Time to figure out pool water chemistry (and more)

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Hi all- I bought my house in May of last year and I know I've gotten away with less than ideal pool care for about a year now. I've been on TFP a few times and always spend way too much time on here, can't believe all the great content! ll try to keep this short and get to the point, but I want to become proficient on water chemistry, then perhaps more on the equipment side (i'm an engineer lol). Quick background:
  • First-time pool owner
  • Roughly 22,000 gal pool, will measure this week
  • For almost a year I have been using chlorine tablets in a floater (just read up on using liquid bleach yesterday and will be switching to that soon)
  • Went to the local pool store a few times for water test but quickly realized you get a different answer every time and they just try to sell you stuff
  • Been using strips for water test but they don't tell me much, ordering the TF-100 kit this week
  • Current pool routine is run pump and Hayward vac between 5-7 hrs/evening, skim/brush around 4 times a week, keep a few tablets in the floater at all times, top off with hose water weekly, backflush every 3-4 weeks
  • I really haven't had any noticeable issues with my water, but I need to start testing my water properly and should have done so a long time ago
  • According to the terrible strip tests, my chlorine is high, CYA is high (tablet usage as well as previous owner), and TA is high. Excited to get my first TF-100 test done and will post results
The main project I've taken on with my pool was adding a WeMo smart switch and LED pool light so I can turn on/off and change colors from my phone, Alexa, or set it on a schedule. I also replaced the light assembly as the last one wasn't water tight anymore. I did have to replace the valve on my backflush line and did a turbine/A-frame rebuild on my Hayward vac. That's about it, look forward to the discussions on here!

-Adam
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Hi Adam and welcome! :wave: When your TF-100 arrives, we'll watch for test results. In your area, it's no secret. Your biggest enemy is calcium, and if not managed properly, too much stabilizer (CYA) from those tabs. For those in your area, it's critical to try and stay ahead of the game for each. Never use cal-hypo products, bags of shock, or tablets. Use only regular bleach or liquid chlorine from a good vendor locally. If you have a pool cover, use it to reduce evaporation which leads to more refills which then leads to more CH in the water from the hose. If you have a water softener, you can slow-down the CH increase with soft water and/or capture rain water during those monsoon periods. But with your TF-100 you'll soon know what to do.
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Hi and thank you! Quick question on the TF-100- do I need any of the options or is the kit for $70 sufficient?

Definitely agree on calcium and CYA posing problems with hard water. I don't really want to put a water softener loop on my entire water line for my house, do they make hose tap softeners that could support the water volume needed for pool refills or a solution like that? Thanks in advance
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
At this point, I don't see any reason to get more options other than perhaps the magnetic speedstir if you didn't order that already. The speedstir sure makes mixing/testing much easier and can actually provide a slightly more accurate CH test for some. I'm not aware of any tap-direct softeners. But with other mitigation management (cover, rain water) you may be okay. Some in the SW end-up doing a major water exchange regardless every 2-3 years. Just depends.
 

ComputerGuyInNOLA

LifeTime Supporter
Oct 20, 2012
648
Mandeville, Louisiana
Diannapool22,

Welcome to the forum. When you order your test kit I would recommend you get the Speedstir. It makes testing a breeze. Otherwise you will be doing a lot of swirling by hand. It goes much quicker with the speedstir. I also have the measuring tool. It is a piece of tubular aluminum that lets you quickly measure either 10ml or 25ml water samples for testing. Both of the tools really speed up testing. You will find a wealth of information on this site. Before long you will be a pro at keeping your pool sparkling clear with little effort. Good luck!
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
At this point, I don't see any reason to get more options other than perhaps the magnetic speedstir if you didn't order that already. The speedstir sure makes mixing/testing much easier and can actually provide a slightly more accurate CH test for some. I'm not aware of any tap-direct softeners. But with other mitigation management (cover, rain water) you may be okay. Some in the SW end-up doing a major water exchange regardless every 2-3 years. Just depends.
I may end up doing the TF-100 start-up bundle to get free shipping and a few other items. Thanks for the pointers. Yes- many I talk to down here do a drain/refill every few years... I think my water is 3-4 years old already.
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Diannapool22,

Welcome to the forum. When you order your test kit I would recommend you get the Speedstir. It makes testing a breeze. Otherwise you will be doing a lot of swirling by hand. It goes much quicker with the speedstir. I also have the measuring tool. It is a piece of tubular aluminum that lets you quickly measure either 10ml or 25ml water samples for testing. Both of the tools really speed up testing. You will find a wealth of information on this site. Before long you will be a pro at keeping your pool sparkling clear with little effort. Good luck!
Thanks ComputerGuyInNOLA! I think I will get the start-up bundle which includes the Speedstir. I can't believe I've waited this long to get a real testing kit. Will post results soon
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Unrelated: I have noticed for the last few days that my hayward pool vac seems to be running in circles (8-10 ft diameter). I have already tried laying out the hose line in the sun in a straight line for a couple days and replaced the A frames and Turbine a few weeks back when the ball bearings failed. Need to open him back up tonight to see what is going on- maybe the gear box? Is that an easy adjustment?
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Okay, sorry this took so long. Finally had some free time to go test my water and I'm shocked by the results. Wondering if it's even salvageable. Here we go:

FC= 45ppm
CC= 0ppm
Ca hardness= 2,750 (not a typo, added 110 drops and still not blue)
TA= 1,300 (130 drops and still not fully yellow)
CYA= not even up to the 100 line and already cannot see the black dot, guessing 150?
PH= 7.5 (miracle something is right)

I've been using a floater and keeping at least one tablet in it. We have hard water here in AZ but like I said I'm shocked by those results. Any help is appreciated. Good news- no one has swam in this water in six months at least.

Thanks,
Adam
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,317
Tallahassee, FL
OUCH! You need to get some of the water OUT and new water in! You might need to do it a couple/few times to get those numbers down!

Get a submersible pump and start draining. I would not go below the lowest step to be on the safe side. If you are worried about your plaster being beat up by the AZ sun you can put the sub pump in the bottom of the deep end and the hose close to the wall of the shallow end and allow them to balance each other out. This might take a little more "new" water in the long run by it will keep the plaster hydrated.

Kim:kim:
 

duraleigh

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Apr 1, 2007
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Sebring, Florida
+1 what Kim said. I think you have some testing errors but there's plenty of indicators to tell us your water is unmanageable and will only get worse.

1. Test the CH, TA, and pH of your fill water and post that up.

2. Wait for comments from that fill water result but prepare for a 50-75% drain and refill.. Kim's idea of draining and filling simultaneously is a good plan in the desert SW.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
22,404
Laughlin, NV
I too believe there is some test error. IF the FC is that high it is effecting the other tests, though the pH result does not make sense as it should be unreadable with a FC that high.

You can exchange some water without draining. (I suggest you do at a minimum a 100% exchange, may want to go to 110%)

If you place a low volume sub pump in the deep end and pull water from there while adding water in the shallow end (through a skimmer or into a bucket on a step so you lessen the water disturbance) you can do a fairly efficient exchange. That is assuming the water you are filling with is the same temperature or warmer than your pool water. If your fill water is much cooler than your pool water, then switch it. Add the water to the deep end (hose on bottom) and pull water from the top step.

The location of the pump and fill hose may change if you have salt water, high calcium, etc.
In my pool, with saltwater and high calcium when I drain, I put the pump in the deep end and hose in shallow end. The water in the pool weighs more per unit volume than the fill water from the hose.

Be sure to balance the water out and water in so the pool level stays the same. Also be sure your pool pump is disabled during this process. Once started do not stop until you have exchanged the amount of water you wish.
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
10,505
Northern NJ
Do you know how your FC got that high?

What size sample did you test? How many drops did it take? You then multiplied the drops by what?
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
OUCH! You need to get some of the water OUT and new water in! You might need to do it a couple/few times to get those numbers down!

Get a submersible pump and start draining. I would not go below the lowest step to be on the safe side. If you are worried about your plaster being beat up by the AZ sun you can put the sub pump in the bottom of the deep end and the hose close to the wall of the shallow end and allow them to balance each other out. This might take a little more "new" water in the long run by it will keep the plaster hydrated.

Kim:kim:
Do you recommend renting a sub pump or buying and keeping for future draining? Any good models/price range you could help me sort through? Thanks!
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
+1 what Kim said. I think you have some testing errors but there's plenty of indicators to tell us your water is unmanageable and will only get worse.

1. Test the CH, TA, and pH of your fill water and post that up.

2. Wait for comments from that fill water result but prepare for a 50-75% drain and refill.. Kim's idea of draining and filling simultaneously is a good plan in the desert SW.
It was my first test so yes probably some error. I will test my fill water tonight and post! Temps are in the 80s/90s currently (70s today but it's an outlier)- is that too hot to drain?
 

duraleigh

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is that too hot to drain?
I don't think I would suggest exposing your plaster walls at that temp. Probably harmless enough but why take the chance when you can drain/refill simultaneously as Kim and MKnause have recommended.
 

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
Do you know how your FC got that high?

What size sample did you test? How many drops did it take? You then multiplied the drops by what?
Guessing months (maybe years? I have only owned the place for several months) of too many tablets in the floater and old water. I did a 10ml sample I believe and I think was 90 drops before multiplying by .5. I am not at home right now but I think that's the test required in the TF100 kit. I followed the instructions as written.
 
Last edited:

Diannapool22

Well-known member
Aug 14, 2018
58
Scottsdale, AZ
I too believe there is some test error. IF the FC is that high it is effecting the other tests, though the pH result does not make sense as it should be unreadable with a FC that high.

You can exchange some water without draining. (I suggest you do at a minimum a 100% exchange, may want to go to 110%)

If you place a low volume sub pump in the deep end and pull water from there while adding water in the shallow end (through a skimmer or into a bucket on a step so you lessen the water disturbance) you can do a fairly efficient exchange. That is assuming the water you are filling with is the same temperature or warmer than your pool water. If your fill water is much cooler than your pool water, then switch it. Add the water to the deep end (hose on bottom) and pull water from the top step.

The location of the pump and fill hose may change if you have salt water, high calcium, etc.
In my pool, with saltwater and high calcium when I drain, I put the pump in the deep end and hose in shallow end. The water in the pool weighs more per unit volume than the fill water from the hose.

Be sure to balance the water out and water in so the pool level stays the same. Also be sure your pool pump is disabled during this process. Once started do not stop until you have exchanged the amount of water you wish.
I think I need to buy the Speedstir. Swirling and dropping at the same time is hard for a guy who can't multitask... Any recommendations on purchase vs rent for a sub pump? Models you recommend? I think the fill water and pool water will be close to same temp. Water is not warm enough for swimming yet. I will post again before starting the drain/fill process. Thank you for the advice.