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Thread: Balancing a salt pool

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    Balancing a salt pool

    Hello-

    I have a salt pool that had a chlorine generator. However, the site is currently under construction here in AZ where temps. will hit almost 100 degrees by the end of this week. Due to construction, I do NOT have power to run the normal pump or the chlorine generator.

    I have a Dolphin 2 in the pool and run it at least 3 hrs. and sometimes 6 hrs. per day to attempt keeping this pool. It does a nice job removing construction "dust" and circulating the water (runs on a small generator for now, since I don't have power). I wash out the bag daily and it's always full of mud.

    Here is my issue....the pool store says my chem. levels are so far off that they don't want to help me figure out where to start.

    They found....

    FAC 5.0
    TAC 5.0
    Salt 3900 ppm <---suggested partial water drain, but I am NOT using the chlorine generator. Ok to leave alone?
    TA 65 ppm <----pool store suggesting adding 17.5 # of soda ash.....necessary?
    pH 7.0
    Base Demand (anyone know what this is?) 20
    Copper 0
    Iron 0

    They refused to test for CYA claiming the pool is so far off that this is not important. I think they are wrong here, but I'm not sure.

    Please note that my chlorine level was super high last week (had 3 floaters full of tabs thinking I need high FAC to prevent issues with limited water circulation - - the pool store advised removing all floaters and now FAC has dropped to 5).

    This is a 30,000 gallon pool with a hard vinyl surface (it's NOT plaster).

    Water looks good with the exception that it looks fairly milky.

    Where should I attempt to start with this to get it ready for a summer with limited circulation? My brother was successful keeping a pool this exact same way through a summer without power, so I know it's possible. He was lucky enough to have done a full drain and refill right before he started the construction. Not sure the city will let me drain water, but if it's my only hope I'll have to figure it out.

    The pool store said I can't drain more than 1 foot at a time or is could damage a vinyl pool. This is a really hard plastic looking textured liner. I thought it was plaster when I bought the house.

    Thanks for your advice!!

    Dmdrums

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    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    I strongly suggest you get a good test kit and do the testing on your own. It is far more accurate!
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    You can add liquid chlorine and other chemicals (if needed) and then brush the pool to mix it all in. The dolphin will take care of stuff settling on the bottom, but it won't "filter" your pool. You can leave the salt in the water, it doesn't matter that the SWG is not running. Many people use salt in the water that do not have SWGs because they like the softer feel it gives. We really need to know what the CYA level is so we can tell you how much liquid chlorine you should use. The best way to take control of your pool is to have a high quality test kit such as a TF 100 or a Taylor K2006. Your test results will be more consistent and reliable which will allow you to take care of the pool properly even with the power shut off.

    That being said, is there a way you can run a temporary source of power to the pump for a few hours a day? You can manage the pool without a SWG, but brushing daily to mix the water will be labor intensive and time consuming.

    The only decent thing the pool store told you was to stop using the floaters. The TA could come up to the minimum recommended level of 70, and the pH could stand to come up to 7.5. To do this you would need to add 74 ounces of washing soda or soda ash. You could pre-dissolve it in a bucket of water and then pour it around the pool, or just spread it evenly around the pool. Either way you will still need to brush the pool to mix it in unless you get a pump running in there.

    Can you post some pictures of your pool? I have a feeling that hard textured liner might just be fiberglass!
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    The pool store was quite wrong. Your numbers are off a little bit, but nothing significant, assuming their test results are correct.

    As zea3 said, I would raise TA and PH just a little with soda ash and then concentrate on how you are going to keep things going without power. One option she didn't mention would be to get a cover pump or sump pump running on an extension cord. I'm not sure how practical that is for you, but it would help things a great deal.

    You don't want to drain either vinyl or fiberglass pools too far or there will be problems. But that is irrelevant, as there probably isn't any need to replace any water based on those readings.

    Knowing your CYA level would be a big help, as would becoming independent from the pool store. The best way to do that is to buy your own top quality test kit.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    Thank you all for the replies!

    I wanted to test the CYA before my test kit arrives, so I went to Paddock today and they tested the water again. As expected, I got different readings.....

    CYA = 150
    Total Chlorine = 10
    Free Chlorine = 10
    pH = 6.2 (the other store that read 7.0 admitted it was even lower, but their test kit didn't go that low)
    Total Hardness = 357
    Demand Drops = 10 (no clue what this means)
    Original TA = 10

    I added a sump pump into the pool today (2300 GPH). This runs 3 hours per day when I have the generator running anyway for the Dolphin. I have this all setup so it's not possible to get things tangled - don't worry!

    Am I safe to assume that I can keep this water without needing to drain and proceed to add soda ash? I'm thinking about adding 5 # of soda ash to start and then test again. Should I be doing anything else?

    Do you think that keeping the FAC at 5.0 is a good level for the hot summer?

    Thanks again! You are all so wonderful for helping!

    Dmdrums

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    Definitely raise the PH soon. Ideally you should start with baking soda to raise the TA up to around 50, and then wait a while for that to mix in and then retest the PH, and adjust the PH from there. If that can't be done soon, then go ahead with using soda ash.

    If CYA is really 150 then you will need to do some water replacement, but who knows if their results are correct.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  7. Back To Top    #7

    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    Does baking soda and soda ash do the same thing?

    I know one is from the pool store, while one is from the grocery store and I know the goal is to get away from the pool store.

    I just wondered if one is more effective at targeting a specific problem without causing more problems.

    I'm totally unsure how much baking soda to put in the pool. I saw someone suggested approx. 5 # of soda ash.

    Are these equally effective?

    Thanks again!

    Dmdrums

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    Baking soda and soda ash are related, but not quite the same. Baking soda raise TA a lot and PH just a little. Soda ash raises TA some and PH a lot. Neither has any significant side effects other than the TA and PH changes.

    You can use the Pool Calculator to figure out the quantity to use.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: Balancing a salt pool

    As per the pool calculator, I am starting to raise the pH and TA.

    I added 1 of the 76 oz. boxes of Borax today. I will test the water in a few days and report back. The calculator shows 1.6 boxes required, so I figured I would start here and see how it works.

    Thanks for your help!

    Dmdrums

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