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Thread: Pool and water softener...

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    cbink's Avatar
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    Pool and water softener...

    I'm getting an IG pool put in (SWCG). Dig is imminent (waiting on HOA approval).

    I have a water softener which is not on a loop. All of my outside taps are on the softener (I'll be honest I wasn't actually aware of this until today).
    I've read conflucting issues that its not great to fill a pool with softened water and can cause issues with the water balance. Anyone have any experience of this?

    If its an issue I can see two solutions:

    1) Bypass the softener whilst filling the pool
    2) Have the pool builder dig down and intercept my water line before the softener. The softener has can external shut off valve which is accessible so I'm assuming this wouldn't be too difficult.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Bypass the softener.
    15'x48" 4500 gallon Intex pool, buried 1.5 ft. Pac-Fab Dynamo 3/4 hp pump. Hayward S180T sand filter, bought used. Taylor K-2006 test kit. Rocket mass heater based wood fired pool heater.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    If you use softened water the CH level will be very low, and if you have a plaster pool you will then need to spend money to add CH back in. The best option is normally a mixture of softened and unsoftened water, so you hit at least the low end of the normal CH range.

    Residential water softeners are also not really designed for the volume of water required when filling a pool. They will typically need to regenerate quite a number of times and be recharged occasionally during filling.

    Long term it will certainly be nice to have an unsoftened tap out near the pool, but it is not essential. That makes it more of a question about how much money you feel comfortable spending, rather than something we can answer for you.
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Not to hijack the thread what is the issue with using soft water?

    NM: Jason answered my question.
    Approx 11K Gal. 10'X30' Semi free-form IG - 6 ' raised spa w/6 jets - 10' circle sun shelf with 1 bubbler - Waterfall - 3 / 1.5 HP pumps - Polaris 280 Cleaner - 3 Pentair Color LED Intellibrite Lights - Pentair 400K Master Temp - 2 Valve Actuators - 5 Fiberstar Mini Laminars - 1 Fiberstars 2004 Illuminator - 2 Skimmers - 6 Returns - Caribbean Blue Pebble Tech - 600+ sq ft kool decK - Auto Fill - 2 Boston Acoustics VOYA RK5 Outdoor Rock Speakers - 2 TIC Corporation TFS5CN 6.5-Inch 150-Watt Terra-Forms Rock Speakers - Apple Airport Express - 1 Awesome View.

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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    My question is why is your water being softened? If its being softened because you ave iron, I will disagree and say that it is worth the hassle to use the softened water and add the calcium as you need it --depending on pool surface. Eg if vinyl, not needed.

    IME, adding calcium (which is only lost trough splash out, so pretty much one and done) is cheaper than a steady diet of jack's magic or metal magic, which, if you have a few ppm of iron, you will need to dose weekly to maintain a high enough level to avoid iron staining, the latter of which is a PITA to deal with.

    So once you've determined what's in the well...Your options, then would be:
    A)bypass softener for part of fill but dilute with softened water to keep iron absolutely as lw as possible and use softened water for top ups
    B) truck in iron-free water (at 800 to 1,000)
    C) just use the softened water -- you're adding salt to use swg anyway, and you'll be testing same...you will have to regenerate the media frequently if you do the entire fill this way

    My pool is vinyl, so in my case, softened top ups are a no brainier. if you're pool is plaster you will want to pay attention to your csi to keep your water compatible with the needs of plaster -- that's where the calcium buffering comes in, I believe...to avoid aggressive water that pits the surface...but I am not terribly knowledgeable on this, so forgive any errors in interpretation of calciums role with plaster.
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Ps, to answer your actual question, I top with soft water and have no issues with water balance. But again, I have a vinyl pool and somewhere in the long prior foreclosure process, some WAS using hard water, I suspect, based on the numerous iron reduction strategies I've undertaken since purchase
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Thanks all. So I can just bypass the softener whilst filling the pool up and then use softened water to fill it and that'll be okay?

    I guess my true question was whether or not I have to get a dedicated unsoftened line put in and it sounds like I don't (though it would be nice if I can - need to ask PB cost).
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Not necessarily. See swampwoman's first post. It is important to know what is in your water before bypassing your softener to fill the pool. You can get well water tests done for pretty cheap... general chemistry along with TDS, iron and any other metal that is prevalent in your area. IF you have high iron, then you will need to run it through your filter...do you get any fixture staining? Have you ever forgotten to fill the salt tank on your softener for a few weeks and got staining?

    I just filled my 32k gallon pool off my softener/pH filter... I oversized them when I installed them. I got about 12gpm flow through them and filled the pool in just under two days... slowing the fill to about 4 gpm every 6k gallons to backwash. I has zero CH after the fill... and on day 3 (Diamond Brite) I started getting CH up to 200. Took a few days, but it was cheap... $29.95 for a 50lb bag of calcium chloride. Took a 1-1/3 bags.

    You definitely need to know what is in your water or you could be creating a problem that is difficult and costly to deal with... especially if it is a plaster pool.
    32K gal, gunite, French Gray DB, IntelliFlo VF, IntelliFlo, WhisperFlo, Quad DE 100 filter, IntelliTouch, IC-60 SWG, IntelliChem, Dolphin M5

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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    The mains with using softened water are...

    1. Do you have iron in your water that your softener removes? You don't want to introduce iron to your pool because it is something you will constantly deal with that can stain your pool. You can use sequestriants to keep the iron dissolved in the water, but you will have to continue to add these chemicals to protect your pool from iron stains.

    2. Water softeners also remove the calcium to your pool. This can be a problem for surfaces other than vinyl liners, and especially plaster. You will need to add calcium to your water just after you fill to get the levels up to protect the water from pulling calcium from your pool walls.

    3. If your pool is large, some have concerns about the wear and tear on the softener itself. Plus.. you will have to watch to be sure it is charged. When I top off in the spring, I sometimes have to stop and recharge the softener because we have lots of iron in our water and I don't want to manage that.
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    That softener was installed in your house for a reason. If it is because of high iron content, you will be plagued with that from now on....it is very difficult to get rid of it.

    Filling with iron-laden water in a new pool is, IMO, one of the big mistakes most commonly reported on this forum.

    I would have the unsoftened water coming into your house tested for iron and CH content and post that info.
    Dave S.
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Quote Originally Posted by duraleigh
    That softener was installed in your house for a reason. If it is because of high iron content, you will be plagued with that from now on....it is very difficult to get rid of it.

    Filling with iron-laden water in a new pool is, IMO, one of the big mistakes most commonly reported on this forum.

    I would have the unsoftened water coming into your house tested for iron and CH content and post that info.
    Thanks.

    I installed the softener as I have always found it better on my skin. To the best of my knowledge there was not a particularly high iron content though I will have the water checked just in case.
    There are 5/6 pools in my neighborhood that I know and speak to the owners of - I don't believe any of them have issues with the base water
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    Quote Originally Posted by jtech1
    Not necessarily. See swampwoman's first post. It is important to know what is in your water before bypassing your softener to fill the pool. You can get well water tests done for pretty cheap... general chemistry along with TDS, iron and any other metal that is prevalent in your area. IF you have high iron, then you will need to run it through your filter...do you get any fixture staining? Have you ever forgotten to fill the salt tank on your softener for a few weeks and got staining?

    I just filled my 32k gallon pool off my softener/pH filter... I oversized them when I installed them. I got about 12gpm flow through them and filled the pool in just under two days... slowing the fill to about 4 gpm every 6k gallons to backwash. I has zero CH after the fill... and on day 3 (Diamond Brite) I started getting CH up to 200. Took a few days, but it was cheap... $29.95 for a 50lb bag of calcium chloride. Took a 1-1/3 bags.

    You definitely need to know what is in your water or you could be creating a problem that is difficult and costly to deal with... especially if it is a plaster pool.
    I had the softener installed only a week or two after I moved into the house (new build) and I'm pretty good about topping it up (I can feel my skin tighten up when the salt gets low) so it has never run out. I've never seen any staining.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    You can certainly fill the pool most easily by bypassing the softener. Nothing in your posts suggest a high iron content but, if you do have it, you may be plagued with iron staining for a long time. The choice is a hard one but yours to make.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    cbink's Avatar
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    Re: Pool and water softener...

    As an update I had them intercept my supply in front of the water softener.
    I also had them fit an extra hose bib which is unsoftened. The autofill will run off unsoftened water.
    38'x24' freeform IG gunite, 26k gallons, 3.5' - 7'
    8t Moss rock waterfall with gunite slide
    SWCG, 2 x 2.7hp Hayward Tristar pumps, booster pump, 425 sqft cartridge, 400,000 BTU heater, Polaris Black Max 280, ProLogic PS8 & Aquapod

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