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Thread: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

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    How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    So I just ordered my TF-100 kit. I used the strips and noticed the pH was pretty high so I added the two cups or so of muriatic acid that the pool calculator site said to add. However. even holding it at arm's length, I got a whiff of it and it is not something I want to work with often. I don't think I damaged my lungs but I don't want to chance it.

    I've also got some pH Down (sodium bisulfate) and I keep reading it's not good for plaster or for salt cells. Does anyone have any hard data on this? Would I have to replace the salt cell every five years if I use sodium bisulfate? It would be worth it to me to never deal with this muriatic acid again. I'm way too much of a klutz and I'm sure I'm gonna end up doing something wrong with it. How quickly is the damage to salt cells and plaster? Any definitive data on that?

    Thanks!

    Christian
    10k gal gunite/plaster Hayward OmniLogic panel with phone app Hayward ColorLogic Lights Hayward Heater Hayward AquaRite salt chlorinator Hayward Pool Vac XL Hayward Pump Four custom swim jets with 2 Hayward pumps

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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    There is a less potent version of Muriatic Acid. I think its 14.5%. It will probably say safer, fume free, green or something like that. Try that one.
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    jrs_diesel's Avatar
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Sulfates aren't good for any stonework, but especially porous stone like concrete and plaster. And as you learned, not good for the plates in a salt cell.

    I have a plaster pool and I use full strength hydrocloric (muriatic) acid, 31.45%. It takes a little time to get used to handling it, but as long as you are cautious, and stay upwind, you'll do fine. The fumes are the only bad side of muriatic acid. As you found out, it is very irritating when inhaled. I am not aware of any long term health hazards from very short exposures like catching a whiff of the fumes. Other acids are more nasty in that regard, where you can't smell the fumes before they do damage (nitric and sulfuric acid come to mind).

    Storing it is another small issue as well, but that goes for any strong acid. Never store acids near oxidizers (any type of chlorine), or fuel (gas cans). Muriatic acid is not temperature sensitive like liquid chlorine is, and can be stored outside. A good way to store a gallon jug is inside a five gallon bucket with a lid. The jug cap is NOT airtight, and some fumes can seep out (don't store near metal for this reason either). The bucket with the lid keeps the fumes contained. Also since I buy only one gallon at a time, the bucket functions as an overpack and catches any leaks (haven't had one yet). I'll bring the whole bucket to the poolside and deal with measuring and adding the acid, put everything back in the bucket and store it.

    I am a klutz at times as well, and get an occasional whiff of the fumes. I have not spilled any, and only splashed my self once on the hand. Rinsed it off in the pool and no problem.

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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    I've seen the green, kleen strip, and acid magic but they all have proprietary ingredients I'm not too keen on putting in the pool anymore than sulfates. I've been all over the internet looking for the 15.7% muriatic dilution I see mentioned on poolcalculator.com but not finding it anywhere.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I don't understand why it's so hard to find the 15.7% dilution but what I really think someone industriously minded person should do is come up with this stuff in smaller bottles that you can just dump most of the bottle in.

    - - - Updated - - -

    This pH reducer is actually marketed to the owners of saltwater pools (I think Clorox has something similar) and both are sodium bisulfate. You'd think they'd warn people. http://www.amazon.com/SaltScapes-Saltwater-Pool-Care-Reducer/dp/B00IYQDGEO/ref=sr_1_55?ie=UTF8&qid=1433208884&sr=8-55&keywords=muriatic+acid
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Lowes used to carry Crown Next Muriatic Acid which I believe is 14.5% but they have changed for some reason and now have Jasco Green Muriatic Acid which looks like its 20%. I don't see any propriety indgredients listed.
    http://www.jasco-help.com/uploads/ge...MA420_MSDS.pdf
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    The half strength acid (low fume) is usually not half the price, and in some cases is the same price as full strength acid (what a rip off). This is important to remember too, if you buy the low fume acid, you have to double the amount that you have to use, compared to the full strength acid.
    J.R.

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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Lowes still has both strengths in the paint department. Blue label is the full strength stuff and green label is the half strength. But, as has been pointed out, the 1/2 strength is about the same price - so you are getting less acid for the same money.
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Check the wind direction when working with acid and keep the bottle downwind when pouring.
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    jrs_diesel: when I read about putting the bottle in a garbage can, I first thought of the five-gallon bin thing so now I'm definitely getting one seeing that you're using it too. I had it outside near some of the pool equipment so I'm going to have to move it.

    I don't care about the price if the fumes are less, so I'm definitely getting the green kind. However, the way my lungs are feeling right now, I'm ready to drain and re-plaster the pool and replace the salt-cell annually if it means I can use the dry stuff. I don't know that I'll have to dilute it in water if I turn the swim jets on. It practically turns the whole pool into a river. Of course adding even more chemicals (sulfates) bothers me. I should have gotten the ozonation thing, but then I'd be running a mosquito farm here in Lousiana.
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    See the thread Sulfates why so bad? and Sulfates - what's the problem?. You will see sources that say that sulfates at around 300 ppm become an issue for plaster. There is also this paper that describes the far greater recrystallization pressure from magnesium sulfate compared to magnesium chloride for splash-out that could affect stone and concrete surfaces.

    Unfortunately, the salt cell manufacturers have not given specific sulfate limits where damage to salt cells is seen. Calcium sulfate scale is unlikely unless one has very high calcium and sulfate levels.
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    My TF-100 kit is in the mail but the strips measured the pool at pretty high total hardness so I'm guessing that's the calcium. Might make the sulfates bad. I definitely have to find the most diluted muriatic acid I can find. I'm still coughing like crazy over eight hours later.
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by christianday View Post
    So I just ordered my TF-100 kit. I used the strips and noticed the pH was pretty high so I added the two cups or so of muriatic acid that the pool calculator site said to add. However. even holding it at arm's length, I got a whiff of it and it is not something I want to work with often. I don't think I damaged my lungs but I don't want to chance it.

    I've also got some pH Down (sodium bisulfate) and I keep reading it's not good for plaster or for salt cells. Does anyone have any hard data on this? Would I have to replace the salt cell every five years if I use sodium bisulfate? It would be worth it to me to never deal with this muriatic acid again. I'm way too much of a klutz and I'm sure I'm gonna end up doing something wrong with it. How quickly is the damage to salt cells and plaster? Any definitive data on that?

    Thanks!



    Christian
    muriatic acid gets a bad rap. yes, the fumes are a bit strong but some minor exposure it isn't going to hurt you. you can get it on your hands and its not going to peel your skin off....just wash it off with water.

    its the best thing for lowering pH and the cheapest. if you are worried about the fumes, wear a mask, or hold your breath

    but seriously, just be careful with it because as you learned its not fun to breath it in. like others said, just stay up wind and when you add it to the pool put the bottle really close to the water to avoid splashing.
    Dan
    9,000 gallon in-ground Saltwater pool, plaster, cartridge filer, 1.0 hp pump, Hayward T-15 SWCG, TF-100
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    I think this mask would help with the smell and fumes and 22 bucks is worth it

    MSA Safety Works 817662 Paint and Pesticide Respirator - Safety Respirator Cartridges And Filters - Amazon.com
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    jrs_diesel's Avatar
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    Re: How bad are the sulfates on plaster and in a salt pool?

    Casey, that face piece on that respirator would be fine, but the cartridges are not. There are specific cartridges for dealing with acid gas/fumes. Respirators are good, but you are stuck with whatever brand you buy. Cartridges are not usually interchangeable between manufacturers.

    I have a North Safety respirator with particulate filters for use around the house. It's useless for the fumes, and I looked into getting acid fume cartridges, but never did. I just stay upwind as best possible and move carefully when handling the acid. Like I said above, I catch a whiff every now and then, but that's it. Breathing slowly helps as well.
    J.R.

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