help! chlorine and ph levels!

dcstevens78May 5, 2010

I am new to pools. I just fired my pool guy because i took my water in to get testest and the results were horrible! I knew there was something wrong my the strong odor of chlorine coming from the pool.

So i have a 9816 gallon pool, i've added in 2 days, 6 bags of shock, and 9 lbs of soda ash, and im still getting no reading for chlorine, it shows up clear, and ph is still 6.8 if not lower, since my test doesn't read any lower than that. I need to know what else to do. I can't keep throwing money into this if it won't fix it. Do i need to drain the pool and start over? Any advice would be great. Thanks. And i am unsure of any other levels for my pool i didn't take the report home with me, but i am getting the water tested in a few days again.

Also, they say i have a ton of dead chlorine, which is what the smell is, but 6lbs of shock didnt take it away? Help please! Thanks!

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The place that tested the water should be able to tell you what you need.

I know the last time I couldn't get a chlorine reading (I have a salt water system), even though I turned up the chlorinator to 100%, I was told I needed a conditioner. The chlorine was basically burning off faster than the chlorinator could produce. Once I put the conditioner in the problem was solved. Just an idea.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:20PM
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Thats not it, they say my coditioner is great, and i have been adding what they have been telling me to add, and it obviously is not working, so i am looking for some alternatives. Thanks for the input though!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:28PM
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Have they tested for phosphates or nitrates as well?

It sounds to me like you need to continue to shock to me as well. But having your test readings would be helpful. To give more accurate advice.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 3:39PM
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piscespool yourself a BIG favor and go to troublefreepool dot com (link below). Best thing I ever did when I got my pool last year was to learn to take care of my pool water chemistry myself. You can't rely on the pool store. They just want to sell you expensive stuff you don't need. After all, they are a "business" and the more they sell, the more they make. Most of them honestly don't even know how to test well, much less solve your water problem.

If you're using chlorine tabs, your stabilizer level may be so high your chlorine is not effective anymore, and your chlorine shock could be rapidly consumed by a possible algae bloom. Don't drain the water yet (although with very high stabilizer levels from using tabs that constantly add stabilizer, draining some water in increments might be necessary) until you get your own accurate test numbers. I have an excellent drop-based water testing kit, and I've learned exactly what I do and do not need to put in the water to keep it balanced. HTH and good luck getting "Pool School" several times and ask questions - lots of pool chemistry help there..order a good kit to test with (I have the TF-100 kit), and you'll be so much better off. Knowledge is power to take control of your situation.

Here is a link that might be useful: Trouble Free Pool

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 4:00PM
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I second that as I also belong to Trouble Free pool. Take control and you wallet will be much happier.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 7:43PM
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what is your alkalinity reading?
it needs to be between 80-120 ppm
if its below 80 add some bicarb, that will also raise your PH.
u need to use liquid chlorine
the smell coming from your pool is from spent chlorine chlorimines(not sure of spelling) u probably need to raise your chlorine level to 10 ppm to get rid of that smell and whatever is causing it(bacteria,algae etc etc)keep it at 10ppm for a couple days and run pump 48 hours straight.clean your filter .check chemistry after 48 hours .adding all that liquid chloride will also raise your ph .keep it around 7.2 by adding acid as back with test results

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:01PM
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Acid is added to lower pH. His is already too low. A pH increaser is needed here.

Free chlorine needs to be roughly 10% of the level of stabilzer. If the stabilizer level is 50 ppm, the free chlorine level should be 5 ppm. If the stabilizer level is 150, the free needs to be 15. Only an FAS-DPD test can accurately test at that level.

If the stablizer level is over 100, I suggest a partial drain and refill to dilute the stabilizer level.

For now, use liquid chlorine or Chlorox to raise the chlorine level to a shocking level. Shocking is a process, not a product. If you used bags of di-chlor to raise your chlorine level, you also added more stabilizer, which if it's already too high, exacerbated the problem.

I strongly urge you get a higher quality testing solution so you can take control of your pools needs without relying on the pool stores. Many stores facilities and personnel are weak in this area. Sad but true. I have put a link to a reputable supplier below. I have no affiliation with them in any way and in no way should this be construed as a spam message for them, just hopefully helpful advice.


Here is a link that might be useful: TF Testkits Web Site.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 8:45AM
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The store that tested your water was trying to explain that the gap between your free chlorine and total chlorine was greater than 1ppm. This is usually an indication that you have built up chloromines in the water. What you need is breakpoint chlorination.

Essentially you are elevating the chlorine levels to the point that you oxidize all the combined chlorine. The amount of chlorine shock that you need to add depends on the concentration of active chlorine in the product you are adding and what your current chemical levels are. The water lab should be able to assist you with this calculation.

As a pool contractor I encourage my customers to learn about chemistry as this will solve 99% of the headach of owning a swimming pool. There are a ton of resources out there for this but I usually point them towards this one because of the simple to understand explanations:

Here is a link that might be useful: Pool Water Chemistry

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 2:52AM
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Your Pool School is wrong about a few things. You propose alk levels that are too high, you mention nothing of the importance of CYA and its relationship with free chlorine levels, you missed the different ways to feed the pool fresh chlorine, and that testing water is relatively easy with a quality kit and the use of a pool calculator which is available for the web, iPhones, or Android smart phones. You might benefit from reading the pool school section at Trouble Free Pools.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 5:22AM
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Alkalinity levels at 125ppm for a pool owner experiencing difficulties stabalizing pH balance are perfect - not too high as you have suggested. This is especially true for chemical maintenance scheduling for customers using low pH sanitizer like chlorine pucks. This is extremely common in the area that I own and operate a swimming pool and hot tub maintenance company and allows for the maximum length of time between chemical corrections while staying within the neutral limits of the Langelier saturation index in most cases...depending on if the water is hard or not.

Stabalizer is mentioned twice in the pool school reference guide I suggested but only minimally. The intent with this guide is to serve as a coles notes. The trouble free resource you have referenced is very in depth I would agree...but my customers would never read it because it is too long =)

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 9:59AM
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Just visit and visit the pool school that Scott suggested, all will be well.

They have fixed my issues several times spot on.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:16AM
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1st, don't underestimate the customer. To do so is to lose a potential long term relationship with them.

It does not serve their interests and when they realize that, they are gone because you didn't do your best to impress upon them the importance of correct pool care. They will perceive that as you either don't care, can't be bothered, or don't know.

Your pages generalize way too much. This results in incorrect levels in the pool. This will result in scaled or etch plastered surfaces, excessive stabilizer to FC ratios, and a whole hose of other problems. Believe it or not, TFP is your friend.

To use Cole's or Cliff's note misses important details. And that is not what customers need, They are a lot smarter than that. Ignorant, often, but to not properly educate them puts a lot of people at risk, yourself included.

Understand, I am ranked a Special Contributor there but hold no financial interests there. I am occasionally hired locally as service tech as a result of people having seen and learned that I am not a one to keep things to myself in so far as working on their pool. They know I will tell them the truth. I am not the kind of businessman that would tell them or sell them they need a new pump just because a seal set or a motor died.

I applaud and welcome your efforts here. The contributors here, PBs, techs, and homeowners alike, try to help others that haven't had the benefit of our experience. Non of us are paid for our efforts here. We do this for the betterment of the industry. I have to assume your motives are similar to ours.


    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 5:29PM
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