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Thread: Disgusted with my Aquarite SCG

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    Disgusted with my Aquarite SCG

    In ground pool installed 2000, 12,500 Gallons, Ormond Beach, FL, Aquarite SCG, solar, Caretaker 99 Plus cleaning system. 2003 replaced the Aquarite panel and cell - Can't remember exactly why - Last few months the display showed 2400 to 2500 salt and the "low salt" and "inspect cell" lights blinked repeatedly - Every time I tested water, it showed high chlorine. Water tested frequently by PinchaPenny showed the same thing. Called Aquarite and went through a complicated procedure with tech on phone pressing button next to display in various ways - They said initially that the # of 2400 wasn't bad - finally last week the tech said the blinking liqhts and salt # of 2400 indicated that the cell was "tired" and needed to be replaced. All this time I had been repeatedly cleaning the cell with 4 to 1 muriatic acid and adding salt. PinchaPenny kept saying the chlorine level was too high. Of course it was but it didn't indicate it on the panel. Neighbor has a similar pool with a Pentair Model 320 Automatic chlorine/bromine in line feeder. Keeps it on #2 and filled up. Liquid chlorine added to pool every couple of weeks. He tests water with Aquachek Select test strips and has a pool store check every two weeks. No problems in 8 years at a cost of about $ 1.50 per week. Decided at this point to sh..can the Aquarite system. Three days ago I had cleaned the cell and dumped the bucket I cleaned the unit in back in the pool. 3 gallons water and one gallon of muriatic acid. What a mistake as I found out when I tested the water with the strips. Had my pool guy install the above 320 unit yesterday and shut off my Acquarite unit. Bought an Aquacheck test strip kit and it showed Total Hardness at 1000 or close to it - Total chlorine at 10 - Free chlorine at 10 - PH at 6.6 - Total Alkalinity at betwen 20--40. Pool guy at the golf club said I'd have to get rid of the excess salt or I was going to have real trouble (He didn't explain). Said I'd need to drain the pool and start over. UGH!!! I can see the pool lifting up and/or a bill from the water Co. for $ 200.00. What am I going to do at this point? Signed: Ready to shoot myself!!!
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    Grampa,

    Welcome to the forum!!

    All is not lost. First, go back to your post and block copy the info and then start your own new thread and paste that info into it. That'll help everyone give you advice and keep it within your own thread.

    I'm out the door right now but will be back this afternoon and I'll post back up. Meanwhile, read EVERYTHING in the "The Stickies" above. It'll help you better understand the advice you'll be receiving.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP!

    I have moved this into it's own thread. It is best to ask questions in a new thread so responses to your issue don't get mixed up with posts about the original topic.

    You want to bring the PH up to at least 7.0 as soon as possible. Low PH can damage the equipment, particularly if you have a heater.

    Having high salt is not generally a serious problem. Very very high salt levels can cause some corrosion, but that is a slow process and few people ever get salt levels that high.

    High CH levels are more of a problem, and it is almost always best to lower them by replacing water, though it is possible to manage them without replacing water as long as you are careful about your water balance.

    Could you post the complete set of water test results from the store? That will help us give you more specific advice.
    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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    Thank you Mod Squad

    Many thanks for moving this. I've never cut and pasted before. Will go to PinchaPenny tomorrow (Friday) with a water sample and get a printout and post it. Breathing a little better. If I have to replace some of current high salt water do I run fresh water into pool at the same time? What chemical do I buy to raise the ph? I've always had the opposite problem and used muriatic acid.
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    20 Mule Team Borax is a good product to raise PH. You can find it at most larger grocery stores and places like WalMart, Target, etc. You can also use washing soda or soda ash if you have them (note that washing soda is not the same as baking soda).

    There are a number of ways to replace water. If you are replacing 50% or less of the water you can add water at the same time you are taking water out. If you have an automatic overflow drain you can just run a garden hose to the pool and let it run for a while. If you are replacing more than 50% of the water it is better to pump water out and then replace it. If you pump water out you don't want to take it down too low before adding water back in. How low you can go depends on the level of the water table. Generally taking out 18" of water at a time is nearly always safe. If you know how deep your water table is you can drain a concrete/plaster pool down to nearly the depth of the water table. With a vinyl liner you should always leave 6 to 12 inches of water in the shallow end to prevent the liner from shifting.
    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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    Guest
    Welcome to the forum. I am your neighbor to the north in St. Johns county.

    A few observations...
    First, don't rely on strips. They don't have the precision for proper water balancing. Also, total hardness is a pretty usless test, you want to test for calcium hardness which can only be done with liquid reagents and not with strips.
    You did not post what your CYA (cyanuric acid) levels are. I suspect that they are low. Goldline Controls (and most other SWG manufacturers) recommend 60 -80 ppm. Having the CYA too low combined with high calcium hardness is a recipe for very short cell life.
    You also did not specify what type of filter you have. If you have a cartridge filter then switching to trichlor tabs in a feeder is a sure way to end up with an overstablized pool, particularly in Florida where we have an extended swim season and we don't winterize pools! If you have a sand filter you will have less of a problem but you still can end up with too high a CYA level in a short period of time and the only way to lower it is by drains and refills!

    I would also suggest that you invest in a GOOD test kit such as the Taylor K-2006 (NOT the K-2005) or the TFTestkit sold here. I happen to have both of them, among others and they really are the best choices! Water testing is only as good as the person doing it and Pinch a Penny tends to get some people that don't have a clue about water testing and how to interpret the results. They just hand you a printout and sell you chems! Testing your own pool is not rocket science and you will find that you can maintain your pool much easier!

    Finally, I would suggest you read the stickies in this forum (on the menu at the top of the page) for some good info on water testing and balancing and what chemicals you need! Many of them are available at your local grocery store for a lot less money then the pool stores charge (I work in a pool store!)

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    swg problems

    Hello well i have been making swg,s for 18 years your problems are easy to see you clean the cell with 4/1 should be 10/1 or even 15/1 do it more often in less acid watch the amount of calcium and never put the cleaning solution back into the pool you just putting all the calcium straight back into the pool there is not doubt the cheapest was to chlorinate a pool is salt but there are good and bad units but most problems start with you water quality especially the amount of calcium you have dont use cal hypo chlorine if you can help it ok cheers justin.

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    Grampachief again - Analysis at Pinch-a-Penny on Sat. Nov 24, 2007:

    Total Chlorine: 5.0 ppm
    Free Chlorine: 5.0 ppm
    Combined Chlorine: 0.0 ppm
    pH: 7.0
    Total Alkalinity: 50 ppm
    Calcium Hardness: 350 ppm
    Stabilizer: 30 ppm
    Total Dissolved Solids: Did not test
    Salt: 3900

    Tester thought I should raise the Total Alkalinity slightly and do nothing else at the moment. Turn down Pentair chlorinator to 1 (One). Said the chlorine and Salt numbers are not as bad as I thought they would be and certainly not bad enough to drain anything from the pool. Now what do you think? Have disgarded the strip tester (3 years old) and obvious not accurate. Ordered the TF tester yesterday
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    Those numbers look pretty good. Use Arm and Hammer baking soda to raise the TA; use Jason's pool calc to get the quantity needed. That will also raise pH a little too, which wouldn't hurt. Glad you ordered the kit! Very easy to use and accurate.
    7000 gallon IG freeform w/ 6 ft. spa, 21 ft weeping wall, Hayward SP4020NS Northstar pump, Colorlogic LED’s, DE6020 filter and H400IDL2 400,000btu heater. Aqua logic 8 zone controller with Aqua Rite salt chlorine generator, Stonescapes pebble finish – Aqua Blue and flagstone coping, stamped/stained concrete deck

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    If those test results are right, your salt , calcium, and CYA levels are all fine. Salt is a little above the ideal level, but well within the acceptable range.

    If I read correctly you just switched from a SWG to an automatic tablet feeder, presumably using trichlor tablets. The following advice assumes that I read correctly.

    Your PH is low and TA is low as well. I would aim for a PH of about 7.6-7.7 and TA of 100-120. It will take about 8-10 lbs of baking soda to raise the TA. That will also raise the PH a little. Do that first and then measure the PH again and adjust it from there (borax is good for raising PH). I suspect you will need about 3 lbs of borax to bring the PH up, but it might a bit more or less.

    Keep in mind that a chlorinator that uses trichlor tablets will be constantly lowering both PH and TA, so you need to keep an eye on them and adjust as needed. It will also constantly add CYA, which is not a problem right now but it will become an issue eventually (probably sometime next year).
    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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    Many thanks

    Dear Jason - Many, many thanks - Wish you owned a pool store at our nearby shopping center.
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    Guest
    I know it's a bit late since you removed the SWG but I know why you had so many problems with it if your last water test is typical. Your stabilizer level is 30 ppm and that alone is enough to cause early cell failure and major pH problems leading to scaling and short cell life! This is why Goldline recommends a CYA of between 60-80 ppm. It's in your user's manual (you DID read the manual, right). If you would like a detailed explanation of why having too low a CYA level can cause cell failure and pH and scaling problems I would be happy to provide it but it is technical. What I am surprised at is that your local Pinch a Penny did not catch this! (Actually, I'm not that surprised. I work in the industry. )

    Now, about using trichlor tabs with a cartridge filter in Florida, NOT a good combination unless you like to do periodic drains and refills. The trichlor will constantly add stabilizer (CYA) and since you do not backwash a cart nor do you winterize the pool you are never diluting the water in the pool (topping off evaporation does not count!). I have seen customer's pool's go from 30 ppm to over 70 ppm CYA in a 3 month period on trichlor, which is the level that I usually tell them it's time to do something about it. Be aware that some recent research has indicated that levels above 100 ppm can damage plaster pools and also that the State of Florida will close a commercial pool when the CYA hits 100 ppm because the sanitizing ability of chlorine is severely lessened unless you compensate by running a higher free chlorine level from and UNSTABILIZED chlorine source (read liquid chlorine or bleach, cal hypo, lithium hypo, or a SWG). However, the state does not approve this method for commercial pools.

    The reality in your location of Florida is that if your pool is unheated you probably start your swim season in May and if you start with 30 ppm CYA then you will be overstabilized in August and with the high heat that we get will probably have a pool that is going green on you. If you have a heated pool then the problem will be worse since you have an extended swim season!

    My advice is to keep very close tabs on your CYA levels and consider switching to liquid chlorine or bleach instead of trichlor once your CYA hits about 50-60 ppm (or reinstall the SWG and get your water balance in proper order, which should be easy to do with the TFTestkit! If you decide to go that route let us know and we can tell you how to tweak your water balance to maintain the best pH stability, minimize your acid consumption, and really have a trouble free pool with a SWG!!

    As far as the numbers from your last test are concerned they are not too bad.
    Keep your FC between 3-5 ppm as long as your CYA is between 30-50 ppm
    With a stabilized chlorine source you want to raise your TA to about 100-120 ppm and keep it there.
    Bringing up the TA should cause the pH to rise, probably a bit too high so once you get the TA in line you might have to lower pH slightly with some acid to get it to 7..6
    Calcium is within range so I would not lose any sleep over it. It's really not that high
    Your salt level is no concern at all, if you continue on the trichlor you will be needing to drain and refill from high CYA levels before the salt level rises enough to cause any problems (The salt level will rise from the chlorine used up).

    Hope this is helpful.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Rcv'd TF-100 test kit 11/29 - Running filter 9 am to 5 pm at this time - Water Temperature 75 Degrees F
    FC 20
    CC -0-
    TC 20
    pH 7.2
    T/A 100
    CH 360
    CYA 35
    Using Aqua check Salt strips - Salt 4850
    Used the K100 blue test kit in the TF Main kit - Test for Chlorine was so dark yellow it was almost orange.
    Turned off the Chlorinator and distributed 4 lbs of A&H baking soda around the perimeter of the pool.

    Tested today, Noon: December 3rd. Chlorinator still off

    FC 20 (same)
    CC -0- "
    TC 20 "
    pH 7.2 "
    T/A 100 "
    CH 380 (up 20)
    CYA 55 (up 20)
    Aqua check for salt - 3840 (down from 4850)
    Using the K00 test kit for Chlorine it was again darker than the test vial but I THINK not as dark

    Inventory: 4 lbs of Baking Soda
    4 lbs of Borax

    What do you recommend I do next??
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    What do you recommend I do next??
    Short Answer.....virtually nothing. Let's take your parameters one at a time.

    FC - 20 That too high but let it come down on it's own. It may take a while, especially if you have a lanai, but just leave it alone and add no more chlorine 'til it gets down to around 3-5ppm then maintain it there. Use only the FAS/DPD test for now. Your other test in the blue plastic kit is for levels below 5ppm which is why you can't color match it.

    CC & TC Nothing needed.

    pH - 7.2 That's perfect. Test it every day or so and keep it between 7.2 and 7.6

    T/A - 100 is fine....surprised the baking soda didn't raise it slightly. Nevertheless plan on it going up a little next time you test but just report back any changes.

    CH - No problems. The 20 difference you see is in the variables of testing....it's fine leave it alone.

    CYA - Again, the variance you see is most probably in the testing. Test again in about 10 days or so. It's fine where it is but your testing will get more accurate each time you do it. My guess is you'll end up somewhere around 40ppm which is just fine.

    Salt - Your salt results puzzle me. The Aqua check strips are pretty darn accurate from the posts I've seen others make ( I don't have a salt pool) so that 1000ppm difference I can't explain. That said, since you are no longer using the salt generator, it doesn't really matter.

    Lastly, tell us how your water looks. From your numbers, I would surmise your water is clear. All you need to do is let your FC drift down into that 3-5ppm range and then keep it there. May take several days.

    One your FC dips to 3ppm, what do you plan to use to bring it back up to 5ppm?

    Reread the stickies above.....lot's of insight there.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15
    Dave S - Reread the stickies - Printed out the one entitled "what to test for and what the tests mean".
    The Pentair 230 is off and I plan on turning it on and putting it on "2" when the FC gets to 3 or 4, but this is going to take a while as I'm not using much chlorine one way or another. The water is nice and clear
    12,500 Gal Oval Exposed aggregate built 2000 - Ormond Beach - Caretaker 99 cleaner - Originally Salt system - Now: Pentair 230- Cartridge filter

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    donaldm823's Avatar
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    Waterbear Thanks

    I moved donaldm823's original question, along with the associated discussion, into it's own topic, "Why high CYA is a good thing with a SWG", so we can explore this subject more throughly without disturbing Grampachief's thread. JasonLion

    waterbear-got your PM on SWG pool chemistry.

    It is a superb chemistry intro that is worthy of posting to all. It gave me some insights that I was not aware of and more importantly, it has adjusted my thoughts on how best to maintain my pool chemistry. Thanks again
    Don SW Florida
    10,000 gal in ground concrete pool
    Pentair Cartridge filter, Pentair SWG, Pentair Intelliflow VS pump (11018)
    FAFCO solar panels w/Pentair SolarTouch controller
    using BBB for pool chemistry/Lamotte ColorQ tester for daily testing

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