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Thread: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

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    Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    We just bought a house last fall that has a 24 ft AG pool. The prior owners were nice enough to close the pool for the season before they moved out. When I open the pool this weekend, I will be transitioning from Baquacil to chlorine.

    My confidence level waivers hourly as I read more information on this website, and the weekend quickly approaches. So, any input would be greatly appreciated.

    I was at the local pool store a couple times this week. I took a sample of water for them to test. Since the pool is still covered and the filter isn't operating, would the numbers still be reliable? Here are the test results I received:
    - pH: 7.4 (told me I want it between 7.2-7.8)
    - Alkalinity: between 80-120 (didn't write an exact number, but said it was in range)

    - Baquacil: 30 (told me that was a good amount still in the pool)

    I did not get any test results for all the other chemicals I have since read about on this site.

    When I looked under the cover tonight, as much as I could tell the water looks very clear. I could easily see the bottom of the pool (all 4 feet down); but I could easily see out into the middle of the pool as well.

    Here is the advice I received from the pool store for my conversion:
    - Add chlorine until the Baquacil is gone!
    - I mentioned that I had bought some Chlorox (8.25%), and he told me I would have to buy a lot of that to do the conversion. He also said that the bleach would discolor my liner. He recommended buying granular chlorine (90+%). So, I bought a 25 lb container. He said it will probably only take half of the container for the conversion, but then I'll have chlorine to use for the rest of summer.
    - He instructed me to throw 2 lbs of chlorine in the pool every other day. He did say it could take a couple weeks to get rid of the Baquacil. He said I only really needed to test for Baquacil at this time until I get it down to about zero. Then I need to start worrying about getting the chlorine to the correct level and adding stabilizer (CYA).
    - He also said I would need to backwash the filter, but probably only once a day.

    So, he made it sound like this transition is not that tough of a project (confidence rising).

    And then I decided to do some more research on the process, and came across this website which contains a wealth of information. And information that does not necessarily coincide with my local pool store (confidence shrinking).

    Questions:
    - Does it matter that my Baquacil level is at 30? Does it just mean I will need more chlorine for the transition?
    - Once I hook up the filter and pump, should I run it for an hour or so before I begin the transition?
    - In addition to checking Baquacil levels daily, I should also buy a test kit for chlorine so I know when and how much chlorine I need to add to keep getting it back to 15ppm. I will be testing that every couple hours the first few days of the transition. Correct?
    - Chlorox (8.25%) vs. granular chlorine (90+%); Does it matter which item I use? Is it fine to use the granular chlorine? Is is safe to add more than 2 lbs every other day if I am testing the chlorine and it is below 15ppm? Is it fine to use both Chlorox and granular chlorine?
    - I should expect to backwash the filter multiple times a day, especially in the beginning. Should I be concerned that I may not be able to have someone backwash it during the day while I am at work? Should I try to have someone stop over to do that for me?
    - How will I know when it is time to backwash?
    - When I read about brushing and vacuuming, is brushing just using the vacuum brush to scrub the liner, or is there another type of brush that is recommended?

    Well, that is at least a start….I am hoping my confidence will start rising again once I receive some feedback from you guys. I will take any and all advice!

    Thanks in advance,
    Patrick
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Administrator Leebo's Avatar
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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    I'd like to start off by welcoming you to TFP! I'm just over the river here outside of Steubenville Ohio, and done the Baqua conversion a few years ago, and I'll tell you that it's a joy to watch your water change all sorts of colors. Follow the steps in this article and you'll make the switch with no side effects. The process the store suggested will leave you with issues, IF it ever get's around to finishing the job.

    Questions:
    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - Does it matter that my Baquacil level is at 30? Does it just mean I will need more chlorine for the transition?
    I'd question any results that came from water that hasn't been circulated as the levels could be off. Odds say your Baqua levels are different from this reading, however it doesn't really matter. A level of 30 just means you'll need chlorine. For my conversion our Baqua level too was right around 30, and it took about 80 jugs of 6% bleach. I could have done it cheaper, but wanted to get it done ASAP, so I kept at it all day/night. This cost us some chlorine to the sun, but made the conversion go quicker.

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - Once I hook up the filter and pump, should I run it for an hour or so before I begin the transition?
    Always. Move the water around some and lower the pH down to 7.2 as you won't have a chance to re-adjust for a week or two.

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - In addition to checking Baquacil levels daily, I should also buy a test kit for chlorine so I know when and how much chlorine I need to add to keep getting it back to 15ppm. I will be testing that every couple hours the first few days of the transition. Correct?
    Correct.......There's NO way I'd suggest doing this conversion without a proper test kit. The TF-100 will quickly be a HUGE help. Order the XL kit, as you'll use up all your reagents rather quickly testing for chlorine. It's worth it!

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - Chlorox (8.25%) vs. granular chlorine (90+%); Does it matter which item I use? Is it fine to use the granular chlorine? Is is safe to add more than 2 lbs every other day if I am testing the chlorine and it is below 15ppm? Is it fine to use both Chlorox and granular chlorine?
    NO! Using the granular could cause VERY harmful side-effects to your pool water's chemistry long term. Depending on what the granular are stabilized with, it could leave you with one of two levels being WAY high. If it's Trichlor, your CYA level will have been raised by 100(using twenty five pounds as the pool store said) which is almost impossible to finish this conversion correctly. Only way to fix this level is by draining your pool. Odds say due to the high CYA level, you'll need to use WAY more of the granular to finish. Cal-Hypo too will raise your calcium levels. Just not worth messing with in the long run. Stick with using liquid chlorine only and you'll have no side effects to the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - I should expect to backwash the filter multiple times a day, especially in the beginning. Should I be concerned that I may not be able to have someone backwash it during the day while I am at work? Should I try to have someone stop over to do that for me?
    What type of filter do you have?

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - How will I know when it is time to backwash?
    See above question..........

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    - When I read about brushing and vacuuming, is brushing just using the vacuum brush to scrub the liner, or is there another type of brush that is recommended?
    You can find a "pool brush" at any mega mart. They'll run about $20 or so. Very hand, and I'll be shocked if you don't have one somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    Well, that is at least a start….I am hoping my confidence will start rising again once I receive some feedback from you guys. I will take any and all advice!
    Thanks in advance,
    Patrick
    YOU'VE GOT THIS! The conversion isn't that difficult in process if you follow the steps in the linked article. I'll be here often to help you out, as will MANY others. We LOVE these conversions as the process is a joy to watch. It will be a small pain to complete the conversion, however once finished it's FAR worth it, and will leave you with amazing water!

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Welcome. If you haven't ordered a test kit yet... Test Kit Comparison. We recommend the TF100 XL as you will get more reagent than with the K2006.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

    24' Sharkline Venture De Filter

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Welcome!

    Just do what this guy did:
    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...nverting-In-Ga
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Thanks for the quick and thorough response. I am glad I have this forum to ask questions. I apologize for my delayed response!

    I just ordered my TF-100 XL test kit. I called and was told that if my order was submitted before 2:00pm, it would get mailed out today, and I should probably have it on Monday. [I started this post around 1:00 and just haven't been able to get back to finish.] Since I am starting the conversion on Saturday, I will still need to buy test strips to use on Saturday, Sunday and possibly Monday. Do I just need to get test strips to monitor the chlorine levels for those first couple days until my test kit arrives? Or do I still need to be concerned about other chemical levels during the early transition? You mentioned that I would not be adjusting pH for a week or two.

    In response to your question when I asked about backwashing during the process: I have a sand filter. It is a Hayward Model SM1915SHG. When I Google it, it typically says "1.5 HP Sand Hay Pool Pump, 19 Inch."
    -- The label on the actual pump says: 25 GPM/FT^2 for filter and backwash design flow rate and 45 GPM for filtration rate. A manual I printed from Hayward does not list the first number, but lists the 45 GPM as the design flow rate. Both the label and the printed manual list the model number for SM1900T (which I assume is for the 19xx model line).
    -- The label on the pump says 150 lbs of sand; the Hayward printout says 175 lbs. The pump (and label) is from 2007, so should I go with the updated Hayward manual and put in 175 lbs? Does it make a big difference either way?

    Chlorox: Right now I have 24 jugs 8.25% bleach. I will clearly need to buy more in the near future. I will use the Pool Math calculator to keep my chlorine level at 15ppm. I will be able to test every couple hours the first couple days, and then I will be limited in how often I will be home to test and add chlorine (at least morning and evening).

    Based on previous threads I have read, I will be sure to post pictures of the process...
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    I myself would hold off on purchasing the test strips. They'll be worthless in your conversion. If you really wish to buy something to test with, your money will be better spent on a basic drop based test kit. Again, these can be found at the local Mega Mart or the pool store. Test and adjust your pH (the basic test kit will do this the same as your TF-100) down to about 7.2 first. The reason this is done, is that when your FC levels are above 10, the pH test shows a false reading. Lowering before you add any chlorine will give your pH plenty of room to increase without any issues. Having a vinyl pool however does somewhat reduce this worry, but it's a good practice to lower the pH none-the-less. After that you will use PoolMath to increase your FC to 15, and test as often as you can. For the first few days the test kit shown above will do if it must, as you will QUICKLY lose all your FC to the Baqua. You really don't need to worry about any other levels until much later in the process.

    As for your filter.........at the beginning stages of the process I would suggest switching your filter over to bypass if the option is available to you. If you can't bypass the filter, backwash whenever your PSI increases 25% over your starting level. The more water you can dump too, the faster the process will go.

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    The filter does have a bypass option. In the manual and on the control valve, the setting is called "Waste" and it states "to bypass filter for draining or lowering water level and for vacuuming heavy debris directly to waste."

    I also have a MiniMax 100 heater (propane). When I hook up the filter, is it fine to hook it up through the heater (standard setup)? Or should I not go through the heater until the conversion is complete? The one issue with bypassing the heater is that I am not sure I will have the proper piping and connections (not that I couldn't buy them, if necessary).

    The fun begins tomorrow...
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Quote Originally Posted by pflaherty3 View Post
    The filter does have a bypass option. In the manual and on the control valve, the setting is called "Waste" and it states "to bypass filter for draining or lowering water level and for vacuuming heavy debris directly to waste."

    I also have a MiniMax 100 heater (propane). When I hook up the filter, is it fine to hook it up through the heater (standard setup)? Or should I not go through the heater until the conversion is complete? The one issue with bypassing the heater is that I am not sure I will have the proper piping and connections (not that I couldn't buy them, if necessary).

    The fun begins tomorrow...
    to the question about the heater, my gut says leave it piped in just don't fire it up that way you clear out any baqua residue in it, but I'm sure someone with more knowledge than me will be along shortly. as for your filter the setting you are describing sounds like a vacuum to waste setting, where you don't run anything through the filter, and nothing returns to the pool. look for one that allows the water to just skip (or bypass) the filter and go directly back to the pool. you'll want to run that way when you cannot attend to the filter as often as needed. However you will want to run on the filter setting whenever you have time to "Babysit" your filter and your total conversion time will depend a good deal on how long you can spend in filter mode.

    on another note, take pictures (lots of pictures) and post them anytime there is an appreciable change in the appearance of your pool. (I've seen the way they operate around here, everybody loves to see the pictures and cheer you on about them) good luck tomorrow, and enjoy the rainbow.
    25.5K gal vinyl IGP 3.5' - 8' depth. 1.5HP single speed A.O. Smith C48L2N134B1 motor on a Hayward SP2610X15 Pump. 40 ft2 D.E. Filter Hayward model EC75A. Hayward Chlorinator model CL200. single skimmer, 2 Returns. TF100 Test Kit/Speed Stir.

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    If the heaters ever had Baquacil in the plumbing then it too needs to have some chlorine to clean out all the Baqua-Goo.....so yes, plumb it in; however it's not a must right off the back as the amount of goo shouldn't be that great. The setting you mentioned is NOT the one I myself would use. What are the other settings for your filter? Is there a recirculate option mentioned?

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    The filter does have a "recirculate" option which says "water is recirculated through the pool system, bypassing the filter." Sounds like the option both of you are describing.

    One follow up on the filter setting:

    Leebo, you stated that at the beginning of the process, you would switch to the bypass option. However, DHoover85 thinks I should keep it in filter mode when I will be able to monitor the progress regularly. Will running in filter mode help get the Baquacil removed quicker? Any additional thoughts regarding pros/cons of either method.
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    At the start of the conversion your filter is mostly useless. The chlorine is doing all the work. The more you can move the chlorine around and maintain it around 15ppm the faster it will go. Using the filter at first will distract you from dosing, as back flushing will need to be done VERY often. Once the Baquagoo is broke down then your filter will help, but at first it's only in the way.

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Day 1: We opened the pool today, but I have not started the conversion.

    Test Results:
    pH: 7.2
    TA: 100
    Baquacil: Close to 50 (after the pool filter was running for over an hour). The test from earlier this week showed about 30. I will test that again tomorrow to verify and be comfortable with the test result.

    We had a couple broken parts (two way ball valve; quick flange replacement kit for heater) that we needed to replace. We also had a couple small leaks that gave us problems. Using teflon tape helped a little, but didn't completely stop the leak. And then we noticed there was also water leaking from the bottom of the pump. It may just need a kit; however, our swimming pool has a one year warranty on it associated with the home purchase, so I am just going to have a professional come out and fix the leak and verify it's function (hopefully, early next week). I think the warranty will also cover some of the broken parts we already bought.

    I vacuumed the pool. It had some dirt and algae on the bottom. I am currently just running the pump on the filter setting.

    I realize that I probably don't have to hold off starting the conversion, but my risk-averse side says that I should just get everything in working order before I begin the conversion. And with the Baquacil reading higher than I had anticipated, it will have a few days to dissipate. Could this decision give me more headaches in the near future???

    Still a couple questions:
    - Is there anything I need to worry about or watch out for if I do not start adding the Chlorox right away? I do not want to add any Baquacil chemicals if I don't have to. How quickly will the Bacquacil level decrease on its own?
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    The only thing that will happen if you don't add anything at this point is the pool will turn green. Seeing however the second you add the chlorine to the pool it turns green as well, you've got nothing to worry about. The Baqua levels won't decrease on their own, however I wouldn't worry about it at this point. Worry about the equipment first, as this will also allow your test kit to show up. Hit it hard once that arrives.

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    The pool tech is not coming until Friday morning. And since the pool is under warranty, the pool tech has to submit his recommendations to the warranty company, so he could not guarantee that he would even fix everything that day. I am hoping that is not the case because I don't think any equipment actually needs replaced.

    I had a pool store test my water on 6/1. On 6/2 I received my TF-100 test kit and tested the water on 6/2 and 6/3. I only did the pH and TA test, as I've read the other tests will not be important until after I complete the conversion.

    Test Results
    6/1 @ 2:00pm (pool store)
    - pH: 7.0
    - TA: 60
    - Baquacil: 62

    6/2 @ 11:00pm (test kit)
    - pH: 7.4
    - TA: 50-60
    To bring TA up to 80 per Pool Math, it said add 95oz of baking soda. I wasn't sure what was considered a large change in TA (ABC's of Pool Chemistry), so I only added 64oz, as I can always add more.

    6/3 @ 10:00pm - test kit
    - pH: 7.8
    - TA: 60-70
    I did not add anything last night, as I was surprised that my pH increased that much and my TA barely increased (I anticipated it being the opposite). I believe I am doing the TA test properly; just like the video with the addition of wiping the dropper after each drop. Does the baking soda have a different effect since I am still on Baquacil?

    In regards to the TA test, I did use the R-0007 per the instructions, but I don't think that is necessary since it is a chlorine neutralizer, and my pool has zero chlorine right now. Also, the test says you want to count the drops until the water turns to red. My water turned from green (after R-0008) to a purple color (after R-0009), but from reading additional info on this site, just having that change of color is sufficient. Is the purple result of the pool containing Baquacil?

    I have been using Baquacil test strips as well, and the Baquacil is maintaining 50+ reading. On the test strips, it seems to be giving me lower readings on pH and TA than my test kit. Is that just because the dropper test is more accurate?

    The pool store also told me that I could buy an oxidizer that would help break down the Baquacil and decrease the levels prior to my conversion. They were stating this when talking about a "normal" conversion. Obviously, they advised against the bleach conversion discussed here. However, could there be any benefit to using an oxidizer to decrease Baquacil levels while I wait for my leaks/pump to get fixed? That way I will need to use less bleach once I start the conversion? Or does introducing this oxidizer change other chemical properties that I would rather not be affected?

    What next steps should I take to continue to monitor the pH and TA levels until I am ready to start my conversion? I think I need to keep an eye on these two as I don't want the low TA to cause my pH to swing around. I don't want to the pH to drop to levels that could damage the pool heater, not that it appears to be an issue after my test results last night!

    EDIT on 6/5: I guess I should have noted that it has rained the last couple nights. I am thinking that may have played into the pH rising and the total alkalinity not moving that much. Thoughts?
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31) - STARTED 6/8

    Administrative Question: This thread has been stale for a few days because the start of my conversion got pushed back a week since I had to deal some leaks on the piping and pump. I started my conversion TODAY (6/8). Should I continue to use this original thread or is it better to start a new thread? Which way will provide me with more support and feedback from the great folks at TFP?

    I got most of my leaks repaired (just a small leak around pump that will get repaired in a week or two after warranty paperwork). So, I went ahead and started my conversion this evening. I would have preferred to start Saturday morning so I could have two solid days to get a jump start on my conversion, but it didn't work out. And I surely didn't want to wait another week to start.

    I didn't start until after 8:00pm, but I managed to get three treatments in of sending the FC to 15. And I brushed the pool after my last treatment. I will check tomorrow morning before work and send the FC back to 15. Then, I won't be able to get to it until after work.

    I am just running the pump on recirculate, so I shouldn't have to worry about the pressure and backwashing. I am letting the chlorine do all the battling with the Baquacil at these beginning stages.

    In Pool School, it says that brushing and vacuuming are helpful. How often should I do these at this stage of the process? Brush after each treatment? Once a day? How about vacuuming? And would you vacuum to "waste" or keep it set on filter at this stage of process?

    And this Baqua-goo that forms on the water that I've read about, can you just use a skimmer (or something else) to pull some of the junk out of the pool? And then you don't have to worry about sending all the goop through the filter.
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Picture before conversion:



    Picture 5 minutes after initial treatment:



    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    It is best to keep everything in this thread.

    Brush or vacuum about once a day. Only vacuum to waste if there is an especially large amount of debris on the bottom, which may come up at some point but isn't certain to happen.

    The more gunk you can get out manually the better, but if it goes to the filter that isn't then end of the world or anything.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Day #2

    Used ~6.5 jugs on Day #1 (121oz @8.25%)

    11:30pm: last treatment on Day #1
    6:00pm: FC was down to 3; increased to 15.
    10:30pm: FC was down to 5; increased to 15.

    Used ~ 6 jugs on Day #2

    I did some vacuuming and brushing tonight.

    When should I start seeing the Baqua-goo during the conversion? Is it always on top, or can it settle to the bottom? Obviously, I cannot see the bottom at this time.

    Testing:
    - Last night and today I did use the OTO Chlorine Test a couple times; the Extended Test Kit directions say it will immediately show the FC level. Is that okay? (too late now)
    - Is the FAS-DPD Chlorine Test (Chlorine Drop Test) the only test I should use at this point? I think I will stick to just using this test now since that is the extra reagents that came in the XL portion of the test kit.
    - Do I need to monitor pH or TA?
    Last edited by pflaherty3; 06-09-2014 at 11:08 PM. Reason: accidentally submitted unfinished post
    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    Day #2



    13K gal | AG | 24 ft round | Sand Filter-Hayward SM1915SHG | 1.5 HP Hayward Power-Flow LX Pump | MiniMax 100 Heater | 2007

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    Re: Baquacil Conversion (Starting 5/31)

    No need to monitor pH or TA. If you're keeping FC above 10, pH test will read higher than actual, so not useful. That's why pH is adjusted prior to SLAM/conversion. TA you can work on later.

    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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