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Thread: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

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    New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Well, yesterday I registered on TFP and today was day one of construction of my new IG pool! The picture is of how my "pool" looks after day one.

    I searched for an answer to this question but couldn't find it: After the pool is filled for the first time, what can I expect in terms of chemical readings and is it likely that we can swim immediately - or once the water temp reaches a comfortable level (we will have a heater)? Also, should I avoid swimming until all readings are within the recommended ranges or are some readings more important than others regarding a first swim in a new pool? I assume that it depends on the quality of the water used to fill, we are using a company called Aqua-Duck which specializes in providing water for pools. Aqua-Duck says they deliver "clean, clear water straight from the municipal water supply."

    My pool builder says he'll finish on or about Aug 28 and that we should be swimming Labor Day weekend 3 days later which is what we're really hoping for.

    Thanks for your help! Happy to be a new member of the community, and looking forward to many years of enjoying our new pool.

    John
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    IG 18x36 polymer walls, vinyl liner, 24K gallons, Hayward SwimClear Cartridge Filter, Hayward 1 HP Super Pump, Hayward Universal H-Series Low NOx Heater 250K BTU Nat Gas, Hayward CL200 Chlorinator, Hayward ColorLogic 4.0 Lighting, Merlin Smartmesh Safety Cover, Binghamton NY area

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    Join Date
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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    My kids were swimming as they were adding the water! 52 degrees and they couldn't stop smiling!
    24,000 20x42 double roman end in ground pool being built. Start date june13, 2012.
    Finished July 4th, 2012, sports pool, vinyl,SWG, DE filter, fountains. Heat pump,
    First Pool Ever!

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    ajfjcklc:

    Welcome to TFP!

    The very first thing to do is get one of the Recommended Test Kits. I would order it now so you will have it when the pool is ready. See my signature for how important this is for your pool.

    The first items to check/adjust are pH, Chlorine, and CYA (stabilizer).

    • 1. You can check the pH of your fill water prior to or when starting to fill the pool. If it is between 7.2 and 7.8, you're good to go. If it is less than 7.2, I would get some Soda Ash to adjust it up ; If it is higher than 7.8, muriatic acid (MA) will lower it. If pH adjustments are needed, wait until the pool is filled before adjusting.

      2. After the pool is filled and, if you want to jump in right away, give the pool an initial dose of chlorine at 4-5 ppm using plain unscented liquid bleach.

      3. Purchase approximately one pound of dichlor for each 2,000 gallons, or fraction, of pool water. The full chemical name is dichloro-s-triazinetrione, and is often called "pool shock". Dichlor adds both chlorine and CYA (stabilizer). You will only use it for four days, so don't buy more than you need. The first evening, after you're finished swimming, turn the pump back on, test and make any adjustments to pH. Let the pump circulate any chemicals added to adjust pH (30 minutes or so) and then add one ounce of dichlor for every 500 gallons of water. To add the dichlor, add it first to a bucket of pool water and let it dissolve, and then dump that into your pool. Let the pump run overnight. This dichlor addition will raise the chlorine level to about 8 ppm (assuming no chlorine was added prior . . . if it was, the chlorine level will be a little higher, which is fine). It will also raise the CYA level to ~8 ppm. Repeat this process for the next three days. After four days, the CYA will be in the low 30's which is a good level to start with for a non-SWG pool. Dichlor also lowers pH, so be aware of that. During this four-day period, there is no need to add supplemental doses of bleach or any other chlorine source. Stick with dichlor-only during this four-day period.

      4. After four days, stop using the dichlor and switch to plain unscented liquid bleach as your chlorine source going forward. Maintain an ongoing target chlorine (FC) level of between 4-5 ppm for your CYA in the low 30's.


    Important note: Wait until your pool is filled before making any adjustments outlined above. You can swim virtually anytime during this period with the exception being the evening when the first dose of dichlor is added on Day 1. Otherwise, you can swim anytime after 30 minutes of adding any chemicals to the pool. Pump should be running whenever adding chemicals to the pool.

    Use the Pool Calculator to determine dosing amounts. Continue testing pH and FC daily - Early evening is usually best since that is the ideal time to add chlorine since the full dose will be available to sanitize the pool since none of the chlorine will be lost to the sun overnight.

    After four days you can begin to adjust your pump run time as outlined here: Determine Pump Run Time as well as fine-tune any other parameters.

    Although this does not apply to your pool, if anyone reading this has a new plaster pool or a new plaster install on an existing pool, you should follow the break-in procedures outlined by your pool builder/plaster installer in order to keep your plaster warranty in effect. Those procedures override anything stated in this post.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Thanks for the replies, very helpful. I was thinking I needed to get the TF100 before my pool is finished being built, so I'll become a TFP supporter today and use the discount to order the test kit.

    BoDarville: Regarding item 4 in your post on using liquid bleach going forward for chlorine, my plan is to have a Hayward CL200 chlorinator installed and use the Trichlor pucks. I know this may result in CYA buildup over time (from reading Pool School) that I need to watch, but the chlorinator seems much more convenient and several neighbors use one with no issues as far as I know. Are you adamently against the use of a chlorinator using Trichlor pucks?
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    IG 18x36 polymer walls, vinyl liner, 24K gallons, Hayward SwimClear Cartridge Filter, Hayward 1 HP Super Pump, Hayward Universal H-Series Low NOx Heater 250K BTU Nat Gas, Hayward CL200 Chlorinator, Hayward ColorLogic 4.0 Lighting, Merlin Smartmesh Safety Cover, Binghamton NY area

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajfjcklc
    Regarding item 4 in your post on using liquid bleach going forward for chlorine, my plan is to have a Hayward CL200 chlorinator installed and use the Trichlor pucks. I know this may result in CYA buildup over time (from reading Pool School) that I need to watch, but the chlorinator seems much more convenient and several neighbors use one with no issues as far as I know. Are you adamently against the use of a chlorinator using Trichlor pucks?
    Trichlor pucks certainly have their place in pool water management. In fact, I use them whenever the pool will be unattended for several days or more. But for ongoing FC maintenance, I use bleach.

    As for your neighbors that use pucks exclusively, do any of them have temporary or seasonal pools that are torn down and/or emptied at the end of the season? Those pools, especially if they are located in an area with a short swim season, may be able to get through the season without experiencing high CYA issues. However, those with IG pools that are winterized by draining water below the skimmers and return jets or are left in service year-round (like mine), the CYA added during the season remains in the pool except in very rare situations. The following season when the pool is brought back into service and puck usage resumes, the CYA continues to build from last year's level. All seems well until one day (likely on the day you planned a pool party), you wake up to an algae bloom.

    The other advantage of bleach is that it is pH neutral whereas trichlor pucks are acidic and tend to lower pH. In addition, bleach adds nothing else to the pool besides chlorine and salt. The salt can be a good thing as many consider it to enhance the "feel" of the water. After 2 years of BBB, the salt level in my pool has never gone above about 1/3 of the level in a SWG pool. I also notice that my swim suits and goggles are lasting considerably longer since I switched to bleach.

    One of our Expert members posted about the puck/CYA relationship using a typical scenario, including numbers. If I can find it, I will post the link.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Here's the link I referred to in my post above that gives a great and typical scenario of how regular use of trichlor pucks and many "shock" products can raise CYA: Frustrated. Look for Richard320's first post on page 1, dated June 27.
    Gold Supporter, TFP Lifetime Supporter, 26,680 gal Plaster IGP 3.5 - 10' depth / Attached Waterfall Spa, Manually Chlorinated, Triton Sand Filter, 1.5 HP * 1.1 SF = 1.65 SFHP 1-speed Pentair WhisperFlo WF-26 Pump, 400K BTU NG Teledyne Laars Series One Heater, Polaris 360, Test Kit Comparison, Chlorine/CYA Chart, SLAMing Your Pool, OCLT
    A good test kit is an investment, not an expense.

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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoDarville
    Here's the link I referred to in my post above that gives a great and typical scenario of how regular use of trichlor pucks and many "shock" products can raise CYA: Frustrated. Look for Richard320's first post on page 1, dated June 27.
    Thanks for the link to Richard320's post - it seems as though if I go exclusively with pucks it is only a matter of time until a partial drain and fill is required. I'll have to ask my neighbors a few more questions - their pools are IG and not emptied during winter (Binghamton NY area).

    Became a TFP Lifetime Supporter, will be ordering TF-100 kit next. Thanks!
    -----------
    IG 18x36 polymer walls, vinyl liner, 24K gallons, Hayward SwimClear Cartridge Filter, Hayward 1 HP Super Pump, Hayward Universal H-Series Low NOx Heater 250K BTU Nat Gas, Hayward CL200 Chlorinator, Hayward ColorLogic 4.0 Lighting, Merlin Smartmesh Safety Cover, Binghamton NY area

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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    Quote Originally Posted by ajfjcklc
    Quote Originally Posted by BoDarville
    Here's the link I referred to in my post above that gives a great and typical scenario of how regular use of trichlor pucks and many "shock" products can raise CYA: Frustrated. Look for Richard320's first post on page 1, dated June 27.
    Thanks for the link to Richard320's post - it seems as though if I go exclusively with pucks it is only a matter of time until a partial drain and fill is required. I'll have to ask my neighbors a few more questions - their pools are IG and not emptied during winter (Binghamton NY area).

    Became a TFP Lifetime Supporter, will be ordering TF-100 kit next. Thanks!
    I use a trichlor puck chlorinator to manage my pool so I can help. If you want the "set it and forget it" maintenance you should look to a salt water chlorine generator. You've got a test kit to know your water so here's my first hand tips.

    If you choose to use trichlor pucks in a chlorinator you'll need to keep a close watch on TA, pH and CYA. I keep my CYA at 50 only by vacuuming to waste every week meaning I am constantly changing water. With that I lose TA so I add a lot of baking soda. The trichlor also lowers my PH and TA. I test my CYA every two weeks, TA every week.

    If you can, go with a salt water generator. That will give you more of a "set it and forget it" water management. You still need to test every day or every other day but once you have it dialed in you're looking at 5 minutes of testing.

    Thanks to TFP I understand the impact of using the puck chlorinator and can manage it. I will be putting in a SWG next season. My pool is troublefree and crystal clear, but using pucks takes effort and careful monitoring of your water. Using them is not "set it and forget it".
    18x36 inground vinyl lined, Hayward sand filter and tablet chrolinator, approx 18k gallon

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    Re: New IG - what are acceptable readings before first swim?

    spidey07: When you vacuum to waste every week, how much does your water level drop in inches or approximate gallons? I'm on a private well for water, and your method of helping keep CYA in check sounds interesting but I don't want to stress my private well every week. It can probably handle a couple hundred gallons at a slow flow rate but I'm not sure if that's enough to keep CYA levels in the desired range. I may have to experiment a bit, or combine it with using bleach when I can but I do travel a bit for work and would still use the chlorinator while away. Thanks again.
    -----------
    IG 18x36 polymer walls, vinyl liner, 24K gallons, Hayward SwimClear Cartridge Filter, Hayward 1 HP Super Pump, Hayward Universal H-Series Low NOx Heater 250K BTU Nat Gas, Hayward CL200 Chlorinator, Hayward ColorLogic 4.0 Lighting, Merlin Smartmesh Safety Cover, Binghamton NY area

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