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Thread: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

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    New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Hi,

    I am new to the boards. I moved to my house a few years ago & the house has a pool (47x21 - 40,000 gallons) with a spa. I am surprised on how much i enjoy the pool/hot tub. Anyway the last few years my focus has been on fixing the house & I am now getting focused more on the pool. The previous owners had a pool company maintain the pool weekly & I have continued that tradition.

    This year I have been becoming more & more interested in the pool. I am somewhat handy & ordered / installed the Jandy IAqualink kit (2 years ago). It has been great to control from my phone.


    Anyway this year i have been spending time cleaning out the skimmers, playing with chemicals. Basically trying to do some work on the pool to get more familiar with it.

    Today the pool guys were at the house & I was working from home so I went to talk to them. I asked to see them do the water test & the guys didnt have a kit on them (maybe it was in the van) so I offered my kit. I have strips & a liquid kit.

    So we measure the chorine which was OK, then we measured PH which was a bit low (6.8). The instructions in my kit said:

    To raise from 6.8 @ 20,000 gallon pool - add 4.8 pounds (so I would expect a 40,000 gallon pool to double it). The pool guy said to just put a 3 cups of PH increaser in the pool. This suggests that I need to add less than 10 pounds.

    Then we looked at Alkalinity & the PPM showed at 50. So the paperwork I had said with a 20,000 pool to raise it 10ppm you need a 2.8 pound bag, so I would need 5.6 pounds for each PPM raised. So if i need to raise it 50ppm to get to 100, then I would expect i need 28 pounds? Is that right as it sounds like a lot.

    the pool guy said I didnt need that much but to add things slowly.

    Then he said I could use baking soda to raise the Alkalinity. With research online it sounds right to me. Then more shows i can use something off the shelf to raise PH.

    Then I found you guys and I am READY to learn!

    Love this place already!

    Thanks,
    Rich

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Well Rich, we're glad you found this place too! We're all volunteers here who enjoy our pools and like helping others learn about their pools and how to save money in the process while having better water than they ever had before.

    Our first suggestion is to get a DECENT test kit. "Guess-Strips" just don't cut it. Having one of the two test kits we recommend helps as we'll all be speaking the same language and we know what each test means in the big picture. Its important to know your exact stabilizer level, for example, as that guides your chlorine requirements. Having a Guess-strip tell you a result of 50-100 just doesn't cut it. I won't even go into the problem with pool guys not having a test kit?! Oy!!

    The two test kits we recommend are the TF-100 and the Taylor K-2006C. Both are available from TFTestkits.net or PoolSupplyWorld.com . With a pool your size I would definitely suggest the TF-100 as it has more reagents for the tests most often needed to be run. A battery speed-stir device makes testing easier and faster, but its not required if your hand and wrist can swirl a test tube vial fine.

    I would suggest first reading this --> ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    Yes, pool store expensive Alkalinity Increaser product is nothing more than Baking Soda!! You can buy that dirt cheap in large bags at Costco or Wallyworld. There is very little that one needs to buy at the pool store in actuality. But hey, their "free water tests" always seem to find a problem that they can sell you a cure for, amiright?

    Holler back with any questions you have.

    Yip
    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.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Thanks for the welcome. Here are a few photos of the pool.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Sorry I think i miswrote. I have a test kit & test strips.

    The kit is this one: http://i.imgur.com/AvbXveL.jpg

    Its a leslie kit - but I am happy to buy another kit so we are all talking the same language.

    Just curious - is it possible i need 28 pounds of baking soda?

    One more pool pic:

    http://i.imgur.com/t1e0dV6.jpg Its a gunite pool & was painted around 2010 - I am debating on if i should repaint or regunite the pool. It doesnt look terrible but i need to do something in the scheme of things.

    Also I have that 'toilet' bowl filler in the pool to keep the water level at the right point. Not sure how else to add water to the pool.

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    Mod Squad YippeeSkippy's Avatar
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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    My god that's a great looking pool!! I love the diving board and size.

    Your test kit appears to be missing the FAS-DPD tester. That's a powder/drop test for FC which goes up to 50ppm and also tests the CCs. You can buy it on its own-
    TFTestkits.net

    Before you go adding anything to your water, please provide us the most current test results for:
    FC
    CC
    pH
    TA
    CH
    CYA

    Then we'll input those numbers into PoolMath (see link at top of this page) and it will guide us in what is in line and what is wonky. And how to fix it

    Yip
    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.
    Our pool build--> Our Pool Solved Our Sloping Yard Skippy's Cheap Pool Cooler -->Skippy's New Fountain

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    New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    I think you attached the pics from your community pool. Please attach your pool pics.
    How deep is that bad boy?
    The surface appearance is strictly aesthetic if it's not leaking or causing podiatric damage. Repainting the pool is quite a temporary solution as you can see. The only proper fix is to replaster the surface. (Just a vocabulary note...gunite is the pool shell/structure and will outlast us both.)
    So glad you found TFP. You will save mega money learning/following the TFP way.
    18'x38' Rectangle (3'-8 1/2' deep w/ diving board) - 27K gal. w/ gray plaster
    Hayward equipment (cartridge filter, 2-speed pump, SWCG, automation) View Our Build
    Coverstar automatic pool cover | StoneMakers concrete retaining wall and decking
    Spring 2013 Build | Dolphin Active 20 robot cleaner | Support TFP!

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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    What has you satisfaction level been with your pool service these several years? Any algae outbreaks? How has open and closing gone? Welcome!
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

    Secret Weapon for Pool Chemistry Testing

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    While we have found that MOST pool stores and pool services give very poor advice, I will commend yours that they have given you one of the best tips that many folks take years to learn - "the pool guy said I didnt need that much but to add things slowly". Always add things slowly, both in the amount of time it takes to add the chemical but more importantly in how much you add. You never want to add too much of any chemical.

    To your TA question, do you really need 28 pounds of baking soda? NO! While 28 pounds may get you to a magical number, who says that number is correct? Here at TFP we go against the industry norm of keeping the TA in the 90 - 120 range. Why? Because the amount of TA controls how stable your pH is. The higher the TA the more UN-stable your pH becomes. I keep my TA right where yours is now, 50 - 60.

    Now to your pH. You say you are adding pH increaser. Are you using 3" chlorine pucks in a floater to add chlorine to the pool? I'm going to guess yes. These pucks are extremely acidic, meaning they reduce the pH in the pool. Just by switching from pucks to liquid chlorine you will probably eliminate the need to raise the pH. Most pools pH tends to rise naturally, so without the acid in the pucks holding it down artificially you will see it rise slowly. Plus, those pucks are adding stabilizer (also known as CYA to the pool that you probably don't want/need). There is a lot more information in my suggested reading below.

    As others have pointed out, that test kit you have from Leslie's is good (it's actually a Taylor kit "branded" for Leslie's), but is missing a couple of tests that are critical to following our methods of pool care. The FAS/DPD chlorine test and the CYA test.

    You are new to this game and are at a point where we generally explain you have a decision to make. Continue with the pool service and follow their care methods or follow TFP methods. Some things are the same but many are different, so the net is that you can't follow both. That just leads to confusion and possibly a green pool. I will assume that your pool will be closed fo r the season soon, so you have the winter to read more on our methods and make your decision.

    How much Pool School have you read? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    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: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by YippeeSkippy View Post
    The two test kits we recommend are the TF-100 and the Taylor K-2006C.
    Just to be clear - should I get both kits or one or the other?

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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    One or the other The TF-100 is generally the better value, more reagents for the price this is especially true when you are first learning to test.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by bmoreswim View Post
    I think you attached the pics from your community pool. Please attach your pool pics.
    How deep is that bad boy?
    The surface appearance is strictly aesthetic if it's not leaking or causing podiatric damage. Repainting the pool is quite a temporary solution as you can see. The only proper fix is to replaster the surface. (Just a vocabulary note...gunite is the pool shell/structure and will outlast us both.)
    So glad you found TFP. You will save mega money learning/following the TFP way.
    Thanks - the pool is 10 feet deep at the deep end & my kids have a blast in it. Of course now its closed for the season .
    The pool may have a slight leak but with the toilet bowl float filler thing I cant really tell for sure if the water that leaves is due to the sun or something else. Its not that much water though. I do see a few cracks.

    Quote Originally Posted by harleysilo View Post
    What has you satisfaction level been with your pool service these several years? Any algae outbreaks? How has open and closing gone? Welcome!
    Well - its nice not having to do anything. No algae outbreaks this season. I do refill the chlorine tabs in the skimmers, and empty the skimmers every few days in between visits though. So I guess i do help a bit. I pretty much do everything but vacuum the pool at various times.

    Its a luxury item vs a necessity but i learn more & more each year. I could always switch to the every other week service. Generally they dont do a great job with testing the chem levels imo. I asked them to show me how to test & they had to read the instructions. I think they just carry strips. If the chems are out of whack i guess its just more money for them?

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    To your TA question, do you really need 28 pounds of baking soda? NO! While 28 pounds may get you to a magical number, who says that number is correct? Here at TFP we go against the industry norm of keeping the TA in the 90 - 120 range. Why? Because the amount of TA controls how stable your pH is. The higher the TA the more UN-stable your pH becomes. I keep my TA right where yours is now, 50 - 60.

    Now to your pH. You say you are adding pH increaser. Are you using 3" chlorine pucks in a floater to add chlorine to the pool? I'm going to guess yes. These pucks are extremely acidic, meaning they reduce the pH in the pool. Just by switching from pucks to liquid chlorine you will probably eliminate the need to raise the pH. Most pools pH tends to rise naturally, so without the acid in the pucks holding it down artificially you will see it rise slowly. Plus, those pucks are adding stabilizer (also known as CYA to the pool that you probably don't want/need). There is a lot more information in my suggested reading below.

    As others have pointed out, that test kit you have from Leslie's is good (it's actually a Taylor kit "branded" for Leslie's), but is missing a couple of tests that are critical to following our methods of pool care. The FAS/DPD chlorine test and the CYA test.

    You are new to this game and are at a point where we generally explain you have a decision to make. Continue with the pool service and follow their care methods or follow TFP methods. Some things are the same but many are different, so the net is that you can't follow both. That just leads to confusion and possibly a green pool. I will assume that your pool will be closed fo r the season soon, so you have the winter to read more on our methods and make your decision.

    How much Pool School have you read? Start with these:
    ABCs of Water Chemistry
    Recommended Pool Chemicals
    How to Chlorinate Your Pool
    So i added a few small boxes of baking soda & waited a few days, maybe 2 pounds (vs 28). it got the level to a good level. The pucks sit in my skimmer - i thought that was better as it disapates slower than liquid? Is there a way to do a slow release liquid?

    I am going to get another tester as i am in the middle of getting a hot tub & will need to stay on top of that myself.

    Thanks,
    Rich

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichTJ99 View Post
    Just to be clear - should I get both kits or one or the other?
    Actually, at this point I may say maybe neither. Your Leslies kit contains most of the tests you need. You could just purchase the FAS/DPD test and the CYA test and you would have the same kit. But, how old is your kit? Reagents do expire and if you think your current kit is a few years old it is getting long in the tooth.

    Now if you want or think you need a new kit, you want one or the other - not both. Both of them of them use the same Taylor Technologies chemicals/reagents.

    I recommend the TF100 as it was designed for residential use and has more of what we do use and less or none of what we don't use often.

    As you know, the only other real option for a test kit is a Taylor K-2006. Be careful comparing prices because the K-2006 comes in sizes, designated by a letter. The basic K-2006 has .75oz bottles. You need to get the K-2006-C to get the larger bottles that you want. Even then it is a little short on the reagent & powder for the FAS/DPD test.

    I also have the SpeedStir and Sample Sizer. They speed testing and accuracy.

    The final thought is that the owners of the company who sells the TF-100 also help pay the bills here to keep the electrons flowing. Short of a direct donation, it is the best way to support our site.
    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: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    If you are going to continue to use pucks you should put them in a floater. Putting them in the skimmer basket makes the water going to the pump and filter have a higher concentration of chlorine and low pH, that can wear on your equipment and cause it to fail sooner than it otherwise would.
    12,300 Gallon, IG PebbleFina, 3 ft sheer, 2 Jandy nicheless LED lights, Jandy Pro 1.5HP VS pump (A.O. Smith Motor), PB4-60 Booster pump, Polaris 280, Jandy cv340 cartridge filter, Zodiac Z4 control panel W/iAquaLink, Stenner pumps for chlorine & MA connected to WiOn WiFi switches, TF-100. You can support TFP with AmazonSmile just click the link!

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Quote Originally Posted by RichTJ99 View Post
    The pucks sit in my skimmer - i thought that was better as it disapates slower than liquid? Is there a way to do a slow release liquid?

    I am going to get another tester as i am in the middle of getting a hot tub & will need to stay on top of that myself.

    Thanks,
    Rich
    Pucks in the skimmer = a very bad idea. As was pointed out above, pucks are VERY acidic and over time damage the plastic of the skimmer housing. Plus, when the pump is not running the puck sits in the skimmer and continues to dissolve. The creates a pocket of highly acidic water inside the skimmer that is then pulled through your pump/filter/heater and is bad for them as well. If you must use pucks, you want a floater. Even then you will find you replace the floaters as the acidic tabs rot them out fairly quickly. I have had them fail in under a season.

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

    Either test kit will handle your spa also.
    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: New to the boards- Just learned about Baking Soda!

    Thanks - I ordered the T100, speed stir & sample sizer from TFtestkits. I am happy to support whoever is paying the bills!

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