Cyanuric Acid Problem - All Swimming Pools Types - Pool and Spa Forum

Jump to content


(July 17, 2014) POOLSPAFORUM.COM SITE UPGRADE!


Photo

Cyanuric Acid Problem


  • Please log in to reply
40 replies to this topic

#1 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 02 January 2009 - 09:52 AM

My pool is about 14,000 gallons. It is about 9 years old. I am having a problem with Cyanuric acid. About every 4-5 months my Cyanuric acid level goes above 100 and it locks my chlorine in at either zero or off the charts high. At that point I am told my chlorine no longer does its job. I am also told at that point I have no other choice but to drain/dillute my pool.

I have drained my pool apprx 10-15 times now. I even bought my own sump pump.

There has got to be a reason this keeps happening yet no pool store can tell me why its happening. I have a 3" chlorine feeder that I keep on 2 and a cartridge filter. I clean it regularly and do not have an algae problem or any other problem accept this dang acid level. I even switched to sodium based shock but that did not help. I also tried only putting 2 3" tabs in the feeder at a time. No help.

Does anyone have any idea of how I can fix this? It is really getting annoying. I am ready to fill the pool in with dirt.sad.gif

Thx
Mark
Hou TX

#2 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 January 2009 - 11:59 AM

Mark,

The 3" chlorine feeder uses Trichlor tabs/pucks and these are stabilized chlorine that contains Cyanuric Acid. There are two types of stabilized chlorine, Trichlor pucks/tabs (or sometimes granular) and Dichlor granular/powder. Both will increase Cyanuric Acid rather quickly. Calcium Hypochlorite, aka Cal-Hypo, is another source of chlorine and it does not contain Cyanuric Acid, but does contain Calcium. Chemical facts that your pool store should have told you are the following:

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

Because you have a cartridge filter, you do not backwash weekly, so without significant splash-out you have very little dilution of water in your pool. If your pool was using about 1 ppm FC per day in chlorine, then the CYA would build up by 1*30*0.6 = 18 ppm per month so after 4 months that would increase your CYA by 72 ppm so if you started out with 30 ppm CYA then that would bring you to over 100 ppm CYA. Pretty straightforward and yet your pool store and indeed most of the pool industry doesn't tell you these facts. Instead they just give general statements about how stabilized chlorine can build up CYA over a long period of time, but they don't give you the basic facts that let you calculate exactly how quickly it can occur. The above facts aren't even taught in CPO courses from NSPF or in TECH courses from APSP though my hope is that they will be someday.

To prevent the buildup of CYA, you should be using unstabilized chlorine. Also, to prevent buildup of CH, you should not use Cal-Hypo for too long. This leaves chlorinating liquid, bleach, and lithium hypochlorite as sources of chlorine. Lithium hypochlorite is very expensive, so realistically that leaves chlorinating liquid (typically 12.5% or 10% strength) or 6% unscented bleach (Clorox Regular).

Just using chlorinating liquid or bleach to shock won't help much since the primary problem is the continued use of Trichlor pucks/tabs. You need to stop using those completely. Also, note that you'll want your Total Alkalinity (TA) to be lower, probably not above 80 ppm, if you switch to using chlorinating liquid or bleach or any other hypochlorite source of chlorine including lithium hypochlorite or Cal-Hypo. The reason is that Trichlor is highly acidic so required a higher TA level and also required regular addition of pH Up product. When using the unstabilized chlorines, the tendency will be for the pH to rise and you can minimize that by having a lower TA level (the pH rises mostly due to outgassing of carbon dioxide since pools are intentionally over-carbonated and TA is partly a measure of that).

The downside to using chlorinating liquid or bleach is that you'll need to add it every day or two if you pool is exposed to sunlight and does not have a pool cover. With a pool cover, you could probably add chlorine twice a week. There are ways to automate the chlorine dosing including The Liquidator but this is not issue-free. There are also peristaltic pumps. Finally, one can get a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) system, but you need to be careful about the type of stone around your pool and exposure to some types of metal due to the higher salt content of the water. Another downside to the chlorinating liquid or bleach is that these are less concentrated forms of chlorine by weight so it's heavier to carry (it's mostly water).

What you have been going through is similar to what I went through when I first got my pool 6 years ago. I used Trichlor pucks/tabs in a floating feeder and I has an opaque pool cover so my chlorine usage was low at around 0.6 ppm FC per day. I also had a cartridge filter and minimal splash-out. So after one and a half seasons (about 11 months of non-winter use), my CYA got to around 150 ppm and the water turned dull and I couldn't keep up with chlorine demand. I had the beginnings of algae growth (though didn't know it at the time) even though I used an alagecide but only every other week. The floating feeder also parked itself near some stainless steel bars and the mounts rusted due to Trichlor's high acidity. The pool store was of no help. That's when I decided to learn pool water chemistry for myself. I now use only 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my local pool store and add it twice a week to my pool. I only need to add a small amount of acid every 3-4 weeks because the pH is very stable. The pool is in use more now so uses almost 1 ppm FC per day on average. The water is crystal clear and I only spend around $15 per month on chlorine and acid for a 16,000 gallon pool.

You can learn much more about how to maintain your pool by reading the Pool School at Trouble Free Pool.

Richard

#3 NW_IN_pool_dealer

NW_IN_pool_dealer

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 09 January 2009 - 04:44 PM

QUOTE (chem geek @ Jan 2 2009, 01:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Mark,


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


To prevent the buildup of CYA, you should be using unstabilized chlorine. Also, to prevent buildup of CH, you should not use Cal-Hypo for too long. This leaves chlorinating liquid, bleach, and lithium hypochlorite as sources of chlorine. Lithium hypochlorite is very expensive, so realistically that leaves chlorinating liquid (typically 12.5% or 10% strength) or 6% unscented bleach (Clorox Regular).


Richard



Richard, I agree with everything you said, but you have forgot to mention the 2 drawbacks of liquid chlorine. 1) liquid chlorine will raise your TDS more then any other chlorine, and 2) why is stabilized chlorine better then unstabilized chlorine?? because the sun dissipates unstabilized chlorine out of the water rapidly. So if the pool is in the sun, you will need to add chlorine daily, or even twice a day. the exception will be pools that are not in the sunlight much due to indoor or automatic covers.

More info on CYA levels ......... CYA level can go as high as 150 without ill effects most of the time ......... CYA level will stay below 100 normally due to dillution by rain, and having to refill pool with fresh water due to splash out, backwash, evaporation, ect. The biggest culprit to high CYA levels is automatic covers that do not allow the above mentioned.

OK I think this topic is well covered now.. lol

#4 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 09 January 2009 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE (NW_IN_pool_dealer @ Jan 9 2009, 04:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Richard, I agree with everything you said, but you have forgot to mention the 2 drawbacks of liquid chlorine. 1) liquid chlorine will raise your TDS more then any other chlorine, and 2) why is stabilized chlorine better then unstabilized chlorine?? because the sun dissipates unstabilized chlorine out of the water rapidly. So if the pool is in the sun, you will need to add chlorine daily, or even twice a day. the exception will be pools that are not in the sunlight much due to indoor or automatic covers.

More info on CYA levels ......... CYA level can go as high as 150 without ill effects most of the time ......... CYA level will stay below 100 normally due to dillution by rain, and having to refill pool with fresh water due to splash out, backwash, evaporation, ect. The biggest culprit to high CYA levels is automatic covers that do not allow the above mentioned.

OK I think this topic is well covered now.. lol

For every 10 ppm FC from ANY source of chlorine, the chlorine will convert to chloride (salt) as it gets used up and will increase salt by 6 ppm [EDIT] actually, it's 8.2 ppm [END-EDIT]. With most hypochlorite sources of chlorine (except Cal-Hypo), the initial addition of chlorine increases salt by 6 ppm [EDIT] actually, 8.2 ppm [END-EDIT] so the net increase including accounting for consumption is 12 ppm [EDIT] actually, 16.4 ppm [END-EDIT]. The thing is that this doesn't matter very much as it takes a long time for the salt level to get high. Remember that SWG pools have 3000 ppm salt level.

As for CYA up to 150 ppm having no problems, that very much depends on the pool's nutrient levels. If there are phosphates in the pool, then you can get green algae growth whenever the FC level drops below about 5% of the CYA level. As for keeping CYA lower, that only happens if you have significant water dilution as would occur in a smaller pool with a shorter swim season using a filter such as sand that was backwashed weekly. In my own pool that I first installed 6 years ago, I initially used Trichlor pucks/tabs and even with low chlorine use of only about 0.7 ppm FC per day, I got to 150 ppm in one and a half seasons. I have a cartridge filter and a 16,000 gallon pool and 7-month long swim seasons. 0.7*7*1.5*30*0.6 = 132 ppm above my initial 30 ppm with some small amount of splash-out. I started to have my water turn dull and have unusual chlorine demand (nascent algae growth) even though I was using PolyQuat 60 algaecide, but I was using it every other week. Had I used the algaecide every week, I probably could have gone longer. I also rusted some stainless steel mounts when the Trichlor feeder parked itself nearby.

I have an automatic cover, but that has nothing to do with dilution since evaporation does not dilute CYA. When water evaporates, it leaves the pool while the CYA stays in the water getting more concentrated (imagine what would happen if half of the water evaporated -- the CYA concentration would double since there's the same amount of CYA in half the amount of water). When the fill water fills it back up, it dilutes right back to where it started. The amount of CYA (or any other chemical that isn't volatile) doesn't change from evaporation -- only from physical removal of water AND CYA as occurs with splash-out or backwashing. Evaporation will increase the levels in the pool of whatever is in the fill water, such as Calcium Hardness (CH).

By the way, I'm not saying that you shouldn't have CYA in the pool. As you point out, you need it to prevent chlorine from breaking down too quickly by the UV rays in sunlight and also need it to moderate chlorine's strength (chlorine without CYA is too strong at normal FC levels). I'm just saying that you need to be careful if you use stabilized chlorine products as the CYA can build up quickly depending on the situation.

Richard

#5 NW_IN_pool_dealer

NW_IN_pool_dealer

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 09 January 2009 - 09:05 PM

good points Richard. TDS is total disolved solids, having little to do with salt levels. I guess I am glad our pool has a diving board so I get plenty of splash out, along with a earth filter, so I do loose water when I backwash. thus my cya level is below 100. I forgot to mention draining the pool down for winter and being dilluted all winter with the mesh cover on it. So high cya levels are not a problem around here as most pools are like mine.

#6 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 January 2009 - 12:34 AM

QUOTE (NW_IN_pool_dealer @ Jan 9 2009, 09:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
good points Richard. TDS is total disolved solids, having little to do with salt levels. I guess I am glad our pool has a diving board so I get plenty of splash out, along with a earth filter, so I do loose water when I backwash. thus my cya level is below 100. I forgot to mention draining the pool down for winter and being dilluted all winter with the mesh cover on it. So high cya levels are not a problem around here as most pools are like mine.

The part about TDS is absolutely not true. TDS, or Total Dissolved Solids, absolutely positively includes salt. Sodium Chloride salt, as well as calcium chloride and sodium bicarbonate are all Dissolved Solids. Salt dissolves in water, after all. They are all ions in the water and they all contribute to the conductivity measured by a TDS meter. The TDS in a pool with 3000 ppm salt is roughly 3200 ppm with the difference due to the bicarbonate and calcium and even CYA itself (mostly as cyanurate ion) that is additional to the salt (you can't just add the ppm values together, however, since they are in different units with TA and CH measured as ppm Calcium Carbonate equivalent). TDS by itself is a pretty useless measurement. It's what is composed in TDS that is relevant. Historically, many people thought that high TDS caused problems with algae growth, but it was really the higher CYA (without correspondingly higher FC) that was the cause -- it just turned out that higher CYA and higher TDS were correlated since the higher TDS (from chloride, CYA and added base that compensates for pH) and the CYA both came from the same source over time, Trichlor.

Yes, if you drain the pool down for winter, that certainly dilutes as well. So does winter rains assuming the water overflows. In fact, I am diluting my pool water with winter rains this year since the salt level has creeped up to around 1500 ppm after 3-4 years without such dilution. There's no problem, but I thought I'd take care of that this year.

Just keep in mind that chlorine usage of even 1 ppm FC per day using Trichlor adds over 100 ppm to CYA in just 6 months if you aren't diluting through weekly backwashing or significant splash-out. There are many, many people who have had problems with algae in their pools who report on multiple pool forums including The Pool Forum and Trouble Free Pool. Many of these pools have algae problems with CYA below 100 ppm. If you only keep an FC of 3 ppm, then you can get green algae in the pool with a CYA of 80 ppm. Even saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools with 1-2 ppm FC and 80 ppm CYA have had green algae growth, oftentimes looking like mysterious chlorine demand at first. The rule of a minimum FC that is 5% of the CYA level for SWG pools means that at 80 ppm CYA you need a minimum of 4 ppm FC and even 3 ppm FC is not enough for a few pools (usually those with higher phosphate levels).

Richard

#7 NW_IN_pool_dealer

NW_IN_pool_dealer

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 10 January 2009 - 07:56 AM

Richard, again you are correct. I thought about wording my statement differently, and I guess I should have now. TDS has does not really say you have salt in the water, but TDS will go up as the salt levels do. TDS is measuring all dissolved solids in the water. The reason you have a higher tds when using liquid chlorine is because liquid chlorine is sodium hypochloride, which contains salt. So all I am saying is that TDS levels will be the highest in pools that use liquid chlorine, with the sodium causing that. used to be that when tds got 1000-1500, pool stores would tell you to do a partial drain to dillute it, as you might have a hard time dissolving any solids in it. Well now with salt water systems, tds is up to 4600 or more, with salt levels being at 3200.

#8 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 January 2009 - 11:38 AM

QUOTE (NW_IN_pool_dealer @ Jan 10 2009, 07:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Richard, again you are correct. I thought about wording my statement differently, and I guess I should have now. TDS has does not really say you have salt in the water, but TDS will go up as the salt levels do. TDS is measuring all dissolved solids in the water. The reason you have a higher tds when using liquid chlorine is because liquid chlorine is sodium hypochloride, which contains salt. So all I am saying is that TDS levels will be the highest in pools that use liquid chlorine, with the sodium causing that. used to be that when tds got 1000-1500, pool stores would tell you to do a partial drain to dillute it, as you might have a hard time dissolving any solids in it. Well now with salt water systems, tds is up to 4600 or more, with salt levels being at 3200.

Water Saturation

Yeah, pool stores have said lots of things that aren't true. It is not true that a higher TDS makes it harder to dissolve any solids in it. Water simply doesn't get saturated that way. Saturation occurs for each chemical compound separately where the product of concentrations of the component species exceeds the solubility product at which point one gets precipitate. This is done intentionally for calcium ions and carbonate ions, for example, through adjustment of TA (adjusted for CYA), CH and pH though there is also a dependency on temperature and TDS. Even for calcium carbonate, however, it is able to dissolve more readily at higher TDS levels. This is because TDS, especially when measured using a conductivity meter (as opposed to evaporation of water with measurement of resulting solids) is related to the ionic strength of the water and higher ionic strength makes charged species (ions) behave as if they are at lower concentrations then they actually are -- essentially, the higher ionic strength means that ions "shield" other ions in terms of their electrostatic potential and that makes them less reactive behaving as if they are less concentrated. Basically, this means that salt pools require a higher TA, CH and/or pH combination (at the same CYA level) as non-salt pools in order to prevent plaster corrosion.

The saturation limit for salt (sodium chloride) in water is roughly 360,000 ppm (35.9 g/L) so well beyond what even sea water contains (sea water is roughly 35,000 ppm). Cyanuric Acid (CYA) has a solubility limit of around 2000 ppm. Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda; Alkalinity Up) has a solubility limit of around 78,000 ppm. In practical terms, it is Calcium Carbonate that is the primary saturation factor one should be concerned about. If the water is not saturated with calcium carbonate, then plaster/grout can dissolve; if the water if over-saturated with calcium carbonate, then scale can form. The saturation index may be calculated from the other water parameters by using The Pool Calculator. Other substances where solubility is particularly important are other metal ions including copper and silver since these can precipitate as metal stains if these concentrations get too high and/or the pH gets high. The limited solubility of Lanthanum Phosphate is intentionally used in phosphate remover products since they contain Lanthanum Chloride and forcibly precipitate phosphate out of the water.

Chemical Additions

Though it is true that sodium hypochlorite contains salt and therefore has the salt and TDS levels rise faster when you use that source of chlorine, it is also true that ALL sources of chlorine result in a salt and TDS rise (unless there is dilution) because when chlorine gets used up it gets converted to chloride. This occurs when it breaks down from sunlight or when it oxidizes ammonia or organics. As I mentioned before, sodium hypochlorite adds salt twice as fast as Trichlor and Dichlor, but they all increase salt levels and that isn't a big deal. The CYA added from Trichlor and Dichlor are a MUCH bigger deal since they add proportionately much more CYA relative to normal CYA levels than they add to salt. Cal-Hypo increases Calcium Hardness (CH), but it too adds proportionately less relative to normal levels. As a specific example, let's assume a pool has a CH of 300 ppm, CYA of 50 ppm, salt level (roughly TDS) of 750 ppm. Adding 1 ppm FC per day for 1 month does the following:

[EDIT] I corrected the salt levels below for all sources [END-EDIT]
With Trichlor, CYA increases by 18 ppm so by 100%*18/50 = 36%
With Trichlor, salt increases by 25 ppm so by 100%*25/750 = 3.3%

With Dichlor, CYA increases by 27 ppm so by 100%*27/50 = 54%
With Dichlor, salt increases by 25 ppm so by 100%*25/750 = 3.3%

With Cal-Hypo, CH increases by 21 ppm so by 100%*21/300 = 7%
With Cal-Hypo, salt increases by about 31 ppm so by 100%*31/750 = 4.1%

With Sodium Hypochlorite (or lithium hypochlorite), salt increases by 49 ppm so by 100%*49/750 = 6.5%

You can see that Trichlor and Dichlor proportionately increase CYA by a lot. As noted earlier, one can run into problems in just one season, depending on the specific situation (i.e. rate of dilution). To keep the CYA constant from use of Trichlor would require dilution of the water every month by 26%. To prevent algae growth, one has several alternatives when the CYA is higher: 1) raise the FC proportionately to keep the FC/CYA ratio constant (see this chart or 2) use an alagecide (e.g. PolyQuat 60 weekly) or a phosphate remover.

Cal-Hypo increases CH, but not that much proportionately so it takes a while before it affects the saturation index in a serious way. Even after 6 months, the CH would only rise from 300 ppm to 426 ppm raising the saturation index by 0.12 units which isn't very much -- over several years or with higher chlorine usage this could be a problem, but to go from 426 back to 300 ppm using fill water with no CH requires a dilution of 30%.

Sodium Hypochlorite increases salt faster, but proportionately it's far less than the rate of CYA increase from Trichlor and Dichlor and is even less than the rate of increase in CH from Cal-Hypo. Even after 6 months, the salt would only rise from 750 ppm to 1044 ppm and would require 28% dilution to get the salt level back down.

TDS and "age" of water

The one possible reasonable use for TDS (other than in the calcium carbonate saturation index calculation) is as a proxy for the "age" of the water. When a pool gets used over time by bathers, they do introduce a variety of organic substances into the water some of which do not get readily oxidized or broken down so may become insoluble more readily. An extreme example of this is with lotions and oils that form on the water or produce gummy scum lines (not scale, which is calcium carbonate). However, since this effect is dependent more on bather load than on the age of the water (represented by the cumulative amount of chlorine that is added over time), TDS isn't a very good parameter to use for this purpose. Perhaps some combination of TDS, type of chlorine used, and typical bather load would be useful. A formula used in spas for determining when a water change is needed is the following:

Water Replacement Interval (WRI) = (1/3) x (Spa Volume in U.S. Gallons) / (Number of Bathers per Day)

The main problem with the above forumla is that it does not account for different soak times since soaking longer results in more bather waste products. The above probably assumes an average soak time of around 15-20 minutes. A better formula would use a bather-hour parameter. For pools, a proposed rule from APSP is to replace 7 gallons of pool water per bather (and again, this really should be based on bather-hours).

The main fallacy of using TDS, however, is that it doesn't take into account bather load. If you weren't using an outdoor pool at all, you'd still need to add chlorine regularly due to breakdown of chlorine from sunlight (even with CYA protecting it), so TDS will rise but there would be no bather wastes. The pool water does not go "bad" in this situation. The salt level rises, but as noted above, that's not a problem until the salt gets very high. At high bather loads, most of the chlorine is used to oxidize the ammonia and urea from sweat and urine so here TDS is a reasonable proxy for that bather load, BUT one must take into account the type of chlorine being used. Sodium Hypochlorite will increase TDS (and salt) twice as fast as Trichlor for the same amount of chlorine so equating TDS to the amount of bather waste in conditions of high bather load means you have to account for that and allow for a greater rise in TDS when using sodium hypochlorite. That is, a rise in TDS of 500 with Trichlor is the same as a rise in TDS of 1000 with Sodium Hypochlorite in terms of what it means for the amount of chlorine that has cumulatively added and the presumed amount of bather waste in a high bather load scenario.

pH of Chlorine Products

Another fallacy told by most pool stores and the industry as a whole is that Dichlor is close to pH neutral while the hypochlorite sources of chlorine, including Sodium Hypochlorite, are high in pH. This is only true for the initial chemical addition, but neglects to take into account what happens when the chlorine gets used up (consumed). The consumption of chlorine is an acidic process and makes the ongoing use of Dichlor net acidic and the ongoing use of hypochlorite sources of chlorine close to pH neutral (except for the small amount of "excess lye" in these products). I only use 12.5% chlorinating liquid in my pool at a rate (during the summer) of around 1 ppm FC per day. Based on the pH of the added chlorine, I should see my pH rise from 7.5 to 7.8 in just one week and to 8.6 in one month, but in fact my pool's pH is very stable rising around 0.1-0.2 over about 1 month. The reason is that the consumption of chlorine is acidic as detailed in this post.

pH Rise from TA in Pools

So where does the rise in pH in many pools come from? It comes from the fact that pools are intentionally over-carbonated which is what Total Alkalinity (TA) mostly measures (it mostly measures bicarbonate). This over-carbonation is intentional in order to provide a pH buffer to minimize swings in pH and in order to saturate the water with calcium carbonate in order to prevent dissolving of plaster. However, this over-carbonation leads to the outgassing of carbon dioxide from the pool into the air and this makes the pool rise in pH (you are essentially removing carbonic acid from the water; removing an acid makes the pH rise). This outgassing occurs faster at higher TA levels, lower pH and with more aeration of the water. It turns out that the effect of higher TA on the outgassing rate is greater than the effect of TA on pH buffering so the net result with higher TA is a faster rise in pH over time. So the solution is simply to maintain a lower TA level (adjusting CH and pH as appropriate to maintain a saturation index near zero). These same principles apply to saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools as well, though there are some other factors that may be at play there such as chlorine outgassing (from undissolved chlorine gas).

Richard

#9 downwind

downwind

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

Richard, I just joined the forum after stumbling across it while looking for info on liquid chlorine for addition to my 27,000 pool in central Texas. Your knowledge of pool chemistry and willingness to share it is AWESOME !! As hot as it gets in Texas, my 20 year old pool has finally stabilized with absolutely no trouble for the past few years, with a sanitizing combination of MPS, CalHypoChlorite, and a few tabs in a floater, but I think the key is regular adds of a product called NoMorProblems. I also have had concerns with high CYA levels, which is my reason for investigating cutting off the stabilized tabs and going to liquid chlorine. Any comments on the NoMorProblems additive?

Dan

#10 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 17 January 2009 - 04:12 PM

Dan,

If you want to learn more about how to maintain a pool, read up at the Pool School at Trouble Free Pool. You can prevent algae growth simply by maintaining a Free Chlorine (FC) level appropriate to the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) level. For manually dosed pools, that's a minimum FC of around 7.5% of the CYA level. You wouldn't need any additional additives (at extra cost) if you were to do that.

If you don't want to maintain the appropriate FC/CYA ratio, then you have to use either a supplemental algaecide weekly such as PolyQuat 60, or use a phosphate remover unless you happen to be lucky and have a pool very low in phosphates already. I have never been able to find out what the ingredients are in NoMorProblems so can't really comment on it specifically (I speculate below).

Are there any ingredients listed on the label? The MSDS at the United Chemical site just says its contents are proprietary. Their description here says that it is not a polymer yet acts as a clarifier. They say that by using their product you no longer need to shock, but I can tell you that simply maintaining an appropriate FC/CYA ratio you also never need to shock -- I didn't have to shock the pool at all this past swim season. They say that it increases chlorine demand in the short-run so I'm guessing that the product is an enzyme that catalyzes (accelerates) oxidation which would breakdown substances that could otherwise make water cloudy. It may also facilitate the killing of algae by chlorine. That would be my best guess. There are other enzyme-based products on the market and they have similar effects, though I can't comment on whether they are better or worse (e.g. Natural Chemistry Pool Perfect).

NoMorProblems is not necessary if you maintain the proper FC/CYA ratio, but it won't hurt so if you don't mind spending extra money or don't want to maintain appropriate chlorine levels, then it's something extra to use. In my own 16,000 gallon pool, I only use 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my pool store that costs me around $15 per month and that's all I use except for a small amount (2 cups) of acid about once a month.

Richard

#11 downwind

downwind

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 20 January 2009 - 06:01 PM

Richard, the Pool School is a GREAT resource.

Incidentally, the bottle of MoMorProblems has no more info than the MSDS.

Thanks much for the advice.

Dan

#12 lonestar23

lonestar23

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts

Posted 01 February 2009 - 09:24 AM

NoMorProblems is sodium bromide. Their labeling (and most of the industry) is made for pools up north. In Texas, I saw many pools that needed over 5 tabs added every week this last summer as water temperatures approached 95 degrees. Much of this was info from customers but I did see it myself in a few pools I maintained. The hot water does not hold chlorine at all.

But it holds bromine.

I dont fully understand bromine, as it needs chlorine or Monopersulfate to act as a catalyst. So if most of the chlorine burns out of the water how does the water suddenly stay algae free just by adding sodium bromide (which needs chlorine to act??) Strange stuff. But in Texas, I would put any pool on it.

As I said the instructions are cryptic and talk about how much chlorine you add to the pool. But they dont take into account water temperature at all, so the dosage you actually need are far less then recommended. Otherwise, when you test you will see no FC at all.

I must also say that chemgeek's calculations could be problematic for this region for the same purpose. Do you know the ppm of CYA added by each dichlor and trichlor per pound by any chance? Your calculations certainly show why people should drain often if they choose to use trichlor tabs. What I mean is, maintaining 1ppm FC at 90 water temperature would build up stabalizer EVEN QUICKER then at 75 or whatever your regional water temp sits at (as more tabs would be required to maintain it.) This will be the only time I mention this, as you obviously know more about chemistry than me and your calculations do a huge service to helping people understand the problem with CYA.

There is much that is not taught in the CPO course. The handbook they give you is quite informative though on a number of subjects.

#13 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 01 February 2009 - 06:26 PM

So if it's sodium bromide, then that turns the pool into a bromine pool. Any chlorine in the pool will get consumed and convert bromide to bromine. Bromine will break down faster in sunlight than chlorine, but you also cannot measure bromine separately from chlorine nor can you measure the bromide level (separate from chloride). So if you are seeing that bromine holds better, then it's probably not due to any difference in the rate of breakdown from sunlight, but probably from chlorine previously getting used up faster battling algae. Because bromine doesn't combine with CYA, it's already at 10-30 times the effective concentration of chlorine with CYA and at that concentration is better fighting algae.

It's not that the hotter pool water does not hold chlorine, but rather that the Free Chlorine (FC) levels are too low relative to the Cyanuric Acid (CYA) levels so algae is able to grow about as fast as chlorine can kill it, resulting in an increased chlorine demand and inability to maintain chlorine level. Adding more tabs just makes things worse as that increases the rate of increase in the CYA level, not just FC. In order to keep the pool algae free, one should maintain a minimum FC in a manually dosed pool of at least 7.5% of the CYA level. So at 30 ppm CYA that's only 2.2 ppm FC, but at 80 ppm CYA the minimum FC is 5.8 ppm (see this chart or this chart.

Are you sure that NoMorProblems is sodium bromide? It's true that United Chemical (originally with Jock Hamilton) were big promotors of sodium bromide, but the description of NoMorProblems describes a greater chlorine demand initially that then levels off. They also describe great water clarity after a few weeks. Both of these results would be seen with enzymes, but sodium bromide wouldn't improve water clarity except from clearing dull or cloudy water that was from a nascent algae bloom. It would take enzymes or a clarifier or ozonator to make the water much clearer, though with a decent filter (e.g. DE) and chlorine alone the water clarity can be excellent.

The reason I quote the amount of CYA added relative the amount of FC that is added is that this is independent of concentration of product and of volume of the pool. Nevertheless, if you want amounts for one pound of product in 10,000 gallons, this is as follows, though obviously needs to be scaled appropriately for different pool volumes (larger volume dilutes more so would result in proportionately lower FC or CYA; likewise, for the FC or CYA indicated, a larger pool volume would require proportionately more weight of product).

One pound of Trichlor in 10,000 gallons increases Free Chlorine (FC) by 11.0 ppm and Cyanuric Acid (CYA) by 6.7 ppm.
One pound of Dichlor (dihydrate) in 10,000 gallons increases FC by 6.6 ppm and CYA by 6.0 ppm.
One pound of Cal-Hypo (65%) in 10,000 gallons increases FC by 7.7 ppm and Calcium Hardness (CH) by 5.5 ppm.

One pound of Trichlor is two 3" tablets if these are 8 ounces weight each.

Obviously, the least expensive way to maintain a pool is simply to maintain a sufficient FC level relative to CYA and this implies using unstabilized chlorine once you are at a CYA level that sufficiently protects chlorine from sunlight. The problem is that unstabilized chlorine is not conveniently dosed unless you have a perstaltic pump or The Liquidator (but that can have issues as described here and here). Chlorinating liquid or bleach are much heavier to carry (i.e. less dense forms of chlorine) than Trichlor. Trichlor's main advantage is that it dissolves slowly so can be used in a floating feeder or inline chlorinator, but it's main downsides are its acidity requiring pH compensation and that it increases CYA over time. If one has a pool cover opaque to UV, then one can usually add chlorine twice a week; otherwise, one needs to add chlorine every day or possibly two, depending on CYA level and amount of sunlight.

If you want to use stabilized chlorine and don't want to worry about the CYA level, at least for a while, then you can control algae through other means. Though converting to a bromine pool is one (expensive) method, you can also use a weekly PolyQuat 60 algaecide or you can use a phosphate remover (both at around $2-3 per week). You could use a copper-based algaecide, but that can stain plaster if the pH rises or too much is dosed and it can have blond hair get a greenish tint. So there are several alternatives.

Not everyone sees the CYA level climb quickly. Sometimes it rises more slowly due to greater dilution, such as from smaller pools with more frequent backwashing and winter or summer rains and overflow. In some hot environments, chlorine itself may slowly break down CYA but not all pools see this so it may be catalyzed (sped up) by some other factors (maybe the presence of metal ions, such as iron).

Richard

#14 lonestar23

lonestar23

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts

Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:29 AM

Gracias on the info.

Yeah every bottle of NoMorProblems ive seen says "sodium bromide 40%" on the front. (The only other product ive seen with this is "jacks magic yellow stuff 98% sodium bromide.") Its been mysterious for me and I dont like using things i dont fully understand but I use it because it works for me. Some of the pools I take care of do have a high CYA and refuse to drain despite my warnings of plaster degradation and disease, so the bromine is obviously helping with this (as bromine cannot be stabalized.)

I put 1-3 ounces in every pool without fail once it becomes warm.

#15 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:01 AM

Ok I have been gone for a while. I appreciate all of the replies. I am a little confused though.

I need to switch to liquid chlorine?

Oh, as I type this I am draining my pool again.

#16 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 April 2009 - 08:55 AM

To avoid draining your pool, you need to use unstabilized chlorine so if you don't want to build up either Cyanuric Acid (CYA) nor Calcium Hardness (CH) then this means using chlorinating liquid or bleach (Clorox regular unscented or off-brand Ultra) or lithium hypochlorite (but the latter is very expensive). You can get automated dosing systems, such as The Liquidator or a peristaltic pump or you can convert to a saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) system.

If you get a pool cover, you should find that your chlorine usage drops a lot. The main downside to the liquid chlorine approach is that you need to add it every day or two unless you have a pool cover in which case you can usually add it about twice a week. Don't forget that even when using unstabilized chlorine, you do want to initially add some CYA to the water to protect the chlorine from breakdown from sunlight and to moderate its strength.

If you properly maintain your pool's chemistry levels, you will likely never or very rarely need to shock. You would NEVER use Dichlor to shock the pool -- just shock with chlorinating liquid or bleach (if needed).

Another alternative is to do regular water dilution (more continuous or frequent) instead of full drain/refill. Yet another alternative is to ignore the higher CYA and use an algaecide (PolyQuat 60) weekly or a phosphate remover to prevent algae growth, but the sanitation level of the pool will continue to drop as the CYA gets higher unless you proportionately increase the FC level (which is impractical if you use only Trichlor tabs).

Note that even using chlorinating liquid or bleach, you will still need to dilute your water -- just not as much. If you have winter or summer rains and can have them overflow the water or if you can do a partial drain after a rain then that would help greatly. Even in the worst case, you wouldn't need to do more than a 50% partial drain/refill each year, but could probably get away with 20-30% to keep the salt level in check. In my own pool that also has a cartridge filter like yours, I use winter rains to dilute the water, but I have a pool cover so probably use half the daily FC amount you will use.

I again refer you to the Pool School for more details.

Richard

#17 AquaTechPool

AquaTechPool

    Spa Savant

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 79 posts

Posted 26 April 2009 - 09:39 AM

Richard, your grasp of pool water chemistry is impressive. I do however, have one question for you. How often are you checking and/or adding chemicals to your pool? Are you doing this once a week? Every other day, or twice daily, etc???

Thanks,

Paul

#18 Ari

Ari

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 26 April 2009 - 06:56 PM

I appreciate all the experience and information here, and it's very helpful to a new pool owner like myself, I do still have a few questions that I hope you all can help me with.

I just took over care of my new 14,000 gallon gunite/concrete/plaster pool, with an integrated hot tub with 3 spills, DE filter.

I live in FL, the pool is screened in, and the water temp is generally around 86 degrees.

I brought a sample of my water to my local Leslies pool store, they told me a few things. First, my CYA level was high, so, no more tabs, and from what I've been reading, tabs aren't a good way to go anyway since they build up your CYA levels with continued use. So, fine, no tabs. They also said my phosphates were high, they had me do 32 oz of Phosfree, running the pump continuously for 48 hours, it clearly reduced my flow rate as my spills started barely trickling, backwashed my DE filter when the 48 hours were up, flow back to normal, they say my phosphates are better, but still a little high, they said to use a capful once a week.

Now, here's where I think they are leading me astray, based on what Richard and others are saying.

They are essentially having me maintain my FC level by adding a 1 lb. bag of cal hypo shock powder once every 5 days or so. From what I gather, eventually, this will cause an undesired calcium buildup in my pool, so this doesn't seem to be a good long term method of chlorination.

My gut feeling is to use liquid chlorine, but, my pool does get a lot of direct sunlight from the strong FL sun, and without stabilizer, I wonder how effective or long lasting it will be, I really don't want to have to add chlorine every day, but I would if that were the best way to go.

To that end, let's say for a moment, I decide to stop the cal hypo shock powder the store recommends, and just keep a good supply of 12% liquid chlorine on hand, about how often do I add it, and, how much at a time? And, when needed, how do I add some stabilizer, just use pucks for a week or 2? And, if I'm maintaing the FC level with LC, do I still shock the pool periodically, and if so, with LC or powder?

Should I add muratic acid every time I add chlorine, since I was told the chlorine raises ph, or weekly, or only when the ph gets critically high? How much acid do I add to lower a high ph?

I did get the accucheck test strips, but find them not very accurate or reliable, so, I'm going to get a decent test kit tommorrow.

Basically, for my pool, given the above conditions, should I use liquid chlorine, if so, how much and how often, do I add acid weekly, or only if the ph gets too high? If I do switch to liquid chlorine, I assume I should monitor my CYA levels, and add some if it gets low? What about shocking, not neccessary if I keep my FC levels good?

I have to admit, this all seems a little complicated, and I'd very muich appreciate some clarity. (no pun intended. smile.gif )

Thanks so much, Ari

#19 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 April 2009 - 10:22 PM

QUOTE (AquaTechPool @ Apr 26 2009, 10:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Richard, your grasp of pool water chemistry is impressive. I do however, have one question for you. How often are you checking and/or adding chemicals to your pool? Are you doing this once a week? Every other day, or twice daily, etc???

Thanks,

Paul

Paul,

Because I have an opaque automatic pool cover, my chlorine usage is relatively low at around 1 ppm FC per day in a 16,000 gallon pool and that's with daily 1-2 hour use. So I only add chlorine twice a week and check it's level at that time (both FC and CC using a FAS-DPD chlorine test). Since my pH and other parameters are very stable, I usually only check the pH every few weeks though in most pools you want to check at least the pH more often -- it's just that in my pool I've got it so it's very stable and I only have to add a small amount of acid every 1-2 months. I only test TA, CH and CYA about twice a swim season, usually upon opening and then again around mid-to-late season. Again, this is because I now "know" my pool pretty well.

To me, this is pretty easy, but even I screw up once in a while. You can read about such a mistake I made here. Because of the high phosphate level (2000-3000 ppb) in my pool, it's very unforgiving if you let the chlorine get to zero, though this was the first time that my CYA got converted to ammonia and intermediate products by bacteria -- and so quickly besides. Definitely a learning experience.

Richard

#20 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 26 April 2009 - 10:42 PM

Ari,

First of all, you should definitely get a good test kit and I would recommend either the Taylor K-2006 you can get at a good online price here or the TF100 test kit from tftestkits.net here with the latter kit having 36% more volume of reagents so less expensive "per test".

If your pool is exposed to direct sunlight, even if partially filtered by a screen, you will want to have the CYA level up a bit. You always want at least some CYA in the water to moderate chlorine's power, but in your case you might want as much as 60-80 ppm CYA -- I'd start with 50 ppm and see how things go with chlorine consumption/usage. However, you will need to maintain a higher Free Chlorine (FC) level to prevent algae growth unless you want to go the route of always adding a maintenance dose of a phosphate remover (at extra cost). You could go either way -- up to you. Read up at the Pool School, especially the chlorine/CYA chart, if you don't plan to use an algaecide or phosphate remover.

You are correct that the Cal-Hypo will build up your Calcium Hardness (CH). So using chlorinating liquid (or bleach) is your best bet, at least as your primary source of chlorine. You can always use Cal-Hypo when you want to raise your CH and you can always use Trichlor or Dichlor if you want to raise your CYA. If you need to raise your CYA more quickly, then you can either dissolve CYA in a skimmer sock in your skimmer or have it get caught in the filter and don't backwash (though this takes longer to dissolve). If you use Dichlor, then this dissolves quickly, but it also adds chlorine so you can only dose this at the rate you use chlorine. For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm. If you are going to add a lot of CYA and need to do so soon, then adding pure CYA via the skimmer is the best way to go. If you use a skimmer sock or old T-shirt, then that has it dissolve pretty quickly -- just make sure you have other sources of flow to your pump such as main drains or a bypass in the skimmer since the CYA in the skimmer sock or T-shirt will clog the flow until it dissolves. Another alternative is to put the CYA in a sock or panty hose and hang it over a return flow.

Note that you do get some dilution from cleaning your DE filter, though perhaps not as much as those that backwash weekly with a sand filter, though definitely more than those who have a cartridge filter. You also may get dilution from rains, if they overflow the pool water (if they just raise the level a bit that then evaporates, then nothing changes chemically).

I'm not so sure how they say you can only add chlorine once every 5 days unless your pool doesn't really get much sun. With an uncovered pool in direct sunlight and without a pool cover, you usually have to add some chlorine every day or two unless you don't mind large FC swings.

As for the pH, you can have it be very stable if you lower the TA level. Chlorinating liquid, bleach, Cal-Hypo and lithium hypochlorite are all close to pH neutral when accounting for chlorine usage/consumption because such usage/consumption is an acidic process the compensates for the initial pH rise upon addition (a technical explanation of this is here). My pool's pH is very stable and I add 1 ppm FC per day of 12.5% chlorinating liquid (added about twice a week because I have an opaque electric pool safety cover). Just note that if you use bleach instead of chlorinating liquid, that Clorox regular unscented has the lowest "excess lye" whereas most off-brand Ultra bleaches have more so have a higher pH which will cause a slow pH rise over time. Chlorinating liquid also has some excess lye, roughly between Clorox and Ultra bleaches (relative to FC amount).

Shocking the pool is not necessary if you keep your levels well maintained. Last year, I don't think I had to shock the pool even once.

Richard

#21 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 28 April 2009 - 08:13 AM

Richard I am still a little confused. If I switch to Liquid Chlorine cant I just add stabilizer and not have to add LC every day or everyother day? Adding LC everyday is a bit of a turn off but so is draining my pool every 4 months (Ijust got done filling it backup).

I think I may know why I have this problem so often. I do not have one of those auto drains. What I mean is I do not have an overflow protection. So my pool does not automatically expel water when it gets too high. I have to open a valve and the excess gets pumped from the skimmer out a water hose coming from the pump area that I buried going out my back fence. So, the top level of excess water (whcih contains the highest concentration of CYA I think) does not get expelled very often.

I may take your recommendation and pump 2 or 3 inches off the top once a month, unless I switch to LC.

Thx for your help!

Mark

#22 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:29 PM

Mark,

You can have a higher level of stabilizer, around 70-80 ppm, that will protect your chlorine longer from breakdown by sunlight, but the chlorine will still break down. You'd have to use algaecide weekly or a phosphate remover or maintain an FC level of around 6 ppm minimum to prevent algae growth (with the algaecide or phosphate remover, the FC can be lower). Perhaps you could go 3 days between chlorine additions, but if you wanted to add chlorine only once a week, you'd have to have significant swings in chlorine. The only way to avoid this is with a pool cover or an automatic dosing system (for example, The Liquidator). Unfortunately, there is no slow-release form of chlorine that doesn't add something else. Trichlor adds CYA and the slow-release Cal-Hypo tabs add to Calcium Hardness (CH) and also tend to break down quickly near the end (when they're small) and leave some residue (binders).

CYA is fairly evenly distributed in the pool water. People have measured it at various depths and it is NOT stronger at the surface or at depths. It is fully dissolved and just like any other dissolved chemicals, the concentration is the same throughout, especially with regular circulation.

If you use an algaecide (at extra cost), then you can operate with a lower FC and higher CYA which will use less chlorine daily. So you will still build up CYA, but perhaps not as quickly. If you can get your chlorine usage down to 1 ppm FC per day, then this builds up CYA at 18 ppm in a month so would require an 18% dilution of the water (almost 10" if average pool depth is 4.5 feet) every month to keep the CYA at 80 ppm. That's still a lot of water to replace regularly. In my own pool 6 years ago, my CYA went from 30 ppm to 150 ppm in 11 "in-season" months (over 1-1/2 years) and I only had a very low 0.8 ppm FC per day chlorine usage with an opaque pool cover and a cartridge filter. I switched to using 12.5% chlorinating liquid after that and add it twice a week -- no big deal and my chemical cost is only around $15 per month for a 16,000 gallon pool.

Richard

#23 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 29 April 2009 - 07:50 AM

Ok I think I starting to get it. I am gunna give LC a try and buy The Liquidator. Does anyone know where I can actually buy one?



#24 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 April 2009 - 08:07 AM

QUOTE (mark6437 @ Apr 29 2009, 08:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok I think I starting to get it. I am gunna give LC a try and buy The Liquidator. Does anyone know where I can actually buy one?

You can read more about The Liquidator and where to purchase it here. Note that it works well for some people, but for others it builds up calcium carbonate scale at its output valve assembly. It is possible that using 50 ppm Borates in the water can help prevent the pH rise (especially locally in The Liquidator itself) that makes this problem worse. Also, you will still need to buy and carry chlorinating liquid (or bleach) home to refill it.

The main reason that saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools are so common these days is that you don't have to add any chlorine (since it's generated using salt from the pool water) so they are less maintenance. They have their own issues, but most can be mitigated.

Richard

#25 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 29 April 2009 - 08:46 AM

Richard thx ALOT for all your help. I have been fighting this CYA build up for years. Its driving me insane.

I know I asked this before but can you give me a basic answer on this (i am an idiot when it comes to pool chemistry)

If I add LC myself cant I just maintain a proper level of stabilizer (by adding it) and not have to add the LC every day? If I dont buy The Liquidator that is.

THX!

Mark


#26 rbdeli

rbdeli

    SPAMMER

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 146 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:50 PM

I followed Richard's advise a year ago. My CYA was very high, causing me to need unreasonably high chlorine levels. The Puck chlorinator is now turned off permanently. I use liquid bleach exclusively. The pool store lady told me the same thing,
"Liquid bleach is too messy. It will raise your TDS levels" But she said nothing about the way her store products raised my CYA out of control.

Last year, I drained about 6 inches of my pool and refilled every 2 days for the entire last 2 months of the summer. The CYA is at a fairly reasonable amount now and I plan to lower it more this summer with more frequent drainings and refills.

Rob






QUOTE (chem geek @ Apr 27 2009, 12:42 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ari,

First of all, you should definitely get a good test kit and I would recommend either the Taylor K-2006 you can get at a good online price here or the TF100 test kit from tftestkits.net here with the latter kit having 36% more volume of reagents so less expensive "per test".

If your pool is exposed to direct sunlight, even if partially filtered by a screen, you will want to have the CYA level up a bit. You always want at least some CYA in the water to moderate chlorine's power, but in your case you might want as much as 60-80 ppm CYA -- I'd start with 50 ppm and see how things go with chlorine consumption/usage. However, you will need to maintain a higher Free Chlorine (FC) level to prevent algae growth unless you want to go the route of always adding a maintenance dose of a phosphate remover (at extra cost). You could go either way -- up to you. Read up at the Pool School, especially the chlorine/CYA chart, if you don't plan to use an algaecide or phosphate remover.

You are correct that the Cal-Hypo will build up your Calcium Hardness (CH). So using chlorinating liquid (or bleach) is your best bet, at least as your primary source of chlorine. You can always use Cal-Hypo when you want to raise your CH and you can always use Trichlor or Dichlor if you want to raise your CYA. If you need to raise your CYA more quickly, then you can either dissolve CYA in a skimmer sock in your skimmer or have it get caught in the filter and don't backwash (though this takes longer to dissolve). If you use Dichlor, then this dissolves quickly, but it also adds chlorine so you can only dose this at the rate you use chlorine. For every 10 ppm FC added by Dichlor, it also increases CYA by 9 ppm. If you are going to add a lot of CYA and need to do so soon, then adding pure CYA via the skimmer is the best way to go. If you use a skimmer sock or old T-shirt, then that has it dissolve pretty quickly -- just make sure you have other sources of flow to your pump such as main drains or a bypass in the skimmer since the CYA in the skimmer sock or T-shirt will clog the flow until it dissolves. Another alternative is to put the CYA in a sock or panty hose and hang it over a return flow.

Note that you do get some dilution from cleaning your DE filter, though perhaps not as much as those that backwash weekly with a sand filter, though definitely more than those who have a cartridge filter. You also may get dilution from rains, if they overflow the pool water (if they just raise the level a bit that then evaporates, then nothing changes chemically).

I'm not so sure how they say you can only add chlorine once every 5 days unless your pool doesn't really get much sun. With an uncovered pool in direct sunlight and without a pool cover, you usually have to add some chlorine every day or two unless you don't mind large FC swings.

As for the pH, you can have it be very stable if you lower the TA level. Chlorinating liquid, bleach, Cal-Hypo and lithium hypochlorite are all close to pH neutral when accounting for chlorine usage/consumption because such usage/consumption is an acidic process the compensates for the initial pH rise upon addition (a technical explanation of this is here). My pool's pH is very stable and I add 1 ppm FC per day of 12.5% chlorinating liquid (added about twice a week because I have an opaque electric pool safety cover). Just note that if you use bleach instead of chlorinating liquid, that Clorox regular unscented has the lowest "excess lye" whereas most off-brand Ultra bleaches have more so have a higher pH which will cause a slow pH rise over time. Chlorinating liquid also has some excess lye, roughly between Clorox and Ultra bleaches (relative to FC amount).

Shocking the pool is not necessary if you keep your levels well maintained. Last year, I don't think I had to shock the pool even once.

Richard


<spam link removed>
10,500 GAL fiberglass, 1.5HP Pump, Sta Rite Sand Filter

#27 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 April 2009 - 04:39 PM

QUOTE (mark6437 @ Apr 29 2009, 09:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Richard thx ALOT for all your help. I have been fighting this CYA build up for years. Its driving me insane.

I know I asked this before but can you give me a basic answer on this (i am an idiot when it comes to pool chemistry)

If I add LC myself cant I just maintain a proper level of stabilizer (by adding it) and not have to add the LC every day? If I dont buy The Liquidator that is.

THX!

Mark

Mark,

The reason you need to add LC frequently isn't to add more stabilizer. As you point out, you can add that initially either using pure CYA or using Dichlor (or Trichlor tabs, though that takes too long) so your stabilizer level will be maintained even if you didn't add any LC. The reason for frequent LC addition is to get chlorine. With Trichlor tabs, they slowly release BOTH CYA and chlorine. That's why you don't need to add chlorine every day when using Trichlor -- the Trichlor is adding chlorine continuously as the tablets dissolve. Chlorine gets used up when exposed to sunlight and to bather load while CYA doesn't, but chlorine is what you have to have in the pool water to sanitize it.

Richard

#28 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 30 April 2009 - 08:03 AM

Rob, how are you adding the LC? With an automation system or by hand everyday?
Is it easy to mess up and add too much LC? I dont wanna gas my kids one day.

Thx
Mark


#29 Ari

Ari

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 02 May 2009 - 05:34 AM

Hi Richard, thanks very much for your informative replies, I took your advice and bought the best (read most expensive smile.gif ) Taylor kit, and have so far tested FC, PH, CYA, CH and TA. I find the CYA test a little imprecise as I don't know whether to stop adding the sample when the black dot is pretty much gone with just the faintest hint visible, or completely gone to where you cannot make it out at all. If completely gone, looks like im right around 50ppm, which I guess is pretty good, if it drops I'll use tabs for a few week to get it back in the 50-70 range?

It's interesting about the Ph test, prior to getting the taylor kit, my strips had seemingly been reading slightly low for PH these past few days, which I didn't fully believe as I have heard new pools tend to have higher Ph and need acid fairly often to lower it, and yet, my first liquid test today showed the ph to be slightly high, very different from what the strips were telling me, so, I added a little acid which brought it to a pretty ideal 7.4-5 or so.

Here's where I'm still a little confused though.

I added half a jug, ie. 1.25 gallons of 10.5% liquid chlorine a few days ago, and it brought my TC and FC levels very high, and, despite about 3 sunny days since, the FC is still reading very high. Since the Taylor kit only tests to 5ppm, I can tell you it's at least 5, looks like an even deeper pink than the max. of 5ppm, my strips are showing it might be as high as 10ppm. I did put 2 3" tabs in the in line a few days ago as well, but only set it to 2, I was wanting to keep some chlorine in the pool, since I was under the impressiuon the 1/2 jug of LC I added would dissapate in just a couple of days, but, here I am around 3 sunny days later, and the FC is still at least 5ppm, I do know that I should stop the tabs if and when the CYA level rises to maybe 70 or so.

So, here are my questions: smile.gif

If my CYA level is hovering around 50, is it OK to add 1.25 gallons of LC maybe twice a week, even if my FC reads greater than 5 ppm for a day or 2, and I make sure it never falls below 3ppm? At what ppm should I add new chlorine? I know some literature says it can safely get as low as 1ppm, but it seems to me to be safe, 3ppm is a good minimum, what do you all think?

I would ideally like to add half a jug 2 times a week give or take, if this keeps my FC between 3 and 6ppm, is there any problem with this, with my CYA levels around 50-70?

Am I going to always have to add acid after I add LC? Most stores push muriatic, but one store guy said he prefers sulphuric?

Where should my TA be, right now it's 90ppm, sounds pretty good?

I know if my pH is slightly high, I can just add a cup or so of acid to bring it down, but what's the best thing to use to raise the pH without resorting to adding LC, since the FC might already be on the high side?

The strips say my TH is around 250, low side of normal, my Taylor says my CH is about 220 ppm, should I maybe shock with 2 lbs/ (15,000 gallons) cal-hypo once every 2 weeks until the Ch gets to maybe 250 or so? Where exactly should my Ch be, and, what's the best way to get it there? Is there any reason to NOT add calcium to a 6 month old pool?

I'm sorry for all the questions, my first pool, don't want to do anything wrong smile.gif , and I feel like I'm getting there, I've only been caring for it myself for a few weeks, and now that I have an accurate test kit, I feel like I'll be OK very soon, but any and all info pertaining to the above questions would really help, and is much appreciated!

Ari

#30 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 02 May 2009 - 07:38 AM

Ari,

You should view the CYA test outdoors with the sun behind you so that you shade the tube with your body (if it's overcast, then it doesn't matter). Take a look at the pictures in this link to get an idea of what to look for in terms of the black dot disappearing. It should not be visible, but if you think you can't see it but are not sure, that's probably where to stop (if you add more liquid to the tube and it doesn't appear to change, then you did indeed go far enough).

Since your chlorine kit will only measure to 5 ppm, it sounds like you got the Taylor K-2005 which is NOT the one I recommend. If you've read the posts on this forum, you would see that what is recommended is the Taylor K-2006 test kit you can get at a good online price here or the TF100 test kit from tftestkits.net here with the latter kit having 36% more volume of reagents so is less expensive "per test". Since you've already got the K-2005, you can just get the FAS-DPD chlorine test here. This FAS-DPD test will measure accurately to within 0.2 ppm and can measure up to 50 ppm.

Test strips are not usually accurate and they can't measure Calcium Hardness (they only measure Total Hardness). I would trust the pH in your Taylor kit. You are correct that new plaster curing makes the pH rise as well as increasing the CH somewhat, but after 6 months this has probably slowed down significantly. You may still notice it up to a year, but it's the first months that are the most extreme.

As for what level of chlorine to maintain, you can look at the Chlorine / CYA Chart at the Pool School and should just read the Pool School articles to learn how to maintain your pool. If you have a pool cover, then you can usually just add chlorine twice a week, but without a pool cover you usually have to add chlorine every day or two. It's possible you only have to add it twice a week, but usually sunlight will break down the chlorine faster than that unless the CYA is higher (70-80 ppm) in which case you need to maintain a higher FC level to prevent algae growth.

If you wanted to have a lower FC level and use less chlorine, then you could add a supplemental algaecide (PolyQuat 60) weekly or use a phosphate remover, both at extra cost, to prevent algae, though as I said if you maintain the proper FC/CYA ratio then you can prevent algae growth using chlorine alone.

You can use The Pool Calculator to figure out dosing and to calculate the saturation index which will tell you if you need to adjust CH or other parameters. The saturation index is a little low so you could raise the CH to 300-350 ppm, but if your plaster is still curing then the CH may go up a little anyway. Also, remember that evaporation and refill will increase the TA and CH in your pool over time because the TA and CH in your fill water get added to that in the pool (evaporation only removes water).

Richard

#31 Ari

Ari

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 05 May 2009 - 07:24 AM

Hi Richard, when you said I can keep my pH stable by lowering TA, how low is low? Right now, it's hovering around 80-90, and it seems to be actually getting lower over time, definitely doesn't appear to be going up, though I would guess it will rise a bit when I add some more LC, since the pH is around 13?

Do the periodic additions of acid to lower pH also lower TA in a meaningful, lasting way? I do find I need to add a little acid every day or 2 to keep the pH at the 7.4-7.6 range.

Would you say I should get my TA up to maybe 100 or so?

Also, most pool stores and most people seem to suggest muriatic acid for pH control, but one pool store suggests sulfuric, any thoughts on that?

Thanks, Ari

#32 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:37 PM

Ari,

When adding chlorinating liquid or bleach the pH rises upon addition, but it falls again after the chlorine is consumed since that is an acidic process. It is close to pH neutral over time IF the TA isn't too high. The TA should only be getting lower if you are adding acid to the pool, including use of Trichlor (or Dichlor) which is net acidic.

If you need to add acid every day or two to keep the pH from rising too much, then your TA is too high. Let it drop to 70 ppm as it will over time from acid addition and see how that works for you. If necessary for a plaster pool, you can raise the CH level to keep the saturation index near zero.

Do NOT raise your TA when your pool's pH tends to rise over time. The higher TA will only make that problem worse. Also, you can target a slightly higher pH range of 7.5 to 7.7 instead of 7.4 to 7.6 which should also help reduce the rate of pH rise.

Muriatic Acid is better because it does not add sulfates to the pool -- it only adds chloride. Dry acid (sodium bisulfate) and sulfuric acid both add to sulfates -- not a horrible thing but higher sulfates plus the magnesium in the pool can be harsh on stone and cement since magnesium sulfate has extremely high salt recrystallization pressure.

Richard

#33 Ari

Ari

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10 posts

Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:53 AM

QUOTE (chem geek @ May 5 2009, 10:37 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ari,

When adding chlorinating liquid or bleach the pH rises upon addition, but it falls again after the chlorine is consumed since that is an acidic process. It is close to pH neutral over time IF the TA isn't too high. The TA should only be getting lower if you are adding acid to the pool, including use of Trichlor (or Dichlor) which is net acidic.

If you need to add acid every day or two to keep the pH from rising too much, then your TA is too high. Let it drop to 70 ppm as it will over time from acid addition and see how that works for you. If necessary for a plaster pool, you can raise the CH level to keep the saturation index near zero.

Do NOT raise your TA when your pool's pH tends to rise over time. The higher TA will only make that problem worse. Also, you can target a slightly higher pH range of 7.5 to 7.7 instead of 7.4 to 7.6 which should also help reduce the rate of pH rise.

Muriatic Acid is better because it does not add sulfates to the pool -- it only adds chloride. Dry acid (sodium bisulfate) and sulfuric acid both add to sulfates -- not a horrible thing but higher sulfates plus the magnesium in the pool can be harsh on stone and cement since magnesium sulfate has extremely high salt recrystallization pressure.

Richard


Hi Richard, once again thank you for your vast experience and willingness to help out us newbies, so we may take good care of our considerable aquatic investments. smile.gif

Now, I think I'm on the verge of understanding at least some of this, then again, I've been on the verge before, but sometimes only of looking foolish, so, let's see which one it is this time. smile.gif

TA from what I've been reading is usually said to be good in the 80 to 120 range, mine was between 80 and 90, at the low side of normal. You said that if I'm seeing the ph rising consistantly, I should lower the TA to maybe 70 or so, and I can compensate by upping the CH a bit, right now, CH is at 220, maybe get it to 250? Then again, keep in mind the pool was finished only 4-5 months back, so, I expect the pool to at least add a little more CH (and other alkaline substances) to the water in time, and don't new pools tend to cause the ph to rise for a while until they're broken in so to speak? Is it that my TA is too high, or is it the new pool syndrome raising the ph, or, it is what it is?

EDITED TO ADD: As I have been reading, aside from my plaster pool being newish, I also run my pump, and 3 spills a lot, maybe on average 12 hours a day, and apparently, this aeration is contributing to my ph rising a bit each day? Another reason to lower TA to 70 and see if the ph is more stable?

Richard, are you saying that if I lower my TA to 70, instead of needing to add acid every 3 days or so to stay in the 7.4-7.6 range, I might only need to add acid once a week or even once every 2 weeks, is this possible just by lowering TA 10-20 ppm?


Is the following correct?

Your ph, in part, is the result of a battle, or stasis, between the very low ph of the acid you add periodically, and the alkaline substances you add, or are added by your pool/elements, ie plaster, rain, tap water, etc.

When you add LC, though it's high ph does make the water temporarily more alkaline with a rise in ph, it is only temporary, the long term TA and ph are relatively unaffected by the periodic additions of LC, is that true for the most part? So, for example, if you want or need to add LC, you can add it, even if your ph is already 7.6, and you do see a spike in ph, to maybe 7.8 or so? Or, if you do, should you add acid anyway to bring it down to 7.5, or just wait a day or 2 for it to happen naturally? How long does a LC ph rise last, and could it last long enough to damage the pool, with a high ph?

While the temp. ph and alkalinity rise you get when you add LC is short lived, when you add acid to lower ph, does that acid stay active in the water long term, unlike LC, in other words, as you add the acid over time, does it build up and stay in the water as a ph and alkalinity reducer, or, like LC, does the acid only lower ph and alkalinity temporarily? Is is fair to say you have to keep adding LC because the sun (and contaminants) consume it, but, you have to keep adding acid not because it gets consumed, but because the pool, and the elements are constantly adding alkaline substances which are what's raising your ph over time, and the acid is required to counteract this?

Why would my pool need a lower than normal TA, is it because it being a new pool, there are a lot of substances it's giving to the water that are adding to TA and thus raising ph? If true, then as my pool gets some time behind it, I would see the ph start to not rise as much, which means my TA is naturally lower and not increasing, and then I could bring it up with SB to a middle range of say 100 or so?

I recall the pool company saying that new pools do tend to have high ph for a while, the impression I got from them was I should just add acid as neccessary to keep the ph in the correct range and that in time, the ph of the water would not rise as much or as quickly. I also had the impression, which I'm now thinking was false, based on what you're saying, that you add acid to compensate for the ph rise the LC gives, when if I now understand correctly, the acid you add isn't really about the LC, but rather because your pool is giving off alkaline (high ph) substances that are raising TA and PH, is this true?

So, is lowering my TA as you suggested, in effect, a temp. measure to compensate for my newish pool adding things to the water that are raising the TA naturally, and thus the ph rises quickly? How are TA and PH related exactly, maybe that's where I'm not quite getting this. Does more CH in the water act like TA as an acid neutralizer/buffer and ph stabilizer? Is that why you said if i lower my TA, I could add calcium to compensate, does the calcium act just like TA, as an acid/ph buffer? What's the ph of calcium?

And finally, if I can keep my TA right around 80-90, my CH around 250, my FC around 5-6, my CYA around 50 and my ph right in the 7.4-7.6 range, aside from the added expense of paying for a little extra acid, is there anything dangerous for the pool if the only issue is I have to add some acid every 2-3 days to keep the ph between 7.4-7.6?

I'm sorry for so many questions, I do read lots of posts, and other info on the net, but, little of it helps me as much as having my questions answered directly, I hope you can bear with me, I think i'm pretty close to getting a handle on it all, and thus I expect the questions will dissapate faster than unstabilized LC in the sun. smile.gif

#34 txpoolguy

txpoolguy

    Hot Tub Aficionado

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 389 posts

Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:08 PM

I really hesitated to stick my nose into this conversation, as I can admit, my eyes are starting to roll back in my head, but I can imagine how it hits the avg. homeowner. Collectively, our goal is to help the pool owners keep their pools in good shape for the least amount of effort possible. All of the comments above are solid and I would not take anything from them. If I'm repeating what's been said already, I do beg your pardon.

Having been in the pool industry in multiple aspects for 25+ years (cleaning, service, building, mfg, service, service, etc., I find that although the principles of chemistry will always be the same, there are some necessary differences, geographically, in the application of the principles.

IMHO, in Texas, it's far more demanding on the consumer to try to maintain good water chemistry (and no algae) without CYA and without stabilized chlorine. In pools with a FC of 2.0, pH of 7.4, TA of 90ppm, you will still grow algae, period. Having worked with chlorine, bromine, ECG, etc., the CYA increase is a factor that we simply deal with because it's easier and cheaper than the alternatives. Large (300-500 sq. ft.) cartridge filters have become more popular (probably 60+% of new construction). There is not as much normal dilution, although often pool are built with "overflows" so rainwater does dilute the water as well. This is a factor, usually in the spring rainy season. and is a factor with salt levels for ECG as well. While draining the pool partially is not desirable, it is not wholly undesirable either. It is simply another way of achieving dilution, and does not have to be painful. I suspect that Mark may have low bather load, no overflow, and wih the cart. filter, has no normal way to dilute. Keep in mind, that draining the pool partially once per year, is likely replacing less water than backwashing throughout that same year, but will have the same diluting effect.

I've become a believer in phospate removers, not as a magic bullet, but as a major factor in controlling algae, since algae growth is usually followed by undesirable & expensive large doses of chlorine. We have huge and consistent phosphate levels in Texas, and south Texas is worse than N. Texas where I live. Since we work heavily with ECG now, I've seen the PRs make a night & day difference in ease of maintenance, for both salt users and non. Maintenance dosages are very good, and often the PRs are cheaper and more effective than algaecides, per dose and are certainly less expensive than chlorine. I can't imagine trying to maintain my personal pool with unstabilized CL. The biggest reason that liquid chlorine is rarely used in Texas is specifically because it's unstabilized.

Again IMHO, Trichlor tabs, cal hypo shock, muriatic acid and phospate remover is the way to go, or an ECG to replace the Trichlor and Calhypo. I may have to dilute the CYA and CH once every 12-15 months, but it's just not that hard.

Again, I do not wish to undermine any of your responses, as your education outweighs mine, but I think sometimes we get too deep for our audience?


#35 mark6437

mark6437

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts

Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:05 PM

QUOTE (txpoolguy @ May 6 2009, 06:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I really hesitated to stick my nose into this conversation, as I can admit, my eyes are starting to roll back in my head, but I can imagine how it hits the avg. homeowner. Collectively, our goal is to help the pool owners keep their pools in good shape for the least amount of effort possible. All of the comments above are solid and I would not take anything from them. If I'm repeating what's been said already, I do beg your pardon.

Having been in the pool industry in multiple aspects for 25+ years (cleaning, service, building, mfg, service, service, etc., I find that although the principles of chemistry will always be the same, there are some necessary differences, geographically, in the application of the principles.

IMHO, in Texas, it's far more demanding on the consumer to try to maintain good water chemistry (and no algae) without CYA and without stabilized chlorine. In pools with a FC of 2.0, pH of 7.4, TA of 90ppm, you will still grow algae, period. Having worked with chlorine, bromine, ECG, etc., the CYA increase is a factor that we simply deal with because it's easier and cheaper than the alternatives. Large (300-500 sq. ft.) cartridge filters have become more popular (probably 60+% of new construction). There is not as much normal dilution, although often pool are built with "overflows" so rainwater does dilute the water as well. This is a factor, usually in the spring rainy season. and is a factor with salt levels for ECG as well. While draining the pool partially is not desirable, it is not wholly undesirable either. It is simply another way of achieving dilution, and does not have to be painful. I suspect that Mark may have low bather load, no overflow, and wih the cart. filter, has no normal way to dilute. Keep in mind, that draining the pool partially once per year, is likely replacing less water than backwashing throughout that same year, but will have the same diluting effect.

I've become a believer in phospate removers, not as a magic bullet, but as a major factor in controlling algae, since algae growth is usually followed by undesirable & expensive large doses of chlorine. We have huge and consistent phosphate levels in Texas, and south Texas is worse than N. Texas where I live. Since we work heavily with ECG now, I've seen the PRs make a night & day difference in ease of maintenance, for both salt users and non. Maintenance dosages are very good, and often the PRs are cheaper and more effective than algaecides, per dose and are certainly less expensive than chlorine. I can't imagine trying to maintain my personal pool with unstabilized CL. The biggest reason that liquid chlorine is rarely used in Texas is specifically because it's unstabilized.

Again IMHO, Trichlor tabs, cal hypo shock, muriatic acid and phospate remover is the way to go, or an ECG to replace the Trichlor and Calhypo. I may have to dilute the CYA and CH once every 12-15 months, but it's just not that hard.

Again, I do not wish to undermine any of your responses, as your education outweighs mine, but I think sometimes we get too deep for our audience?



I agree with what you are saying but, I have to drain my pool every 3 to 4 months. Not 12. Right now I am sitting at 80ppm CYA. I was at 100ppm. I did a half drain and I am only down to 80ppm. I will be back up to 100ppm or more in no time. I am looking for a wy to fix this problem permanently. I do not know what that is yet. Dumping a gallon or so of LC in my pool everyday is not what I wanna do though. I may get a SWG but I am just not sure yet.

Mark


#36 PaulR

PaulR

    Hot Tub Aficionado

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 429 posts

Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:59 AM

QUOTE (mark6437 @ May 6 2009, 06:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I was at 100ppm. I did a half drain and I am only down to 80ppm.

If it was really a half drain, then you were at 160 not 100. The usual test doesn't go higher than 100, you could have 300 and it would look like 100.

The way to keep CYA from increasing is never ever add stabilizer or stabilized chlorine. Bleach or liquid chlorine only. The stabilizer doesn't go away or get used up; it's there essentially permanently.
--paulr

#37 Dr. Hot Tub

Dr. Hot Tub

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:00 AM

Does anyone by chance have any links or info on what a high CYA level does to Liver function?

#38 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:02 AM

Ari,

Thanks for reminding me that your pool was freshly plastered only 3-4 months ago. Yes, that probably means your plaster is still curing somewhat and that means that the Calcium Hardness (CH) and pH will rise since curing adds calcium hydroxide into the pool. At typical pool conditions with a TA at 80 ppm, a 10 ppm increase in CH from curing would have the pH rise from 7.5 to 8.4 (you would add acid before letting it get that far). So the rise in CH is slower to see than the pH, but would be noticeable over time. Curing is greatest in the first weeks and months and slows down rapidly in that timeframe, but may still be noticeable up to a year, sometimes a little bit up to two (after that, it still is curing but is so slow that it isn't a noticeable factor). In this situation, lowering the TA too much would make the pH less stable so most likely you wouldn't lower below around 80 ppm at this point and would just deal with having to add acid fairly regularly to control pH. Adding 50 ppm Borates to the pool is an option for having another pH buffer in which case you could have the TA lower, to 60 or 70 ppm, but with a higher CH to compensate. See The Pool Calculator to calculate dosing and the saturation index which you want roughly near zero.

You are absolutely right about your increases aeration making the pH problem worse and that a lower TA would help. So perhaps going the Borates route is your best bet since long term you do have a pH rising tendency and the use of Borates can let you safely have a rather low TA (again, compensating with a higher CH to have the saturation index be near zero). Just note that if you have a lot of evaporation and refill and your fill water is high in TA, then it can be hard to keep the TA low without use of a pool cover (and if you had a pool cover then the need for a lower TA is lessened in the first place). Just keep in mind that there isn't a single TA level "answer" for everyone -- just remember that if the pool tends to have the pH rise over time then a lower TA can help reduce that because TA is not just a pH buffer but a SOURCE of rising pH itself from carbon dioxide outgassing. This outgassing effect, with its pH rise, is worse at lower pH, higher TA and with greater aeration.

You do NOT lower the TA to 10-20. I'd never go below 50 ppm and we've never seen a single pool need anything lower than that even under extreme aeration conditions. For plaster pools you want to saturate the water with calcium carbonate so you do want some TA in the water. Though you can balance the lower TA with a higher CH, things get pretty whacky if you get the TA so low since 1) the pH buffering is very low (unless you also use borates) and 2) there is too much sensitivity to small TA changes and 3) about 1/3rd of the CYA level (at pH 7.5) contributes to TA with the rest being mostly bicarbonate. Also keep in mind that the "lower TA" is only appropriate when using net-pH-neutral sources of chlorine, specifically the hypochlorites (bleach, chlorinating liquid, Cal-Hypo, lithium hypochlorite). With net-acidic sources of chlorine such as Trichlor and Dichlor, you need a higher TA so that the outgassing effect counteracts the acidity from the net chlorine usage so that the pH is roughly stable.

Your analysis is correct about the hypochlorite sources of chlorine (including LC -- bleach and chlorinating liquid). If you have your TA set right (i.e. not too high), then over time the pH and TA are both stable. If there is a lot of evaporation and refill, then the TA and CH will rise from whatever is in the fill water since evaporation only removes water and nothing else. If there is water dilution from regular backwashing, then everything gets diluted down towards the levels in the fill water. The pH in my pool is very stable. The TA slowly rises over an entire summer season due to some evaporation and refill (in spite of a pool cover -- the pool is used every day for 1-2 hours). As for how long the pH rise lasts from the chlorine addition, it is directly related to the change in FC level so depends on how long the FC is higher. If I use an example of 70 ppm TA with 30 ppm CYA and no Borates, then if I increase the FC by 4 ppm, the pH rises from 7.5 to 7.73. as the FC drops back down, the pH drops as well. So you don't try and fight such small pH changes and let things naturally settle out. You only add acid for the "trend" if the pH is rising. Just measure the pH when the FC is at roughly the same level as that is easiest.

Just note that some bleaches and chlorinating liquid have more "excess lye" than others so would be an additional source of a slow pH rise over time. Clorox Regular bleach has the smallest amount of excess lye making essentially no additional pH rise effect. Off-brand Ultra bleaches have much more excess lye and most chlorinating liquid is in between. These effects are on the order of a 0.1 pH rise over 1-4 weeks (with no borates), depending on daily FC usage so not huge.

The pH rise effect from LC is temporary only because the added LC itself is temporary. That is, the FC rise is temporary because sunlight breaks down chlorine and the chlorine also is oxidizing organics (especially in higher bather load pools -- in most residential pools open to the sun, its sunlight that consumes the most chlorine). The effect of acid is permanent. The rise in pH when using LC is almost all due to outgassing of carbon dioxide, except as you noted when a pool has curing plaster. There aren't very many "other" sources of rising pH unless you are explicitly adding such chemicals such as pH Up (sodium carbonate).

After your pool's curing settles down, I would NOT raise the TA to 100 as you suggest because the aeration from the spillovers would likely still have your pH rise over time if using LC. You would only have a higher TA if you were using acidic sources of chlorine (e.g. Trichlor tabs/pucks) in which case the TA would likely need to be 120 ppm or more (and the CH a little lower to have the saturation index be near zero).

So, lowering the TA helps reduce the rate of pH rise from outgassing of carbon dioxide. It does not help the pH rise from curing plaster, though a very high TA would simply add to the effect of rising pH making it worse. It's hard to say where the "sweet spot" is for TA when plaster is curing, but I'd say not to go above 80 ppm if you've got aeration. Just add acid to keep the pH in the normal range while plaster cures; there really isn't any way around that. Even using borates will slow down the rate of pH rise, but it won't reduce the amount of acid needed per time -- it just changes from many smaller acid additions to less frequent larger acid additions.

CH has nothing to do with pH or TA. The only reason I brought up CH relative to lowering TA was for the saturation index so that the water remains saturated with calcium carbonate. The reason this is done is to protected plaster surfaces so they don't dissolve since calcium carbonate would otherwise dissolve in water. Pool plaster is partly made from limestone which is calcium carbonate, and even the harder calcium silicates that are formed after curing are affected by the calcium level in the pool. So long as you keep the saturation index near zero, there is nothing "dangerous" in the pool -- but your example numbers have a saturation index of around -0.2 which isn't horrible, but you might as well shoot for a CH of 350 ppm long-term if that's the TA level you will consistently have.

Feel free to ask whatever you like. That's the purpose of these forums -- to share information.

Richard


#39 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:34 AM

txpoolguy,

I agree with you that most people don't care about the chemistry and just want to know, simply, what to do with their pools. However, others are curious or want more detail. Those that don't want to read a post with detail can just skip it.

I think you may have a misunderstanding because no one is saying to use unstabilized chlorine and have no or very low CYA in the water. In very hot climates with lots of direct sunlight such as parts of Texas and desert areas like Arizona, one can certainly use a higher CYA level of 80 ppm to protect the chlorine from more rapid breakdown in sunlight. In fact, there is one pool service in such areas (Texas, Arizona, Nevada, southern Calif.) that has the CYA at 100 ppm in their serviced pools and adds chlorine weekly going to 14 ppm. With the high CYA, the FC drops slowly to 3-5 ppm after a week. They use either chlorinating liquid or chlorine gas or a combination as their source of chlorine and none of their thousands of serviced pools get algae. They don't use any supplemental algaecides or phosphate remover. I'm not saying this is a great approach (though it does work) and if someone really wanted to do this then I'd recommend using 50 ppm Borates to keep the pH swings to a minimum, but it is a practical way to go if only servicing a pool once a week.

In other words, you can increase the CYA level in new water separately from the issue of using Trichlor vs. chlorinating liquid. Just because one uses chorinating liquid does not mean they can't have higher CYA levels in the water. You just have to be sure to not let the FC drop too low. It's ONE approach -- not the ONLY approach. What you mention, using a phosphate remover, is another approach where you don't care about the CYA level, though going way above 100 ppm will slow down oxidation of organics in the pool to the point where one would need to either shock the pool with higher FC (if not maintaining a higher FC overall) or use a non-chlorine shock to supplement oxidation. It sounds like you deal with this via dilution to keep the CYA in check.

In my own pool 6 years ago, I used Trichlor pucks in a floating feeder and my CYA rose from 30 to 150 ppm in 1-1/2 seasons (11 months of "in-season" use). My daily FC usage was low at around 0.7-0.8 ppm per day and I have an opaque electric safety cover. I also have a cartridge filter. So it doesn't take long for the CYA to rise. I was even using PolyQuat 60 algaecide, but only every other week. My pool started to get a higher chlorine demand which made it harder to keep up with the chlorine tabs. The pool started to turn dull. I was getting a nascent algae bloom, though no one at multiple pool stores knew what was going on, though had many suggestions for extra chemicals to help out -- from clarifiers, to shock, etc. That's when I decided to figure out pool water chemistry since chem/physics was my major in college.

I now use only 12.5% chlorinating liquid from my local pool store. They charge a decent price and they reuse the gallon bottles which is better than recycling. For my 16,000 gallon pool and around 1 ppm FC daily usage, this costs me around $15 per month. That's it. I add a small amount of acid about once every month or two. With my pool cover, I'm able to add chlorine just twice a week. It doesn't get much cheaper or simpler than that. And my pool has 2000-3000 ppb phosphates and my fill water has 300-500 ppb phosphates and fertilized soil gets into the pool at times (in spite of the cover -- comes in at the slightly open edge when the gardeners work). I just this year added 50 ppm Borates so will see if the chlorine usage drops at all (from the borates being a mild algaecide) and if the pool is better protected against algae if the chlorine drops too low. With a "well fertilized" pool, such as mine, it's pretty unforgiving if the chlorine gets too low (FC < 5% of CYA). I didn't have a single problem for years, but this year upon opening I didn't add enough chlorine as the water warmed up (I waited a full week) and got soil bacteria to convert the CYA into ammonia in a matter of days and that took a lot of chlorine to "fix". So having supplemental algaecide, borates, or phosphate remover should slow down or prevent that sort of situation -- we'll see at the end of this season when I'll do an experiment intentionally letting the chlorine get to zero and seeing how long it takes for things to start going wrong now that I've got borates in the water.

I now dilute the water with winter rains (after a few years of not doing that to see what around 1800 ppm salt levels were like) and I agree with you that this is good to do. I do this to keep the salt level down (to around 800-1200 ppm), but also to refresh the water since not all chemicals break down with chlorine or even with non-chlorine shock.

Bottom line, what you describe is another approach and I don't disagree with it working. But if one wants to minimize the amount of needed water replacement, then one can do that by not using so much stabilized chlorine. For some this works out OK, but I agree that without automation of chlorine addition, it's not as easy as having Trichlor pucks in a floating feeder or inline chlorinator. A saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pool is easiest, but has its own issues that need to be mitigated that I won't get into here.

Richard

#40 chem geek

chem geek

    Wizard of Water

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,843 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:39 AM

QUOTE (Dr. Hot Tub @ May 7 2009, 08:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone by chance have any links or info on what a high CYA level does to Liver function?

This link gives the info you are looking for, but basically skin absorption is minimal (5 g/kg/day) and levels for first symptoms is pretty high (600 mg/kg/day). You couldn't even drink enough pool water high in CYA to get the daily amount to see any effects.

#41 Dr. Hot Tub

Dr. Hot Tub

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:46 AM

QUOTE (chem geek @ May 7 2009, 11:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Dr. Hot Tub @ May 7 2009, 08:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does anyone by chance have any links or info on what a high CYA level does to Liver function?

This link gives the info you are looking for, but basically skin absorption is minimal (5 g/kg/day) and levels for first symptoms is pretty high (600 mg/kg/day). You couldn't even drink enough pool water high in CYA to get the daily amount to see any effects.


Thanks.. I have new computer and lost all of my data. There are a few other medical studies going on and I have not relocated them. Thanks for the new link.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


    Bing (1)

website security