Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Algae problems in swimming pool water.
Green (cloudy) water or slimy pool walls.
Black algae. Mustard algae. Pink or white pool mold.
Henry_R
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My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
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Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Fri 12 Jun, 2009 17:38

I took another sample of water to the pool store I visited on Wednesday. It's a local family owned shop vs the chains (leslies, warehouse, etc). I talked to one of the people who does pool service (we're outside their service area or I'd be looking to have this guy work for us) and he has recommended we "shock the hell out of it". He suggested at least 25lbs of cal-hypo to really kill all organics in the pool.
I had them test the water as I said: TC=3, TA=110, pH=about 7.3, CYA(stabilizer)=50, Copper=0
I specifically asked for a test of copper and the girl put a tablet in the water sample which did not
react enough to read so it was essentially zero. I didn't ask whether the chlorine test was for FAC or TC so I'm guessing it was TC.

I also managed to get the wiring cover for the timer and the trippers all for under $11. At least we don't have to run the pump 24/7 once the pool clears up some.


Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Henry_R
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My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Fri 12 Jun, 2009 22:08

Well, your 8 bags of shock is the same thing my neighbor was told when she went to the Leslie's pool supply store. She also bought some expensive alcohol-polymer based algecide too and was told to dump the whole quart size bottle in there then shock with the 8 bags and run the pump at least 24 hours.

We did this and it seems to have worked, but with a major side effect: huge amounts of gunky foam that promtly made the filter pressure almost double. I backwashed before we added the chemicals just to be sure we wouldn't have to for the 24 hours the stuff would take to work. We had to backwash again to get the gunk from stopping up the skimmer intake.

We just got through directing literally tons of the gunk to the skimmer with the valve set to filter now that the filter pressure was returned to 12.5psi from the >22 it reached in less than 2 hours time.

I'm going to have to keep an eye on it until I'm sure it's not going to foam up again.
I took a water sample before and after the added chlorine and I think we might have done well this time.
Both FC and TC are at least 10 or more. TA and CH bleached out. pH is still nominal 7.3-7.5.

I hope this has done the trick. I really do. I'll take some pictures of the results in the morning if the results are good.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
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Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Fri 12 Jun, 2009 23:18

Glad to hear you got the covering for the time clock. Always makes me nervous to see the exposed wires.

Anxious to hear if the pool clears now. That would be great if you got some pictures up.
Henry_R
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My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Fri 12 Jun, 2009 23:58

Yeah, having been zapped by 220V I'm painfully aware of that exposed wire issue. Also, I'm not sure what type of liability it would be if a pool service man were to get zapped or worse. Not to mention it cost under $6 to replace it.

I too hope the pool clears. Once it does we'll need to figure out what to do for normal chlorination and then weekly shock treatments. Trichlor is under $100 at Costco for 40lbs. We cannot buy it this weekend though as I don't have the money to put up in advance this time. The management company office isn't open on weekends so we have to wait until Monday to buy that large bucket.

We're thinking of just getting a few tablets and a floating feeder that can be ustilized until then though.
What should be be using for weekly shock though? I don't want to overstabilize of course if we can avoid it.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
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Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Sat 13 Jun, 2009 01:06

Henry_R wrote:Yeah, having been zapped by 220V I'm painfully aware of that exposed wire issue. Also, I'm not sure what type of liability it would be if a pool service man were to get zapped or worse. Not to mention it cost under $6 to replace it.

I too hope the pool clears. Once it does we'll need to figure out what to do for normal chlorination and then weekly shock treatments. Trichlor is under $100 at Costco for 40lbs. We cannot buy it this weekend though as I don't have the money to put up in advance this time. The management company office isn't open on weekends so we have to wait until Monday to buy that large bucket.

We're thinking of just getting a few tablets and a floating feeder that can be ustilized until then though.
What should be be using for weekly shock though? I don't want to overstabilize of course if we can avoid it.


If you use the tablets you will overstabilize eventually. Although you do have a leak in the pool so that may keep the levels down. As long as you know to test and then chlorinate accordingly you can keep up with it.

I use liquid chlorine and tablets. I watch the CYA level closely and have had good luck with this. The tablets do also lower the pH of the water. In my pool this is a plus due to the water features that raise the pH.
Henry_R
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My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Sat 13 Jun, 2009 08:45

Those 8 bags of cal-hypo worked it seems. Chlorine is still high this morning.
The test is dark purple so FC is 10 at least and TC is the same.
pH is stable at 7.3-7.4.
TA=120.
CH seems to be right at 400 though; I'm a little concerned about that.
I'm not going to test CYA; I've a whole bottle of CYA reagent this week and I only have one more.
It has to last. I don't think the CYA has moved any since I'm using calhypo. CYA was 50 at last test.

Here's a photo I snapped this morning:
http://i468.photobucket.com/albums/rr48 ... 0_1647.jpg
It's not a very good photo due to the lighting.

For the first time since I've been working on the algae issue I can see the bottom of the shallow end.
Note you can also see all three steps.

Also, I can see the break in the plaster on the side wall of the deeper end.
These were all totally invisible for the algae so the water *is* beginning to clear up.

The people at the pool store I went to gave me some sample of something called purafiber.
http://www.purifiber.com/products-pf.php
It's supposed to clean the sand in a sand filter as well as cartridge filters and DE.
They gave me more than enough to clean the filter. I put it in there this morning and I'll see what happens. If the stuff works I'll probably look to buy some since we have no idea the condition of the sand in the filter.
There are no records to indicate if the sand has ever been changed since the filter was installed.
The date on the filter is 1991 so it was installed around or after that time.

In spite of overstabilization the trichlor is the least expensive method for us right now. The bleach is $8 for three 182oz bottles at Costco; trichlor is $100 and is enough for two months at 40 tabs to a 50# bucket.
We have the feeder or we'll use a floater. How long will it take to overstablize at CYA=50? Those tabs disolve over a 5 day period right? I think we need two or three at a time in either the feeder or a floater
for our size pool. Then shock with only cal-hypo weekly or by-weekly.

Do we need to run the pump for several hours a day for the trichlor to work if it's in a floater?
Again my headstrong neighbor is wanting to just use the floater, tabs and shock *without* the pump.

She's got some idea it'll make a diffence with the leak and "caverns" where ever the water is going.
The caverns idea is rediculous I know we're not losing nearly enough water for that, but does the
pump need to be on or not?

We do have some leaking around the pump and filter, but it just a puddle not really a river.

Also, the water is clear enough to now see the bottom of the skimmer and I found out why the
main drain is plugged up: There is a screw-in plug in the skimmer basket port for the main drain.
Can you think of a reason why someone would do this? A leak in the drain?
Could we remove the plug and see what happens or could that result in bad news?
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mr_clean
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Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby mr_clean » Sat 13 Jun, 2009 11:17

if tabs are the cheapest thing to use, then I would do it.

just keep an eye on the conditioner level, with the pool having a leak after a month or so. The pool will let you know more about the chemicals you will use long term. You will find you will get chemical bounce until leak is fixed.

When pool is cleared up you can run a little test for crack in the plaster. You basically can use a small bottle of food coloring and when pump is running squeeze some by the crack in different areas of it. If you see it get sucked in then then its leaking, if it does not then no leak.

Leaks can also happen with skimmers, lights, return lines, main-drains, pipes and I put them in the most likely order.

when ever your complex decides to replaster know the companies charge by the linear ft. and not just by looking at it and saying a price.
here in so-cal it's ranges from $32 to $40 for basic white plaster.
So with you just measuring around the pool and multiplying it by their price it will give you an answer. This being replastering only.
Asking questions and braking down each job they say is needed is always a good way. Then calling other companies and getting their prices will help when discussing this with them, informing the different companies of cheaper prices by other companies helps drive the cost down.
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Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby chem geek » Sat 13 Jun, 2009 12:41

The following are chemical facts independent of concentration or volume of water:

For every 10 ppm Free Chlorine (FC) added by Trichlor, it also increases Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm.
For every 10 ppm FC added by Cal-Hypo, it also increases Calcium Hardness (CH) by 7 ppm.

So if your pool had a very low daily FC consumption/usage of 1 ppm per day, then this means having Trichlor increase CYA by about 18 ppm CYA per month or over 100 ppm in 6 months. If the chlorine usage were a more typical 2 ppm FC per day, then this is 100 ppm in 3 months. Of course, this is with no dilution, but dilution normally isn't that high. If the CYA got to 100 ppm, then a steady-state at 1 ppm FC per day usage would require a 4% dilution of the water each week (that is, replacing 4% of the water volume every week or 920 gallons in your case). If the chlorine usage were 2 ppm FC per day, then that would require an 8% per week water replacement (or 1840 gallons in your case).

If you don't want to worry about the higher CYA level and still prevent algae growth, then you'd need to use (at extra cost) a supplemental algaecide such as PolyQuat 60 weekly (without fail; can't miss a dose) at around $3 per week for your size pool or use a phosphate remover (high initial cost, depending on phosphate level, and then maintenance doses). That will at least buy you time. 50 ppm Borates would probably help as well, but would be an initial one-time cost with much smaller maintenance amounts based on dilution.

As for costs, Trichlor can be misleading since you have to add the cost of the pH Up product you need to use to keep the pH at normal levels since Trichlor is very acidic, especially when accounting for chlorine usage (which is also acidic). A cost comparison of chlorine sources is here where I use washing soda as the cheapest source for pH adjustment. Nevertheless, the details below still show Trichlor to be less expensive in your case. Of course, there is a hidden "cost" of having the CYA climb to the point where you need to do water replacement or have to use supplemental products to prevent algae growth.

40 tabs to a 50# bucket doesn't sound right since normal 3" tabs are 8 ounces (sometimes less) so would be 100 tabs to a 50# bucket. Are these extra-large tabs? Trichlor pucks are typically around $2.20 per pound so your $100 for a 50# bucket is a good deal in that ballpark. If I assume 2 ppm FC per day in your 23,000 gallon pool, then that would be almost 6 3" 8-ounce tablets or almost 3 pounds (this is 2.4 tablets if there were really only 40 tabs in a 50# bucket as you describe). So the Trichlor for the week would cost $5.87, but you'd need 2.56 pounds of sodium carbonate / washing soda / pH Up assuming you also had carbon dioxide outgassing to partly compensate for the pH (i.e. the ideal combination to get back to the original pH and TA adjusted for the higher CYA level). Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is 79 cents per pound so would cost so that's about $2 so your total cost would be $5.87 + $2 = $7.87.

The bleach at Costco is at $8 for three 182 ounce bottles is equivalent to $1.41 per 96-ounce jug which is on the high side for 6% bleach (is it really 6% or is it higher?) though would be a great price for 10% chlorinating liquid. Is there no chlorinating liquid (10% or 12.5%) available at any hardware stores or at Costco? Anyway, at 2 ppm FC per day as above, it would take 5.2 gallons of bleach so $9.78. If you have your TA be on the low side (around 80 ppm), then the net pH rise over time would be minimal so you'd have very little acid to add.

If you were able to find a less expensive source of chlorinating liquid, then that would help, but then again it's a lot to carry since you are hauling a lot of water in that case compared to Trichlor or even Cal-Hypo.

The above analysis is one reason many pools use a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG). There are pros/cons with that system as well, but most issues (such as corrosion from high conductivity and chloride levels of the water due to higher salt levels) can be mitigated.

I'm sorry that there isn't a concentrated form of chlorine that is reasonably priced and doesn't increase CYA nor CH, but there isn't. I use only 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my local pool store, but I have relatively low 1 ppm FC or less daily chlorine usage in my 16,000 gallon pool due to having an electric opaque safety cover (though the pool is used 1-2 hours every day). The chlorine costs me around $15 per month.

Richard
Henry_R
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My Pool: HOA Community Swimming pool built approx. 1971.
In-Ground, Plaster 34x18 3.5-6' deep, Sta-rite P2R A5D-120L pump, A.O. Smith centurion 1HP (uprated 1.25HP) motor,Hayward S244S filter(new 2011), Rainbow Lifegard Chlorine/Bomine feeder; new replastered June 2010
Location: Houston, Texas USA

Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Henry_R » Sun 14 Jun, 2009 01:52

My neighbor and I had an argument over whether to use the pump. I have officially bowed out. She can do this herself and I'm no longer going to work on this pool. I gave her all the pool supplies we'd purchased and some trichlor I got today that was supposed to go into the chlorine feeder. She can't seem to understand that the feeder needs the pump to wet the tablets and put the chlorine into the pool.

That's it I've had it with her.
She's got a pool guy coming on Monday.
I've met the guy before at the pool store I visited so I think he's ok.
How much he'll cost is another story. Frankly I don't care.
I just don't want this job anymore.

I'm tired of the up and down of this thing.
I'm also angry that all my efforts for this pool are wasted in one act of stupidity. :evil:
She's going to leave the pump off and expect a floater with trichlor tabs to chlorinate
as well without it until Monday. :crazy: With chlorine down 40% from this morning(6ppm from >10)
it's going to start getting green again before she has the guy out here. But she won't listen to me so
I'm out.

Anyway, thanks much for all the help guys and I guess this thread is closed.
Money talks!? All it ever says to me is "goodbye!".
Denali
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Algae in condominium Homeowner's Association pool

Postby Denali » Sun 14 Jun, 2009 12:23

Henry_R wrote:My neighbor and I had an argument over whether to use the pump. I have officially bowed out. She can do this herself and I'm no longer going to work on this pool. I gave her all the pool supplies we'd purchased and some trichlor I got today that was supposed to go into the chlorine feeder. She can't seem to understand that the feeder needs the pump to wet the tablets and put the chlorine into the pool.

That's it I've had it with her.
She's got a pool guy coming on Monday.
I've met the guy before at the pool store I visited so I think he's ok.
How much he'll cost is another story. Frankly I don't care.
I just don't want this job anymore.

I'm tired of the up and down of this thing.
I'm also angry that all my efforts for this pool are wasted in one act of stupidity. :evil:
She's going to leave the pump off and expect a floater with trichlor tabs to chlorinate
as well without it until Monday. :crazy: With chlorine down 40% from this morning(6ppm from >10)
it's going to start getting green again before she has the guy out here. But she won't listen to me so
I'm out.

Anyway, thanks much for all the help guys and I guess this thread is closed.



Henry, you've had the patience of a saint. Take it easy.

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