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Thread: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

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    SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Hello Members,

    We have had our Bio-Guard Mineral Springs 18' x 36' in-ground pool now for two swimming seasons. Foolishly (now that I have found this site) I have been adding renewal every week, and other bio-guard products as needed to maintain the chemical balance. The Bio-Guard products have been breaking my bank account.

    I had my Bio-Guard rep test my water today to see what products are needed to bring my pool back into balance before I winterize it this weekend. I am hoping someone here can tell me what generic products I can use in place of the bio-guard products so that I can save some money.

    I read through the posts looking for the answers myself, but, I don't feel confident I am ready to do this without a knowledgeable veteran getting me started.

    I'll start with the conditions/readings as per his BioGuard computer analyzer. I have not touched the pool in several weeks due to the poor weather and large amounts of rain we have had.

    TDS 3200
    CYA 50
    TC 10
    FC 10
    pH 8.7
    TA 78
    adj TA 63
    TH 189
    Minerals 2300
    borates 35

    now I will list what BioGuard recommends to correct the imbalance:

    146 mineral springs beginnings (dealer said hold off til spring to add this)
    20.5 lbs of Balance Pak 100 (for low alkalinity)
    5.75 lbs Lo 'N Slo (for Ph adjustment)
    7 lbs Balance Pak 300 (for low total hardness)

    Would you guys mind helping a Newbie get started weening off of the BioGuard products and tell me what equivalents I can use to substitute for the above? I also want to learn how to use a test kit and calculate my own balancing requirements by next spring when I open it.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Near Louisville, KY
    18' x 36' Vinyl Liner In-Ground Pool
    Approx. 20,900 gallons
    Mineral Springs SWG
    Sand Filter
    Solar Cover

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Hi,
    lots of folks will be happy to help you out! What is the average depth of your pool? We need to know many gallons of water your pool holds in order to tell you how much of anything to add to your pool. Your ph is the first thing you need to adjust, it needs to be lowered to 7.5 as soon as possible. I would also highly recommend getting your own fas/dpd test kit. It will be much easier to maintain your pool when you do your own testing.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Our depth starts at 3'6" then goes to 5'6" and holds 20,900 gallons of water.

    Thanks for your willingness to help.
    Near Louisville, KY
    18' x 36' Vinyl Liner In-Ground Pool
    Approx. 20,900 gallons
    Mineral Springs SWG
    Sand Filter
    Solar Cover

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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    bamm,

    double check your pH test results.....confirm that it is really 8.7 (not likely) or, perhaps, 7.8 (more likely).

    If that is the test result, we'll need to help you get that down.....let us know.

    Also, tell us the city and state in which you live.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Quote Originally Posted by bamm
    now I will list what BioGuard recommends to correct the imbalance:

    146 mineral springs beginnings (dealer said hold off til spring to add this)
    20.5 lbs of Balance Pak 100 (for low alkalinity)
    5.75 lbs Lo 'N Slo (for Ph adjustment)
    7 lbs Balance Pak 300 (for low total hardness)

    Would you guys mind helping a Newbie get started weening off of the BioGuard products and tell me what equivalents I can use to substitute for the above? I also want to learn how to use a test kit and calculate my own balancing requirements by next spring when I open it.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    For low alkalinity: I'm not sure about adjusted alkalinity, 63 is a little low but 78 is fine. You can raise TA with baking soda but it will also raise your ph, which we do not want to do right now. Let's lower the pH first.

    For high pH: Lower pH to 7.0 with 240 ounces of 31.45% baume Muriatic Acid. Most pool supplies and hardware stores carry Muriatic Acid. Be very careful handling the Muriatic Acid. Add half the recommended amount of Muriatic Acid and re-test. Once the pH is 7.0 we can address the TA. Keep in mind high chlorine levels will cause pH to read "false high". I don't think your chlorine is that high, hopefully an expert will correct me if I am wrong!

    You will need to check the TA again after you have adjusted the pH.

    To raise calcium hardness to 300 would take 21 lbs of calcium chloride. I would add this slowly, such as 5lbs at a time and retest between additions.

    I am pulling this information from The Pool Calculator The column on the left is where you input what you have and the column on the right is where you input what you want. Also, please read through Pool School a couple of times. It will help you to understand basics of pool maintenance.

    All chemicals should be added slowly and carefully in front of a return with the pump running. Allow at least an hour for the chemicals to disperse before re-testing or adding other chemicals.

    Again, I strongly recommend you order a TF100 test kit or a Taylor K2006 test kit so you can perform your own water testing. The only way to reduce some of the chemicals we add is to drain and refill, so the best way to avoid that is to have accurate and consistent testing. Pool stores are not known for accurate and consistent testing!
    TFP Moderator
    Helpful links: TF Test Kits,TFP Pool School, PoolMath
    Vogue 21' round AG, Pentair 1 hp 2 speed pump, 36 sq ft DE filter, Hayward S180T 150# sand filter, Houston, Texas
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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Is the pool vinyl, fiberglass, plaster, or other?

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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    The printout states 8.7 for the Ph. The number was obtained through BioGuards computer analyzer.

    The pool is steel walled with a vinyl liner.
    Near Louisville, KY
    18' x 36' Vinyl Liner In-Ground Pool
    Approx. 20,900 gallons
    Mineral Springs SWG
    Sand Filter
    Solar Cover

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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    BioGuard Balance Pak 100 MSDS says it is 100% sodium hydrogen carbonate.

    Can I use arm&hammer baking soda as a direct substitite?
    Near Louisville, KY
    18' x 36' Vinyl Liner In-Ground Pool
    Approx. 20,900 gallons
    Mineral Springs SWG
    Sand Filter
    Solar Cover

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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Quote Originally Posted by bamm
    BioGuard Balance Pak 100 MSDS says it is 100% sodium hydrogen carbonate.

    Can I use arm&hammer baking soda as a direct substitite?
    Same thing. Baking soda works as direct substitute.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate
    Quote Originally Posted by bamm
    The printout states 8.7 for the Ph. The number was obtained through BioGuards computer analyzer.

    The pool is steel walled with a vinyl liner.
    Wow. Do you trust this number? If would want to confirm with a good drop test kit using a diluted sample (using distilled water, tested first for pH.) You're going to be good friends with old man muriatic before this is over.


    EDIT Please disregard suggestion to dilute sample for pH test. This is something I've thought about but haven't tested its efficacy in determining high pH. END EDIT

    • Edited by Greg 10-22-2009 11:15 PM PDT
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Yeah, you need to confirm that pH.....most pool water tests do not go above 8.2.

    You can pick up a simple pH and OTO chlorine test at any pool store (or Walmart or HD or Lowes) for well under 10 bucks.

    Do not dilute your pool water....simply follow the directions on the kit. If your pH is really that high, the solution should look quite purple...darker than any shade on the test.

    Of course, the computer test you got might be correct (but they usually aren't) but the consequences of making an adjustment you didn't need to make just causes a lot more headaches for you.

    Get a second opinion on that pH and then the next step will be to reduce it with plain ole muriatic acid.....if it really is that high.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Quote Originally Posted by bamm
    The pool is steel walled with a vinyl liner.
    Then disregard the Calcium Hardness.

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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Update...

    When I went to clean my skimmer basket I found a dead mouse. Continued my cleaning procedure then backwashed my sand filter. Then, I let the water circulate for about 24 hours before going back for another water analysis. The Ph reading went down to 7.2. Looks like the mouse was responsible for the high Ph.

    Added 18 1/2 lbs of baking soda for alkalinity, and a box of bioguard lo-and-slo to adjust the pH back up. I didn't know what to substitute for the bioguard balance lo-and-slo. The pool guy said I for sure needed to increase the hardness of the water to keep from damaging my liner and equipment. (I did not buy any thanks to the information on this site).

    I winterized my pool this morning and put the winter cover on. I'm looking forward to next season when I can enjoy not being a hostage of my pool supplier's and BioGuards recommendations.

    I am going to spend the off season gathering information on how to balance the water myself without using my dealer's computer analyzer.

    Thanks to all here for getting me off to a good start.
    Near Louisville, KY
    18' x 36' Vinyl Liner In-Ground Pool
    Approx. 20,900 gallons
    Mineral Springs SWG
    Sand Filter
    Solar Cover

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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Quote Originally Posted by bamm
    Added 18 1/2 lbs of baking soda for alkalinity, and a box of bioguard lo-and-slo to adjust the pH back up. I didn't know what to substitute for the bioguard balance lo-and-slo. The pool guy said I for sure needed to increase the hardness of the water to keep from damaging my liner and equipment. (I did not buy any thanks to the information on this site).
    Lo N' Slo is Sodium Bisulfate. It's a dry acid used to bring your pH down. If you're comfortable handling it, muriatic acid is the better alternative (and is available at most hardware/big box stores).

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    Re: SWG Newbie...Need Help Getting Weened Off of Mineral Springs

    Welcome to TFP!!

    As spishex said, disregard the calcium! Also try the mutiatic acid as opposed to the dry stuff (there is reason to believe that sulfur is bad for the plates in the SWCG)

    Sounds like you're doing things right There are a number of us that are here throughout the winter that will be more than happy to help educate you for next year (winter is a GREAT time to ask questions here, the site is slower and you get everyone's full attention)
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

    POOL SCHOOL, TF Testkits, Jason's Pool Calculator, CYA vs. cl chart, (Just a few DARNED handy links!)

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