First time tester

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Open question to the forum.

I've started off with the Pool Master 5-way kit. Initially my FC/CC were off-the charts dark orange, so I turned off the automatic chlorinator. The PH was at 7.4 to 7.6 and the TA was 170, I had these same readings for several days. The pool's water was clear, but I have noticed some scaling on the tiles, I knew the heater core had been changed out a few months ago and you can see plenty of copper stains. Over a week or so I finally saw the FC/CC drop into readable parameters.

So I went to the pool store... :hammer:

Unfortunately they sold me the same kit I already had, I just didn't know/trust how old the previous kit was, and it was kept in the Texas garage along with the other pool chemicals. Based on what I told them, they had me buy some MA to combat the high 170 TA, telling me I should shoot for a 120 TA. My tap water is 250, and we had a whole bunch of rain over the previous 2 weeks, it's cooled down and the pool's water is about 78 degrees F.

So I pored 1/2 Gal of MA and waited a day... It dropped 10 points, so the next night I pored the other half in. After 2 days I now I have a FC/CC of 2.0, a PH of 7.2ish and a TA of 150. I sure wish I had read the pool school before I started jacking with my pool. Adding to the drama, I bought the Aquachem 6-way test strips to tide me over until I get a real kit, and it says my FC is "very high" and my stabilizer is 150+

The good news is I've started aerating the water with the overflowing SPA. Anyone have any thoughts based on what I've done so far?

Thanks...Jason
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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As you've no doubt found out, strips are not to be trusted. However if that's all you have they'll have to do until you can get a better kit.

It appears that you have been doing some reading. :)

From your post it appears that what you have done has been correct for the tests that you have. Lowering the TA was a good move. You need to bring your FC up but we really don't know where it should be because we can't trust the CYA number. If we were to believe that number you need to drain over half of your pool to get that number down.

It being so close to the end of the season, I'd probably just keep the FC at the max the strips will read until you get a good test result on the CYA. If you've ordered a good kit post the numbers when you run the tests.
 

duraleigh

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Hey, Jason,

How are you chlorinating your pool?

What does the water look like? Crystal Clear? Green?
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Bama Rambler said:
It being so close to the end of the season, I'd probably just keep the FC at the max the strips will read until you get a good test result on the CYA. If you've ordered a good kit post the numbers when you run the tests.
Thanks, I should add I do plan on keeping the pool open year round, perhaps using the heater to extend the season.

duraleigh said:
Hey, Jason,

How are you chlorinating your pool?

What does the water look like? Crystal Clear? Green?
Well the pool appeared to be getting chlorinated from a Model 320 Tablet chlorinator, but I turned if off, then a few days ago turned it up to .5, the first setting. Water looks clear, I've been running the pump on low 24/7 with the pump on high about an hour each day.
 

Richard320

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Jan 6, 2010
20,446
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Tablet chlorinator....hmmmmmm

With which tablets are you feeding it? You're probably overloading on calcium or cyanuric acid, or both. And those are the two substances you can't get rid of easily. Too much calcium will case scaling, too much CYA will render the chlorine ineffectual which leads to algae.

Sounds like you have a better test kit on order? That's a good move. And you've been reading Pool School, also good. Aeration is also good. It's what I would do, and have done. It can take a lot of MA and aeration to drive TA down initially, but maintaining the proper level doesn't use the huge quantities once it's close.

All told, sounds like you're heading the right direction.

My advice beyond what you've started with, is to figure out how to drain your pool. Winter rains are coming, which will help dilute the water, but you need some way to make room for it. And a place to put the drained water. So find a submersible pump, or determine if a siphon will work, or if there's a waste setting on your filter.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Richard320 said:
Tablet chlorinator....hmmmmmm

With which tablets are you feeding it?
Not sure what brand, they are the 3" type, the bucket says "Warehouse Pool Supply" which is the store the previous owners used. It says it's 99% with 90% available.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Well I picked up a test kit today :mrgreen:

This was a Leslie's Chlorine FAS-DPD Service Test Kit picked up for 70 USD. I was slightly intimidated when I first saw it, but presently surprised how much easier it was to use when compared to the other 5 way kit I have & the test strips. I normally do my readings just after sunset, but kids were swimming in it all day, so I ran the pump on high for an hour or so before I took a reading.

Water temp is 79 degrees and the water looks slightly cloudy but I could still easily see the 5 foot bottom.

Here are the readings

FC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
TC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
PH: 7.4
TA: 150-160
CH: 200+ reading (it looked more pink than red, and more violet than blue)
CYA: <1.8

I haven't crunched the numbers yet in the "way cool" Pool calculator, I need to go back through and re-read everything I've learned before I go chunkin stuff in the pool. In the meantime feel free to chime in, I have enjoyed the comments.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
JTKen said:
FC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
TC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
PH: 7.4
TA: 150-160
CH: 200+ reading (it looked more pink than red, and more violet than blue)
CYA: <1.8
Ok I admit it, I'm a little confused here, according to the pool calculator I should be adding some calcium chloride, and stabilizer. It does suggest adding some borax or soda ash but not the muriatic acid I just so happen to have 7 gallons of. I guess I need to know if I should be attacking everything all at once or in a particular order of importance? Also, should I just go ahead and turn off the chlorinator?
 

Richard320

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Jan 6, 2010
20,446
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
JTKen said:
JTKen said:
FC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
TC: 10+ (blood red, off scale test gave a reading of 20)
PH: 7.4
TA: 150-160
CH: 200+ reading (it looked more pink than red, and more violet than blue)
CYA: <1.8
Ok I admit it, I'm a little confused here, according to the pool calculator I should be adding some calcium chloride, and stabilizer. It does suggest adding some borax or soda ash but not the muriatic acid I just so happen to have 7 gallons of. I guess I need to know if I should be attacking everything all at once or in a particular order of importance? Also, should I just go ahead and turn off the chlorinator?
That CYA number doesn't resemble anything I recognize. 180 I'd believe.

This test kit only has the color matching for Chlorine? No powder and R-0871?

You really need to know the CYA in order to know where to maintain FC. Keep that above minimum recommended at http://poolcalculator.com That's first priority.

pH is fine. TA should come down on it's own, given time and maintaining pH. Aeration speeds it up. There's an article in Pool School explaining it, and many threads.

CH test should go to sky blue, not purple. Sometimes it will take a lot of drops and even more swirling to go from purple to blue. That's why I love my speedstir. When it's blue there is no doubt it's blue. You might be getting some interference, you can add some r-0012 before you add 10 & 11. You can also use a smaller sample, which saves on testing reagents. There are expanded instructions in testing, as a sticky.

You're getting there! And it's okay to get obsessive about testing. Refills are cheap when you consider the hours of entertainment they provide! :mrgreen:
 

Bama Rambler

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You, like so many others, have been pool stored again. :( What you bought wasn't the FAS-DPD kit it was just the DPD kit. There have been many people that have gone in their local Leslies looking for the FAS-DPD kit and have been sold the DPD kit and was told that it's the same thing. It's not! The good news is that you can add the FAS-DPD kit to it. The bad news is that it's an extra ~ $26.00.

I'm with Richard on that CYA number. Hopefully it's a mistype and you'll give us the real number.

With a FC higher than 10 your pH test is going to read artificially high so don't do anything about that now.
Go ahead and turn off your chlorinator and switch to liquid chlorine (bleach).
We don't know what to suggest keeping your FC at until we get a good CYA number.
Don't add any stabilizer!
You should hold off adding any calcium until you retest and make sure what it really is.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Bama Rambler said:
You, like so many others, have been pool stored again. :(
:grrrr: Yes I've been taken, but that's my fault for lack of attention to detail. As for the CYA test, I don't know what to say, I followed the instructions and when I filled the small tube up to the first indicator 1.8, the black dot had disappeared. I'm trying to figure out what am I missing without the FAS kit?

Edit: I'm going to the pool store, I'll have them test my water and run through the test to make sure I'm doing everything right. Thank you for catching my mistake, although I feel like I've been violated...
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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Your CYA test is a turbidity test, so the farther up the tube you get before the black dot disappears the less CYA you have. If it disappeared before you got to the first mark it's very high. I'm guessing teat the 1.8 is 180 so yours is higher than that.

You'll need to drain half to 3/4ths of you water to get it to a manageable level.

Try this and post back. take a sample of pool water and add the same amount of tap water to it then use the diluted mix to run the sample again. Then multiply the result by 2.

The FAS-DPD gives you the ability to measure FC & CC separately up to 50ppm by .5ppm (or .2ppm if you're so inclined). You can't use the DPD alone kit to shock with.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Bama Rambler said:
The FAS-DPD gives you the ability to measure FC & CC separately up to 50ppm by .5ppm (or .2ppm if you're so inclined). You can't use the DPD alone kit to shock with.
OIC said the blind man :goodjob: I did ask but this was the only kit they had, the Pool kid seemed to think the FAS had tablets, but he wasn't familiar with the FAS-DPT kit. He asked when was the last time I drained my pool, I told him I've only had it for 2 weeks. He said I probably need to drain half of it. The problem I have with that is if I'm going to go to such drastic measures, I might consider draining the whole thing so I can do some maintenance on everything like the tiles and plaster. I have some gouges in the floor on the the plaster and I could probably do a better job repairing it without water in the way. Although I do need to do some research on the repair. Still, my undereducated mind would think this would be a good time to attempt to clean repair the pool?

Well I have the results from the pool store, for the CYA I was looking at the wrong side of the tube :hammer:

FAC 5
TAC 5
CH 580
CYA 110
TA 100 (I've always gotten 160-170 he tested it twice for me)
PH 7.4
TDS 1500
Pho 0
 

Bama Rambler

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The FAS-DPD doesn't have tablets. It has powder (R-0870) and drops (R-0871) and R-0003 for the CC measurement. Most pool stores haven't heard of it. A few Leslies carry it but not many. The best way to get a good kit is to order it online. I prefer the TF-100 from tftestkits.net but the Taylor K-2006 is a good kit too.

The problem with the FC reading you have is that 5 is as high as the kit reads and you don't know how much higher than 5 it might be. Also pool stores are notorious for getting the CYA wrong.

As for draining your pool you should drain at least half the water. Since you don't have much swim season left it's up to you if you want to drain it now and do the repairs or just leave it till next year and deal with it then.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Bama Rambler said:
As for draining your pool you should drain at least half the water. Since you don't have much swim season left it's up to you if you want to drain it now and do the repairs or just leave it till next year and deal with it then.
Lol thank you for the help I do appreciate it, it's funny, I now have 4 testkits and not one of them is what I need! Now I find myself creating more questions than answers! I'm not complaining mind you, I'm just remembering when ignorance was bliss. :whoot:

Can I make the repairs and clean the pool with water in it? How much does my water cost (now I need to figure this out.) The whole drain the pool and acid wash thing is something I may need to do to get rid of the scaling on the tiles, but I want to take my time and do it right, so I may wait till it's so cold the kids refuse to swim. Is it easier to repair/clean a pool with or without water in it? Another thing I have to consider is water restrictions, right now we have none so that's a good thing, but later on, this could prove to be a problem if we go into a drought.

Has anyone diverted their rain gutters into the pool and could this be a good idea? I guess I need to go back into "research mode" :party:
 

Darkside of the Pool

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Jul 20, 2010
106
Bama Rambler said:
Most pool stores haven't heard of it. The best way to get a good kit is to order it online. I prefer the TF-100 from tftestkits.net but the Taylor K-2006 is a good kit too.

The problem with the FC reading you have is that 5 is as high as the kit reads and you don't know how much higher than 5 it might be. Also pool stores are notorious for getting the CYA wrong.

As for draining your pool you should drain at least half the water. Since you don't have much swim season left it's up to you if you want to drain it now and do the repairs or just leave it till next year and deal with it then.
I concur. When I informed my superiors of its existence and its uses (especially along CYA tests we were doing like... thrice a year) they looked at me a bit confused as we use the DPD test and didn't know of the FAS-DPD's existence. Besides pool stores like ours discourage the use of complete kits ''so costly''... if you want anything else than pH and Chlorine/Bromine you'll have to go strips. This means you stay dependant to the stores!

(Sorry if it sound rude toward the industry but this is the feeling I get, as I work to undo the damage chemical marketing is doing.)

The industry don't really want pool stores to know about/test CYA: It would be that much less confidence in the pucks, sales of phosphate removers... etc. A problem without real solutions means its that much easier to pool store...

JTKen said:
Not sure what brand, they are the 3" type, the bucket says "Warehouse Pool Supply" which is the store the previous owners used. It says it's 99% with 90% available.
Those are most probably Trichloro-s-triazinetrione, Cyanuric Acid 9-10%, chlorine 90%. You know where your CYA comes from! As a bonus, this must have been what reduced your alcalinity down to 160 in the first place.

If you're about to close the pool AND don't have algaes, keep your chlorine on the high side, as per the Pool School's chart (should be 10+ ppm FC) and you should do just fine. I'd avoid pucks except for that week you might spend away during your vacations or to slowly raise CYA, lower Alcalinity at the start of the season.
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Thanks everyone for the help.

I've drained about half of my pool, and in the process figured out I can turn my pool over in about 4 hours with the pump on low and 90 minutes with the pump on high. I wanted to re-test my water but I created another problem. I was draining the spa and forgot to turn off the light and the lens cracked :rant: Just when I thought I was making progress I go and do this. Well the pool is full and the spa is empty, I guess I'll swing home during lunch and get the lens out and start looking for a replacement. If I'm lucky, I can get one and have it in after work and the spa filled by sunset. Then perhaps I could do another test and see where I stand.

Am I guessing I can't just buy a lens and will have to buy the whole unit? Am I in danger of cracking the gunnite?
 

JTKen

Active member
Sep 29, 2010
25
Central Texas
Bama Rambler said:
You shouldn't be an any danger for a couple of days but I wouldn't let it sit empty any longer than necessary.
Quick! Someone put me up for idiot pool owner of the month. We already know I cracked my SPA lens from having it drained with the light on. So I go to take out the bulb during lunch today and mis-stepped my combat boot over the drain...Crack :rant:

Anyways, the lens may have to get ordered, with the light out, it appears I can put it up on the deck, if this is the case does it mean it's ok to fill the SPA? I've seen some pictures and read throughout the forum, I just wasnt to be double sure before I go breaking something else.
 
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