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Thread: UGH

  1. Back To Top    #1

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    UGH

    In case anyone has had trouble figuring out what is going on, here is my recent epic tribulations, it explains why I'm here! It is a long story, so only need to read if you can't figure out what is wrong.

    I've had a great pool for years, crystal clear, and a service to take care of it. A few months ago, I noticed the guy was adding a lot of chlorine and HCA. And he commented that I must be using it a lot, sometimes when I had not used it at all.

    I eventually figured out that my SCG was shot. Well 3-5 years, and I got 5 years, so that is pretty good. It was missing an entire plate once I inspected it.

    So I got a new Electrolysis unit. I've been plagued with a lot of scale for a long time, and my neighbor let me to believe this is because the constant operation of the SCG requires, in a perfect world, constant addition of a little acid.

    So now that my once a week chlorine treated pool got the SCG working again, I started checking chemicals. PH was nearly 8, despite the weekly dump of lots of HCA. I looked into that, and this seemed to be at least one of the reasons for tons of calcium deposits.

    So I got an IntelliPH [adds acid in synchronism with the SCG, so pretty cool]. I also dumped a bunch more HCA in and got it down to 7.3. Next day it was way up again, so I have been slowly turning up the IntelliPH and adding a little HCA. So this is getting under control.

    Except salt is 5500. So I calculate how much water to remove and add, and now the Salt is 3200. Yea! I also learn that adding tons of chlorine often will slowly increase the salt level, so that makes sense; now that the SCG is working, hopefully salt remains stable.

    So with the PH staying around 7.3-7.4, it started snowing chunks of scale [I assume calcium]. Chunks, dust; just a whole lot of it. Some pieces as big as your toenails. Water is pretty clear.

    I'm excited now; balanced PH automatically, good SWC, and I'm starting to learn about the other things [CYA, Alkalinity, etc.]. Water is nice and soft and zero eye burning! Yea!!

    So then the whole system is not filtering. I had to get the pump up to 2500 RPM to just get it to flow. Gauge is unreadable on DE filter, so I decide to clean out the DE filter; assuming it is all this calcium clogging things up.

    So now I'm expecting near perfection. Clean DE, good chemistry, stable PH, stable FC, just a tad high [now set on 20% vs 100%!].

    But the water is really cloudy. Stays cloudy. I tried clarifier, that helped but still quite cloudy.

    Pool guy comes, and says, oh that is because you need chlorine, so he dumps a bunch of chlorine, I don't understand this because it is around 5, and 3-4 is still good from what I have been reading.

    And the pool is even more cloudy the next day. And now the robot cleaner is not cleaning the leaves [I get a lot of them] as well as it did.

    So I turn the pump up to 2000rpm and leave it on all night. Pool still cloudy, but maybe a bit better.

    Robot cleaner working even worse. So I pull the robot, pull the robot filter, and it is caked with this light brown gunk, I assume dead algae per the pool guy.

    So back goes the robot with a clean filter, and man it is really back to cleaning the living heck out of the bottom, back to scrubbing the heck out of the sides/edges, etc.

    And the next day the pool is less cloudy, but a noticeable amount! Robot is not working so well.

    It seems obvious in retrospect; Anyway, I had noticed some plastic pieces in the DE filter when I was cleaning it; to make a long story end, the DE was leaking into the pool, getting removed by the Robot.

    So the filter is really old, I'm not sure how old, I'd guess 10+ years, so I decided to replace it; and I've wanted to go up in size anyway. So A Quad DE80 is on it's way.

    And other than that, Things are settling in. But I've realized I need to learn more to avoid these issues in the future.

    And maybe all the scaling will stop, and possibly get reversed. Any thoughts on how to remove scaling besides draining would be interesting to me.

    Sorry again for the long story!
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    Welcome

    Let me give you the short version -

    1. Fire the pool guy. He's costing you a lot of money for little to no value-add

    2. If you want to learn more about your pool water chemistry and have a clean sparkling pool like what all of us have, you need to test your water yourself. That means buying one of the test kits we recommend - either the Taylor K-2006 or the TFTestKits TF-100. And, before you ask, pool store testing is worthless and we do not give guidance using test strip data as those are best regarded as "guess-strips".

    3. Post your test results and you'll get expert advice.

    Two things in your story pop out - (A) you likely have an algae problem (all that cloudiness) and you are likely just keeping it at bay and not eradicating it AND (B) your scaling is likely due to high TA combined with high enough CH to cause the cell to scale calcium carbonate.

    The test kit cost ~$70-$100 depending on what you buy and it is the single most important investment you can make in your pool. By doing that, you can fire the pool guy (how much, $30-$50 per week??) and take complete control of your pool and never have to step foot in a pool store again.

    Good luck.

    (FYI, around here we call it muriatic acid or MA. No one refers to it as hydrochloric acid, or HCA, even though technically MA is outdated terminology.)
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    Yup, you have fallen in with a group of folks that believe that taking care of our pools is much better than "professional" help. Your post indicates you have been taught the pool store line that as long as FC is 3 - 4 then the pool is always OK. Sad to say, but the pool industry refuses to acknowledge the connection between chlorine and stabilizer (also referred to as CYA). The higher the stabilizer levels the more chlorine you need to keep the pool clear. Check out this chart - FC/CYA Chart

    I will also caution you that we have had several folks show up reporting that their IntelliPH dumped the entire container of acid into the pool all at once. While I love SWCG's, I'm not a big fan of other chemical addition automation as the sensors that regulate the additions are spotty at best.

    How much Pool School have you read? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals

    So, welcome to TFP!!
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: UGH

    Thanks! I'm surprised anyone read that tome, no less gave me some helpful info!!

    Yes, I've been through the pool school and ABCs; I'm ok with some tests to see how much of it stuck, and how much was burned off by UV exposure .

    Given that, I remain curious that Spas are OK with a wider PH range [7.2-7.8], yet pools want tighter control [7.4-7.6]. With my scaling, I would have thought keeping it just above 7.2 would be good for a while.

    But I'm going to get some accurate measurements, put em into poolmath, and see where I am on the index.

    OK, so MA, not HCA. I've done some work in Chemistry, so HCA is what I know. Lesson learned MA it is.

    I may fire the pool guy; I know he means well, but he seems to know far less about this then the info on this site. I can't always do it myself though as I travel, and often wont be able to get to it. And my pool has been clean, if not over PH-ed, over-chlorinated, and over salted for quite a while.

    I DONT have a closed loop acid controller (it is open loop). I saw some reviews on the closed-loop system, and it appears that they are unstable (as you are mentioning). It is just a percentage-based open-loop system. Since I won't be able to check the pool and adjust every day, and sometimes not every week, this may allow me to actually fire the pool guy. Or at least that is a possibility, if it can get me close. I also hope this will reduce scaling by stopping the wild swings in PH each week.

    Based on the pool getting clear after multiple Robot cleanings, I assumed it was ONLY the leaking DE. Since I am still getting plenty of DE out of the robot, I know that is part of the problem, or it is a very DE-like substance.

    The pool is crystal now. Like ultra crystal clear. Yea!

    But if you think I still might have algae issues, I will do the Overnight chlorine test [OCLT?] that I saw somewhere, I think this will prove or disprove that.

    And I'll post my numbers after I've taken them for a few days. My only thing that seems out of range is TDS; and I have never measured CH, but [recently!] understand that that is important, so I'm going to start measuring that too. I guess total hardness is not interesting when you have a direct CH measurement.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: UGH

    Where did you get the idea that a pool has to be within a pH range of 7.4-7.6? That is not at all correct. Pools can happily exist anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8. If the pH goes above 7.8, you bring it down with MA. If the pH drops to 7.0 or lower, you bring it up with either borax or washing soda. Where a pool's pH is most stable is determine completely by the total alkalinity (TA) of the water, temperature and how much aeration the water gets.

    TDS is unimportant as far as pool testing goes. You have a salt water pool, the TDS will always be above 4000pm and is completely dominated by your salt levels. Old school pool services use(d) TDS as a proxy for how much "stuff" is in your water and therefore how "old" the water is. But nowadays, ya know since the turn of the century, we have ways of independently measuring the various chemicals in pool water (calcium, cyanic acid, etc, etc). So TDS is completely irrelevant. Our Pool Math program takes into account the effects of TDS when calculating the saturation index that we use, the calcite saturation index (CSI) so the user doesn't have to bother with TDS measurements.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: UGH

    I agree there are a few key concepts you need to know

    1, The correct FC level is determined by your FC/CYA ratio, so without accurately knowing your CYA level you can't know how high you need to maintain FC in order to have a properly sanitized pool

    2, scaling is caused by CH and the potential for CH scaling is calculated by the CSI once you know the other levels that must be plugged into the calculator to get your CSI

    3, pH stability has everything to do with TA, get the TA to the right level (which varies pool to pool depending on a variety of factors, aeration, use of SWG, fill water pH, types of wind blown dust, ....) and your pH will stabilize
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    You say you travel, how often & how long. With automated additions of chlorine & MA, once you get it close travel for reasonable amounts of time should be no problem.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: UGH

    Ah, great. Thanks. I really wanted to let the CSI to do the job. So once I get a baseline of CH, I'll be able to use the index. I got a digital ph tester that is at least precise, I'll use the Taylor to see if it is also accurate.

    Good. That is my hope in that I can dial it in so it drifts slowly enough so that if I'm gone for a week or more it won't be too bad when I return.

    Thanks guys!
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    You just think it is clear now. Wait until you get it dialed in with TFP levels! When will the new filter get there?

    What test kit are you using? Can you please list it in your siggy so it can be seen at a glance. THANKS!

    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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    Re: UGH

    Yea. I'm psyched. Dolphin still picking up DE!

    ner filter arrives Monday nigh. Install the next Saturday. Gonna SLAM on Monday.

    Test at kit is a K2006. I guess I need to add Taylor. I also have a digital PH meter.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: UGH

    I figured out where the 7.5 PH comes from. It comes up as a recommendation in poolmath when you choose TFP levels.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    Here is a more detailed recommendation, Pool School - Recommended Levels

    And here

    Pool School - Water Balance for SWGs
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    Re: UGH

    Ok, thanks. really appreciate the perspective.

    So so it seems poolmath is our guiding reference. When I put in my current measurements, poolmath tells me to shoot for a PH of 7.3 in order to stay slightly negative CSI.

    I also believe I want to stay negative, because it would seem for years, I have had troublesome calcium deposits. Here is a picture of some I chipped out of my hot tub yesterday. Also, since getting my PH Down to ~7.3, I have been getting a lot of calcium scale pieces in my pool cleaner. I'd guess I'm taking out a half cup of calcium (I assume it is some form of calcium) per week. This pic is far more than that (I chipped it out with a hammer and large screwdriver).

    image.jpg

    The thickest part here is about 1.5". So basically I feel like if I stay slightly negative, I'll stop the increase in scaling, and might even reverse some of it.

    As an aside, I am on my 3rd day of SLAM-ing. True to form, the pool store did the hard sell for some sort of shock that seemed too good to be true. I looked it up, and it would have driven some of my other levels far higher.

    Instead, I stuck with good old chlorine. Yes I had to add some MA. So what. Now I have lots of Clorine, and otherwise water is looking good. This place has already saved me from screwing up my (now pretty good) water.

    Also, I tried using my power washer to scrub the dead alge. WOW it worked REALLY well. Pool has not looked this white and clear for years. Man o man does it get down to the plaster. It even broke loose some scale, although I believe this scal is loose due to the now lower PH.


    New filter hopefully arrives today.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: UGH

    WOW look at that! Amazing. We need pics of the hot tub now with the missing chunks. And that is really funny to me that your robot kept picking up all of the DE, such a good robot, but masking the underlying problem.
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    Re: UGH

    OK. I'll take a pic when I'm home and it is light out.

    Hot Tub looks really inviting now. As y'all have been saying, it looked pretty good last week, even better now. I want to go in it all day an night now! [but the chlorine is off the charts right now (SLAM-ing), so I can't.

    Yea, The only reason I was able to figure out the DE leak is I found a web site with 100 things that can make your pool cloudy. Leaking DE was buried on that list, but it clicked, and then when I started proving/disproving that as a source, well the Robot operating weaker and weaker made the light bulb come on. Soon new filter, so this should be a thing of the past by the weekend!

    My trouble now is, when do I stop SLAM-ing? I want to over-do it to make sure I get all the mustard. Hopefully, my K2006 [arrives today] will allow me to make accurate chlorine measurements over night, and if it is the same tonight as it is tomorrow morning, I *think* I'm all set.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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    Re: UGH

    Quote Originally Posted by xyz View Post
    OK. I'll take a pic when I'm home and it is light out.

    Hot Tub looks really inviting now. As y'all have been saying, it looked pretty good last week, even better now. I want to go in it all day an night now! [but the chlorine is off the charts right now (SLAM-ing), so I can't.

    Yea, The only reason I was able to figure out the DE leak is I found a web site with 100 things that can make your pool cloudy. Leaking DE was buried on that list, but it clicked, and then when I started proving/disproving that as a source, well the Robot operating weaker and weaker made the light bulb come on. Soon new filter, so this should be a thing of the past by the weekend!

    My trouble now is, when do I stop SLAM-ing? I want to over-do it to make sure I get all the mustard. Hopefully, my K2006 [arrives today] will allow me to make accurate chlorine measurements over night, and if it is the same tonight as it is tomorrow morning, I *think* I'm all set.
    ok. As promised!

    IMG_0411.jpg

    still slightly cloudy from the one last belch of DE from the old filter. New Quad DE is in and clearing things up as we speak (or read in this case). I'm pretty stoked.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: UGH

    that does look inviting! where were those deposits?
    12,000 gal Diamond Brite indoor​ pool. Pentair Triton TR-60 Sand Filter +added DE, Lochinvar Energyrite ERN-200 gas heater, Pentair Multi-valve, Pentair SuperFlo VS pump, TF-100 kit, Pool Math App - iOS

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    Re: UGH

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollercoastr View Post
    that does look inviting! where were those deposits?
    The spa light niche. But really, all over the pool. Now that I've got my CSI (if I remember that acronym correctly) slightly negative, I'm getting chunks of calcium and calcium in my robot, calcium "sand" in my filter, and more on the bottom of my pool.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

  19. Back To Top    #19
    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: UGH

    That is good news. It is dissolving off the plaster. Brush a bunch.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: UGH

    Took till today for all the remaining DE to be vacuumed up by the Dolphin robot. New filter doesn't leak DE.
    Jon -- 28kgal, IG, AquaBright, Attached Spa, ~1990, Quad DE 80, Easytouch8, IntelliFloVS-3050, Intellichlor60, IntelliPh, Dolphin DX6, City Water, K-2006/TF-100, SpeedStir, SampleSizer, San Diego, CA

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