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Thread: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

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    Exclamation Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    10,000 In-ground freeform Fiberglass pool, 3.5ft to 6 ft
    In-line chlorinator
    Hayward gas heater


    **Adding pictures that I just took**


    Checked pool levels last week. I just have a basic tester that comes with the pool.


    (NO signs of burning eyes, skin and water was perfectly clear)


    Chlorine way above the highest level of 5.
    pH showing up pale yellow.
    Alkalinity tested pretty much non-existent.




    After reading online, I decided to add baking soda gradually and re-test so I wouldn't end up to high. Added 1.5 lbs. multiple times over a few days and no change. So then I added 2 lbs., 3 more times in 2 days. Still no change in Ph, but finally alkalinity registered 20 ppm. Still very low. (Forgot to mention that I turned off the auto-chlorinator the first two days, and now have it set low and it is now in the optimal range)


    I don't have a bottom drain in my pool; even though it looked perfectly clean, I decided to use the vacuum hose to help circulate more of the water --just in case. Soon after, the pool started looking a bit cloudy, then a slight green hue. I thought this might be normal from the baking soda. It looked clearer by the time I had the vacuum disconnected and out of the water, but there was still a greenish color and an oily look on the surface.


    I went to the shallow end and saw what I thought was pieces of leaves. Then I realized that there was more under each return valve in the pool. After looking more closely, it almost looked like brown/copper "fuzz".


    I found some information about low pH causing problems with breaking down copper in the heater coil and the baking soda causing a reaction. But I'm not sure if this is correct, or what I should do at this point. i have shut off the pool until I can figure out what to do. I don't want to cause further damage. We've been using the pool and the heater up until this last week. It works very well, so it doesn't seem noticeably damaged.


    Should I add more baking soda to raise the alkalinity and get the pH under control? Does anyone have experience with this problem, or suggestions on what to do at this point?

    ***********
    **Edit** Thought of another newbie mistake - Have large trees and leaves were clogging the skimmer in the Fall. Someone suggested putting a "barrier" to keep the leaves from entering the skimmer. I used something that had metal and it ended up rusting. But that was months ago. Could that be enough to cause a reaction if there was still a small amount trapped in the main filter?
    ************

    Attachment 51164Attachment 51165

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now Copper "deposits" at bottom

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    I am a little hesitant to offer too much advice as I am not sure how much I trust the test "kit" you have. Ideally you should invest in one of the Recommended Test Kits if you want to really take control.

    You are right that with the very low TA and pH, you are causing damage to the heater. Likely these crashed low due to the use of acidic trichlor tablets (we are not very fond of them).

    You should certainly keep adding baking soda until you get the TA up to at least 50ppm and then get the pH back into the 7s using borax (if it does not come up before then).
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now Copper "deposits" at bottom

    Thanks very much for your quick response!

    Should I continue to add baking soda in 2lb increments (while the pump is running), or should I be adding more? I've added at least 10-12 lbs at this point and TA it is still only 30 ppm (incorrectly stated 20 ppm in the original post).

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Use PoolMath to calculate how much more you need to add.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Thank you

    I added more baking soda and when I checked the level after it was running all night and the TA was up to almost 60. So I went ahead to the store and bought borax. I used PoolMath and took a sample of water and tested it. With both calculations I estimated about 6.4 lbs of borax. I added that to the skimmer and now the pool is cloudy with white floating debris.

    After I had posted last night, I cleaned the filter and it was foamy green (algae looking) stuff that poured out. After the borax was in for several hours, I pulled the filter because it was back up to the green level as last night. This time it was covered in a brighter, more blue than green color.

    I had turned off the chlorinator initally because of the high level. After some research yesterday (before posting here) I turned it back up.

    It hasn't been running long enough to get accurate numbers, but I checked at the return just to see what's coming through.
    FC - 5
    TA - 70
    pH - still too low to tell, but looks closer to the 6.8 min color than it was

    I have research overload and not sure where to go from here.

    Attachment 51227Attachment 51226

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    We don't recommend adding chems to the skimmer. More here on that, Pool School - Recommended Pool Chemicals

    Please add your pool info to your signature, more here, Pool School - Read This Before You Post
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    You need more borax to get the pH up.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Use borax to raise pH....not baking soda.

    read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School

    You are guessing with that cheap kit and our advice is based on precision testing....not guesswork. Sorry to be harsh but guessing is what gets people in trouble.

    Get a good kit and stop trying to raise pH with baking soda......it doesn't work. We'll help you get your pool fixed but you have to help us with meaningful data.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Their TA was zero, they had to raise that first with baking soda.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Thank you everyone for your help. (I have been going over the pool school information and added sig --thank you for pointing that out)


    Last night I periodically swept the bottom to help with circulation, and removed and rinsed the filter twice. It appeared to be clearing gradually. I added another 4 lbs of borax at 4am.

    The numbers I have been posting are from kit the installer provided. I also found the test strips they left last night. Two wrongs may not make a right, but they're fairly consistent and the best I have for now.


    Results from 12 this afternoon

    Test Kit
    FC - 2
    pH - 7.3
    TA - 60 (down from previous reading of 70)

    Strips
    FC - 3
    pH - 7.2
    TA - color between 40 - 80 range
    TH - color between 100 - 200 range (I did read this may not accurately reflect calcium on the pool school page; just adding in the event that it may add to the whole picture.
    CYA - 30 - 50


    Glad the pH is finally up. FC is lower today (it's still on the highest setting). Still cloudy, but better. The pressure on the filter returns to the same level even after cleaning. (I plan to soak the filter then follow up with muriatic acid/water, as described in the cleaning a cartridge section.)

    Am I on the right track here? are there other things that I should be doing?
    10k IG fiberglass, Hayward 1.5 hp Max-Flow XL pump, Hayward Star-Clear 175 sqft cartridge filter, Pentair 320 auto-chlorinator, H250FDN natural gas heater, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 Test Kit
    (Oct 2015 install)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Do you order a test kit yet? That is #1 priority.

    I think the only thing you need to do beyond that is stop using the in-line chlorinator which is driving your CYA up, and pH/TA down and switch to using liquid chlorine.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Test kit results at 6pm

    FC - 2
    pH - 7.4
    TA - 70

    Just wanted to add this on because the pH is in the normal range and the TA went back up. Also adding pictures of the pool after not "sweeping" in a few hours. Settling under the return jets.



    Since the pH and FC are in range, is it going to clear on its own? or do I need to add bleach to temporarily raise the levels? At what point should I add more baking soda to increase the TA?

    I apologize if these answers are in the forum already. I'm researching as much as I can, and want to get the pool clear as quickly as possible. (My wife is off work for the next week and not to happy the possibility of not being able to swim for the holiday weekend! )
    Attached Images Attached Images
    10k IG fiberglass, Hayward 1.5 hp Max-Flow XL pump, Hayward Star-Clear 175 sqft cartridge filter, Pentair 320 auto-chlorinator, H250FDN natural gas heater, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 Test Kit
    (Oct 2015 install)

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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Sorry jblizzle, I was submitting the updated numbers and pictures and didn't see your post first.

    I'm waiting on a kit from Amazon. Most of them are on backorder...might have to get one local if it takes to long.

    I'm also hoping to switch over to a SWG soon. It was doing really well for the 6 months prior, running every day. I spend hours every week keeping it clean of debris from the large trees, but I didn't stay on top testing while all the pollen was coming down like crazy.


    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Do you order a test kit yet? That is #1 priority.

    I think the only thing you need to do beyond that is stop using the in-line chlorinator which is driving your CYA up, and pH/TA down and switch to using liquid chlorine.

    Have you discovered Pool School yet? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    10k IG fiberglass, Hayward 1.5 hp Max-Flow XL pump, Hayward Star-Clear 175 sqft cartridge filter, Pentair 320 auto-chlorinator, H250FDN natural gas heater, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 Test Kit
    (Oct 2015 install)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    You are very unlikely to find the FAS-DPD test kits locally.

    You should try to keep your FC up around 4-5ppm if the 30-50ppm for CYA is at all close to avoid algae.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Order a TF-100 from TFTestkits.net. It is in stock and ready to ship. I have been buying mine there for years.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Long overdue reply. The information on here has saved me years of headaches I'm sure.

    After I got my TF-100 kit from TFTestkits, I was able to get all my levels back to normal within a few days and they've held with very little adjustment, even through winter. Now, if the oak trees would stop dumping massive amounts of leaves and acorns into my pool, it would be perfect.

    Anyway, thank you to everyone for your feedback!
    10k IG fiberglass, Hayward 1.5 hp Max-Flow XL pump, Hayward Star-Clear 175 sqft cartridge filter, Pentair 320 auto-chlorinator, H250FDN natural gas heater, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 Test Kit
    (Oct 2015 install)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Great to hear!
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Treated Low pH & Alkalinity w/ Baking Soda - Now "deposits" at bottom

    Excellent choice, and glad to hear you got it sorted.
    TFP Moderator
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