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Thread: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Now that I have decent testing (I love this kit!!!), I have a question. Can I get a 2-week break with no testing or chemicals added?

    My overall goals are:
    1) safe water, always ready for swimming (i.e. never an in-season SLAM)
    2) do it at lowest safe cost, and
    3) be able to leave it without care for 2 weeks.

    My pH creeps to 7.8 and sits there for a couple more days, but then gets to 8.0. I haven't had the courage to go beyond that, so I don't know how long it takes to rise above 8.0. My method has been 1 cup (250 ml) MA every 3 days to stay within 7.6 to 8.0, though with my new K2006C kit and corrected CYA, I've lowered the SWG setting because FC was higher than my past readings. I then tried dropping pH to 7.4 and I was good for 4 days and back to 7.9.

    I don't know if I'll be able to do borates, so I'd like to leave that option off the table for my first year. I'll try a cover later, but for now, we like to look at the water and I know having a cover on it will change a lot of this. I'd like to figure this out in terms of water chemistry for now.

    My TA seems to like to be at 90. Iíve tried dropping it, but then up it goes and sits again at 90. Maybe this is because the pool is new.

    So can I set the SWG for what the pool needs in hot sunny weather (knowing FC will be high if the weather is cloudy), and then take the pH quite low. How low is the lowest you would go with your own pool?

    Or would it be better, or even possible, to set the SWG a bit lower, keep the CYA on the low side, and chuck some Trichlor pucks in the skimmer to hold the pH? Do they even last that long?

    Is it feasible to stretch that to a 3 week break? 4 week break?

    I'm trying to figure out what methods I can test while I'm here, before I need to use the two-week break. If it's not possible, I'll have someone checking on the pool every few days, but I'm hoping to find a way that doesn't involve 32% acid and water chemistry wild cards, and leaves them safe to have a dip in the pool!

    Latest numbers are:
    FC: 4.5
    CC: 0
    CYA: 70
    pH: 7.8
    TA: 90
    CH: 225
    Salt: 4000

    Thanks so much for all the help so far!
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    With you having a SWG you might get just over a week with no testing. I do worry about the PH. I have heard of auto systems for MA so that might be something for you to look into.

    I would not try to go over a week without someone looking in on the pool and running at least FC and PH tests. That is just me.

    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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    You can test cya, ta and ch monthly. Don't test salt until your SWG gives you a low salt red light. You can get to where you can test PH weekly once you are familiar with it. FC can also be tested weekly once you are familiar with it. The risk with FC is that the sun gets more intense, the pool gets warmer, people swim more and your FC consumption goes up. I usually try to stay 1-2ppm above target level to avoid problems with that. Chlorine CYA Chart. It is critical that your FC stays above minimum level for your CYA at all times to avoid algae and SLAMs. Feel free to let your TA drop to 70 or 60 if it wants to and your PH remains stable.
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    I would worry a bit about your pH rising that quickly if leaving the pool unattended too long. Maybe lower your TA some? Just a thought.

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Or would it be better, or even possible, to set the SWG a bit lower, keep the CYA on the low side, and chuck some Trichlor pucks in the skimmer to hold the pH? Do they even last that long?
    I wouldn't do that.

    I get the impression that your asking if you can safely leave your pool while you go on holiday. And yes you can, it's a pool, not a child, you don't need to take it with you.

    We went to Big Sky, Montana for a month last year and asked a friend to drop in and keep an eye on things in general. I turned the SWCG up to high before left. I doubt if any tests were done and have no idea if anything was added but it looked great when we got back.

    I've just become the pool boy for a house my mother-in-law just bought and it hadn't been touched for three months, the chlorine was low and the SWCG needed a 10% HCl bath. The pH had topped out at 8.3 but it still looked good and it didn't take much to get it into shape.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Thanks and yes, Kim, I've done a bit of investigating and hope to get something semi-automated for acid working down the track. PoolDV and Marian, thanks also for your thoughts and suggestions. I don't mind testing often while I'm here - I quite enjoy it so far and I've slowed myself down from twice daily, haha.

    I do want to lower my TA, but I haven't had much success yet, so I'm thinking of letting the TA reduction happen gradually over time in response to the acid additions.

    But in the meantime, I'd like to test some simple options for a three-week break, but perhaps it isn't going to be possible. I was thinking maybe X number of trichlor pucks once per week, or if need be, X mls of acid once per week. That is, something I could try out before I leave to see what happens. If I get someone to test and add chemicals, I think they'll default to taking a sample to the pool store and dumping in whatever the pool store says. From past experience, the pool store will say "a bag of salt, 2 bags of buffer, a quart of acid twice a week, and a jug of phosphate remover", which will put me on the acid-buffer roller coaster, haha!
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Quote Originally Posted by needsajet View Post
    But in the meantime, I'd like to test some simple options for a three-week break...


    I was thinking maybe X number of trichlor pucks once per week, or if need be, X mls of acid once per week...
    Keep records and you'll get a rough idea of your acid demand. Turn up your chlorinator a little and if you can get someone to toss in your weekly acid demand from your records you'll be good.

    I wouldn't muck around with the pucks, you'll be adding excess CYA that you'll have to deal with at some time.
    Steve.
    30,000L (8,000g) Pebblecrete | Davey 3sp Eco pump | Poolrite sand filter & SWCG |
    Waterco solar panels & Astral E140 pump| K2006, CCL reagents, BlueDevil pH, Salt meter & K1766 | Town water - pH 7.2, TA 50, CH 60 | Esky full of coldies |

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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Thanks, Steve. The acid demand has been fairly steady at around 1/2 cup (125 mls) per day, which I've been doing as 2 cups (500 ml) every 4 days on average.

    I got pool-stored early on before digging into TFPC and have been working off the TA. They wanted me to have TA at 180 so they could sell me lots of acid (I believe). To be fair, all 5 stores I went to ignored CH, so perhaps they are suggesting high TA to get a better LSI number.

    I only put half the buffer in (anyone want 5 lbs?), taking the pool as high as TA 140, but it's still getting worked off - now down to 80/90ish. The January rains here helped quite a bit! I tried the pH 7.0 and aeration method, but it only came down by 10 and then drifted back up. So my thought is to wait it out per this post and let my acid additions and the aeration from swimming and the SWC to bring it down over time. Fingers crossed.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    The general answer to your question is that you have armed yourself with the best pool management tool (your test kit) so now use it. TFP doesn't teach short cuts....we teach precision testing and knowing precisely what to do with the results.

    Are you a slave to your pool? You don't need to be. Keep reading and learning and you can manage your vacation time just fine.

    That said, 3 or 4 weeks is a real stretch.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Ok, I see what you are asking now. I'm with Steve, set your SWG a tad on the high side, lower your PH to 7.2 when you leave and have somebody add the normal amount of acid needed once a week. You can even save some acid jugs and put the right amount in each one and write the week/date that it should be added to the pool. If you are a little nervous about the FC it won't hurt at all to use bleach to run the FC level up to shock level for your CYA right before you leave. That will give you some buffer. It is safe to swim up to shock level for your CYA, Chlorine CYA Chart
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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Nah, don't feel a slave at all. Quite enjoying it actually. Especially learning the TFPC methods and some of the why's, then reinforcing it with hands-on reality of our own plaster pool.

    I'm mostly just worried about getting pool-stored in my absence. Steve and PoolDV - the pre-measured jugs are a great simplification idea. I just measured out some MA from a fresh jug, and remembered my concern for others getting that first bit out of the jug without splashes, not to mention the whiffs. Part-full jugs will make that a bit safer. Thanks!!
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Needsajet I remember you mentioned getting a pool cover. That may help to arrest your pH rise as it will reduce the CO2 outgassing which causes your pH to rise. It is certainly the case for me. I can't even remember the last time I added MA.SLAM
    11 000 gallons, IG, Fibreglass, Monarch Sand Filter, Davey Typhoon C100M 1HP pump, Davey Chloromatic Mc16CTO ESR SWG, Davey Pool Wall Climba Robot, Daisy Solar Cover,
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Jezza, yes, there is a pool cover in our future to get the most our of heat this autumn. So I'll probably need to try using that for a few weeks before I need to go, and then I'll have a different amount of MA to have ready for the weekly additions.

    I have been wondering about the newness of the plaster as well. Would my new plaster (now about 10 weeks old) still be contributing to alkalinity and/or pH rise?
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Yes this would be contributing to your pH rise and will probably do so for a while. As you are adding lots of acid it is good to keep an eye on your TA as this will go down with the regular additions of MA and could get too low.
    11 000 gallons, IG, Fibreglass, Monarch Sand Filter, Davey Typhoon C100M 1HP pump, Davey Chloromatic Mc16CTO ESR SWG, Davey Pool Wall Climba Robot, Daisy Solar Cover,
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Quote Originally Posted by needsajet View Post
    I have been wondering about the newness of the plaster as well. Would my new plaster (now about 10 weeks old) still be contributing to alkalinity and/or pH rise?
    Yes, new plaster contributes to PH rise. It takes about a year for the plaster to fully cure and settle down. It is important to keep PH between 7.2 and 7.8 with all pools, but especially so with new plaster.

    Regular acid additions will lower the TA over time. It is fine to let TA drop to 60ish, this will help slow the PH rise.
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    needsajet's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    Just returned from 3 weeks away, so thought I might follow up with what I did and how it worked.

    My records showed about 35 to 40 oz (1 to 1.2 litres) per week of MA. So I measured out three jugs of 35 oz (1 litre) each, with a mark at half. Instructions were to pour about half the contents on Wednesday and the rest on Saturday or Sunday. I tested today and pH was 7.8 before the Saturday addition, so I'm very happy with the pH.

    SWC output at 40% to 50% with 7 hrs run time was working, so I set the SWC to 60% before I left. I got FC of 9.5 today after three weeks at 60% vs. FC 4.5 when I left. So it's higher than needed, but safe and sound.

    I was hoping TA might drop a bit, but it's still stubborn at 70. I'll go back to my single weekly addition to hopefully knock it down over time.

    Pool looked fine except for fine soil dust on the bottom (construction nearby). Pool cleaner took care of that and the pool looks great.

    Thanks for everyone's help with this, especially pooldv's suggestion to save some jugs and have the acid additions ready to go.
    12k IG salt; glass beads in plaster; K-2006C, K-1766, CCL, and Aussie 4in1 (HTH); Pentair Eco800 1.2HP VS; Zodiac SWC 1.3 lb/day (25 g/hr); 25" filter recycled glass; OKU solar panels; 1/2 HP solar pump; Rebel (Warrior) pool cleaner; FlowViz; prior pool AG 10k | Read Before Posting to get the best possible advice | ... and this helped me a lot!: TFPC for Beginners

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Can I stretch out the testing and chemical additions?

    That is awesome news!!! Nice when things go as planned!

    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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