Trying not to screw things up in San Antonio, Texas

TexasLawDad

New member
Apr 15, 2020
3
San Antonio, TX 78231
I moved into a 41-year-old house in San Antonio, on Leap Day (February 29, 2020), and it's the first time I have ever had a pool. It is a 25,379 gallon inground gunite pool (installed in 1981) with plaster surface/liner. I have learned several hard-knocks lessons already, like how a powerful pump won't prime if leaves and twigs have crapped up the impeller; and how adding too much cyanuric acid is like summoning a demon (it doesn't go away just because you want it to leave). After replacing just over half of my water in the last week (my next water bill is going to contain a $110 hickey), my CYA is now down to 70 PPM (which is too high to SLAM, because I can't measure FC above 10 PPM). My free chlorine is sitting at about 5, and floculant has turned something (pollen? dead algae) into little pools of green glop that vacuum up easily now that my impeller is not crapped up and my pump can actually prime itself.

We paid a pool service for March, and then halfway through March they decided they were a non-essential business, and left us with a small bag of shock and all their best wishes. Now they won't return calls anymore. So it's been a rough month and a half. But I'm proud of what I've learned (the hard way).

I have a couple questions that I hope are easy, in case anyone wants to comment:

(1) I still have what looks like a dingy brownish coating on my plaster lining. I think it used to be algae, but now it may just be residue. When I brush it, almost nothing comes off. If it is a permanent stain in the plaster, then I'll just have to ignore it until I can fork out $6500 to replaster (which will be at least year away, because printing my own money is illegal). I am hoping the brownish staining will go away with time and consistent chlorine levels. Any wisdom?

(2) I am afraid of anything that is going to increase my CYA levels, because I had to waste 14,000 gallons of water to get it down to 70. I am reading forums that say several kinds of chlorinating tablets and even shock actually INCREASE CYA. I have read the horrors of copper and calcium and sodium. So what is the best form of chlorine to add to my pool to keep my FC near 5, but that won't add any other chemicals that will have negative consequences? Cheap is good, but my biggest concern is not screwing up my water chemistry.

Thanks in advance for any pearls of wisdom you will toss my way.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
29,881
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum!
The stain on the plaster. Have you ever added items that contained copper? Algaecides, pucks/shock with Blue in the name, etc?
Liquid chlorine is the best form of chlorine to use, besides a SaltWater Chlorine Generator.
You need a proper test kit, see Test Kits Compared. I suggest the TF-100 A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,500
Evans, Georgia
TexasLawDad, welcome to TFP :handwave:

You're learning some tough lessons but they're things you won't fall pray to again, so that is a plus.

Have you read up in Pool School our methods and thoughts on certain things like which chemicals are good to use and which to avoid like the plague? I see Marty has mentioned a good test kit- how are you testing now? I'd recommend saving time and ordering up the TF-100 test kit and reassure you that although it costs a few bucks it will actually save you a *fortune* by keeping you from putting in to your pool the hundreds of dollars of chems the pool store will pawn off on you as being necessary but they're NOT!

Can we see a pic of the pool?

Maddie :flower:
 

TexasLawDad

New member
Apr 15, 2020
3
San Antonio, TX 78231
Welcome to the forum!
The stain on the plaster. Have you ever added items that contained copper? Algaecides, pucks/shock with Blue in the name, etc?
Liquid chlorine is the best form of chlorine to use, besides a SaltWater Chlorine Generator.
You need a proper test kit, see Test Kits Compared. I suggest the TF-100 A proper test kit is needed to get the accurate water chemistry results needed to follow the TFP protocols.
I suggest you read ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry.
Thanks for posting!
~ I will check into a better test kit.
~ So the staining might be copper? I just bought a 39-year-old pool, history unknown. It could be copper... If so, then what?
~ I just called a local pool company about liquid chlorine. They said it's just 12.5% cal-hypo (a.k.a. double strength bleach). Two gallons of regular bleach (without fragrance and additives) are significantly cheaper than 1 yellow gallon jug of 12.5% chlorine, so bleach is sounding pretty good at the moment.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
13,500
Evans, Georgia
Well, the water looks nice and clear, yay! Those stains may be organic or metal stains. Hard to say at this point.

Go get some cheap Vitamin C tablets and stuff 'em in a sock and crush 'em up a bit.. Hold the sock on a stain for a few minutes and see if it changes things and how?

Buy a single chlorine puck and hold it on a different stain for a few minutes and see if that changes the stain.

Report back with results.

Maddie :flower: