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Thread: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

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    Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    Well, I'm not quite sure where I went wrong... but I'm pretty sure Intex is lying about the volume of my 15' x 48" metal frame pool ... the manual and online docs say 4,440 gal. but I definitely screwed something up and hopefully someone here can help me figure out what so I can get things stabilized and corrected (for future calculations) ASAP. Math is not my strong suit.

    I started this season on June 3rd with the intent of doing BBB / Borates since I had some algae problems last year and I was sold on the idea of "sparkling" water, so I purchased some ProTeam Supreme Plus.

    At first, I just wanted to get things sanitized w/more-than adequate (perhaps even shock levels) of FC and 40 PPM CYA before getting the TA and pH prepared for adding the borates, but something went wrong either with my math or something I'm completely overlooking chemically... I haven't added any boric acid or anything yet, because I ran into some headaches managing pH and TA. Of course, I don't plan on adding any until things get stable. Anyway here's the run-down...

    06/03/2014 pH = 7.2, TA = 85, CH = 90 (FC/CC/CYA = 0, presumed but not tested) [baseline tap water readings, no chemicals added yet)

    I added 6 oz. of dichlor to get things started targeting an FC of 6 (figuring it would be easier to add dichlor for a few days to get some CYA and sanitize at the same time)

    06/04/2014 pH = 7.4, TA = 85, FC = 4, CC = 0, CYA = 5.1 (estimated, from adding the dichlor)

    So I added another 7 oz. of dichlor, mainly to beef-up the CYA more, and because I knew nobody was going to be swimming in it for a few days due to weather (it rained a lot during these few days).

    06/05/2014 pH = 7.3, TA = 85, FC = 14.5(!!!), CC = 0 , CYA = ~12 (estimated/presumed from the dichlor adds, didn't test yet though)

    So this is my first question... to go from FC 4 to FC 14.5, supposedly my pool must be 3,000 gallons. Intex says it's 4440, the volume estimators put it closer to 5000. I can't fathom it being only 3,000 gallons but perhaps it's true, even though it's filled to only a couple inches from the top? I am 100% positive that FC reading was correct, I even tested three times to be sure! At this point, weather was still not great, so I just figured I'd let the chlorine get baked off by the sun naturally over the next few days so I decided not to add any dichlor. I did, however, want to bump up my TA to 100 in preparation to add the borates soon, so I added 12 oz of baking soda. That's where things kinda went sideways...

    06/06/2014 pH = 8.0+ (w/3 drops of acid demand test!!!), TA = 125 (bit higher than 12 oz of baking soda should have made it from 85ppm), FC = 0.5-1.0 (I doubt this reading is accurate, I don't see how that much chlorine burnt off in 24h -- perhaps the super high pH or TA change is influencing this reading?) Another observation is that the "Effects of adding chemicals" section of poolcalculator.com seems to way under-state the amount of pH increase adding Baking Soda will do... unless, again, I'm doing something wrong?

    So tonight, I added 12 oz of 31.45% muriatic acid (and no other chemicals) to try and bring my pH down. That is slightly less than what I need to get it back to 7.6, according to the manual that came with my pool test kit (one that was recommended here).

    ---

    So yeah, here I am. Again I haven't touched the borates and do not plan to until things are stable/normal, but what's really going on here? Is my pool really only 3,000 gallons or is there some chemistry or bad math on my part at play here?

    Hindsight being 20/20, I should have just started the pool with bleach and stabilizer granules. I purchased 1lb. of them in case I need to go that route (to ultimately get to 40ppm CYA) and perhaps I should just forget about the dichlor for now...

    Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated, as always!
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    A few odds n ends.

    1) The TA test reagent can develop static electricity, which makes the drops smaller, so you need more drops, so it reads falsely high. The cure is to wipe the tip of the R-009 with a damp paper towel between drops for a few days.
    2) The dosing chart in poolmath takes TA into account when calculating acid doses. I presume it takes pH into account when calculating TA doses. The Effects section at the bottom doesn't, so it will not be as accurate. It's more of an estimate.
    3) Are you using weight ounces or volume ounces to measure the dichlor?

    At this point, nothing you've done can't be easily undone. You haven't OD'd on CYA. I believe the 4440 gallons volume. I'd stop using the acid demand test and just plug all your numbers into poolmath and let it calculate the dose. If you start hitting your targets, ignoring the effects section, the volume is right.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
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    Charlie_R's Avatar
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    Re: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    I've got a 15'x48" Intex, as well. I measured the water depth 1' into the pool at each post, then averaged the numbers. Using that, all the calculators I've tried come back with ~4500 gallons.
    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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    Re: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    Thanks for the quick replies. Wasn't aware of that for the TA reagent, I'll keep that in mind. Same with the effects section, although I had been using "www.poolcalculator.com" not "www.troublefreepool.com/calc.html" -- is there a difference?

    I know I haven't OD'd on CYA, but I would like to be aware of how much should roughly be in there so I can get it to 40 using granules, after I get FC/pH/TA stabilized...

    We'll see how things look tonight... but I was concerned about the "supposed" massifve chlorine loss. How could I really lose ~13-14ppm in one day? It was "mostly" sunny, but not crazy, and I did have some CYA in there from the dichlor... we'll see how it reads later tonight, hopefully the acid rights the pH. Goal is to be able to start adding the borates this weekend, I'm eager to try those but need to get things stabilized first of course.
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Casey's Avatar
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    Re: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    If your FC is over 10, your pH should be disregarded. Please do NOT make any changes to pH and TA with an FC above 10 as you will pull your hair out. The TA was fine at 85. I don't know why you would want to adjust it.
    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: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    Quote Originally Posted by Casey View Post
    If your FC is over 10, your pH should be disregarded. Please do NOT make any changes to pH and TA with an FC above 10 as you will pull your hair out. The TA was fine at 85. I don't know why you would want to adjust it.
    For adding Borates, it's recommended to be 100-110 apparently.

    So I tested again today, good news is, pH is back down to 7.4.

    However, the bad news is, the FC is pretty much gone -- literally 0-0.5, and my TA is back down to 80-85ish.

    So for now I am just going to add 16 oz. of stabilizer in a sock next to my return until it dissolves and chlorinate w/bleach and not worry about borates for a bit.
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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    Re: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    Quote Originally Posted by inferno480 View Post
    For adding Borates, it's recommended to be 100-110 apparently.
    Huh??? For adding borates, TA is recommended to be 60-80.
    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: Ugh, I think I screwed-up my pool start-up... High pH?

    That's if you're using an SWG, no? This links say 100 "if you're using tricholor" (I was using dichlor, but now I am just going to use bleach)

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...ol-Why-and-How

    Anyway, I'm not entirely worried about the borates right now.
    Pool> Intex 15'x 48" 4,440 gal AGP Metal Frame w/Taylor Complete FAS-DPD K-2006
    Pump> Intex 56673EG 14" Sand Filter 1600 GPH

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