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Thread: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

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    dissfigured's Avatar
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    May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Went to Leslies and she said
    1. you have no chlorine but I have recently shocked, and my cell is at 80%
    so she gave me conditioner. I put a bucket in. Hopefully that will help hold onto the chlorine.

    2. She said your water hardness is off the chart "500 +"
    Me: "How do I fix this?"
    Her: "Only way is to drain 2-3 feet of water from the pool and refill"

    So I drained close to half of my 20,000 gallon pool and refilled it.
    Now I am thinking I am going to have a $1000 water bill and there might have been other options...
    Ugh why didn't I come here first????

    So tell me, what else could I have done for hard water?
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    We have very hard water here. I put salt in my pool to soften it but other than that I don't pay it much attention.
    18'x48" AG
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    dissfigured's Avatar
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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    I asked her why it is an issue as the water feels fine and she said it will damage my equipment.
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Quote Originally Posted by dissfigured (quoting PS employee)
    She said your water hardness is off the chart "500 +"
    Wonder what she means by "water hardness"? Is it Calcium Hardness (CH)? Is it Total Hardness (TH)? The latter is a measure of the levels of both calcium and magnesium in your water and is always going to be higher than your CH. CH is the more critical of the two as too much can lead to scaling. Since you already replaced about half your pool's water, you have lowered CH and TH (barring fill water that is abnormally high in CH). Going forward, I would test CH specifically before taking further action on "hardness".

    Generally, the best way to lower hardness (I'm specifically referring to CH at this point) is to do a partial drain & refill, as you have done. However, before doing that, I always recommend (1) Knowing the current CH of the pool water, and (2) Testing the CH of fill water. If the fill water CH is close to the current CH of the pool water, a drain & refill is pointless and a waste of $. If the CH of your fill water is lower than your pool water CH but is higher than about 150 ppm or so, you will have to replace a higher percentage of water than you may think to reach a desired CH target (see Pool Calculator link in my sig). If that's the case, it may be more cost effective to manage the CH level. Here are a couple of options to do this:

    • 1. Manage your pH and Alkalinity. Keep pH on the lower side of the target range (ideal target rage is between 7.2 - 7.8; to mitigate high CH, keep it between 7.2 and 7.5). Lower TA to the point where the pH remains relatively stable. This may take some experimenting to find out what TA level works well for your pool. Focus on pH first.


    • 2. Add a sequestrant to help prevent high CH levels from causing scaling. This will not remove the calcium; it merely binds to the calcium and keeps it from reacting as it otherwise would.


    • 3. Whenever it becomes necessary to shock, do not use Cal-Hypo chlorine - it adds calcium. Use bleach or liquid chlorine instead.


    BTW, please post info about your pool to help us help you better. At a minimum, state whether it is in-ground or above ground, liner type (vinyl, fiberglass, plaster, etc.), pool water gallons, manually chlorinated or SWG (I believe yours is SWG based on your post). In addition, please include a full set of test results.
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    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    okay, added some preliminary stuff to my sig. Not sure what all is needed as info
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    First, spend some time in Pool School, the button on top right. Read it, then read it again. (I had to reread many many times, it made my head hurt.)

    Did she give you full test results? Hardness along with pH and TA can lead to scaling, but that can be managed. To manage it you will need to test the water frequently and manipulate the values that can be manipulated easily. Knowing what your fill water test values are is important. If you fill water is super high CH then a refill does marginal good. If you refill water is very low CH, it may be that you didn't need to drain so much.

    So, can you give us the full test values?

    Part of the answer to your question about what else you could have done depends on WHY the hardness was so high. If your tap water is high CH, then simple evaporation and topping off adds more and more calcium to the water. If that is not the source, then you have added the calcium yourself, likely due to use of "powdered shock" in the form of cal-hypo, or perhaps tablets that are put into the skimmer.

    The drain and fill was the fastest way to correct the problem. It may be that discontinuing use of the incorrect product would over time have been enough, but not likely, and not fast enough to deal with scaling issues.

    As you read Pool School, take notes in the section Test Kits Compared, and locate a good test kit. Pool stores will often tell you they have one of the preferred kits and then "bait and switch" once you are there since they do not stock that type of kits. It is typically faster to order from http://www.tftestkits.net, owned by a forum member, as they are fast and give more reagents for the same price. That is what I use and I highly recommend them.

    oops, I see that you have a great answer by BoDarville but I will post anyhow.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    This is what I got from them

    [attachment=0:3j4vxzbe]pooltest.jpg[/attachment:3j4vxzbe]
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Looks like they think that the cell is scaled over and that is why no chlorine. They seem to have missed that with CYA at 0, the cell may be working just fine but chlorine is burned off by the sun or by algae as fast as the cell can make it.

    Order your own test kit, now. Then either find a copy of your water report, water departments here must send a test result annually, or take that store a sample of tap water to test only TA and CH, and ask if they test Total Alkalinity or Adjusted Alkalinity, there is a difference, not clear on the report. We don't care about CYA or salt or TDS or pH of tap water.

    In general we do not trust tests done by stores. I just had a test done and they were pretty far from my measurements on several items, resulting in recommendations that were quite different from those based on my own tests. I trust my own tests over theirs. I observe that they do the titrations so quickly that they may have been off by several drops, 5 or 10 or 20, easily.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Forgive me... What is CYA?
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    NM, just saw it on the report.
    I have Muratic acid s that different?
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    I think I may just need to get a pool guy.
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Quote Originally Posted by dissfigured
    I think I may just need to get a pool guy.
    It's cheaper to read Pool School. Even just the basic stuff about pool chemistry and pool chemicals will give you a huge edge over the majority of pool owners.

    Then, having a slight idea of what these chemical values are, you get your own test kit and run your own tests. They're not that hard. Most people beyond the 4th grade can count, multiply by .5, 10, or 25, and can tell greenish from pinkish and pinkish from purplish from bluish. So you take your readings, compare them to what you know, and add what pool calculator says to add. And the next time you check it, it's changed into what you wanted, and it clicks. And then you get everything balanced, your water is sparkling clear, you spend less on chemicals in a year than a pool service would charge you in a year. A couple minutes a day during the swim season, a couple minutes a week during the winter. Or less, if you shut things down for the season because it freezes where you live.

    It's really not that hard. Most cooks can follow a recipe they've never tried and get good results. Same with a pool. Measure carefully and add things in the right sequence. You know what the end result should look like.

    A test kit costs about what a pool service would get for a month. Why not buy one and try it for a month? You can always hire a service later if you don't like to do it yourself.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Quote Originally Posted by dissfigured
    I think I may just need to get a pool guy.
    If you have more money than time, maybe. But there are plenty of pool guys out there who don't know what is going on, or do know but since they have to visit the pool only once a week must do things the expensive way to keep the pool clear.

    If you don't have money to burn, then you ought to read Pool School so that you can begin to understand what those test numbers mean and how they work together to keep your pool clean, clear, and comfortable. This forum is devoted to the idea that one needs to test the pool frequently and accurately so that only the necessary chemicals are added, at the right time and in the right quantity, to keep the pool clean, clear, and comfortable.... and cheap. (Hey, maybe we need to rename this the CCCC method!)

    TFP is really REALLY cheap compared to a pool guy and pool store products. I was quoted $89/wk for pool service, extra when special products are used..... wow. I just bought about 2 years worth of calcium and 2 years worth of cal-hypo and 2 years worth of test chemicals for a total of $245, or $2.40/week. My monthly chlorine and acid is maybe $12-15/wk in the summer, less in winter. So the chemicals are not much, most of the cost for the service is the guy and his drive time.

    I have seen more some real damage done to pools run by pool services. The guy who owned the company was not a dunce but the instructions he gave his people led them to not run full tests of the water, and they didn't understand what the tests meant anyhow. So you could be paying big bucks for someone no wiser than yourself regarding the pool operation.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Quote Originally Posted by dissfigured
    Forgive me... What is CYA?
    See Pool School -- it is Stabilizer/Conditioner, protects chlorine from sun
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Quote Originally Posted by dissfigured
    NM, just saw it on the report.
    I have Muratic acid s that different?
    See Pool School -- MA is a liquid acid used to lower pH.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    dissfigured's Avatar
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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    I will read pool school.

    Now I wonder if That is what I added.
    They gave me a bucket (4 pounds) simply called "Conditioner"
    It was white rice sized grains. "Mix w/ water and pour in skimmer"
    Wish I kept the bucket I wonder if that was CYA. She said it would help keep chlorine from evaporating.

    I feel a lot of the time like I wonder why I am adding all these things. The pool is always crystal clear and feels fine but when I take my water in they always tell me I am completely out of chlorine or something else.

    At any rate, I will go through the pool school stuff.

    [attachment=0:1esafp8j]IMAG0196.jpg[/attachment:1esafp8j]
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    This is what they had me put in. She said I needed 5 lbs but they sell 4 lb buckets so to just put in 4 lbs for now and check it again in a week
    http://www.lesliespool.com/Home/Pool-Ch ... 12302.html
    In-ground, SWG, 20,000 Gallons, Attached spa w/ Spillover, Hayward system, Cartridge Filter.
    Dallas TX

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    The best thing you can do it buy a test kit. Here is the link so you know what to get.
    pool-school/pool_test_kit_comparison

    It is VERY easy once you start doing it. In fact it is fun!

    Pool School is your best friend. The people here are wonderful and very helpful!

    It is MUCH cheaper and easier to do your pool on your own!

    -order test kit
    -read pool school
    -stay away from pool stores

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    That was Cyanuric Acid (CYA) aka conditioner or stabilizer. You put in 4 pounds into 20,000 gallons so raised your CYA level by 24 ppm. Though it's a start, it won't be nearly enough for a saltwater chlorine generator pool. However, I wouldn't trust the pool store numbers so would wait until you get your own good test kit and then we can go from there. I'd hate to have you put in more CYA if in fact it's higher than we think.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: May have followed bad advice. Hard Water

    Adding 4 pounds of CYA (Leslie's Conditioner) would have raised your pool water CYA level by just 24ppm. Coming from 0, that means you will assume that your CYA level is 24ppm. 24ppm is a little low, you'll want to aim for 30-40, unless your location is very sunny and hot (Texas, Arizona, etc.) and then ~50ppm is recommended.

    Reading pool school a few times will help you understand what the chemicals you put in the pool do, and why you might want to add them. Although many of the pool store chemicals won't be mentioned, as they actually aren't necessary for your pool. That might clear up some of the confusion and wonder you have about adding chemicals, and explain again (pool store products) why your gut has been nagging at you about what you've previously used.

    For your next dose of CYA put the powder in a tube sock (or two) and hang it off the lader, or in front of a return. Then, periodically stop by and squeeze the sock to release the water soaked CYA. This method works far better than the skimmer method.

    Without CYA, your pool essentially burned off 100% of any chlorine that was ever added to it, mostly due to the sun. CYA is sunscreen for your chlorine, but you can easily have too much. (i.e. if you use SPF80, but will never spend more than 10 minutes in the sun... you're never going to get tan) A little (30-40ppm) is a very good thing but too much means you'll need more chlorine than you would at lower levels to maintain a high enough FC to sanitize the water.
    Where kids swim in 54 degree water, turn blue, and giggle happily cuz they got a POOL!
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