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Thread: newbie - opened pool for the first time

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    newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Hello everyone,

    I am nervous posting for my first time in this forum. I opened my pool as best I know how recently, but my pH and TA are both low and I'm not sure the right way to raise them, not sure what to stop doing, or how to go about ceasing the tab method for the bbb method.

    First let me tell you about my pool. Its roughly 20,000 inground, vinyl liner, DE filter, 2 skimers plus bottom drain. It came with the house last summer when we moved in but I received no instructions from the previous owners. A neighbor was nice enough to help me get organized, but it was still a painful winter. I had a leak in my pump that required repair and my skimmers weren't configured to actually support the total flow of the system. I have been on the crash course for awhile.

    Anyway, last weekend I bought some shock from the store. I scattered the shock, let the pump run, backwashed regularly, and repeated with more shock about a day later. I vacuumed the pool and added chlorine tabs to the skimmers and filter basket. I went out of town and returned to a very clean pool with gunk on the bottom, so I vacuumed again. My pool now looks like it is ready to dive in, but I took a water sample to the store and am distressed by what I see.

    My readings are:

    FC 10
    TC 10
    pH 6.35
    Calcium Hardness 175
    TA 50
    Stabilizer 39
    copper .02
    TDS 400

    I want to use the BBB method this year instead of the tabs, and was just trying to use up the tabs I had before converting over. So my question is about how to raise my pH, raise my TA and put things in the right level to be effective with the BBB method.

    I read a post on this forum about using soda ash and Jason's calculator says to add quite alot, but it also says to use baking soda to raise the TA. Doesnt' one raise the other as well?

    If I remove the chlorine tabs from the skimmer and run the pump over night will the TC fall significantly or do I need to drain some water to lower it and stabilize things across the board.

    I apologize in advance for asking any newbie questions.

    Thanks!
    Mitch

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    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    I assume that by stabilizer you mean cya? If so that is pretty good. Your fc will fall off on its own so i wouldn't worry about that. There is a great article over at the pool school on raising your ta. Using baking soda will your ta also raise your PH some. If you goto here http://www.poolcalculator.com/ and put in your numbers, it will tell you exactly what you need to add. Do not add it all at once though. Do maybe half and then test again.

    Good luck

    mike
    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Welcome to TFP!

    You need to get your PH up to at least 7.0 right away. You can use borax or soda ash, which ever is simpler for you to get. You may need to adjust your TA level a little afterwards, but that is secondary. Don't worry about TA until your PH is higher.

    When adjusting the PH, don't make the entire change in PH all in one go. The first time around only add 1/2 of the amount you think you need, give it an hour to mix in, test again and proceed from there. If the PH is doing what you expect it to do, then go ahead and trust the calculated amounts more, but your pool may not react the way you expect. Any time you are making large PH changes, it is always better to "creep up" on the value you are aiming for, rather than making the entire change all at once.

    How did you test the water? Did you go to a pool store, or do it your self? And what test kit/machine was used (if you know)? None of the PH tests are all that precise when testing very low PH values. I don't trust a PH with two decimal places when the PH is that low.

    I know that switching to a new system of pool care can be overwhelming and/or confusing. Taking things slow and focusing on one area at a time can help keep it from being too much to handle. Also, we are always around to answer any questions you might have.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Just wanted to say Hi Mitch! Welcome to TFP!

    You're gonna be fine. You've come to the right place.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Hi, Mitch,

    Welcome to the forum. You'll find great help here from nice folks.

    Jason has mentioned a key point......the testing.

    Those test results look like a poolstore took a sample of your water, dipped a tyest strip in it and put the test strip into a computer. That method is historically innacurate.

    I would suggest you get a "second opinion" from another pool store (that hopefully does "drops based" testing) or, even better, invest in your own kit.....that'll be the most accurate results you can get.

    Your pH is probably too low and you want to get it up but another test source would be helpful.

    Every one of us here was a newbie and we all asked the same questions.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Thanks folks!

    I did in fact test the water at a local pool store. I did see them doing drip tests, but I'm not sure if they took the pH from that or a computer test strip. Either way, it sounds like I need to up my pH.

    When I use the pool calculator, my starting pH is 6.35 and my target is 7.5...it says to add 560oz of Borax. The pool store suggested 30lbs of total alkalinity. Do they sell 30 lb boxes of Borax? lol...i have some shopping to do. I'm not sure what soda ash is, but the wife says we can get borax from the grocery store.

    I will pick up some tomorrow after church and go from there.

    Mitch

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    Adding 30 lbs total alkalinity increaser is not at all a good idea. I wonder why they suggested that.

    I calculate about 20 lbs total of borax, but as I said before don't add nearly that much all at once. Their PH test could be off signifcantly. If you were using my Pool Calculator, perhaps you forgot to set your current TA level in the Now column before calculating the PH change.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: newbie - opened pool for the first time

    good catch Jason. I'll grab some borax tomorrow...add some, wait and recheck on Monday.

    You guys are great...thanks!

    Mitch

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