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Thread: New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know

  1. #1
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    New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know

    Hi everyone,

    I'm going to get my 24 feet AG pool installed on Monday or Tuesday. I will also have a SWG (Aqua Trol). I read a lot here and everywhere about how to operate a pool with a SWG and I get a bit confused because all terms and even basic things are new to me (this is my first pool). I wnat to learn!!!

    I would like if someone could give me the first few big important things to know when I start the maintenance of my pool with SWG. For instance:

    - I know I will have to go to the pool store to get my water analyze and then add the products I need in order to get water balance, etc. But, how often should I wait to get my first sample of water? After that, how often (every day, every two days, etc.) do I have to do that?

    - Can I use kit to test my water and get all info I need or is it always better to go to the pool store because they have better analyze than what a kit can do?

    - I read a lot about the PH getting low when using a SWG. Don't ask me what is exactly the PH, I don't know, I 'm hoping that the guys at the pool store will explain to me. I just heard that when the PH gets low, I have to add products to control the PH level. Can someone give me more info on that particular point?

    - What is CYA? I read it is very important to add CYA when you use a SWG? Could someone give me more info on that?

    Any tips that is important to know for a new pool owner is welcome

    BIC
    Don
    SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intelliflow pump
    Pentair SWG
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  2. #2
    Senior Member Backglass's Avatar
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    Re: New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by BIC
    New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know
    From the recent posts...I would say hose off your stone, furniture & landscape lighting on a regular basis. :P

  3. #3
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    I am fairly new to pools too but I can give you a few tips.

    1) Many people here will tell you to get a good test kit and test the water yourself. Depending on the
    pool store, they may either have poor testing equipment or may not know what they are doing. If you
    have a reputable store in your area, you can start by getting your water tested there, mind you, they will
    try and sell you on whatever they can. This is where gaining knowledge on how to take care of your pool will
    save you lots of money. Someone can pipe in on which test kit to get. I have a basic Taylor test kit and it does the
    job pretty well. You probably want to test your water at least every day and adjust your chemicals accordingly, especially when you get your fresh water... as times goes on, you can go to testing every 2-3 days as your pool chemistry gets under control. In the end, you will get to know your own pool and how much you need to look after it.

    2) pH is the measurement of acid or alk in your water. the lower the number the more acidic, the higher, the alkalinity.
    You want your water to be between 7.2-7.8. A byproduct of SWCG's is lye, which increases your pH, so your pool (in general) will have a tendency to rise. You want to control that with dry acid or muriatic acid.

    3) Sunlight kills chlorine... quickly. Stabilizer or CYA is a chemical that prevents your chlorine from being consumed by the sun. But using CYA is a double edged sword. The more CYA you have, the more chlorine you need to have to keep your pool clean. There is a chart posted here somewhere which tells you how much chlorine in parts per million (ppm) you need based on your CYA. Most people find success with a CYA between 30-50ppm. The only way to reduce your CYA is to do partial drains of your pool and refill with fresh water.

    There are other things too like Total Chlorine/Free Chlorine/Combined Chlorine/Alkaline/Calcium etc etc. which you will learn about the more you cruise through the forums.

    Good luck and keep the questions coming!!

  4. #4
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    Re: New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know

    Quote Originally Posted by Backglass
    Quote Originally Posted by BIC
    New to SWG, .... what are the important things to know
    From the recent posts...I would say hose off your stone, furniture & landscape lighting on a regular basis. :P

    tsk tsk

  5. #5
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    Make sure you have the proper salt level (3200-3500 ppm), the right stablizer level (60-80 ppm cyanuric acid) and WATCH YOUR pH!. It will tend to rise. Keep it at about 7.6 and when it rises to 7.8 add acid to drop it back to 7.6. A good testkit (like the TF testkti) will help you achieve this easily. http://www.tftestkits.com/

    The Aquacheck salt test strips that you can purchase as an option to the TF Testkit are very accurate and reliable and you should have them around to test your salt levels.

    You can minimize the acid usage in a salt pool by keeping the TA on the low side (70-90 ppm) pH at 7.6 and by adding borates to 50 ppm to the water.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    I am fairly new to pools too but I can give you a few tips.


    2) pH is the measurement of acid or alk in your water. the lower the number the more acidic, the higher, the alkalinity.
    You want your water to be between 7.2-7.8. A byproduct of SWCG's is lye, which increases your pH, so your pool (in general) will have a tendency to rise. You want to control that with dry acid or muriatic acid.
    Not entirely true. SWGs do cause more of a pH rise but it is not because the produce lye. It is because there is more outgassing of carbon dioxide from the hydrogen bubbles produced in the cell. The chemistry is a bit complex so I won't go into it here.
    3) Sunlight kills chlorine... quickly. Stabilizer or CYA is a chemical that prevents your chlorine from being consumed by the sun. But using CYA is a double edged sword. The more CYA you have, the more chlorine you need to have to keep your pool clean. There is a chart posted here somewhere which tells you how much chlorine in parts per million (ppm) you need based on your CYA. Most people find success with a CYA between 30-50ppm. The only way to reduce your CYA is to do partial drains of your pool and refill with fresh water.
    SWGs operate more effeciently at slightly higher CYA levels. Most manufactuers recommend 60-80 ppm. This allows the cell to operate at a lower output percentage and helps the pH from rising as fast.
    There are other things too like Total Chlorine/Free Chlorine/Combined Chlorine/Alkaline/Calcium etc etc. which you will learn about the more you cruise through the forums.

    Good luck and keep the questions coming!!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    I am fairly new to pools too but I can give you a few tips.


    2) pH is the measurement of acid or alk in your water. the lower the number the more acidic, the higher, the alkalinity.
    You want your water to be between 7.2-7.8. A byproduct of SWCG's is lye, which increases your pH, so your pool (in general) will have a tendency to rise. You want to control that with dry acid or muriatic acid.
    Not entirely true. SWGs do cause more of a pH rise but it is not because the produce lye. It is because there is more outgassing of carbon dioxide from the hydrogen bubbles produced in the cell. The chemistry is a bit complex so I won't go into it here.
    3) Sunlight kills chlorine... quickly. Stabilizer or CYA is a chemical that prevents your chlorine from being consumed by the sun. But using CYA is a double edged sword. The more CYA you have, the more chlorine you need to have to keep your pool clean. There is a chart posted here somewhere which tells you how much chlorine in parts per million (ppm) you need based on your CYA. Most people find success with a CYA between 30-50ppm. The only way to reduce your CYA is to do partial drains of your pool and refill with fresh water.
    SWGs operate more effeciently at slightly higher CYA levels. Most manufactuers recommend 60-80 ppm. This allows the cell to operate at a lower output percentage and helps the pH from rising as fast.
    There are other things too like Total Chlorine/Free Chlorine/Combined Chlorine/Alkaline/Calcium etc etc. which you will learn about the more you cruise through the forums.

    Good luck and keep the questions coming!!

    Thanks for the corrections!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Backglass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    Thanks for the corrections!
    tsk tsk

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys for the info, I learn a bit more everyday. I definitely need that kind of pieces of advice. I hope it looks more complicated than it is .

    crazycanuck, by the way I live close to Ottawa in the Qu├ębec province. I see that you also have a SWG. I just hope I won't regret mine .

    As a general info, my pool is full south, no shadow, so it will get a lot of sun.

    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    The Aquacheck salt test strips that you can purchase as an option to the TF Testkit are very accurate and reliable and you should have them around to test your salt levels.

    You can minimize the acid usage in a salt pool by keeping the TA on the low side (70-90 ppm) pH at 7.6 and by adding borates to 50 ppm to the water.
    Hi waterbear,

    The Aqua Trol displays the salt level (the ppm), so can I trust the machine or should I test anyway with the kit you are talking about (Aquacheck salt test strips)?

    Other question,

    With SWG, they say that you should start your SWG when the pool is completely balance (not before). So, does that mean I should wait a couple of days after I add stuff to the water, before to start the SWG?

    BIC
    Don
    SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intelliflow pump
    Pentair SWG
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  10. #10
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    At this time of the year, you better get your SWCG running fairly quickly. Algae will bloom fairly fast, especially in a pool with full sun.

    If you can get your pool balanced in a day or two, which would be somewhat lucky, you will probably be ok. If you can't, and are close, I would probably try and start up the SWCG anyways, provided you aren't too far off, but others with more experience will let you know.

    If you can't get it balanced in a few days, you should look at adding some chlorine to the pool another way, either cal-hypo, pucks, or bleach.
    Jim

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIC
    The Aqua Trol displays the salt level (the ppm), so can I trust the machine or should I test anyway with the kit you are talking about (Aquacheck salt test strips)?

    Other question,

    With SWG, they say that you should start your SWG when the pool is completely balance (not before). So, does that mean I should wait a couple of days after I add stuff to the water, before to start the SWG?

    BIC
    The Goldline units are not true salt meters but determine salt by measuring conductivity and the reading can vary with temperature. They are a good guide but can be off as much as 600 ppm from a chemical test and this is within tolerance. You will often find that they read 100-300 ppm of a chemical test such as the strips but it can be a much greater variance. Some of the newer Goldline units allow you to calibrate the reading on the unit to a chemical test. Check your manual to see if you can with yours. I guess in a roundabout way I said you should either invest in the test strips, a Taylor chloride test kit (much more difficult to use than the strips and not really more accurate) or a good handheld salt meter that you keep calibrated (Stay away from the LaMotte!, Goldline has a great one but you also need the calibration soluton and MyronL makes an excellent one!) A meter will set you back well over $100 or more!)

    As far as balancing the pool, get your pH to 7.6, add your salt and stabilizer and fire the unit up. Check your chlorine daily and suppliment with liquid or bleach until the stabilizer is dissolved, which can take up to a week. Once your chlorine levels are stable then adjust your TA to about 70-90 ppm, bring your pH back to 7.6 if you need to, and last adjust the calcium. You don't really need calcium in a vinyl pool but if your pool is filled with very soft water it might have more of a tendency to foam so I would make sure the calcium is at least 130 ppm. Don't worry about it if it is higher unless it is much over 300 ppm. In that case keep very close tabs on your pH to help prevent scaling of the cell. Don't let the pH go above 7.8 before you add acid to drop it back to 7.6
    Last thing you might want to consider is adding borates to your pool in a 50 ppm concentration. It will help keep the pH more stable, has algaestatic properties, and makes the water look very clear (the usual comment is that the water seems to 'sparkle'. )

  12. #12
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    My daughter has bad excema and the salt water does her skin great. we are also south facing, full sun.

    Good luck, I am sure you will be happy with it.

    (my daughter wanted me to put this here)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Quote Originally Posted by BIC
    The Aqua Trol displays the salt level (the ppm), so can I trust the machine or should I test anyway with the kit you are talking about (Aquacheck salt test strips)?

    Other question,

    With SWG, they say that you should start your SWG when the pool is completely balance (not before). So, does that mean I should wait a couple of days after I add stuff to the water, before to start the SWG?

    BIC
    The Goldline units are not true salt meters but determine salt by measuring conductivity and the reading can vary with temperature. They are a good guide but can be off as much as 600 ppm from a chemical test and this is within tolerance. You will often find that they read 100-300 ppm of a chemical test such as the strips but it can be a much greater variance. Some of the newer Goldline units allow you to calibrate the reading on the unit to a chemical test. Check your manual to see if you can with yours. I guess in a roundabout way I said you should either invest in the test strips, a Taylor chloride test kit (much more difficult to use than the strips and not really more accurate) or a good handheld salt meter that you keep calibrated (Stay away from the LaMotte!, Goldline has a great one but you also need the calibration soluton and MyronL makes an excellent one!) A meter will set you back well over $100 or more!)

    As far as balancing the pool, get your pH to 7.6, add your salt and stabilizer and fire the unit up. Check your chlorine daily and suppliment with liquid or bleach until the stabilizer is dissolved, which can take up to a week. Once your chlorine levels are stable then adjust your TA to about 70-90 ppm, bring your pH back to 7.6 if you need to, and last adjust the calcium. You don't really need calcium in a vinyl pool but if your pool is filled with very soft water it might have more of a tendency to foam so I would make sure the calcium is at least 130 ppm. Don't worry about it if it is higher unless it is much over 300 ppm. In that case keep very close tabs on your pH to help prevent scaling of the cell. Don't let the pH go above 7.8 before you add acid to drop it back to 7.6
    Last thing you might want to consider is adding borates to your pool in a 50 ppm concentration. It will help keep the pH more stable, has algaestatic properties, and makes the water look very clear (the usual comment is that the water seems to 'sparkle'. )
    I read another persons post about the warranty on their vinyl liner stipulated they had to keep their Calcium at a certain level. Check your fineprint.

  14. #14
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    Waterbear,

    Wheh you say "As far as balancing the pool, get your pH to 7.6, add your salt and stabilizer and fire the unit up.", do you mean I have to wait a day or two (to get pH at 7.6) before I add the salt and start the engine. Or can I just do all of that at the same time:
    - put the salt
    - start the SWG
    - put the stuff to bring the pH to 7.6

    Also, how long should I wait before I can jump in the pool? What are the condition that makes the water ok to jum in?


    Crazycanunk,

    The angel made me laugh

    By the way, do you have a light in your pool. They are supposed to install one, but I don't know if the ring (around the light) could rust? Should I get it installed?


    BIC
    Don
    SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intelliflow pump
    Pentair SWG
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIC
    Waterbear,

    Wheh you say "As far as balancing the pool, get your pH to 7.6, add your salt and stabilizer and fire the unit up.", do you mean I have to wait a day or two (to get pH at 7.6) before I add the salt and start the engine. Or can I just do all of that at the same time:
    - put the salt
    - start the SWG
    - put the stuff to bring the pH to 7.6
    You should be able to get the pH to 7.6, add the salt and stabilizer and then start the unit the next day. I would wait to get the unit adjusted to get your chlorine levels right before jumping in. You might also want to add some bleach to keep your chlorine levels up until the stabilizer is dissolved (it can take a week) because your chlorine will burn off quickly in sunlight until it does.
    Also, how long should I wait before I can jump in the pool? What are the condition that makes the water ok to jum in?


    Crazycanunk,

    The angel made me laugh

    By the way, do you have a light in your pool. They are supposed to install one, but I don't know if the ring (around the light) could rust? Should I get it installed?
    I have lights in both my pool and spa and they are both chlorinated by the SWG. I did have some rusting in the spa light but it was not because of the SWG but because the builder used the wrong kind of screw in the light niche and I had two dissimilar metals. This can happen in any pool, salt or not! I have had NO rusting in the pool light, which was installed with the proper stainless steel screw. AS an aside, my pool builder is out of business after losing his license and leaving about 20 pools unfinished! He really made a mess of some of them. I was lucky since I had him correct much of the errors he made in the construction of mine while he was building it. I missed the screw in the light niche until it was too late, however.

    BIC

  16. #16
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    it my daughter, she loves those emoticons.

    Ihave two Hayward Colorlogic lights, and the stainless steel screws that surround the light do have rust problems. I am suppose to be getting replacement screws made with better quality stainless. I just have to keep bugging my PB about it. Other than that all is well.

  17. #17
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    Crazycanuck,

    Other than the wall (that is always metal), is your pool 100% made of resin or do you have any other metal parts? Like the top (around the pool), screws, posts, etc?
    Don
    SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intelliflow pump
    Pentair SWG
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  18. #18
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    The only things that are made of metal that come in contact with the pool water (in the pool, not including equipment) is the ladder, the screws that hold in the lights and the skimmer plate, the main drain plate... and the 2 track coping is also made of metal. The pool is an In-ground vinyl.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycanuck
    The only things that are made of metal that come in contact with the pool water (in the pool, not including equipment) is the ladder, the screws that hold in the lights and the skimmer plate, the main drain plate... and the 2 track coping is also made of metal. The pool is an In-ground vinyl.
    What are the two tracks coping? I'm French

    Is an in-ground-vinyl, an above ground pool that you kind of put in-ground? I'm not familiar with types of pool. Do you have posts around the pool? If yes, do you have screws inside them?

    Sorry for all questions
    Don
    SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter
    Pentair Intelliflow pump
    Pentair SWG
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

  20. #20
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    Sorry, I should have clarified earlier. It is an Inground pool. Basically think of your above ground pool with steel walls submerged so that the water is below the ground level. It uses a vinyl liner much like an above ground pool. It has a main drain at the bottom of the deep end, one skimmer and 4 returns and an 8 ft. wide step that you use to walk into the pool. I think thats made of resin/plastic. There are also Inground pools made of concrete with reinforced rebarb called gunite pools and the other kind is a fiberglass shell that is sunken down. The coping is the section of the pool that is above the waterline usually about 6-8 thick that has a track used to hold the vinyl in place. Some pools like mine have two tracks, one for the vinyl and one to hold a winter cover. Some only have one track and people use a winter cover and then fill up water bags to hold the cover in place. It may be a bit different with above ground pools (AGP) I think the vinyl is held in differently depending on the style of pool.

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