Water Quality Issues, Game Plan

yotatoy

Member
Aug 3, 2019
9
Mobile, AL
Just bought house with pool, had pool company looking after it for first month then started on my own. Their recommendation was to use the test strips and adjust the feeder as needed. But I was having a heck of time with the test strips, everything on each strip always read LOW. Occasionally I could get CC into the ok range on strips.

So I went out and bought a chem test to get a better grip on things. Here is what I have:

FC - 0
CC - 2
pH - 6.8 (lowest Reading)
TA - 0? (added 2 drops, then 5 drops, was supposed to turn green but was pink, did not add 3rd agent for green to pink change as was already not green)
CH - 80
CYA - (blurred out the black dot well before getting to the 100ppm line, so I will guess 100+ on CYA)

Water looks clear, not cloudy or green. But I don't feel like its 'sparkling' mainly want to make sure I can keep my chlorine levels in check is how I started down this road.

I originally was expecting to bring up the TA and PH levels, then adjust the CC and FC. However, with the CYA reading being high, I wonder if I should start with a partial drain and refill first. The reagent test strips I was using was reporting VERY LOW CYA, but my Leslie kit is showing a blurry and high CYA. Before I start draining to fix CYA, I wonder if my bad readings for PH and TA could be causing me CYA issues.

I guess I really feel I have 2 routes to take either

A: Partial Drain and Refill, to fix CYA then adjust PH and TA, then FC and CC.
or
B: Bring up PH and TA, then recheck CYA and FC/CC to go from there.

Any advice on which direction I should push would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
279
Rochester, MN
My advice

  • Drain to fix CYA
  • FC increase per FC/CYA Chart
  • Test your fill water for TA, pH, and CH
  • Ask questions based on your test results
CH is normally not something to worry about with vinyl pools, but very high levels can still cause scaling.
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
Verona, MO
You can do a diluted cya test. 1/2 pool water and 1/2 tap water. double the result to determine cya. This might help you and experts decide.

I don't think you have too many options though, cya is too high to try and maintain. Slamming would be $$.
 

yotatoy

Member
Aug 3, 2019
9
Mobile, AL
My advice
  • Drain to fix CYA
  • FC increase per FC/CYA Chart
  • Test your fill water for TA, pH, and CH
  • Ask questions based on your test results
CH is normally not something to worry about with vinyl pools, but very high levels can still cause scaling.
I also wasn't worried about CH, and took all the tests but CH, but as I was getting ready to post, I figured I should go take a reading on it also just in case it was helpful in painting the picture.

You can do a diluted cya test. 1/2 pool water and 1/2 tap water. double the result to determine cya. This might help you and experts decide.

I don't think you have too many options though, cya is too high to try and maintain. Slamming would be $$.
I will go try the diluted CYA test and report back in a few minutes.


I think my biggest concern/question would be the relationship (if any) between my LOW PH and LOW TA, if fixing TA and PH will make my CYA test read different results, I am not sure.
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
Verona, MO
TA/PH don not affect cya results to my knowledge.
0 TA is beyond my expertise, but if you drain and refill those numbers will change anyway.
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
279
Rochester, MN
I think my biggest concern/question would be the relationship (if any) between my LOW PH and LOW TA, if fixing TA and PH will make my CYA test read different results, I am not sure.
Pool company was using pucks? Likely they are the source of your sky high CYA. Pucks also reduce pH because they are acidic.

TA of zero is beyond my experience unless pool company was also adding muriatic acid and crashed your TA. Fill water levels can help in determining if addition of baking soda, washing soda, or borax is needed.

You might want to read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry if you haven’t already.
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
279
Rochester, MN
We would normally count that as 70x2 = 140 CYA.

Use this web page PoolMath (if that doesn’t link you to the right place, scroll to the bottom of the page and click “old poolmath webpage”) to figure out how much water you need drain to get to your target CYA.
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
Verona, MO
I don't know anything about the test kit, assuming it is accurate, cya of 120 to 140 isn't manageable. Maybe wait for an expert, but I think you need to swap out water and get cya lowered first.
 

yotatoy

Member
Aug 3, 2019
9
Mobile, AL
TA/PH don not affect cya results to my knowledge.
0 TA is beyond my expertise, but if you drain and refill those numbers will change anyway.
I also am not sure, but my very limited chemistry knowledge tells me that low PH is acidic which makes me wonder if my CYA are getting thrown off by this. I know from reading all the articles on here (ABC's) that the low TA will cause PH to be unstable.

Pool company was using pucks? Likely they are the source of your sky high CYA. Pucks also reduce pH because they are acidic.

TA of zero is beyond my experience unless pool company was also adding muriatic acid and crashed your TA. Fill water levels can help in determining if addition of baking soda, washing soda, or borax is needed.

You might want to read ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry if you haven’t already.
Pool company was using pucks, and I was continuing with them in my limited knowledge. The ones I have been using are the Clorox Active 99 4in1 Formula 3" Tabs such as these: Active 99 from Walmart which are 99% active ingredient of Trichloro-s-triazinetrione in a built in feeder setup.
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
Verona, MO
While waiting on expert on exchange, you could test your fill water to see what you will be adding. TA, PH, CH.
 

gonfishin

Gold Supporter
Jun 13, 2017
279
Rochester, MN
I also have to figure out how to drain that much, poolmath says I need to drain 71%, I don't think I have a bottom drain
If you get a submersible pump, you may want to do an exchange versus a drain/refill. Instructions are in many posts, but @mknauss is one of the TFP experts and he can both post those instructions and offer advice on chemistry.
 

yotatoy

Member
Aug 3, 2019
9
Mobile, AL
So, for my own knowledge as I try to figure out how all these chemicals relate together. I went out and filled up a bucket with a gallon or 2 of water from the pool. I then stirred in a little bit of baking soda and borax, and retested to get the PH level in the 7.5 range. I overshot my TA goal, it turns green now, but after 100 drops it still didn't turn red so I gave up on that part, regardless, it was up and I am looking for effects on CYA. I then tested the CYA from that same bucket and got a reading of 80 CYA (still not great, I know), after just a quick stir in of the baking soda and borax. Again, not a scientific research, but it tells me that the CYA black dot reading is somehow tied into the PH/TA levels.
 

yotatoy

Member
Aug 3, 2019
9
Mobile, AL
So as suggested earlier, I went out and did a full test on my well pump water, which coincidentally has an incredible amount of volume movement.

Well Water
FC - 0
CC - 0
pH - 6.0 (PH much lighter than 6.8 low reading on scale, took 15 drops of Taylor r-0016 base demand reagent to get the PH at 7.5)
TA - 10 (VERY light green, 1 drop of reagent turned it RED)
CH - 10
CYA - Less than 30, could see dot with tube completely filled.


Also, based off what I have read on some of the threads on submersible pumps and exchanges, I have this crazy thought about exchanging water. The water coming out of my Well is very cold, pool water is warm, I am thinking if I turn off the pool filter/recirc pump, and simply sink the well water hose to the bottom of the deep end, I should be able to pump fresh COLD water into the bottom of the pool and allow my overflow to simply release the warm (high CYA) pool water from the top of the pool. Call me crazy, but I think this could work...
 

Msch99

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 11, 2018
369
Verona, MO
Yes the exchange should work fairly well, not perfect but you can exchange without having other issues. Maybe keep the mixing / recirculation at a minimum, pump to waste / back flush setting.
Wow, that is low TA/CH for well water.
Well water / city water should have a cya of zero. If not probably a testing issue.