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Thread: Not sure who to believe

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Not sure who to believe

    24,500 Gallon IG Pool
    Cartridge Filter

    FC 6
    CC 0
    pH 7.6
    TA 210 (non-adjusted)
    CYA 90

    I just bought this home, and recently converted to BBB instead of the pool company chemicals.

    It took some time to get the PH up to 7.6 using Borax (20 Mule Team) - it was as low as 6.8. It took a good 8 boxes to get there over time.

    When swimming, I get a burning sensation in the eyes, and the water smells (to me) like borax. It's a little foamy when the pump starts up in the morning & when you jump in the water. Otherwise, it is crystal clear.

    I had the pool company test the water, and they said my TA was 170, and 80 after adjusting for CYA. I've tested the TA with two different kits and got the same results. I completely believe their test is more accurate than mine, but I thought the adjustment was only for 1/3 of the CYA and not the entire amount? They said it's the entire amount, and wanted to sell me more alkalinity increaser.

    My understanding is that the burning sensation in my eyes can definitely come from a low TA, but everything I've seen/read says that my TA is high.

    My questions are:

    1. Is it normal for the water to "smell" a bit like Borax or is it likely I've put too much in (I haven't tested for Borates)?
    2. What's the correct way to adjust for TA?

    24,600 gal vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP pump, Hayward SwimClear cartridge filter, Hayward H300 heater

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Welcome to TFP.

    Most people would be trying to lower their TA at 170ppm or 210ppm. Yours isn't low by any stretch of the imagination. TA is raised by adding baking soda, so even if you do need to raise it, don't buy their product.

    Eye irritation can be a pH issue, but it sounds like your pH is fine.

    Irritation can also be caused by chloramines, which is a product of the chlorine disinfection process when the chlorine level in the pool isn't high enough. With your CYA at 90ppm, you probably want to maintain a higher FC level. The chart in Pool School recommends 10ppm for normal operation at 90ppm CYA. Try operating there and see if the eye irritation disappears.

    Another possible cause is the low salinity of the water compared to your eyes. Adding some salt to the water makes the water much less drying to your eyes.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Thanks for the quick reply John!

    That was my thought as well. I'm new, but have been doing a lot of research and I've figured out that they're full of it. I got the baking soda in case I needed it, but didn't put it in because it just didn't make sense.

    Of course, they test your water "for free" as long as you buy chemicals from them. Otherwise the test is $15. I bought chemicals from them in the beginning, but the last couple of tests I've just told them I still had leftovers from earlier. They grudgingly accepted that one....

    I'll be doing a few things from here - adding on to the lifetime supporter list, getting the good test kit, and not going to the pool store for their "advice" any more.....
    24,600 gal vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP pump, Hayward SwimClear cartridge filter, Hayward H300 heater

  4. Back To Top    #4
    DaveNJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Toms River, NJ

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Very good, on your way to a Trouble Free Pool
    IG 18x36 oval vinyl, Spill over spa, Northstar 2hp-2spd, 2.5" piping, S310T 500lb Sand filter, 400k gas heater, AutoPilot SWCG

  5. Back To Top    #5
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    SWSuburban Chicago, IL

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Welcome to TFP

    I just thought I'd ad my 2 cents - I agree it's very likely CC causing the irritation and that your FC is too low -given the high CYA.

    Any chance you'd consider lowering it down, I think you'd be happier with the results.
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    I agree with frustratedpoolmom, the problem most likely comes from FC being to low, given the high CYA level. Either raise FC or lower CYA.
    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

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Also, they are wrong about the CYA correction factor and you are right. Don't have to take my word for it either. This is the forumula from the Taylor Tehcnologies website. Notice the correction factor in the table is approx 1/3 for pH from 7.4 - 8.0 and approx 1/4 from 7.0 - 7.2 of the total CYA meaurement. ... ontentID=5

    Also, borax should not make the water foamy nor does it really have a smell. The amount you added in a pool your size is not nearly enough to get to anywhere near 50 ppm unless the pool previously had a borate product added. I also suspect CC and possibly some organics in the water.

  8. Back To Top    #8

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Thanks everybody!

    Signed up for the test kit & lifetime membership.

    Jason, et al - you do a fantastic job with this site. very well run, amazingly responsive.... I'll be spreading the word!
    24,600 gal vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP pump, Hayward SwimClear cartridge filter, Hayward H300 heater

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Round Rock, TX

    Re: Not sure who to believe

    Also add your pool specs to your signature. Helps when answering questions.

    15,500 gal, inground gunite pool with 7 ft spa, 2 speed pump 2hp/.33hp, 3/4 hp booster pump, Intermatic P1353 timer, AutoPilot SC-48, Sand filter with ZeoBest, Heater, that I never use . . .

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