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Thread: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    I’ve been enjoying this board (all the helpful people, wonderful advice, and fantastic pool pictures) for a while now. We have graduated to a “big” pool from a blow up 12’ by 36” Intex and now I’m the one needing some advice! We filled our pool from our well (used for gardening) in phases starting Wed night when the build was complete, finally finishing up the fill on Friday about noon.
    I started out with just the results from Ace Hardware’s pool testing service on our well water:
    FC 0
    TC .3
    pH 6.2
    TA 16
    CYA Not tested
    Total Hardness 87 (Is this their equivalent of CH?)
    As soon as the pump could be turned on, I added pool calculator amounts of my chemicals in this order: 56 oz chlorine, ran the pump for 30 minutes, added 1.7 boxes 20 mule team borax dissolved in water, ran the pump for an hour, during that hour I filled a sock with 3 lb stabilizer for my CYA and put it in front of the return to dissolve (still more to add today), and finally added 12 lbs. baking soda. Last night I was beat and only did the daily test for FC and pH but it showed

    FC 2
    pH under the 6.8 that would register on the test

    This morning I got up and tested again, using my TF 100 for the very first time! I felt like a chemist, which in my case might be a bad thing I didn’t do so well in college chemistry class

    FC 3.5
    CC .5
    TC 4
    TA 90
    pH 6.8
    CYA (assuming it’s 25-30ish since I have added 3 lb stabilizer with more to add today)

    Sooooo… here are my questions… hope they don’t give away just how badly I did in chem class
    1. Is the total hardness from their test a measure of my CH and if so, is it ok to assume that’s fine and not worry about it from now on?
    2. Does the .5 CC mean that the extended time to fill up our pool got us into some troubles with something icky in our pool … and if so, does that mean I need to shock?
    3. And here’s the biggie that has me worried! How can my TA be 90 (seemingly near the top of my range) when my pH is sooooo low (at the bottom of my range) Aren’t they in some way dependent upon one another ?
    4. In the pool calculator when I put my TA of 90, I am leaving my borates number at 0. Is that no longer accurate when I have added 1.7 boxes of borax ? It’s saying I should add 2 MORE boxes of borax to move my pH from 6.8 to 7.5 ---which is more than originally told me to add to take it from 6.2 to 7.5, a much higher jump. Is that amount correct or am I doing something wrong? Is that because of the CYA that has now been added? And if I do add that much more borax to raise my pH... what will that do to my TA? Will it go though the roof if it's already at 90?
    5. We shop in a small town. I have about 1.5 boxes of borax remaining. If I can’t find more borax in the local stores, can I add a mixture of washing soda and borax… and if so how would I determine the amounts of each? Or should I just switch to washing soda for the full amount?

    I have read Pool School many many times and I’m sure the answers I need are probably in there somewhere, but I can’t seem to locate them at the moment so I am in need of a bit of personal reassurance that I really DO need to add 2 more boxes of borax to my pool and that I won’t be skewing my TA way over the top and messing up everything else.

    Sorry for the long first post .. and THANK YOU in advance for all the help and advice!
    Mimi
    -NW Florida
    -24' round ABG, ~14k gallons
    -1 HP pump, Sand filter
    -TF100 Test Kit

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
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    Re: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    First, you need to raise your PH up to at least 7.0 as soon as possible.

    CH is calcium hardness. While total hardness (or TH) is total, which includes both calcium and magnesium. Calcium is much more common than magnesium, so the numbers are often fairly close to each other.

    There is no need to add calcium to an above ground pool, so you are fine there.
    As long as CC is 0.5 or lower you can ignore it.
    PH and TA are related, but can occur in any combination. By the time you bring your PH up to normal, TA will probably be too high. But there is no avoiding that.
    You can ignore 1.7 boxes of borax from the point of view of borate level. They won't have any significant impact on your borate level. It takes many many boxes to raise your borate level significantly.
    Only raise your PH to 7.2 for the moment, that will help keep your TA from getting too high. PH should come up the rest of the way on it's own, though that might take a little while.
    For fairly large PH changes all of the calculations are fairly rough/approximate. It might take more or less than you calculated it will take. One good approach is to add perhaps half of what you think you need, wait an hour for it to mix in, test, and adjust from there.
    Use the borax first. If you run out you can switch to washing soda/soda ash. That will be worse for your TA, but that can be fixed easily enough later while the damage low PH can cause can't be fixed nearly as easily.
    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

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Re: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    Thank you so much for the timely reply and great explanation! Heading out to add borax immediately!
    -NW Florida
    -24' round ABG, ~14k gallons
    -1 HP pump, Sand filter
    -TF100 Test Kit

  4. Back To Top    #4

    Re: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    JasonLion, your advice was spot on!! Thanks again! I added the 1.5 boxes of borax I had on hand and that did indeed raise my pH to 7.2.

    Evening test 5/26 showed
    FC 2.5
    CC .5
    TC 3
    pH 7.2
    TA 110
    CYA still assuming ~27 from adding 3 lb stabilizer

    so I celebrated my 7.2 ph
    and added 2 cups of chlorine to raise it to 3.75

    Early morning 5/27
    FC 3
    CC 0
    TC 3
    pH 7.2
    TA 110
    CYA still assuming ~27 from adding 3 lb stabilizer

    The water looks clear and sparkly so other than being eager to break out the vacuum and get some trash off the bottom everything seems to be coming along.

    What should my next steps be?
    I realize I still need to add stabilizer. My original plan was to add 1.5 more lb to bring it up to 40. Should I add that much? Should I start that next or are there other changes that need to be addressed first?

    Do I need to do anything to get the TA down or is it acceptable at 110?

    I was setting tentative goals of FC 4, pH 7.5, TA 90, and CYA 40. Are these numbers realistic or should they be changed?

    I just realized that I have neglected to mention (in case it might make a difference) that this pool is shady probably half the day if not more. We did that realizing that we'd have to clean more junk from the pool but hoping to keep it a bit cooler and not feeling like bathwater in our 95+ summer heat. Hope we didn't make a mistake on that one!

    Thank you again for all the help!
    Mimi
    -NW Florida
    -24' round ABG, ~14k gallons
    -1 HP pump, Sand filter
    -TF100 Test Kit

  5. Back To Top    #5

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    duraleigh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sebring, Florida
    Posts
    30,077

    Re: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    Everything you are doing and planning on doing looks good to me. Is your water clear?

    I would not change TA...it'll come down slowly over time.

    I would wait until you decide to actually test for CYA and then add enough to get to 40ppm. Even though everything you are doing appears very accurate, it is probably best to confirm your cYA level before adding more.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Re: Hi to all! First post and balance questions (of course!)

    YES!
    My water is sparkly clear and quite beautiful thanks to Pool School and the advice and help of everyone here at TFP

    I'll check CYA next Friday to see if it shows up on the test and try to keep everything else balancing til then....

    Now it's time for a quick session of learning how my pool vacuum works... and then relaxing in that beautiful water

    Thanks Dave
    Mimi
    -NW Florida
    -24' round ABG, ~14k gallons
    -1 HP pump, Sand filter
    -TF100 Test Kit

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