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Thread: My Brother needs help

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    Chad628's Avatar
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    My Brother needs help

    Hello everyone,

    I want to say that I have never enjoyed my pool and spa so much since the day I discovered this web site, studied pool school and employed the BBB method for maintaining my pool and spa. My pool has never looked so beautiful. It has been completely trouble free and is so easy to take care of thanks to all of you.

    That being said my brother visited me from Southern California last weekend and asked me how he can have pool water that looks like mine. I told him the first thing he needs to do is order a good test kit and test the pool water himself. He arrived to my house on the day that I do my full weekly set of test with my Taylor test kit. I took the opportunity to show him how to do all the tests. When I finished showing him my pool tests I had him do a full set of tests for my spa. He was so impressed that on that very same day he did as I suggested and ordered the TF100 test kit and speed stir. His test kit arrived a couple of days ago and the first thing he did was to test PH. In a text he told me his PH was off the scale too high. He has an approximately 20K in ground plaster pool with a DE filter and an algae problem. He also has a lot of scale on his pool tile at the waterline. Based on the pool calculator I suggested he add 156 ounces of 20 Baum Muriatic acid to his pool and test the PH the next day to see where he was at. Tonight he e mailed me the following test results after adding the suggested amount of acid:

    PH 7.6
    FC 13
    CC (I dont think he tested for this)
    CH 700
    CYA 100+
    TA 340

    I told him he definitely needs to drain his water to get his CYA and CH numbers balanced. He told me that he has always used Trichlor pucks to sanitize his water which explains the high CYA. I asked him if he had ever sanitized with Calcium Hypochlorite and he said no. It seems a mystery to me how his CH number can be so high. He said that the Southern California water supply comes from the Colorado river and it is notoriously high in hardness. How can he successfully manage this?

    He plans to completely drain his pool tomorrow and let it sit empty for about about a week or so until a friend of his in the pool industry can sandblast his tile to get rid of the calcium build up. Is there any downside to letting the pool sit empty for at least a week?
    He says his pool has a pressure release valve so that there is no danger of groundwater lifting his pool out of the ground.

    Does anyone have tips for how to proceed besides cleaning the calcium deposit off of his tile? I am going to encourage him to read pool school and join this forum when he has more time but in the interim I am trying to give him the best advice I can.

    Thank you for any suggestions you can give me to pass along to him.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Smykowski's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    The advice you've given so far is sound. The biggest thing I would reiterate (though it sounds like he's aware) is the part about leaving the pool empty. I don't know how leaving it empty affects the plaster finish, so I'll let others chime in.

    If he's starting from a clean fill after the acid wash/sand blasting, he just needs to maintain the TFP recommended levels.

    As for handling the high CH, he will have to get comfortable with the PoolCalculator and really watch his CSI. Generally speaking though, his pH will have to be kept on the low side of normal. Only other suggestion is to divert rainwater from the roof to get CH free water topping off the pool.
    33' round, 23,000 gal AG vinyl , 1HP 2spd PowerFlo Matrix downsized with 3/4HP impeller (X2), Hayward S180T 150# sand filter (X2), Hayward H250 NG heater Pool Store year 1 - $850 for 2 months; Pool Store year 2 - $440 for 2 months, TFPC year 1 - $170 for 4 months; TFPC year 2 - $95 for 4.5 months
    The most important article on this site - The ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    I live overseas in Argentina... The water is very hard (very high level of calcium).
    The best way to clean the tile is with Muriatic Acid and a paintbrush. It comes off real nice and easy... (USE PROTECTION FOR YOUR HANDS)...


    [quote="Chad628"]Hello everyone,


    Does anyone have tips for how to proceed besides cleaning the calcium deposit off of his tile? I am going to encourage him to read pool school and join this forum when he has more time but in the interim I am trying to give him the best advice I can.

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Have him test the CH of his fill water. It will help knowing how high it is to start.

    Personally, I would not drain and sandblast the tile. I do not have personal experience with this but it seems to me sandblasting would scratch the tile and etch the surface. I would use muriatic acid diluted with water and a stiff nylon brush to clean the tile.

    If he goes ahead and drains the pool, it should be ok to be empty for a few days as long as the temperature is 80 or below and there is no potential for groundwater to cause problems. I would wait until a day or two before the pool guy comes to drain. You don't want the pool to sit empty indefinitely and the longer it sits empty greater the potential for problems becomes.

    Keep the pH between 7.2-7.4 and the TA around 70 to manage water with high CH.
    TFP Moderator
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    BoDarville's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    If your brother is patient and properly manages the pool water as others have already suggested, the white calcium ring will gradually disappear without the use of elbow grease. And I do mean gradually as in the pace of a moving glacier. When I bought this house, the pool had a distinct calcium ring at the waterline of the tile in both the pool and spa. It took about a year and a half for the ring to dissolve on the tile in the pool and it is fading fast in the spa.

    This might be a challenge in SoCal with fill water being high in CH, so you might have to get more creative. Here's what one SoCal member has done to deal with high CH: Progress on scale.
    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
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    Chad628's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Thank you for all the feedback. He has decided to hold off on draining his pool and let the pool guy do it when he cleans the tile. Apparently the sandblasting technique used by the pool guy uses a special sandblasting material that does not scratch tile but is very effective at removing scale. I will keep the forum posted on his progress. I hope to have him converted to the BBB method very soon!
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Chad628's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    My brother just tested his fill water and sent me the following results:

    PH 7.6
    TA 220
    CH 120

    His fill water has less calcium that I expected and should be just fine. I find it strange his pool water measures CH at 700 PPM when he has not used calcium hypochlorite in his pool.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Evaporation and refill will add whatever is in the fill water into the pool, but southern California has a pan evaporation rate (in the L.A. area) or around 60" per year so it would take multiple years to get the CH that high so I agree with you that this does sound strange, though he may have started intentionally with something more like 300 ppm CH as is fairly standard for plaster pools.
    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
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad628
    ...I asked him if he had ever sanitized with Calcium Hypochlorite and he said no. It seems a mystery to me how his CH number can be so high...
    It is possible that he "shocked" with Calcium Hypochlorite and didn't realize that's what it was. If not, it must have built up from evaporation and refill like chem geek said. The CH in the fill water isn't particularly high, but it will build up if there is a lot of refilling due to evaporation as opposed to splash-out, overflow, or backwashing. The good news is that now he is learning and has the appropriate test kit, it will be easy to monitor smartly and adjust as needed.
    Outdoor 14,000 gallon IG plaster pool built in 2000 with spillover spa, 2 hp WhisperFlo pump with MagneTek motor, Sta-Rite cartridge pool filter with 300 ft2 filtration area and 0.33 gpm/ft2 filtration rate, Aquabot Rapids 4WD robotic pool cleaner, Raypak digital gas heater, and Intermatic mechanical timer located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    I think you are right danacc. I just spoke to him on the phone and he told me he used to shock the pool with a granular powder that the pool store sold him without knowing what is was. I am sure that was calcium hypochlorite. He has not drained his pool in the ten years since he had his pool built. Ten years of shocking with calcium hypochlorite would explain those levels of calcium. He won't be making that mistake again. He now understands first hand why he needs to use liquid bleach for sanitizing and shocking.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    My brother is having his pool drained and sandblasted tomorrow. He tried going after the scale with muriatic acid but said his progress was too slow and therefore felt he needed to resort to sandblasting. He had to turn his pump off and drain a bit in order to do replace some tiles that had come loose.



    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Chad628's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Today the tiles were sandblasted. I was amazed how well the process removed the scale without any damage to the tiles. My brother was very pleased with the outcome. Apparently the workers did not drain the pool but floated in waiters in the water to do the work. My brother will drain the pool tomorrow and acid wash the plaster to try to clean up the dirt and kill the algae.

    How should I advise him on balancing the water after he refills his pool?

    I told him to first put some solid stabilizer in a sock and hang it in front of his return in an amount per the pool calculator to reach a level of 35 ppm CYA. I thought this was conservative so he does not go past 50 ppm and have to drain because he overshot the goal. My thinking is he can always add more. He has some leftover trichlor pucks so I thought it might not hurt to float one of them in a dispenser in his pool to introduce chlorine into the pool until he reaches his goal for CYA level of 30 - 50 ppm. at which point he can add liquid chlorine in an amount according the the CYA/Chlorine Chart.

    The next step i suggested is to measure his calcium levels and add enough calcium per the pool calculator to increase it to a level of 300 ppm. That would put him the the middle of the suggested range of 250 - 350 ppm for plaster pools and give him room for error/fine tuning.

    Step 3 is to measure total alkalinity and PH. Based on a TF100 test of his tap water his TA is at 220 ppm and PH is 7.6. I would advise him to test alkalinity and PH after he fills his pool just to confirm this. If that is the case I would advise him to add enough Muriatic acid per the pool calculator to give him a PH of 7.2. He can then begin aerating the water to raise the PH to 7.8 and add add acid again to reduce it to 7.2. He should repeat the process until his total alkalinity measures 70 - 90 ppm. Once he has reached his TA goal he can add acid or borax as necessary to reach a PH in the 7.5 - 7.8 range.

    Does this plan make sense in the opinion of the more experienced members of the forum?

    Thank you for all your advice.

    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Here is a photo of the empty pool and after an acid washing of the plaster. He is ready to refill with water. Hopefully the algae won't come back and it will be smooth sailing using the BBB method.

    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    If he maintains the Chlorine and Cya with understanding of their relationship he will not have any trouble. Keep the other basics in line and it will be smooth sailing. Perhaps you can help him with the FC/Cya so he gets a handle on that early in the game.
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    My brother refilled his pool and reported the following test results to me last night:

    PH 7.6
    TA 180
    FC 6.5
    CC 0
    CH 150
    CYA (no measurement taken yet as 5 lbs of it is hanging in front of his return in an old T shirt dissolving. I instructed him not to bother measuring for a week)

    His numbers are looking much better and his water is much clearer. Based on the readings of his water meter after refilling the pool he determined his pool volume is 15,000 gallons. 24 hours earlier he lowered his PH to 7.2 and ran his spa spillover waterfall all night and day. During that time the PH rose to 7.6 and his TA lowered to 180 from 220. Based on these readings I instructed him to add 51 ounces of Muriatic acid and to keep aerating with the waterfall to narrow in on the goal of 70 - 90 ppm TA.

    I instructed him to buy a 25 pound bucket of calcium chloride after work today, add half of it to his pool, and measure CH the next day to see where he is at. His goal of CH is 300 ppm.

    Things seem to be going in the right direction.

    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Quote Originally Posted by Chad628
    My brother refilled his pool and reported the following test results to me last night:

    PH 7.6
    TA 180
    FC 6.5
    CC 0
    CH 150
    CYA (no measurement taken yet as 5 lbs of it is hanging in front of his return in an old T shirt dissolving. I instructed him not to bother measuring for a week)

    His numbers are looking much better and his water is much clearer. Based on the readings of his water meter after refilling the pool he determined his pool volume is 15,000 gallons. 24 hours earlier he lowered his PH to 7.2 and ran his spa spillover waterfall all night and day. During that time the PH rose to 7.6 and his TA lowered to 180 from 220. Based on these readings I instructed him to add 31 ounces of Muriatic acid and to keep aerating with the waterfall to narrow in on the goal of 70 - 90 ppm TA.

    I instructed him to buy a 25 pound bucket of calcium chloride after work today, add half of it to his pool, and measure CH the next day to see where he is at. His goal of CH is 300 ppm.

    Things seem to be going in the right direction.

    He might have trouble finding Calcium Increaser.

    Why not just crunch the numbers and figure out how much Cal-hypo he needs to add to get CH where he wants, then use that to chlorinate until it's used up and then switch to bleach?
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Richard how would I do the math to figure out how much Cal-hypo it would take to raise CH 150 ppm in a 15K gallon pool? The pool calculator only does the calculations for calcium chloride and calcium chloride dehydrate.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    Use the bottom of PoolMath "Effects of adding chemicals"
    Dave S.
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    Re: My Brother needs help

    By using Cal-hypo for sanitizing and raising calcium levels it would probably take several months to arrive at the recommended CH range. Would there be any downside to being low in calcium levels for that period of time? I did plug some numbers into the pool calculator with everything in normal range and CH at 150 and I noticed that the CSI index was still within an acceptable range. I like the simplicity and efficiency of using cal hypo because it solves two problems with one product.
    Petaluma, CA., 11K gallon IG pool, white plaster, Nautilus FNS 36 sq. ft. DE Filter, Jandy 1.5 HP variable speed E pump, Pentair Booster Pump with Polaris Vac-Sweep 280 pool cleaner, Jandy Laars LX Pool Heater, Remodeled (new plumbing, plaster, tile, coping, variable speed pump) January 2013. 400 gallon Artesian Island Spa (Ozonator/Chlorine), TF-100 test kit, SpeedStir.

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    Re: My Brother needs help

    CH of 150 ppm is a bit low so I would suggest bringing it up to around 200 or close with a one-time dose and then bringing it up to around 300 or so using up the Cal-Hypo over a period of time.
    Dave S.
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