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Thread: New pool, need to balance water a bit

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    steveg_nh's Avatar
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    New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Hi All,

    First, thank you for all the time that so many of you obviously put into this site and helping others. It is very much appreciated. I have a new pool that's been up and running now for about 1 week. See signature for details. I'm in southern NH so it's going to be winterized and closed in the next 7-10 days. We are just running it to make sure all systems are ok. Since being on this site, I've learned about the right water test kit to buy, and I will, but I figure I will buy it in the spring so the reagents are fresh. For now, I thought, better than nothing, I'd rely on the testing kit I was given by the pool company. I know these are not ideal from reading here, and miss some key tests, but I figure it's a start.

    Overall, the pool water LOOKS great. Crystal clear. At night, when the light is on, maybe a touch of haze to it, but it looks great. Here's my readings that I have from the kit I was given:

    FC: 1.0
    Alk: 80
    pH: 6.6 (this is the issue)
    CyA: about 20, hard to be sure
    Salt: 3100ppm (as averaged by automation system)

    So I see I certainly need to get that pH up. But I'm also closing the pool soon. I figure I should definitely get the pH up, but what about the CyA? Doesn't this all get out of whack when the pool is covered and sitting idle all winter anyway? I figure pH is important because the water can get corrosive when too low.

    What would you recommend? Should I add soda ash? I've read that it can bring up alkalinity, which measures ok right now. Would Borax be better?

    Thank you again for your help.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Since your TA is fine I'd bring the pH up to about 7 with borax.

    What is your CH number?

    I'd also raise the FC up to about 3 ppm. Before you close it I'd raise the FC up to about 10 ppm and run an OCLT a couple days before closing it, since it's been as low as it has.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    The kit I was given didn't measure CH, at least I don't think. I'll have to double check.

    As to the FC number, isn't 1 acceptable? Or are you saying raise it cause I'm getting close to closing it? I think I just do that by turning up the cholrination setting on my salt generator. I'll have to read up on that.

    So the Borax additive...is that just the borx you can buy at the local Walmart, or a special one of a certain purity you get at the pool store? I read about how much soda ash to add...would it be similar amounts with borax?

    Thank you.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    The first thing you need is some good test numbers, and to get that you need a good test kit. I understand if you're reluctant to shell out for an expensive kit right here at the end of the season, but I encourage you to anyway. It'll still be good next season (and the season after that too) and you can use the off season to practice using it in preparation for next season.

    You also need to do some reading in Pool School, especially the ABC's of Pool Chemistry. You'll learn the proper levels that you should maintain. Then you'll need to learn to use the Pool Math thingy to tell you how much of a chem to add. There are links in my sig to Pool School, Pool Math and where to buy a good test kit.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Thanks. I did read the pool school. That was actually great! Very helpful. I can go ahead and get the right kit but I want to bring the pH up soon though. I read about adding the borax, and how to do it, slowly, via the skimmer, so I'm going to start with that. The kit I was thinking about is the TF-100 with the XL option and the salt option. I saw it noted that that kit does have a test for acid or base demand...sounds like that really doesn't matter.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Two most important parameters in your pool are pH and FC. Don't overlook the FC....you can adjust it immediately just like pH.

    There is no acid and base demand test in the TF-100. We use PoolMath down in my sig.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    If you're pool isn't green and you don't anticipate needing to SLAM the pool I wouldn't get the XL option Dave will kill me for that.
    I prefer the K-1766 salt test kit over the strips, but either will work.

    Be sure you use the Pool Math site to figure how much borax to add. We don't recommend adding chems through the skimmer as a rule. It's better to disslolve it in a bucket of pool water and pour it in front of a running return. Looks like it'll take about 4 boxes of 20 Mule Team Borax.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    While tears of sadness are trickling down my cheeks, bama is right. I don't think you need the XL option, either.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Thanks guys. My water looks great actually! I'm not sure about the borax anymore though, as I read more. Certainly it will bring my pH up, but there seems to be some debate over the safety of borates in the water. Or is it all rubbish, and at the proper levels, it's no different than chlorine (bleach) or muriatic acid mixed in? Seems like once it's in there, it's in there. Right now, I pointed all my jets up so the water is breaking and aerating a bit until I can get what I need.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    I would really like to hear you say you're gonna' give your FC a boost......it needs it. Read "The ABC's of Pool Water Chemistry" up in Pool School.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    I actually turned the chlorination up...I didn't mention that earlier.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Adding a little borax to raise the pH is a whole different animal than raising the borates. Even at fairly high levels, borates are a non-issue unless you have a dog that drinks 100% of his water form the pool.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Thanks. But in looking at my numbers again, my alkalinity is low as well, so soda ash (PH Up) is actually ok in this case. I'm going to order my kit today, and was thinking the TF-100. Does it matter than it doesn't have the acid and base test?
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    If your TA is really 80 ppm it's perfect. I wouldn't raise it at all.

    Most of us here have the TF-100 and never miss the acid or base demand test. The Pool Math page will tell you how much acid or base to add based on your other levels.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    It's not 80. I misread. More like 40-50.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Just ordered my TF-100 kit with the stirrer and borate strips (just in case). I already have a bottle of those salt test strips.

    Here's a question though...I used a test strip this morning to test the sale, and it read out (I forget the decimal number) around 2400. My automation system is showing 3100ppm. Isn't the salt system designed to measure it accurately? So am I low on salt?
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    As Long as the swg is happy, within reason, don't warry about it. The salt strips are ±400 ppm (or worse). So if the unit is reading a little high and the strips are reading a little low, you're in the ballpark.
    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: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Thanks!
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Things are better, but maybe too much so! I treated with pH Plus earlier tonight, around 6pm. Just retested.

    FC: 3
    pH: 8
    Alk: 90
    CyA: Still too low I think
    Salt: 3200ppm

    Can't wait to get the real test kit though.

    Since I just treated with pH plus, will that drop a bit overnight? Or should I be picking up some muriatic acid tomorrow to knock it down if it doesn't drop? This is why I really want to figure out the water volume of my pool. I'm kind of guessing, given that the pool calcs don't work for this design pool.

    And should I get some Cyanuric Acid now, or does that not really matter this late in the season? We aren't swimming and it's going to be winterized within a week.

    Thanks.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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    Re: New pool, need to balance water a bit

    Ok, I think I'm making a mess. I cannot wait to get my TF100 test kit tomorrow, so I can test for real vs these stupid strips I was given by the builder! The pool is getting closed Thursday, and I really wanted to have the water balanced right before. I think I'm out of time. The builder said it's most important that the pH be right, as he adds things to address chlorine levels, etc, for the winter season. According to the strips, my readings are now:

    FC: 1 (or less!)
    TA: 80
    pH: 9
    CyA: 0

    I'm worried I'm hurting my brand new pool. Odd though, the water looks beautiful! Crystal clear.
    24'x40' 25k gal Imperial Mountain Pond IGP, full 28 mil VynAll Ocean Breakers liner. All Hayward system: 140k BTU HeatPro heat pump, 3/4HP single speed TriStar 2" Pump, DE6020 filter, AquaPlus Automation/Salt Chlorination, remote controls, ColorLogic 4.0 lighting. Polaris 280 w/PB4-60 BP. TF100 & K1766 test kits. Rinox Palazzo pavers and Spherik coping. Pool installed 9/2013, project completed 6/16/14.

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