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Thread: Partial BBB Questions

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    Partial BBB Questions

    I've been doing some reading here and there in this forum and have a few questions about borax and baking soda.

    First off, please don't say "get a real test kit" and "use the pool calculator".

    I'd rather just get a round about idea of the amounts of each to start with to bring my TA and pH up, hoping someone will be nice enough to give me a starting point cause I don't want to go to high on first dose, nor do I want to waste a week adding small amounts of each only to figure out I should have used 12 times the amount. Know what I mean?

    I'm guessing my above ground pool is 15,000 gallons (24'x52")

    For some reason, the pH has gone south to around 6.2 and the TA is 30 to 40, which is showing LOW on my test strips. It's been fine all summer long and I use chlorine pucks in a floater (sometimes skimmer basket to get FC up faster).

    The only changes that I have determined about the pool is that it's not getting as much sun as it does in summer, partial shading in the afternoons now and the nights are a little cooler but only 8 degrees or so.

    I'd like to break away from the pool supply retailer, but my reading is telling me to stick with chlorine pucks instead of bleach due to cost, but I am willing to take a look at borax and baking soda to weigh the pricing on that too.

    I've never had to raise pH and TA before, usually it's just the opposite with the acid during opening.

    Thanks in advance for anybody that wants to give me the advise I'm looking for.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

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    linen's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Welcome to tfp, Velocity_Stack

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity_Stack
    'm guessing my above ground pool is 15,000 gallons (24'x52")
    I think your pool is 13000 gallons. Most pools are filled 6" less then their listed wall height.

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity_Stack
    For some reason, the pH has gone south to around 6.2 and the TA is 30 to 40, which is showing LOW on my test strips. It's been fine all summer long and I use chlorine pucks in a floater (sometimes skimmer basket to get FC up faster).
    The pucks are trichlor and are very acidic.

    Using Borax will raise your ph and TA. Our recommended levels for trichlor users is 100-120 ppm TA. See: http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-...mmended_levels

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity_Stack
    but my reading is telling me to stick with chlorine pucks instead of bleach due to cost
    Most people can find bleach/liquid chlorine that is price competitive with trichlor pucks. Plus, the bleach/liquid chlorine does not add cya (stabilizer) to your pool, which usually does become a problem for most puck users. High cya can get very expensive (i.e. having to do drain refills) See: http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-..._chlorine_pool

    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity_Stack
    but I am willing to take a look at borax and baking soda to weigh the pricing on that too.
    The BBB method is really not about Bleach, Baking soda, and Borax...it is about knowing the state or your pool water (i.e. FC, CC, ph, TA, CH, cya levels) and acting appropriately with appropriate chemical additions (and other means).
    TFP Expert who uses Pool School and my TF100 test kit along with PoolMath for my: Round 11K gallon AGP with deep end, 20" sand filter, Matrix 1hp 2spd, 6 2ftX20ft solar panels (and solar cover!), Intex SWCG (copper bars disconnected) and a Rubadub hot tub (chlorine). The SLAM process is not finished until: 1. CC < 0.5 ppm, 2. An OCLT < 1.0 ppm and, 3. The water is crystal clear.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Welcome

    Boy, you are going to make it hard for us to try to help you given your 2 stipulations.

    First, have you actually measured your water depth as 52" (15k gallons)? Or is that the wall height making your water closer to 46" deep (13k gallons)?

    Pucks are very acidic. They add FC and CYA and lower the pH ... that is why your pH is low.

    Where did you read that pucks are cheaper than bleach? That is just not true if you look at the FC ppm/$ breakdown ... and also consider that the pucks are having other un-desirable affects (adding CYA and lowering pH).

    Using the poolcalculator (well, you just have to ... if you do not want to guess) and assuming 14k gallons:
    32oz of baking soda will raise the TA by 10ppm and raise the pH slightly (make adjustments to TA first)
    After you bring the TA to 100ppm,
    36oz of borax will raise the pH by 0.2 ... OR ...
    18oz of washing soda will raise the pH by 0.2

    Well, I think that should answer your question.

    Of course making these large adjustments based on test strips is not really recommended.

    Are you not at all concerned about your CYA level? This is the most important parameter to know and understand to maintain a clear pool by allowing you know know what FC levels are required.

    I do not think you fully grasp the point of this forum which is understanding the pool chemistry and only adding what it needs based on accurate testing ... and thus saving money on chemicals that are not needed. It is not really about strictly using bleach, borax, and baking soda. Many member never need to add the last 2.
    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 Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Get yourself a good test kit if you're serious about taking care of your pool. Otherwise you're just wasting your time and ours.

    If you don't want to put a little time in using the pool calculator you shouldn't ask us to.

    Several calculations have been done and bleach almost always winds up being cheaper with all things considered.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Thanks for the welcoming Linen!

    I've never had a problem with pucks and cya increase..... as far as price, I buy a 50lb bucket in winter, which saves me 50 cent per pound, easy to use and lasts the season.

    I only have to shock it when opening and maybe a couple weeks after opening to get it crystal clear, so not much expense there since I read in one the guides on algae and the need to brush the pool daily until under control.

    Just looking for a good starting point to bring my pH and TA up to par using borax and baking soda.

    Thanks for your input Jblizzle, just the kind of info I need to get started.

    Bama Rambler - your the kind of person that runs newbies off, sorry I wasted "your" time and not everybody is as smart as you and I feel there are actually some people out there that really want to help or have been where I am right now. Aren't places like this all about learning? Just block me so you don't see my posts and topics if it's a problem for you.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    For the record ... I completely agree with everything Bama said.

    If you are not willing to put in some effort to learn how to maintain your pool, people will quickly tire of holding your hand.

    We are more than willing to help you learn, but look where we are coming from ... you are asking us for advice not the other way around. I mean, you start your post saying "I am not going to get the tool you recommend and I am not going to learn to use the calculator" ... how are we supposed to take that?
    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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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Aren't places like this all about learning?
    Absolutely. Your refusal to do so (but wanting others to do it for you) is simply not what we teach.

    We do want you to learn to take care of your pool on your own.....you will have to decide if that's interesting to you.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    For the record ... I completely agree with everything Bama said.

    If you are not willing to put in some effort to learn how to maintain your pool, people will quickly tire of holding your hand.

    We are more than willing to help you learn, but look where we are coming from ... you are asking us for advice not the other way around. I mean, you start your post saying "I am not going to get the tool you recommend and I am not going to learn to use the calculator" ... how are we supposed to take that?
    You're right, but I know I need a test kit and the calculator is confusing to me...... basically overwhelmed at the moment on getting my water back right.

    I actually felt awkward starting my first post like that, but I knew what was coming, and was hoping just to get some round about figures.

    I feel like I'm in crisis mode at the moment and when I feel like that, I just ask questions to get started in the right direction.

    Test kit is a week out if I order today, right? 7 days of the pool going even farther into the hole. (based on me having the money for a good test kit)

    We live a very tight budget, have a pool and do our best with what we have.

    I'll just sit back for now and see who can kind of understand my situation give some advice to meet my budget.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Welcome to TFP

    You have to understand TFP promotes educating the average residential pool owner about pool maintenance. Use of Trichlor, although more expensive than bleach, even with your discount, is fine too, but the key for you as a member here is to make an effort in understanding how certain chemicals impact your water chemistry. It's all laid out in pool school.

    Relying on test strips works for most, but when you have a problem, you are flying blind. Although Jbizzle and Linen have given you a decent suggestion...they are roughly guessing too! So yes Bama was short with you, but we've seen it time an time again..."I've never had a problem, but now I do and I need your help, but I won't provide a full set of test results or use the calculator you developed to help me adjust my water chemistry". Yes your water may have been clear, but that does not mean it's sanitary...test strips are rubish for an accurate measurement of your water chemistry.

    Anyhow, having been a mod of this forum in the past, I wanted you to understand why you received the differing responses, including Bama's. All the mods, do this for free and they help people like us, day in and day out, free of charge...but as a courtesy to them...provide them with the tools they need to better help you.

    So yes, this place is about learning, but starting your 1st post ever with "First off, please don't say "get a real test kit" and "use the pool calculator"." Is not the best way to ask for help around here....we live by those tools.


    PS and somewhat repeating what has already been said...I have the same size pool...your are right around 13K to 13.5K gals
    Yes pucks are acidic, they generally lower PH and TA and increase CYA. (hence added cost to maintain balance and lower CYA via water replacement)
    Borax raises PH and to a lesser degree TA, while Baking Soda mainly increases TA and to a lesser extent PH.
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Just missed your last post...trust me when I say this...investing in a $50-$70 kit has provided me with the best cost savings ever. I have not stepped foot in pool store for chemicals in over 3 years. I invested $129 in a cheap SWG and spend about $50/yr on salt, some test kit refills, muratic acid and that's about it. Having the kit keeps me from rarely ever having to shock. Our last pool cost me at least $300-$700 a season using trichlor/phos free or whatever else the pool store was trying to peddle over to me.

    Anyhow...hope the budget eases up a bit and winter reading will certainly save you some $'s next season
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    OK ... so lets start over ... "Hi, my name is Jason"

    What makes you feel like you are in crisis mode? So far all you have given us is that your pH and TA are a little low ... FAR from a crisis ... although you now should realize it is the tablets that are driving the pH and TA down.

    As much as they are questionable, post up ALL the test strip results to get a vague idea where you are at. Even getting a pool store to test your water (assuming they use a drop test), would likely give a little better idea.

    Tell us more about the condition of your water and your specific concerns.
    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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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Rocky starts are all about being a newbie, I've learned that in other forums and this one is no different.

    I didn't mean to offend anyone here, just looking for a simple way to raise pH and TA without going to the pool supply retailer..... trying to wean away from that.

    Look at my join date and my first post, I've been reading from time to time.

    As time goes on, I plan on buying the needed accessories because it's all I read about here....... I am just speechless right now - feel like a problem to the forum.

    I did a water drip test back in spring (cloudy) condition and they said my water was perfect........ then tried to sell me algaecide and clarifier, which was over $30. I passed and came home reading here, about brushing daily and figured out that I was skimping on the shock a bit, so I figured that out - thanks to this site.

    Pool did fine all summer, now its gotten low in the two areas and we're not ready to close it just yet.

    I guess you'd have to have been here for the first month fighting the pool to clear it up, me knowing what little I did at that time, I just want to raise it back up to proper values.

    Again, I'm not here to bicker or be a problem.......... If this is not the place for me to be, I can understand that and will see myself out.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

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    dmanb2b's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Nope...you are certainly welcome here! Had we had that background it would have help us understand!
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

    Pool School, TFTestKits, Pool Calculator

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    See my previous post ... we need all the information you can provide so we can help.

    raising pH and TA is easy ... not a crisis ... if that is all you are worried about, then the numbers I gave previously should help.

    With more details on what the water looks like and more test results (strips, pool store, whatever) we can offer more advice.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Sorry Jason..... I got lost in feelings and forgot to post my strip values.

    It's a 4-way strip, so the only other values are: stabilizer is on the low side 0-30 (my understanding is that stabilizer prevents chlorine burn-off) and my FC is at 5......(which I've read that stabilizer can make this value higher than actual).

    Water looks fine - crystal clear.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

  16. Back To Top    #16
    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Low CYA would mean that the sun would break down the FC quickly (which costs you more money trying to maintain FC). We recommend CYA between 30-50ppm. Being that you have been using a lot of tablets ... it is hard to believe that the CYA is actually low (points to why we do not trust the strips).

    I am not sure that the CYA would make the FC read higher on the strips ... if that is what you are saying.

    Maintaining a FC of 5ppm would is fine if your CYA is not more than 50ppm ... but to me both of those test numbers are suspect.

    A cheaper drop based kit might give you a little better idea and some practice this year (before you get your recommended test kit next year right ) ... check out the 6-way drop test that Walmart typically sells.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    You are certainly welcome here. I can absolutely understand financial situations and would be happy to help you, but you have to be willing to try and at least learn to use the pool calculator. It's the single most important tool we have and it costs you nothing except a little time. We're more than happy to help you learn to use the calculator and will even give you results if we see that you're trying to learn.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
    Pool School ----- Pool Math ----- TF-Test Kit

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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Actually, I have not been using a lot of tabs, sometimes I get into the 10 range on FC and back off a bit in the floater.

    I was in the 50 range after opening and adding the stabilizer to the skimmer as directed on the pail from the mail order retailer (another product I'm bound too via retailer).

    I had some 7-way strips last year from the mart (caught them on clearance the year before) and really liked them...... I had these 4-ways on hand this year (given to me), so that's what I'm using at the moment.

    Just read your reply Bama, I'll put more time into learning the calculator tomorrow............ I've tried it twice and am lost on usage. I'll give it another try.
    24'x52" round AG 13,000 gallons - 150# Pentair SD-40 sand filter - 1hp Pentair Dynamo pump

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    I will tell you that the BBB method is FAR cheaper and easier than any other. I only spend $4-$6 a WEEK on my pool. $4 if I do not need to lower my PH, $6 if I need to lower my PH. Of course that is AFTER I bought the test kit.

    You CAN do it BUT you have to have the correct tools-test kit.

    I did a "test" of my local pool stores-one Leslies and two Pinch a Penny. I took the SAME water to all three stores with in mins. of each other. All three of them had VASTLY different results! The price to "fix" my water went from $75 to $250!

    Of course MY test of my pool showed my pool to be purrrr-fect!

    You CAN do it!

    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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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Partial BBB Questions

    Just enter your pool size (13k gallons) at the top and then select your Suggested Goal Levels toward the bottom. You then enter you current readings in the Now column and put in what level you would like to target in the Target column. You can then see the suggested chemicals to achieve what you entered as a goal. Most are independent, but the pH and TA adjustments affect each other.

    At the very bottom you can see the effects of adding chemicals section which allow you to see what certain amounts of chemicals will do in your pool. Note though that the pH adjustments here do not take into account your actual TA.

    BTW, CYA does not go away unless you remove water. If you started at 50ppm in the spring and have been using tablets, you CYA is likely to be higher than 50ppm now.
    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
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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