Here is my CYA / Chlorine Story

compren

Member
Apr 9, 2019
7
Spring, TX
Got my pool last year and was extremely happy with my pool builder (he did an awesome job). Went through pool school and got the "throw pucks in and you'll be fine" method. OK, so he's NOT a chemist. I run trouble free for a year, dumping my pucks in and cursing TFP for making me question (for weeks) whether I should have gone salt or not (LOL). Thinking to myself this is easy, I test the water once a week and throw a few pucks in, what's the big deal. Literally run like this for a year with crystal clear water, no algae, really easy, low, maintenance.

I come out one morning this spring and I see this brownish-green gunk on the walls and around my returns. Tell my wife she needs to sweep the pool because that was the deal (we get a pool, she takes care of it). Come out the next morning, curse at my wife because she didn't sweep the pool, to which she replies "I did". I call her a liar and sweep it myself. Come out the next day and more green stuff...then I have to apologize to wife. Go to Leslies, CYA at 110, phosphates over 3000, lots of food for algae and lots of ineffective chlorine. Call pool builder, tells me to drain 1/3 to get my CYA down (good advice by the way). After draining 1/3 of the pool once, and 1/2 the pool a second time, CYA finally down to 60. I've switched over to liquid chlorine and am in the process of finding that right balance of daily maintenance needed to keep my water blanaced.

I'm fine that I didn't go with SWG...I have lots of natural stone and I didn't really want to lug salt into the back yard and deal with that. But I knew immediately when I got that test back and saw that CYA level that most everything I read here had been spot-on. The pucks elevated the CYA to where the chlorine level I had been maintaining became useless / not enough. Yeah, I need to test a little more often and add liquid chlorine daily (hot Texas sun really burns it off), but it's not too bad.
 

acr1271

Bronze Supporter
Mar 25, 2020
21
Mobile, AL
compren,

Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck with everything.

New pool here and going the same route as you (success in my method TBD). I heard year one is a breeze, then reality sets in! ?

What type of tablets are you using? After researching on TFP, went with 99% Trichloro (90% available chlorine).
Do you use pool shock? I’m using LC (10%) for shocking.

Andy
 

compren

Member
Apr 9, 2019
7
Spring, TX
I was using the tabs you are (99% Trichloro), and Calcium Hypochlorite for shock (I only shocked the pool like twice in the first year). I'm currently adding 4-5 cups of LC early evening which is holding my chlorine level fine until about midday the next day when it drops off pretty quick (been testing twice a day, morning and early afternoon). Pool gets lots of sun and I'm guessing 5 cups is going to be a little light when summertime hits. My algae problem is more or less gone, and the water looks great.

In the first year I had to add Muriatic Acid just once to address PH problem, but I've had to add it 3 times in the last month, including today when it was up at 8.2. I dunno if getting rid of pucks has anything to do with that or not (probably not, just a coincidence).
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,177
Milwaukee, WI
I was using the tabs you are (99% Trichloro), and Calcium Hypochlorite for shock (I only shocked the pool like twice in the first year). I'm currently adding 4-5 cups of LC early evening which is holding my chlorine level fine until about midday the next day when it drops off pretty quick (been testing twice a day, morning and early afternoon). Pool gets lots of sun and I'm guessing 5 cups is going to be a little light when summertime hits. My algae problem is more or less gone, and the water looks great.

In the first year I had to add Muriatic Acid just once to address PH problem, but I've had to add it 3 times in the last month, including today when it was up at 8.2. I dunno if getting rid of pucks has anything to do with that or not (probably not, just a coincidence).
What’s your CYA level? In the summer in the southern US many people run it a bit higher. You need to keep FC a little higher but you lose less of it.

Pucks are acidic. They do lower the pH. What’s your TA? Puck chlorinated pools keep higher TA to offset the acid in the pucks, so people (properly ;) ) chlorinating with liquid chlorine often keep the TA lower and still add some acid now and then to keep the pH down (it naturally rises over time due to CO2 off-gassing).
 

compren

Member
Apr 9, 2019
7
Spring, TX
What’s your CYA level? In the summer in the southern US many people run it a bit higher. You need to keep FC a little higher but you lose less of it.

Pucks are acidic. They do lower the pH. What’s your TA? Puck chlorinated pools keep higher TA to offset the acid in the pucks, so people (properly ;) ) chlorinating with liquid chlorine often keep the TA lower and still add some acid now and then to keep the pH down (it naturally rises over time due to CO2 off-gassing).
Thanks for that information, I don't remember reading that previously. My CYA is still a tad high at 70, TA is 60 and PH was up at 8.1 this afternoon (added acid). Trying not to make too many changes at once, but am definitely making progress.
 
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rllackey28

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2017
61
Williamson, WV
From what I understand from extensive reading on here any FC level less than SLAM levels is safe to swim in. So I always add enough liquid chlorine to go over my upper limit of normal range so that as it dissipates during the day I still have enough to not go under my lower limit. Just food for thought.
 
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IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,177
Milwaukee, WI
From what I understand from extensive reading on here any FC level less than SLAM levels is safe to swim in. So I always add enough liquid chlorine to go over my upper limit of normal range so that as it dissipates during the day I still have enough to not go under my lower limit. Just food for thought.
While you can go over the highest recommended "normal" range and be safe to swim up to SLAM levels, we typically don't recommend it because you'll burn off excess chlorine. If you're losing so much FC per day that you're going from the top of the range down to danger levels, you either have an algae bloom starting or (if it's just the sun) you should try a higher CYA level. :)
 

rllackey28

Well-known member
Jun 9, 2017
61
Williamson, WV
While you can go over the highest recommended "normal" range and be safe to swim up to SLAM levels, we typically don't recommend it because you'll burn off excess chlorine. If you're losing so much FC per day that you're going from the top of the range down to danger levels, you either have an algae bloom starting or (if it's just the sun) you should try a higher CYA level. :)
I see a lot of sun. Direct sun from about 10 am to 8 pm during the summer. But I had been running CYA at 30 which I plan to up into ideal range when I switch over to my SWG.
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Jul 8, 2015
2,248
OV, CA
I'm fine that I didn't go with SWG...I have lots of natural stone and I didn't really want to lug salt into the back yard and deal with that.
There are two fallacies in this statement.. you only have to "lug" the salt once.. then a little each year to maintain the salinity level for that pool season. It equates to a heck of a lot less lugging than jugs of Chlorine. Also, SWG's don't affect stone. If stone is deteriorating its from the chemistry not related to the salinity. And that will happen regardless of the type of chlorination. Obviously what exactly is happening depends on the kind of stone.. but its not from the salt.

BTW, congrats on getting the CYA levels figured out.
 

poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
426
Seminole, FL
"we get a pool, she takes care of it"

Same deal at our house.....not working out so well.
That was the deal at our house, too. Thus the screen enclosure, SWCG, and robot. :) I don't mind testing and adding acid once in a while. Also, on the CYA front, either I read the test wrong (hate the CYA test!) or we lost a fair amount in the last two months that it got sunny. I had measured it at 70 a couple of months ago, and wasn't thinking much about it, and suddenly the chlorine levels are dropping. Not out of range, and no CC, but lower that they had been. Tested CYA, and it was at 40. Added some this morning and it's between 60 and 70 (so, 70, but a "low" 70...) again. We'll see how the chlorine holds up. Pool has been sparkling, so I think it's just the warmer water, bright sunshine, and lower CYA that was causing the problem.
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,177
Milwaukee, WI
CYA can degrade, it just does it pretty slowly. Losing 10ppm a month or so in warm climates or most of it over winterizing for northern pools isn't unusual.