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Thread: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

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    Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Ok, so there isn't really a monster in the pool but it has been somewhat of a monster to care for. We bought a house last year with a salt water pool and spa that was built very specifically for the previous owner. He gave us a pretty good primer but we are struggling and unfortunately live in a town with a handful of companies who have all declared that our pool is "too complicated" for them to work on. We are fiddling our way through it but need help. Here are some stats on the pool:

    1. Pool is 45,000 gallons
    2. Spa --I think--is 1,000 gallons (3 feet deep and 8 feet in diameter)
    3. The box that has the salt levels and stuff is called Mineral Springs

    Here is the current issue(s): The pool was opened up by a company that probably didn't know what it was doing. So the reading after the winter showed 0 salt. My husband was talked into purchasing about $1,000 worth of "salt starter kit" called Pristine. We dumped 8 or so bags of salt. Reading went up to 2000. We found cheaper salt and dumped another 10 bags. Reading I THINK is now at 3200. But I don't know if I am reading it right. I know the blinking lights on the system have stopped and it appears to be in the "normal" range. We have a pool tester kit that the previous owner showed me how to use. I am doing the tests and find that the chlorine is still not in the correct range. In fact, it barely registers any chlorine at all. I have put the system on "sanitizer boost" but after 24 hours, the readings remain the same. The ph is in the right range--7.4 to 7.6. I didn't do any other tests on the pool since the ph is right. The weird thing is, the pool is crystal clear....

    The spa is using bromine/bromide. The pool company did not put any of it when starting it and after muddling my way thorugh, I realized we needed to put it in. Water turned a weird green and after a lot of shocking and what not, we drained and refilled the spa. I added Rendezvous Protect Plus and then Rendezvous Enhance and Activator. After 1 day, still does not register any bromine/bromide. I added another 8 oz. of Enhance tonight but am out of ideas on what the heck is going on. PH was below 7.4 so I added 1/3 oz. of ph down (balance pak 200??) Spa water seems to be turning greenish again although it is not terrible.

    Please help!!! And any information on calcium hardness and other tests I should be doing, would be helfpul. I don't know anything about calcium or what that even means.
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    read this:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...efore_you_post

    read through Pool School:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-school/

    Plug your test results in the Pool Calculator to see what you need:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...ool_calculator

    maybe post a pic of your pool and equipment if you can. Most of all, be patient! It took me a week and a half to clean and clear up my pool! Best of luck!
    35k gal, sand, IG, vinyl, 1HP pump, 62 gpm, 10/2003

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Hi Ramla:

    Welcome to TFP

    Please post information about your pool (see my signature below for an example). In particular, what is the surface of your pool (plaster, vinyl, fiberglass, other???). Some of the target test results depend on the surface of the pool.

    If your PH was below 7.4, I'm not sure why you added pH down? This lowers pH. I'm thinking you may have intended to raise it. The ideal pH range for most pools is 7.5 to 7.8. If you need to raise it, I would suggest Borax, Soda Ash, or Washing Soda (Washing Soda is not the same as Baking Soda).

    Click on the Pool Calculator link in my signature. In addition to providing recommendations based on your pool, actual test results, and target (desired) results, the items in the left-most column are hyperlinks that you can click on for more information on these test items.

    In the case of calcium hardness, the target amount depends on your pool surface. Plaster pools need a certain amount of calcium (ideally 250-350 ppm) whereas calcium amounts in fiberglass and vinyl pools should be lower than for plaster. Again, the Pool Calculator can provide guidance on this.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Hi, welcome to TFP. I have a couple of questions to try and clarify things a bit. Do you know exactly what the stuff they used to open the pool was? Is the spa freestanding or connected to the pool? Does the pool share water with the spa? Any pictures you can post may also be helpful.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Thanks for being patient with me. I added a signature line which has my pool information. Hopefully it shows up below. I am also attempting to post pictures (asking admin for help but if you see this before them, please let me know).

    Current test readings show no cholorine in pool and ph at 7.6. As for spa, no chlorine/bromine reading and ph at 7.6. Any ideas??
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Can you tell us what type of testing kit you are using?
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Testing kit is BioGuard Multi-Test Kit 1200V --Performs 5 tests.
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Here are some photos.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Odd to have the spa and pool that close to each other and not sharing water. That just means you have at least double the work to maintain everything.

    Also odd that you are using 2 different sanitizers ... chlorine for the pool and bromine for the spa. Which means the procedures for maintain each are slightly different. If it were me, I would probably make both of them use chlorine so you do not need 2 different sets of chems.

    I did not see the stabilizer (CYA) for the pool listed. It looks like the SWG is working (that looks like a re-branded Hayward Aqua Rite BTW) but it is not uncommon for SWG to not be able to produce enough chlorine if the CYA is low and therefore the sun is burning off the FC faster than the SWG can make it. You should supplement the chlorine in the pool with bleach to get the level up to at least 3ppm and then see if the SWG will hold it there.

    The first thing you should do is order one of the recommended test kits (see my signature) so that you can perform all the required tests yourself and KNOW what is going on in the pool. You can not just ignore the CYA, CH, TA levels just because the pH is correct.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Wow nice pool! What have been your habits regarding the use of the automatic cover? You keeping it covered or uncovered most of the time?

    I'm assuming Spa is not Salt water, correct?
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Jason: Yes, everything about the pool/spa is a little odd. Is it possible to convert the spa into chlorine use and not bother with bromine? If so, how do I do that? Also, can you tell me a little about CYA? Do you add something if there isn't enough?

    Harleysilo: Thanks. The automatic cover stays on all the time unless we are swimming. I have 3 little kids and it is purely for safety. I was told that if the cover is on, the chlorine in the pool won't dissipate as much and it should have a higher reading but that is clearly not the case. Yes the Spa is fresh water, no salt added. We add bromine but again, it is not reading as having any.
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    How much of Pool School have you read? I do not want to re-type what is already covered in those articles regarding CYA and the other chemicals in the pool:
    ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry

    I forgot to consider the pool cover. If the pool cover was on you would not be loosing as much FC to the sun (so the CYA would have a lesser affect). But, if the SWG is not adding enough FC for you to measure with the cover on ... then there must be something living in there using it up. So, the recommendation would be to follow the Shocking Your Pool process.

    To follow the shock process, you really need to invest in one of the recommended test kits (see link in my signature).

    Regarding, switching from bromine to chlorine in the spa ... I am not ad expert, but I think it may be as simple as draining the hot tub, refilling, and putting chlorine in. This is kind of a tricky situation as you will need to keep some circulation in the tub daily.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Thanks. Am purchasing a kit today. In the meanwhile, is it possible that there is no CYA in the water? Is it something that should have been added at start-up after the winter? When you say there is something living in it--what exactly do you mean? It sounds scary.

    Also--there was still no bromine reading in the spa and after reading some threads on bromine, I added some liquid chlorine shock. Well the water is now green. Argh.
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    The CYA does not go away (typically) except due to water replacement. Some see a slow loss over the summer. Some see a complete loss over the winter likely due to a bacteria. So, if you used to have CYA in the pool, it may or may not be gone ... have to test for it.

    By living, I mean some kind of organics ... algae, bacteria, mold, something that you do not want in your pool.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Ok will get it checked at the pool store tomorrow. Until I get my kit I have to rely on them. If there is something growing, shouldn't the water be cloudy or green or something? In other words, is it normal for the water to be so clear? We have been swimming in it so now I am so worried...
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Stuff could be in the pipes or behind the light fixtures etc consuming the FC.

    Bacteria (fecal matter) and virus will not make the water green ... and will not be killed if you have no FC on your test ... you are taking a risk. As this stuff could be passing from 1 person to the other in the pool with no chlorine. This sounds a little alarmist, but there is the chance.

    We generally say the water is safe if:

    1. The FC > than the minimum listed in the Chlorine CYA Chart for your CYA level
    2. The FC < than the shock level listed in the same chart
    3. The CC is not more than 0.5ppm
    4. The water is clear.
    5. And you want the pH in the 7s (although being a little out of this would not make the water too unsafe)

    You seem to pass #2 and #4, #5, but what about #1 and #3?
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    I think we need to back up a minute. One of your pictures shows a mineral springs controller, and you said the pool guy used something called "pristine salt starter". I could not find anything online containing the words pristine salt starter, but I did find pristine blue. Mineral Springs is kind of a hybrid mineral/salt water generator system, and Pristine Blue is a mineral system that uses very little chlorine. Those two systems are not interchangeable, plus most of the advice you have been given so far is pertaining to a traditional salt water generating system without minerals. While you can use the mineral springs equipment the same way as any other salt water chlorine generator, we need to identify exactly what has been put into your pool, and exactly what equipment you have. If you saved any of the containers from the start up or if the chemicals added was detailed on your receipt please post the information here.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Ok, got the water tested yesterday and here are the readings:

    (Remember its a salt water pool).

    CYA: 0
    Totl Chl: 0
    pH: 7.1
    Totl. Alk: 128
    Total Hardness: 114
    Minerals: 3600

    We had the cell tested and it works fine (i.e, it is generating chlorine when used in a stand alone tester). I put one bottle of Stablizier so far (CYA) and was told to wait 2 to 3 days and put a second bottle in. I also put 2 bottles of Smart Shock to get some chlorine reading. Sure enough, there was cholorine 2 hours later. BUT after 24 hours, I just did another reading and again 0 cholorine. Any ideas?

    As for the qustion (MOD SQUAD above)-I had the name wrong, it is called Pristiva and it is a salt water system which appears to be bascially really expensive salt and "primer" that is used to I guess work to dissolve the salt in a way that wont' rust the cell. Does that make sense.
    Ramla

    45k gallon, gunite (concrete) pool, cartridge filter (Stra Rite), Gas Heater, separate spa w/own pump/filter/heater.

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    harleysilo's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Have you used the pool calculator to verify the quantity of stabilizer you were told to put in?
    18'x43' Sport Pool
    19,000 Gallons Vinyl Liner 3'-3.5'-4'
    SWCG and D.E. Filter
    Test Kits - Pool Calculator - Chlorine/CYA Chart - Pool School

    Secret Weapon for Pool Chemistry Testing

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Salt Water Monster--cholorine readings, pool care etc.

    Ok, looked up the Pristiva primer and it is "a special blend of scale and corrosion inhibitors", but doesn't say what is in it. It has no CYA or salt. According to their website it is supposed to be used with Pristiva Activator which is salt with scale and corrosion inhibitors mixed into that as well. It was listed as a "cheaper" alternative to the mineral springs system.

    The Smart Shock is 1% copper and 39% available chlorine in the form of dichlor, which means it also contains CYA. So between the Smart Shock and the other stabilizer you have added we need to figure out just how much CYA is in your pool so we will know how much more we need you to add. Right now the chlorine is not holding because you don't have much stabilizer in the water. For now I would suggest adding either liquid chlorine from the pool store or 6% plain bleach from the grocery store on a daily basis until you are able to test how much CYA is in the pool. Be sure you can get a test result before adding any more CYA, as having too much can cause just as many problems as not having enough.

    As for the spa turning green, a clear green indicates copper in the water and I know the mineral pool systems all contain copper as an algaecide. You may need to use a sequestrant to prevent copper staining and to remove the green tint from the water.

    I think once you have enough CYA the SWG will be able to keep up with the chlorine demand. Personally I would avoid the mineral enhanced systems and just go with plain salt. The mineral enhanced systems require more work to keep in balance and the build up of excess minerals can be problematic over time.
    TFP Moderator
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