Newbie coming off of SLAM, and going out of town for a few days

lhlsea

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2017
29
Seattle, WA
#1
Hi all,

New pool owner in Seattle here, trying to get things in shape after spending a lot of time reading here (thanks!).

Coming off a SLAM I wanted to get your general advice on what's next, with the added complication that I'll be out of town Mon-Wed.

Here's my status:
- Last weekend: I did a SLAM with your guidance. Pool was in reasonable shape prior (hadn't touched pool through the winter, had started to see a bit of algae in the week prior to SLAM). SLAM took about 2-3 days.
- Mon to Wed this week: Watched FC levels drop to target range.
- Wed, Thurs: Started adding bleach daily using PoolMath app to calculate.
- Fri (just now): first full round of testing since pre-SLAM.

Current tests (I'm surprised about how good the numbers are!):
FC: 5.5
pH: 7.7
TA: 70 (or 33, see below)
CH: 180
Temp: 62
CYA: 30 (or 45, see below).

My questions:

1) CYA: I've consistently been getting around 30 (pre and post SLAM), though remember I'm a novice tester. A test at the pool store on their digital machine (BioGuard printout) last weekend said 45. Which CYA number should I trust?

2) TA: Similar question -- right before starting the SLAM, my own tests showed TA of 60, and am now showing 70. The pool store BioGuard printout said TA of 33. That and the CYA were the only main discrepancies. Should I trust my own TA number or is there a chance I'm doing something wrong?

I am aware of TFP perspective on pool stores! :) That said, I'm a novice, the store people have seemed reasonably knowledgeable, and I assumed a digital machine was fairly accurate, so figured it was worth asking.

3) Out of town: Any advice on what to do while I'm out of town? I'm going out of town Sunday night through Wednesday this coming week, and I travel like this about once every six weeks, so need a good plan for this ongoing. I have a floater and a handful of tablets (Costco clorox ones) left from the prior owner. Though I want to go full-on TFP and will while I'm in here, was wondering if this would be a good chance to try the tablets given my low-ish CYA. Pool store guy said that in Seattle CYA isn't as much of a concern because of how much rain we get in the off-season. If I go the tablet route, I should probably start that today so I have the weekend around to monitor before I leave. I suppose another option is just to put extra bleach in right before I leave and hope that I'm back before it drops too low.

4) Given my test numbers, it looks like the only thing I really need to do (other than follow the TFP way ongoing) is to get my CH up. Any other suggestions?

Thank you so much!

-- Lewis
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,327
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
#2
I think you've got a decent plan. The only flaw in it is the Clorox pucks. Some of them had all sorts of stuff added to them, from Copper to Borax. So see if you can't find out if those are yours. If they are, give them to someone you don;t like and hunt down some pure trichlor pucks.

Alternately, can you train someone else in the household to test FC and use poolmath? Or just leave instructions to add 3 ppm FC per day? You just need to figure out how much that is and cut down an old milk jug or something and mark the level.
 

spinPHD

Well-known member
Apr 20, 2017
500
Phoenix
#3
Pretty much everyone here is going to tell you to trust your own numbers, and I agree with them.

As far as your CYA, how did you get your CYA to 30? Did you manually add it using stabilizer when you opened your pool, or did your pool have that CYA when you opened it. If you manually added it to get to 30, then I would trust that its 30 over both tests. If you're still concerned, just split the difference and set your chlorine level based upon 40 CYA and add chlorine each day to get you at or above 7. It's only 1ppm more.

As far as TA, there should be enough solution in your kit for only 70 TA to let you test this very often. If you're not certain, just retest. If you're consistently get the same result yourself, then go with it.
 

lhlsea

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2017
29
Seattle, WA
#4
Thanks -- this is very helpful. My pucks are these ones they sell at Costco which I'm pretty sure you all are not going to be pleased with :).

Well my wife is certainly capable of learning to test FC but she has enough extra to do with the kids while I'm gone so I'd rather keep it minimal. Having her just add a pre-determined amount of bleach each day though is a great idea and I'll give that a try for this trip.

<< As far as your CYA, how did you get your CYA to 30? Did you manually add it using stabilizer when you opened your pool, or did your pool have that CYA when you opened it. If you manually added it to get to 30, then I would trust that its 30 over both tests. If you're still concerned, just split the difference and set your chlorine level based upon 40 CYA and add chlorine each day to get you at or above 7. It's only 1ppm more. >>

Thanks. I haven't added stabilizer ever. We moved into our place in September. In October my own CYA testing showed 70. I didn't really touch the pool between November and April, it was uncovered, and we got a ton of rain here in Seattle during that time. I've probably tested CYA eight times in the past couple weeks and it's been around 30 each time, so if I'm doing it wrong, I'm doing it consistently wrong. I suppose one option would be to go back to the pool store on occasion and keep comparing their result to my own and see if I notice anything.

Thanks again!
 

lhlsea

Bronze Supporter
Apr 28, 2017
29
Seattle, WA
#5
Follow up to let you know that Richard320 your plan of having my wife put in a fixed amount each day worked perfectly. Had her at 32oz and I came back to a nicely dialed-in 4.5FC.

Thanks for the advice!