New pool owner, first test results... seeking advice

Hi,

Never owned a pool before, and since purchasing the home 12 months ago, the pool has been maintained on a monthly schedule by a local pool shop.

At this stage for me, it's all quite intimidating but I've done my best to read up and collect as much information as I can.

So, I'm looking for some advice on how to proceed.

I've purchased a salt water test kit from Clear Choice Labs, and have the following results:

CYA - Low reading (ie < 30 ppm)
PC: 2.5 ppm
CC: 0.5 ppm
pH: 7.8
TA: 75 ppm
CH: 350 ppm
Salt: 4200 ppm

using PoolMath, using TFP targets, it's suggesting:

FC: 112g 65% to target 4
pH: 309mL 32% to target 7.5
CH: 2900g Calcium Chloride to target 400
Stabiliser: 2100g stabiliser (based on a guess that CYA was 15) to target 70

In addition, the pool pump was out for about 3 days for repairs last week, and since I've noticed a very small patch of green algea (otherwise the water looks clear to me).

If it's relevant, over the past 3 months, coming into warmer season, the pool shop has added the following:

August: Acid, Algeacide
September: 2 x 25kg Salt, 500g Chlorine, Starver
October: 1 x 25Kg Salt, Acid

Also, I'm not entirely sure what it means, but the SWG always seems to indicate it's running in the "high output" zone. Is that because the CYA is so low?

So, do I need a "SLAM"? (this would be very intimidating first step tbh)

How should I go about increasing the CYA levels?

Many Thanks
Matt
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hello Matt and welcome! :wave: So based on your test results, I would hold-off on adding the stabilizer just yet because it looks like you do indeed need to SLAM Process to ensure there is no remaining algae. Doing the SLAM Process now with a lower CYA requires less bleach which is a good thing. But I'd do this first …. lower your pH to about 7.2. Then, ensure you have a CYA of at least 30. Then you can use regular bleach to increase the FC to 12 - your SLAM level. If you find your CYA closer to 40, then the SLAM level is 16. All of that is based on our [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA].

Do that SLAM first, then once you have passed all 3 criteria, increase the CYA to "70" and balance your SWG pool accordingly. Once you get to that point, then you can adjust the CH and other items. Unfortunately, high salt can't just be removed. Not sure if that's the reason for your high output indicator or not. Someone else might have advice for that one. For now, do the SLAM and you should be in good shape. Don't let anyone add algaecide anymore unless it's a Polyquat 60 brand that some users add for winterization. This time of year for you, bleach (for the SLAM) and your SWG should be all you need. Good luck!
Adding CYA:
To increase CYA via granular stabilizer, place the required amount as calculated by the Poolmath calculator into a white sock and place in the poolside skimmer basket. For those concerned about suction flow to the pump, suspending the sock near a return jet or from a floating device will also suffice. Best never to allow undissolved granules to rest directly against the pool surface. Squeeze the sock periodically to help it dissipate. Once dissolved, consider your CYA adjusted to that programmed (target) level. CYA test readings should show a rise in 24-48 hours, however some pools may experience a longer delay to fully register. Best to confirm final CYA in about 5-7 days before adding any more stabilizer/conditioner.
 
Hello Matt and welcome! :wave: So based on your test results, I would hold-off on adding the stabilizer just yet because it looks like you do indeed need to SLAM Process to ensure there is no remaining algae. Doing the SLAM Process now with a lower CYA requires less bleach which is a good thing. But I'd do this first …. lower your pH to about 7.2. Then, ensure you have a CYA of at least 30. Then you can use regular bleach to increase the FC to 12 - your SLAM level. If you find your CYA closer to 40, then the SLAM level is 16. All of that is based on our [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA].

Do that SLAM first, then once you have passed all 3 criteria, increase the CYA to "70" and balance your SWG pool accordingly. Once you get to that point, then you can adjust the CH and other items. Unfortunately, high salt can't just be removed. Not sure if that's the reason for your high output indicator or not. Someone else might have advice for that one. For now, do the SLAM and you should be in good shape. Don't let anyone add algaecide anymore unless it's a Polyquat 60 brand that some users add for winterization. This time of year for you, bleach (for the SLAM) and your SWG should be all you need. Good luck!
Thanks Texas Splash, I'm wondering if I can use Calcium Hypochloride for the SLAM, since CH is also a bit low, or stick to bleach?
 
Ok, thanks plain bleach it is.

Since my CYA level registered low, would you recommend raising it to at least 30 before starting?

Note: my kit is accurate from 30-100ppm, but Im guessing it's probably way below that - I could quite clearly see the black dot . Being the first time I ran the test, I re-ran the test with the standard supplied and it was very accurate at 50ppm.

If so, how would you suggest going about adding CYA given I'm not sure of the current level?
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Since my CYA level registered low, would you recommend raising it to at least 30 before starting?
Yes, at least 30. Anything less and your FC doesn't have much protection from the sun. You are correct also in that any suspected CYA below 30 is suspicious since our tests don't read below 30. Perhaps increase in 10 ppm stages to be safe if you need to. Re-check in about 24 hours.
 

aussieta

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
using pool math, link at top of every page, add enough muriatic aka hydrochloric acid to target 7.2 ph buy from bunnings
i would grab some liquid chlorine from bunnings as bleach must be a lot cheaper in the usa
using the fc/cya chart Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
assume your cya has already disolved and add enough liquid chlorine for your shock level at your new cya level and adjust as often as you can
 
using pool math, link at top of every page, add enough muriatic aka hydrochloric acid to target 7.2 ph buy from bunnings
i would grab some liquid chlorine from bunnings as bleach must be a lot cheaper in the usa
using the fc/cya chart Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
assume your cya has already disolved and add enough liquid chlorine for your shock level at your new cya level and adjust as often as you can
Thanks aussieta... sent the Mrs to bunnings, she got a lot of funny looks cleaning out the shelves of bleach. One well meaning shopper said she was crazy and pointed her to pool shock (cal-hypo).

Now that I look on bunnings website, I can see liquid chlorine available in 15L for way cheaper... good tip for next time
 
Well, added the 525g CYA and re-tested after 24 hours, still on the low side, but notably better. My guess is it's about 20 now.

Tonight, I'll drop pH to 7.2, drop another 525g of CYA, and retest tomorrow before I start.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,040
Laughlin, NV
Are you adding the CYA powder directly into the skimmer?

We do not recommend that. It can take up to a week for it to show up in testing.

What type filter do you have? Can you add that to your signature?
 
I have a sand filter (I think) - a big plastic sphere with a multi-way valve on top. I added the first lot in a sock dropped into the skimmer; it was all gone within a few hours. The second lot I dropped in front of a return jet.

As of now; CYA is now registering pretty close to 30 now, and pH is ~7.4, so tonight I added a a bit more acid and dropped in the bleach.

I tested after about 30 minutes with the pump running, and measured FC at 18... so either that was too soon to measure or I overshot it a bit.

I'll see how it goes in the morning.
 
Tonight:

FC: 17.5
CC: 0

Interesting, FC went up by 1 - was not expecting that; but now that I think of it, the Chlorinator was on today - should that be off?

Right. Just hit that algae with the pool brush once in a while to help the chlorine get at it.
Thanks; Gave the algea a scrub, and it's looking better - but that stuff is surprisingly subborn in my pebblecrete pool.
 

Jezza

LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jan 18, 2015
981
Bunbury, WA, Australia
Forkboy, it's best to turn the chlorinator off when you do a SLAM.

Chlorinators are great for maintaining FC when you have an algae free pool but add chlorine slowly, hence why they are not that useful when SLAMming.

As you can see they do confuse the issue as to how much chlorine is being consumed which is another good reason to turn them off, not to mention the minor advantage of saving the cell.

Also just thought that I would emphasize the importance of brushing the pool every day while doing the SLAM.
 
This morning;

FC: 17.5 - unchanged
CC: 0

Algea is looking all but gone, so it's looking great.

At this point, should I continue to maintain FC levels another day or two, or call it done and allow it to return to normal levels?
 
Tonight:

FC: 14.5 (down 3, with SWG off and a bright, sunny day)
CC: 0

Algea has cleared up nicely, so at this stage, happy to let it fall to maintenance levels.

I'll keep reporting numbers, it might be useful for other newbies.