New to TFP methodology, what order to "fix" things?

marklemcd

Member
May 12, 2020
5
San Rafael, CA
Hi all, I'm Mark. I've had a pool for about 3 years now since we purchased this house. I had little to no knowledge about pools before that. When we moved in I went to Leslie's thinking it was a good move cuz I didn't want to pay someone to care for my pool. I've been following their recommendations since then, but honestly it seems costly and like an endless stream of expensive adjustments. So I found this, and this seems so much better.

So I read up on a bunch of the school stuff, downloaded the poolmath app, and a few of my readings need some adjustment. My question is in which order to adjust? Here are my readings, pool info is at the bottom


  • The size of your pool in gallons: ~15,000
  • If your pool is an AG (above ground) or IG (in ground) In Ground
  • If it's IG, tell us if it's vinyl, plaster/pebble, or fiberglass Plaster
  • The type filter you have (sand, DE, cartridge) Cartridge
  • List what test kit you use to test your water ColorQ
  • Please mention if you fill the pool from a well or are currently on water restrictions No restrictions

Measurements
FC: .96
CC: .96
PH: 7.7
TA: 81
CH: 134
CA: 53

I know the CH needs to come up, it's been a never ending thing here as we get rain all winter (California) where I have to pump water out of the pool so it won't overflow.

I think the CA needs to come down, right? Which means a drain and fill? How do I know how much to drain?

I've been using TriChlor, and i'd like to switch to bleach, so I'll begin that once I've done the drain and fill.

So is my order:
1) Drain and fill and get CA correct
2) Add Calcium after the fill
3) Then balance the rest

??

Any other tips I need? Thanks everyone!
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,177
Milwaukee, WI
Hello and welcome! We recommend you put your pool info in your signature, which you can do at this link: https://www.troublefreepool.com/account/signature - don't need all the questions, just the answers to them. :) See my signature for an example.

It's hard to know how accurate the numbers are. The test kits we recommend are dropper-style test kits, like the TFT-100 or the Taylor K-2006C. (The C is important, it affects the amount of testing chemicals you get.) So it's hard for us to give recommendations because we don't want to recommend something then find out there was an issue with the test and you're suddenly way off on chemicals.

How does the water look? Is it clear and clean? If your CYA is 53, then it's not too far off for California, especially if it's in the sun a lot. 30-50 is the recommendation for non-SWG pools, so 50 would be fine.

Most important would be chlorine. FC/CYA Chart - if you're really under 1ppm of FC then it's too low and you're likely growing algae right now.

For Calcium - what is your CSI? You can put in your test results and pool temp either into the Pool Math app or at the "Old PoolMath Webpage" link at the bottom of the page here and it will tell you. You want to be as close to 0 as you can be with a plaster pool. CH is likely too low and the CSI might be negative, but it depends on everything else, too.
 
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marklemcd

Member
May 12, 2020
5
San Rafael, CA
Thanks for the reply.

I put my temp in as 81 and my CSI is -.33. So I have a bit of work to do there too. I just bought the 2006C, Amazon says delivery Sunday so we'll see then how accurate my readings were :)

As for the water, it's crystal clear outside of some yellow lab hair that gets in there when the pup swims. And no visual algae, I usually don't let the FC get that low, I slacked a couple days when work and childcare got a bit crazy. I put more chlorine in this morning so hopefully I'm back on track there.

I'll report back on Sunday after I get the Taylor to see what the readings really are. Thanks again!
 

IceShadow

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 8, 2019
2,177
Milwaukee, WI
-0.33 isn't too bad. My understanding is that plaster pools don't want to go much below -0.50, but I'm not an expert so someone will likely correct me.

Congrats on the new test kit, and post full results when you get that. It would be interesting to see how it stacks up against the ColorQ. :)

If no visible algae then you don't need to SLAM and if your CYA is around 50 then just keep the FC up so it never goes below 4, ideally between 6-8ppm. You shouldn't have any issues then.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,680
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I don't see a problem with 53 CYA. I don't know much about ColorQ so we'll just leave it at that. You'll like the K2006. A few tips: Taylor will have you use 25 ml water and two scoops of powder for FC. 10 ml and one scoop is good enough. Use .5 as the multiplier. Wipe the tip of the R-009 with a damp paper towel before every drop for the first few tests. It can develop static electricity which makes small drops which makes TA read falsely high. It's hard to find but Extended Test Kit Directions – Trouble Free Pool has lots of other tidbits of information if something seems off when you're testing. Click on the test name not the green bar.
 
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marklemcd

Member
May 12, 2020
5
San Rafael, CA
Well I got my Taylor kit today and tested. Not good news. I tested twice just to ensure I was doing it correctly.

FC: .4
CC: 0 (yay?)
PH: 7.6
TA: 90
CH: 810!!!!
CYA: 80
CSI: .27
Temp: 74 degrees

So I guess my question here is with a CSI of .27 do I need to do anything with the Calcium? I'm assuming I should drain some water to get the CYA down, so with it being about 80 I should drain maybe 40% to get to 50ish since I live in California? And then after refilling ensure my TA and PH get balanced and get the FCL up to 4-5? I have no algae as of yet so I think I don't need to SLAM or would it be good to do just to be sure?

Thanks all.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
23,680
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Okay, I see one problem with the CH test. You used the 25 ml sample and 81 drops. Unless you have a speedstir, your wrist got tired.

Use 10 ml water, 10 drops pf R-0010, 3-5 of R-0011L depending on how visible it is, and then count each drop of R-0012 as 25. Less swirling means you can swirl longer and get a better reading. Does it really matter if you're at 800, 810, 820, or 825? No. pH, TA, and temperature all have more effect on scale formation.

My CH started like that and I dropped 200 ppm when I switched to using a speedstir.

I also started using some pool water on the lawn and put what I would have used for irrigation into the pool to lower CH. It seems futile, but it's not. My pool's average depth 60". Replace 3" twice and I've replaced 10%.That's substantial.

In your case, you'll want to lower CYA a little, too. Unless you're using a SWG, which don't see listed.

For today, just get the FC up. And then study up on things and figure out if there's an easy way to remove water or if you'll need to buy a small submersible pump.

Also, use 10 ml for the next FC/CC test and only one scoop of powder. Each drop is .5. Plenty accurate for our purposes and saves reagents.
 

marklemcd

Member
May 12, 2020
5
San Rafael, CA
Thanks Richard. I just added a bunch of bleach and after letting it circulate for a while I'll retest the chlorine to ensure it went up as expected. And I'll take your advice to use the lower amounts of reagent as I test.

I do have a pump already, I live just north of San Francisco and we never close our pools and a couple times a winter we get rainstorms where my backyard will see 6 or more inches of rain in a day, so I've learned to pre-drain the pool a bit before those because the rain comes faster than the over flow can handle and I'd rather have the water exit the property via my installed drainage than however it would exit the other way.

I've got no yard to water, but I like your idea as I do have a plant dense hillside that I can us the pump to irrigate.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
798
San Jose, CA
Might be a good idea to also test your refill water to see what its pH, TA, and especially CH happen to be. To lower CH down from 800+, a lot will depend on what your fill water's CH is. My fill water is CH 600, so, my only option to drop my CH from 775 was to drain and refill from my water softener with CH 10. I had to keep an eye on the water softener's meter to know when it would regenerate, so I could turn the pool fill water off until it finished. I was able to get a drop down to CH 475 with around a 40% drain and refill.

I also attached my pool fill valve to a softened water pipe so that i'm always using soft water to top up my pool from evaporation and such. Hopefully, the CH will now be stable for a long time.
 

marklemcd

Member
May 12, 2020
5
San Rafael, CA
Great point Dean, will do that tomorrow for sure.

Added 120oz of bleach to the pool and got the FC up to 4. The bad news is CC is now .5 or so, not good news. No visible algae but indicates there is some in the water right?