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Thread: Cannot get Ph up

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    Cannot get Ph up

    I have an Intex 15' x 42" Easy Set Pool (holding approx 3500 gl). It has been crystal clear since I first put it up 3 weeks ago, due to daily checking and management of ph and sanitizer. The total alkalinity has crept up over the last month from 100ppm to anywhere between 110 and 150 depending on the ph. It seems to average at about 120ppm. Living in Mass and the water is about 90 degrees F right now as sun has been shining for weeks.
    I do not have a good test kit yet....still using a liquid one from the hardware store.

    So here is the life story of my pool:

    My 7 yr old daughter bought this pool for herself with her Dad for my birthday and I was totally unprepared. So naturally there was a race on my daughter's part to get it up and running. Unfortunately i received bad advice regarding the "best sanitizer" and started using bromine tabs (Bromochlor-5, S-dimethylhydantoin 98%, Providing 64.9% Avail Bromine & 29% Avail Chlorine). These would not dissolve so I then bought the granules (Sodium dichlor-s-triazinetrione 82.5% Sodium Bromide 14.7 %).
    I have been oxidising it weekly with persulfate and the pool really only has my daughter and i using it for an hour or so a day. It is also covered with the dark cover which came with it when not in use. The pump runs at night and after chemicals. To date I have used about 3Lbs of Bromine granules and 3x 3" tablets have dissolved in it. There are 6 tabs floating around in a dispenser only dissolving a miniscule amount (i thought this was necessary as they dissolve so slowly-but clearly I don't really know what I a doing)

    On 7/7 Ph was 7.2 Alkalinty was 120. As we had been swimming a lot and lost a lot of bromine to the sun the reading was very low to non-existant so I used the non-chlorine shock. Later in evening Bromine was around 3 so i added 5 Tbsp more of granules and later in night 2oz of Ph Rise.

    On 7/8 am Bromine was only 4.4 so i continued with 4 Tbsp more and then a few hours later 4 Tbsp more.

    On 7/9 am Bromine was at 7ppm however PH had jumped through roof and was unmeasurable with my kit.
    So I then proceeded with 20 oz dry acid, ran pump to aerate as best i could as is outline in the pool school and saw ph drop and rise again as is described in advice in forum. So i added another 16oz of acid and the ph settled at a little above 7.2 again. Alkalinity had gone fro 140 to 130 during this.

    On 7/10 I was paranoid about Algae starting as i realised that I had never really gotten the sanitizer up and sustained at the level it was currently at until this week. So I put in 3.5 oz of 60% Poly as an intial preventative dose. And ran pump for 24 hours.

    On 7/11 Ph was 6.8, Alkalinity 110-120.
    I have been adding Ph rise ever since and cannot get the ph to move. I added 2 oz of Borax intially to try this out and then when there was no change tried altogether about 5 oz of Ph rise.
    Bromine has sustained over the last few days however we have kept the cover on and not been using it due to ph and confusion over what is going on.

    As I do not have a way to check for CYA I cannot provide this info. I am suspicious that the CYA level is now high and this is causing the PH issue. It is obviously more difficult to find info on bromine pools as it is not the preferred or recommended route.
    So I don't realize the bromine/CYA relationship, only that they don't bind with eachother (i think).
    I will be leaving to go overseas for 3 weeks next week and the pool will not be in use. However my husband will hopefully tend to it with some chemicals when needed. Up until now I thought I would have been able to estimate how it would behave.
    What is the best advice for me right now without knowing CYA level. I would happily convert to chlorine but may have to wait until next summer...unless my husband neglects it and i have to refill in a month!

    Thanks!
    25,000gal. in-ground vinyl Hayward sand filter w/1hp pump

  2. Back To Top    #2
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    I would drain it and start over, using the chlorine method. Keeping it covered the majority of the time is prob why the ph won't budge. You can add borax several times during the date, wait a few hours in between testing/additions to see where you are at.

    Read the Pool School article on temporary/seasonal pools for how to get the new fill water balanced.
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    svenpup's Avatar
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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    CYA is not causing your pH issue.

    I am guessing:
    1. You added too much dry acid (you should always dose acid conservatively)[/*:m:2kne9x4l]
    2. Your pH test only measure down to 6.8[/*:m:2kne9x4l]
    3. Your pH is really less (possibly much less) than 6.8[/*:m:2kne9x4l]
    4. You haven't added enough borax[/*:m:2kne9x4l]


    According to the pool calc with 4600 gal and TA = 120, to get pH from 6.8 to 7.5 would take almost 4 lbs of borax.

    ETA, or you could follow FPM's advice, which is probably a better idea
    TFP Method Advanced Intermediate
    • 17,500 gallons - In Ground - Plaster - Hayward Swimclear 3020 Cartridge Filter - Sta-Rite Max-E-Glas Main Pump upgraded with A.O. Smith B2980 E-Plus New Centurion Two-Speed Motor - Polaris 280 Cleaner with Polaris PB4-60 Booster Pump - TightWatt2 Timer - Taylor K-2006 Test Kit - Pool Pilot Digital Nano SWCG

    Helpful Links: Pool School, BBB for Beginners, How to Shock (hint...it's a process not a product), Chlorine/CYA Chart, Jason's Pool Calculator

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    Actually I thought your thought about it being much lower is pretty accurate....

    But ya, with the Intex pools it's just easier and simpler to drain and refill.
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    thanks guys

    I see your reasoning here...particularly since i don't wish to keep forking out for Bromine granules. Now if the Bromine tablets worked i wouldn't mind as i have a ton of them.

    When I added just a little borax before i had the hardest time dissolving it and can only imagine a large quanitity sitting on the bottom of the pool. That is my only fear about the BBB method. What is the way around this? Do the other chemicals help it dissolve? Seriously...I just cannot visualize it, but want it to work!!

    If I were to refill the pool now, for the remaining week and a half we have here before leaving (it is very hot and I hate to loose this pleasure right now!) would it be heartache for my overworked husband to keep it balanced while I am away? What do you recommend for this at the minimum?

    It takes a week to heat up and i am reluctant to do this when I get back as we have such a short summer (and it will probably rain the entire time where I am going!). However if it will be too hard to maintain then I have no choice.

    Do I have to have the better test kit with this small pool and the BBB method or even just the other forum steps recommended in filling the Intex Easy Set. I have read a lot by the way...it is all still being absorbed and I am still waiting for the Aha moment!

    Thanks again...I would be lost without this forum and site!
    25,000gal. in-ground vinyl Hayward sand filter w/1hp pump

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    This article can instruct your husband what to do - and you, for whomever starts up the new fill and keeps it sanitized. It pretty basic and straightforward.

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...ary_pool_guide

    The HTH 6-way test kit from Walmart for abut $20 is enough to get you thru. It's not perfect, but it will help you manage for the summer. Its why we recommend draining and starting over if there is a problem, cuz it's just too hard to pinpoint the issues without a good kit. So at the very least you should get that.

    I've not had any issues with Borax dissolving. Do you have a vinyl pool brush? Usually I predissolve the borax in a bucket of pool water, but last time I just broadcast it and brushed and it dissolved fine.

    The Aha moment will come. I promise.
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    Thanks so much. I decided to toss in the Borax last night to see what happens...after all what have i got to loose at this stage!!
    So although the calc called for 50oz I added just 32 (partially dissolved in a bucket of pool water and still visible at bottom of bucket when water settled) and ran pump overnight with cover off pool. In the am i was amazed!! No borax sitting at the bottom of the pool and a ph rise!! But just a little too much at 8.2. So my liquid kit told me to add 1/2 cup acid. Mixed it in some more pool water and added 3/4 of this. Checked ph in 2 hours and it was almost there at 7.8. So I added the rest of the acid now and expect a perfect ph in a while. And the best part is my Alakalinity only went up to 150 and is now down to 120.
    So yay for Borax!!!
    I am sold on the BBB method and think I might drain and refill....even though in our mostly sandy yard it will be a messy job and the water will be cold for a few days.
    However..if I were to leave this until I come back, and cover it while away, considering the bromine stayed high for days when not in use and covered, would it really be that expensive to have my husband throw in some more brominating sanitizer a few times a week...given that I sort of understand the water chemistry more now and can kind of predict it's needs?

    Thanks again
    25,000gal. in-ground vinyl Hayward sand filter w/1hp pump

  8. Back To Top    #8
    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Cannot get Ph up

    BBB, even with Bromine is all about testing accurately and the knowledge to know what to do with those test results. The bonus is using products like Borax that save you money too. So it's really up to you - on draining or not... finishing the season with bromine if you like.
    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
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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