Split by moderator from HERE. Please start your own thread to ask your own questions to avoid confusion. Thanks, jblizzle
Hi, we recently moved to Las Vegas and we built a pool which was filled for the first time in February. We previously had (and maintained our own) pool in South Florida with a salt water chlorine generator. We had great success in Florida, but the builder here discouraged the salt water generator based on the extreme hardness of the water and because (he said) it would be ineffective in the winter. Therefore we followed his recommendation and installed an inline feeder with the 3" chlorine tablets. The pool builder set up the feed rate for the feeder, which I have been steadily decreasing because it has been burning up tablets like mad, and now -- six months later -- we already have CYA well over 100 and FC over 10. I didn't trust the pool store readings because the pool is crystal clear and thus far swimming has been fine, but I bought my own test kit and verified their readings. The pool store hasn't been helpful and the builder's position is that there is nothing wrong. To stop the negative trend, I simply shut off the inline feeder altogether for the last two days and my readings this morning are FC 5.55 and CYA of 101. PH is at 7.6 but the pool has never required much acid. ALK went from 128 two days ago to 65 this morning, but I have no idea what that means. My thinking is that I need to just start adding liquid chlorine to the pool until the natural evaporation and refill process brings down the CYA (this is Vegas, it's hot and there's a lot of evaporation).
There are two other concerns I had that might be affecting things. First is "PhosFree." The pool store sold me this stuff and I've used it weekly. According to the pool store, some weeks I have high phosphates and sometimes I don't have any, which I attributed to runoff from fertilizing bushes and the occasional Vegas rain. I have never seen a bit of algae in this pool EVER and with my chlorine level being so high, I'm pretty sure this stuff is just a waste of money -- but might this also be affecting my CYA/FC levels?
The last issue I have is the hardness of the water. We put in a natural stone waterfall and did the outside perimeter of the pool with large natural boulders. Within the six months time, we accumulated huge calcium (?) deposits around the edges. It's really unsightly considering the beauty of the pool as it was built. We considered bead-blasting immediately but it seemed like such a waste since the ring would be back in another six months. Since we plan to live here for 20 years or more, we hit upon the idea of putting in (another) water softener dedicated for the pool. I can't remember the CH from a few months ago, but it was somewhere around 450, as I recall. My plan (before encountering the CYA issue) was to use the softener until it lowered the CH down to levels that won't add a calcium ring, then turn it off for a while and alternate hard/soft water to keep calcium at optimum levels. I was planning to bead-blast the calcium later this year and hopefully with lowered calcium levels, it won't return. My question, though, is whether the soft water might be contributing the FC/CYA problem? And, now that I've got the calcium levels under control, what would you think about retrofitting a salt-water generator? We loved our unit in Florida and it seems like it would eliminate that darned CYA problem for once and for all -- but would it be a problem in winter or during the extreme heat here?
NOTE that my pool gets lots of afternoon shade and the pool water temp never goes over 80 even when the air temps are over 110, unless I have the solar heating turned on. In fact with all that shade, the pool tends to be cold as heck without the solar running.
Thanks for any help you can offer. I can't seem to find anyone around here that really seems to know anything much.