Where to start with balancing water?

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Looks like maybe some copper stains as well, but it is difficult to tell for sure.
The pool was stained when I bought the house. Foreclosure. Plaster was needing to be replaced when I bought the house 8 years ago and I've just kicked the can as there were bigger issues with the pool. It had a leak when I bought it from broken plumbing in the ground. It still has a leak but it's not as bad. I suspect they used EMT to the light niche and have-not been motivated to dig up the yard to find out.
at some point in the future a pool re-plaster is coming and when it does the light will get dealt with along with the other skimmer. I have two skimmers. One had really good suction and the other had none. The one with none had a leak near it. When we dug it up there was flex pipe that was kinked at the skimmer. I fixed that and that skimmer has lots of flow and the other one now has no flow. The pool seems high in the yard but it's level and I don't have any evidence that it floated in the past.
These might get worse during the SLAM if you have a lot of copper in the water.

Can you show a picture of the system?
At some point. It's nothing magical as pools go.
What's the history on the pool?
I've owned the house for 8 years and made upkeep and maintenance to the pool along the way.
Are you new to the property or did the maintenance get behind for some reason?
I've had a long running water balance issue and fell for the "just add some of this potion and that powder" line at the local Leslie's. I also had a hose pop-off my booster pump for the first time. Conveniently it happened during a week long vacation in August.
What filter do you have?
See signature
Why are the cartridges getting trashed so fast?

Why can't they be cleaned?
Heavy Algae load is the most likely culprit.
They can be cleaned, but cleaning only seems to restore them to about 50% and it's a messy unpleasant process, even with a attachment for the hose that spreads out the water and gets it in the grooves. I formerly had a large (oversize) Pentair DE filter. I'm used to being able to backwash and recharge and be done with it. I got sick of parts breaking in the filter over 4 or 5 years (probably compounded by balance issues) and swapped to cartridge hoping it would be simpler. The cartridge is simpler, but I don't like cleaning compared to back washing.

When I scrub all the Crud off the walls it's going to clog the filter within minutes. I'll basically be cleaning the Crud out of the filter until it's out of the water.
 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
The copper is probably going to stain some unless you can get rid of it with a dilution process.
The plaster is shot. Some of it needs patching. There are some rust stains already in a couple places.
Calcium hypochlorite is the most likely to cause stains.
That's for raising CA levels right? Mine are high currently, so I think this is a moot issue.
What brush do you have?
Something from Amazon that probably needs to be replaced. Any recommendations on one that doesn't feel like I'm using a medieval torture device?
Is the pool plaster?

If yes, how old is the plaster and what mix is it?
Yes, and I have no idea..... based on what I know about the pool and house, whatever was cheapest when it was last put on.
I'm also a licensed home inspector and a code certified inspector. As is often the case, the cobbler's children run barefoot. When I say I don't think this pool was well built I'm saying that professionally. I fixed safety issues when I bought it.... no GFCI and motors/equipment not bonded. From there I've tried to make things better as I went along and the opportunity came up and I had the money.

I've neglected this pool and hoped to make it zero maintenance the entire time I've owned it. I've also struggled with algae for most of the time I've owned this pool. I've been aware of a high CYA issue for a while, but have resisted draining the pool.

I am sure I am not the first person to arrive on TFP with an Unlimited Free Trouble Pool. At any rate, denial is not a river in Egypt, and I have a pool chemistry issue I'm working on solving. The plaster is shot and I've always been fond of saying you can't break broken.
I'm going to try to kill the algae with SLAM and I'm seriously considering a sand filter with a little DE in it as a lower maintenance filter option. I'm going to try and patch the plaster where some of it has come loose. That will require draining some or all of the water and that's when I think the copper will be vanquished. I now understand not to use it, but at the time it did seem to work. I'm also seriously thinking about using borates as the explanation in pool school makes sense to me.
 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Update on numbers this morning...... checked PH when I got up at 6am... 7.6. Put into pool math a target of 7.0 and it called for 2.07 Liters of Acid.... Still trying to get my PH in the target range of 7.0 to 7.2 to enter slam. When PH is there I'll run a full set of numbers on the pool prior to entering slam. I expect to see TA falling in tandem with the PH coming down.

For the curious, I've never added acid to this pool in the 8 years I owned it. I literally thought all you had to do was clean the filter when the pressure was too high and keep tabs in the rainbow feeder. Oh and occasionally clean out the skimmers. lol.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
40,996
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
For the curious, I've never added acid to this pool in the 8 years I owned it.
Wow! That would explain the crazy high number. But once you get the pH a bit lower, you might want to validate the CYA one more time to ensure you know what FC (SLAM) level to maintain as noted on the FC/CYA Chart. You can skip the CH and TA until after the SLAM Process. Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: briangreul

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
40,996
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
FYI ....

CYA Testing:
Proper lighting is critical for the CYA test, so you want to test for CYA outside on a bright sunny day. Use the mixing bottle to gently mix the required amounts of pool water and R-0013 reagent, let sit for 30 seconds, then gently mix again. Recommend standing outside with your back to the sun and the view tube in the shade of your body at waist level. Then, begin squirting the mixed solution into the skinny tube. Watch the black dot until it completely disappears. Once it disappears, record the CYA reading. To help the eyes and prevent staring at the dot, some people find it better to pour & view in stages. Pour some solution into the viewing tube, look away, then look back again for the dot. Repeat as necessary until you feel the dot is gone. After the first CYA test, you can pour the mixed solution from the skinny view tube back to the mixing bottle, gently shake, and do the same test a second, third, or fourth time to instill consistency in your technique, become more comfortable with the testing, and validate your own CYA reading. Finally, if you still doubt your own reading, have a friend do the test with you and compare results.
 
  • Like
Reactions: briangreul

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Good news and bad news.....
FC 1, CC 1, TC 2, PH 7.1 (yea), TA 80 (yea), CH 775 (meh), CYA 180, Salt 3820
I did the dilution test on the CYA as it was coming up over 100. After 6 runs I concluded that I was in the vicinity of 90 each time and that was high enough to call it 180 and move on. It's still way too high. This is consistent with my expectations of having off the charts CYA and it interfering with chlorine and requiring chlorine to be maxed out to have any algae control.
Pool Math does not have a water change recommendation for CYA, but for CH it asks for 44% of the water to be changed. So it's safe to say that taking a couple feet out and adding a couple feet will probably improve things.
Salt is consistently running on the high side... so a water change will remedy that as well.
That's my next step along with scrubbing the walls and trying to flush algae down the drain.
 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
I'm in the process of draining to the top of the 2nd step. That seems like a safe level to take out and replace with no risk of floating the pool. I have the return turned off, the backwash drain opened, and the filter pulled to flush as much green water and algae bits down the drain as I can. The water is now emerald green and I feel like I got a good upper body work out from scrubbing the algae as it laughed at me for trying.
someone had asked for a photo of my equipment.....
 

Attachments

  • 2022-09-12 09.33.23.jpg
    2022-09-12 09.33.23.jpg
    717.1 KB · Views: 7
  • 2022-09-12 09.33.29.jpg
    2022-09-12 09.33.29.jpg
    605.6 KB · Views: 7
  • 2022-09-12 09.33.29-1.jpg
    2022-09-12 09.33.29-1.jpg
    644.8 KB · Views: 6
  • Like
Reactions: JamesW

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
40,996
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
I agree. With a CYA that high you have no choice. It will require a lot of water changing, but will simultaneously help with the CH and should also help make the SLAM more efficient when you get ready. Definitely focus on the CYA. It may take several attempts if it's really that high. If you can get the CYA down to 70 or so that would be much more manageable.
 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
As I got closer to my target level I decided to get in the pea soup and pull the plug out. There is gravel under the plug. That's what should be there. I also got tired of scrubbing and decided to get out my small electric pressure washer which does a better job of knocking algae off.

At about that point I decided that it would be easier to drain the entire pool and gently pressure wash the algae off and down the drain. So that is the new plan. :)
I have time today to drain/clean and fill the pool.
The plaster is also very shot... but I'm going to try and squeak the winter through.... it's stained, cracked, there is a bubble in the middle, yea it needs re-plastered but that is not in the scope of work today or budget this month.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Texas Splash

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Quick update.... there was algae in places I hadn't imagined... so draining the pool and a light pressure wash was the best way to get it all. I did try my brush and it just wasn't making much headway. Algae was in every pore of every surface. It was also much much worse than I realized. I still didn't get it all, but I did get 99% of it and sent it down the sewer. The pressure washer let me get around the niche, the light, and the jets much better than I would have with a brush. I finished draining the pool at 10pm, counting time to send the last of the nasty pea soup down the drain. I wanted every last bit of it out that I could get rid of. I had one pump in the main drain discharging to a bucket with my "sump" pump. I was able to drain 75% of the water with the sump pump and main pump. I made the mistake of stopping the main pump to empty the basket. After that it never could regain prime. Meh.

My plaster is in really bad condition, but that is not today's project and I don't want the pool empty for any longer than it has to be.

I started filling the pool and it looks like that is going to go quicker. I think it will be okay to let run overnight.
I'm guessing I start with a water test once it's full and the equipment is back online (pump/filter). Then adjust CYA and PH.
I'm expecting some residual CYA as it had been so high historically.

After that the pool will need to be slammed to vanquish the algae once and for all.
 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Yes, pulled it completely out, pressure washed all of it front and back and the niche too.
There is still some algae in the crevices and I can't get it out unless I'm willing to risk damaging the plaster.... which is in horrible shape. I did the best I could and the pool is still filling. There was *WAY* more algae than I thought in the pool.

Before I can put the circulation system back online I need to get the crud/junk out of the main drain and line to the pump. I'm going to flush some water and drive down there to carefully sweep the stuff in. I also need to put the plug back in and flush the typhoon sediment filter and try to get any stray stuff out of the filter housing. In the meanwhile, the treated municipal water should be okay for a day or two. The hose has been going for almost 24 hours now. It'll be sometime tomorrow. I don't want to risk overflowing the pool so I'll stop it when I go to bed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Texas Splash

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
It basically took 36 hours to fill the pool. To get a better idea of volume I went out to the meter and ran a 1 minute timer to determine water flow during that time. It showed 5.6 gpm, assuming for my purposes it was a constant then the pool is 12,100 gallons based on duration to fill from empty. Close enough for backyard pool work. As someone around here said, it's not a chemistry lab.

I'm also pretty sure that I visited heck today. I had to get in the pool at 9am to sweep the last of the debris out of the main drain and then re-install the plug. Couldn't find any Teflon tape. Best I could do was teflon paste, which I prefer for all things plumbing anyway. It made the trip to the bottom with no issues. Air temp was 76, the water temp was colder than the water coming out of the tap..... so probably about the same as air temp. I really hate cold water. Enjoy a laugh.

Next step is to go figure out what to do with a freshly filled pool to balance the water so I can get into SLAM before the algae bounces back.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
40,996
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Next step is to go figure out what to do with a freshly filled pool to balance the water so I can get into SLAM before the algae bounces back.
Easy stuff. Let the water mix well for a while, then do the following:
1 - Validate the new CYA level. Make sure it's at least 30, but even a CYA of 40-50 is fine.
2 - Ensure the pH is in the low 7s (7.2 - 7.4).
3. Increase the FC to the appropriate SLAM level as noted on the FC/CYA Chart based on your new CYA.

That's it! Good work. :cheers:
 
  • Like
Reactions: briangreul

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
Yesterday was a lost day. I got some vaccinations the day before and I did not feel well, so not much happened other than finishing topping off the pool.

This morning I'm feeling normal again, so I tested the water after letting the pump run for almost a day. Most of the values are where I expected them to be.
FC 1, CC 1, PH 9.4, TA 132, CH 175, CYA 0 Salt 200
I was a little surprised by the PH, so I tested tap water and it's 9.0.
First order of business is to pull the PH down, then I'll add some CYA and chlorine to go into SLAM once I get PH where it needs to be.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Texas Splash

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2014
40,996
Texas, San Antonio/Marion, South-Central Area
Pool Size
17888
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-45 Plus
Yeah, that pH is awkwardly high. I don't recall anyone else from the Houston area claiming to have such a high pH level. But your TA number is also odd. With the TF-series test kit, your TA number should be in increments of 10 (i.e. 80, 100, 140, 160, etc). Just be sure you are using the right directions and don't have any questions about either test. If you do, let us know.

 

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
The PH may just be my part of Houston. I pulled up the 2021 water quality report from the City and they list the highest detected PH as 9.7 with a target of 6.5 to 8.5.
The TA is me multiplying by 11 not 10. oops. So it would have been 120 above.
It's now TA 70 and a PH of 7.6, so I added more acid to get closer to 7.0.

next up CYA and Chlorine.
Water quality is much better overall, but I need to destroy the algae before it tries to stage a comeback.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Texas Splash

briangreul

Well-known member
Sep 9, 2022
49
Houston, TX
A couple of SLAM questions:
1) When can/should I check my CYA again? I added 4 pounds this morning which I know takes time to dissolve. That should take me to 30ppm. I've ordered another 4 pounds. CYA influences the target chlorine level.
2) When can I start adding salt back to the pool? I have a hunch that the salt might have some algae in it depending on where it came from, so I'd like it to be in there during the SLAM. It also needs some time to dissolve.
I'm working from home today, so I have been checking FC levels every few hours and adding liquid chlorine to bring it back to the target. I'm using the target for where the CYA should be once everything I added dissolves. According to the chart CYA 20 is 10ppm and CYA 30 is 12ppm. Poolmath suggests 10ppm FC for 0 CYA, so I figure it's okay to do 12PPM FC while the CYA dissolves on it's way to 30PPM CYA. The next jump is from 30 to 60ppm and that doubles the FC required.

I've gone through a little more than 3 gallons of liquid chlorine today. I have several more cases because I have no idea what I'll need. :). Home Depot had it for $17.98 for 4 gallons of 10% Liquid Chlorine.
I've also switched to using a bucket for my chlorine and acid additions. With Acid I add about half the bucket with water and then carefully add the acid to the water and then the bucket contents to the pool.
With Chlorine I just put it in the bucket and then when I rinse my beaker the rinse water goes into the bucket the first time. This keeps my beaker (glass) away from the pool.
 
Last edited:

reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
709
Fort Worth, Texas
Pool Size
30000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
CircuPool RJ-60 Plus
You don't need the bucket method as acid and chlorine additions don't need to be incredibly precise. It's generally easier and safer to pour directly from the jug into the path of the strongest return, close to the pool water level to prevent splashing.

For CYA - if you added it and are reasonably confident in pool volume, assume it's there for SLAM level calculations. It can take anywhere from a few hours, to a day, to sometimes a little longer to appear via testing.

You can add salt, but also not necessary now as the SWCG won't do a whole lot to help you keep up FC. While you work through SLAM, you want to make sure you get all the way through it before considering raising CYA or thinking about relying on SWCG for FC production. Liquid chlorine is your friend, glad you were able to find a bunch.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support
Thread Status
Hello , This is an inactive thread. Any new postings here are unlikely to be seen or responded to by other members. You will get much more visibility by Starting A New Thread