Just starting TFP

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
Good morning! We have had our AG pool for several years. In the past, we have always used test strips combined with pool store testing and advice. My hubby usually did most of the pool care, but I have decided to take that on this season. We have spent way too much money in opening each year, and I am excited to try this method. I have just ordered (yesterday) the TF100 test kit, borate strips, and a ph meter (because I don't like color matching the pH). I was looking for advice on what to do between now and receiving our test kit.

Here are the levels according to the pool store (2 actually)

water was greenish, cloudy, but could see bottom just barely

FC 1.1 (we added 5 gal of 10% bleach before ordering our kit because they said 6 pounds of shock)
CC .56
pH 6.9 (added borax because they said to add pH up)
TA 152 (before the borax)
CH 138
CYA 149




I don't know what to do between now and getting my test kit. Do I worry about the high Alkalinity? Do I keep adding Chlorine? Do I worry about the CYA? The pool store isn't concerned about the CYA, but from what I have read on here that seems to be the starting point. Please advise on how to proceed. I am not very patient, and need to do something. After the results posted yesterday and adding the bleach/borax the water is more blue than green and I can see the bottom easier, but it's still cloudy.

Thanks in advance!
 

woodyp

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 17, 2010
10,283
East Texas
With that CYA level and no SWG, I'd start by doing two 1/3 drains and refills between now and then. Also enjoy Pool School between now and then. Welcome to the forum.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
Thank you. I see you said since I don't have a SWG. Is one recommended? And if so, how hard is it to convert? Are there any budget friendly recommendations that would work for my AG pool?
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,172
FL panhandle
Welcome to TFP!

Circupool and Saltron are popular lower cost SWGs.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
According to pool math, we need to do an 80% drain to get our CYA to 30. It's draining as we speak (type). How much is able to be removed without messing up the liner? We'd prefer not to dilute and drain again, if possible. My test kit should arrive this afternoon, and I am super excited! I kept a sample of the water to practice on and will retest once we've added the new water. Also, we are using the vacuum to remove any debris from the bottom as it drains. 2 steps at once is good in my opinion!
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
25,172
FL panhandle
We recommend leaving a foot of water in vinyl lined pools to prevent liner shrink, stretch, shift, etc. With summer coming on quickly lowering your CYA to 50 would be better.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
So I should aim for 50 then will I need to SLAM? Or will replacing that much water make me not need to do that? Do you think I'd just need to test the water and once the levels are good go from there?
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
ok. That is good to know. I have another question. Does lowering the CYA affect any other chemicals? I saw somewhere (pool math maybe?) that adding it changes pH, but wasn't sure removing it would change it as well. I am sure I will have a ton more questions as well as frustrations as I learn to do this myself, but I am so excited to take control and save some $$$ in the meantime. My husband is happy at the thought of less $$ being spent at the pool stores, and less problems (hopefully) next spring when we open up for the season. I was surprised at how easily he agreed to "invest" in the good test kit. Thanks to all who have answered my questions so far!
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
Feeling hopeful... Just getting the pool water back up to mid-skimmer level. Started the pump on low. Waited 30 minutes to test the water.

Before removing the water yesterday, I didn't have the correct testing kit, but according to my test strips, my FC was higher than they could read. I am sure this is due to my addition of bleach (as opposed to the shock the pool store said to do). The water was blue and cloudy, but I could see the bottom well before lowering water level. I saved a sample to test with my new TF100 test kit I received yesterday. The results of that test vs. the one just now, are as follows:


before after
FC 6.0 3.0
CC 0.5 0.5
pH 7.2 7.2
TA 180 120
CYA 150+ 70

We did about a 3/4 drain and refill

At this time we feel we should not want to drain more. I feel like we are on the correct path, thanks to the information on this site/forum.

We also changed the cartridge in our filter and added a sock to the skimmer. *I think a lot of the cloudiness was due to overdue cartridge replacement. We also mostly ran the pump on high, which I know now isn't the best choice. My kids want to swim this weekend. So, with that being said, with my CC at 0.5, if I pass the OCLT and the water is clear, is a SLAM necessary? If so, can it wait until Sunday night/Monday so my kids can get in over the weekend?

What needs to be adjusted now? Is it better to be at the higher or lower end of the recommended levels? Or is it fine as long as you fall in the normal range somewhere?

Thanks so much for all of the input. I apologize for the many questions. In the past we just did whatever the pool stores told us to do without worrying about the why of it all... Now I know that wasn't a great plan. LOL!!!
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
You can swim during a slam as long as the FC is not higher than the SLAM FC. Also, a quick note on the pH pen. Use it, but verify with the TF-100. Those pens can be very fickle.

- - - Updated - - -

If you pass the OCLT, it appears you pass the other two criteria to not have to slam.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
Thank you. It looks like I have to SLAM today. The weather won't be nice enough to get in the pool before Sunday, so we should be done by then.

Last night at 8:45 the FC was 8 and CC was < 0.5 This morning the FC was 6.5 and the CC was almost nonexistent, but it was there. So SLAM will begin today! The water looks pretty good. Just a very slight cloudiness. I hate to even call it cloudy, but it isn't "sparkling" to be quite honest, I am not sure it ever got much better than this last season at all!

Today's big question is: would it be better to brush and vacuum prior to or during the SLAMing? I'm not sure it would make a difference, but thought it was worth asking...

As far as the pH meter, it's more of a double check. I don't trust my color matching, but the pH test that came with this kit is much easier to read than the one I had from WalMart, so I am not as worried as i previously was.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
I overshot my slam level a little bit. I was aiming for 28, but am at 32. I guess that extra 0.1 gallon made a significant difference. Lol! I'll go back out in a couple hours to check it again. I am hoping it only takes 1 day of SLAMming so I can move on to maintaining.

I have a couple questions for future reference. We go out of town 2-3 times between spring and fall for 7-9 days at a time. How do I maintain while I'm away? I really don't want to come home to a green monster each time.
 

drharris

Well-known member
Jun 29, 2016
275
Walhalla, SC
For 7-9 days you might be able to get away with just raising to SLAM level and hope it holds well enough while you're gone. If you have a cover it might help. If someone can come by and check on it, you can leave some pre-measured bottles of bleach for them to dump in (hopefully by then you will know what your pool needs on a daily basis), and maybe even teach them to take a quick pH/FC measurement, clean out the skimmer, etc. Even if someone can only come by one time, it would keep a potential problem at bay.

Worst case is you get back to a minor problem, SLAM it for a day or two, and you're back in shape.

Even before I learned about TFP methods, I just put regular shock in there (I know, I know) and let it sit for a week, came back to no problem at all (of course with SWG that helped). You should eventually learn what you can get away with.
 

Celkins0901

Active member
May 4, 2017
30
SC
Ugh! We've been SLAMming our pool, keeping a close eye on FC as often as possible. It wasn't changing much at first, but since yesterday it has been going down much faster. Yesterday morning I thought it looked very clear and beautiful, but there was some stuff on the floor so I vacuumed and then brushed all the sides and bottom. I'm assuming whatever I stirred up is what is using up the FC. It was the same this morning. It looked pretty good until I stirred it up with the brush and now a few hours later, it's still cloudy. Any suggestions?

Forgot to mention we have a filter sock on the skimmer and DH cleaned the cartridge this morning...
 

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