First-Time Above Ground Pool Owner: questions about calculating gallons + chemicals + how to test


Gold Supporter
Aug 30, 2020
Shingle Springs, CA
Hi, everyone, and thanks for this awesome resource!

So, I inherited this above-ground pool without ever having had any kind of pool before, and it's great.

When we first set it up, I did the rookie move and had it tested at not even a pool supply store but a first-responder store that also happens to sell some pool supplies, plus I was trying to use test strips, so although my pool stayed crystal clear for about a month, I was never able to register any chlorine at all, even after dumping in 4x the amount recommended.

I do now know that some of that may have been because I never added CYA, so in the process of starting over, the TFP way!

So we drained, vacuumed, scrubbed and refilled the pool two days ago after receiving the test kit.

Besides the water, only about a quart of chlorine has been added so far, and I did my first test today for practice (results in signature).

Some questions:

1. How accurate does the gallon measurement need to be to "do it right" using the test kit? As many people seem to have experienced with Intex pools, the pool calculator you guys recommend comes out with a slightly different measurement than the Intex number, and I don't want to mess it up with such a basic thing.

2. The test kit I received just says "rinse your equipment before and after each test." I hope this isn't too silly a question, but when I went for the kitchen sink to do this, husband recommended I "rinse" with the pool water, THEN fill the appropriate bottle, THEN test that water. Is that right, or should I use tap water (we don't use softener), or does it not matter?

3. Please see signature for chlorine. Is this a high enough concentration? If not, what is the correct concentration?

4. My CYA is due to arrive in 4 days, as I forgot to order it when I ordered the kit. The pool has just a tiny bit of chlorine that's been added (and measurement is in signature); do I need to add more (and how much?) to maintain it until I'm able to add and test the CYA (I've read here that the powder form can take 3 or 4 days to register on the test, too)? I don't want to waste all that effort and water by neglecting it while we wait for the CYA.

Thanks, all, and any signature line or other feedback welcome!



Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
Hernando, Ms
Welcome to Tfp! Glad u got a kit
To answer your questions:

1) you measure water volume/height not pool volume /height so if u did that then you’re good👍🏻
if u add whatPoolMath says & get the desired result you know u have it about right

2) i rinse w/ pool water before i test & after sometimes tap /sometimes pool water - no big deal

3) you can use any concentration of bleach u want/can find so long as it’s unadulterated (no cloromax, flavors, splashless, conditioners etc.)
Just enter the appropriate percentage in poolmath
Also poolmath has a log. If you click my avatar u can see the button to see mine .
To allow us to see yours switch sharing on in the settings as the signature area is more for listing equipment & pool details that don’t change much
4) you must add chlorine daily- i woud imagine you’d wanna maintain 3-4ppm for now until u get some cya in the water - higher than that may be harsh.
Without cya it probably won’t last long so probably check & add twice a day
Once you start to add 30ppm cya via the sock method you can assume it’s there & maintain fc daily according to the FC/CYA Chart

5) see Recommended Levels
If your ta is really 30 you need to add baking soda to bring it to 60.
In the future if u don’t wanna use poolmath logs w/sharing you can just post your results in your thread like this:

i hope I’ve helped.
If u haven’t already please read theABCs of Pool Water Chemistry


Gold Supporter
Aug 30, 2020
Shingle Springs, CA
Thanks for the quick reply, Mdragger88!

Volume: the thing I most want to know from this question is: how many gallons can the number of gallons be off by and still have accurate / recommended chemical measurements?

Logs: I did have it shared but I hadn't logged anything yet, so I stuck it in the signature so I wouldn't lose it! :rolleyes: Didn't want to mess anything up if I was off or something. But on your recommendation I just added some chlorine so have a few measurements and chemicals added in the logs now. Can you see it?

Thanks again!