New homeowner, first pool, test results are bad

Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
Hey everyone, thanks in advance for taking the time to help me. I just bought my first house and it has a 24' circular above ground pool with a Hayward sand filter. I've been reading the pool school blogs and the forums a bit to learn, but I think my pool is too far gone to be fixable with beginner-level knowledge. I would appreciate any guidance here!

I took a water sample to Ace Hardware to do their free test - the first time their printer wasn't working, so I tried to make adjustments based on reading here and the numbers their test gave me, but that water was also from the surface of the pool so may have been wrong. Here's that test result:



After this test, I purchased 15lbs of baking soda, one liter of MetalFree, and a couple pounds of soda ash based on the suggestions in the PoolMath app. I also purchased a Taylor K-2006 test kit. I put in 2/3rds of the container of MetalFree, waited 24 hours, put in all the baking soda, waited 24 hours, then tested to determine how much soda ash I would need to raise the pH. All the tests came back out of wack so I took another sample to Ace today and these are the results:



So now suddenly the CYA is way higher than before (the Taylor test kit confirms this, it's definitely well above 100ppm) and there's more copper than there was before I put in the MetalFree.

So I guess I have to drain the pool as the second test suggests to fix the CYA levels, but then I'm lost after that. All the numbers are so far out of recommended ranges that my home test kit is useless for incremental adjustments until I can get everything into reasonable amounts.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated! I'm considering just calling a local company in to get it fixed so I have a better starting point to learn from, but I also am interested in learning how this works as I imagine I'll need to do big adjustments each year when I fill the pool at the beginning of the season (assuming I do - let me know if not - it generally freezes regularly during winters).
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

Please trash the Ace test results. Do a complete set of tests with your K-2006 and post the results here ...

FC
CC
pH
TA
CH
CYA

What is the pH and TA of the fill water when you drain your pool?

What is the source of your fill water?
 

Mike1162

Well-known member
Jun 13, 2015
586
N Tonawanda, NY
Take a cup of pool water & mix it with a cup of tap water. Use the mixed water when you do the CYA test. Report the result & we can tell you how much water to drain. True CYA level will be 2 times the result.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
Take a cup of pool water & mix it with a cup of tap water. Use the mixed water when you do the CYA test. Report the result & we can tell you how much water to drain. True CYA level will be 2 times the result.
50%/50% mix of pool water and tap water.
 
Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
Welcome to TFP.

Please trash the Ace test results. Do a complete set of tests with your K-2006 and post the results here ...

FC
CC
pH
TA
CH
CYA

What is the pH and TA of the fill water when you drain your pool?

What is the source of your fill water?
Thanks for the suggestions - is there any third party I can trust for more accurate testing? I did the Taylor test yesterday and the CYA was so cloudy that it didn't make it halfway to the 100 mark before I couldn't see the black dot. The pH was significantly more yellow than the lowest level. TA was red the whole time before adding the drops. etcetera etcetera - that's why I went to have a computer test it that might be able to give specific numbers. I can test everything again and take pictures if that would help.

Will have to check the pH and TA of the fill water. The source is my town's city water - it is quite good in terms of drinking water, this area is known for having clean water.

I will also go do the CYA test mixed with tap water.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
Do the 50/50 CYA test.

What is the pH and TA if your fill water?

With CYA level you need to replace the majority of your water. So the wacky chemistry doesn’t matter.

Now we should discuss the process you should follow to safely exchange water in your pool without damaging it.

@mknauss can provide a water exchange method.
 
Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
Ok, just redid all the tests, tests 50/50 pool/tap water, and tested pH and TA of tap water. Results below.

In Pool
FC and CC: Basically 0. I added 8 dippers of the powder, no change at all, didn't want to waste it. Not sure what a reasonable number of scoops is if I should keep going.
pH: Below the minimum, pale yellow. Here's a photo:
TA: On both 25mL and 10mL tests, the water turns red before adding any R-0009.
CH: 50ppm
CYA: Cloudy well below the 100 line, see photo:

50/50 fill/pool water
CYA: about 80ppm, maybe slightly lower:

Fill water
pH: 7.2
TA: 30ppm

My pump has a waste option that I can use to lower the level, but I don't know how to go below that, the skimmer is maybe 4 inches below the water line. I can get specific measurements of the pool depth and the water line if that would help. I can also coordinate with my city to not be charged full cost for the refill water since it's for a pool and won't go into the sewer, so I'm told. Will have to call them.

Might not be worth it this year, I will probably only be able to use it for like a month before it's too cold out to enjoy. But I want to learn this stuff either way!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
CYA around 160.

If you don't get a color change with two scoops of powder you have no chlorine.

You cant drain your pool using the pool pump. You need to use a submersible pump on the bottom of the pool.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
I don’t know what shape your pool is in but many vinyl pools and pool structures can’t take a major draining without risk of damage.

You can exchange some water without draining.

If you place a low volume sub pump in the deep end and pull water from there while adding water in the shallow end (through a skimmer or into a bucket on a step so you lessen the water disturbance) you can do a fairly efficient exchange. That is assuming the water you are filling with is the same temperature or warmer than your pool water. If your fill water is much cooler than your pool water, then switch it. Add the water to the deep end (hose on bottom) and pull water from the top step.

The location of the pump and fill hose may change if you have salt water, high calcium, etc.
In my pool, with saltwater and high calcium when I drain, I put the pump in the deep end and hose in shallow end. The water in the pool weighs more per unit volume than the fill water from the hose.

Be sure to balance the water out and water in so the pool level stays the same. Also be sure your pool pump is disabled during this process. Once started do not stop until you have exchanged the amount of water you wish.
 
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Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
Affirmative to all. So will I be able to fix this with a partial drain or is this water done for? I'll have to contact the previous homeowner and see how he drained it before, I know he mentioned it but I can't remember.
 
Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
Just saw the second post. Fill water is definitely colder than pool water so I would go with the bottom hose method. Is the submersible pump something I should buy then? Or is it rentable/can hire someone to do it? Not afraid to get my hands dirty but also literally just bought the house two weeks ago.

Would the pump track the amount it's taking? Seems like it would be hard to measure to 80% if I'm replacing what I take out at the same time.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
7,814
Northern NJ
You can buy a small pump or rent a larger pump. You need to match flow of water in with water out for the exchange. So no reason to have pump larger then your fill flow rate.

Take a 5 or 10 gallon bucket and calculate time to fill it with your fill hose. Figure out the gallons in your pool. Calculate the time for 80% of those gallons. That is about how long you need to run the water exchange.
 
Aug 13, 2019
6
Asheville, NC
You need to drain 3/4 of the water get CYA down to 40 ppm. Do you know how old the liner is? You can siphon the water out with a garden hose or your vacuum hose.
No idea, house was built in 2012 but I'm not sure when they installed the pool. What does that affect? I can find out the answer.

You can buy a small pump or rent a larger pump. You need to match flow of water in with water out for the exchange. So no reason to have pump larger then your fill flow rate.

Take a 5 or 10 gallon bucket and calculate time to fill it with your fill hose. Figure out the gallons in your pool. Calculate the time for 80% of those gallons. That is about how long you need to run the water exchange.
Nice trick, I will do some research on pumps and try this out.