total and free chlorine

Algae problems in swimming pool water.
Green (cloudy) water or slimy pool walls.
Black algae. Mustard algae. Pink or white pool mold.
chem geek
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total and free chlorine

Postby chem geek » Fri 28 Aug, 2009 10:52

There's more info on the ColorQ here. Note that the chlorine test is based on DPD so will bleach out (and be inaccurate) at higher chlorine levels, starting to have problems above 5 ppm and not being able to properly register 10+ ppm. The pH test will be sensitive to high chlorine levels, but that's true of virtually all test kits. The other tests can be OK -- CH is off more than a drop test, but CH levels are higher anyway so on a percentage basis it's not bad. CYA seems OK.

pup55, I'm not annoyed. I was pointing out inconsistencies to emphasize the importance of having a good test kit. The Defeating Algae link emphasizes the importance of maintaining a high chlorine level during the shocking process. It's more detailed than I would rather type in each post which is why I refer to it.

Richard


pup55

total and free chlorine

Postby pup55 » Sat 29 Aug, 2009 14:18

I undersatand, you must type this stuff all day. I did print out all the information that you gave me an will work on the pool as soon as I can pick up the test kit. I have 2 different test strips right now and sometimes it is so difficult to try and match the colors up.
Thanks for all your help
Steve
pup55

total and free chlorine

Postby pup55 » Sun 06 Sep, 2009 14:00

Guys I continue to work on my pool to get rid of the algae. I thought I was doing well till I looked at the pool and the algae was back. I still need to pick up a good test kit and right now I am using 2 different test strips. I tested it today and this is what i have. I shocked the pool about 2 weeks ago and thought it was good.
TH 100
TC 10
FC 10
PH 6.8/7.2
Alk 100
CYA 30-50
I have tried everthing to get my TH and TC down but no matter what I do they stay the same. I have read most of the information on this site and I dont see anything on TH and TC being so high and what cause's this? Do these numbers being so high tell me something about whats wrong with my pool. Do these numbers being so high mean that the chlorine is not sanitizing my pool?
Denali
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Total and free chlorine

Postby Denali » Sun 06 Sep, 2009 22:15

pup55 wrote:Guys I continue to work on my pool to get rid of the algae. I thought I was doing well till I looked at the pool and the algae was back. I still need to pick up a good test kit and right now I am using 2 different test strips. I tested it today and this is what i have. I shocked the pool about 2 weeks ago and thought it was good.
TH 100
TC 10
FC 10
PH 6.8/7.2
Alk 100
CYA 30-50
I have tried everthing to get my TH and TC down but no matter what I do they stay the same. I have read most of the information on this site and I dont see anything on TH and TC being so high and what cause's this? Do these numbers being so high tell me something about whats wrong with my pool. Do these numbers being so high mean that the chlorine is not sanitizing my pool?


Hi,

As chemgeek said test strips aren't real accurate. An example is your pH reading. 7.2 would be an OK level whereas 6.8 would be low.

If you have algae starting up you don't want to lower your chlorine level. If anything you'd want to raise it and keep it up until the algae was gone.

As for the TH of 100, if that is hardness you don't need to lower it.

Once you have a good test kit then you can be confident in your numbers and you can get solid advice on what needs doing.
pup55

total and free chlorine

Postby pup55 » Mon 07 Sep, 2009 06:45

I will be getting a test kit but if my TC and FC are both at 10 would that not kill the algae? I see that most of the people on this site have there TC at 3 and FC at 1.
chem geek
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total and free chlorine

Postby chem geek » Mon 07 Sep, 2009 14:19

If your CYA were 50 ppm, then you'd need the FC to be around 20 ppm to kill the algae quickly enough. However, with test strips saying the CYA is 30-50 ppm, you really don't know the true CYA level and without knowing that then it's hard to know how high the shock level of FC should be. Nevertheless, if you've got 10 ppm FC and the algae didn't turn from green to cloudy-white, then that does imply that the CYA level may be higher than you think or that the chlorine level isn't what you think it is. If there is a lot of algae, then it should have the FC drop during the day quite a lot -- you have to keep adding chlorine to keep the FC up. It's not a one time dose.
pup55

total and free chlorine

Postby pup55 » Mon 07 Sep, 2009 15:31

The pool did not turn cloudy, I only saw a green tint to the bottom and sides of the pool and it took about 2 weeks for this to happen. Just like you have said all along the test kit makes all the difference in the world. One other question for you, I tried to shock the pool last night with bleach instead of granular shock. When I shock it with the bags from the pool store I will see dead algae on the bottom of the pool the next morning. When I did the bleach last night I did not see any dead algae. I brushed the pool before I put in the bleach and could see all the algae coming off the pool liner. I used 3 gallon bottles which had 6% sodium hypochlorite, which I thought I read that 1 gallon does 10,000 gallons. When I use the poolife turbo shock with 78% calcium hypochlorite I use 3 bags which I was told 1 bag does 10,000 gallons. Does this sound right. The reason I am asking all these questions is that I have had the pool for 9 years and have not changed a thing and this year I have had algae growth. The only thing I did do is have a new liner installed early last year. Thanks
chem geek
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total and free chlorine

Postby chem geek » Tue 08 Sep, 2009 01:49

3 gallons of 6% bleach in 28,000 gallons would raise the FC by only 6.6 ppm (and I am assuming you literally mean gallons of bleach -- normally they come in 96-ounces (3/4 gallon) containers though sometimes in 1-1/2 gallon containers. 3 bags of 73% Cal-Hypo would raise the FC by 9.3 ppm (so 78% Cal-Hypo would be around 9.9 ppm) and that assumes the bags are 1 pound each (you didn't say how big the bags were). Neither is nearly enough chlorine to shock the pool, but you were using more chlorine with the Cal-Hypo.

If you can get 12.5% or even 10% chlorinating liquid, then that would be less to carry, but no matter what you use you need to hit it hard and to make sure to add it slowly over a return flow with the pump running at the deep end to ensure thorough mixing. The Cal-Hypo can be pre-dissolved in a bucket and for a vinyl liner pool you can lightly brush the side and bottom where you add the chemical just to be safe.

This link shows you what properly shocking with chlorinating liquid or bleach looks like, in this case with a spring opening where the pool was "let go" over the winter. The key is consistent addition of chlorine to keep the FC/CYA ratio high -- usually where the FC is around 40% of the CYA level.
pup55

total and free chlorine

Postby pup55 » Tue 08 Sep, 2009 19:06

Thanks chem I will be closing the pool soon and the information you have giving me will help me open the pool next summer,thanks again for all your help, great forum.
pool plant man

total and free chlorine

Postby pool plant man » Fri 25 Sep, 2009 03:39

Hi everyone, interseting site. This is my first post and while I am more conversant with Commercial pools, I feel that a couple of details have been omitted from this problem. Adding a chlorine donor combined with Stabalizer will see levels of Cyanuric Acid rising and rising. While adding the chemical, chlorine is added and killed but the Cyanuric Acid does not get killed off but keeps escalating to the stage where the C Acid will 'lock in' the chlorine and stop it becoming effective. You must bring down your Cyanuric Acid levels by dilution with mains water, this is the only way to do this. Once these levels are correct you have a chance of chlorinating sufficiently to kill off the Algie. Also your PH would be better kept at around 7.2/7.3.
Phil
chem geek
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total and free chlorine

Postby chem geek » Fri 25 Sep, 2009 10:24

Phil,

You are absolutely correct and all over on this forum (and some others) you will find that sort of information repeated. Specifically, the following are chemical facts that are not currently disclosed in the industry, not even in NSPF CPO nor APSP TECH courses (please ask for this information to be disclosed -- I have, but nothing has changed):

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 at least 7 ppm.

Also, all sources of chlorine result in added salt because as the chlorine gets consumed/used, it turns into chloride. For every 10 ppm FC added by any source of chlorine, this will result in 8 ppm salt. In the case of bleach, chlorinating liquid and lithium hypochlorite, one also gets an additional 8 ppm salt added upon addition so the net total for those sources of chlorine is 16 ppm salt.

Some simple calculations show how quickly these side effects can build up. Even assuming a low 1 ppm FC per day chlorine usage (most residential pools have 1.5-2 ppm FC per day unless they have a pool cover in which case it can be < 1 ppm per day), use of only Trichlor will result in the CYA increasing by over 100 ppm in 6 months if there is no water dilution. With Dichlor, it's over 150 ppm. With Cal-Hypo, the CH increases by over 120 ppm. For all sources of chlorine, the salt level would increase by almost 150 ppm and with bleach, chlorinating liquid and lithium hypochlorite the salt would increase by double that amount (i.e. almost 300 ppm).

One really needs to look at this on a percentage basis since normal CYA levels should be less than normal CH levels which are less than normal salt levels. If I assume normal levels for these of 50, 300, 1000 respectively, then the increases in 6 months at 1 ppm FC per day are over 200% for CYA from Trichlor, over 300% for CYA from Dichlor, over 40% for CH from Cal-Hypo, and nearly 15% for salt from these sources (Cal-Hypo is a little more) and nearly 30% for salt from chlorinating liquid, bleach and lithium hypochlorite. Relative to a salt pool at 3000 ppm, the percentage increase for the salt is 1/3rd as much. So over time, clearly some water dilution is needed no matter what, but the salt is the most innocuous and rises more slowly. The higher CH can lead to scaling, especially in plaster pools where the water would normally already be saturated with calcium carbonate (i.e. have a saturation index of zero). The higher CYA makes the chlorine less effective leading to algae growth unless one uses a supplemental algaecide or phosphate remover (at extra cost and not always completely effective).

Chlorine alone can prevent algae growth, but it is the FC/CYA ratio that is relevant and proportional to the active chlorine (hypochlorous acid) concentration, not FC alone. There is much more about this and related topics at the Pool School. For more technical info on the chlorine/CYA relationship and scientific studies, see this post.

Welcome to the forum!

Richard
allblue pools

total and free chlorine

Postby allblue pools » Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:44

HELLO, ALL BLUE HERE I HAVE READ THE READINGS TAKEN ON??
OH WELL YOU SAY THE READINGS ARE
TH=TOTAL HARDNESS100
TC=TOTAL CHLORINE 10
FC=FREE CHLORINE10
PH=6.2
CA BELOW 0
THE KEY I SEE HERE IS THE PH LEVEL WHEN THE PH IS EXTREMELY LOW AS IT IS THE REST OF THE EQUATION WILL BE SKEWED. ADD 15 LBS OF BORAX AND BRING THE PH UP, THIS IN TURN WILL CHANGE THE ALKALINITY READINGS, THEN GET YOUR ALKALINITY TO 180 PPM, I DONOT SEE AN ALKALINITY READING ALKALINITY IS A MAJOR KEY TO ALGAE GROWTH. THIS SUMMER I KEPT HAVING YELLOW ALGAE AND HAD TO GO BACK TO THE BOOKS AND REALIZED MY ALKALINTY READINGS WERE TO LOW. I USE AQUUA CHECK YELLOW CAP TESTORS IT HAS THE NEEDED BASICS
FREE CHLORINE
PH OR ACID READING
ALKALINITY
CYNERIC ACID
WHEN THE ACID LEVEL OR PH IS SO LOW CHLORINE BURNS REALLY FAST, BUT RIGHTN NOW THE READINGS ARE SKEWED/OFF WITH SUCH A LOW PH. SO OTHER CHEMICALS YOU HAVE ADDED??
WATER CLARIFIERS, AMMONIA BASED ALGACIDES, PHOSPHATE REMOVERS, MINERAL ADDITIVES TO ENHANCE THE WATER. THE BEST CHEMS ARE CHLORINE AND ACID. CYNERIC ACID IS A MAJOR ROLE "PPOL SERVICE MANS NEWS "IN THE WATER CHEMISTRY BOOKS HAS PUT TO REST THAT STABIZER LOCK IS NON EXISTENT AND A MYTH ALL MY POOLS RUN AT 150 HERE IN THE ARIZ SUN. THE REASON THE CHEM READING ARE SKEWED IS IF THE CHLORINE IS ACTUALLY 10 AND THE P-H 6.2 THE PLASTER OR LINER IS GOING TO BE IN GREAT TROUBLE. DID YOU SAY THIS WAS A PLASTER OR LINER POOL AND WHAT STATE??
HOPR THIS HELPS ALAN :thumbup:
chem geek
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total and free chlorine

Postby chem geek » Sat 26 Sep, 2009 11:41

allblue pools wrote:WHEN THE ACID LEVEL OR PH IS SO LOW CHLORINE BURNS REALLY FAST, BUT RIGHTN NOW THE READINGS ARE SKEWED/OFF WITH SUCH A LOW PH. SO OTHER CHEMICALS YOU HAVE ADDED??
WATER CLARIFIERS, AMMONIA BASED ALGACIDES, PHOSPHATE REMOVERS, MINERAL ADDITIVES TO ENHANCE THE WATER. THE BEST CHEMS ARE CHLORINE AND ACID. CYNERIC ACID IS A MAJOR ROLE "PPOL SERVICE MANS NEWS "IN THE WATER CHEMISTRY BOOKS HAS PUT TO REST THAT STABIZER LOCK IS NON EXISTENT AND A MYTH ALL MY POOLS RUN AT 150 HERE IN THE ARIZ SUN. THE REASON THE CHEM READING ARE SKEWED IS IF THE CHLORINE IS ACTUALLY 10 AND THE P-H 6.2 THE PLASTER OR LINER IS GOING TO BE IN GREAT TROUBLE. DID YOU SAY THIS WAS A PLASTER OR LINER POOL AND WHAT STATE??

Alan,

Please do not use all caps.

You are right that the pH was too low and others suggested raising it, but that has nothing to do with the algae growth. It is true that the rate of creation of chlorine gas will be about 100 times higher at a pH of 6.2 compared to 7.5, but there is still about 10 times as much gaseous hypochlorous acid at equilibrium than chlorine gas itself so the rate of chlorine loss isn't as great as would first appear. Also, in the water, at a pH of 6.2 there will be more hypochlorous acid than hypochlorite ion and the former takes longer to break down from sunlight than the latter. There are many Trichlor pools that are improperly managed and have their pH get too low, but they don't burn through chlorine because of the low pH though they do often develop algae from the high CYA without a corresponding high FC and the algae growth can consume a lot of chlorine (even nascent growth that is not yet visible).

Chlorine "lock" doesn't exist as is, but there IS a relationship between chlorine (specifically hypochlorous acid) and Cyanuric Acid (CYA) and has been known for decades. The equilibrium relationship was definitively determined in 1974 as described in this paper. You say that all of your pools in Arizona have 150 ppm CYA, but what FC reading do you keep in such pools? Are you adding chlorine weekly and if so what level do you raise the FC to and what level is the FC when you return the following week? Also, do you use any supplemental algaecides or phosphate removers in such pools?

There are thousands upon thousands of pool users (over 20,000 at The PoolForum, over 10,000 at Trouble Free Pool and hundreds if not thousands on this forum) who have demonstrated that indeed not having sufficient FC relative to CYA can result in algae growth and that algae can be prevented using chlorine alone by having the FC/CYA ratio at a certain minimum level. There is a pool service in Arizona, California, Nevada and Texas that maintains their pools with 100 ppm CYA and raises (in the hottest sunniest areas) the FC to 14 ppm where it drops to around 4 ppm when they return the following week. They use only chlorine with no need for supplemental algaecides. Is that similar to what you are doing?

Richard
zetdah

total and free chlorine

Postby zetdah » Wed 14 Apr, 2010 04:04

you may want to something about the PH as this can be a contributing factor.what temoerature is your pool and what chemicals are you using

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