Trusting water analysis at pool stores?

Causes and cures for cloudy swimming pool water.
Milky pool water, white, pink, brown, purple, black cloudy water.

Trusting water analysis at pool stores?

Postby LauraLee » Thu 08 Jun, 2006 14:36

This is my 13th year with a pool and you would think I would know something by now but every summer I deal with cloudy water and it somehow clears in a few weeks but I am never sure what it is that works by the time I am done pouring tons of chemicals(& $$$) into the pool.
We have an inground 20,000 gallon vinyl liner pool. I got it up & running on June 1st, green as usual (sigh), swept, backwashed, filled automatic chlorinator, added 10 gallons liquid chlorine, water blue but cloudy the next day, added 32 oz algicide and here it is a week later and it is still blue but cloudy. I run my filter 24 hours a day all summer long as recommended by the pool company that installed, been sweeping daily, backwashing once or twice a day. I use Biogard chemicals except for the inital gallons of chlorine because it is so much cheaper than tons of Burnout-35. I did a dipstick yesterday and it showed free chlorine of 5, pH 7.5, and total alkalinity of 180. I took the 40 minute drive to the pool store with a sample to see whatelse I need to do and here is my water analysis:
Temp: 75
Sat. Index: 0
TDS: 1300
CYA: 100
Tot Chlorine: 5.8
Free Chlorine: 5.1
pH: 7.6
Tot Alkalinity: 134
Adj. Tot Alkalinity: 104
Tot Hardness: 208
Copper/Iron/Mag etc: all 0

They recommended adding 15 lbs of Balance Pak to increase the total alkalinity (5 lbs at a time with 4-6 hours between doses), then wait 2 hours and add 1 pint muriatic acid, then after sundown add 2 bags of Oxysheen (because I have combined chlorine but my free chlorine is high.)
I was concerned about adding so much Balance Pak because of my higher reading of TA at home so I added (2) 4 lb boxes 6 hours apart yesterday. Today my water is even cloudier and the water irritates my skin when I put my hand in the pool. My dipstick shows TA in 240 range and my pH at 8.4 after adding the pint of acid. I waited a few hours and added another pint of acid, then another pint 2 hours after that and the dipstick shows TA 180 and pH between 7.5-7.8 now.
I know a dipstick is just a rough guide and the analysis should be what I go by but I am having a hard time convincing myself to add 7 more lbs. of Balance Pak to increase the alkalinity even more...I would like to pour the rest the of the gallon of muriatic acid in the pool instead (in 1 pint increments, of course.) I am getting frustrated as the family is pushing to swim but we got a late start opening due to daily rain for over a week. I probably can't get back up to the pool store until Tuesday of next week - just wish someone could tell me the secret to a crystal clear pool in less time! :cry:


Postby Guest » Thu 08 Jun, 2006 15:45

If you have cloudy water, and high chlorine, can you see lots of little particles floating around in the water? If so , get a superfloc, put it in, let the filter run about 3 hours then turn it off over night and then vaccum to waste. Keep doing this until there is no sediment on the floor, it may take some time, your water is fine to swim in, the more they swim after you vaccum the more it will stir up the sediment and get it through the filter, make sure you backwash after you vaccum each time... I had this same trouble and my water is now Crystal clear... it may take lots of time and sunshine but it will get better, we didin't cover ours last winter and I thought it would be as good as it is now!!

Postby LauraLee » Thu 08 Jun, 2006 16:07

The water does not look cloudy in a baggie. The water analysis at the pool store listed the "cloudy" reading as "none." But I can only see the pool bottom a little ways beyond the shallow end and at the sides where the edges slope. I can not make out my drain at the deep end...when I am finally able to spot it each year that makes me feel there is progress. I think the Oxysheen is a type of water clarifier, I am not sure but I am supposed to add 2 bags of that tonight after sundown. I suppose it is just going to take time but the water is irritating to my skin right now and no one will get in the pool until it is crystal clear, it just isn't appealing until t shimmers. I have it professionally closed every year but it only looks good on opening the first year after buying a new winter cover, it is downhill after that each year so I have to replace it every 3-4 years. Thanks for your advice!

Postby LauraLee » Fri 09 Jun, 2006 08:14

Well, things are improving a bit...I can make out the pattern all the way around the pool to most of the way down, I can see the pattern on the bottom from the shallow end to almost halfway across the pool. I can faintly make out where the drain sits if I squint really hard. I added the Oxysheen bags last evening, it is an oxidizer that treats the combined chlorine. I am not comfortable with adding 7 lbs. more of the Balance Pak as the TA readings I get on dipstick are still very high. I will just let the water circulate the next few days and take another sample in on Tuesday. If it clears I will not know again this year whether it was due to raising the TA or adding more acid than called for or using the Oxysheen or just time in letting the water filter....but(sigh)... this is the way it goes every opening.

Postby LauraLee » Fri 09 Jun, 2006 09:27

Well, in surfing around this site and reading everything I can I may have found the answer to whether I can trust my pool store's readings. I found this quoted elsewhere on the boards:

"We also had to use a lot of alkalinity increaser (over 30 lbs). I was getting a false high alkalinity reading due to all of the combined chlorine in the pool, and it was actually low instead of high."

This must be the situation with my pool. According to my analysis sheet ideal total alkalinity for a vinyl liner pool is 125-150, a bit higher than I see written here on the boards. Even though I was getting over the top readings at home, the water analysis showed a TA of 134 but an adjusted TA of 104 which is quite a bit lower than my recommended range. I have a tot chlorine of 5.8 but free chlorine is 5.1 so the combined chlorine is 0.7 ...if I understand right, and that is not supposed to be over a 0.2 difference so it is probably throwing off my readings at home.

So, I should have listened to my pool store (even though it was a couple high schoolers running the store that day) and trusted the water analysis
with the recommendations given to me and ignored my test strips at home. :oops:

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