New pool owner needs help w/ chemicals

bschubert

New member
Nov 8, 2020
1
Memphis, TN
Hello, everyone! Glad to be here. I’m a new pool owner and have NO EXPERIENCE at all with managing chemicals and pool maintenance. My pool installation was just completed, so now my learning curve begins. I live in the South (USA) and temps right now are 70’s as a high, 40’s as a low (in case this impacts what I need to do). Water temp is around 60 degrees. I’m not closing my pool for the winter.

I took a water sample in to Leslie’s yesterday and here are the results:
1. Free Chlorine: 0.26 (ideal 1-4ppm)
2. Total Chlorine: 0.26
3. pH: 7.9 (ideal 7.2-7.8)This is a bit of a strange reading because my test strips indicate a pH in the low 7’s, but the Leslie’s test is 7.9.
4. Total Alkalinity: 43 (ideal 80-120ppm)
5. Calcium Hardness: 61 (ideal 200-400ppm)
6. Cyanuric Acid: 5 (ideal 30-100ppm)
7. Iron: 0.1 (ideal 0-0.2ppm)
8. Copper: 0 (ideal 0-0.2ppm)
9. Phosphates: 42 (ideal 0-100ppb)
10. TDS: 100 (ideal 0-2500ppm)

Are these numbers emergency level, like do something fast? My water is crystal clear. I have a saltwater system, but was told by my contractor and Leslie’s now is not the best time to set that up because temperatures are too low. I do have a gas heater, but until I figure out what I’m doing with chemicals, I’m very hesitant to use it, especially since my chlorine is so low. I don’t have an auto-chlorine dispenser on my pump/filtration system because it’s set up for salt. I have heard never to follow the advice of the pool stores, so what should I do?

Also, what RPM do you recommend the pump be set on? I plan on running 24 hours a day until I feel more comfortable managing all of this.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,873
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
b,

Welcome aboard! You came to the right place. This forum is a collection of experts and enthusiasts that volunteer their time to help people like you get started. First things first. Please read:
ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry
Test Kits Compared

Next get your selected test kit. We sell nothing and are never conflicted. Pool stores are the opposite. You should stay away from them 'till you learn a little more. We've got many, many members that learned this the hard way. Ask any questions about the articles and you'll get responses pretty quickly. In short order you'll learn way more than you need to care for the pool the right way. Sadly this doesn't usually happen at the pool store.

I hope this is helpful and will respond to your other questions in a few minutes.

Chris
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
3,873
Stuart/FL
Pool Size
12800
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-30 Plus
Hello, everyone! Glad to be here. I’m a new pool owner and have NO EXPERIENCE at all with managing chemicals and pool maintenance. My pool installation was just completed, so now my learning curve begins. I live in the South (USA) and temps right now are 70’s as a high, 40’s as a low (in case this impacts what I need to do). Water temp is around 60 degrees. I’m not closing my pool for the winter.

I took a water sample in to Leslie’s yesterday and here are the results:
1. Free Chlorine: 0.26 (ideal 1-4ppm)
2. Total Chlorine: 0.26
3. pH: 7.9 (ideal 7.2-7.8)This is a bit of a strange reading because my test strips indicate a pH in the low 7’s, but the Leslie’s test is 7.9.
4. Total Alkalinity: 43 (ideal 80-120ppm)
5. Calcium Hardness: 61 (ideal 200-400ppm)
6. Cyanuric Acid: 5 (ideal 30-100ppm)
7. Iron: 0.1 (ideal 0-0.2ppm)
8. Copper: 0 (ideal 0-0.2ppm)
9. Phosphates: 42 (ideal 0-100ppb)
10. TDS: 100 (ideal 0-2500ppm)

Are these numbers emergency level, like do something fast? My water is crystal clear. I have a saltwater system, but was told by my contractor and Leslie’s now is not the best time to set that up because temperatures are too low. I do have a gas heater, but until I figure out what I’m doing with chemicals, I’m very hesitant to use it, especially since my chlorine is so low. I don’t have an auto-chlorine dispenser on my pump/filtration system because it’s set up for salt. I have heard never to follow the advice of the pool stores, so what should I do?

Also, what RPM do you recommend the pump be set on? I plan on running 24 hours a day until I feel more comfortable managing all of this.

The problem making recommendations based on "free" pool store analyses is they are worth what you pay for them. You need to get your test kit ordered and get your own results. I've used the TF100 for years and it worked great from day one. I would add 5 ppm of FC using liquid chlorine only until you get your own kit. Make sure you do what your PB requires in your contract to protect your warranty. Often they have very specific requirements for the first month or two. If you have a cheapo FC test kit you can use that to check and manage 5 ppm level until your test kit comes. It's not the best but often more accurate than pool store. You can get liquid chlorine at big box stores and Walmart. Did your builder add salt yet? What kind of salt system do you have (brand and model number please). You should download and get familiar with Pool Math. It's invaluable for newbies and experts alike. Very easy to use and will easily calculate chemical additions required based on your own test results.

There are different approaches for rpm on your motor. Some run 24/7 with minimum speed to run the swg. Some of the choices depend on your equipment. Do you have automation and if so please provide the details. Same for your pump as well.

I hope this gets you started. Please ask any questions you have about any of this. You can be up and running with the basics within a few days of getting your test kit and a little interaction here. I started very similar to you 6 years ago. Pool has looked great ever since and been dirt cheap to maintain thanks to this site and its experts.

Chris
 

DAB942

Gold Supporter
Nov 13, 2017
524
Space Coast, FL
Ditto on Chris. Get your real readings first. Years ago, my wife and I both took our water to Pinch a Penny, not realizes the other had taken it and we had wildly different results. It was the exact same water. I ran across this site by accident a few years ago and have stopped playing chemical yo-yo. It's pretty remarkable once you get it going. You're far ahead with your current equipment.
 
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