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Old 05-20-2020, 10:02 AM   #1
SabreKiller
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Default Pool is chlorine locked. What to do?

I have an above ground pool and I cannot get the chlorine to read. Everything else, PH, cyanuric acid, all of it is fine. Chlorine does not read on the strips. I've cleaned the pool, scrubbed the side walls, vacuumed, etc. I have no idea how much shock and chlorine I've added.

Do I need to partially drain the pool? I hate to do that because filling it back up would suck a lot of water out of my well.

I'm open for suggestions.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
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Are you close enough to a Leslie's to get a water test? They can probably help, BTW I only use Leslie's as a last resort.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:12 AM   #3
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So when you use the strips to check the chlorine level they are not detecting any chlorine? When was the last time you added shock/chlorine to the pool? If you got a lot of rain it can really wipe out your chlorine quick. I would recommend putting chlorine and water in a 5 gallon bucket and make sure the strips are reading correctly. Once that is checked I would add shock (correct amount for size of pool) and check. My guess is if you got a lot of rain and haven't shocked it or added chlorine there may not be much in your pool.

Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:19 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tfrye View Post
So when you use the strips to check the chlorine level they are not detecting any chlorine? When was the last time you added shock/chlorine to the pool? If you got a lot of rain it can really wipe out your chlorine quick. I would recommend putting chlorine and water in a 5 gallon bucket and make sure the strips are reading correctly. Once that is checked I would add shock (correct amount for size of pool) and check. My guess is if you got a lot of rain and haven't shocked it or added chlorine there may not be much in your pool.

Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by tfrye View Post
So when you use the strips to check the chlorine level they are not detecting any chlorine? When was the last time you added shock/chlorine to the pool? If you got a lot of rain it can really wipe out your chlorine quick. I would recommend putting chlorine and water in a 5 gallon bucket and make sure the strips are reading correctly. Once that is checked I would add shock (correct amount for size of pool) and check. My guess is if you got a lot of rain and haven't shocked it or added chlorine there may not be much in your pool.

Good luck!
Correct. The strips show no chlorine. We've shocked it, several times and still no chlorine showing on the strip. I got 1.4 inches of rain this past Friday, but it wasn't reading any chlorine before that. Pool is clear after pool guy came out twice to check it out. I've got two more gallons of shock/chlorinator I can add, but I'm not sure that's going to work. I've dumped a bunch of money into chemicals so far.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:33 AM   #6
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It’s been my experience that strips are to inconsistent. Spend $20 on a pool testing kit like this one https://www.poolweb.com/basic-5-test-kit

I’ve had mine for over 5 years and it’s very reliable
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:34 AM   #7
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Have you tried new strips or an actual water test kit?
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:34 AM   #8
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your pool guy could not check the water better than your test strips?
If you have dumped that much chlorine in, you have something not right. Be sure the PH is correct, first. Get that straight then you can balance out the chlorine. PH will lock up chlorine real quick. But you may need to go to tests other than the strips.
I like the idea of testing the strip in a 5 gallon bucket first...at least it would prove your strips are still viable and working.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by SabreKiller View Post
Correct. The strips show no chlorine. We've shocked it, several times and still no chlorine showing on the strip. I got 1.4 inches of rain this past Friday, but it wasn't reading any chlorine before that. Pool is clear after pool guy came out twice to check it out. I've got two more gallons of shock/chlorinator I can add, but I'm not sure that's going to work. I've dumped a bunch of money into chemicals so far.
Sounds like the strips are not trust worthy, I would highly recommend a test kit as they work 100% of the time when done correctly. I would not add any more shock/chlorine until you check the pool as you can throw off the total alkalinity with too much shock. Grab that test kit and check chlorine level then decide what to add or not add.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:57 AM   #10
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I would first test your test strips in a known solution. They may be bad. Secondly, a cheap test kit is far better, add the water, add the drops, shake and read.

Also remember that shock has no conditioner and does not provide residual free chlorine to pool. Try to get your tablet dosage correct and use those for your chlorine supply. Rain water and sunlight will eat up your shock quick.

I see a scenario quote often here in SE Texas of people not getting caught up and over the hump to having free chlorine. I think you are adding just enough shock to get some results but you need to maintain it over a few days. If you really have no Free Chlorine, you need to get ahead of the curve. You need to use the SLAM method and check your chlorine first thing each morning. Spend some time on trouble free pool site, it breaks it down really well.

I will add this, I have been doing my pool for 10 years, did many in HS and College. I only put tablets, liquid bleach and No Mor Problems in my pool, no other chemicals. It's pretty simple. Leslie's makes a fortune selling chemicals by micro analyzing water samples.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:00 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayB View Post
your pool guy could not check the water better than your test strips?
If you have dumped that much chlorine in, you have something not right. Be sure the PH is correct, first. Get that straight then you can balance out the chlorine. PH will lock up chlorine real quick. But you may need to go to tests other than the strips.
I like the idea of testing the strip in a 5 gallon bucket first...at least it would prove your strips are still viable and working.
Yeah, he came out and checked it when the pool was a little green colored. He put some floculant (?) in it and thought it would be clear in a day or two. It wasn't. He came back out and shocked the snot out of it and finally got it clear.
But, it still doesn't read on the strips.

I'll get one of the test kits and try the bucket thingy and see what happens. It should read chlorine because I can smell it. We haven't had any issues with the strips in the past, but there's always a firs time.

Last edited by SabreKiller; 05-20-2020 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Cajun Blake View Post
Itís been my experience that strips are to inconsistent. Spend $20 on a pool testing kit like this one https://www.poolweb.com/basic-5-test-kit

Iíve had mine for over 5 years and itís very reliable
Ha! I can't tell you how many times I used this kit in the past as a kid. It's that simple.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:08 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Cajun Blake View Post
Itís been my experience that strips are to inconsistent. Spend $20 on a pool testing kit like this one https://www.poolweb.com/basic-5-test-kit

Iíve had mine for over 5 years and itís very reliable


I believe the test strips have an expiration date as well.


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Old 05-20-2020, 11:08 AM   #14
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Either you don't have free chlorine in your pool or the test strips are bad. In general the test strips aren't reliable. You need the test kit mentioned above to test with.

If you want to learn how to take care of your pool without relying on the pool store to test and sell you a bunch of stuff you don't need go to troublefreepool.com. Learn about the BBB method.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:11 AM   #15
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I agree with the comments above on purchasing a test kit and double checking PH level.

I would also recommend purchasing one of those floating chlorine dispensers. Throw a few tablets in there every couple weeks as they dissolve. This actually helps more than you would think.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:12 AM   #16
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So add some and retest it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:18 AM   #17
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Cyanuric acid
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by CaptainDave View Post
I agree with the comments above on purchasing a test kit and double checking PH level.

I would also recommend purchasing one of those floating chlorine dispensers. Throw a few tablets in there every couple weeks as they dissolve. This actually helps more than you would think.
We've got those filled with tablets and they are floating around.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:23 AM   #19
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I believe the test strips have an expiration date as well.


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These are brand new test strips. I think they were bad when we bought them.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:41 AM   #20
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Buy a saltwater system, add it to your pump, throw in some pool salt and be done with chlorine. We have one on our above ground pool, so much easier.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:45 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by mikeyb_23 View Post
Buy a saltwater system, add it to your pump, throw in some pool salt and be done with chlorine. We have one on our above ground pool, so much easier.
Saltwater pools still have chlorine. It just reduces the amount. Every pool should have some chlorine to stay sanitary.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:53 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Take Dead Aim View Post
Saltwater pools still have chlorine. It just reduces the amount. Every pool should have some chlorine to stay sanitary.
It's all done with the saltwater system, all you do is add salt. The system will tell you if it gets low on salt, no chemicals have to be put in.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:04 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Take Dead Aim View Post
Saltwater pools still have chlorine. It just reduces the amount. Every pool should have some chlorine to stay sanitary.
The salt chlorine generator produces the chlorine from the salt (NaCl sodium chloride) . Then after a time the sodium and chlorine join back together reforming the salt.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:24 PM   #24
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Chlorine in a salt system is the same as chlorine pool. Ozonated systems have lower chlorine.

Follow the SLAM method found at troublefreepool as mentioned previously.
Basically shock your pool using liquid chlorine found at lowes. The chlorine reading needs to be set based on the table, depends on cya.
Keep it at that level for days running pump and cleaning filters as needed.
Then reduce down to normal levels.

My guess is that you are fighting growth and its decimating your chlorine instantly. You need to truly shock it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by JTCowpoke View Post
The salt chlorine generator produces the chlorine from the salt (NaCl sodium chloride) . Then after a time the sodium and chlorine join back together reforming the salt.
My point is there still is chlorine. Have no idea on an above ground pool but in ground and salt dont go well together. Salt is rough on everything it touches including tile, stone, equipment, plants etc. It definitely has its advantages but it has bunch of negatives. I recommend a chlorine pool with Ozone and UV filter. Reduces the chlorine while not having to use salt.
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:52 PM   #26
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Here is a site that I learned a lot from, FYI sunlight will use a lot of chlorine.
https://www.troublefreepool.com/blog/pool-school/
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:01 PM   #27
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OP, lots of advice out there. One more coming from me. When I first moved in to this house/pool, I would follow the routine of checking the water, chlorine, PH, blah, blah, blah. Then, I came up with my own tests, my eyes. I tell people that one test is if the water is crystal clear and the other is if my eyes hurt while I'm in it. That is all I use, chlorine, nothing else. The few times I brought my water for testing at Leslie's, they'll tell me it on the high side of chlorine but no other problem. My next door neighbor is always testing his and adding various chemicals. Every once in a while he has to drain his pool, maybe 2-3 years. Same with my FIL, who thinks he is an expert with pool water but had to drain his last summer. Don't overthink it. When you get your pool right, just use chlorine.

SH
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:32 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajun Blake View Post
Itís been my experience that strips are to inconsistent. Spend $20 on a pool testing kit like this one https://www.poolweb.com/basic-5-test-kit

Iíve had mine for over 5 years and itís very reliable

This
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:33 PM   #29
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BBB method for pools...

A lot cheaper than all those **** chemicals....

Bleach, borax, baking soda

Google it....you wont use anything else
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:05 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Take Dead Aim View Post
My point is there still is chlorine. Have no idea on an above ground pool but in ground and salt dont go well together. Salt is rough on everything it touches including tile, stone, equipment, plants etc. It definitely has its advantages but it has bunch of negatives. I recommend a chlorine pool with Ozone and UV filter. Reduces the chlorine while not having to use salt.
Salt water generator is the way to go. Yes it makes it from the salt. But it's totally different from swimming in a pool that is using chlorine.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:05 PM   #31
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Do you have stabilizer in the pool?
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:12 PM   #32
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Cyanuric acid
Add this. Also known as stabilizer. It helps hold the chlorine in the water.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:14 PM   #33
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Throw the strips away and get a Taylor K2006 test kit.
Don’t go to Leslies, they’ll just make money off you chasing your tail.
Go to troublefreepool.com and read up/ask questions.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:15 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by SabineHunter View Post
OP, lots of advice out there. One more coming from me. When I first moved in to this house/pool, I would follow the routine of checking the water, chlorine, PH, blah, blah, blah. Then, I came up with my own tests, my eyes. I tell people that one test is if the water is crystal clear and the other is if my eyes hurt while I'm in it. That is all I use, chlorine, nothing else. The few times I brought my water for testing at Leslie's, they'll tell me it on the high side of chlorine but no other problem. My next door neighbor is always testing his and adding various chemicals. Every once in a while he has to drain his pool, maybe 2-3 years. Same with my FIL, who thinks he is an expert with pool water but had to drain his last summer. Don't overthink it. When you get your pool right, just use chlorine.

SH
I'm the same way and I have been doing it for years. Every now and then I adjust the PH. Anytime I take it into be tested at Leslie's they always ask "How does your water look?". The only thing I would add to your test is "your nose". If you get that funky smell that public pools get, you can normally shock that out.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:15 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by lilavidhunter View Post
Add this. Also known as stabilizer. It helps hold the chlorine in the water.
Add too much and itíll take a TON of chlorine to be correct. Be careful with CYA. Once too high, only option is to drain.
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Old 05-20-2020, 03:41 PM   #36
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Quote:
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Do you have stabilizer in the pool?
Yes, stabilizer (cyanuric acid) shows to be in the acceptable range on the strips.
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Old 05-20-2020, 04:16 PM   #37
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My wife just sent me this picture. She just took this sample.


Name:  61170194660__71D703E1-CE6A-45B2-9936-C3D143488EBA.jpeg
Views: 1013
Size:  100.9 KB

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:19 PM   #38
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How old is your chlorine? How long has it been in the sun or heat?
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:32 PM   #39
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Kind of hard to tell but it looks like your ph is off. When it'd off you'll never get the chlorine correct, read the link in my earlier post, I had the same issue a couple years ago before I read it and followed it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:43 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by LFD2037 View Post
How old is your chlorine? How long has it been in the sun or heat?
Brand new off the shelf at the store.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:48 PM   #41
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Folks that talk of salt make it sound too simple. Yes, salt chlorine generator makes the chlorine. But you have to have stabilizer (which the kit above didn't test for). And weekly you have to add acid or you PH gets out of control. Then in my case replace the generator every couple of years (about half of what they should last).

btw, I still have a couple bags of salt if anyone in the arlington area wants to stop by and pick up.

OP, lots of things could be wrong. You may have too much phosphates in the pool. "Pool perfect" is a good option to maintain and they have a phosphate remover that is more concentrated. Best idea is to take a water sample in to be tested. Looks like there is a Leslie's in Kerrville if that is where you are located. This was a bad year to start up here. Had algae take hold and took a week and $100+ of chemicals and shock to get straight.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:49 PM   #42
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So itís showing zero free chlorine and total chlorine?

If you can smell it Iíd say the strips are expired or flawed


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Old 05-20-2020, 05:56 PM   #43
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Looks like a high pH is you cause. Add some arm and hammer baking soda to bring it down

.....and God Bless America.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:57 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilavidhunter View Post
Add this. Also known as stabilizer. It helps hold the chlorine in the water.


Do not just add it unless itís low

Too much will not allow the chlorine to be nearly as effective


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Old 05-20-2020, 06:11 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreKiller View Post
My wife just sent me this picture. She just took this sample.


Attachment 1004602

Any suggestions?
Stop using strips and get a test kit or better yet take a sample to Leslie's.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:13 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by darralld View Post
Salt water generator is the way to go. Yes it makes it from the salt. But it's totally different from swimming in a pool that is using chlorine.
Anything involving salt and my pool is not the way to go.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:17 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparkles View Post
Do not just add it unless itís low

Too much will not allow the chlorine to be nearly as effective


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Agree. To me, that Test Strip looks on the very low end for stabilizer. Not the Magenta color on the strip that is ďidealĒ. Pool sample to Leslies in Kerrville and at least see what they say. OP needs to know how many gallons the pool holds so itís not polluted by stabilizer.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:20 PM   #48
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Sparkles knows his stuff. He is in the business.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:11 PM   #49
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For the amount of chlorine you have added you're bleaching the strip.

I've been teaching the Certified Pool Operator course for over 15 years.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:14 PM   #50
twobittxn
Ten Point
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Plano
Hunt In: Brown Co. and public land
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayB View Post
Looks like a high pH is you cause. Add some arm and hammer baking soda to bring it down

.....and God Bless America.
Bicarb raises the pH and the alkalinity
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