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Thread: Use soft water or bypass the softener?

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    Use soft water or bypass the softener?

    I've had an Intex 16' pool for 2 years and am about to switch to a new 27' above ground pool. My first big question is whether or not to try to fill this pool with softened water. I get about 2000 gallons of capacity from the softener per recharge, so it will take 13 or 14 recharges to ensure soft water for the fill. We have very hard water (about 20 grain) here which has made getting the water chemistry right at set-up in the Intex pool very difficult. I've also used in the past and plan to use with this new pool, a saltwater chlorine generator.

    Any suggestions about which way to go (soft vs. hard water) and/or best way to get the pH and Alkalinity levels adjusted would be very helpful. Also, any advice about how much CYA and how many pounds of salt are ideal to start up this 27' round x 52"h pool would be great, too.
    27' x 52" round above-ground pool, 18" sand filter, 1.5HP pump, Intex Krystal Clear SWG

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Use soft water or bypass the softener?

    Welcome to TFP!

    To save on usage of the water softener, I would use a mixture of both softened water and untreated water.

    You can use the Pool Calculator to figure out quantities. Keep in mind that the starting salt level won't be anywhere near zero, so test your salt level after filling before deciding how much salt you need to add.
    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

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Re: Use soft water or bypass the softener?


    Do you live in my neighborhood? Just kidding, but I can relate. 25 grain and 300+ TA fill water

    I did not go the softened route, at the time of our fill the softener was just too small (upgraded since then). If I were you, go 50/50...less strain on the softener and still manageable CH. FWIW...CH levels of up to 400 are still very manageable if you keep an eye on your PH and make sure it does not climb above 7.8. On the TA, I used 7-8 gallons of muratic acid and a home built aerator to lower the TA over a 3 day period. Lower PH with MA to 7.0, aerate to raise PH to 7.6...repeat as needed until TA comes down to around 70-80.

    Below is a pic of the aerator in action, I got the idea here

    Edit...Jason types faster
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: Use soft water or bypass the softener?

    A big concern about well water is metals in the water. We get a lot of rust w/our well water, so opted to use the softener to top off this summer. We used the neighbors hose (who is on city) and filled the pool last year. Surprisingly, he had lots of CH in the city water!

    We also tried the "metal trap".. I think that was what it was called. I did a small sample in a bowl and added chlorine to it to see if it made any difference ... immediately turned brown when the metals in the water reacted to the chlorine... that's why we opted to used either softened or city for every fill/top off. I would rather have the CH a bit high than have to deal with metals in the water.
    Indiana, ABG 24'x52" Galveston by Blue Cascade (Craigslist $600 w/part of deck included), 13,500 gallons, Intex SWG, solar panel

    My backyard is like a park... Why then does DH always want to go camping??? I just don't understand.

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    Re: Use soft water or bypass the softener?

    Thanks for the advice...sorry I've been off-line so long. I'll go for a 50-50 fill between soft and unsoftened water and yea, Mod Squad, I'm feelin' ya, even with that little Intex pool I had to pour in what seemed like a ridiculous amount of MA to work on the TA and then aerate to get the pH back up. But at least having done it already, I have some idea what to do.

    On the salt level at startup I hadn't even considered that there would be a measurable salt level on fill-up. Would I be assuming correctly that this is being affected by the salt from the water softener and thus will depend on how much unsoftened vs. softened water goes into the fill?
    27' x 52" round above-ground pool, 18" sand filter, 1.5HP pump, Intex Krystal Clear SWG

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