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Thread: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Hello All,

    First...Great site and community. This is my first question on the forums and I am trying to make the transition from the pool company that installed the pool running my chemicals to controlling it myself. My pool was installed in May, but due to construction delays with the deck it is just now completed. For most of the summer it was run on the basic Bioguard Maintain system, but now my SWG is up and running with the Bioguard Mineral Springs System. They have me using the Bioguard Mineral Springs Weekly Renewal, which I cant tell what it is actually doing. I know this forum is dedicated to a "better way", so I have been reading and learning and believe I have a basic understanding to start asking educated questions, lol.

    My current reading from my Waterlink Spin Lab (yes, I have my own and not from the pool store) are:
    FC: 2.26
    TC: 2.38
    Alkalinity: 101
    pH: 7.8
    Hardness: 129
    Copper:0.1
    Iron:0.1
    Stabilizer: 83
    Borate: 38
    Salt: 4300

    Added some MA to bring down pH (my IntellipH just arrived and is not installed yet) and running water laminars to aerate water to help bring down Alkalinity ( I assume 70-80 based on suggested levels?).

    They want me to use Bioguard 300 balance to raise hardness...is there a better way?

    I assume the iron/copper levels are low enough not to worry about?

    I think they got carried away with salt, is the only way to get it down to drain and refill?


    They also just installed the auto cover, I haven't used it yet as I am trying to get my initial balance right. Once the pool is covered most of the time how will this affect the chemistry fluctuations?


    Lastly, I am all for getting what you pay for. So is Bioguard worth the money? I can afford it, but not going to use it if it is no different than using anything else. Do all the "special" additives they claim to have to help the filter, SWG scaling, etc. really have any merit? Especially with this weekly mineral springs renewal, none of their products list all their ingredients. Again, cost is not as much of an issue as the best for the system and least hassle and time. I know not to trust ALEX at the store, but are the products legit? If it makes absolutely no difference then I will use basic stuff from local hardware store. I have the Datamate 10 software that came with my spinlab, but don't trust it to dose my pool based without understanding what it is telling me to do.

    Thanks in advance, and I look forward to learning more and messing with the pool less. Any other advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Tony
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Welcome to TFP!!!

    Bioguard is just repackaged overpriced chemicals. See the Recommended Pool Chemicals article for alternatives.

    BTW, we have very little experience with the Spin Lab beyond not trusting it when run by the pool store. Will be curious to see your test results over time ... wonder if they will be consistent and believable.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    I have been testing almost daily for several weeks as I am educating myself on the behavior of the chemistry. This is also the "Mobile" Spin Lab, so the readings are read on a tablet and not dumped into a dosing program like Alex or Datamate. You have the option to dump them into software, but I am just using the raw readings. There is very little variation in most readings except for the fluctuations in in TC/FC and pH. They are also very consistent with the pool store using same system ( I do have to drive 50 miles to my nearest store with a good lab). This system is awesome...60sec start to finish for all the above readings. No clean up, no mess, no thinking. I know it is an expensive system, but my pool guy wanted $25 per week to come check pool...so it paid for itself in less than a year.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Readings from this morning:

    FC: 2.12
    TC: 2.37
    Alkalinity: 88
    pH: 7.7
    Hardness: 127
    Copper:0.1
    Iron:0.1
    Stabilizer: 89
    Borate: 38
    Salt: 4300

    I added about 1/2 gal MA yesterday and had laminars running overnight. Seemed to bring TA down, but I am surprised it only moved pH down 0.1. It seems I am having to add MA everyday to keep pH in this range, is this normal? How much does the pH drift with a SWG running. Right now my system is not programed yet, so they have it in service mode running 24/7 while they wait on the Screen logic part to be installed in a few days.

    It also seems my stabilizer is slowly drifting up, is that normal?
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
    LaMotte WaterLink Mobile Spin Lab & TF100/K2006 w/ Speed Stir.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Stabilizer will not go up unless you are adding it. Your FC is way too low to prevent algae.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Or, you're evaporating water which will temporarily show an increase of cya until you replace the water. That shouldn't be much though.
    Pool size: 24000gal inground Vinyl-Taylor k-2006 and k-1766 test kits and-speed stir
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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    I did need to add about 1-2inch of water this morning, which is required about once every 1-2 weeks. I will see what it looks like tomorrow.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Is the salt too high at 4300? I know it is within normal range of the SWG, but it is on the high end.

    I had trouble with phosphate consuming all my FC last week (had concrete dust get in pool from finishing work) according to pool store. They had put in Pool Tonic and it seemed to cure it and I am now building FC again.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
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    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    First, you need to get that FC up to at least 5ppm. I know what the other ranges say, but right now you are in the danger zone and I recommend hitting at least 5ppm on FC to ensure you don't ever drop below the minimum.

    Next, pH drifts quite a bit with an SWG. If you can get that TA down to 70, it may help a little. Buffering with borates also helps. If you'll drop the pH to 7.2 each time you add MA, just keep doing that until it gets the TA down to 70. What is your goal pH? There is nothing wrong with 7.7. If it will hold between 7.7 and 7.9, I'd leave it alone.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by acgibson View Post
    I had trouble with phosphate consuming all my FC last week (had concrete dust get in pool from finishing work) according to pool store. They had put in Pool Tonic and it seemed to cure it and I am now building FC again.
    Phosphate does NOT consume FC. Phosphate can be food for algae, but if FC is high enough to keep algae away, the phosphates do not matter. But, considering you are below your minimum FC, you may have some issue with algae.

    You mention pool tonic. At this point you'll have to make a firm decision whether you are going to follow TFP methods, or pool store methods. The two won't mix.

    If you follow this method, with your SWG you can get to the point that you never add any chlorine, your acid injection system will keep pH in check for you, and nothing else (except cleaning if you don't have a robot or something similar). You may have to go through what we call the SLAM process before you get to that point (I think you have algae), but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Great.... I am going to follow the methods here, its just they were controlling the chemicals at no charge while we were in construction phase so they were using what they sell. I am just now Taking control of the chemistry which is why I am starting to ask all these questions.

    In regards to the Pool Tonic (a bioguard product)...For several days I was unable to build above 0.5 FC/TC on boost running for two days running 24hrs/day which was after there was a bunch of concrete dust that got into pool. It did cloud up for a day or so until I started boosting. After the pool tonic, it fixed the problem and I started building FC without any trouble again. I did notice the big filter cartridge stunk when I pulled it to clean it out. I replaced the cartridge with a new one because the old stinky one was pretty shot from all the concrete work this summer. Everything seems to be ok now, but I have been running a low FC apparently for a while now. No visible signs of algae, and I do run robot 1-2 times a week.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
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    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Algae doesn't have to be visible to be present. You are pretty close to the minimum FC, you might get lucky and be able to add a 96oz bottle of 8.25% bleach (this will take you to approx. 7ppm FC) and turn up your SWG a little (either run time, percentage, or both) and get by with it. See if you can hold at 5ppm FC after that.

    Please add only plain bleach. No splashless, outdoor, scented, anything like that.

    I can't find what is in Bioguard Pool Tonic, but it appears to be phosphate remover (cash cow for pool stores). I'll wait until someone confirms this, then we can talk about it.
    Built in 1957 44,000 gallon in-ground, Wet Edge Primera Stone in Sky Blue, Intelliflo VF Pump, 600 lb. Pentair Triton II TR-100 Sand Filter, CircuPool RG 60 Plus SWG, TF-100 test kit
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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    ok...off to the store for bleach I go!
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    Ok, I added The recommended bleach yesterday evening which brought the following readings (about an hour after dosing):

    FC: 5.33
    TC: 5.37
    Alkalinity: 81
    pH: 7.4
    Hardness: 123
    Copper:0.1
    Iron:0.1
    Stabilizer: 79
    Borate: 46
    Salt: 4200

    (Remember I added 1-2inches of water to the pool earlier in day before this which probably accounts for the minor shifts in other readings in above posts.)

    Over night my SWG was (and still is) running full time @40%.


    This morning (12hrs later) my readings are as follows:

    FC: 5.67
    TC: 6.01
    Alkalinity: 84
    pH: 7.7
    Hardness: 125
    Copper:0.1
    Iron:0.1
    Stabilizer: 82
    Borate: 41
    Salt: 4200

    So the FC seems to be holding (pool has been uncovered this entire time) over the short term....is this long enough to tell if there is no problem like you were suspecting?

    I am still running my 3 water laminars (water features) full time and dropping the pH with MA down to 7.2 each morning to try and get that TA down, but it doesn't seem to want to go below that 80 point.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
    LaMotte WaterLink Mobile Spin Lab & TF100/K2006 w/ Speed Stir.

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    acgibson's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    It seems I am able to hold a decent FC, but it does drop 2-3 ppm during the day. The pool has been open full time and is in full sun virtually all day (has been in high 90s). Then it will build over night some. How much FC is expected to lose during the day? Or are you still suspecting something else?
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
    LaMotte WaterLink Mobile Spin Lab & TF100/K2006 w/ Speed Stir.

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    aussieta's Avatar
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    most pools lose between 2ppm and 4ppm in the peak of summer
    imo your readings are all pretty good
    i would turn off the water features except when you want them on
    your TA is pretty close and you dont want to overshoot
    the SWG pushes PH up, when you add acid it will reduce TA and PH
    as your FC is increasing you may want to dial back your pump run time to save some money
    or slightly reduce SWG percentage time
    the hardness is ok for fibreglass pool
    regarding the salt, it is slightly high but splash out and subsequent topping up with water will dilute this
    evaporation and topping up does not reduce any values it actually increases them
    with the stabilizer level if takes a week to fully register on test equipment
    time to stop worrying and start enjoying
    please post some pics, sounds like a beautiful setup
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    Re: Initial Water Testing and Chem Questions

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1409359861.684263.jpg

    Here is the pool!

    Ok good, when he mentioned algae when I was having "phosphate" issues it freaked me out! Whatever was in that pool tonic fixed the FC issue and just cleaned the filter and it was covered in a white slime. I used some filter cleaner and got it off.

    I did do a partial drain to bring cya and salt down a little, but my well is very high TA so I'm back to running laminars, which is fine with me because they relaxing to watch and listen to. My cya is down to 66, salt is 3500, and borate is 35.
    18,900gal Viking 16'x40' Fiberglass In-Ground Pool w/ Cover Pool Auto Cover.
    WhisperFlo WF-24; Clean & Clear RP 150 Cartridge Filter; UltraTemp Heat Pump; IntelliChlor IC40 w/ IntelliPh Acid Pump;
    Easytouch Panel w/Screen Logic. Kreepy Krauly 820 Robot.
    LaMotte WaterLink Mobile Spin Lab & TF100/K2006 w/ Speed Stir.

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