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Thread: PH Low, no borax, no cash

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    PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Hi TFP! I'm new to this whole pool thing. We've got a small above ground (seasonal) pool, blue with the inflatable ring. I've been doing my best to maintain it, but we don't have the money for the chemicals (borax) until the first and the kids want to swim now! In the mean time, everything seems to be just about fine except for the PH, which is getting dangerously low. We have cyanuric acid, which is in the process of coming up to 40, but tfp tells me it can take a week because we have the granules. We have some baking soda, but I'm worried if I add enough baking soda to adjust the PH as needed, I'll raise the TA way too far. My question is thus, I 'spose:

    Can I raise my PH simply by aerating my little pool without having used acid to lower the PH so far? Would it be better to use baking soda to explicitly raise my TA and PH?

    Thank you all! and here are my pool tests as of 5 minutes ago.

    FC - 1.5, just added some cal-hypo 48% targeting 4.0
    CC or TC - Don't have this test
    pH - 6.8-7.2 somewhere. Don't have better granularity.
    TA - ~30
    CH - Don't have this test
    CYA - ~20
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Aeration won't work, your TA is too low for that.

    A pool your size will only require about 4 oz of borax or 2 oz of soda ash/washing soda. A box holding 5X that much is only about 5 bucks! Maybe one of your neighbors has a pool and will sell you a cupful of pH increaser?
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    I would add a rounded cup of Baking Soda (1 cup not leveled). That will get your TA up to about 100 where you can aerate. It will also raise your PH by .1 so that's an added bonus.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Unfortunately, our only neighbor with a pool is quite unfriendly. I contemplated it, but at the behest of the rest of the household decided against it as a "viable" option (They're very unfriendly!). Sadly with being a bunch of students, the last few 5 bucks' are reserved for food, though I have decided if the pool falls below the levels I can test, I will throw the cash at a box of borax anyway.

    Would raising TA and lowering it using aeration work, or would I burn through too much baking soda to be economical? Are there other household chemicals that would be safe to use that we might have in our kitchen or laundry room?
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Quote Originally Posted by aarcane
    Unfortunately, our only neighbor with a pool is quite unfriendly. I contemplated it, but at the behest of the rest of the household decided against it as a "viable" option (They're very unfriendly!). Sadly with being a bunch of students, the last few 5 bucks' are reserved for food, though I have decided if the pool falls below the levels I can test, I will throw the cash at a box of borax anyway.

    Would raising TA and lowering it using aeration work, or would I burn through too much baking soda to be economical? Are there other household chemicals that would be safe to use that we might have in our kitchen or laundry room?
    Aeration doesn't lower TA so by raising TA you can aerate to get your PH up! The way to lower TA is use Acid to lower both TA and PH then aerate to raise PH back up to acceptable levels. That works because acid lowers both PH and TA while aeration only raises PH.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Adding the baking soda is not going to hurt anything, that's for sure. Calculate how much you should add to bring TA to 80, and add only that much. In about an hour, check the chems again and see where you are.
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    I did some calculations using the pool calc and compared my results to what you guys said here. Added about 7 oz. by weight of baking soda. Nuked half a box. Jerry-rigged an aeration system using the two poles to prop a third pole out of the water so that the return is flowing into one end of the pole and the water is pouring out the other end and splashing down into the pool. Wouldn't want to run it too long like this, I imagine pumping water that far up hill isn't great for the pump, but it'll do for a little bit I'll test it on the hour and report back and let you guys know how it goes and if I need any more help
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

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    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Nice job! Hope it works out! Nice job doing it by weight, its a little more accurate than by volume but I'm a sucker for the easier one
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    I've done all my calculations by weight since the beginning. We have a small scale that weighs in grams or oz. we put some tin foil down on top, and a small.. Not sure what it's made of, like plastic or ceramic... Bowl. All I know for sure is with our dry chemicals and carefully cleaning it immediately after each use, it's doing fine, and I get good crisp measurements.
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

  10. Back To Top    #10

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    So I checked the pool a little while ago and forgot to promptly record my results, but here's a short version:
    PH: Creeping up nicely, thanks for the help!
    TA: Holding at sane levels, glad that worked.
    CYA: Looks almost high, I might have to adjust my chlorine accordingly Issue for another day.
    Chlorine: ALmost 0/didn't register on any tests, even after chlorination. Probably have to re-shock the pool now that everything else is at sane levels.
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    So your TA is up now? That's good. Your PH should have no problem rising with your rigged up aerator since its so small of a pool. Your CYA wouldn't have changed unless you added some. Which I don't think you did. You won't have to shock unless you get CCs or your water is cloudy.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Did you say what kind of test you are using? I hope it is not strips as they are not really worth the paper they are on ... too inconsistent and inaccurate. Even pool store testing might be better if you can not get one of the recommended test kits. Or the Walmart 6-way test kit is decent with the exception of lacking the FAS-DPD chlorine test.

    Also realize [shock:2hv00upa][/shock:2hv00upa]
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  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    we have two types of test strips, I'm verifying the results against each other, and checking them for consistency. They're in agreement, and I have a two-part OTO/Phenol Red test kit to verify the chlorine/PH levels. I don't even consider acting on the tests unless at least two of them agree on the results.

    I DID add CYA. I was reliably getting 0 for the CYA result, so I added 3/4 the amount required as per the pool calc, (3.3 oz, so just under 3oz) and this was yesterday.

    I don't want to shock or get the expensive pool store tests until my CYA has had it's requisite week to soak in. For now, the water is clear, doesn't smell strongly of chlorine, and now that TA and PH are in range, is quite comfortable to the touch, too.

    In an hour or so, I do plan to go take down the aeration rig.

    Also, in case I forgot to say it before, Thank you everyone, your input has been very helpful in quickly resolving my issue, and is much appreciated
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

  14. Back To Top    #14
    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Sorry I missed the part about you adding the CYA granules. You won't need to go through the shock process if you aren't having problems, just get your chlorine up to the correct levels for 40 CYA (above 3 FC)
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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    frogabog's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    As soon as the CYA has dissolved, it's in the pool. It doesn't take a week to soak up and be in, 24 hours is plenty to consider it there for our purposes. So as soon as your sock is empty of CYA, call it a duck and use the value you added as your current CYA.

    Testing for it however, can take a week to register properly.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
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    Don't waste time and energy looking for a better value on test kits, the TF100 is the best deal around. I did the looking and spent the extra money, but you don't have to make the same mistake. Just go here: TFTestkits. I use Pool Calculator for min/max, and shocking chlorine levels.

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    I'll check my sock when I take the rig down, then

    I would feel more comfortable shocking again, as the chlorine does reliably drop down to 0, or did before I added the CYA. If the sock is indeed empty, I'll start the shock tomorrow morning.

    One thing still confuses me about the shock process. I'm supposed to raise it to between 10 -16 depending on CYA (I need to check the chart before I do it), but it's supposed to be between 4-5 for swimming (Again, need to check the chart). When in the shock process does it go from 15 down to 5, if I'm supposed to maintain a level of 15 for the process, and it's only allowed to lose 1 over night?
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

  17. Back To Top    #17
    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    For CYA 40 you're holding a 16 FC and you are absolutely correct about losing less than 1PPM overnight. If you lost more than that, your chlorine is still being used to attack organic matter.

    You are allowed to swim up to shock level if you meet the criteria for finishing shocking. Don't swim in cloudy water.
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

  18. Back To Top    #18
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    It is safe to swim at FC levels up to shock value. You normally maintain shock level FC until you pass the 3 tests to stop ... then let the FC drift down to the normal levels.

    BUT, you do not have the testing ability to maintain the high FC levels accurately or to do the OCLT.

    Realizing now, the size of the pool. If you ever have a problem (algae, etc), without the good test kit, you are likely better off just draining it, cleaning it and refilling.

    Have you read this as an alternative method of maintenance:
    pool-school/temporary_pool_guide

    IF the water is currently clear, just maintain the FC slightly elevated and you may be OK without going through the full shock process.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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  19. Back To Top    #19

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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Quote Originally Posted by Vette
    You are allowed to swim up to shock level if you meet the criteria for finishing shocking. Don't swim in cloudy water.
    That line right there was the piece I was missing. Thank you for that!
    1) 620 Gallon
    2) I think the filter is a cartridge. It's white paper between two blue rubber endcaps.
    3) Above Ground
    4) Vinyl sides
    5) Don't know, Tiny.
    6) Within the last two months?

  20. Back To Top    #20
    Vette's Avatar
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    Re: PH Low, no borax, no cash

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    It is safe to swim at FC levels up to shock value. You normally maintain shock level FC until you pass the 3 tests to stop ... then let the FC drift down to the normal levels.

    BUT, you do not have the testing ability to maintain the high FC levels accurately or to do the OCLT.

    Realizing now, the size of the pool. If you ever have a problem (algae, etc), without the good test kit, you are likely better off just draining it, cleaning it and refilling.

    Have you read this as an alternative method of maintenance:
    pool-school/temporary_pool_guide

    IF the water is currently clear, just maintain the FC slightly elevated and you may be OK without going through the full shock process.
    If he gets an FAS-DPD test though, shocking isn't a huge deal because of the small size.

    But since water is cheap, it probably outweighs the cost of an FAS-DPD test: http://tftestkits.net/FAS-DPD-Chlorine- ... t-p47.html
    11,700 gallon 21' round 54" deep all-resin AGP - June 2012
    Waterway 1HP 2-speed pump / 100 sq ft cartridge filter
    Hayward 150,000btu Natural Gas heater
    I use and recommend the TF-100 for testing

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