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Thread: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

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    Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Here's the quick lowdown on my situation. I'm on day 2.5 of a freshly plastered pool filled with water and my builder has yet to finish installing the pump or any other equipment. This normally wouldn't be an issue if they were going to use the acid startup technique, but upon querying the employee that came over to my house to kick off the cure he had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned acid cure, or low pH. After talking to my builder they want to do the traditional method, but I can't run a pump and filter so obviously that's not going to work. As far as chemicals initially added, it appears they tossed in 4 gals of muriatic and then a floater with trichlor (which I promptly removed as soon as I saw it). Here's the issue, I've got plaster dust just sitting in the pool and no method to remove it. I obviously brush the pool several times a day, but I'm not sure how much good its doing when the dust just resettles. To make matters more interesting my current water levels are as follows:

    TA: 200
    CA: 40
    pH: <7.0 (my 2006 tester only goes to 7)

    I can't get my TA under control and I've been aerating for several hours with my pH seemingly stuck (although truly, it could be rising but I can't test below 7). If we move forward with the traditional cure I'd need to bring pH up to at least 7 to feel comfortable, but ideally 7.2. However, given the high TA, I'm not sure that I could do much to lower the TA without lowing the pH to 7 and then cycling between 7 and 7.2.

    If I do an acid cure on my own my concerns are:

    A) how much more acid should I add when I can't really be sure how much was initially added and I can't test below 7
    B) if the company is expecting a traditional cure I'm sure they are going to fire up the pump on their own with pH somewhere below 6.

    On the other hand if I do an acid cure I might be able to fix my water issues. Adding more muriatic would lower the pH and the TA, and hopefully get TA under manageable levels. My concern then becomes using soda ash to raise the pH back up before turning the pump on. Obviously this wouldn't be so hot for the TA which I just got lowered. My next thought is that I could use borax to raise the pH and then hopefully I'd be able to stabilize TA and continue raising the pH so I can get the pump on and then start putting my CH into check.

    Does any of that make any sense? Am I overreacting, or do I have cause for concern?

    Thanks,
    Phillip

    PS, I would feel pretty hopeless without your collective knowledge, so thank you in advance!
    -IG gunite pool of unknown size (the paperwork says 26k but there's no way)
    -Filter: Unknown, not yet installed, Pumps: IntelliFloXF variable speed
    -Currently under construction (its been a nightmare)
    -Water: City, but currently under restrictions, Tester: Taylor K-2006
    -Options: IntelliChlor IC60 SWG, IntelliPH, Easy Touch 8 Automation, Paramount PV3

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Congrats on the new plaster and fill! I am seeking some expert input on your situation. Hopefully we will have some answers for you shortly.

    I think the most important thing right now is when will the pump be installed and running?
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    In order to help, we need more information.
    We are going to assume that your pool contains about 20,000 to 24,000 gallons of water.
    What type of plaster? Normal white, quartz, or pebble?
    Please test your tap water and provide the pH, alkalinity and calcium hardness. That way we can compare with current pool water readings.
    Your current pool water tests seem unusual. Please double check them again.
    It is important to keep brushing in order to not allow the plaster dust to stick to the surface. Hopefully, the PB will get your equipment going. Can't believe it hasn't been done yet.
    It appears that your start-up process is somewhere between traditional and acid right now.
    I think we help with your water once we receive the needed information.

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Where are you located? Are you sure the CH is 40?

    The trichlor pucks are needed right now and should be returned to the pool.

    Brush the pool as frequently as possible and do not pay anyone any money until the situation is COMPLETELY resolved. I question this pool builder as this is not the correct way to build a pool and he has likely created a far from ideal situation for you and your new plaster.
    -Brian-
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    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    The pool is about 20k gallons and its a traditional plaster. We have super soft tap water here, levels as follows:

    TA: 235
    pH: 8+
    CH: essentially 0

    I've been hard at work last night and today and managed to lower TA to 160 with a pH of 7.0, I'm still aerating and bouncing between 7.2 and 7.0.

    Davis,
    I'm located in the central valley of CA, and we've got insanely soft water.

    Thanks guys!
    Phillip

    Edit: my pool is also very very cloudy, leading me to trust the credibility of the TA readings
    Last edited by phil29; 03-23-2016 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Update

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Davis,

    Is there a rule of thumb for the number of pucks to use? I was mostly concerned about chlorinating to quickly, but I presume I was being overly cautious?

    Thanks,
    Phillip

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Yes. The trichlor adds chlorine very slowly and is much preferred over liquid in my opinion for start ups.

    Your water is extremely aggressive and likely the culprit for so much plaster dust. Let the pH rise to 8 and do not worry about how high your alkalinity is right now. It is necessary to compensate for your very low CH.

    Are you responsible for the start up? Where is the pool builder? My advice will no doubt contradict most if not all of what he has to say so proceed with caution if warranty is a concern.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Davis,

    The builder has begun running the electrical for the equipment today, but given their usually slow speed of work, I'm not entirely sure when it will be ready. As for the startup, they are technically responsible, but I get the feeling that they just randomly tossed in chemicals and don't have much of a plan. They've yet to test the water. I've kinda just assumed the startup process. As for warranty, I fully expect to have to sue to get them to honor it, so at this point it doesn't really mean a whole lot.

    -Phillip

    Edit: I bought 45 pounds of calcium carbonate expecting to increase CH awhile ago, should I add any? I've been holding off because of the TA.

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Are you certain your testing is correct? Is the calcium really and truly 40?
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Yep, I talked to another PB last week because of other contractual issues, and the conversation even managed to swing to our cities insanely soft water. Admittedly, 40 is what the CH was last night and I imagine it's probably risen some, I will recheck for you, but out of the tap, adding the Taylor Reagents the color stays blue indicating a CH of near 0.

    Seriously, thank you for your time,
    Phillip

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Davis,

    Just rechecked, CH Rose by 10 overnight and is now 50.

    -Phillip

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Not saying it's impossble, but man that CH is strange given the other parameters and your general geography.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Given that???, I suggest adding about 15 lbs. of calcium Chloride for now. You wrote calcium "carbonate" which would not be good to add. Be sure of what you are adding.
    Dilute some into a bucket of water and add. It is highly soluble. Oh, the water will get warm or even hot. So you will have to do that in small increments at a time. Make sure the pH is below 7.8 at the time you are adding that. Brush afterwards.

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Have you added any baking soda?
    -Brian-
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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    onBalance,

    *I bought calcium chloride, excuse the slip.

    Davis,

    Nope, the only thing I've added is muriatic acid and aeriated.

    -Phillip

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Good. Do not add any for the time being. Also, it's in your best interest to not aerate anymore.

    Please post up some numbers after a very thorough mixing.
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
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    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Davis,

    Will do on all counts. I'm at work for a bit but when I get home I'll take care of it and post some levels for you.

    -Phillip

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Davis,

    I'm feeling pretty bummed, there are white patches covering everything on the plaster, there's no uniform color at all and there's hard gritty ridges in parts of the pool. The ridges have the consistency of brittle cement. I've been brushing it 3x a day. As to your question, I added the calcium and noticed a rise of 40ppm within 5min of pouring it in. This at least indicates that my tester is functioning correctly. I'll give you a report within the hour once the levels reach equilibrium. I also have no clue what my PB is doing anymore at this point. I checked my pH, and whereas I had it stabilized around 7-7.2, I came home to find it well under 7. They came over and added a ton more acid. It could be that they are switching to an acid cure, but wow, day 3 is a bit late to start and they didn't even seem to know that acid cures existed as of yesterday.

    The icing on the cake was the flood I created in the backyard after turning on the pump. I got excited because I saw that the pump was primed and had power running to it. I flipped the switch to check it out causing water to gush out of some access port that doesn't seal properly on the other side of the pool. The good news is that I didn't know that the pH was so low when I flipped the swtich so I just dumped acid into my pump and filter, so at least I've got that going for me now.

    -Phillip
    -IG gunite pool of unknown size (the paperwork says 26k but there's no way)
    -Filter: Unknown, not yet installed, Pumps: IntelliFloXF variable speed
    -Currently under construction (its been a nightmare)
    -Water: City, but currently under restrictions, Tester: Taylor K-2006
    -Options: IntelliChlor IC60 SWG, IntelliPH, Easy Touch 8 Automation, Paramount PV3

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    I just tested the CH again and its about 130 now.

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    Re: Urgent Start Up Advice Needed

    Your only leverage at this point is any money you owe the pool builder. Do not pay anything until this gets resolved.

    The calcium level is fine now but I'd imagine the pH is very low. What is the pH and TA now?
    -Brian-
    33K Pool/Spa, Pentair Equipment
    POOL BUILD
    Davis Custom Construction - Home Page

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