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Thread: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

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    Fleur's Avatar
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    Question Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Hello everyone,

    Right on the panel it states less than 30ppm under "recommended pool chemistry", image attached.
    In their own manual it says from 30ppm to 50ppm. The Pentair rep I spoke with yesterday firmly told me from 30 to 50, but when I asked her about their own contradicting message printed on the front panel she did not know what to say. She promised to speak with an engineer and call back, but she never did.
    This is a very big difference. Less than 30ppm implies that 10 is ok, 20 is ok, above 30 is not ok. From 30 to 50 is a completely different story. Which one is correct?


    Edit 7/21/14 I just wanted to give a quick update in case someone else is interested to know which directions to follow: a Pentair rep told me that their manual was revised to reflect the most recent guideline while whatever is still printed on the panel is an outdated info. They changed their requirements from "less than 30" to "from 30 to 50" CYA.
    Last edited by Fleur; 07-21-2014 at 10:11 AM. Reason: updated info
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    We do not recommend the use of ORP sensors for controlling a SWG. Part of the reason is that the higher CYA levels we recommend for SWG for outdoor pools will screw up the ORP reading and make the FC very inconsistent.

    If you want to use the ORP, then you likely need to keep the CYA low which will also stress the SWG and wear it out sooner ... and even then the FC will still likely not be very consistent.

    I would recommend running the SWG in % mode, forgetting about the ORP and run the CYA up in the 70-80ppm range ... especially since you are in Phoenix.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    We do not recommend the use of ORP sensors for controlling a SWG. Part of the reason is that the higher CYA levels we recommend for SWG for outdoor pools will screw up the ORP reading and make the FC very inconsistent.

    If you want to use the ORP, then you likely need to keep the CYA low which will also stress the SWG and wear it out sooner ... and even then the FC will still likely not be very consistent.

    I would recommend running the SWG in % mode, forgetting about the ORP and run the CYA up in the 70-80ppm range ... especially since you are in Phoenix.
    Well, it is too late - the unit is installed. Regarding CYA, what about this statement (hope the attachment works):
    CYA.JPG
    http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/healt...f/Cyanuric.pdf

    I ran my pool with SWG for almost 2 years with CYA below 30ppm and if I was maintaining PH below 7.8 I did not have to add more chlorine or use SWG on 100%. I don't know anything about the life of the cell or how low CYA may possible affect it, but I can only say that I had no problem with algie (again, considering my PH was not 8+). I know some people on this board think low CYA is better while others insist on higher CYA. I wish there was the universal opinion on this subject

    Edit Note: I do use SWG in % mode, it is not Pentair cell so it is not integrated with Intellichem. Our Intellichem is only responsible for acid.
    Last edited by Fleur; 06-28-2014 at 11:24 AM. Reason: add note
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    jblizzle is correct. Even though the unit is installed, you are far better off disabling the ORP function and using simple percentage based automation.

    While opinions in wide world vary, everyone here recommends CYA be between 70 and 80 for a SWG. The SWG will last about twice as long at the higher CYA level and your overall chemistry will be more stable and less trouble prone.

    The text you quoted is fairly good up to the point where they claim that levels over 50 have diminishing returns. That is simply not true. If you didn't have a SWG we agree with them that CYA between 30 and 50 is a good level.

    Adding ORP control brings in a host of other issues, changing the CYA recommendations. ORP control is exceedingly trouble prone, though it gets a little bit more manageable as CYA gets lower. You then get into this tradeoff where lower CYA levels can work around some of the problems with ORP, but lower CYA levels create problems for the SWG. The SWG problems can be mostly overcome, but that dramatically lowers the lifetime of the SWG and makes the entire chemistry rather less stable.
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    jblizzle is correct. Even though the unit is installed, you are far better off disabling the ORP function and using simple percentage based automation.

    While opinions in wide world vary, everyone here recommends CYA be between 70 and 80 for a SWG. The SWG will last about twice as long at the higher CYA level and your overall chemistry will be more stable and less trouble prone.

    The text you quoted is fairly good up to the point where they claim that levels over 50 have diminishing returns. That is simply not true. If you didn't have a SWG we agree with them that CYA between 30 and 50 is a good level.

    Adding ORP control brings in a host of other issues, changing the CYA recommendations. ORP control is exceedingly trouble prone, though it gets a little bit more manageable as CYA gets lower. You then get into this tradeoff where lower CYA levels can work around some of the problems with ORP, but lower CYA levels create problems for the SWG. The SWG problems can be mostly overcome, but that dramatically lowers the lifetime of the SWG and makes the entire chemistry rather less stable.
    JasonLion, the only reason I got Intelllichem is to dispense acid. I was tired of constantly running around the pool with an acid jar. I wanted Pentair Intelli PH system at first, but my installer informed me that it works only with Pentair cell (which I do not have). I calculated that at the moment it would cost me slightly less to upgrade from Intelli PH to Intellichem (which can work as a stand alone unit so it does not require pentair sault cell) instead of getting a simpler system and installing a brand new IntelliChlor IC40.
    I still cannot figure out what ORP is and why it is even relevant in my situation. I thought that this mystical ORP value was dependent on a combination of water chemistry: proper PH, TA, CH and CYA but I maybe totally wrong- I did not research it yet.
    My ORP value was jumping from 605 to 660, mostly at lower levels with "alarm" button lit on. I had Intellichem installed only for 2 days and I'm adding more CYA at the moment via skimmer.
    I was worried that while alarm is on for low ORP, the unit will not dispense acid, but today, after PH reading showed 7.7, the system gave me a message "mixing" so hopefully PH will be adjusted properly.
    I looked through the manual while adjusting our pool size, set PH level, switching display from basic to advanced and I still have know idea what ORP is and why it jumps so wildly without any additional chemicals added (is it possible that my CYA floating in a sock affects ORP readings? ).

    I also do not understand if SWG requires high CYA and Intellichem asks for low CYA why Pentair advertises this unit as the best thing ever for full automation system which controls your salt water cell's output + PH.
    Last edited by Fleur; 06-28-2014 at 12:29 PM. Reason: clarification
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    You should have gotten the IntelliPH. From your description it does exactly what you want.

    Quite a few companies sell ORP based automation systems, none of them work well. The problems are inherent in ORP, not related to any specify implementation. None the less everyone keeps selling them. ORP stands for oxidation reduction potential. It is the only affordable sensor that reacts to changing FC levels. Unfortunately, it also reacts to quite a collection of other things as well, making it problematic.
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Well, since you are not using the ORP to control anything, then the alarm does not matter and you can use the higher CYA levels.
    Likely you can disable to ORP control in the settings and that would get rid of the alarm as well.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    You should have gotten the IntelliPH. From your description it does exactly what you want.

    Quite a few companies sell ORP based automation systems, none of them work well. The problems are inherent in ORP, not related to any specify implementation. None the less everyone keeps selling them. ORP stands for oxidation reduction potential. It is the only affordable sensor that reacts to changing FC levels. Unfortunately, it also reacts to quite a collection of other things as well, making it problematic.
    As I mentioned earlier, IntelliPH will not work without their Intellichlor cell. This info was later confirmed by a Pentair rep over the phone. I actually need to send back my IntelliPH unit for a refund since I had ordered it before my installer told me that it requires Pentair cell. It is still standing unopened in our garage.
    IntelliPH + Intellichlor = paying for 2 installations + at least $850 (cell+power center)+$500 (intelliPH) while Intellichem= paying for 1 installation +$1050. Also, with IntelliChem I always have an option to dump SWG altogether, buy an additional pump for Intellichem +chlorine tank (not planning on doing it right now, but it is an option ). While I still have perfectly fine cell which generates chlorine, I did not see the reason to invest into a new cell in order to accommodate IntelliPH.

    Why should I even be worried about ORP reading if the only thing I need from this unit is to dispense automatically acid when the value goes above 7.8? With IntelliPH I would have to play with dosage and timing in order to find a sweet spot for my set PH when IntelliChem should be calculating these values itself. At least on the paper it looked like one less thing to worry about. Unless IntelliChem stops dispensing PH when ORP value is not in the required range of 650 to 750, I do not see any problem.

    Anyway, we digressed slightly. I wanted to know why Pentair contradicts itself with different CYA levels. The panel states below 30 while manual asks from 30 to 50. It is just strange. Anyone here with Intellichem?
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Oh, I just noticed your message, Jblizzle. I was asking a few minutes ago why I should even worry about ORP unless acid won't get dispensed at low ORP levels. I will check my manual again and see if ORP can indeed be disabled. Honestly, reading manuals is not my forte, I am too impatient especially when it is so disorganized My husband even wanted to take a photo of me reading IntelliChem because he said it happens so rarely - me reading any manuals.
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Since you aren't using the ORP portion of the product, why do you care what their ORP setup requirements say?

    The PH portion of the unit will continue working regardless of what the ORP portion of the unit thinks is happening and regardless of what the CYA level is.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Coming back to recommended CYA levels... I will be honest, the paper I quoted earlier regarding CYA sounded convincing. I understand that anyone can write anything and post online, but statements like "based on the findings of the CDC study" impressed me I did not try to locate the original paper from 2007 because scientific papers are usually very dry and difficult to read (worse than manuals!) so I assumed they knew what they were talking about. Now I don't know what to think since 2 TFP members are saying that CYA should be way higher.
    Attachment 31185
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    This thread contains a good overview of the CYA issues from a technical point of view, search for "Chlorine/CYA Relationship". Government rules/papers are still 40 to 70 years out of date and have not taken the modern understanding of CYA into account.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Since you aren't using the ORP portion of the product, why do you care what their ORP setup requirements say?

    The PH portion of the unit will continue working regardless of what the ORP portion of the unit thinks is happening and regardless of what the CYA level is.
    I guess I should not care about ORP then! I just had a very vague idea what ORP was, but seeing a lit alarm on a newly installed unit was worrisome. Besides, my installer seemed to be concerned with low ORP values too.
    AG SWG ~15,000 Pebble Tec + Spa :: Intellichem, SWG IntelliChlor IC40, Pentair Intelli pH, Clean & Clear Plus filter (spa), Triton II Sand Pool Filter, MiniMax NT heater, Jandy NeverLube valves X8
    Pentair IntelliFlo 3HP VS (pool filter), WhisperFlo 3 HP 1.15 SF (hot tub jets), SuperFlo VS (spa filter), Challenger 1 1/2 HP 1.47 SF (water features: spillway, fountains)

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    Re: Pentair IntelliChem CYA levels controversy (less than 30ppm or from 30 to 50?)

    Thanks for the answer from Pentair. I saw the conflict between the "under 30 CYA" printed on the box and the "30-50 CYA" in the manual. The factory default in the software is 18.
    7,000 gal. saltwater, Pentair Intellichem, Intellichlor, Wet Edge finish

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