Help With Pool Chemicals

by Jane

I have a 24' x 24' round pool that holds 13,000 gallons of water above ground. Well I am totally confused on what I am doing wrong. I have 2 floating canisters of 3" tabs floating around in the pool. I have shocked, then added acid, then I get reading of chlorine to high and ph to high. When I try to lower the ph with the acid then I lose my chlorine so I am playing this game over and over wasting so much in chemicals.

What am I doing wrong? Please help. Also, my total alkaline reads high, as in the highest number on a test strip. The ph is always up 8.2 and when chlorine is high it reads 5.10. I am so confused on this. It is making swimming to me a nightmare.

Hi Jane

Maybe I can simplify this for you, because it should not be that difficult.

I don't know a lot about pool chemistry but I do know enough to have kept an above ground pool sparkling clean for around forty years now. I also know that when you take a water sample into a pool store to be tested, chances are you will be sold a lot more chemicals than you really need. That is unless you are doing business with a store that is honest and that you can trust, these are hard to come by. It seems that most of them just want to sell chemicals.

If I am not mistaken, you lower ph with soda ash and raise it with acid. But, speaking of the ph side of your test kit, I would ignore that for a while. I have ignored it for forty years, that does not mean you should, but at least for now. Vinyl liners are non-porous and not nearly as susceptible to algae growth as in ground gunite pools. Provided your ph is

not too out of whack I would ignore it for the time being. Get the chlorine part under control first.

Make sure your water has stabilizer in it. This keeps the sun from taking the chlorine out of the pool. Stabilizer is a one time deal, you add several pounds and you are good to go.

I use one floating chlorinator full of three inch tabs. With a 24' pool you will probably start with the ring adjustment wide open. After daily testing of the water you may close this a little.

During the hot part of the summer I shock the pool every two weeks. I use a bag of vinyl shock. As the whether cools once a month is fine for this.

I also keep granule chlorine on hand. If the chlorine tests low I give it a fast boost with granules. Chlorinators take time to boost a chlorine level, in most cases too long. Use the granules for a fast boost. I seldom test my water but if I come out and find my chlorinator empty, I add granules for a fast boost and load the chlorinator for maintenance. If I happen to test the water and it is low, I use granules. I then check the chlorinator, if it has plenty of tabs, I may open the setting just a hair.

One last comment about pool chemistry, it may not be the pool chemistry at all. Most people do not run their filters enough. The hotter it gets the longer they need to run. If you ever have water clarity problems, you let the filter run 24/7 until the water is clear. A couple more hours a day in filter use would take care of so many pool chemical problems, give it a try.

I know people with 1/2 and 3/4 HP pumps that let them run 24 hours a day all summer and they never have cloudy or green water. It does make a difference.

Comments for Help With Pool Chemicals

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Jul 14, 2011
by: Jan Faimon

SHADE BUILDER, you have been a great help. Even though we've had a pool over 20 years now, I still find things I need advice on. Your kindness in answering all kinds of questions is commendable!

I wanted to let this person know that in my experience I fully agree with what you say about running the pump and filtering more. He/She did not say what size their pump was, but our first pool was used, and the pump was smaller than what we should have had. Once we replaced that with a bigger one, we seldom had any problems. Also, very hard water (our rural water system) can make things a little more difficult. Thanks, again!

Jul 18, 2011
What about ozone?
by: Glenn Silloway

Your response to the pool problems is really lucid and good commonsense. I wonder if you have ever tried ozone in your 40 years? A properly sized and installed ozone system can help keep the pool clean and clear, while permitting reduced chemical use. Go take a look at our pool ozone systems at If you have questions or comments about them, I would love to hear them as I expect they will be reasonable, thoughtful.

Hi Glenn

I have not used an ozone system but have heard about them. Maybe others could comment on their experience with them.

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