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Thread: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

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    Renegade_2k's Avatar
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    Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Hello All!

    I bought a house in this area in mid-October 2011, and it has a 10k Gunnite/Plaster pool. The equipment installed with it is a 1 HP, single speed StaRite Pump, with a Mechanical Timer. This is plumbed to a StaRite Cartridge Filter (300 sq/ft). In line is a Pool Frog (which is now emptied and bypassed - purposely), and there are Jandy Valves and stub-outs for Solar. The Pool was built in 2008 by Patio Pools and Spas, and the previous owners of the house used Patio to maintain the pool.

    When I moved in, of course, the end of the swimming season was over, and I maintained the PH and Chlorine with the BioGuard 1200V Test Kit that the previous owners left. The water parameters were as follows..

    TC - 0.0
    FC - 0.0
    CC - 0.0
    PH - 8.0
    TA - 240
    CH - Off the scale
    CYA - Off the scale
    TDS - Off the scale (WalMart TDS Meter)
    Salt - Unknown (no way to test)
    Borates - Unknown (assuming none)
    Temp - 50

    Obviously, there was also significant scaling on the tile at the water-line and the water was pretty cloudy. I've been pumice-ing the scale.. what a pain!

    I'm now opening the pool, preparing for summer. There was a light green tinge to the water, despite the small doses of Chlorine over the winter. I purchased some KEM Tech Shock and added it to an oxidizing level, and let the pump/filter run constantly. Two days later, the water was relatively clear.

    I took the system down and cleaned the Filter Cartridges by spraying them, then soaking in a concentrated chlorine solution overnight (huge Rubbermaid Garbage Can), then a good spraying again. I also took this opportunity to plumb in a CircuPool RJ-30 System, and I added Morton Salt (eight 40# bags) and began dissolving it. Sweeping the salt up against the wall in the shallow end of the pool pretty much made it dissolve in a couple of hours. After re-assembling the plumbing, and all of the components, and firing up the filter, I let the pool circulate for 24 hours. This finished clearing the water of dead algae, and allowed the salt to finish mixing. Now, I initialized the CircuPool, and noted that the initial Salt Level reading was right at 3300 ppm, and I verified that the SWG was making Chlorine, visually and by a test the next morning, which wound up at 4 ppm. Over the next couple of weeks, I had to adjust the SWG from the initial recommended 75% output, recently landing at about 20% for an 8 hour run time, resulting in +- 9 ppm FC (high CYA levels) with 0.0 CC.

    Last week, I purchased a Taylor K-2006-C and a Lamotte 1766 Kit. I began by using 14.5% MA from Home Depot, and Pool Calculator. I wound up finding some 34% MA at Patio Pools (for the same price as the watered down stuff at HD), and I'm now using that for maintenance. Over the last three weeks, I've aggressively attacked the TA with MA and aeration. My tests this morning with the new kit(s) were as follows.

    FC - 8.0
    CC - 0.0
    PH - 7.6 (Taylor and Lamotte)
    TA - 130 (uncorrected for CYA)
    CH - 950
    CYA - 200
    TDS - 6500 (Lamotte 1766)
    Salt - 4500 (Lamotte and SWG)
    Borates - 0.0 (assumed)
    Temp - 60
    CSI - 0.02

    Not bad for my first pool.. but the results leave some questions.

    First, the pool has an Auto-Leveling system. The CH is 250 right out of the tap. This would mean that with even a total drain, the water test would result in a new CH of 250 or more right off the bat. Obviously, the TDS would lower (I haven't measured the fill water yet..) and the CYA would lower (depending on how much the Plaster has absorbed and how much would leech out of the plaster with a refill). While reading HEAVILY in TFP for the past month, I've seen mixed reviews on CYA and CH levels.. differing opinions..

    Also, being a Salt Pool, naturally, this will raise the measured TDS over non salt pools, but by how much? Is there a conversion formula for this, or perhaps established TDS levels that I should be striving for?

    Given my geographic location, are these parameters worth the cost of a drain and refill or will keeping a FC level of 9 and lower PH and TA levels be sufficient? I COULD lower the levels by a drain and refill, however, living in Southeastern AZ, water is scarce, and high priced. I tried calling a business in PHX that uses an R/O unit to clarify the water, but he bowed out due to gas prices and distance.. Soo..

    What's a guy to do??

    Here is a picture from two weeks ago..

    [attachment=2:2fdvgs5u]2012-03-01_13-00-23_70sm.jpg[/attachment:2fdvgs5u]

    and here are pics of my set-up..

    [attachment=1:2fdvgs5u]2012-02-27_14-31-57_877sm.jpg[/attachment:2fdvgs5u]

    [attachment=0:2fdvgs5u]2012-02-27_14-31-30_579sm.jpg[/attachment:2fdvgs5u]

    Thanks in advance for any responses and advice! Nice to meet all of you!

    Harry.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    10k Gallon Freeform Gunnite and Plaster, P6E6VS4H-209L Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS Variable Speed Pump, Sta-Rite S7M120 Cartridge Filter, CircuPool RJ30 Salt Chlorinator System, 7 Helicol 4x12 Solar Panels, Solartouch Solar and Pump Controller, Solar Cover, Kreepy Krauly Cleaner, Taylor K2600 Test Kit, Lamotte Tracer 1766 Kit (for quick PH, Salinity, and temperature checks).

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Hi, welcome to TFP! You can manage high CH levels if you keep the ph between 7.2-7.5 and the TA between 70-90. We do not place as much emphesis on the TDS number. When a pool is well maintained it becomes a non-issue. You do need to get the CYA down to a more managable level if you can, under 100 would be preferable. CYA testing over 100 ppm is not very accurate and it is possible for it to be higher than 200. Normally this is where we tell you to do a series of partial drain and refills to bring the CYA and CH down. Since water is pricy the cost may be prohibitive at this time.

    Watch the weather and take advantage of any forcasts of heavy rain by draining a few inches off the pool a day before the rain is expected to hit. One of our members has diverted his downspouts into the pool. If you have any plants that need frequent watering, use water from the pool for the plants and top off the pool with tap water.
    TFP Moderator
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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Welcome to tfp Renegade_2K

    Listen to zea and try and get that CYA down by any means (steal water from a BBB method following neighbor if you have too )...you really don't know how high you are, but if you are 200 ppm+, I would bet you will have trouble.
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Renegade_2k's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Hi Mod Squad!

    Thank you for a quick response! Yes, I've been considering finding some kind of a submersible pump and using it for irrigation, especially after I plant some more things in the yard. Monsoon season should provide me with lots of "clean" rain.. provided it doesn't turn into a gulley-washer and run form the yard into the pool.. The downspouts are an excellent idea! I hadn't considered that!

    Yes, the CYA testing leaves alot to be desired, and I wound up diluting with RO/DI water (from my aquarium supply) to 50%, then re-ran the test. It was still at 200+.. I'll begin working on that!

    Again, thanks for the welcome and the information!

    Regards..

    Harry.
    10k Gallon Freeform Gunnite and Plaster, P6E6VS4H-209L Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS Variable Speed Pump, Sta-Rite S7M120 Cartridge Filter, CircuPool RJ30 Salt Chlorinator System, 7 Helicol 4x12 Solar Panels, Solartouch Solar and Pump Controller, Solar Cover, Kreepy Krauly Cleaner, Taylor K2600 Test Kit, Lamotte Tracer 1766 Kit (for quick PH, Salinity, and temperature checks).

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Hi neighbor

    What is your source of water (assuming you do not have a private well)? And how much does it cost.

    People always commented to me that it would be expensive to fill a pool, but for me it was only a $40-50 difference in the bill as I recall for a full 20k fill. If your water prices are tied to sewer prices, you should be able to call the company and they will not charge the sewer fees for the water you use to fill the pool.

    There are concerns of floating the pool out of the ground if they are completely emptied, but in the 2 pools I have had in Tucson it was not a problem.

    You could do partial drains and refills once a month of so to really spread out the water cost ... although that still does not conserve our water here in the desert.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Renegade_2k's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Thanks Linen! I've strongly considered the BBB method (with the SWG of course) but I have two HUGE dogs who like to sneak a cool drink from the pool when I'm not looking.. I'm afraid Borates are a no-go. I guess partial drains and refills are in my immediate future! Thanks again!

    Regards..
    10k Gallon Freeform Gunnite and Plaster, P6E6VS4H-209L Sta-Rite IntelliPro VS Variable Speed Pump, Sta-Rite S7M120 Cartridge Filter, CircuPool RJ30 Salt Chlorinator System, 7 Helicol 4x12 Solar Panels, Solartouch Solar and Pump Controller, Solar Cover, Kreepy Krauly Cleaner, Taylor K2600 Test Kit, Lamotte Tracer 1766 Kit (for quick PH, Salinity, and temperature checks).

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie from Southeastern AZ!

    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade_2k
    I've strongly considered the BBB method (with the SWG of course) but I have two HUGE dogs who like to sneak a cool drink from the pool when I'm not looking.. I'm afraid Borates are a no-go.
    Just a note, the "BBB method" really is more about properly testing and maintaining your pool and not so much about specifically Bleach, Borax and Baking soda...so the Borax is definitely not mandatory. For some the "BBB method" is really a state of mind

    How are you planning on chlorinating your pool?
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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