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Thread: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

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    How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    I just moved to Las Vegas last fall and we bought a house with a pool. Since it was the end of the season, I just threw the cover on it and cleaned it on occasion, running the filter about an hour a day and adding a bit of chemicals.

    Fast forward to this last week. I bought a new pool cover (the old one was coming apart) and started to prep the pool for the summer season. I checked the water and had ~1000 CH and ~150 CYA. Pool drain time.
    Last week, I did a ~40% drain of the pool, using Richard320's brilliant idea of using the pool water for the vegetation around my house (no grass, this is Vegas ). I used soft water from the house to replace the water. My CH got down to ~700 and my CYA was ~100.
    One more partial drain this week, watering the plants. Again, I used soft water from my house. I just checked my water and have 400 CH and 60 CYA. Shocking (SLAM) the pool right now and will need to fix the TA with some muriatic acid. Will also add 10 boxes of Borax to get some borates in the water, but it's looking good so far.

    OK, here's what I'd like to pass on to the community (for those of you who live in hard water areas):
    I took soft water from my house the same way I did it a few years ago in Tucson. I hooked a garden hose up to my washing machine cold water outlet and ran it through my house out the back door (wife HATES that I do this, but it's temporary) to my pool. I have the water softener set to automatically recharge when it's 97% depleted. The house came with a fairly new Kenmore model 350 water softener. I can run water for several hours before the soft water is depleted; my technique is to check to see if the water softener is cycling at ~4 hours and then follow up every 30 minutes or so, reducing my time down to 15 minutes. I normally hear the water softener drain water at the start of the softening cycle so the checks aren't critical, but I want to make sure I'm putting soft water into the pool.
    And I also hook the hose up to the washing machine water hookup when I wash our cars so I use soft water.
    I hope this helps some who battle hard water.


    When my CH increases this summer due to autofilling with hard water, I'll drain a bit more and refill with soft water. I'll be using only bleach to keep up my chlorine levels until the CYA levels get low enough to allow me to use the chlorine pucks.

    Thanks to all of the contributors on this website; it's made pool maintenance an easy task.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Thanks

    Rather than having a goal of going back to pucks, why not start investigating automating your chlorine? A SWCG, Liquidator or my favorite - a Stenner Pump.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Tim, thanks for the suggestion. I really like the Stenner Pump idea, but it won't work for me. I don't have anywhere that I can place a Stenner Pump where it won't be exposed to the weather in Vegas. And that means HOT and SUNNY. Liquid bleach/chlorine will not do well being exposed to Vegas summers.

    I plan on mostly using liquid chlorine/bleach, but I travel a lot so I'll have to use pucks on occasion. That isn't a problem because my autofill will be putting very hard water into the pool. So I'm going to have to water the plants with pool water several times a year due to high CH levels. That will allow me to use pucks without having to worry about excessive CYA levels.
    This is where an individual needs to be 'one with their pool', as I'm going to have to eventually decide whether to refill the pool with tap or soft water. I'll figure out what works best for my situation. I'd love to only use bleach to keep my chlorine levels up, but I know that I'll be gone from home up to a week at a time and my wife isn't going to want to manage the pool's chemistry. With that in mind, my goal is to synchronize CH and CYA levels so that when I need to fix one, I need to fix both equally.

    I'm envious after seeing pictures of your Stenner pump. I'd like to make it work here but Vegas isn't a good place to install one of those outside.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Mod Squad tim5055's Avatar
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    They actually make a "rain cover" for the Stenner so it can be installed outside. Bleach would probably be stable enough as fast as it would be consumed.

    But, a SWCG may be your best bet.
    TFP Moderator 39 X 18 23,000(ish) freeform gunite; built 2007ish; Pentair Triton II TR100 600lb Sand filter; 2 HP Pentair pump with 2.2 HP AO Smith single speed motor; 2 skimmers, 1 main drain, 4 returns w/waterfall, Stenner 45MHP2 3GPD running@ 60% - 15 gal Tank; heated by the sun CYA 200+ when I started - 50 now. Dolphin Supreme M5 Pool Cleaner. Hot Springs SX Spa, 285 gallon

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    So, you are saying that your softener is regenerated in 15 minutes?
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    So, you are saying that your softener is regenerated in 15 minutes?
    No, sorry I wrote that poorly. The water softener takes over an hour to regenerate.
    However, I'm able to fill my pool with soft water for quite a few hours before the softener regenerates. It does require a bit of watching for when the softener starts to regenerate, but I do that to ensure that I maximize filling the pool with soft water.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by tim5055 View Post
    But, a SWCG may be your best bet.
    I'll look into that. I don't have a pool heater either, so that's one improvement that I'd like to make. And I will also be looking at getting robotic cleaning equipment. I'll have to rank order the possible upgrades; I'm not going to do all at once.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
    No, sorry I wrote that poorly. The water softener takes over an hour to regenerate.
    However, I'm able to fill my pool with soft water for quite a few hours before the softener regenerates. It does require a bit of watching for when the softener starts to regenerate, but I do that to ensure that I maximize filling the pool with soft water.
    Yes, I was going to say....that would be the first home softener in history that could do that.

    If you are watching this, and cutting off by monitoring gallons used...or however you are marking your cutoff time, you might pull a CH test on it close the end of the run. This will tell you if you are getting leak through before you should, and if your softener is performing well. There should be less than 3 Grains or 51 PPM. Your CH test should show little to nothing at this point of the run.
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    If you are watching this, and cutting off by monitoring gallons used...or however you are marking your cutoff time, you might pull a CH test on it close the end of the run. This will tell you if you are getting leak through before you should, and if your softener is performing well. There should be less than 3 Grains or 51 PPM. Your CH test should show little to nothing at this point of the run.
    I shouldn't need to do this again for a few months, but the next time I do, I'll make sure to test the tap water ~4 hours after starting to fill the pool.



    After doing searches, I've only seen a few posts that talk about putting soft water into a pool where the local water is hard and the biggest negative comment I've read is that you'll deplete the soft water. While that's true, it takes a lot longer to deplete softened water than most people think ... of course, it likely depends on the capacity of the water softener in your house.
    I'm going to guesstimate that I got at least 3000 gallons of soft water out of my water softener before it recycled.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
    I shouldn't need to do this again for a few months, but the next time I do, I'll make sure to test the tap water ~4 hours after starting to fill the pool.



    After doing searches, I've only seen a few posts that talk about putting soft water into a pool where the local water is hard and the biggest negative comment I've read is that you'll deplete the soft water. While that's true, it takes a lot longer to deplete softened water than most people think ... of course, it likely depends on the capacity of the water softener in your house.
    I'm going to guesstimate that I got at least 3000 gallons of soft water out of my water softener before it recycled.
    The reason, at it's most simple that you don't see more people doing this is because most people who need a softener don't have one that will process more than several hundred gallons before needing a re-gen. If yours can process 3000 before needing one, that would be exceptionally unusual, unless your water isn't that hard. Usually, the average home softener is sized to handle 75-125 gallons per day, per person in the household. More info is needed, but this is about the norm, and its why you don't see more talk about doing it. If I could get 3000 a run from my softener, you'd never hear me chirp about my CH level again. As it stands, I would need about 9 more units to get that volume from my water well. And a truck to deliver salt once a week would be nice.

    EDIT:
    I did some looking, and found that the highest flow rate from any softener Kenmore has is 9 GPM of flow, with 31,100 Grains Capacity. In 4 hours, that's 2160 gallons. If you give me your makeup hardness, I can tell you how many gallons of soft water that will make.

    I'm not posting this to smash your idea, but we get this topic fairly often. People asking why they just can't use their softener to fill their pool.... What we find more often than not, is that their softener cannot even keep up with reasonable amounts of makeup, unless the pool is pretty small. Sure, it can help, but most of the time the numbers don't support it as a practical alternative. I use some soft water makeup, and it helps, a tiny little bit. Just enough to make it worth the hassle, but I do it. I'm considering adding another unit to my system this summer to make it a little more helpful.
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick_B View Post
    EDIT:
    I did some looking, and found that the highest flow rate from any softener Kenmore has is 9 GPM of flow, with 31,100 Grains Capacity. In 4 hours, that's 2160 gallons. If you give me your makeup hardness, I can tell you how many gallons of soft water that will make.

    I'm not posting this to smash your idea, but we get this topic fairly often. People asking why they just can't use their softener to fill their pool.... What we find more often than not, is that their softener cannot even keep up with reasonable amounts of makeup, unless the pool is pretty small. Sure, it can help, but most of the time the numbers don't support it as a practical alternative. I use some soft water makeup, and it helps, a tiny little bit. Just enough to make it worth the hassle, but I do it. I'm considering adding another unit to my system this summer to make it a little more helpful.
    I'm in the city of North Las Vegas. According to their website, the water hardness is "The hardness of Las Vegas Valley Water District water is about 285 parts per million (ppm) or 16.7 grains per gallon, categorized as "very hard." " http://www.lvvwd.com/wq/facts_hard.html
    There's very little iron in the water so I don't need to increase the softness setting for iron.
    My softener setting 'should' be around 17 or 18 but I've tweaked it to the point where we like a 23 setting, although I brought it down to 18 during most of the pool refill.

    The exact model number of my Kenmore water softener is 625.383500.


    I seem to remember my water softener in Tucson cycling every hour or so when I filled the pool. I will have to check the tap softness next time I run the softener here in Las Vegas for 4 hours, but the CH in my pool dropped considerably. The softener definitely did not cycle every hour when I was filling the pool because I watched it very closely the first couple of times between cycles.

    EDIT: This is a fairly new water softener, added by the last owner in 2013 or 2014. After looking at the latest water softener material out there, it looks like the new generation of water softeners are able to supply a lot more softened water between cycles. My softener is rated at 32,100 grains@13.3 lbs salt dose.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    It is the criteria, but "very hard" is amusing to me at 285/16.7.

    That's great for you though, with that softener, you can get a little over 1900 gallons of soft water from it when it's performing correctly.

    Wish I could do that!
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    I see what you mean; I just looked up Midland's water hardness. That's very hard water.
    Tucson's water was about as hard as Las Vegas' water.

    I can see why you've had such difficulty with water hardness in Midland.


    And thanks for posting the numbers; sounds like a bit under 4 hours is what I should get from newly recharged to depleted. Of course while you're actually filling your pool from the water softener, time stands still. In my case, all I was hoping for was to finish up before the wife came home.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Yea, and I'm out in the county where it varies a lot. I'm 700+ CH, but I have nearby neighbors who are north of 1200 CH.
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Ifly, just so you know, you CAN plumb your outdoor faucet nearest the pool to your softner system, making top ups less of a hassle. But if you use the same faucet for plants, they won't love it

    I have one outdoor faucet that's soft, and another around the corner of the house that's hard.
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    Re: How I lowered my CH in an area with very hard water

    Quote Originally Posted by Swampwoman View Post
    Ifly, just so you know, you CAN plumb your outdoor faucet nearest the pool to your softner system, making top ups less of a hassle. But if you use the same faucet for plants, they won't love it

    I have one outdoor faucet that's soft, and another around the corner of the house that's hard.
    A neighbor in Tucson (when I lived there) had that done for his pool. I'm too cheap for that.
    If I were to get a faucet plumbed for soft water, it would be to wash the cars. But I still wouldn't use it enough to justify the cost ... it's not hard for me to disconnect the clothes washer cold water hose and hook up a garden hose to wash cars and fill the pool.
    Since I have and religiously use a pool cover (and did the same in Tucson), I should only need to do one annual drain/refill with soft water.

    And if I were to have an outlet plumbed with soft water, I'd have the autofill plumbed and then simply use hose water if you need to increase CH.

    A lot of ways to accomplish the same thing - it's whatever works best for each individual.
    Our pool is 15,000 gallons fresh water with a Hayward C5025 cartridge filter system; inground plaster. We bought the house Oct 2014.

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