pool store owner said not to worry about it, so, being new to this, I stopped worrying, and added the chlorine.

Now I’m worried. It’s 1:15 am and here I am. please please please tell me I didn’t just ruin a brand new $8k liner. We spent nearly $30k on that stinkin pool last year, when it was all added up. I just got quotes for a new ac (mine died of course) in the $18k-$25k range and I will probably throw up if we need to make any more large/expensive repairs to the pool.

BTW- my CYA levelprobably really is zero bc I filled the pool last year but had no working pump or filter so I was manually “stirring” in chlorine, brushing, and removing leaves just to keep it from being swampy till I could get it closed. I used straight 12.5% chlorine, and one 4 lb bag of stabilizer (CYA). Nothing else.

Pool experts, pool veterans, please, help me sleep. Is my liner, etc, ok?

*We don’t have a vacuum yet...hubby is searching for the “unicorn” vacuum. He LOVES vacuuming the house so I’m happy to let him LOVE vacuuming the pool. He needs to hurry up tho, and pick one. Pool is dirty.*

Oh, here’s the pool today:
5F848DBC-CF37-45CE-AA66-037840F6E9D2.jpeg
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
26,289
Northern NJ
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Add 30 ppm of dry stabilizer tomorrow using the sock method. Then follow the SLAM Process. The stabilizer is a mild acid and will lower your pH to what the SLAM Process requires.

Solid/granular cyanuric acid (CYA) should be placed in a sock and the sock put in the skimmer basket or suspended in front of a pool return. After adding CYA you should leave the pump running for 24 hours and not backwash/clean the filter for a week. Squeezing the sock periodically will help it to dissolve faster. Test and dose chemicals in your pool assuming the amount of CYA added is in the pool according to Poolmath. CYA can be tested the day after it is fully dissolved from the sock.


Your liner should be fine.
 
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wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,505
Spring Valley, NY
Atleast you got here now. Firstly stay OUTof the pool stores as they are for the most part clueless. They are dead wrong about stabilizer. Don't add anything else into the mix till we sort this out. You need to get CYA into the pool asap which is the stabilizer for the chlorine to work. Use granular stabilizer available at Walmart or any big box store that sells pool supplies. Get 30 ppm into the water using poolmath via the sock method and read pool school.
 
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EzriJax

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
Pool Size
34000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Thanks for the reassurance. Really. My confidence went from “I think I am going to get a B on this test” to “I definitely failed and will be expelled.” I’m back to thinking I will maybe pass. Fingers crossed.

Ive read, and re-read, and re-re-read that SLAM article and also the ABC’s one too. I read it while doing my tests so I had context. But, this statement:

“Test and dose chemicals in your pool assuming the amount of CYA added is in the pool according to Poolmath.”

Is where I am getting tripped up because I have to keep backwashing, so I thought I’d never really ever get the levels high enough before I backwash it out. No? I calculated I need around 9lbs, I think. (It’s late)

I’ll dedicate my morning to it if I won’t just be flushing it, and $’s, down the trench where I expel the dirty backwash water.
 

EzriJax

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
Pool Size
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Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
And yes, I understand the pool store wants to make $. I take their advice with a grain of salt. The owner is the only one I prefer to talk to, bc, generally, she doesn’t try to sell me anything. Her employees sell hard though. She told me to add baking soda, when she had a bucket of “Alkalinity plus” product for sale on her shelf. I think she’s just been doing it so long, she forgets I don’t know x or y, when she gives advice. It’s more like “reminders” (except I never knew, lol.)
 

EzriJax

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
Pool Size
34000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
One more question, then I need to sleep.
Can I use a fine mesh bag, like one for washing sweaters, instead of a sock, since I need to dissolve so much stabilizer? I have a large one with very fine holes. Seriously, I also have about 4,000 unmatched socks but I’d be hard pressed to find one without holes in them (I have a house full of rowdy rough housing boys who can never remember to wear SHOES over the socks.) Which will be more efficient: lots of socks vs a large bag (if I can find socks w/o holes?)

ok. That was 2 questions.
I’ll check back after the sun comes up.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
2,505
Spring Valley, NY
The fine mesh bags for clothes washing isn't fine enough and it'll fall out faster then it can dissolve. Use either a tube sock or a leg from a ladies stocking hung in front of the return jet.
 

ajw22

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Jul 21, 2013
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“Test and dose chemicals in your pool assuming the amount of CYA added is in the pool according to Poolmath.”

Stabilizer/CYA is slow to dissolve even after it disappears into the water. It takes days or even a week or more to show in tests. So the best is once you add the amount into the water assume it is there until the results show on the CYA test.

Is where I am getting tripped up because I have to keep backwashing, so I thought I’d never really ever get the levels high enough before I backwash it out. No? I calculated I need around 9lbs, I think. (It’s late)

If you followed the pool store directions or the directions on the stabilizer package and added it to your skimmer then you will flush it out with backwashes before it dissolves.

If you follow our recommendation to use the sock method, which you don't find recommended anyplace else, then backwashes have no effect on the stabilizer getting into your water/

Listen to us and not the Pool Store and you will do a lot better.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
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Spring Valley, NY
As AJ said it, assuming means if you know you dropped in the amount of stabilizer to reach X then slam for X without testing for X first. Eventually it'll show days later if the calculations were spot on.
 

ajw22

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One more question, then I need to sleep.
Can I use a fine mesh bag, like one for washing sweaters, instead of a sock, since I need to dissolve so much stabilizer? I have a large one with very fine holes. Seriously, I also have about 4,000 unmatched socks but I’d be hard pressed to find one without holes in them (I have a house full of rowdy rough housing boys who can never remember to wear SHOES over the socks.) Which will be more efficient: lots of socks vs a large bag (if I can find socks w/o holes?)

Stabilizer is a mild acid. You don't want undissolved particles of stabilizer falling out of the sock or bag and sitting on your new liner. The acid can stain your new liner.

A mesh bag will let stabilizer out before it fully dissolves.

Even with socks you may see some stabilizer getting on the pool floor. If it happens brush it around with your pool brush until it dissolves.

Donate a pair of socks without holes to the service of the pool.
 

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PoolGate

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One more question, then I need to sleep.
Can I use a fine mesh bag, like one for washing sweaters, instead of a sock, since I need to dissolve so much stabilizer? I have a large one with very fine holes. Seriously, I also have about 4,000 unmatched socks but I’d be hard pressed to find one without holes in them (I have a house full of rowdy rough housing boys who can never remember to wear SHOES over the socks.) Which will be more efficient: lots of socks vs a large bag (if I can find socks w/o holes?)

ok. That was 2 questions.
I’ll check back after the sun comes up.

Here is a video I made of how to add dry stabilizer and read the CYA level.

 

revitup

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Strongly suggest you don’t put CYA in the skimmer, in a sock or otherwise. Put it in a skimmer sock or similar and hang it in front of a return, preferably one as far away from the skimmer as you can get.
 
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PoolGate

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Strongly suggest you don’t put CYA in the skimmer, in a sock or otherwise. Put it in a skimmer sock or similar and hang it in front of a return, preferably one as far away from the skimmer as you can get.

Any particular reason why? One thing I did not put in that video (lost in editing) is that I tested CYA about 4 hours after adding it and came out with the same reading as I did the next day included in the video. Meaning using this method, you can add and have your CYA 100% distributed within 5 hours.
 

Mdragger88

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Any particular reason why? One thing I did not put in that video (lost in editing) is that I tested CYA about 4 hours after adding it and came out with the same reading as I did the next day included in the video. Meaning using this method, you can add and have your CYA 100% distributed within 5 hours.
If you have alot of impending backwashing in your future (as do most people doing a SLAM like the op) it’s best that you use the return to distribute the cya. If you’ve just backwashed & have a clear, clean pool with no plans to backwash in the coming week putting the sock in the skimmer is probably ok. For the sake of simplicity across the board for all situations the forum recommendation is a sock in front of a return.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Any particular reason why? One thing I did not put in that video (lost in editing) is that I tested CYA about 4 hours after adding it and came out with the same reading as I did the next day included in the video. Meaning using this method, you can add and have your CYA 100% distributed within 5 hours.
The sock in front of the return puts the CYA in the pool's water column.. putting the sock in the skimmer causes the fine grains to get caught by the filter. That is fine, as it will eventually dissolve but if you backwash you just flushed your CYA into the drain. I prefer to get the CYA into the water where it needs to be.
 
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PoolGate

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The sock in front of the return puts the CYA in the pool's water column.. putting the sock in the skimmer causes the fine grains to get caught by the filter. That is fine, as it will eventually dissolve but if you backwash you just flushed your CYA into the drain. I prefer to get the CYA into the water where it needs to be.

It was fully dissolved as evidenced by both the cya solution and the correct reading 4 hours later. I also have 5 returns in my pool so using the skimmer disburses it much faster. I've got a cartridge filter but for anyone with a sand/de they could refrain from backwashing for 24 hours if that's a concern.
 
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mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jax.. wow what a story. How is it going?

Next time you have someone else open your pool have them give you a list of what they dumped into your water with the quantities. Opening/closing a pool is not that hard... consider doing it yourself. And most of the stuff they sell at the pool store you can buy for cheaper in the baking aisle of the super market. And get your husband a robot... and he can watch it vacuum while sipping an adult beverage! 🍹 🍷🍺
 

EzriJax

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
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@mguzzy...ok, will do. One Robot Unicorn coming right up!! 🤖🦄

I wanted to be present for the opening for this exact reason. I wanted to know what, how much, in what order, etc. I am an annoying homeowner/client/etc like that. It’s mostly curiosity, and, I’m an avid DIY’er. There are things I have zero hesitation paying for (plumbing) and I can afford to that by rolling up my sleeves elsewhere. So when I do hire someone, I watch like a hawk, and learn.

My goal is to open next year by myself...except for removing the cover. THAT I need help with!
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
I’m an avid DIY’er.
Well, this place is just seething with avid DIYer's you have to knock them away with a broom. You will fit right in!

As to the Robot, call Marina pools, they have helped many people on this forum get the right robot for their needs. And that's the whole trick for those things, don't pay for the extras, the more basic the better. If you search the forum's for Marina Pools, you will even find the name of the person you need to talk to and the phone number! They get cited alot.
 

EzriJax

Bronze Supporter
Oct 10, 2020
57
Northern RI
Pool Size
34000
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Vinyl
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Liquid Chlorine
Morning! I’ve spent the last day force feeding stabilizer into the pool. I tied 4 socks full of CYA in front of the returns and squeezed as often as I could.

Yesterday, at 8:30 PM I had a CYA reading of 35. I took a sample from a location away from the socks and the cloud of acid.
My other test results:

FC 12
CC less than .5
Ph 6.8
TA 80
Temp:69

One of the socks developed a hole, so I had some granules on the floor. I brushed them toward the main drain. It took like an hour to get them to float all the way over there. I replaced that sock with a different one and moved them all to the deep end so if they do leak they end up in the drain.

I checked the pool one last time before bed, around 10:30, and the filter pressure was very high so I had to backwash it. The snake that lives near the outlet of the drain hose was rather displeased. :p Maybe it will find a new place to hang out now that I blasted it with super chlorinated dirty pool water.

This morning my pool is almost clear!
I can clearly see the bottom in the deep end.

test results:

FC 10.5
CC less than .5
Ph 7.2
TA 80
CYA 75
How accurate is that CYA reading? I’ve still got a few more ounces to add (according to pool math) and I backwashed last night. I took that sample first thing in the morning, 1’ under water, the furthest point from the socks/returns. I’m not sure this morning how much chlorine to add bc that CYA number is not at all what I expected.

Also, the ph reading is not quite accurate either right? Because the chlorine is high? I know I am not supposed to adjust the pH while I’m SLAMming the pool. However, I need to add some water. We’ve had quite a bit of wind, and I’ve done some backwashing so I need to get the level up. My problem is my well water comes out of the hose at ph 6.8 or less. We have to treat it in the house so it doesn’t destroy our plumbing. (I’ve already had to replace 50% of the shut off valves due to failure from corrosion bc the previous owners did not maintain the water treatment system). But, whoever installed this outdoor faucet plumbed it so it pulls before the system. Can I fill a kiddie pool, which I can calculate the volume of no problem, and adjust the ph of the water before I put it in the pool? Sort of like an outdoor version of our filtration system? So that I’m not making the ph in the pool go any further from ideal than I’m already at? I was only at the threshold of acceptable range when I started this SLAM.

I might be worrying too much, and making this more complicated than it needs to be. I tend towards perfectionism. You all can just tell me to knock it off and I’ll listen. I’m aware of my need for redirection. Lol.

Thanks!
 

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