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Thread: When to Test with SWG? Not sure where to start/go from here!

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    MtnMisty's Avatar
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    When to Test with SWG? Not sure where to start/go from here!

    First time/first season pool lover here who barely passed HS chemistry... and starting to get a bit overwhelmed by it all. Whew. The pool has been up for 3 weeks now.

    When should I test for chlorine ... when the SWG is running? Just after it stopped, middle of the day, etc? And, from where in relation to the return?

    I've tested in different scenarios and get wildly different readings. I've even tested with the SWG running, getting the water right from the return to ensure my used Intex 8110 SWG is working. It obviously is working in that that specific test sent the chlorine off my Homedepot purchased, little, not T100 , Poolmaster Basic 5 test kit. Straight from the return tested bright neon yellow! Yowza. I've tested in the middle of the day with "ideal" 2.0-3.0 readings on the chlorine (ideal according to the test vial text!).

    My water is clear, though I can't say it's crystal clear.

    And, <ducking for cover> , as far as chemicals added, so far I've followed the advise of the decent guy that I bought the SGW from ... he said salt and only salt, that's all the chemicals he ever added. He sold the SWG, BTW, because he went from AGP Intex to a much larger, sunken Doughboy w/all the fancy upgraded gadgets for solar, SWG etc. He did tell me to he used muriatic acid to clean the plates at the end of the season.

    To start with, I've been running the Intex 2650 sand pump/filter 4 hrs starting at 6PM with the SWG running 3 hrs during that time (manufacture's recommendations from the manuals). I chose 6PM so that it is running while I'm home, at least until I grew confident that all is well mechanically. It is. So, today I'll change the timers to start at 2pm, for 4/3 hrs for the time being.

    I just read some of Pool School info, again, and am overwhelmed. I'm almost embarrassed to post readings here as they are varying so much with time/location taken. But, here goes.

    Today's readings (take at 12:30PM), for what I bothered to test for before giving up in fear and running to TFP:
    Chlorine: 0, didn't even register
    Bromine: same
    Ph: 7.8 - 8,2
    Acid demand test: 2 drops to bring it to 7.4-ish.

    When I'm reading the levels, what background should I hold the vials to? It seems to make a difference. I'm bouncing back 'n forth between holding the vials up to the blue sky and the white pool ladder.

    My chlorine levels shouldn't vary so drastically between SWG daily cycles, should they?

    Egads, as is apparent from this post going every which way, I'm feeling lost and not sure where to go from here: CYA = cover your Axxxx to me. I'm a rockhound, I've got oxalic acid for cleaning my crystals and trusty 20-Mule-Team Borax for rock tumbling (and keeping ants out of the dishwasher). I like simplicity.

    I still love my pool and this site, though!! I'm learning that pools are like my horses, a labor of love. And, oh so worth it!

    Thanks for any and all input!

    PS I can hear all the exasperated gasps from you seasoned pros out there! LOL Thanks for bearing with us countless newbies!
    Intex 18' x 52" Ultra-frame AGP, 8200 gal(?), used
    Intex 2650 Sand filter/pump, new (happy dance!)
    Intex SWG 8110, used
    Intex Wall Mount Surface Skimmer/Vacuum, used
    Solar Cover, used and a Patch Kit, now used.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: When to Test with SWG? Not sure where to start/go from h

    The best time to test FC is in the early evening.

    Your chlorine levels will continue to vary wildly until you get your other levels balanced, especially CYA. See the article on balancing your pool for use with a SWG in Pool School. It is impossible to maintain a consistently sparkling pool without getting FC, CC, PH, TA, CYA, and salt right (and CH not too high).
    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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    MtnMisty's Avatar
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    Re: When to Test with SWG? Not sure where to start/go from h

    Alrighty then, back to Pool School I went. And to WallieWorld.

    I bought the 6-way test kit at WallieWorld and tested the CYA. Nothing. No cloudiness what so ever, black dot shining through to the end. No wonder the FC wouldn't hold! Added 4 lbs of CYA (last Monday night). Waited until this AM to test --> 80. Interesting note: after having added the CYA, when I add the reagents in testing, they don't disperse as quickly as before; takes some swirling ... is that the suspension that the CYA adds?).

    Since Monday, every test for FC has been 2 - 3. Until this AM.

    My SWG is having issues. It goes to code 91, low salt after roughly 2 hours (pump set for 4 hr, SWG to 3 hr; starting at 3pm). Consequently, I've tested the salt levels enough with consistent readings at 3050ppm that I'm confident on the salt level. Been living with the error 91 all week while planning a trip to pick up some muriatic acid to clean the cells today (I see one tad bit of calcium at the end of the cells, on the exit side).

    Here's my readings from this AM: [attachment=0:1kgtl5mu]Pool Test 20120616.jpg[/attachment:1kgtl5mu]

    The pool had very heavy usage in the evening yesterday. Water doesn't look as crisp today. But, yesterday I didn't have time to vacuum as I wanted to before the heavy use (and it sorely needed it, lots of dirt lanes at the wrinkles). So, is all the dirt still floating making the water look cloudy? Pump was not running during the heavy use. Planned on vacuuming this AM after testing. But, I don't see any lines of dirt sitting around the wrinkles today.

    So, do I raise the pH with Borax? Or ignore it and get the TA in check first? Is aerating the only option?

    My test kit does not show "CH" by name ... is that "Total Hardness shown as calcium carbonate"?

    BTW, I regret not sticking to my budgeted plan of buying the T100 kit as part of the initial investment of my pool!! I skimped and of course now I've paid for it having to buy a 2nd test kit. Lesson learned. Hopefully, I'll be able to invest in the T100 before the end of summer.

    Thanks Jason and all, as always!!! I wouldn't be enjoying this learning curve (nor enjoying my pool!!) as much without TFP and your guidance! You rock!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Intex 18' x 52" Ultra-frame AGP, 8200 gal(?), used
    Intex 2650 Sand filter/pump, new (happy dance!)
    Intex SWG 8110, used
    Intex Wall Mount Surface Skimmer/Vacuum, used
    Solar Cover, used and a Patch Kit, now used.

  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: When to Test with SWG? Not sure where to start/go from h

    Leave the PH alone and wait for it to go up on it's own. Then lower it back down to 7.2 each time it gets to 7.8 until your TA comes down to something reasonable. Or, if PH is going up too quickly, you can follow the lowering TA procedure in Pool School.

    Total Hardness is calcium plus magnesium. Generally there is significantly more calcium than magnesium, so the numbers are usually similar.

    Ordinary dirt doesn't make the water cloudy, it just settles down to the bottom.

    Watch out on the CYA level, it can continue to rise for several days after a CYA addition.
    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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