No idea what I'm doing

Jun 5, 2012
12
#1
Hi! I'm so grateful to have come across this forum. My husband and I purchased a house with a pool this past December. We opened it the first week of May, and found a green mess. The pool company that opened it had us dump in a bunch of chlorine, which got rid of the green, however we haven't been able to get the chemicals balanced and the water has since remained very cloudy and occasionally starts to turn greenish. (when this happens we add more chlorine per the pool company). I received my TF-100 test kit this morning and ran the tests. My results were:

FC: 5 ppm
CC: 1 ppm
TA: 170
CH: 470
CYA: <20 (the water filled the tube to the rim before the dot disappeared - is this 0?)
pH: 7.5 - 7.8 (the test was hard to read - maybe I should buy some test strips?)
Salt: 2620 ppm

The problem is that I am 100% new to owning a pool and have no idea where to go from here. I've tried using the pool calculator, but everything tells me that changing "X" will also change "Y". So my questions are:

1) Where do I start? In what order should I change the levels?
2) How long in between adding one chemical should I wait before adding another? And do I add until one parameter is within range, then work on getting the next parameter within range?
3) Do I test in between each chemical addition?
4) How long should I be running my pump and swg each day? Is there a formula I can use to calculate this?

I'm obviously a total noob and not sure if this even makes sense, so I really appreciate any and all advice you can offer!
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Silver Spring, MD
#2
Start by lowering your PH to around 7.2.
Then raise your CYA to around 30.
[shock:t6x5vknn]Then shock the pool.[/shock:t6x5vknn]

When adjusting levels it is always a good idea to give time for the chemical to mixing and then test again to see if the change had the desired effect.

There is an article in Pool school about figuring out you ideal pump run time. If you have no idea, I suggest you start with 6 hours a day and try adjusting down from there and see how it goes.
 

Isaac-1

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May 10, 2010
6,711
SW Louisiana
#3
If you have the TF-100 try adding an extra drop for th pH test, will make the color darker, but the same tint, also hold the block up to a good bright white background to read. Remember your trying to match tint not intenisty, it gets easier with practice and thankfully pH is good over a wide range.

Next you need to shock your pool until it is clear, use liquid Chlorine or bleach for this, read pool school link in the upper right of this page, pay particular attention to defeating algae and how to shock

also read
turning-your-green-swamp-back-into-a-sparkling-oasis-t4147.html

At some point you will want to raise your CYA level, do it a little at a time so not to over shoot, remember it can take a week or more for CYA to show up on the test after it is added

Ike
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#4
Okay, I've read and printed/highlighted the Pool School articles. So I need to lower the pH (add muriatic acid) and raise the CYA to 30 (add solid cyanuric acid stabilizer/conditioner in a sock). According to the "Turning Your Green Swamp Back into a Sparkling Oasis" article, it will take the CYA a week to fully dissolve. Therefore I need to wait a week to shock it, correct?

According to the analysis we had done at a pool store yesterday, the only metal we have is copper at 0.8. Does this mean I need to lower the pH to 7.0 and add sequestrant? (according to the green swamp article again) Looking at their results vs. mine, there is a huge difference. Their results were:

FC: 0.6 ppm (mine: 5 ppm)
CC: 0 ppm (mine: 1 ppm)
TA: 143 (mine: 170)
CH: 302 (mine: 470)
CYA: not tested (mine:<20)
pH: 8.7 (mine: 7.5 - 7.8)
Salt: 3100 ppm (mine: 2620 ppm)

I'm very confident in my testing, as I was a Chemistry major in college and know what I'm doing and I know I followed the instructions exactly. I'm not sure which test results are more accurate. Should I take another sample in to a pool store for comparison?
 

lightingguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 18, 2010
513
Glendale, CA
#5
You've just got your first taste of being "Pool Stored" Are they using a strip test? Is it then put into a machine to determine the result? These seem to be the worst in terms of reliability.

Either way - trust your test results. If you are unsure - run them again. Run them a third time - you'll find that they are pretty accurate.

Don;t worry about CYA taking a week to read. You want to start shocking now. Every day you dont get your Chlorine up to shock level is a day the algae continues to multiply. At the moment your whole issue is algae related - so hit it hard.

Lowering your PH will help the chlorine be more aggressive, and CYA will help shield the Chlorine from sunlight.
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#6
Will do. Thanks. I plan on picking up the chemicals this morning. Should the SWG be off while I'm shocking? Also, when should I add salt to get the level back up to the recommended ~3100?

One more question, and forgive me if this is an eye-roller. Is the pool safe to use right now? Is it safe to use while it's being shocked? Growing up swimming in ponds, I wouldn't think that algae could hurt, but figured I'd ask to be sure. Not so sure on the use during shocking though. Of course it's going to be in the upper 80s around here this weekend.

Thanks so much for the help!
 

Leebo

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Jul 21, 2011
7,874
Eastern Ohio
#8
Rule #1 of using the BBB system. TRUST YOUR OWN RESULTS!!

My first step would be lowering the PH to around 7.2 and add enough stabilizer to get you to 40ppm. While at times it takes the CYA a week to read on the tests, once he stabilizer is in the pool it's working. Use the 40ppm as your level when calculating your shock level. Next bring your FC level up to shock level, and keep it there while running the pump 24/7. Only retest your FC and CC levels while shocking as other tests will be off some. When you meant all 3 goals of shocking your pool ( .5 CC's or less....lost 1 FC or less overnight....water is clear) then run a full test. Once water is clear and your chemistry is OK raise your CYA level up around 70 and turn on the SWG. I'd turn it off for now as its just going to run all the time trying to keep up with the shock level you demand.

Good luck....you've got this!
 

BoDarville

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Jun 5, 2012
3,843
DFW, Texas
#9
lmhock:

Regarding your question, "Is [the pool] safe to use while it's being shocked?", I would recommend waiting until the shock process is done and the FC drops below shock level.

I will also second the importance of trusting your own test results vs. the pool store.

Keep up the good work :goodjob: Y'all will be enjoying your pool in no time!
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#10
harleysilo said:
Chemistry major...did you get the speedstir? If not you'll love it! Your going to enjoy being in charge of your pool!
I was SO close to buying it when I ordered the test kit, but couldn't pull the trigger. I might ask for it for my birthday this summer. My husband thinks I'm nuts.

Within 20 minutes of receiving my TF-100, I was testing our water. It was like Christmas came early this year! :whoot:
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#11
Leebo said:
Next bring your FC level up to shock level, and keep it there while running the pump 24/7. Only retest your FC and CC levels while shocking as other tests will be off some. When you meant all 3 goals of shocking your pool ( .5 CC's or less....lost 1 FC or less overnight....water is clear) then run a full test.
Is there any way to guess how long the shock process will take? I'm tempted to start shocking today, however we'll be out of town for about 24 hours, leaving tomorrow mid-afternoon. If it might be possible to shock it today and get a good OCLT reading, I may give it a try. I don't mind wasting the chemicals or $ if it might work. If there's no way it will work that quickly, I'll wait until Monday to start.
 

Jennica

Well-known member
May 24, 2012
91
NJ
#12
These guys are 100% correct when they tell you to trust your test results over the pool store's. Leslie's told me my CYA was 40 when it was actually 180. :shock:
 

BoDarville

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 5, 2012
3,843
DFW, Texas
#13
lmhock

Unfortunately, the shock process cannot be time-boxed. It's like smoking a brisket...it's done when it's done. Leebo's post is right on. When you have met the 3 goals of shocking, then you are done.
 

march2012

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2012
369
#14
Chances are that it will take at least a week though. One tip is that the shock level is a minimum. if your pool is consuming 10ppm in an hour and your shock level is 20, you need to raise it higher than 20 so that it stays above 20 at all times.

Also, you can add CYA directly to the skimmer, it will get sucked in and embed in your filter. I think it dissolves much faster this way than in a sock. For me it was within 24 hours. Somewhere there are some articles about how the sock method isnt necessary and is primarily if you need to backwash soon after adding CYA. Also CYA is the only chemical to put into your skimmer.
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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#15
As sometimes happens, someone makes a post that is not 100% correct. Then, it gets picked up and repeated until it becomes a "standard". I have seen several posts saying that the shock value suggested is a "minimum". That is incorrect because, by definition, there would then be no maximum. The shock value is a suggested constant. It certainly has some margin on both sides but it should be considered a target at which you should always aim.

If the shock value is 20 and your FC is overdosed to 30...let it come back to 20 and keep it there.
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#16
Well, I decided to go ahead and shock the pool yesterday. The FC levels were pretty consistent throughout the entire day and even testing every 1 - 1 1/2 hours I didn't need to add any more chlorine to keep it at or above shock level (12-14 ppm). So I decided to run the the overnight FC test last night. I got a reading of 12ppm at 9:30 last night, then this morning I got a reading of 11.5ppm. (Being a perfectionist, I actually ran the test 5 times and got 12, 10, 12, 11, & 11.5.). The CC has been 0.5 since my first test yesterday. The water looks pretty good, although still not sparkling and not as clear as I'd like it, but it is definitely better than it was 2 days ago and appears to be coming around.

As recommended, yesterday before shocking I added enough CYA to my skimmer to raise the level to 30 ppm and used pH down to lower the pH to approximately 7.2 (using the calculations from pool calculator - although I admittedly haven't checked it). From reading Pool School I know the CYA level probably won't show up on a test for at least a few more days.

So what are my next steps? I plan on turning my SWG back on this morning, although since my CYA isn't in the recommended 70-80 range yet, I'm not sure what to set the percentage at. Besides that, I'm pretty clueless. Do I run a full set of tests now and work on bringing another level into range? Should I still be monitoring the FC daily? Should I get more CYA and work on getting that up to the recommended levels?
 

march2012

LifeTime Supporter
Jan 21, 2012
369
#17
duraleigh said:
As sometimes happens, someone makes a post that is not 100% correct. Then, it gets picked up and repeated until it becomes a "standard". I have seen several posts saying that the shock value suggested is a "minimum". That is incorrect because, by definition, there would then be no maximum. The shock value is a suggested constant. It certainly has some margin on both sides but it should be considered a target at which you should always aim.

If the shock value is 20 and your FC is overdosed to 30...let it come back to 20 and keep it there.
the problem is that if your pool is consuming 5 ppm an hour and you put it at 20 and leave for half the day, then you havent kept it at shock level
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#18
march2012 said:
the problem is that if your pool is consuming 5 ppm an hour and you put it at 20 and leave for half the day, then you havent kept it at shock level
Okay, please tell me what I'm doing wrong then! The original level was 15 ppm at 10:30am. That had dropped to 12 ppm by 3:30pm and was still at 12 ppm at 9:30pm when I took my sample. When I woke up this morning it was at 11.5 ppm. So I think I passed the FC loss and CC tests. Do I need to keep it at 12 for a certain amount of time? I thought I was done when those tests passed. What am I missing?
 

Butterfly

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May 31, 2007
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South Carolina
#19
lmhock said:
march2012 said:
the problem is that if your pool is consuming 5 ppm an hour and you put it at 20 and leave for half the day, then you havent kept it at shock level
Okay, please tell me what I'm doing wrong then! The original level was 15 ppm at 10:30am. That had dropped to 12 ppm by 3:30pm and was still at 12 ppm at 9:30pm when I took my sample. When I woke up this morning it was at 11.5 ppm. So I think I passed the FC loss and CC tests. Do I need to keep it at 12 for a certain amount of time? I thought I was done when those tests passed. What am I missing?
Along with the OCLT result and CC .5 or less, if your water is also clear, then you are done shocking. :goodjob: See red lines in my sig.
 
Jun 5, 2012
12
#20
Oh! I was under the impression that it would take the filter a few days to clear the water of the dead algae. I guess I'll start over. Thanks!

So once I'm done shocking for real, then what are my next steps?