I’m not an idiot but I feel like one

Ameryl

Member
Jul 26, 2020
6
Phoenix
Hi. I am really trying to figure this out. I just fired my third pool company. I’m not going to get into all of the reasons why, but I’m starting to think I am over my head and maybe I should start looking for one I should trust.


Anyway, here is what I know about the pool and the equipment. I bought the house last year. The pool was put in 1968 (from records because previous owner of one year knew nothing). I know it’s a single speed motor and a sand filter. I am thinking about replacing the sand because one of the techs opened it up and said the sand was clumped up. I did watch the videos on how to clean the filter but I really don’t trust myself to do it without breaking anything. I can barely get the backwash switch/ valve pulled up and down. The motor was replaced (through home warranty) last year. I bought a zodiac mx-6 vacuum.

Initially I bought a HTX test kit for the chlorine and ph. I also take the water to a local store (I know what you are going to say) but I do trust this particular store (especially since they backed up my reasoning why I needed to fire the last company). I also bought the expensive Taylor K2006 kit.
So, I tested the water today using all three methods and I’m getting different results. I know... no kidding. But I don’t know who and what is off. I’m inclined to believe I am doing the Taylor test wrong.

Store results:
FC 7.56
pH 8.1
TA 79
CyA 171
Pho 153

Taylor
FC 5
pH 7.6
TA 130
Pho 0
Cya ? (Over 100-liquid very cloudy)

Water temp is 85-87 (Phoenix)

I was using pucks but they’ve been dissolved and my floater is pretty empty now. I bought liquid chlorine from Lowe’s yesterday.
What do I do if anything?
Please be kind.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
19,132
Bedford, TX
A,

At this point you really only have one option and that is to get your CYA down to less than 50... Unfortunately, there is only one way to do that and that is to drain and refill most of the existing water. This is not really the time to do that in Phoenix.. ☹

You can do several smaller drains and refills, but that will just use more water.

Please read this... ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

Please take a look through our Pool School and see what we are all about. Pool School - Trouble Free Pool

No one will be able to maintain your pool with a CYA of way over 100.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
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setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,383
Stuart/FL
Ameryl,

Welcome to TFP and sorry to see you so confused but understandable. My only addition to Jim and Marty's advice is quit trying to reconcile your home Taylor results with the pool store. Even though you are new your test results are more reliable than the pool store. Hard to believe but it's true and we see this all the time. TFP sells nothing so you can always be assured you'll get solid advice that's not conflicted by trying to sell you something. We have volunteer experts that help make all this simple and cheap for you. You have two already engaged. TFP methods use dirt cheap generic chemicals you can get at big box stores for almost all your needs. Please read the documents that have been referred to you and ask any questions you may have. Very quickly you'll learn this is pretty easy and with your test kit there's no guessing.

Good luck and look forward to updates/questions.

Chris
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
1,637
Prosper, TX (DFW)
We see lots of people in similar situations making their first post.

You clearly read up before your first post, and even bought the recommended test kit. That is leaps and bounds ahead of most people in their first post. Keep posting and dont be so hard on yourself... and welcome!
 
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Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,509
NY
^^^ This. we don't keep score but you'd be up at least several points if we did. Way to go and Welcome. Most people got here from having problems. Some big, some small, but very few people find us when things are great.
 

Ameryl

Member
Jul 26, 2020
6
Phoenix
Hi. Thanks for your help. I think I got the hang of my chemistry set. I’ve ran the tests 2-3 times and I’m getting pretty consistent results so now I know it’s not me/my learning curve.
I tested the water for Cyanuric Acid with the 50/50 combo of pool and tap water.

FC 4.5
CC 0
pH 8.0
TA 150
CYA 160
CH 450
Phosphate 50

The pool water itself is clear. I know the pool loses 1-2 inches a week from evaporation in the summer and the temperatures are expected to be 112 degrees this weekend. Is there an immediate need to drain the pool...is it not safe to swim? Or can I do this slowly?
 

Chasarms

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2020
347
Dardenne Prairie, MO
With CYA at 160, you won’t be able to maintain FC at a level that will safely sanitize your pool. Of course, you certainly don’t want 112 sun baking your dry pool either.

You have options to do it safely, but you should plan on exchanging between half and 3/4ths of your water in order to get to manageable CYA to maintain free chlorine.

Multiple, smaller drains and refills work, but may be costly depending on water costs in your area. You can also drain and refill at the same time. There’s a howto on this site for that process as noted in the links posted in this thread.
 

DorsalSpine

Gold Supporter
Silver Supporter
Jul 8, 2013
705
Columbus, Ohio
Evaporation doesn't change your CYA level. It stays in the remaining water. It can gradually degrade over time (months), but you level is so high that isn't going to help you much. At some point you need to exchange water to get to a manageable level. In the meantime, you need a much higher level of FC to keep the water clear. Try reading the articles under Pool School on the left hand menu.

Do you plan to keep the house for a long time? A salt water generator is a popular choice in your climate / location. That is a really technical solution to suggest for someone who is new to taking care of a pool. An SWG requires a higher level of CYA than a manually treated pool. You level is still too high. You are probably looking at several thousand dollars to add one. I considered one when I got into a CYA issue years ago. I decided it didn't make sense as short as our pool season is here in Ohio.

As I said, this is a lot to think about for somebody new to pools. Try reading the articles in Pool School and don't be afraid to ask questions. We are all happy to help.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,383
Stuart/FL
Hi. Thanks for your help. I think I got the hang of my chemistry set. I’ve ran the tests 2-3 times and I’m getting pretty consistent results so now I know it’s not me/my learning curve.
I tested the water for Cyanuric Acid with the 50/50 combo of pool and tap water.

FC 4.5
CC 0
pH 8.0
TA 150
CYA 160
CH 450
Phosphate 50

The pool water itself is clear. I know the pool loses 1-2 inches a week from evaporation in the summer and the temperatures are expected to be 112 degrees this weekend. Is there an immediate need to drain the pool...is it not safe to swim? Or can I do this slowly?
Ameryl,

Your test technique is plenty good right to start and more reliable/accurate than most pool stores. Some are OK but problem is you don't know if you got a good one or bad one until it's too late. Trust your test results. Follow TFP methods and stay out of pool stores will way more than make up for the cost of the test kit.

Your pool is not safe to swim in because it's not practical to keep the FC level required for your CYA level. You need to drain or exchange water to get the CYA level within TFP recommendations. I wouldn't do anything else yet since you will just dump the chemicals down the drain. Once you get CYA down adjust FC and pH about an hour apart with the pool running. If your pool stays clear you've dodged a bullet. If you don't already have some liquid chlorine and acid you should get some. Big box stores usually have the best price. Not sure how you're testing for phosphate but I'd stop messing with it. Won't affect anything if you stay within TFP levels.

I've posted links and information that may be helpful. Ask any questions.

Good luck.

Chris
Further Reading Draining/Water Exchange
 
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Ameryl

Member
Jul 26, 2020
6
Phoenix
Ok. Got it. Drain the pool.
I ordered a pump from Amazon... the superior 91330 1/3 HP that was linked from from this site. It should arrive tomorrow morning by 8 am. I figure that was more cost effective than renting one and I’ll have it if I run into trouble again.

Anyone want to tell me how to use it? How do I get the cap off the sewer clean out? Where do I put the pump? Do I need 1 or 2 hoses? It looks like I can attach the garden hoses I already have and then feed it to the sewer. Is that correct?

Should I do simultaneous drain refill or drain then refill. I figure if you all are advising me to drain about half (5k gallons) that should take 12-14 hours. The refill will take about 6 hours. I have 2 hose bibs and one is attached to an industrial sized hose making refill faster. It’s pebble tec. Do I need to worry about anything with the draining given the time estimate and temperature over the weekend?

Who can I call if I wind up flooding my backyard?
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,383
Stuart/FL
@mknauss has talked hundreds through this process so I'll defer to him. Not sure who to call... I'd find a route to your storm sewer. Also, watch it and cut back if needed so you don't flood anything. Don't think this is often a big issue.
 
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Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
925
Alamo, CA
How do I get the cap off the sewer clean out?
There are different types of cleanout caps. The most common kind has a square protrusion you can simply grab with a wrench and unscrew. If the cap is old and hasn't been turned in decades, it may break and you'll have to clean the pieces out. Ask me how I know. At least I was able to replace the ancient plastic (?) cap with a metal one which should last forever.
sewer.png
I'd find a route to your storm sewer.
"Storm sewer" is not a thing. You have a sewer (unless you have septic) and perhaps a storm drain. Pool water should not go down the storm drain. It can harm living things downstream.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,383
Stuart/FL
There are different types of cleanout caps. The most common kind has a square protrusion you can simply grab with a wrench and unscrew. If the cap is old and hasn't been turned in decades, it may break and you'll have to clean the pieces out. Ask me how I know. At least I was able to replace the ancient plastic (?) cap with a metal one which should last forever.
View attachment 156113
"Storm sewer" is not a thing. You have a sewer (unless you have septic) and perhaps a storm drain. Pool water should not go down the storm drain. It can harm living things downstream.
Different term same thing. I've seen them called storm drains, storm sewers, and rainwater runoff. Using your terminology it's a storm drain. Definitely not a sanitary sewer. The latter contains untreated human waste and yes you don't want to put pool water in there.

1596243064393.png
 
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DanF

Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2019
252
Chandler, AZ
It’s pebble tec.

Who can I call if I wind up flooding my backyard?
I'm not an expert but I have heard more than once that it's OK to drain a pebble Tec pool in AZ in the summer. If that can be validated then you dont need to worry about water replacement. Just drain and QUICKLY refill.

If you put the garden hose in your sewer cleanout you won't flood your yard.
 
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red-beard

Gold Supporter
May 27, 2019
553
Houston, TX
A couple of notes on draining. A regular garden hose restricts the water out flow. When you get the submersible pump, look at the fitting. a 1/3 pump is a good size. If you remove the hose fitting, you have a much larger connection.

The regular pool hose is 1 1/2" inside diameter. The Outside Diameter is 1 3/4". Home depot sells a 1 3/4 to 1 3/4 compression connector. I was able to connect a regular pool hose, with a much higher output. This will allow a much faster drain to allow a much faster drain and refill.

Loosen the end caps and then insert the fitting into the pump output and then insert the hose. Tighten the nuts.


hose and fitting.jpg
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
33,003
Laughlin, NV
This will allow a much faster drain to allow a much faster drain and refill.
This is fine if you are draining. But for an exchange, you need match out with in. So normally you use a garden hose (3/4" is best) for the effluent. That way your fill water can keep up.

The best for a true drain, is to rent a full power sump pump from Home Depot, etc. They can move 3000+ gallons an hour. You need a place to put that water, a sewer cleanout can get overwhelmed at that rate.