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Thread: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

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    Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Hi All,

    Our pool was installed in June of 2015. It is a salt water gunite/white plaster pool. I took the winter cover off today and ran the robot vacuum and found crystals FILLED the basked. The picture is below. Any idea what this is and the cause?

    image1.jpg

    Thanks!!
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Try a drop of acid on the crystals to see if they bubble. If they do, then they're probably calcium carbonate.

    Can you provide a full set of test results of the water immediately upon opening?

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    bubbled like crazy!

    FC - 0
    TC - 0
    PH - 9.0+
    Calcium Hardness 800+

    Why did this happen? Fix?
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Quote Originally Posted by jmill012 View Post
    bubbled like crazy!

    FC - 0
    TC - 0
    PH - 9.0+
    Calcium Hardness 800+

    Why did this happen? Fix?
    It precipitated out because of the super-high pH and the Calcium saturation. If your pool walls don't feel like sandpaper, I'm amazed. If they do feel rough, call a pool pro to do an acid wash or sandblast, or if you're handy, attempt it yourself. Here's one guy who did: Blasting limescale off my pool walls - DONE REPORT POSTED

    I doubt if reverse osmosis is available where you live, so a drain and refill is your only real option. Don't even waste any more time or chemicals on that pool, start pumping. You can rent pumps at rental yards and Home Depots. Call around.

    The source of all that Calcium needs to be determined. Is the pool fairly new? Were you chlorinating with Cal-hypo? Is the water there really "hard"? You'll know if the showerheads and coffeemaker are crusted up. You can also test the water coming out your tap to see how high the CH is there.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Yikes! That's calcium carbonate scale. New plaster can release calcium hydroxide, which will raise ph and create a lot of calcium carbonate (aka plaster dust).

    The plaster is likely compromised to some degree. You want to get the CSI down as much as reasonable beginning with keeping the ph down to about 7 to 7.2. Adding a sequestrant can help.

    You might want to seek a qualified local service person who can evaluate the situation on site.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Thanks. Here is the thing, when the pool was closed, the hardness was around 400 and the pool filled with rain/snow this winter. So could there be another source of the hardness? Don't want to drain and refill just to find out there is something else wrong.

    Also, could the fact that it is brand new plaster pool (less than a year old) play a role?

    Is this something that is due to a bad plaster job?
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    New plaster is definitely a factor. How does the plaster feel?

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    retested calcium hardness at it is actually around 400, sorry test strips suck so I went with the regular test kit and it came back 400.

    Walls feel like sandpaper about 1/2 way down.
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    You might be able to recover by keeping the ph down and brushing frequently. Scale can be difficult depending on the exact nature of the scaling.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Thanks. Just walked on the tan ledge (WATER IS COLD BUT THAT IS BESIDES THE POINT). It is really rough but doesn't hurt my feet. What makes me upset is I has it very smooth before the pool company closed the pool. Where did we go wrong over the winter?!? Why did this happen and can I prevent it going further.
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Anyone use scaletech plus? Looks like it could do the job....
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    You have one of our recommended test kits, yes??

    Toss those "guess-strips" out. They will be the downfall of your pool if you're not careful. :/
    My Amazon Smile for November12K Fiberglass IG, Infinity 4000 automatic cover, SWCG, Hayward Sand Filter, Hayward 1.5 Pump, Doheny Discovery Robot, Savi Melody LED pool lights, outdoor speakers and other assorted doo-dads. Sundance Altamar Hot Tub.
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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    I have the Taylor k2006. I used the test strips tonight for a quick measure but as I mentioned before I went to the Taylor kit and got a true hardness reading.

    So if my robot vacuum is picking the calcium up and filling the basket. Does that mean I may be able to get rid of the scaling without needing to empty and acid wash?

    Also, if I decide NOT to acid wash and the walls and floors stay rough or covered in calcium. Is it ok to swim? Will this damage my pool?

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    It's ok to swim as long as the chemistry is good and the water is clear.

    I think that it's worth trying to resolve the scale without draining. You can always drain later if necessary. Draining has its own risks. The pool could float or crack or damage the plaster.

    Acid washing can remove the scale, but the surface will end up rough anyway because the acid eats the smooth finish as it's eating the scale.

    There are no easy answers. The plaster might be damaged already but it might not be too bad.

    You could also drain and sand the surface with sanders/polishers.

    For now, I would keep the ph down to 7.2 and brush as much as possible.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Thanks JamesW.

    Would anyone recommend using ScaleTec or another product like it? Anyone have experience using it?
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    I think I'm having the same exact thing happen to my pool. I was about to open a new thread about this, but saw yours. I was thinking it might have something to do with it being new plaster that was still curing, as we only ran the pool for about 5 weeks or so prior to having to close it for winter. Construction was completed last fall and we just had our first opening done yesterday. Here's what I'm seeing in my robot's vacuum bag:



    Haven't felt the walls or tested the water yet. Will be doing so shortly.
    In-ground 47'x25' free-form gunite pool w/ spa w/ waterfall. 35,380 gallons. 3' to 8' deep. 96 sq ft 6" deep sun shelf. SunStone Select Quartz Finish (Graphite). 2 Hayward skimmers. Jandy DEV60 DE Filter + Pro Series Plus 2HP Pump. Polaris PB4-60 Pressure Cleaner Booster Pump. Raypack P-R406A Heater. EasyTouch 8. IntelliChem w/ Acid Tank. IntelliChlor IC60. Techo-Bloc bullnose coping + Blu 60 mm paver patio. Merlin SmartMesh cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Ok, got my test results - should I post them here or open a new thread? I don't want to hijack...just posted originally since I think it's the same exact topic.
    In-ground 47'x25' free-form gunite pool w/ spa w/ waterfall. 35,380 gallons. 3' to 8' deep. 96 sq ft 6" deep sun shelf. SunStone Select Quartz Finish (Graphite). 2 Hayward skimmers. Jandy DEV60 DE Filter + Pro Series Plus 2HP Pump. Polaris PB4-60 Pressure Cleaner Booster Pump. Raypack P-R406A Heater. EasyTouch 8. IntelliChem w/ Acid Tank. IntelliChlor IC60. Techo-Bloc bullnose coping + Blu 60 mm paver patio. Merlin SmartMesh cover. TF-100.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    I don't mind the hijacking looks very similar. Feel the walls below where the water line was this winter. You will feel the scale of it is indeed there. Also since you have a tan ledge like I do. Rub your hand on that and see how it feels (assuming it was under water all winter). Mine is rough but I walked on it and it wasn't rough on the feel so I will live with it if the roughness isn't cured. Still haven't ventured into the pool to check the floor. 55 degree water ain't my cup of tea and I'm not turning the heater to check lol

    So I have lowered my PH significantly and I am almost at 7.4 I have been brushing the walls like crazy and running the robot for the floors. The walls are smoothing out but I can feel big crystals when I run my hand over the walls. Thing is if I use my nail they pop right off. So any suggestions on what I can use to brush the walls? Sandpaper taped to the brush? The wire brush just doesn't seem to be strong enough.
    Gunite 35X15 rectangle w/15X5 tan ledge (giving it an "L" shape) and 6X2 swim out love seat; white marblelite plaster; depth: 3'6-7'6; 24,750 gallons; SWG (Mineral Springs); Pentair C&C 420 w/ VS 3050 pump; 400K Natural Gas heater; coping: 12" PA Full Range Flagstone; 2 Color Change LED Lights; jump rock; 2' exposed backside wall; 700 square feet exposed aggregate decking

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Keep the pH to 7.2 and brush as much as possible. A stainless steel wide brush can help. Avoid the heater as that will raise your CSI.

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    Re: Calcium Crystals!?! First Pool Opening. Please Help

    Quote Originally Posted by jmill012 View Post
    I don't mind the hijacking looks very similar. Feel the walls below where the water line was this winter. You will feel the scale of it is indeed there. Also since you have a tan ledge like I do. Rub your hand on that and see how it feels (assuming it was under water all winter). Mine is rough but I walked on it and it wasn't rough on the feel so I will live with it if the roughness isn't cured. Still haven't ventured into the pool to check the floor. 55 degree water ain't my cup of tea and I'm not turning the heater to check lol

    So I have lowered my PH significantly and I am almost at 7.4 I have been brushing the walls like crazy and running the robot for the floors. The walls are smoothing out but I can feel big crystals when I run my hand over the walls. Thing is if I use my nail they pop right off. So any suggestions on what I can use to brush the walls? Sandpaper taped to the brush? The wire brush just doesn't seem to be strong enough.


    Ok, thanks ...

    Yeah, there's definitely a scale there. The tan ledge feels rough (yes, it was under water all winter), but not as rough as the walls, and not as rough as a few days ago. I've been brushing the walls and floor with a standard nylon brush daily and it is getting better...not quickly though. I'm glad I opened the pool now, as I'm hoping to get this all taken care of before it starts getting warmer out.

    My initial readings, the morning after opening, were:
    pH = way above 8.2
    FC = less than 0.5
    CYA = 25
    CH = 200
    TA = 60

    Yesterday they were (after starting to shock and adding chemicals):
    pH = 7.5
    FC = 12.0
    TC = 12.5
    CYA = 30
    CH = 200
    TA = 80

    Today they are (after adding more chemicals):
    pH = 7.4
    FC = 9.5
    TC = 10.0
    CYA = 30
    CH = 300
    TA = 80

    I am concerned with getting the walls smooth. I had them very smooth prior to closing. I think they will get back there if I keep brushing daily, but my time is very limited so it's not going to be easy for me. I am wondering why this happened...could it be because the plaster was only completed about a month and a half prior to closing the pool?
    In-ground 47'x25' free-form gunite pool w/ spa w/ waterfall. 35,380 gallons. 3' to 8' deep. 96 sq ft 6" deep sun shelf. SunStone Select Quartz Finish (Graphite). 2 Hayward skimmers. Jandy DEV60 DE Filter + Pro Series Plus 2HP Pump. Polaris PB4-60 Pressure Cleaner Booster Pump. Raypack P-R406A Heater. EasyTouch 8. IntelliChem w/ Acid Tank. IntelliChlor IC60. Techo-Bloc bullnose coping + Blu 60 mm paver patio. Merlin SmartMesh cover. TF-100.

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