New Pool owner using Aquachek 7 and Pool Math only

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#1
With Pool Math and Aquachek 7 test strips, I have everything as it should be, give or take the accuracy of the Aquachek 7 test strips. Water is crystal clear, and this just doesn't seem very hard. Yet, I see Amazon reviews on the test strips saying that you still need a 'real' test kit. Why? I feel like I've got everything in near perfect harmony with the help of Pool Math. Maybe you need a test kit if you don't use Pool Math? Just wondering if I am missing something.

By the way, my pool is approximately 31000 gallons with a deep end, an 8 foot round spa, a grotto/waterfall, and a tanning ledge with bubbler if that makes any difference to the ease or difficultly of adjusting pH, Chlorine, and related items.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
9,082
Evans, Georgia
#2
Hi there Robininni :)

Can you tell us these results-
FC
CC
pH
TA
CH
CYA

One thing to be aware of is that "Guess Strips" tend to report results in a range, like CYA will say 20-50ppm. Well that makes a HUGE difference if you're trying to clean up an algae outbreak. So that is one example...there are others. Do your strips tell you how contaminated your water may be? If lots of kids pee'd in your pool, our test kits will tell us that yet the water *looks* clear. It gives us the notice that something is in there that's going to eat up our chlorine and we may risk an outbreak if we don't treat it.

We want to protect our expensive pools and equipment by knowing exact amounts.

Yippee :flower:
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#3
Today's readings:

FC 3ish ppm
CC 3ish ppm
pH 7.2ish
TA 80ish ppm
CH 500ish ppm
CYA 0-30 ppm

A little more about my pool: Only my family swims in the pool and I expect some pee :). My pool is filled with well water and has no overhead trees, in fact none within 30 feet, and is fully in direct sunlight all day long.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,287
NW Ohio
#4
Why do all your readings end in "-ish"?

Also, is your CYA level zero or 30?

Sent with Tapatalk on HTC Ten
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#5
Today's readings:

FC 3ish ppm
CC 3ish ppm
pH 7.2ish
TA 80ish ppm
CH 500ish ppm
CYA 0-30 ppm

A little more about my pool: Only my family swims in the pool and I expect some pee :). My pool is filled with well water and has no overhead trees, in fact none within 30 feet, and is fully in direct sunlight all day long.
Man, with a CC of 3ppm you must have some nasties growing in that water. And there is a big difference between a CYA of 0, and a CYA of 30ppm.

If you were to get an algae bloom, how would you know if you eliminated it? Do your test strips measure FC to 0.5ppm resolution?

It's your choice how you manage your pool, but I know I don't want my family swimming in clean-ish water.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#6
Why do all your readings end in "-ish"?

Also, is your CYA level zero or 30?

Sent with Tapatalk on HTC Ten
ish because if I had said pH 7.2, FC 3 ppm, etc, than someone would have said the test strip isn't that accurate. My CYA is in the 0-30 color on the test strip, sometimes in the 30-50 range. Are you not familiar with the Aquachek 7 test strip?


Man, with a CC of 3ppm you must have some nasties growing in that water. And there is a big difference between a CYA of 0, and a CYA of 30ppm.

If you were to get an algae bloom, how would you know if you eliminated it? Do your test strips measure FC to 0.5ppm resolution?

It's your choice how you manage your pool, but I know I don't want my family swimming in clean-ish water.
Seriously? Nasties in my water? I have no algae in my water. 3 ppm FC/CC is within a good range for the pool and spa with CYA I gave. Lower CYA will make the chlorine disappear faster in the sunlight so I will have to add more sooner, but as well water is auto-fill added to the pool, the CYA increases. Also, yes, the test strips doe have a .5ppm FC and TC color reading along with a 0 ppm.
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
#7
Like I said, you are free to manage your pool as you like.

A CC of 3ppm is not an acceptable level. CC's should ideally be 0, but 0.5ppm or less is fine. CC's are the by-product of your chlorine being oxidized by something, most likely organic material in your pool.

And no, I am not at all familiar with your test strips, I've never used them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#8
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

With very little reading around here, you will quickly see that we just do not trust test strips to be accurate enough to truly understand the state of your water.

Paramount is the ratio of the FC level to your CYA level. Your CYA level determines how high you need the FC level to prevent algae from growing and to kill off bacteria/viruses/etc.
So far you have indicated that the CYA could be anywhere from 0pmm to 50ppm ... well, that leave a pretty large range where you do not know what the FC should be.

Ideally, the CC should be 0 and anything above 0.5ppm is a sign of a problem ... more than likely yours is not really 3ppm, which is why we do not like test strips.

You are welcome to use whatever you like to test your pool, but it is going to be hard to help you identify problems and correct them without real test results.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,287
NW Ohio
#9
ish because if I had said pH 7.2, FC 3 ppm, etc, than someone would have said the test strip isn't that accurate. My CYA is in the 0-30 color on the test strip, sometimes in the 30-50 range. Are you not familiar with the Aquachek 7 test strip?
I'm very familiar with them, unfortunately I have to tell people all the time that we can't assist them if they can't give us more accurate numbers than they are giving based on those strips. I'm only trying to help you see how worthless a range of "0-30 or maybe 50" is in figuring out what your FC level should be, and why "-ish" should never be a part of your test results.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#10
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!

With very little reading around here, you will quickly see that we just do not trust test strips to be accurate enough to truly understand the state of your water.

Paramount is the ratio of the FC level to your CYA level. Your CYA level determines how high you need the FC level to prevent algae from growing and to kill off bacteria/viruses/etc.
So far you have indicated that the CYA could be anywhere from 0pmm to 50ppm ... well, that leave a pretty large range where you do not know what the FC should be.

Ideally, the CC should be 0 and anything above 0.5ppm is a sign of a problem ... more than likely yours is not really 3ppm, which is why we do not like test strips.

You are welcome to use whatever you like to test your pool, but it is going to be hard to help you identify problems and correct them without real test results.
I'm sorry, I was giving my TC as CC. My TC and FC are both equal at 3 ppm so I understand it that I have no CC. Sorry for the confusion. My stats should read:

FC 3 ppm
TC 3 ppm
pH 7.2
TA 80 ppm
CH 500 ppm
CYA 0-30 ppm
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,094
Franklin, NC
#12
Now is the time to make a decision, keep using test strips or follow our methods.

The pool industry refuses to recognize the connection between CYA/Stabilizer and the ability of chlorine to do it's thing sanitizing the water. Others here can give you the scientific details if you want, but lets just say CYA locks the ability of chlorine to sanitize. The more CYA you have the more chlorine you need to keep in the pool to keep algae at bay. This is why folks keep asking if your CYA is 0 or 30.

Until/unless you have your own test kit that we can rely on the numbers there is nothing we can really say.... It's your pool to play with how you like.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#13
Is your CYA zero or 30 ppm? It makes a difference
I can't tell you except that it is lower than 30 but recently was in the 30-50 ppm range. The AquaChek 7 test strips give a color reading for CYA in ppm broken down at: 0 30-50 100 150 300. I use granular dichlor to increase the chlorine level because my inline chlorinator turned all the way up isn't keeping up. Won't the dichlor increase my CYA as well?

Also, with low CYA is the problem excessive chlorine adding and the cost associated with this because it doesn't last long unprotected by the lack of CYA? I guess I am not fully understanding the CYA. If you have a higher CYA, you must have more FC to be effective, if you have a lower CYA, you can have less FC and still be effective, however the FC gets depleted faster? Is that it? If so, what's wrong with the latter if you add chlorine as needed?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,094
Franklin, NC
#14
I can't tell you except that it is lower than 30 but recently was in the 30-50 ppm range. The AquaChek 7 test strips give a color reading for CYA in ppm broken down at: 0 30-50 100 150 300. I use granular dichlor to increase the chlorine level because my inline chlorinator turned all the way up isn't keeping up. Won't the dichlor increase my CYA as well?

Also, with low CYA is the problem excessive chlorine adding and the cost associated with this because it doesn't last long unprotected by the lack of CYA?
You are correct, with CYA too low chlorine is burned off by the UV rays of the sun quickly.

But, if you are using an inline chlorinator I can say that if your CYA is actually low now (doubtful as test strips are prone to inaccuracies), it will not be low for long. Both Trichlor (tabs used in your chlorinator) and Dichlor are both almost 50% CYA. It doesn't show up on the ingredient list as it's chemically part of the Trichlor/Dichlor.

Unless Stephenville (you don't list a state) is in an area that has long winters that requires a large drain of water to close and snow melt that dilutes your pool each winter you will have CYA issues going forward.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#15
You are correct, with CYA too low chlorine is burned off by the UV rays of the sun quickly.

But, if you are using an inline chlorinator I can say that if your CYA is actually low now (doubtful as test strips are prone to inaccuracies), it will not be low for long. Both Trichlor (tabs used in your chlorinator) and Dichlor are both almost 50% CYA. It doesn't show up on the ingredient list as it's chemically part of the Trichlor/Dichlor.

Unless Stephenville (you don't list a state) is in an area that has long winters that requires a large drain of water to close and snow melt that dilutes your pool each winter you will have CYA issues going forward.
Okay, so high CYA is okay but you have to increase the FC for the chlorine to be effective. Low CYA is okay, and you can maintain a lower FC ppm but will be replacing depleted FC a lot? Any downside to the latter? And Stephenville is near Fort Worth, TX.

Also, if the dichlor and trichlor will be always increasing my CYA, will I have to eventually drain and refill the pool every now and then or will the evaporation and autofill well water take care of this usually?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,094
Franklin, NC
#16
Okay, so high CYA is okay but you have to increase the FC for the chlorine to be effective. Low CYA is okay, and you can maintain a lower FC ppm but will be replacing depleted FC a lot? Any downside to the latter?
We recommend a mid point. If the CYA is too low you can actually loose all of your FC in a day. Unprotected chlorine (no CYA) will be gon in a couple/few hours. [FC/CYA][/FC/CYA]


Also, if the dichlor and trichlor will be always increasing my CYA, will I have to eventually drain and refill the pool every now and then or will the evaporation and autofill well water take care of this usually?
CYA does not evaporate. As water evaporates the CYA is left behind, so it increases more. Yes, if it get too high you end up in a situation where you need to drain/refill.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#17
And what you have now realized is why we do not recommend the exclusive use of trichlor or dichlor ... especially in an area of the country that does not partially drain for winter or get a ton of rainfall. We recommend liquid chlorine that does not have the side-effect of raising the CYA.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#18
And what you have now realized is why we do not recommend the exclusive use of trichlor or dichlor ... especially in an area of the country that does not partially drain for winter or get a ton of rainfall. We recommend liquid chlorine that does not have the side-effect of raising the CYA.
liquid chlorine AKA household bleach?

Also, back on the CYA measurements, mine has gone down since pool start up a couple of months ago, and this is with the addition of dichlor every few days and constant trichlor inline chlorination. I was initially getting CYA in the 30-50 range by color and now the color is in the 0 range (could be less than 30 though, not necessarily 0). My FC does not disappear in a days time though, it will drop from 3 ppm to 1 ppm over 2-3 days in my 31000 gallon pool. How might this CYA decrease be happening given the method of chlorination? Does pH or alkalinity or water hardness after CYA?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#19
Well, yes, but I did not say bleach so as to not scare you away :p

Given what you are putting in the pool, there is no way your CYA should be dropping unless you have a leak in the pool and an auto-fill masking it.

It is normal to lose 2-4ppm of FC EVERYDAY!!! Although since you are constantly adding it with the tablets, your should not be dropping unless they are dissolving too slowly. The FC could also be dropping because you have a low level algae bloom that is not visible yet that is consuming your FC.

But, there is no way to confirm any of this with test strips.
 

robininni

Gold Supporter
Dec 6, 2016
18
Stephenville
#20
Well, I don't know what a slow dissolve would be, but it takes several days for 1 3" puck to disappear from the chlorinator and I have it all the way up. I've been adding about 14 oz or dichlor powder about once a week for 2 or 3 weeks. I'd like to keep my CYA low so I can keep my FC ppm low. That seems to be the best way in my mind to not need as much chlorine in the water but have the CYA high enough that it sticks around.

I don't think it would make a difference to the above, but I had been adding a lot or muriatic acid (a gallon to 2 gallons every other day or so) to get my pH to 7.2 from 8.4+ after the initial pool fill which occurred about 2 months ago. I have put a total of 13 gallons in I believe in around 3 weeks time. My TA was 180 and is now 80 and I am letting the pH come up to 7.8 before adding any acid. Its also rained pretty good a couple or three time in the last few weeks and will probably do it again tomorrow and the next day.

I appreciate the help from you guys.