Help to clear cloudy pool ASAP for wifes birthday party!

trentlott

Member
Jul 25, 2010
7
Hi All,
Thank heavens I found this website. I have been reviewing the info contained here for the last few hours. I REALLY REALLY need some assistance getting my pool clear. We have my wife's birthday this coming weekend and we billed it as a bbq and pool party. More than a month ago we had algae issue. Shocked the heck out of it, added liquid chlorine and thought we got it under control. I believe all the algae is gone, but it has been cloudy for a very long time now, and nothing I do will change that. (see pictures of pool and water here: http://imgur.com/ECqUT&goUSal )

I have back-washed more times that I can remember and tons of clarifier in hopes of getting it clear, but still no luck. I am at my wits end and really seriously contemplating draining it and starting from scratch. (even though it is not recommended to have an empty pool with the extreme heat)

Quick info:
-Pool located in Phoenix, AZ area
-12,000 in-ground plaster pool

I have ordered a test kit, but until then I am forced to rely on the local pool store for test results. Here is the latest results that they gave me this afternoon:
FAC: 7
TAC: 7
CYA: 100
TA: 160th the
pH: 8
Acid: 4
TDS: 2150
Pho: 100

They advised that the chlorine was on the high side but that was nothing to worry about. They told me to add 3 cups of acid and let the filter run for 4 hours and I "should" see it clear up. I am currently in hour two of this and no noticeable change to the cloudiness. (Filter had been running all day as well)

I really do not want to drain this, but am obligated to get it looking good by weeks end. Please help!

Thank you in advance for any info or assistance.
 

ShockerLU3

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2010
80
Toms River, NJ
The first thing I noticed is that your FC is low for a CYA of 100. Typically you wouldn't want to run your CYA this high. You need to drain and refill about 50% of your water to get the CYA to a manageable level of 50. Then you need to continue shocking the pool with unstabilized chlorine (bleach or liquid chlorine) until you pass an overnight chlorine loss test.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,720
Houston, Texas
Do you use a saltwater chlorine generator?

The TA and pH are high. If you do not have a saltwater chlorine generator then your CYA is high as well.

What have you been using to chlorinate your pool? What type of filter do you have?

Usually CYA is lowered by partially draining and refilling the pool. There may be a reverse osmosis pool service in your area that can reduce the CYA without draining water. This would also be a good choice if the CH turns out to be very high.
 

crek31

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2009
877
Also, keep in mind that the CYA tests used at the pool stores often max out at 100, so you could be anywhere above that.
 

trentlott

Member
Jul 25, 2010
7
We have a sand filter and changed the sand out about 3-4 weeks ago. As far as chlorine we regularly use 3 inch tablets in a floater, but put gallons of liquid chlorine into it when we were battling the algae.

So is the general consensus to drain the pool at least half way and then shock it even with the chlorine levels as high as they are currently?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,720
Houston, Texas
A partial drain and refill may be your best solution at this time. You can do the overnight test to see if you need to shock the pool or not.

If you decide to drain the water, have it tested again after you refill. Post the results here and we will help you balance the pool.

If you decide not to drain then you will need to lower your pH and TA and make sure your FC stays within recommended levels using either the CYA/Chlorine Chart or The Pool Calculator. Stop using the tablets since they are increasing your CYA. You will need to use liquid chlorine to prevent adding any additional CYA or Calcium to your water.

The best way to stay in control of your pool is to use a high quality test kit such as the TF 100 or the Taylor K2006. When you are able to perform your own testing you will have more consistent results and can add only what you need to balance your pool.
 

trentlott

Member
Jul 25, 2010
7
zea3 said:
A partial drain and refill may be your best solution at this time. You can do the overnight test to see if you need to shock the pool or not.

If you decide to drain the water, have it tested again after you refill. Post the results here and we will help you balance the pool.

If you decide not to drain then you will need to lower your pH and TA and make sure your FC stays within recommended levels using either the CYA/Chlorine Chart or The Pool Calculator. Stop using the tablets since they are increasing your CYA. You will need to use liquid chlorine to prevent adding any additional CYA or Calcium to your water.

The best way to stay in control of your pool is to use a high quality test kit such as the TF 100 or the Taylor K2006. When you are able to perform your own testing you will have more consistent results and can add only what you need to balance your pool.

I took out the floater with the tablets in it. I will pick up some liquid chlorine tomorrow. Should I add it tomorrow even though the chlorine level is so high, and if so how much should I be adding?

Unfortunately I will not be able to get the good test kit until after the party, so I am kinda flying blind on this. I added the liquid acid today (per instructed), so I am assuming that will have some effect on lowering the pH. Should I add more acid?

I would prefer not to drain the pool, but if that is the most sure fire course of action and the fastest method, then so be it.
 

crek31

Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 28, 2009
877
I'm new, so this is just my two cents. If you knew exactly what your numbers were, even with high CYA you could possibly just add a ton of bleach to get to the right CYA to FC ratio, get other numbers in balance (I think you'd do pH first as high FC make the pH hard to test accurately) and limp through to the party. However, you do not know your actual numbers and unfortunately it seems like most pool stores also aren't able/willing to accurately test. So, you are left with quickly ordering a TF100 (or maybe even the expanded one specifically suggested when shocking at high CYA is anticipated - I can't recall what it is called) and hope it gets to you in time to react by pouring in the right stuff after you use the new kit. ...... or, you could (should) quickly order the TF100 or expanded, then drain the appropriate amount for the safety of the pool and repeat as necessary to replace 50% or more of the water by the time the test kit arrives, if possible. Then you can test, KNOW your numbers, post them here, and await the gurus telling you what to add to have the pool in shape for swimming for the party. I think you should not add anything to the pool other than acid to bring pH down, or FC to keep the nasties at bay unless you first post here and get the consent of the wise (not me).

edit -- wow, you and zea type fast. About three entries were made while I typed. zea knows here stuff, so if we differ, go with her. Good luck for a sparkly pool on the bday!
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,576
East Texas
Err on the safe side for the big event and drain it half way, refill. Then post up some current numbers so we can get you there. There is nothing you can ADD to drop whatever your true CYA level is. It's likely through the roof. At least as a side benefit you'll end up with some cooler water for the party.
 

lightingguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 17, 2010
513
Glendale, CA
When we first started to BBB our pool our numbers looked a lot like yours - high PH, high TA and very high CH. At first I thought it was dead algae but after a month of cloudiness came to the conclusion that something else was up. We were using cal-hypo to chlorinate our pool and it would make it cloudy for days and days. Being in Arizona my guess is your CH is very high. Do you have a lot of calcium scale?

Have you tried lowering your ph?

There's also some discussion of adding a little DE to your sand filter to make it a finer filter. Since you're kinda up against the wall time wise, it might be worth the investment to get some. Search the forum for threads.

Obviously it could be organics left in the pool as previously discussed. Without super accurate test numbers it might be tough to get it perfect in a week.

At least it's only 12k if you're gonna drain it. Good luck.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,720
Houston, Texas
I plugged your current results into the pool calculator and came up with these recommendations. If you drain and refill you will need to post new test results as the recommendations will change.

Since your CYA is 100, your FC needs to be between 8 and 13. It is best to keep the FC at the top end of the range.
You should add a total of 51oz of muriatic acid to lower the pH to 7.2. Muriatic acid will also lower the TA.
 

trentlott

Member
Jul 25, 2010
7
wow....this is a lot of information. I am starting to get confused. I have added 24oz of acid after the test was done. So according to the above post I need to add about 3 more cups of acid. If this will only give me a small chance of clearing it up, then perhaps draining is still the best method. I will give a call to the reverse osmosis people, however I am unsure of their cost or availability.

I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone for the info and help so far.

If I was to drain it, and start with new water, how long after putting in new chemicals until it would look pretty good, and be okay to swim in?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,720
Houston, Texas
The 24 oz of acid you already added should get the pH around 7.5. I suggested a total of 51 oz in order to take advantage of lowering TA at the same time. That being said, it would not lower TA a lot so it should be o.k. if you decide not to use anymore acid.

As far as when is it o.k. to swim in new water, when the water is balanced and the chlorine has had about an hour to work then it should be o.k. to swim.
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
From the pictures, it looks like the pool is very nearly clear, just a subtile bit of cloudiness. Usually that points to some minor issue with the filter, though it could be calcium as others have guessed. I didn't see you saying what kind of filter your have, DE or sand? If you have a sand filter, you should try the adding DE trick. To rule out calcium clouding, bring the PH down to 7.2.

Longer term, with CYA at 100+ and no SWG, you need to get the CYA level down to around 50 before you will be able to maintain the pool easily without running into problems again in the future. You should also look at how the CYA level got that high. Trichlor tablets (which you appear to be using) constantly add CYA to the water. Eventually the CYA level gets too high and you have problems.

Things will also be much simpler if you get your own high quality test kit. I recommend the TF-100 from TFTestKits.net. The Taylor K-2006 is also good. A good test kit will more than pay for it's self in savings on chemicals that you don't need and avoided problems.
 

trentlott

Member
Jul 25, 2010
7
JasonLion said:
From the pictures, it looks like the pool is very nearly clear, just a subtile bit of cloudiness. Usually that points to some minor issue with the filter, though it could be calcium as others have guessed. I didn't see you saying what kind of filter your have, DE or sand? If you have a sand filter, you should try the adding DE trick. To rule out calcium clouding, bring the PH down to 7.2.

Longer term, with CYA at 100+ and no SWG, you need to get the CYA level down to around 50 before you will be able to maintain the pool easily without running into problems again in the future. You should also look at how the CYA level got that high. Trichlor tablets (which you appear to be using) constantly add CYA to the water. Eventually the CYA level gets too high and you have problems.

Things will also be much simpler if you get your own high quality test kit. I recommend the TF-100 from TFTestKits.net. The Taylor K-2006 is also good. A good test kit will more than pay for it's self in savings on chemicals that you don't need and avoided problems.

Good Morning,

I added the extra acid last night and this morning there is definite clearing, but its been so long since my pool has been clear, that I am really unsure how its supposed to look. Here are 3 new pictures of the progress from this morning http://imgur.com/bKBBY&RFe9d&vmKy7l

We have a sand filter, and the sand was recently changed about 3-4 weeks ago. How do you add DE to a sand filter. If it entails actually opening up the filter and adding it to where the sand is, we will be requiring professional help, as we have an older Hayward sand filter that has about 30 some huge bolts around the perimeter and is a huge pain to open up.

I am still on the fence as far as draining the pool, I want it to look as good as possible for the party. I plan on going to get the water tested today at the pool store. I did a basic pool test with the crappy kit I have , and the acid had gone down from last night from 7.5 to right around 7.2, and the chlorine stayed the same at 5. The new test kit is on its way, but alas it will not arrive until next week or the end of this week at the very earliest, and that might be too late to help in this situation.
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,226
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
If your CYA is 100 ( and as stated above it might actually be HIGHER than that) your MINIMUM FC level should be 7. Not 5. You will end up with cloudy unsanitary water for your party if you don't keep your FC higher...follow the CYA chart for your recommended levels. If you don't drain, then bump the level a few points higher than your "target" for your party. With the extra swimmers you will need it.

Instructions for adding DE are in Pool School.

I would take a sample of pool water, dilute it 50/50 with tap water, mix... and take the diluted sample to the pool store for testing the CYA level. You do lose some accuracy this way but at least you may have an idea on whether the CYA is higher than 100 or not.

I do recommend you wait for your kit to arrive to confirm the CYA level accurately before you drain or spend money on RO treatments - pool store testing can be very innacurate.