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Thread: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

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    grumpy's Avatar
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    White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    If anyone remembers, I fired the pool guy and now I have to take over. The water was clear and sparkling. Got the Taylor test kit and everything but salt looked low. I've been lowering, refilling and testing then today...

    Decided to brush and vacuum before tackling all of the other things to get the pool into balance. The brush raises huge clouds of white which hang suspended in the water. What could that be? How do I get rid of it?

    Now that I think of it, the pump was off for about two and a half weeks while the builder looked for and repaired a leak in my filter. The water began to look pretty cloudy then but when the pump came back on, it cleared up within a day or two. Now it looks like it just settled to the bottom and sides.

    I sure will appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    You'll need to post test results. Without them, everyone is just guessing.

    Current ones are much better than the ones you took before.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
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    grumpy's Avatar
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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Yes, I suppose that updated test results would be helpful but will the reagents accurately test items in suspension and not in solution?

    I guess that I was kind of hoping someone had a guess.

    I'll stir it up really well tomorrow and post test results.

    Thanks again for your help.
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    You don't need to stir up the cloudiness in the water before doing the test results. If the water is over-saturated with calcium carbonate, that will show up without you having to create the cloud.

    Normally if you don't have the pump on then the lack of circulation can allow algae to grow in localized areas of the pool where chlorine may run out. Also, if you weren't manually chlorinating during the time the pump went off, the chlorine level may have gotten too low -- remember that your Intellichlor SWG doesn't work when the pump is off.

    My best guess, without any data, is that you started to get algae growth and when the pump went back on your SWG started to make chlorine again and that killed the nascent algae. However, this is just a guess and your test results will help determine if it's something else, like over-saturation with calcium carbonate that got filtered out when the pump came back on. Usually with algae growth, you'll see it without having to brush; the brushing creating a cloud sounds more like calcium carbonate. Again, current test results us will help figure this out.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    I've just finished the testing this afternoon. Too bad life gets in the way of playing with pool chemistry.

    Seems like I've developed another problem. As I've said, I've been trying to reduce the salt by draining and refilling. I've got it down from 5590 ppm to about 4500 ppm. Still a bit high but an improvement. Now to the problem. My intellichlor decided that the salt level was low sometime last night so it's not producing any chlorine. I've tried to field calibrate the cell but I think that my Easy Touch is interfering. I'll call Pentair tomorrow unless someone here has an idea.

    Now back to the clouds of white that floated up from the bottom of the pool.

    I just freaked out a bit since I'd been looking at a pretty and clear pool so I posted without testing. Here are the test results as of 3:30 PM EST February 8, 2009.

    FC -0 I figured this would be like this since my cell is not producing chlorine
    CC -0
    PH - 7.5
    TA - 40
    CH - 70
    CYA - didn't test but has to be 0 since I've not put any in.
    Salt - 4500

    I've read all of the pool school articles and am convinced that I did the testing procedures correctly, especially since the TA and CH results are the same as those from February 1, 2009.

    So I'm still puzzled. I made the mistake of going by the hardware store that sells BioGuard products and asked a few questions. The consensus was that I needed to add floc and vacuum or add Sparkle Up a filter enhancer. I'll go down that line if I need to but I'd rather not put stuff into the pool that really doesn't need to be there.

    Sorry for the long post but, again, I thank all of you for your patience and help.

    Jim
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    You need to get some chlorine in the water right away or you will have an algae problem. Now would also be a good time to raise the CYA level. Without CYA you are going to have a difficult time keeping any chlorine in the water. With a SWG the recommended CYA level is between 70 and 80. It is best to raise CYA in two or three steps. There is no rush on finishing raising CYA, but you do want to start raising CYA very soon.

    Your TA is low and CH is also low. Neither of those needs to be dealt with right away but you will want to raise them.

    You should check when the AquaChek salt test strips expire. They can read incorrectly when they have expired and sometimes they start to go a little before they are due to expire, particularly if they get even slightly damp.

    None of this helps explain the white clouds. My vote is dead algae, but that is just guessing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Yes, I plan to go to the store tomorrow to buy some shock treatment to get things going. Probably Calcium Hypochlorite since in need the calcium anyway. I'll get the CYA while I'm there too.

    A call to Pentair is the next move to find out how to calibrate my chlorine cell.

    The Salt test strips are brand new and expire February 2010. I've been careful to keep them out of the sun and to keep them dry. The readings that I've been getting are in line with what I expected based on the amount of water drained an refilled each time. I'm comfortable that they are right and the intellichlor is wrong. I suspect that the former pool guy was relying on the cell to tell him how much salt to put into the pool and that is what got me in this mess.

    It is becoming obvious that the white clouds must be dead algae. Everything is coming together to point in that direction......

    The big question now is ----- How do I get it out of the pool?!------ Floc and slow vacuum? Sand filter enhancer? I'm open to suggestions.

    Thanks again for your time

    Jim
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Read Defeating Algae in the Pool School. You need to shock the pool with chlorine to get rid of the algae. Just note that you also need Cyanuric Acid (CYA) in the water or else the chlorine will break down too quickly in sunlight. Since you've got to fight algae anyway, you should just raise your CYA level to 30 ppm since you'll need less chlorine to fight the algae -- around 12 ppm Free Chlorine (FC). You can use Pool Math to help figure out dosing.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    You were all right! But, you knew that anyway.

    Almost all of my cloudiness is gone. I'm a patient man but you didn't tell me that it would take this much patience. Actually only about a week of brushing, vacuuming and filtering.

    I'm still working on the salt and intellichlor cell differences before I finally get the pool all of the way into balance. I do have a question right now though. Here are my numbers from a sample taken this afternoon.

    FC - 12
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.5
    TA - 50
    CH - 80
    CYA - 30
    Salt - 4500
    Water Temp 58F

    My FC has been at 12 since last Thursday Feb, 12. I have not added any chlorine since last Wednesday Feb, 11 when I was still shocking for the cloudiness. Only a couple days of sunny weather since adding the cal hypo. Again, full sun for me is maximum 4 hours, the rest of the time is in shade.

    Isn't it odd that the chlorine has not dropped at all?
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Not really odd that your FC is holding since the water is on the cold side <58F>, compared to warmer water <75F and above>. Plus the chlorine is more stable since you added the CYA. I'd say you have a little bit of both those factors going on along with the minimal sun exposure on the pool. The chlorine will break down in two ways. #1 is sun exposure and #2 is organics.

    As far as filtering aids go, try adding some DE to your filter. Maybe 3/4 cup or so. It will help trap some of the sediment in your water. Once you back wash, you'll lose the DE so you'll have to add more if you find it works for you.

    HTH. If I'm wrong, someone can correct me.
    I'd bet you my bikini you'll never get TFP water from a pool store!

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    The salt readings given by most chlorinators are very inaccurate. I have a Goldline system, and the chlorinator says my salt level is 3000 ppm. The reading from the AccuCheck strips is 3660 ppm!

    I believe that the really important thing is to the the chlorinator happy. If it says the salt is low, add salt. Of course if the slat level is 5000 ppm and the chlorinator says it is 2000, then you might need a new cell or test probes.

    Your cold water temperature will also make the chlorinator read lower than normal salt. I have also found that the pH affects the the salt reading on my chlorinator. At a pH of 7.2 it reads more salt that at 7.6!
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Thanks dschlic1,

    I should be able to calibrate my intellichlor. I just think that the easy touch is interfering with my efforts plus the cell probably needs to be cleaned before I do anything else. The pool guy had a cleaning kit but I doubt that he ever used it. I'm waiting on the one that I ordered to arrive.

    I plan to heat the hot tub and see how much difference that makes with the intellichlor sensor. I don't have anything else to do while I wait for the kit.

    At least I can keep things together manually for the time being.
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Thought that everyone might like to see how the pool looks now.

    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: You were all right! But, you knew that anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy
    Almost all of my cloudiness is gone. I'm a patient man but you didn't tell me that it would take this much patience. Actually only about a week of brushing, vacuuming and filtering.
    I'm sorry I didn't warn you about that. About a week or somewhat less is about right for clearing a pool using chlorine and filtering alone. How fast depends on keeping the chlorine level up and on the quality of the filtering. It takes a little longer with a sand filter compared to cartridge which takes a little longer than with DE (hence the advice of adding some DE to the sand filter), but mostly in your case I think the colder water temperature is the main culprit since all chemical reactions slow down in colder water, including chlorine oxidizing the algae.

    Glad to see that it's not finally clear.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: You were all right! But, you knew that anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    Glad to see that it's not finally clear.

    Richard

    Thanks Richard, I think!
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Whoops! Delete the "not" and you'll know what I meant.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    It seems that at least some of the former cloudiness was perhaps caused by calcium scale. At this point, brushing does not raise any more clouds but I felt the side of the pool which, being fiberglass, should be perfectly smooth. It was rough as a cob and scraping with my fingernails did produce a small white cloud around my hand.

    I can only presume that the former pool guy let the PH get way out of control at some point since the CH is still pretty low in my water. Tough to see how calcium this low could cause scale.

    FC -5
    PH- 7.5
    TA - 50
    CH-80
    CYA - 30
    Salt - 4300
    I'm still moving slowly with lowering the salt before I start on anything else.

    Now, I've read that a way to get this off of the walls is to reduce PH to 7 or below and keep it there for a while. I have no way to isolate my AquaCal heat pump from my system. Will trying to get this calcium back into solution with low PH hurt the heater? I'm not worried about the intellichlor since a warranty replacement is on the way right now.

    What are the alternatives apart from learning to live with a rough pool?

    Thanks again,

    Jim
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    If you lower your PH down to around 7.0 it should slowly dissolve the scale off the walls of the pool and put the CH back into the water. If you lower the PH too low there can be damage to the heat pump/plumbing, but PH around 7.0 won't be any risk. This process may take quite some time however.

    Calcium dissolving is based on the calcium saturation index (CSI) being very low, while heater damage is based on the PH being very low. By keeping the TA and CH levels fairly low, as they are already, you can get the CSI very low while leaving the PH in a safe range for the heater/plumbing.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    Thanks Jason. I know that it will take some time with a CSI of -1.75 which is what I'll have at 7.0 PH according to the pool calculator but are we talking about weeks or months?

    The water is so inviting right now I'm very tempted to boost the heat in the spa and enjoy it this evening and start the low PH tomorrow or Monday.

    Jim
    12170 Gallon in ground San Juan Caesar's Palace fiberglass with integral Spa in a screened enclosure. 1 HP Pentair Whisperflow pump with Pentair Sand Dollar SD-80 sand filter. Intellichlor IC40 with EasyTouch wireless remote. Aquacal Heatwave Heat Pump. Taylor K-2006 and Aquachek Salt test strips.

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    Re: White clouds come from the bottom and sides when I brush.

    How long it takes depends on numerous things that it is difficult to know exactly, like how much calcium is really on the pool walls and how low you can keep the CSI (which will go up as the calcium dissolves into the water). I would expect it to take weeks, not days or months, but there is no way to be sure without trying it.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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