Starting over: Last year was chasing numbers, looking for less of that this year.

giabadger

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
Macedonia IA
I guess when you can only have an above-ground pool, really, EVERY year is starting over, but this year we've managed to squeeze a larger pool on the same spot. And looking back on my test results from last year, looks like I have about 2 months and 1 week from today to enjoy this pool, so I would like to do less number chasing and more relaxing in the pool. The main things from last year with my well water was the ph was always too high, unless I adjusted it with ph down then it was too low and nearly impossible to get back up again; the TA was always high and the app would insist that I needed to add mass quantities of stain and scale remover daily, CYA was always 0 and I'd been told to add a pound of stabilizer, which NEVER dissolved so I'd end up with cloudy water with lots of little floaty bits.. I spent a LOT of time vaccuuming.

This year is going to be different. It has to or I am gonna lose my everlovin' mind! The whole reason for getting the saltwater generator is to not have to store and handle so many dangerous chemicals. We are still actually in the process of setting up the pool... he's out there and I'm in here talking to you good folks because I REALLY wanna get this right from day 1. I've gotten a sample of the water we're going to use and here is how that tested:

TH - 500
TC - 0
FC - 0
pH - 6.8
TA - 180
Cya - 0

Of course the Clorox app wants me to add 9 oz of Scale, Metal & Stain Control for the high alkalinity, and add 1.5 cups of pH up for the low pH, and another 9 oz of SMS for the high total hardness, and a half a cup of shock for small pools for the low free chlorine.

What would YOU do if this was YOUR pool? What's the best way to start that won't set me on the path to chasing numbers all summer? I stand ready for your advice! Thank you in advance.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
What I would do is order a proper test kit. Now.

There's just no polite way to say it.

A couple older threads you ought to see:

Obviously, you need to do something to that pool while you await a proper kit. The good news is the test is right about no FC and no CYA. So you can add that stuff safely. And the low pH is offset by the high TA. My guess is that if you hang the hose so it splashes, rather than sticking it underwater so it's quiet, that the aeration will probably put your pH up closer to where it needs to be. Maybe even too high!
Hardness - who cares? What are you gonna do if it's too high? Drain and refill with mpre of the same?

So, if you know how to use PoolMath, let it figure out how much 3 FC is and add that much bleach every day.
Use poolmath to figure out how much CYA to add, using the sock method taught in pool school. If you're certain of the volume, head straight to your target. Otherwise, shoot 10 ppm low and recheck in a week or so.
pH will have to wait for a test kit.

Salt can be added any time. Lots of people like to get the water balanced good enough for swimmers and put the salt in and let the swimmers play with it and move it around to dissolve it.

We'll get you going.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
13,272
Northern NJ
Throw everything Clorox in the trash. There are better quality pool products that don’t put unwanted and unkown additives into your water. Clorox products are there to get you to buy my re Clorox products.

To start get the TF-100 Test Kits and the Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer See Test Kits Compared

Then get 10% chlorinating liquid from Walmart, Home Depot, or Lowes. And get Stabilizer and Muriatic Acid.

Use PoolMath
 

giabadger

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
Macedonia IA
Hey Richard, and ajw22: thanks for the replies.

Did you not see that I have a salt water chlorine generator? I thought that was so I did not have to buy dangerous chemicals like chlorine bleach and muriatic acid? Also.. that is a 70 dollar test kit!!! That's about one half to one third of the price of the entire pool. Surely there is a less expensive option that doesn't require me (or any person with guess the color issues) to try to guess what color something is? I'm not a chemist or anything, I'm just a housewife who wants a SIMPLE solution to a safe pool that I can enjoy. I would like to do this without turning my house into a chemical storage facility. I live in the country and I did not have a garage or she'd, and the barn is where actual live animals live (including rodents who will get into anything). Much like my house, where the people live, along with more animals. So buying and storing mass quantities of dangerous chemicals with very specific storage and safety requirements is a HUGE concern for me.
 
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jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
You were mislead. A SWG does not make your pool testing and maintenance free.
You need to get the water balanced first, and that is using bleach and adding CYA.
Also SWG tend to drive the pH up, so that may require more muriatic acid than you were using last year to keep the pH in range.

If you want to have a trouble free pool so you can swim more and stop chasing numbers ...
1. Stop trying to use the Clorox app as it is going to have you chasing your tail
2. You need a reliable and repeatable test kit. The ones we recommend only required color matching for the pH test. The rest of the tests you just count drops.

I guess up to you if $70 is worth not repeating your poor experience from last year.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Oops, I missed that it was a small pool.

But you'll still need an accurate pH and chlorine tester. You can buy a simple 2 way kit for about ten bucks. A 3way like the Taylor k1004 is about twenty. If you need more than that, it's easier to dump the pool and start over.
 

giabadger

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
Macedonia IA
Yep, they are definitely misleading when they try to sell you an swg. Visions of trouble free pool enjoyment filled my head. :) So out with the Clorox app, in with the pool math.

The only test kit I've seen specifically recommended is something called a tf100. Now, if there's only one test kit in the entire world that you recommend, I'm going to be a bit leery. I'm hoping there are some options that I can choose from. Can you point me towards some? I'm not running a public pool. I'm probably going to be the only one using it 99% of the time. And, living where I do, it's only going to actually be up for about 2 months. Both of my knees are critically injured so the pool is both rest and relaxation as well
as physical therapy for me.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,238
Tucson, AZ
These are the full kits we recommend because they are the only ones that include the FAS-DPD chlorine test: Test Kits Compared
But, as Richard mentioned above, there are ways to "get by" when you have very small pool.
He mentioned the Taylor K-1004 or the K-1000 (which the 2-way).
And then follow the article in pool school for small pools:
 

giabadger

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
Macedonia IA
Great advice everyone thank you so much.. was on mobile for the last few replies so I apologize for formatting errors, some very weird auto-corrections, and for not seeing half of everything y'all posted. Here's a copy of a what I sent to jblizzle while I was out shopping for bleach and stuff.

"So I went over to the temp pool section and the first thing that jumped out at me was "you'll need a simple 2 way test kit that will cost about 20 bucks at any store ..". Sounds like pH and chlorine are the main concerns here, right? Pretty much every year I've had a little Intex pool, about the halfway mark we just literally drained all the water out and refilled it. The water just gets cloudier as more chemicals are added plus it gets so warm that it's not really refreshing any more. Last year we got a small fountain that ran from the water outlet and it really helped keep the pool much cooler than previous years. We've run into town and picked up the recommended chemicals. I will look further into test kits when I get home. Thanks for all the great advice!!"

Got home and dissolved the salt in the pool and then it was late late late so we went to bed. Updates to come as they are needed. Thanks again everyone, tons of information here. What a wonderful resource for those of us who are "pool illiterate"! :D
 
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giabadger

Member
Jul 5, 2017
7
Macedonia IA
So from what I am hearing from other folks here, seems like the HTH 6 way uses Taylor reagents. Grabbed one of those to try out. Same chemicals should produce the same results, right? 0% chance of rain today so hopefully we'll be able to finish filling the pool, get the pump, filter and swg all hooked up and running, and get the water balanced. Then the cover and wait for the 40 degree chilly well water to warm up!
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
So from what I am hearing from other folks here, seems like the HTH 6 way uses Taylor reagents. Grabbed one of those to try out. Same chemicals should produce the same results, right? 0% chance of rain today so hopefully we'll be able to finish filling the pool, get the pump, filter and swg all hooked up and running, and get the water balanced. Then the cover and wait for the 40 degree chilly well water to warm up!
Looks like a reasonable kit.

It would be interesting to see how the test results compare with the test strips.
 

WagonQueen

Active member
Jun 29, 2014
35
Pittsburgh pa
The test kit is pricey but I think should last a good while? We ordered ours in May 2016 and used it the 16, 17, and 18 seasons, and it's not used up. Hopefully that doesn't mean we are doing something wrong? My husband handled all the testing so I can't speak to if he was doing it often enough or whatever but he seemed pretty on top of things. You will def. need to do more than just use the SWG.

We have this set - Amazon.com : TAYLOR TECHNOLOGIES INC K-2006 TEST KIT COMP CHLORINE FAS-DPD : Swimming Pool Liquid Test Kits : Garden & Outdoor


We had an intex 18 x 48 pool - rusted through after last year. Not sure what we'll be doing this summer.