No free chlorine, trouble balancing

sapphire

New member
Jun 2, 2010
2
Hi - We are having a heck of a time this year getting our pool straight. Little to no problems in years past. We use chlorine, in-ground pool, 18x36, 24,500 gallons.

At our first testing at the pool place (after starting to clean and shock it) our pH levels were high (8.1), FC was 1.1 and TC was 7.8 so there was a lot of combined chlorine. Alkalinity was ok. Cyanuric acid was low but she said worry about it after we are balanced and clean. So we added a lot of muriatic acid to lower the pH. Can't get the chlorine to break up. We shocked using chlorine, shocked using Unchlorinated shock...

Yesterday our reading was FC 0.4, Total chlorine 3.4, alkalinity low (27), pH 7.4, Cyanuric acid 8, Hardness 250. She told us to double shock using non chlorinated shock and we should see results very quickly, and also add 15lbs of baking soda (they told us to use alkalinity plus but my husband got her to convert it to amount of baking soda). We did that lunch time yesterday....

No change to FC by 10:00 last night. The water is cloudy again (although I did brush as well). So we put in 16 pounds of granular chlorine (bought in bulk) to double shock it to hopefully kick that combined chlorine. This is what my husband's cousin says she does to double shock. She uses the same chlorine. Sounded like a lot to me, because I thought a double shock would normally be 6 1 pound bags of TurboShock. But we are our wits end with this FC reading, and this stuff we are using now isn't TurboShock.

I took another sample today at 10am and now FC is .4, TC is 1.8, alkalinity is 70, pH is now 7.0, hardness is 289, cyanuric acid is 8.

So now she's told me to add 12 pounds of alkalinity plus (bacquacil brand), and not to use baking soda because it doesn't have everything we need. Wait until tomorrow to let the chlorine levels level out. And to maybe add 2.75 pounds of pH increaser, but again wait until we test tomorrow before adding it. She also says not to worry about the cyanuric acid because our tablets have it in there. The only problem we've really ever had is that the cyanuric acid got high last year. So that's why she's telling me not to add stabilizer just yet.

I read somewhere that ammonia could be a factor, so I bought a kit and tested today, no ammonia in the pool.

I left out some back and forths but this is the gist of where we are... we are getting frustrated because 3 places are telling us 3 different things. We've tried them all it seems, and are still in a rut, especially with the free chlorine. Ideas of how to get free chlorine? And what order should I be adding these chemicals and trying to get it right? It seems like we need alkalinity to be right first, then work the others. But our alk was ok, then when we starting adding things to adjust the pH, it got out of whack.

Anyway, I thought I'd post where we are to see what you think. The folks at the pool shops won't explain much to us. They just tell you to dump chemicals in the pool. I've learned more in 2 days of Googling than they've ever explained to me. {sigh}

Thanks so much!

April
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,177
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
You don't need alk or PH adjusting, if your latest numbers are correct. Focus on shocking - you aren't done until your FC holds overnight and your CC is .5 or less. You need your own FAS-DPD test kit to confirm this...(plus then you don't have to rely on three versions of the wrong information :))

Alk increaser is the same thing as Baking Soda - she's just not telling the truth.
To increase PH when the time comes, use Borax.

Read How to Shock your Pool in Pool School... and complete the shock process and you should be good to go.

If you plan to use tablets (are you using them right now?) you can still add enough stabilizer to get you to 20 or so.

Question, what was the active ingredient in the 16 lbs of granular chlorine you added?
 

svenpup

LifeTime Supporter
Nov 18, 2009
835
Sacramento, CA
The most important thing you can do to help yourself is get a good test kit and start testing yourself. Check out the Test Kit comparison in pool school.

Take control of your pool and stop getting "pool stored" :goodjob:
 

dhorning

Member
May 29, 2010
7
Pennsylvania
Let me encourage you to keep going. I was in the same position as you a week ago. My 20,000 gallon pool was not showing any free chlorine after putting several rounds of significant chlorine amounts in it. My ph also nose dived as yours has done. Someone on here recommended putting 2 gallons of pool water in a bucket and putting liquid bleach in it to determine the amount of liquid bleach needed to get free chlorine. I put 2 cap fulls of bleach in the bucket and in no time had free chlorine. That encouraged me to continue adding bleach until I have no problem maintaining free chlorine in my pool. I am not quite there yet as I am losing to much free chlorine at night. I guess I will clean and disinfect my DE filter next and shock to get rid of the last algae.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,964
SouthWest Alabama
Well April, you're in the right place now. welcome to TFP :wave:

Pool is inground, 24,000 gallons.
pH = 7.0
FC = .4
CC = 1.4
TC = 1.8
TA = 70
CH = 289
CYA = 8
It's easier to read if you list them like that.
FC is low and CC is too high. You need to shock. Read the article in Pool School on Shocking Your Pool. You'll learn that shock is a process not a product.
Your alkalinity (TA) is fine and so is your hardness right now.
If your stabilizer (CYA) is really 8 you need to add 3lbs in a sock in front of a return to start dissolving.

Now you need a good test kit in order to take control of your pool and make it truly trouble free. You also need to read Pool School several times and then come back and ask any questions you have. You can find a link to both in my sig.

FPM and Svenpup beat me to it! AND dhorning! I'm getting slow in my old age! :hammer:
 

sapphire

New member
Jun 2, 2010
2
Thanks, everyone - I truly appreciate your help! We are definitely getting 'pool stored'. We went with this new granular chlorine that my husband's cousin uses to get away from the pool store, but it's not working out so well. She's used it for years and she's right up the road from us, so we have similar water, etc.

I am going to order a kit today - either the K-2006 or the TF-100.

re: what type of chlorine is in the granular .... I'm not sure, I read it last night and still can't remember, but based on the options in the Pool School, How to Chlorinate, I'd guess it's the Hypo. I'll check when I get home. We are still using tablets (hockey pucks).

Question about the Chlorine/CYA chart. Once I get my stabilizer up, what do I do with the Shock FC value? Sorry for idiotic questions.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
22,964
SouthWest Alabama
Once you put the stabilizer in wait two days and assume it's there and then go ahead and raise the FC level to match the CYA you put in. I.E. if you put 3 lbs in your pool it should raise the CYA to about 25 so after two days you'd raise the shock FC level to 12 ppm and maintain that until you pass the overnight chlorine loss test.
 

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