New-ish pool owner. Levels all over the place

nscroggs

Member
Jun 8, 2020
10
Riverview, FL
Hey everyone! We bought our new house in March and the first thing I did was fall for the “bring your water to us and we’ll spend your money for you!” pool store gimmick. Surprisingly, they said my water was perfect (it didn’t look perfect) and I didn’t need anything (as a new home owner with no chemicals...I needed stuff). So they had a “pool reopening” kit that came with shock, chlorine pucks, and the brown weekly conditioner stuff that looks like it shouldn’t be in the pool. I got that bundle thinking “if you need this for reopening the pool, you’ll probably need it on an ongoing basis too”. Things were great for a while! The water looked great! That is, until I had my first encounter with algae. I used the SLAM method and got rid of the algae, my levels returned to normal, and all was good.

Fast forward to now. I have algae again because Tropical Storm Christobal dumped multiple inches of rain in the pool. Now my levels are all kinds of jacked up. Alkalinity is super high, pH is super low, CYA is basically non-existent, chlorine is basically zero, the whole shebang. I shocked the pool yesterday afternoon (less than 24 hours ago at the time of this post) so I would expect that the chlorine level would be sky high, but no...they’re at or right close to zero.
I know the first thing I need to do is to get a real test kit so I can KNOW what my water is doing. My question to you friends is what is the order of operations when all of your levels are out of whack? Pool math said I need like 82lbs of Borax, 3 gallons of bleach, and all kinds of crazy stuff. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I just feel like if some levels are dependent on other levels, which way is up and where do I start?

The pool is a little over 13,000 gallons (28 x 14, 3ft on shallow end, 6 ft on the deep end), rectangle shaped and in southern/central Florida
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
2,925
Tampa, FL
Nope, first thing is to order a test kit, see the link in my signature. Then while you wait for it, add liquid chlorine daily - use Pool Math app to see how much for a pool your size with CYA of 0.

Don‘t add anything else until you get your kit and can post real numbers.
 
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nscroggs

Member
Jun 8, 2020
10
Riverview, FL
Nice to meet you neighbor :) Do you know if there’s a difference between the TF100 and the Taylor K2005? Is the TF100 worth the extra? I imagine it’s got to be worth it with as much as everyone swears by them
 

kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
2,925
Tampa, FL
It’s totally worth it. Has plenty of reagents to allow for regular testing, which will be daily, at first! And like Marty said, it has the FAS-DPD chlorine test.
 

nscroggs

Member
Jun 8, 2020
10
Riverview, FL
Finally got my kit and it's 59823958736 times better than the Dang test strips for sure! I definitely feel more confident now that I can actually do my own testing. Thank you both for pushing me! One odd thing. is my chlorine levels. While I was waiting for the test kit, I took water up to Leslie's and got readings from them. My free chlorine was at 15, test strips showed zero, chlorine kit that came in the blue box showed zero to 0.5 (almost no yellow whatsoever), but when I do the chlorine drop test, it reads crazy high (like 35 the last time I checked). Maybe I'm just not doing the chlorine drop test right? After putting the powder and the drops in, it never turns pink/red. As it says on the card, that means you have no chlorine. If I let it sit for a few minutes, it eventually turns pink. I still record the number of drops I put in and then test for CC's. I put more drops in and it goes back to clear for a few seconds and turns back to pink. I hate to waste the drops so I stopped when I got to 70 (seems astronomically high to me). Is it actually possible that the chlorine is really that high? Or is it that the chlorine is so low/non-existent that the drops are forcing the water to change because of the ratio of drops to pool water at that point?

The water itself is clear and blue so I'm operating under the assumption that if it looks good, don't touch it. I took readings today and they were as follows:

FC - 35 (probably wrong)
TA - 210 (Just added muriatic acid to bring that down and will aerate to bring pH back up per PoolMath's recommendation)
CYA - 80 (this is dropping from 110 the other day. I splashed some water out and refilled about a foot)
pH - 7.6 (Down from 8.0 yesterday)
CH - 526

The readings from Leslie's had the pH at 8.2 and TA at 81 so they had me put soda ash in and then shock it, so it seems like we're getting close to the realm of normal readings, just fine tuning at this point.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
4,823
NY
After putting the powder and the drops in, it never turns pink/red. As it says on the card, that means you have no chlorine. If I let it sit for a few minutes, it eventually turns pink
Go with the instant look. If it doesn’t go pink there is no chlorine. The same goes for when you stop. If it goes clear, That’s stop time. If you let it sit for 3 minutes and it goes pink again, it does not count.

So you have 0 chlorine based on how you described it.
 
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kellyfair

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 29, 2016
2,925
Tampa, FL
The solution will turn pink if you let it sit, so ignore that. No pink when you first add? No chlorine.

CYA is still high, you’ll want that lower (but not super low, here in FL). Next time we get a bunch of rain, drain another foot and let it rain!

You will need to watch your CH since you have a plaster pool. I’m not your best source for that info!
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
1,212
West Palm Beach/Florida
Get some LC into that pool right away. About the only thing I buy from Leslies is LC, and that is because they are the cheapest. I just got a coupon for 7.5 gallons for $11.

Your fill water is probably high in CH and TA. Dont stress for now, as you get a lot of rain the CH will start coming down. The TA will also come down as you add acid, but you dont need to try to force it.

Actually now that I mention that you should test your fill water.