Following is a record of my experience with a bicarb start-up. It pretty much is a by the book bicarb start-up, with limitations being the specific amounts of water and calcium chloride the plasterer actually did use. He did indicate to me, prior to the day of the job, that based on the time of year they would be using .5-1% calcium chloride. Water was added via 5 gallon buckets that were dipped into a drum and slung into the mix. They used 5 buckets per batch (25 gallons), and according to onBalance recommendations they should use no more than 22 gallons. Discussing that with the plaster, he felt that due to the method used to add water (rapid dipping and slinging of the water bucket), they were losing at least 3 gallons per batch. If this is the case, both the calcium chloride and water ratios were within onBalance recommendations. I did notice some adding of water during troweling, via slinging of a wire brush dipped in a bucket of water. The finish is white plaster with added blue quartz. It is not a commercially prepared mix. No acid wash was done- in fact no acid was used at all, to my understanding and observation. The weather was sunny, low 80s, 15-20 mph winds at the time of plaster. This was a new build, not replaster.
My delivery drum setup parts:
I acquired a 55 gallon plastic drum off Craigslist for $15, open top with a lid. I found the lid not to be needed at all. I used 3 plastic fittings for my outgoing hoses attached to the barrel with JB Weld WaterWeld. The plastic fittings were from Lowes Plumbing department, male threaded on one side, grooved on the other. The JB Weld was easy to work with; it has a clay like consistency, knead with fingers to mix then smash around the fitting on the inside and outside of the barrel. First try and all were watertight. I had bought some clear tubing to attach to the inside of the fitting, intending for it to act as a nut, but found it unnecessary with the JB Weld. Although I did not think about it at the time, I now think itís probably important that you get all 3 of the holes drilled in line, level. More on that later.
For the incoming line I purchased a black plastic female connector from the sprinkler dept. It's one of the fittings used for the drip irrigation systems. Turned out it was iron pipe thread so I needed a couple more fittings that then converted it to hose thread. Those are found in the Plumbing dept. Used the JB Weld to attach it to the barrel.
I tested the barrel prior to plaster day, and itís a good thing I did. Although all fittings held with no leaks, and the barrel filled and drained in perfect ratio, I had initially purchased a cheap hose that I cut into 3 pieces and used hose menders for the ends. The cheap hoses collapse where they attach to the barrel (MarkPristine commented on this in the bicarb start-up thread, and I second his observation.) Although mine continued to drain, I only tested for a short period of time and I strongly doubt they would have made it through the full fill. Back to Home Depot where I bought 3 ďheavy duty hose remnantsĒ, that is what they were called, hose remnants. They were only 15 feet long, which was necessary as I discovered that the long hoses would not gravity drain as there was too much hose to keep everything in a downhill run. So, heavy duty hoses are needed, and either cut up a long one or buy 3 short ones. I have a 9' deep end, so if you have a shallow pool you will need even less hose. I found the 15' perfect for my pool.