Somewhat new at this and need some advice.

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
Hello,

Just a quick background because I am kind of embarrassed over the problems I had last Summer maintaining my pool.

I am from Hawaii and always had a beach out my backdoor. Moved to Arizona about 12 years ago and after 7 years of no summer relief, I finally got a home with a pool. I knew nothing about maintaining it but, somehow, got lucky the first few summers.

I was just testing PH and Chlorine with the simple red and yellow reagents. And, yes, regardless of a decent looking pool for most of the long Arizona summer (May -mid July and then mid Aug- Oct) I had problems after every monsoon (generally mid July - mid Aug) with green algae.

The pool store remedy was to throw 12 bags of shock and a bottle of algaecide in. It always seemed to work after running the pump for 2 weeks and killing every bird in the neighborhood, as my neighbor has a 40+ foot Pine tree that hangs over my pool. So my pool is the watering hole for his pigeons.

Yes, I have to skim my pool 2 or 3 times daily at the beginning of spring and during monsoon because of his pine tree. No HOA here. So it's just a problem I have to deal with. All attempts to get cooperation from my neighbor have failed. I hope this isn't too much info but I just wanted to put in as much as possible so the picture is clear as to what I am dealing with.

OK - the summer before last, I had some algae issues earlier than normal and after doing the slam to get Chlorine and PH back to correct numbers per my method at the time (red and yellow reagent tests) the pool store had me get a PoolRX mineral unit to put in my pump filter basket. It reduced my Chlorine usage a ton. I was refilling my floater about every 2nd week and throwing 1 lb of shock in every 2nd week. I run my pump for 10 hours in the summer. I didn't have a problem the rest of the summer.

Last summer was a nightmare. I didn't start prepping the pool early enough and it was green right from the start of summer and every time I thought I had it cleared up it would happen again and I just could not keep it balanced. I didn't buy a mineral unit last summer because they went up in price but I still ended up spending way too much money last year and got very little swim time. The chlorine was literally diminishing before my eyes.

Forward to the present - I found TFP while looking online for solutions. It's a little much for me to take in but I bought a Taylor FAS-DPD kit and did all the tests after I started my spring ritual of hitting the pool with a ton of shock. I know - liquid chlorine or bleach is what I should be using. Problem is last year at the end of the summer I bought 100lbs of shock (73% calcium hypochloride) before I found TFP and I really don't want it to go to waste.

I've discovered that my water hardness in the pool is ridiculously high (aprox 925) I tested the fill water (240.)

I will give you my numbers. I need to know what to do next and I have some questions that may sound pretty ignorant.

FC - 5
CC - 1.5
CYA - 55
PH - 9+
TA - 80
Hardness - 925

Here come the questions -

*Is there any way to bring the hardness down without refilling the pool or some other expensive method? (I really have to avoid spending a lot of money right now)
*Is there a way to make liquid chlorine or filter the calcium hypochloride to make it less dense?

*What is my least expensive course of action, in your opinion? Basically, what do I do next? I know I need to bring the PH down? But while I am out tomorrow, I want to try to get everything I need.

Thank you for any suggestions, thoughts, HELP, etc.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
Hi! What a journey you have been on! I am so glad you found TFP and got the good test kit. Lets do some school work first.

"100lbs of shock (73% calcium hypochloride)" this is what is adding the CH to your pool :( You can always see it to make some of your money back. Below you will find a good article about it.

http://www.apsp.org/Portals/0/RWQ%20Fact%20Sheets/Calcium%20Hypochlorite%20-%20July%2029,%202014.pdf

I pulled this part out of the above article-"When calcium hypochlorite is used 0.8 ppm of calcium hardness is added to the water for each ppm of available chlorine added."

As far as I know there is not way to reduce CH or CYA without draining water. For right now it is not the biggest worry. Your pool can live like this for a little while.

PH-You need to get that down tomorrow! I have a link for you:

Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

This will show you what we use in our pools to move the levels.

Look up at the top of the page for Pool Math. That will help you know how much of what to add to do this or that.

when you go to buy the muratic acid make sure to get the 31%. It is usually kept outside. When you get it home find a place that is well vented and away from chlorine and metal as it messes with both of these.

Use care when you go to add the m.a. it is yucky stuff. The fumes can mess with you.

Everything else looks good. Once you get your PH down then you can start the SLAM! Sound neat huh? You are going to SLAM the algae right out of your pool!!!! Here is the link for that:

Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain

The most important part of the SLAM is M as in Maintain the FC(free chlorine) at the SLAM level for your CYA as found in the chart in the link!

I will check in with you in the morning to see how it is going!

Kim:kim:
 

mac4lyfe

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 8, 2007
212
Houston, Texas
Welcome Jimmycat, I'm glad you found this forum. KimKats has given you the plan.

I'd add that your CYA is 55, which is on the high side without a SWG. I would immediately STOP using any type of hard/powder chlorine. That means no pucks, no granules, etc. Their ingredients will raise the 2 things you are already high in. Dichlor and trichlor add CYA. Cal-hypo adds CH. Your best choice from here on out is liquid chlorine from either bleach bottles or a salt water generator (SWG). Looking at the CL/CYA chart KimKats linked, you have to maintain FC at 5 ppm. If your pool is currently green then you are going to have to increase your FC to 24 ppm and maintain it until your pool clears up. What does that mean. Well if you use the Pool Calculator and input 15000 gallons at the top. and use now 0 ppm and target 24 ppm you will see that you need over 5 gallons of bleach or 8 jugs of 96 oz bleach to shock your pool. You may need to maintain the 24 ppm over several days which might take 2x or 3x that amount of bleach. You're going to need a lot of jugs of bleach over the next few days. Once you get your pool sparkly again, you still have to maintain the FC at about 7 - 9 ppm consistently. Anytime you go below target range you are setting yourself up for trouble. Immediate concern is to get your PH down then figure out if you need to SLAM your pool by increasing your FC. How does the pool look now?

The cheapest way for most people to lower CH is to drain and refill. I think an alternative would be to find a cheap/used water softener unit. I've seen many for dirt cheap on Craigslist and sometimes free. The softener will filter the CH. My idea would be to use a sump pump to pump your pool water into the softener inlet removing the CH. A 64,000 grain unit would filter about 5,000 gallons before needing to regenerate which is easy to do automatically with the system. These systems last a long time (like 15 - 20 years) before needing to replace the resin in it and the resin is pretty cheap anyway (under $120 for most systems). You would be surprised how many people throw away perfectly good systems. You have to fill the brine bucket with salt and most people forget or don't know how. So when the unit stops softening they think it's broke. Or if they used it for 15+ years the resin is worn out and needs to be replaced. I did a quick test with my softener yesterday where I forced my garden hose into the inlet and it removed all the CH at the outlet. My fill water is at least 300 ppm and it removed it to 0 ppm so it does work.
 

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
The pool is not green. It's the correct color blue but is a bit cloudy. We had an early heat up and I could see time was of the essence and tossed 5 bags of shock in the pool. Kept it from turning green but now it's cloudy. I have a week or so before temps rise to the high 80's So I want to get this leveled out before it really gets hot. It will be easier to maintain if I get it right from the start.

I will continue to run the pump and pick some muriatic acid first thing in the morning and get the calculated amount in the pool. But then I won't be home til around 7 in the evening. And another long day Monday. I am off Tues thru Thursday and was hoping to get the bulk of this prep done during that time. Can I use Clorox from the dollar store?? Gallon bottles are 50 cents right now. Hahaha - If I can, I can pick it up after work and get it when the sun is going down.
 

mac4lyfe

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 8, 2007
212
Houston, Texas
I would load up on bleach if I were you because you're probably going to need a lot. Just be careful that the bottles aren't old or diluted.

I reiterate that you should stop putting any shock in your pool. Liquid bleach is your friend.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
If they are selling those jugs for that little I am willing to bet they are O.L.D. and more water than bleach :( Check the date code before you buy.

Please stop using that power shock. Pretty please :angel: It is driving your CH up even higher.

Do what you can when you can but you need to get the FC up using liquid bleach/chlorine and keep it up as much as possible.

Make sure to keep the pump running as well.

Kim:kim:
 

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
Put the muriatic acid in this morning. Tested the PH tonight 7.8. Pump is running. Will test everything the morning to determine where I am at picked up 6 gallons of liquid chlorine. The bleach was old, so I passed. Paid $3 a gallon for 10% liquid chlorine. I am going to shop around tomorrow to see if I can get it a bit cheaper and I will pick up some more.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
Good job catching the age of the cheap bleach!

Is there a pool store that sells liquid chlorine in your area? Make sure to check their prices. You will have to put down a deposit on the jugs but you get it back if/when you return the jugs.

Kim:kim:
 

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
Looks like the PH didn't come down any more over night. It's still roughly 7.8. So I added just under a quart more acid. I am assuming by by the pool math calculator, this should do the trick and I can start adding the chlorine tonight? We'll see how this goes over the next few days.
 

triptyx

TFP Guide
Apr 12, 2016
1,495
Tucson, AZ
You can remeasure your pH about half an hour after adding it - just make sure the pump is running (it should be running for at least half an hour after you add chlorine or acid anyways to mix it all up). So if it's not in the right spot after work, go ahead and use PoolMath to make another addition, eat some dinner, then retest and re-add as necessary. :)

I'll add, as a fellow AZ resident, you do NOT want to put anything in your pool that adds calcium - we have hard water as it is, and you're going to have an expensive drain/refill in short order using cal-hypo. Please try to return as much of it as possible - even fresh fill water here isn't all that far below the minimum calcium levels for a plaster pool.
 

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
Thanks. I won't be putting any more hard shock or tabs in my pool. I am a little annoyed that the pool stores have been telling me that that's what I need to put in. They could obviously see by testing my samples that my water was very hard and and didn't even mention it to me. "Here, buy 12 more bags of cal-hypo." Not happy.

I will get this all on the right track over time. PH looks good. 7.4. Will test everything else tonight and start the chlorine.

Thanks everyone for the advice, so far.
 

Patrick_B

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 7, 2011
14,999
Midland TX
Thanks. I won't be putting any more hard shock or tabs in my pool. I am a little annoyed that the pool stores have been telling me that that's what I need to put in. They could obviously see by testing my samples that my water was very hard and and didn't even mention it to me. "Here, buy 12 more bags of cal-hypo." Not happy.

I will get this all on the right track over time. PH looks good. 7.4. Will test everything else tonight and start the chlorine.

Thanks everyone for the advice, so far.
Hey Jimmy,

That's our source of frustration with the stores sometimes. Here it's the same, very hard water, and they will sell you things all day long that add to it. Whether out of ignorance or negligence there is just no good excuse. It's beyond annoying, but that's why so many people stay here and help others who have gone through it. It happened to them too, and they find out the truth just like you which naturally makes them unhappy. No worries now though, you know what's up, and you're on the right track for sure.

Welcome to the forum. :goodjob:
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
Jimmy I was were you are now with my first pool. It was so bad from what the pool store had me doing that the liner cracked when I was in it and the water gushed out almost taking me with it :shock: NOT fun! I did not get a new pool for a long time. It was not until my hubby found TFP that I even thought of replacing it. I now love my pool thanks to TFP!

Kim:kim:
 

mac4lyfe

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 8, 2007
212
Houston, Texas
Several years ago I was in a pool store and a guy comes in desperate because his pool was a green swamp. The pool sample he brought in looked like a gross soup mixture. I was real curious what the young employee was going to tell him. Imagine my shock when she started getting him all kind of useless chemicals. She must have had him loaded up with at least 10 things, many I've never heard of, none of which added chlorine. His bill... $375 of worthless stuff. I waited for him to come outside and I went up to him and asked to see his test results. I told him to take everything back and load up on liquid chlorine/bleach. We go back in there and he returned everything and ask if they had bleach. She went on a tirade that he should never, ever use bleach in a pool, that it's for washing laundry only and will harm his family. She went on to say that I didn't know what I was talking about and that I was giving him bad information. I politely mentioned that I worked as a Chemical Engineer in a water purification plant while she was still in HS. We went back and forth four about 10 minutes when it eventually dawned on me that I was arguing with an idiot. I just smiled at her and said, hey I appreciate your time but it's time for me to go. She gave me the very evil eye. I told him to go to Walmart across the street. He got his pool cleared up a few days later by adding bleach only while joining this site. Long story short... Do not attempt to educate pool employees. It's just an exercise in frustration.
 

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
Ok. Here are my new numbers after getting the PH where it needs to be - The pool is blue clear at the moment. I can see to the bottom of the deep end . So I am assuming, the cloudiness from the dose of Cal-hypo that I put in a couple weeks ago has finally filtered.

FC - 1.5
CC - .5 barely
PH - 7.4
TA - 110
CYA - between 35 & 40

My question here is - Do I need to slam the pool since the CC is almost non existent or should I try just bringing FC up to 5? I am still a little confused by all this. All my numbers changed just by changing the PH.
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
We are going to call your CYA 40.

I would SLAM the pool until it is crystal clear. We have seen pools that had a CC of .5 with green "dust" on the sides. So you can have algae even with little to know CC. Lets get your pool looking like a jewel.

PH is a big driver for the others. I can tell when my PH is off by the look of my water. It becomes dull looking. It is easy to adjust so that is nice!

Kim:kim:
 

domct203

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 3, 2015
3,959
CT
Ok. Here are my new numbers after getting the PH where it needs to be - The pool is blue clear at the moment. I can see to the bottom of the deep end . So I am assuming, the cloudiness from the dose of Cal-hypo that I put in a couple weeks ago has finally filtered.

FC - 1.5
CC - .5 barely
PH - 7.4
TA - 110
CYA - between 35 & 40

My question here is - Do I need to slam the pool since the CC is almost non existent or should I try just bringing FC up to 5? I am still a little confused by all this. All my numbers changed just by changing the PH.
Your FC is too low for your CYA. The absolute minimum is 3ppm FC for a CYA of 40ppm, with a target FC of 5-7ppm.

Chlorine / CYA Chart

Have you added any chlorine since adjusting pH? Chlorine is a consumable and needs to be replenished daily.

With that low of a FC you should have immediately added chlorine to get above the FC minimum and into target range for your CYA. I would then perform the OCLT to determine if you need to SLAM.
 
Last edited:

jimmycat

Member
Apr 1, 2017
22
Phoenix/Arizona
I ended up slamming the pool anyway. I tested about 45 minutes later and I only got a reading of 13ppm. I should have gotten closer to 16 according to the pool math calculator. Regardless, I went to bed for a bit.

Just got up for a minute, and feeling a bit anxious, I tested just now and I only have 5ppm. It's only been 3+ hours and it's still dark outside. CC is still under .5.

AM I doing something wrong or did my pool just eat all that chlorine?? I tested twice, both times, to be sure.

It's my understanding that PH readings won't be accurate while slamming. But should I still be testing CYA or am I just concern with Chlorine right now?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
37,479
Tallahassee, FL
Yummmmmmmm something is being eaten by the chlorine for sure! OUCH!

Only test FC right now. Nothing else really matters. The CYA should not change since you are not using anything other than liquid chlorine/bleach.

Have you tested about 15 mins after adding the bleach? I wonder if it is even getting up where you shot for?

Kim:kim:
 

mac4lyfe

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 8, 2007
212
Houston, Texas
I ended up slamming the pool anyway. I tested about 45 minutes later and I only got a reading of 13ppm. I should have gotten closer to 16 according to the pool math calculator.

Just got up for a minute, and feeling a bit anxious, I tested just now and I only have 5ppm. It's only been 3+ hours and it's still dark outside. CC is still under .5.

AM I doing something wrong or did my pool just eat all that chlorine?? I tested twice, both times, to be sure.?
Your pool may be a little bigger than 15,000 gallons which could account for the lower ppm. But it looks like you have nasty stuff eating the FC just that fast confirmed by your OCLT test. You're not doing anything wrong, you are losing chlorine by nasties in the water. Keep slamming until you successfully pass OCLT. Patience and Chlorine is your friend.
 
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