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Thread: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

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    brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Hi my wife and I just had a brand new pool built (start-up 11/14/15) and we're both excited as well as nervous about taking care of it. Per our contract, the builder provides 2 months of service. They are coming once a week on Wednesdays. My wife tells me they added chemicals today but I have no idea what. I want to learn how to do it myself. I'm so thankful I found this site- you guys make it seem easy! I ordered a TF-100 kit and SpeedStir and just used them for the first time tonight. The results make me suspect either I'm testing wrong or the builder isn't properly maintaining the necessary levels. Here's what I got:

    OTO FC test: 0? (pretty much stayed clear).
    FAS-DPD test: 1.5? (there may have been a very slight pinkish tinge to the sample, that might have turned clear after 3 drops of R-0871 (3 x .5 =1.5). I'm not really sure since as I said this the very first time I've ever tested.
    The PB has had chlorine pucks in a floating dispenser for about the last week, so I'm surprised I'm not getting higher readings for FC. (I've read the downsides of trichlor tablets for sanitation, but my understanding based on reading here at the TFP site is that for a new plaster pool it can actually be helpful...). I do plan on using liquid chlorine once I'm doing it on my own.
    PH: < 6.8 (color was "off the scale"- more yellow than orange/red)
    CC: 0
    TA: 0 (which also means, according to the "extended test kit directions" sticky, that my PH is 4.5 or lower.) This I also don't understand- doesn't fresh plaster tend to drift towards higher PH levels? That's what I read in the "A B C's of water chemistry" section.
    CH: 375 (it took 15 drops of R-0012 to turn from pink to blue and stop changing color. Multiple by 25 right? I wasn't sure if there was a period between the 2 and 5 in the extended test kit directions thread. If it's 2.5 then my CH would be 37.5.
    CYA: <20 (filled tube all the way and dot was only partially obscured).

    According to Pool Math I should add a BUNCH of bleach, soda ash, baking soda, and stabilizer, which I'm reluctant to do because the PB is supposed to be handling things for the first 8 weeks and they obviously have more experience than I do. What do you all think? I'd appreciate any advice or input from you experts! The water looks great- crystal clear. Water temp is around 50 degrees F. I'm in central CA and I think in this area people don't usually "winterize" their pools, although it's too cold to swim. Thanks for sharing your collective wisdom and experience with this total newbie!
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    I would ask the PB to give you a list of what chemicals he adds and how much each time. That way you know what is going on with your pool.
    In ground, 14,000 gallon, white plaster, unheated, stone waterfall, DE Filter, Rainbow 320 Cl, Polaris 3900, FloVis flow meter, F100 test kit, Circupool RJ30+ SWG, Circupool VJ1/Speck Badu EcoM3V variable speed pump.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Welcome to TFP!

    What type of system do you have? Is it a SWG, chlorinator, etc? This would help us in assisting you take care of your pool. Pictures of equipment and pool would be just as helpful.

    One item that stands out is that your new pool is Plaster. You will need to check PH daily as it will increase very quickly. Muriatic Acid (MA) is what you will need to lower your PH. Please give us a breakdown of what the PB is adding, how often, etc. The more detailed information, the better you will be prepared in taking care of the pool.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Your test results are OK but wa-a-ay outside normal parameters. It certainly looks like your builder is doing an acid startup. You need to get with him and learn from him as WASP indicates.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Hi, and welcome to the forum! I would give the PB a call rather than wait until next week. Let us know what he says.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Thanks so much for the quick responses! We don't have a chlorinator or SWG- just the basic pump/filter/control panel. I came home on my lunch break to get some pictures during daylight hours. (trying to attach). I'll be adding bleach manually per the TFP method. While we've been happy overall with the PB, he has been extraordinarily difficult to communicate with. I can reach his secretary but that's as far as I get. I think I'll tape a note to the equipment asking the guy who comes to service it once a week to write down what he's adding and how much, or to give me a call at work. My wife says the liquid they added yesterday was colored red, which I'm guessing would be muriatic acid and could explain the really low PH level I got last night? Thanks again for any input. I really appreciate the resource of your collective wisdom and experience! Sean
    image5.jpgimage6.jpgimage1.jpgimage7.jpg
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    The pool looks great! Btw, the start-up instructions (linked above) recommend that you don't use a pool cleaner for the first 3 weeks.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    I agree with Duraleigh sounds like an Acid startup. We filled our pool on a Friday after 2 days we could not see the the first step the pool looked like a milk bath. The PB came back on Monday and added 3 gallons of 31% MA it was like a magic eraser the water turned crystal clear in seconds. We had a lot of molting much of it in streaks on the walls so they kept the PH and TA low for a week adding another 2 gallons over that time. I have no idea if that length of time or amount of acid was normal but I can say I was glad when it was over & they neutralized the acid and balanced the water. I just kept imagining that acid eating my nice smooth plaster, thankfully as far as I could tell the finish felt as smooth as the first day.

    So I third that motion to get a hold of the builder and ask him what his startup process is. You would not be the first person who thought the employees of a builder were doing what they should be only to find out the owner or foreman was appalled to hear what one of his employees had done. The levels may be right where they want them but just remember questions are free plaster costs money.
    Last edited by atttech-2; 12-03-2015 at 08:24 PM. Reason: spelling
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarianParoo View Post
    The pool looks great! Btw, the start-up instructions (linked above) recommend that you don't use a pool cleaner for the first 3 weeks.
    Darn- I remember reading that in the plaster start-up thread and then forgot. Our PB did wait about 10 days but it hasn't quite been three weeks. I just pulled out the cleaner tonight. Should I move the valve over from the suction line where The Pool Cleaner was attached, to the skimmer only? (until I put the Cleaner back in).

    Tested FC (OTO test) and PH again tonight- still off the charts low. I will definitely be trying to reach my PB again tomorrow to find out what they're doing. So much to learn!

    Forum etiquette question: do I start a new thread for unrelated questions, or do I post them here? Thanks again!

    Sean
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Yup, I would skim.

    Also, I would be really honest with your PB about your questions and let him know that you have been running your own tests in preparation for your eventual take-over. Come off curious and make sure you talk to someone besides the receptionist!

    I recommend that you keep all your questions on this one thread for now so that we have the important history. That will help us a ton.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Generally, acid start-ups are performed for only one week, not three weeks. Therefore, I would be concerned that the alkalinity is still zero and the pH is very low, and why they haven't balanced the pool water yet?

    I suggest that you rub your hand on the pool wall and look for any kind of plaster residue that is coming off. You have to look closely because any residue that comes off will quickly dissolve and disappear.

    I would be interested in knowing what your tap water calcium hardness reading is. Would you be willing to check that and provide that information?

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Quote Originally Posted by onBalance View Post
    Generally, acid start-ups are performed for only one week, not three weeks. Therefore, I would be concerned that the alkalinity is still zero and the pH is very low, and why they haven't balanced the pool water yet?

    I suggest that you rub your hand on the pool wall and look for any kind of plaster residue that is coming off. You have to look closely because any residue that comes off will quickly dissolve and disappear.

    I would be interested in knowing what your tap water calcium hardness reading is. Would you be willing to check that and provide that information?
    I was able to speak to my PB today. He assured me the levels are where they want them. They do the acid start-up for "20-30 days." He says this wont hurt the plaster and in fact helps prevent mottling, streaking etc in the colored plaster. I noticed hardly any plaster dust when I was brushing the pool twice a day for the first week (even on the first day or two), but when I rubbed my hand on it just now, I did see some. Is that something that can develop later on, or was I just not looking closely enough before? Also I don't know whether that's cause for concern or normal. I've been brushing every few days now.

    I will test our tap water CH and report back later tonight, after our twin 3-yr-lds and their baby sister are put to bed!
    Thank you,
    Sean
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    OnBalance, I just tested our tap water for CH and it was 75. It's the same water that was used to fill the pool just a couple weeks ago. Being completely new to this, can you explain what that number tells you? Since the number I got testing the pool water was much higher, is the concern that the extra CH in the pool water was leached from the plaster? Or perhaps the PB could have added it? Thanks for taking the time to help me learn...
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    I am sure the PB added the CH which is good no way you leached that much out of the plaster. The plaster dust is normal I brushed twice a day for a month and only stopped seeing the dust kick up during the last week. I am now down to twice a week and I think what little I do see now is more dirt than dust.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    The PB may have or may not have added any calcium to increase the CH of the pool water. So you would have ask and find out about that and how much was added.

    If your current CH is 375 and the tap water is 75 ppm, and the PB didn't added any calcium via chemical treatment at the beginning, then that means that about 300 ppm of calcium carbonate has been dissolved from the plaster surface (etching), and that isn't good for the long-term durability. An acid start-up (or other acid treatments) can certainly dissolve that much calcium from a new plaster surface.

    Brushing during an acid start-up generally does not show a white residue (plaster dust) because it dissolves so quickly. The dust that you see temporarily when rub your hand is probably indicative of dissolved calcium carbonate coming off the surface because the water is so aggressive.

    There are better ways to avoid streaking problems than performing acid start-ups on new plaster.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Yikes. So priority #1 is to find out if PB added calcium and how much. I probably won't be able to get an answer until Monday. Hopefully he did. If not, I need to mitigate the damage by either asking them to balance the water ASAP, or forfeit the remaining weeks of included service (and maybe warranty?) and do it myself. Sound about right?

    Are there any other startup pitfalls I should be aware of? FWIW, there are a few white marks on the plaster that look sort of like scratches, but feel perfectly smooth. I read so much about colored plaster having imperfections that I wasn't too worried about them before, but now I'm reconsidering. On the other hand, those marks were there from the first day or two, so I doubt they are due to the start-up procedure. I'm attaching a couple of pics. The one that includes some waterline tile is at our first step, and the other one is on the baja shelf 18" deep. Both in areas that I'm guessing were more heavily trowelled during plastering. [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]
    Last edited by sangree99; 12-05-2015 at 04:35 PM. Reason: adding pictures
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    As others have advised you above, for future considerations and protection (warranty), I also suggest you obtain an acknowledgement from PB (in writing) that your current pH is around 4.5 and the TA is near zero. Perhaps also get another water analysis from an independent source for confirmation.

    The PB is controlling and directing the current chemical treatments (for two months), so try and verify what chemicals (all - especially the amount of acid) has been added (and how much) and the water readings from the start. Your photos of the plaster also provide a good record of events.

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    This is what I emailed the PB:
    "...Now that we're pretty much done with the construction phase, I do have two questions related to servicing the pool.
    1) Can I get a list of exactly what chemicals (acids, calcium, etc) have been added to the pool since start-up and in what quantities? We're still in the two month period of included service, but I plan on doing it myself once those 8 weeks are up. To that end, I've been talking to some knowledgeable people and trying to educate myself on chemicals, water balance, etc. I noticed that our pool water is testing with low or no total alkalinity and PH. Free chlorine is almost at zero too. I understand that might be due to an acid-based startup method but I thought that usually only lasts a few days to a week and we're more than 3 weeks out from startup on 11/14/15. I'm eager to get the water balanced so it doesn't hurt the plaster, and I'd also like to know what's going into our pool so I can have a good grasp of what's required when I take over. I think Paul has been the one showing up on Wednesdays so I'm sure he knows what's been put into the pool."

    Hoping for a quick and written response so there's a record.

    I put The Pool Cleaner back in since we're now more than 3weeks from startup.
    18x34 IG 23k gal, colored plaster, Pentair equip: IntelliFlow VS pump, C&C+ 520 cartridge filter, EasyTouch control panel with QuickTouch II remote, The Pool Cleaner sweep, two Globrite LEDs, TF-100/Speedstir, 12mil clear solar cover. Startup 11/14/15

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    I like the wording of your email. Open ended and asking for learning reasons. Nice job!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: brand new pool owner, first time test results. Is this right?

    Yup. Let us know what he says ASAP.

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