New home, new pool, new test kit, unexpected results

Granny

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 26, 2013
29
Hello All,

I'm new to the forum and to pool ownership and I'm having some unexpected results with the water tests.

I live in Oklahoma City, and just bought a house with an inground pool with vinyl liner; the pool water is crystal clear and sparkly and I can see the bottom clearly.

I got my TF100 test kit and started trying to test pH, but from the first drop into the tube the water turns yellow -- there is no orange tint at all. Also, in testing TA I follow the directions: "Rinse and fill the plastic cylinder to the 25 ml mark. Add 2 drops R-0007 and mix, then add 5 drops of R-0008 and mix again. The solution will turn green." However, even though the R-0008 looks very green while it is still in the bottle on the first drop into the pool water/R-0007 mixture it turns pink. Immediately and without adding any R-0009 the water is a very definite and strong pink.

It looks like the previous owner used trichlor pucks. The rest of the tests seem to work as expected.

FC = 11
CC = 0
CYA = 100
CH = 70
FC = 11
Borates = 0

So, what do I need to do to fix my pH/alkalinity?

Granny
 

257WbyMag

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Feb 23, 2008
5,063
Argyle, TX
Pool Size
27000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Welcome to TFP!

You should add 5 drops to check pH, not one drop. That should allow you to get a correct reading.

An immediate pink reading on your TA test indicates a very low TA. You can raise your TA with baking soda.
 

Granny

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 26, 2013
29
I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I do add 5 drops total, but even on the very first drop when testing pH the water is bright yellow with no orange tint. After all five of the drops are added it looks a lot like the chorine test instead of the pH test -- even though I am definitely using the red-capped R-0014 when testing.

And thank you for the information. I will add baking soda and test again.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,262
When the TA turns immediately pink, your TA is zero, or lower, and the pH is below 4.5. A very yellow pH test is right for such a low pH.

This is fairly common when someone uses only trichlor pucks and never tests the pH or TA. This happens because the pucks are acidic.

I would start by adding enough bicarb (baking soda) to increase the TA by 80 ppm and then retest TA.

Also, your CYA is probably well over 100 ppm. I would do a CYA test on a 50/50 mix of pool water and tap water and multiply the results by 2.
 

Granny

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 26, 2013
29
Isaac-1 said:
One note here, the pH test will not read correctly when FC is over about 10 ppm

What about the TA test? Am I not getting accurate readings because of too much FC?

With the water diluted 50/50 with tap water I get a CYA reading of 70. So, CYA of 140?

pH of tap water is a shade between 7.5 and 7.8.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
28,262
With a 50/50 mix, the result is multiplied by 2, so 140 should be close. The TA test is probably not being affected by the FC. The TA is below zero. I would a add 80 ppm TA (about 12 pounds of bicarb) and then retest TA.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
If pH is very low and your TA is at zero, the correct thing to do is raise the pH with borax until you get it into the 7s. This will also result in raising the TA. If you add baking soda to raise the TA first, the TA will end up too high when you adjust the pH.
 

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Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
11,039
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
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Surface
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Chlorine
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OK.......I now see your edited post. So now that we know your PH test is OK I'd now retest your pool water's PH. A PH level that's low could start to lead to damaged parts in your pump, liner, and various other equipment. My first suggestion is to make sure you raise your PH to around 7.2.

Second off.....it looks as if the owners use of trichlor raised your CYA levels to a point where it's going to be almost impossible to keep the pool clear if you ever have any issues. I'd plan on a drain/refill here soon to lower the CYA levels down around 50.

You're gonna have a bit of work to do to achieve good numbers thanks to them enjoying pucks......but we'll get you there. :D
 

Granny

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 26, 2013
29
Okay, added 12 lbs of baking soda and got to a TA of 20. Going to add some borax now and see if I can get a good pH level.

Thank you all for all of your help.

Also, I plan to leave the pool uncovered through the winter. Will this lower CYA?
 

Jeetyet

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2012
200
Florida Panhandle
If you intend to address your high CYA before closing I would take care of that first. Otherwise you're just adding chemicals that will be drained to waste when you lower the CYA level, plus the fact that your fresh fill water will cause a change in your pH and TA levels requiring less chemicals to bring them into the proper range.
 

duraleigh

Admin
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In The Industry
Apr 1, 2007
34,518
Sebring, Florida
If you intend to address your high CYA before closing I would take care of that first.
Regardless of CYA, my first concern would be to get pH up and stabilized. Using 20 mule team Borax raises both pH and TA as someone noted above.

In a 10k pool, it's not going to cost much to get them within our suggested parameters.

Your pH is really low and has been there for an apparent long time. Monitor that it doesn't slip back down again.
 

Jeetyet

Well-known member
Jul 29, 2012
200
Florida Panhandle
duraleigh said:
If you intend to address your high CYA before closing I would take care of that first.
Regardless of CYA, my first concern would be to get pH up and stabilized. Using 20 mule team Borax raises both pH and TA as someone noted above.

In a 10k pool, it's not going to cost much to get them within our suggested parameters.

Your pH is really low and has been there for an apparent long time. Monitor that it doesn't slip back down again.
I will defer to your greater experience and expertise, but, I can't follow the logic of adding chemicals that will be shortly drained away. :scratch: If there was an extended period of time (several days) between adding the chemicals and draining most of the water I could understand the reasoning. Regardless, the OP has probably already added what was required to adjust pH and TA so its a moot point now. :)

To the OP:

Having reviewed the thread and not knowing where you're at in Pool School, just wanted to make certain you were aware that if and when you decide to do any draining to address your CYA level, with a vinyl liner, you should never drain lower than the point of leaving at least one foot of water in the shallow end. Any further and you risk problems with your liner.
 

Granny

LifeTime Supporter
Sep 26, 2013
29
Thank you all very much for your advice and suggestions. I've added a full box of 20 Mule, but the pH is still not readable. I'll get a couple more this evening and finish the process.

Thank you very much for the offer of using your submersible pump BKendrick, but I do have a main drain and it seems to pump down very quickly.

Since it isn't swim season now anyway and the water still looks very good I'll probably concentrate on keeping the chlorine up and pH regulated and only drain off a smaller portion at a time, replacing the water over the course of the winter instead of all at once. If this is a poor strategy I'd appreciate tips.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
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Jul 21, 2011
11,039
Eastern Ohio
Pool Size
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Surface
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Chlorine
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You plan is one to try......and if the weather cooperates and you stay ontop of adding chlorine it should work. Just keep the chlorine high and stay on top of testing. Before you worry about anything however.....keep adding chemicals to get the PH levels up to at least 7.2. Equipment and liner failures are likely at very low levels of PH.
 

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