Feeling like I'm doing this blind...

Myleneds

Member
May 24, 2021
5
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Hi everyone. New pool owner here - it's a kidney-shaped pool of approximately 4m (shortest width) x 8m. My partner had a pool all his life growing up, so he insisted that we open the pool ourselves. We don't even have one of the recommended test kits, although I've ordered the Taylor 2006 (won't arrive for another 2 weeks). I've been reading all I can on TFP non-stop.

I feel clueless without a test kit. The pool was disgusting and full of algae, because the pool wasn't properly covered. We cleaned it and shocked it with liquid chlorine over 2 nights until the water became clear. I do have one of those dipstick ones, but how can people even tell what colour to match to?! Currently the pool is clear; we haven't added anything to the water for 2 days and this is what I see:
20210529_1204261.jpg
Please help me with what my next step should be. Should I wait until chlorine burns off a bit more then add some liquid conditioner to the water?
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,387
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
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Fiberglass
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Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You are doing it blind.
The one pad on that strip I will sort of believe is pH. And that looks to be in the 7's.
While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
 

Myleneds

Member
May 24, 2021
5
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You are doing it blind.
The one pad on that strip I will sort of believe is pH. And that looks to be in the 7's.
While you are waiting on your test kit, add 5 ppm FC worth of liquid chlorine / plain bleach to your pool each evening with the pump running. This will replenish the FC lost each day to the sun and also inhibit any algae in the water from growing further.
Thank you for your reply. How much would 5ppm FC worth of chlorine be if I am using liquid chlorine with concentration of 12 %? Is there absolutely no way of roughly managing the pool for 2 weeks with this simple dipstick test so that I can start to enjoy the pool (until the taylor kit gets here)? I understand that it's best practice to use one of the taylor kits.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,387
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
You need your pool volume and then you use PoolMath, Effects of Adding Chemicals for how much 12% liquid chlorine to use for 5 ppm FC.

You are welcome to use guess test strips. From what you posted, the FC is 3? Maybe? So if above that level, and your CYA is under 50 ppm, it is safe to swim in. pH is the biggest irritant when too low, and as I said, I would at least believe the strip that your pH is in the 7's.
 
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DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
Although those 'guess' strips are unreliable and we put little faith it them, it appears that your levels aren't too bad. Mknauss has you covered as far as making sure your water does not get any worse until your quality Taylor 2006 kit arrives. Those tests we will believe. Just stick with liquid chlorine until then and if you notice the pH start to climb near or above 8.0 with your strip, you can even add some muriatic acid to bring it back down to 7.4 - 7.6. Just plug in the numbers on Pool Math and it will give you a good approximation on how much to add.

Some pics of your pool and pool water would really help us to see what you're working with, as well as a description of your pool equipment and surface like at the bottom of my posts. It allows us to see what you have when giving advice without having to look all the way back to the beginning of the thread every time.
 

Myleneds

Member
May 24, 2021
5
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You need your pool volume and then you use PoolMath, Effects of Adding Chemicals for how much 12% liquid chlorine to use for 5 ppm FC.

You are welcome to use guess test strips. From what you posted, the FC is 3? Maybe? So if above that level, and your CYA is under 50 ppm, it is safe to swim in. pH is the biggest irritant when too low, and as I said, I would at least believe the strip that your pH is in the 7's.
Thank you so much for your help. I have a chlorine feeder. Would it be sufficient to just use this to maintain chlorine level up?

Although those 'guess' strips are unreliable and we put little faith it them, it appears that your levels aren't too bad. Mknauss has you covered as far as making sure your water does not get any worse until your quality Taylor 2006 kit arrives. Those tests we will believe. Just stick with liquid chlorine until then and if you notice the pH start to climb near or above 8.0 with your strip, you can even add some muriatic acid to bring it back down to 7.4 - 7.6. Just plug in the numbers on Pool Math and it will give you a good approximation on how much to add.

Some pics of your pool and pool water would really help us to see what you're working with, as well as a description of your pool equipment and surface like at the bottom of my posts. It allows us to see what you have when giving advice without having to look all the way back to the beginning of the thread every time.
Thank you for your help. I've added the description of my equipment as recommended - hopefully I did it right! I'll have to double check my filter. As I've asked mknauss, could I just use the chlorine feeder to maintain chlorine level? Is it common that the pH will just climb up and go down?
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,127
Spring Valley, NY
The chlorine feeder is made for chlorine disks or aka pucks but they have other components which may not be to your advantage that's why plain bleach with no wording of thick or anti splash or liquid chlorine sometimes known as pool shock would be best for now till the test kit arrives.
 
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DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
Until you get your test kit and verify the CYA, it is not to your advantage to use the chlorine feeder. Those tablets that go in there are half stabilizer (CYA), so you don't want to use them until you know what your CYA actually is. If that's how you've been chlorinating regularly and you haven't done a partial or full drain recently, there's a good chance that the CYA is way too high. You will need to do a partial drain and refill if this is the case, but wait for the reliable test kit to make that determination.

The pH will tend to climb when using liquid chlorine. Tablets will keep the pH lower because they are acidic, which drops the pH a little. You won't notice it because the pH rise will be counteracted with pH drop from the acid in the tablets.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
3,127
Spring Valley, NY
Until you get your test kit and verify the CYA, it is not to your advantage to use the chlorine feeder. Those tablets that go in there are half stabilizer (CYA), so you don't want to use them until you know what your CYA actually is. If that's how you've been chlorinating regularly and you haven't done a partial or full drain recently, there's a good chance that the CYA is way too high. You will need to do a partial drain and refill if this is the case, but wait for the reliable test kit to make that determination.

The pH will tend to climb when using liquid chlorine. Tablets will keep the pH lower because they are acidic, which drops the pH a little. You won't notice it because the pH rise will be counteracted with pH drop from the acid in the tablets.
Dean,
From what I know PH doesn't climb from liquid chlorine.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
1,230
San Jose, CA
The liquid chlorine doesn't make it climb, it's the fact there is no acid from tablets keeping it at bay that makes it climb. A lot of it depends on the pool's TA level. A higher TA will tend to push the pH up faster. That's what you see typically with pools that are strictly liquid chlorine or SWG. The pH naturally climbs. Borax or pH up is rarely needed. I've been maintaining my pool for 5 year with strictly liquid chlorine and now a SWG, and I've never needed to raise pH. My pool requires only muriatic acid to lower the pH.
 
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Myleneds

Member
May 24, 2021
5
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
The chlorine feeder is made for chlorine disks or aka pucks but they have other components which may not be to your advantage that's why plain bleach with no wording of thick or anti splash or liquid chlorine sometimes known as pool shock would be best for now till the test kit arrives.
Thank you! So once I have reliable a testing kit, will it be OK to use the chlorine feeder?
Until you get your test kit and verify the CYA, it is not to your advantage to use the chlorine feeder. Those tablets that go in there are half stabilizer (CYA), so you don't want to use them until you know what your CYA actually is. If that's how you've been chlorinating regularly and you haven't done a partial or full drain recently, there's a good chance that the CYA is way too high. You will need to do a partial drain and refill if this is the case, but wait for the reliable test kit to make that determination.

The pH will tend to climb when using liquid chlorine. Tablets will keep the pH lower because they are acidic, which drops the pH a little. You won't notice it because the pH rise will be counteracted with pH drop from the acid in the tablets.
Thank you Dean. We've done backwashing as we have a sand filter. Is there a chance that high level of CYA will show up as low level of CYA on these dip test strip? It looks to be 0-50 but I'm not sure if a really high level will cause it to go light. I'll attach the photo again here:
20210529_1204261.jpg
It's just that, because it only took about 20-30 gallons to SLAM the pool (+backwashing) I thought it was safe to presume that the CYA level wasn't crazy high.
In the future once I get the test kit and can find out reliable CYA level - would it be beneficial in a way to use trichlor since it will also act to help keep the pH from climbing up while maintaining chlorine + CYA level? This is because I have not added any CYA/conditioner to the pool and we backwash.

Or is it really just best to stick to liquid chlorine even after reliable levels are measured? I just feel like if I have this pump, I feel bad putting it to use. Also I need some good reasons to tell my partner who has been very difficult to work with ("I've never done any of this growing up with a pool")

Thank you again. You guys are so wonderful. I appreciate the help.
 

Dan Morrill

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2020
68
London Ontario
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You really cannot trust the strips to indicate your CYA level. I've done side by side comparisons for fun on my water level. One registered 0, one registered in the 100+ range. Same water sample. It's hard to believe just how useless they are....

When you find your CYA accurately, if you decide you need more CYA, using your feeder is fine. But use pool math to figure out how many pucks you can actually use to get your CYA to your desired level. You will probably find it won't take too long before you have to switch to a different form of chlorine.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
14,045
Houston, Texas
I'm not going to say its impossible to manage a pool using a chlorine tablet feeder. Its not impossible, but it does require more diligence. You have to keep an eye on CYA levels. Once CYA is too high the only way to get rid of it is to drain the pool. Looking at your pool, one 8 ounce trichlore tablet dissolved in a 15000 gallon pool will raise FC by 3.7 and CYA by 2.2 Most people use 3 tablets a week, so that would be 6.7 of CYA added per week.

You need a minimum of 30 CYA in your pool to prevent premature chlorine burn off from the sun, so that amount you do not want to add gradually. The maximum CYA level for a non-salt pool is 50. Lets say you start this summer at 30 CYA June 1st and you put 3 chlorine tabs in your empty feeder. That will bring you to 36.7 CYA (you can't measure CYA that precisely so you would round up to 40 for chlorine dosing purposes) You check it June 8th and there are just a couple of little chlorine nibs left so you drop in 3 more tabs. You start the week of June 15th with 43.4 CYA and add 3 more tabs. That brings you to June 22nd and a CYA of 50.1 You have reached your CYA limit, so no more tabs in the feeder. You need to use liquid chlorine for the rest of the summer.

Remember where I said an 8 ounce tab adds 3.7 FC? Three tabs will gradually add 11.1 of chlorine per week. Your daily FC target with a CYA of 30 is 4-6ppm. You never want the FC to drop below 4. You will be testing FC daily, so you may see a FC reading around 4 mid-week, sooner if you are swimming often. You will need to supplement the tabs with liquid chlorine to keep the FC above 4. By the time the CYA hits 50, your daily FC target has increased to 6-8, so you may be supplementing with liquid chlorine more often anyway. The reason your FC target rises is because it must be kept in ratio to the CYA level. You can read more about it FC/CYA Chart.

Many people just use the chlorine feeder when they have to be out of town for a while, or if they need a little boost of CYA due to splash out.
 
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Myleneds

Member
May 24, 2021
5
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
You really cannot trust the strips to indicate your CYA level. I've done side by side comparisons for fun on my water level. One registered 0, one registered in the 100+ range. Same water sample. It's hard to believe just how useless they are....

When you find your CYA accurately, if you decide you need more CYA, using your feeder is fine. But use pool math to figure out how many pucks you can actually use to get your CYA to your desired level. You will probably find it won't take too long before you have to switch to a different form of chlorine.
Wow! I just find it so crazy that not a single pool store in my area carries FAS-DPD testing. Have you found a pool store in the London region?

I'm not going to say its impossible to manage a pool using a chlorine tablet feeder. Its not impossible, but it does require more diligence. You have to keep an eye on CYA levels. Once CYA is too high the only way to get rid of it is to drain the pool. Looking at your pool, one 8 ounce trichlore tablet dissolved in a 15000 gallon pool will raise FC by 3.7 and CYA by 2.2 Most people use 3 tablets a week, so that would be 6.7 of CYA added per week.

You need a minimum of 30 CYA in your pool to prevent premature chlorine burn off from the sun, so that amount you do not want to add gradually. The maximum CYA level for a non-salt pool is 50. Lets say you start this summer at 30 CYA June 1st and you put 3 chlorine tabs in your empty feeder. That will bring you to 36.7 CYA (you can't measure CYA that precisely so you would round up to 40 for chlorine dosing purposes) You check it June 8th and there are just a couple of little chlorine nibs left so you drop in 3 more tabs. You start the week of June 15th with 43.4 CYA and add 3 more tabs. That brings you to June 22nd and a CYA of 50.1 You have reached your CYA limit, so no more tabs in the feeder. You need to use liquid chlorine for the rest of the summer.

Remember where I said an 8 ounce tab adds 3.7 FC? Three tabs will gradually add 11.1 of chlorine per week. Your daily FC target with a CYA of 30 is 4-6ppm. You never want the FC to drop below 4. You will be testing FC daily, so you may see a FC reading around 4 mid-week, sooner if you are swimming often. You will need to supplement the tabs with liquid chlorine to keep the FC above 4. By the time the CYA hits 50, your daily FC target has increased to 6-8, so you may be supplementing with liquid chlorine more often anyway. The reason your FC target rises is because it must be kept in ratio to the CYA level. You can read more about it FC/CYA Chart.

Many people just use the chlorine feeder when they have to be out of town for a while, or if they need a little boost of CYA due to splash out.
Thank you SO much for this. It actually makes much more sense to me now that I think of the chlorine feeder more as an supplemental equipment and not something for daily use. I thought people just used liquid chlorine to SLAM and then the feeder daily to maintain. Thanks again.
 
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mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
44,387
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
 

Dan Morrill

Well-known member
Jun 8, 2020
68
London Ontario
Pool Size
23000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Nobody in London area sells CYA or FAS-DPD test kits.

I would totally go over the border to get some if I could, but kinda stuck these days..... I haven't felt adventurous enough to try getting it shipped over the border like described in the thread attached above, but it has obviously worked for several people.

There are two all Canadian options. Amazon.ca has the K-2006 for 157.99 when I ordered. Free shipping for Prime. Another member found a company in Ottawa (Pool Supply Haus) that was slightly cheaper but charged a small shipping fee anywhere outside of Ottawa. Price came out similar. Extra FAS-DPD and R-0013 reagents are decently priced on Amazon at the moment.
 

LoneWolfArcher

Bronze Supporter
May 29, 2019
535
Michigan
Those pictures are bringing back bad memories for me of 3 years ago when I was trying to decipher my pool chemistry numbers via test strip!

To the OP, these experts have given you excellent advice. If I were you in I would switch to only liquid chlorine, and do what MKnauss said as far as adding 5ppm each day until you not arrives. If never try to decipher a test strip again. They are next to useless.

Take any chlorine pucks and stoee them in a cool, dark place for when you go in vacation. Your CYA, if @ 50 is perfect. Using tablets/pucks will only continue to increase your CYA, and high CYA is no fun. It requires a partial drain and fill to mitigate.

Anyway, I say all of this from experience. Until I followed the advice here, switched to liquid chlorine, and used a good test kit, I too was doing this blind. I ended up with a purple pool as the high CYA and copper in algaecide (very bad stuff!) turned into Copper Cyanurite.

Since following TFP advice my pool maintenance is a breeze!
 
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