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Thread: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

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    ITR's Avatar
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    New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Hi guys...new plaster pool...about two weeks old...and I'm now seeing white streaking from the walls down to the floor in just certain areas. In the picture below you can see it just above and slightly to the right of the shadow of my head (and down and right from the rope hook). I want to get ahead of this before it becomes a problem. Any idea what this is? Brushing the last few days has not resulted in any difference. Thanks in advance...you guys have been awesome so far!

    JB


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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Could you post a complete set of water test results?
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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion View Post
    Could you post a complete set of water test results?
    I've been reading enough that I had a feeling you were going to say that....

    Reading on 12/21:
    FC: 1.0
    CC: 0.5
    pH: 7.5
    TA: 90
    CH: 375
    CYA: 40
    Salt: 0
    Borate: 0 (haven't gotten that far yet)
    Temp: 62f
    CSI: .1

    12/24 (six hours after checking that pH was 8.2 this morning I added HCL/MA)
    FC: 3.5
    CC: 0.5
    pH: 7.2
    TA: 80
    CH: 325
    CYA: 30
    Salt: 0
    Borate: 0
    Temp: 71f
    CSI: .39

    So the pH was high, I added HCL (31%)...which brought the pH down. Got the spillway going so hopefully that will aerate and bring the pH up.

    So what do you guys think?

    JB

    - - - Updated - - -

    BTW, what affect will rain have on my water? It started raining just as I was finishing my last test...so now I'm curious how that will play into everything. Kinda feel like I'm spinning plates right now...

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Two things come to mind with those test results:

    1) You need more practice testing. There's no way the CH and CYA went down unless you've just replaced a bunch of water. Also, CSI is done using water temperature, not air temperature. Did yours really rise that fast?

    2) If you routinely allow pH to climb above 8 before adding acid, there's your problem. Keep it in the 7.2>7.6 range even if it means daily acid additions while that plaster is curing.

    Rain has little effect unless you get torrents. My pool's average depth is 60". One inch of rain is therefore less than 2%. Your test kit can't detect differences that small.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    Two things come to mind with those test results:

    1) You need more practice testing. There's no way the CH and CYA went down unless you've just replaced a bunch of water. Also, CSI is done using water temperature, not air temperature. Did yours really rise that fast?

    2) If you routinely allow pH to climb above 8 before adding acid, there's your problem. Keep it in the 7.2>7.6 range even if it means daily acid additions while that plaster is curing.

    Rain has little effect unless you get torrents. My pool's average depth is 60". One inch of rain is therefore less than 2%. Your test kit can't detect differences that small.
    1) I'm not sure what you mean "rising fast". The first test was on Sunday and the second test was today (Wednesday), and the water temperature is what the iAqualink reported after the pump had been on after several hours. And yes, I'm sure I need more practice testing. Keep in mind, this is our first pool ever. The PB turned down the auto-chlorine thing (that uses trichlor tabs) and he said we should be in the 1 range for FC since there is an ozonator (ClearO3). But are you saying these numbers can't be this different after 3 full days?

    2) There really hasn't been any "routine"...the first week the pb took care of it and this is the first week I am "on my own". I will make sure to keep a daily check on pH. The PB said during the initial month I can't add too much acid to the pool...is that correct? The interior is beautiful and we definitely don't want to do anything which will damage it.

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    It just seems that 9 degrees in three days is pretty fast, especially in winter. I suppose if you have solar panels it can happen.

    You can add too much acid. Low low pH can attack the metal heat exchanger in the heater and it might also leach Calcium from the pool surface. Just keep it within bounds and everything will be fine.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    It just seems that 9 degrees in three days is pretty fast, especially in winter. I suppose if you have solar panels it can happen.

    You can add too much acid. Low low pH can attack the metal heat exchanger in the heater and it might also leach Calcium from the pool surface. Just keep it within bounds and everything will be fine.
    Well I do know air temperature swings are pretty common here in FL. I believe we woke up to high 50s on Sunday and today it hit 81 (almost a record). Doesn't seem that out of line to me, but again, I am certainly not a pool pro...just an average guy looking for some help.

    Good to know about the acid.

    So...back to my initial question...can anyone tell me what the slight white discoloration is? Again, it's happening in three different spots on the wall close to the floor...all on the shallow ends. Anyone?

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    My guess is Calcium. Try aiming the return eyeballs to improve circulation in those areas and keep the pH in check.
    16K freeform gunite with spa; Pentair 4000 DE filter; Century Whisperflow 1 HP; Pentair Minimax heater.
    Troublefree does not mean Maintenancefree. It's like brushing your teeth: You can spend a couple minutes a day and pennies a week or go to the dentist once a year and spend several thousand dollars.
    A pool is like a pet - you have to feed it every day, even the days you don't want to play with it!

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
    My guess is Calcium. Try aiming the return eyeballs to improve circulation in those areas and keep the pH in check.
    Okay...Thanks! I will try that and keep brushing (although it feels like I am being a little OCD brushing and brushing and brushing). LOL

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Okay, so this calcium problem seems to be growing. I will call the PB if they are open today, but I'd like advice here as well. pH seems to be bouncing a lot. Yesterday it was 7.8 (maybe slightly higher, but definitely not 8.2) so we added some acid. Checked a couple of hours later and it was down to 7.5. This morning I woke up and checked and it was back up to 7.8 (again, maybe a tad higher, but not anywhere close to 8.2), so I have a couple of questions:

    1) We run the pump on high from 9am - 6pm. The spa has both a fountain and a spillway. Do you think this additional aeration is causing the pH to rise? Since this is a two-week old pool, would you recommend having the pump on low 24-hours a day like we did the first week (until the PB came out and changed it)?

    2) I know I've read various posts that pH will rise with new pools. Is this "bouncing" normal? I am adding about a quarter gallon each time (the pool is 10,300 gallons). Again the goal is to cause as little discoloration as possible since the interior was/is beautiful (SS Tropics Blue)...we just want to keep it that way.

    3) Is there a way to get rid of the calcium that has built up since brushing isn't removing it? My cousin was over for Christmas (he does concrete work and the company he works for does pools in Tampa) and told me to ask them if a wire brush was too harsh. Any recommendations to remove it? Doing some searching and reading has led me to believe there is no real way to remove it without draining the pool and doing an acid wash OR putting in a chemical which will require the heater to be bypassed (which I don't think we have a bypass setup).

    Thoughts and/or advice would greatly be appreciated...even if it's just reassurance. Getting a bit sleepless with this calcium build up on a new investment.

    Thanks guys...
    JB

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    Re: New pool help...possible calcium scale?

    Aeration will cause additional PH increase, on top of the PH increase from fresh plaster.

    1) After two weeks, and assuming you don't have issues with plaster dust, it is reasonable to stop running the pump 24/7, but you still want to run the pump more than normal, and increase the run time if there are plaster dust issues.
    2) The PH (and TA & CH) level(s) will go up rapidly for the first month after fresh plaster is applied, and more slowly for up to a year. Unless you are doing a bicarb start, you need to keep the PH from going above 8.0 at any point.
    3) You could try a localized manual acid wash. You can do this by pouring acid down a pipe, with the end of the pipe located at the point where you suspect calcium scaling. This only works on small areas, and is completely impractical over large area, but that seems to fit your description. However, there are some minor risks in doing this, as it can damage the plaster surface if done to excess. A wire brush is considered excessive during the first year.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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