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Thread: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

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    Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Hi and thank you in advance for all the help! We have a brand new Intex 22X52 Ultra Frame Pool (10,600 or so gallons) and an Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System CS8110. The pool is full and the pumps are all hooked up correctly. We added the required 260 pounds of salt yesterday around noon and ran the regular pump for 24 hours, letting the salt dissolve. Today at noon we turned on the SW system and set it for 6 hours (recommended via the manual) and the regular pump set for 8 hours of runtime. The pool is crystal clear and clean and now that the SW cycle is done, I used one of the test strips that came with the pool that show FC, PH and Alkalinity. The FC shows at the green color of around 1, maybe a little more but not to the level of 3. According to the strip, that is in the range of "pool OK." However, the PH and total alkalinity are not even registering on the strip, they are so low. I did read all the "pool school" articles and they are GREAT!

    We ordered from Amazon prime today, a Taylor K-2006 test kit, which is infinitely better than the cheapo strips that come with the pump, but that won't be here until Monday. We also ordered the Cyanuric Acid from Amazon because it is way more cost-effective than the pool store. Unfortunately I didn't read Pool School until today, so I didn't add the CYA with the salt upon startup. I also ordered the Intex skimmer basket.

    My questions are:

    What is the best way bring up the PH and alkalinity? I have read other articles online saying that the Intex SW system is "enough" to keep the pool clean and that you don't need to add any chemicals, but I want to balance the water properly.

    Is the pool safe to swim in this weekend with the chlorine at an acceptable level even though the PH and Alk are low?

    When the CYA arrives, do I add it to the pool in conjunction with the next SW cycle, and, do we have to stay out of the pool until it all dissolves?

    Thank you so much, this is our first pool so we want to do everything right. I appreciate any help and advice!
    Pool size: 10,657 gal Intex Aboveground UltraFrame 22X52 pool
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Welcome to TFP!

    Thank you for reading pool school and ordering a test kit, it certainly makes it easier for us to help you!

    FC recommendations of 1-3ppm are from the days before CYA was discovered and are outdated. See the chlorine/CYA chart.

    Quote Originally Posted by WaterGurlz View Post

    What is the best way bring up the PH and alkalinity? The best way to increase pH is to add borax or washing soda. The best way to increase TA is to add baking soda. However, you should wait for results from the K-2006 as it is more reliable than the test strips. I have read other articles online saying that the Intex SW system is "enough" to keep the pool clean and that you don't need to add any chemicals, but I want to balance the water properly. This statement suggests that you have some understanding of what you read in pool school, good job! An SWG is good at maintaining FC levels, but it doesn't work so well at increasing FC levels. It also doesn't help to increase TA either.

    Is the pool safe to swim in this weekend with the chlorine at an acceptable level even though the PH and Alk are low?
    Did you fill with city water?

    When the CYA arrives, do I add it to the pool in conjunction with the next SW cycle, and, do we have to stay out of the pool until it all dissolves?
    The recommended way to add CYA is to put it in a sock and hang it in front of the return. It is safe to swim with CYA dissolving.

    Thank you so much, this is our first pool so we want to do everything right. I appreciate any help and advice!
    I would recommend you (re-)read ABCs of pool water chemistry and recommended pool chemicals.
    Use PoolMath to calculate additions (after you test with the K-2006).

    If you have any questions, please post back.

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    Richard320's Avatar
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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Just wait for the test kit before you make any adjustments. If you filled it from the hose, it's not going to kill you -- you've been bathing in the same water for how long? Test strips are just too iffy.
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    Re: Dissolving cya

    Hi guys,

    Well, I feel like a dummy LOL. I too read about the bucket method and just (a few minutes ago) poured 2 pounds of CYA in a 5 gallon bucket and stirred it up, it is sitting outside now. Since I already did this, what do you think I should do? I have only about a pound left in the canister and need 2.6 pounds for our pool. Also, since I am a pool newbie, I need to ask. There are warnings all over the CYA canister about don't get it on your skin, don't let it get near your eyes, etc. So I used rubber gloves while mixing it in the bucket. So how can a sock of the crystals be safe hanging in the pool while people are swimming? I know, dumb question, but I have to ask. Any thoughts on what I should do now with the bucket of CYA, (pour it in the pool and let the pump run, etc?) If I pour it in the pool, should I keep the kids out of it for awhile? Go to the pool store and get more and start all over with the pantyhose sock? I just want to do everything correctly. Thanks in advance for humoring me
    Pool size: 10,657 gal Intex Aboveground UltraFrame 22X52 pool
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    I'd strain what you have in the bucket into the pool through a nylon or sock. What's not dissolved will be caught in the sock (which will probably be most of it). Then hang the sock in front of the return. Then let the kiddies in. Have them give that sock a squeeze every now and then as they pass by. It's fine. I'll let one of the "chemistry-minded" members here explain WHY it is safe.
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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Thank you, GreatCanadian! I will go to the store and get a nylon sock. We were concerned about the squeezing part (which I had read about in other threads as the best method) after reading the warning about not touching the CYA crystals, then saw some folks saying the bucket was easier, and being a newbie pool owner I was easily swayed .... but I like the sock idea much better anyway.

    I get why to hang it in front of the return, but is it OK for the pump to be running when the kids are swimming? The pool manual said not to run the pump while people are swimming, but I've learned a lot in this forum that makes more sense than the manual and/or the pool store employees.

    Now I'm off to read up on how to use the Taylor K-2006 test kit I just received in the mail today I think I need a manual (or chemistry degree) to read the manual that came with the kit. The instructions for all the tests seem pretty self explanatory except for the DPD Chlorine test.


    Appreciate the help!!
    Pool size: 10,657 gal Intex Aboveground UltraFrame 22X52 pool
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Quote Originally Posted by WaterGurlz View Post
    Now I'm off to read up on how to use the Taylor K-2006 test kit I just received in the mail today I think I need a manual (or chemistry degree) to read the manual that came with the kit. The instructions for all the tests seem pretty self explanatory except for the DPD Chlorine test.
    Have a look at the FAS-DPD test video (K-2006 uses the same reagents as the TF-100) and the extended test kit directions (post # 4).

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Well , , , there are instructions but no "manual". Will show and tell help http://www.youtube.com/user/TF100TestKit

    I would want to have the pump running with people in it for sanitation reasons. BUT ,,, I have no clue why the manufacturer would recommend having it off other than a liability issue of some sort. Not that it's a better way to do it but if something happened they can say they told you to have it off. Keep thinking of the horror stories of kids getting sucked down with a floor drain in an IG. Can't think of what would be the reason in an AG
    Unless it's something with splashing and the electrical ?? I'd see what some AG folks have to say with how they do theirs.
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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    I prefer to run my pump while the pool is in use. That's when the kids are tracking in the most grass, and I prefer to skim it off before it sinks to the bottom. I don't see any danger in swimming with it running.
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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Thanks !! I did watch the video on how to test the chlorine and my chlorine is very low. The sample in the video is bright pink and mine is pale pink and after doing the math, I have 0.4 chlorine. Almost nothing. I will be adding the CYA via the sock method today; wondering if I should run the boost as well. Have kids coming to play in the pool in a few hours. Can I run the boost/SW while they are in there as well as running the pump? The water is crystal clear and tastes salty despite the lack of chlorine which I assume is from the pool being in the direct sunlight all day.
    Pool size: 10,657 gal Intex Aboveground UltraFrame 22X52 pool
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Where are my manners, welcome to the forum

    We need some numbers

    You need to get busy with that kit
    '70s IG Vinyl 32K gal, Lazy L, Hayward SuperPump 1.5hp 120V, S240 Sand Filter W/DE
    Solar Blanket, Well Water, Borax Added, TF-100 tester. ? too cold
    1979, 275gal Conway Emerald Spa P-100-2, ES-2 Spa Pack, bromine floater, indoor
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    Please help keep the lights on, become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: Pool Newbie-PH and Alkalinity off in Intex Saltwater Pool

    Sorry guys! I'll get it figured out soon

    Test results with Taylor kit:
    FC-0.8
    CC-0.4
    PH-7.1
    Alkalinity-60
    Did not test CYA because I haven't added it yet
    Pool size: 10,657 gal Intex Aboveground UltraFrame 22X52 pool
    Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System

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