Northeast pool owner pool closed and covered .....Ammonia issue

greg w

Active member
May 14, 2017
30
0
chester pa
#1
Hi all-

I live in the northeast. Ive owned my pool for 2 years now and both years i have had no problem all summer keeping the water perfect. The problem i have is when i open my pool now 2 years in a row i have an ammonia problem that has required me to super chlorinate my pool to like 100ppm to break the ammonia. Its costly and super annoying. I have no idea why i keep having this problem every year. The only thing i can think is that we live around mushroom farms and maybe the release of the composting into the air gets into the rain water and thus my problem every spring. My question to you guys is do you think if i add a gallon or 2 of bleach to my pool every month during winter, would that help keep the ammonia away? Would it damage my plaster since the water wouldn't be circulating and i assume the bleach would just sink to the bottom. Not sure if it would even do any good ? Any tips or ideas would be appreciated !

Greg
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Expert
#2
Greg, there are some unknown variables in this scenario that would be difficult for us to pinpoint. But in general, ammonia issues occur when unusually perfect conditions exist. The most common is that the FC drops too low and residual stabilizer (CYA) becomes food to bacteria - hence the ammonia. A similar thing happens when opening pools that were closed with antifreeze. And yes, the local environment (people, animals, contaminants) can also contribute to ammonia.

If you have a few minutes and an aspirin, try reading this thread: Degradation of Cyanuric Acid (CYA).

Your best defense is always a properly closed pool with chemical levels adjusted just before shut-down. Hopefully as late in the fall/winter as possible, followed by an early opening. Only you would know about those chemical levels at closing. As for the FC of 100ppm, that's excessive. If you do have ammonia, then we expect there to be no stabilizer remaining. In that case, we advise an FC of only 10 ppm maintained consistently for a few minutes until you know it's holding relatively well, followed by a . If you added any unusual chemicals at closing, that could require more FC to compensate, but time and consistency is usually the best medicine as opposed to a nuclear blast of chlorine.

At this point, if you have access to the water and elect to add a little bleach each month, it shouldn't hurt anything as long as you don't get too excessive and try to mix it around a bit either by brush or a sump pump for "some" circulation. Come spring, open as soon as you can and post back with your results. Next winter also consider posting back before closing if you need any coaching or tips before everything is shut down. We'll do our best to help.
 

greg w

Active member
May 14, 2017
30
0
chester pa
#3
Greg, there are some unknown variables in this scenario that would be difficult for us to pinpoint. But in general, ammonia issues occur when unusually perfect conditions exist. The most common is that the FC drops too low and residual stabilizer (CYA) becomes food to bacteria - hence the ammonia. A similar thing happens when opening pools that were closed with antifreeze. And yes, the local environment (people, animals, contaminants) can also contribute to ammonia.

If you have a few minutes and an aspirin, try reading this thread: Degradation of Cyanuric Acid (CYA).

Your best defense is always a properly closed pool with chemical levels adjusted just before shut-down. Hopefully as late in the fall/winter as possible, followed by an early opening. Only you would know about those chemical levels at closing. As for the FC of 100ppm, that's excessive. If you do have ammonia, then we expect there to be no stabilizer remaining. In that case, we advise an FC of only 10 ppm maintained consistently for a few minutes until you know it's holding relatively well, followed by a . If you added any unusual chemicals at closing, that could require more FC to compensate, but time and consistency is usually the best medicine as opposed to a nuclear blast of chlorine.

At this point, if you have access to the water and elect to add a little bleach each month, it shouldn't hurt anything as long as you don't get too excessive and try to mix it around a bit either by brush or a sump pump for "some" circulation. Come spring, open as soon as you can and post back with your results. Next winter also consider posting back before closing if you need any coaching or tips before everything is shut down. We'll do our best to help.
Hey thank you for the respond.....to answer some of your questions.......
as per the chemicals at closing , both years my water was perfect. Year 1 throughout the summer i had some ph movement higher but never got out of hand just had to add acid here and there. This year we got A TON of rain. I had to pump out water a few times to prevent overflow. My water was perfect all year with the only thing my alkalinity would drop to 70 from 90 which was my target goal. I assumed this was mostly due to the removal of water. Otherwise the pool couldn't have been easier and I'm super anal about testing the water with my Taylor test kit.

Regarding the cya level..... yes when i opened my pool both years i had zero cya. That converted to ammonia and my levels of ammonia were off the chart of the fish tank ammonia test i had ( it only went up to 8.0) This was why i super chlorinated.......The first year I had the pool company open since i had zero experience. The pool was perfectly clear in like 2 days but when i tested the water had zero cya and 0 chlorine. I added cya and the next day it was gone and i couldn't hold chlorine. Took awhile to figure out i had ammonia........ Fast forward to this year .... i opened myself ..... "shocked" the pool at open with liquid chlorine..... same problem..... no cya no chlorine hold...... so i blasted the pool with cal hypo recognizing the ammonia issue right away. Once the levels subsided i added cya and was good to go. Just cost me an extra 100 bucks in chemicals. So obv I'm trying to avoid all this again this coming spring.

I guess ill just test my water every month and see what happens. Thanks for the info though i really appreciate it . Will def keep this updated as I think maybe others can benefit from my struggles . Thanks again
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
tftestkits.net
#4
The conditions that preclude CYA to ammonia conversion are pretty vague.........vague enough that I think no one knows a really effective preventative.

I would suggest you simply assume you will open with ammonia next year. Then without adding any CYA, burn the ammonia out of your pool with chlorine (but just liquid....not cal hypo). You can do it in about 24 hours if you are diligent and it will not be overly pricey......I'm thinking not over $40.00

once the ammonia is burned out, you will be free to restart your pool with a fresh addition of both CYA and FC