View Full Version : How to start chemicals in a new 15 x 30 AG pool

04-10-2006, 04:07 PM
The pool is being delivered tomorrow! I have searched for instructions on how to START using chemicals from scratch in a new AG Vinyl pool, but find information on switching from one type of chemical to another, starting in something other than vinyl, or opening a pre-existing pool in spring that already have some chemicals in them. I know the good people of this forum have found checmical Nervana and I want the start the easy/simple/inexpensive way right from the git-go without learning the hard way as so many have. (My momma didn't raise no dummy!) Now how do I get rail "A" into slot "B".....?

04-10-2006, 04:15 PM
Go ahead and test your fill water as you are filling your pool. Use a drops based kit and post your results here for somebody to take a look at and we can go from there. Go ahead and have several jugs of plain, unscented bleach on hand and a box of 20 Mule Team Borax (laundry aisle at Walmart) and some baking soda. Some people start out by using trichlor pucks as their chorine source at first which have cya (stabilizer) in them. Then, when their cya level gets to about 30-50, they quit using them and just switch to bleach. That certainly is an option. I don't do that, though. I always just buy some cya and add an initial dose and then just use bleach. To me that is easier, but it is just a matter of preference. (If that option is your choice, go ahead and buy some cya. It may be labeled as stabilizer or conditioner, but if the ingredient list says cyanuric acid or isocyanuric acid, it is the right stuff. You can probably find it at Walmart or Lowe's, but you may have to get it at a pool store.)

Post your results and what you what to do chlorine-wise and then we'll go from there.


04-10-2006, 08:59 PM
That sounds like good advice, Watermom. By just using tri-chlor, wouldn't it take a while to get your CYA to at least 30? It seems like you'd go through a lot of chlorine waiting for that.

Even the tri-chlor I have says to get your CYA to 30 before using.

04-10-2006, 09:22 PM
It will take some time, but it won't take as long as you would think. Actually, if my CYA level was already at 30, I would not use trichlor. Anywhere between 30-50 is what I shoot for in my pool.


04-10-2006, 09:47 PM
Ah...The NICE thing about using Tri-chlor pucks when you have no CYA is that the CYA builds up slowly, but the pucks maintain a steady flow of chlorine during that time--so if it it's being consumed, it's always being added as well. But if your pH is low you need to boost it with borax. Also, be absolutely certain that the pucks do NOT contain copper--no matter what the pool guys tell you.

The advice they give you about adding most chems seems to be depressingly utter nonsense most of the time.

Or you can just do it Watermom's way and add bleach, CYA and baking soda as needed.

But be careful on the last--absolutely do NOT add baking soda until you test your Total Alkalinity--our public water comes out at 180-185ppm of T/A. You do not want more than that in a vinyl pool, and in a plaster/concrete pool you must immediately begin the lowering regime.

04-10-2006, 10:29 PM
So you add chlorine and CYA initially and all the time...they "breath" out of your water with sun/use/temp, etc. Does CYA build up and then you stop adding it, or does it always need to be added? Is CYA required to get the chlorine to work?

Regarding PH, you get your PH set and then monitor it.

I get it that you stay away from copper under all costs or you have to drain the pool to get rid of it.

I won't need calcium as I'm vinyl liner. and....

What are tabs?

And that's it? !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Phew.

04-11-2006, 01:05 AM
Does CYA build up and then you stop adding it, or does it always need to be added? Is CYA required to get the chlorine to work?

Regarding PH, you get your PH set and then monitor it.

I get it that you stay away from copper under all costs or you have to drain the pool to get rid of it.

I won't need calcium as I'm vinyl liner. and....

What are tabs?

CYA (Cyanuric Acid aka Stabalizer) protects chlorine from being eaten up too rapidly by sunlight. Its level builds up and it is not something you are constantly going to add. Lowering the CYA level usually involves draining off and refilling some water which you will do over time with backwashes. One thing to remember about the CYA level is that when adding you should always add below the recommended amount and wait 5-7 days or so to test. CYA is very slow dissolving and your true readings will be after the few days. It is also important not to backwash during that timeframe.

You may find that the pH level will fluctuate some. I keep mine between 7.2-7.5 being careful not to let it get to low since a pH of about 6.8 can damage the vinyl liner.

Tabs = tablets

Here is an excerpt from what I did when refilling after a liner change -
I filled my 24' ag last week. While it was filling I used some Trichlor tabs that I still had lying around. I did this to chlorinate the water because the algae will grow QUICK and also to add a small amount of CYA to the water. I put 3 tabs in a square "Glad" plastic disposable container and ran the fill water from the hose over the tablets. This eroded the tabs a bit and kept the algae out.

Watch your numbers with a reliable test kit and it would be beneficial to test your fill water. This will let you know what you will be battling when it is completely filled and what the water will do to your pool when you are adding water during the course of the season.

As soon as the pool is filled you will want to add a small amount of CYA to bring the stabilizer level up to protect the chlorine levels. As a reference my pool is about 13,500 gallons and after 2lbs of CYA and 4 stabilized Trichlor tabs the CYA level is about 30. When adding the CYA be sure to do a small amount at a time and add less then recommended in the instructions. Add the CYA through the skimmer slowly, keep the pump circulating for at least 48hrs, and do NOT backwash the filter.

So when I filled mine I went the "puck" route because it was effective at keeping some CL in the water. I was not concerned about the CYA it would put in because I knew I would need a little bit anyway.

Have fun and good luck!

04-11-2006, 11:04 AM
Tabs=Tablets=Pucks---By that I mean Tri-Chlor pucks.

Copper stains metal fittings and turns blonde hair green. It's not good to injest it either. It CAN inhibit algae growth, but PolyQuat and chlorine do that as well--without the side effects.

CYA protects your chlorine from breaking down from ultra-violet rays, but it does NOT make it more effective. It makes it LESS effective. However, it prevents your chlorine level from dropping to zero. So it's a balancing act of having enough CYA to protect your chlorine, but not so much as to make it ineffective. Your local conditions and preferences will determine what works best for you, but we generally recommend 30-50ppm. I like the 30ppm end, but excessive sunshine and heat can consume chlorine and the 50ppm may work better then. Some people prefer still higher levels. I believe MWSmith2 likes his CYA at 60 (Michael, feel free to contradict me if I have you confused with someone else). Check Ben's "Best Guess" table for the levels you should keep your chlorine at given your CYA level.

pH should be between 7.3 and 7.8. If it's bouncing around you need to check your "Total Alkalinity" This is NOT a measure of how alkaline your water is, but, in simplicity, is a pH buffer that prevents it moving. This is generally best between 80 and 125ppm. With vinyl pools you can go to 180ppm with no problem. Raising Total Alkalinity (TA) is easy-- you add Arm&Hammer baking soda. Lowering it is a pain, so try NOT to go beyond your target. I like TA to be in the 100-125 range, but try to get pH where you want it first.

04-15-2006, 09:02 AM
CYA is a bit of good news, bad news.
It will stabilize the chlorine in the pool, that is it will help reduce the effect of sunlight breaking down the chlorine. Once you have your CYA level where you want it, it is almost a set it and forget it ( for the season ) chemical. Only large scale water dumping and refilling will lower it. It does got down in the off season for in some situations for reasons the are not fully understood. Mine did not change measureabley over the winter (under ice)

The bad news on CYA is the same thing. It does not go away easily. So if you get to much you're very much stuck with it until you dilute it by doing a large scale drain and refill.

If you get your CYA level up high, (75 to 150 PPM) you will need to keep your chlorine levels high consistently and use very high levels to shock.

So, buy a box of it. Read the instructions and and enough to raise it to something like 25 PPM. It takes forever to disolve .... like a week. And this is what gets some folks in trouble. They add it in the morning and test for it in the afternoon, and add TOO MUCH because it does not show up in the test. Do not bother to test for several days. If you put it in a stocking in the skimmer you can monitor the build up and maybe pulll the stocking out when it gets up there in levels. If you broadcast it into the water and then vacuum, you will pick it up off the bottom and it will go into the filter. Then if you backwash, lots will be lost because it has not disolved yet.

The best idea, you can see then is to get some in and build it up carefully and over a couple weeks. The consenus on the forum is that the best levels are between 30 and 50 PPM

Go to the first post in Chemicals and Chlorine ( this section ) and read the article on Bens Best Guess that should help you understand even better. The title gives you a clue to why I said that 30 to 50 PPM is the concensus. It is not hard science.

Good luck.