Making the switch

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#1
Hey guys, I've been lurking for almost a year and found some great information here through my agonizing and endless pool research since I became a first time pool owner in May of last year. I managed to limp through last year with the aquacheck 7 way test strips and a few chemicals recommended by a local pool company who came by a gave a quick "pool school"/sale when we moved in.

However, after a year of using the 3" tabs and shocking once a week (as recommended), my CYA levels have gotten pretty high. Although, I've managed to keep everything else within range. In the fall I had a custom leaf cover made due to surrounding live oaks. It was installed in October and the pool stayed pretty clean and clear throughout most of the offseason.

I took the cover off one warm, early January day and cleaned the little debris that managed to get under it and put it back on and resumed checking the water about once a month. Then came spring and the dreaded oak pollen "tassels". Sooo much of the pollen and debris from these evil flowers detoured under the cover or made it through the fine mesh.

So yesterday, I decided to remove the cover. The water was clear, but the walls and floor were covered with what I assumed was algae and the pollen tassel debris. As soon as I started scrubbing, the water turned milky green until it resembled the Gulf of Mexico. I pulled and cleaned the filter cartridges and skimmers threw in the Polaris and kept scrubbing. I tested with the strips and the TC was low and the FC didn't even register. I threw in what little algaecide I had left and then used the Pool math calculator to try and figure out how much bleach to use to start the shock process. I needed up using about a gallon. Not sure if it was enough, but by 5:00 this morning, the water had drastically improved.

Today I ordered a TF100 kit and made the decision to switch to the TF methodology. I am still trying to learn and take everything in, so I will be back with many questions.

P.s. The pool size and year built are rough guesses. I will try to get a more accurate size in the coming days.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,079
Evans, Georgia
#2
Awwwwright Dino! Lets do this!! We'll help ya as questions arise.

Glad you finally ordered that test kit. You will be amazed when you have hardcore accurate test numbers, not some weird range that guess-strips provides.

Look at the bottom of PoolMath for a way to help figure out pool volume.

Yippee :flower:
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,910
Tallahassee, FL
#3
AWESOME decision! Your pool will look better than it ever has AND be easier than ever!

We would love to see a picture so we help you watch it clear!

Kim:kim:
 

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#4
Here is my pool today. I guess whatever I did yesterday worked. Scrubbing right now and trying to keep some type of chlorine in there. I have an inline tab feeder but I'm not sure if or how well it's working. Or maybe the strips I'm using are bad because I'm still not even registering a result for FC. Trying to keep from adding too much other than bleach until I get the test kit and figure out what's really going on, but I also don't want to lose the progress I've made.

I plan to go with a Stenner type pump and tank in the near future, but in the mean time, I need to get everything balanced and under control.
IMG_0442.jpg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,910
Tallahassee, FL
#6
Here I was thinking you had a BIG mess on your hands! What I see is a very pretty pool and area. This will be be a easy one to fix up.

When you build the storage make sure to have a place to put the muratic acid that is away from the chlorine and any metal. It needs to be well vented.

Kim:kim:
 

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#7
Yeah, I guess the full day of incessant scrubbing, vacuuming, filter cleaning, bleach pouring and sun burn paid off. I'm still concerned about the test strip results, but I guess I can wait on the new test kit as long as it's clear like it is now.
 

pabeader

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
May 14, 2015
4,349
Cartersville Ga
#8
You removed the pucks from the dispenser, right? Don't want to keep adding CYA.

Note: Guess strips can bleach out if the FC is high enough. So there's another reason we dislike them.
 

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#9
That's the thing, I'm not getting consistent results with the strips. I just checked again and the cya color is more toward the ideal levels. I don't know! We have had some rain recently, but I'm getting different cya readings within days of each other. If I remove the tabs from the system, is the bleach I add in the evening enough to sustain the pool through the heat of the following day until I get home to add more? I know, rookie question, I just don't want to let the FC coverage lapse any longer than I have to, especially when it's warm and sunny and right after I cleared up the mess.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#10
I remember the "ideal" levels for CYA to be WAY higher than what is actually needed. I wouldn't even bother with the test strips even for the next few days. 3/4 of a gallon of 8.25 bleach will give you about 3 FC per day. Wouldn't be a bad idea to at least add that much to maintain whatever your current FC level is. A gallon a day wouldn't be bad either as your current FC is likely too low for your CYA if your pool has been a tablet junky for any amount of time.

- - - Updated - - -

By the way, welcome the TFP! Great job on ordering a real test kit! You will have your pool awesome in no time.
 

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#11
Thanks for the advice!

Analog, when you say way higher, how high are you talking? I'm guessing, based on the strips, that it's between 60 and 100.

I'm considering doing a partial water replacement soon to get the CYA back down. I am on a well so the water bill is not an issue, but I assume it will still be somewhat of a PITA to get everything balanced again. Is this worth doing?

My only issue with this is that my fill line for my pool is connected to my water softener. I have plans to have a plumber come and convert it and run some other hard water like new outside for irrigation. Should I fill with soft water, or wait until I can do it with hard water. This has been something I've wondered about for a while. I figure now, since I won't be using the products containing calcium, filling with hard water might not be a bad thing. According to the strips, my CH is also low, so I probably need to address that pretty soon.

Sorry if I'm all over the place, I have a lot going through my mind.
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#12
No worries at all. Let's take it one step at a time. Since you don't have a SWG, we recommend 30-50 CYA for most pools. See this link Pool School - Recommended Levels. 60-100 becomes more difficult to manage a proper dose of FC for you pool to stay sanitized and uber expensive if you have to SLAM

Let's get some good numbers before we talk replacing water. Even though you are on a well, replacing water can really tax the well and the softener. Using softened water isn't a big deal, you will just have to manually add calcium, however, again, you are taxing your softener for no reason. Now, you would want to get your unsoftened well water checked for metals to see if that is really the way you would want to go. Some people have problems with iron from well water.

Take a breathe, do some reading, add bleach, and wait for test kit. The strips are useless, don't let them get you worked up or tempt you to adjust anything based on them. They just can not be trusted. The waiting is the hard part (=

Continue asking questions, there is a wealth of information here and people are excited to help one another get their pool in prestine shape.
 

DinoTX

Active member
Jan 18, 2017
29
Rosenberg, TX
#16
I've had my un-softened water tested and iron was almost nonexistent. Not sure about any other metals. I'll have to see if I can test it my self.

I do know that my hard water is very hard (24 gpg). I actually just purchased a new softener which will be installed when I get the above stated plumbing work done.

So in regard to the water; would it be better to continue using soft water to fill (either when replacing water or because of evaporation), or get my fill line converted to hard water?

And regarding the CYA; I get what you're saying about getting the numbers right, but to me CYA is one of the more important ones to get right other than FC. And the only way I've heard of to lower CYA is replacing water.

The test kit just shipped and should be here Friday. I'm trying to be patient, I really am. But until the kit arrives , I can only go off of what the strips are telling me. And I'm not the type of person that likes to let issues slide, I like to fix problems ASAP before they become bigger problems. When I know something is wrong, it drives me crazy until it's right. But y'all can probably tell that by now.

P.S. we did get some heavy rain today, so maybe it diluted the CYA a little more. I'll check (guess;)) when I get home.

- - - Updated - - -

BTW, should I start another thread, or am I good here?
 

Analogbytes

Bronze Supporter
Dec 22, 2016
291
Arlington, Texas
#17
One thread is great. And I do understand the urge to fix something you know just isn't quite right. You are correct that CYA can only be lowered quickly by replacing water. The process of evaporation and refill is actually not lowering your CYA. When water evaporates, your CYA number increases. You add water it decreases. Same amount of water evaporates, and you have the same higher number. Add water, the same lower number. Make sense?

CYA is important only to know the level of FC you should be maintaining. In the long run, it is a number you want to watch. In the short term, just dose FC as best you can.

You may be best to use your softened water, it you are good with it, and supplement with Calcium as needed.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
35,910
Tallahassee, FL
#19
Dino, I have a job for you! Ready? Go get your strips.........I will wait on you..............good, now walk over to your trash can......now open the strip bottle and put the strips in the trash can. Now go put the bottle in the recycle bin! There now I feel better LOL :slidehalo:

Sorry :hug: but they are driving you crazy and cannot be trusted. IF you want to do something go brush that pretty pool and a cold one in the fridge ready for you!

Kim:kim: