Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#1
Hello everyone,
I'm a new pool owner and I've been taking poor advice from the internet (purchasing test strips that one site recommended-bad I know that now) and then followed that up with taking my water samples to Leslie's. After my 3rd analysis at Leslie's and my pool not getting any clearer...I found TFP. I finally purchased a TF100 kit from Dave/Rebecca and have real numbers for you.

Question- when is the best time to take a sample from the pool? (i.e. after the filter has been running for 4 hours, does it matter?)
Today's reading 1.5hrs after filter started using the TF100 kit.
pH 7.5
FC 2.5
TC 3.0
CH 300ppm
TA 260
CYA 90ppm

HISTORY
We had heavy rainfall a few months ago/March and I could see fine dirt particles were falling into the pool for days and I thought that all I needed to do was run the filter 24/7 and add clarifier (I've gone through 3 bottles already) but the pool wasn't crystal clear, I can see the drain but it's not completely clear. So I decided to take my water samples to Leslie's to see if they could tell me why.

1st reading (4/3) they said my CH was low at 130 and had me add Calcium, they also told me my phosphate levels were off the charts at 2500 (yes stupid me believed them and purchased bottles and bottles of PhosFree) FC 4/CH 130/CYA 80/TA 110/pH 7.6

My 2nd water analysis 4/18 said that my CH was still low at 160 and to add more Calcium (I followed their printout of how much to add and in hindsight again...believing them I worry that maybe I added too much), my pH was high at 8 (and used their dry acid to bring it down) and again my phosphates were still high at 1500 (this time I didn't add more PhosFree) -FC 5/CH160/CYA60/TA100/pH8

My 3rd analysis was 2 days later 4/20 at a different location (just in case something shady was going on) and this time I get a CH reading of 270 but the guy said that it will probably keep climbing up since the calcium probably didn't dissolve fully yet and that the other leslie's employee should have told me to add less calcium instead of what the printout says. Anyways in 2 days my FC went from 5 to .5 so they told me to add Power Powder Plus (cal hypo) FC .5/CH270/CYA60/TA100/pH7.4

In the past 3 weeks since then, I've just been taking readings of my pool (using the test strips-I didn't have to TF100 kit until a couple of days ago) and adding cal hypo when I saw my chlorine levels were low - but everything else looked like it was within "ok" range (of the test strips)

NOW
plugging my numbers into the PoolMath...I'm worried that I have to drain 53% of my pool to lower CYA (and it was only 13% to bring CH down)

Anyone have advice as to what my next steps are?

Oh and I think I may have broken my solar controller panels but that's a separate issue that I will have to follow up on.

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
1,995
Tampa, FL
#2
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Unfortunately your CYA is high, which means you will have to keep your FC high in order to keep pool balanced. I know it’s a pain, but I would do the partial drain. It’s just going to be much easier to keep your water healthy with a more reasonable CYA.

Forgot to mention, I usually take my sample after the pump has been on for a bit, so water is well mixed.
 

funandsun

Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2017
764
Bloomington Indiana
#3
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Welcome Joodee, well you got the biggest part out of the way (getting a test kit), so now you are armed and ready. I suspect a few others will be through but like kellyfair said, draining some water out to get that CYA down is going to be a big help.

Is your signature right? a 100 sq ft cartridge filter for the 25k pool?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,087
Franklin, NC
#4
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Welcome to TFP!!:handwave:

Well, the others are right, your CYA is high, but before we push the panic button lets see what is going on with the pool. Time to put that test kit to use.

First, add chlorine. You need to have a minimum of FC 7 with CYA 90. You want to target 10 or so to keep the FC above the minimum.

Next, how does the water look? If you throw a quarter in the deepest point can you see heads or tails?

Lastly. You did add chlorine right, hopefully to FC=10. So after the sun goes down you are going to conduct an In the morning let us know the results. That will tell us the direction you need to take.

Don't worry about anything else for now, except - no more trips to the pool store unless it's to get liquid chlorine.
 
May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#5
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Thank you! I was afraid of that :mad::mad:

- - - Updated - - -

Should I use Leslie's Power Powder Plus (cal hypo) or purchase Chlorox?
I also have my daughter's birthday pool party next week. Should I go ahead and start treating now or wait until after the party (worried I may not get this figured out in a week)
THANK YOU THANK YOU AGAIN for your advice!
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,087
Franklin, NC
#6
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Thank you! I was afraid of that :mad::mad:

- - - Updated - - -

Should I use Leslie's Power Powder Plus (cal hypo) or purchase Chlorox?
I also have my daughter's birthday pool party next week. Should I go ahead and start treating now or wait until after the party (worried I may not get this figured out in a week)
THANK YOU THANK YOU AGAIN for your advice!
No solid chlorine, liquid only. The CalHypo is adding more calcium...

Look at the bottles. You don't want any that have any "extra" stuff. No fragrances, no "Chloramax" Technology, no "new" formula.

Big box stores usually have 10% in the pool section (Home Depot/Lowes/WalMart)

Start now. There may not be a pool party if the pool is sick.
 
May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#7
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Ok thanks again! I'll head out to the store (I did buy the big gallons @ Costco last week and then came on the forum and someone asked about the Chloromax which made me go back and return them but I didn't buy any to replace)
 
May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#8
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

the water is not crystal clear (can't see the heads/tails in the quarter toss) but i can see the drain in the deep end and I've been sweeping everyday (i can see "dust" come off the stairs when I sweep every morning right after I turn the filter on- was just wondering if that could be Ca precipitating out?).
As a side note...the pool looks a lot clearer in the morning. After running the filter for a few hours, the water looks more cloudy. (now I'm thinking maybe it's the Ca?)
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,087
Franklin, NC
#10
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

To see if it is algae or Ca do an Pool School - Perform the Overnight FC Loss Test (OCLT)
You also need to get your TA down. That is pushing your CSI to .47. You want to be close to 0. To do that read Pool School - Lower Total Alkalinity
One step at a time. TA will be worried about after the

We don't try to get to a magic number like "0" CSI. As long as it's between -0.6 and 0.6 all is generally good in the world.
 

kabutotx

Well-known member
May 17, 2016
205
Phoenix, AZ
#11
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

One step at a time. TA will be worried about after the

We don't try to get to a magic number like "0" CSI. As long as it's between -0.6 and 0.6 all is generally good in the world.
What he said. I brought it up because if Ca is being precipitated out, this would be the first thing to tackle after the OCLT passes. Also, reading back over the first message, most tests were coming out to TA of ~100. I assume the 260 is from the TF-100. One important thing is to follow the instructions and wipe the tip. This test is bad about static and you could be counting smaller drops.
 

RobertScalchi

Well-known member
Oct 14, 2014
261
Bloomingdale
#12
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

"(i can see "dust" come off the stairs when I sweep every morning right after I turn the filter on."

That sounds like the beginning phases of algae. Or could possibly be fine sediment not being filtered by your skimmer and filtration system. I'm going to assume that it is algae by your description and because your cya levels are high, and it also requires more chlorine to maintain that balance for a FC minimum.
 
May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#13
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

kabutotx- thanks about following the instructions and wiping the tip. I actually tried the TF100 when I first got it 2 days ago and my numbers were crazy
CH 525-550ppm
TA 390 (I know I counted the tiny drops and some were spitting out the tip that's why I knew there was human error)
CYA65

Today i took the time to reread all the instructions again and actually performed the test twice before posting the above results (they were consistent)
Yes-wiping the tip with a "wet" cloth allowed me to have a "real" drop with the TA test
I'm confident about today's numbers compared to the one that I did 2 days ago (where Ca was in the 500s)

How subjective is the CYA test? When I first did the test a couple of days ago I kept thinking that I could see the black dot so I kept adding until I was sure it was gone (maybe that's why it was 65?) Today making sure I was not rushing each test, I was surprised that it didn't take very long for the black dot to disappear (hence the 90 ppm reading) I also had it on the counter (height was around my belly button/hip) and was able to look at it straight down on a gray counter.

I hope the "dust" might be algae (I would prefer this answer to Ca ppt out since I can dose the pool with high amts of Cl to get rid of it) I never thought of that but my Cl have been on the lower side and I feel like I'm constantly replenishing it with cal hypo (could be because my CYA is really high)
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
1,995
Tampa, FL
#14
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

Are you doing CYA test outside with the sun behind you? You fill the tube to the first line, glance in (don’t stare!), then if you still see the dot, fill to the next line, and so on. When you don’t see the dot at a glance, that’s your CYA.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#15
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

......Maybe the "dust" might be algae (I would prefer this answer to Ca ppt out since I can dose the pool with high amts of Cl to get rid of it) I never thought of that but my Cl have been on the lower side and I feel like I'm constantly replenishing it with cal hypo (could be because my CYA is really high)
We don’t just ‘dose the pool with high amounts of chlorine’ to deal with algae, we the pool.

Your most likely culprit to a high FC demand is algae, not a high CYA level.

Stop the cal hypo, you don’t need more CH, you need just chlorine. Stick with liquid (bleach).
 
May 6, 2018
18
Orinda, CA
#16
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

kellyfair- I didn't know that's how to do a CYA test -fill to the first line, then to the second, etc and I have definitely been staring at the black dot to see when it disappears. (the instructions say to slowly fill the tube with solution until you cant see the black dot, so I AM staring at it the whole time)

I'll run the tests again using your method and see if my CYA levels are different

Performing the TF100 tests, I first fill the two graduated cylinders with pool water (reach down with the tubes upside down until I'm at my shoulders and then flip the tubes to collect water) and bring them indoors (I thought I read somewhere that it's easier to do the tests indoors vs. outside). With the cylinders, I fill the CYA dropper to the bottom of the label and then proceed with the test, then TA is next since I usually have about 25mL left then rinse out the tube and follow it with the CH test (water from the 2nd cylinder) and lastly I find the Cl (that way all of the tests are using the same pool sample vs. going back and forth to get a new sample when I run the different tests.
Does anyone have any other tricks/tips to run these tests?

Thanks again for all of your advice/help!
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#18
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

The CYA test needs to be done outdoors, on a bright sunny day. Keep your back to the sun and view the vial at about waist height in your shadow. Don’t block the light with your hands, try to hold it with just two fingers at the top. You want to get as much indirect light as possible into the tube. Keeping your back to the sun reduces glare when looking for the dot.

You can pour the sample back into the mixing bottle and perform the test again, as many times as you like.

Yes remove the Trichlor, it’s just adding more CYA.
 

funandsun

Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2017
764
Bloomington Indiana
#19
Re: Help...took the advice from Leslie's and now my pool is out of whack

I would for now until you get a CYA test result you are confident in. Can't imagine you can go from 65 to under 30, be tough to miss it by that much without doing something in the test really unforeseen.