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Thread: New Pool and New to Pools -- Introducing myself

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    New Pool and New to Pools -- Introducing myself

    Hello,

    I just put up a new pool. Its the Intex metal frame 18 foot round by 4 foot tall pool.

    I'm throwing in a bunch of background so those who want to know where I'm coming from can. To skip the gory details, skip to the bottom.

    We decided (read that as: my wife talked me into) to get this pool instead of waiting a few years and get a permanent pool. At least in my city I didn't need to pull a permit for a storable non-metal sided pool. It'll be torn down in the fall and put back up in the spring. Aside from leveling the area it only took a couple hours to set up.

    I started reading as the pool was filling up and I read the Intex flier included with my pool that talked about salt water. My impression from hotel pools is that I really didn't like the chorine much, so I was intrigued. I found more info on salt water on various sites, and found a deal on e-bay for the Intex model 6110 Low Salt Automatic Saltwater System. Of course I ordered it, even before I figured out pool chemistry.

    A little more background on me. I'm a computer programmer by profession, and an electronics techie by nature. I own and run a software development company for the last 25 years. I can deal with pool chemistry pretty well. I ran a 75 gallon salt water aquarium back in the 90's for about 5 years. Also about 2 years ago I started a new 95 gallon salt water fish + reef system. When the budget allows I'm going to start another tank at around 200 gallons. So pH, ALK, Ca, are items I deal with every week or two. The nice thing about the saltwater aquarium, is once the tank is running for a year or so, everything sorta "balances" and runs itself with minimal maintenance.... Unless you decide to add new live rock, then its test test test until it balances again. One glaring difference... Cl is a definite no no in the aquarium.

    .....

    Of course after I buy the Intex salt water system, I finally find this site. Of course its after I go to the pool store and see the racks of buckets of "stuff" that I have no idea what to do with. I of course asked someone about it... he said... "most people buy this... and ummm this.... (pointing) and if its green then this... (pointing somewhere else). Quite an expert I thought....... So anyway I find this site, and read about BBB. Then I read lots of postings about pool chemistry here, and I think I have a good handle on the theory. Now I need to implement the practice side.

    I went to the pool store and picked up the CYA, and the test kits. The CYA was called "conditioner" not stabilizer, but armed with real info from this site, at least I could read the ingredients and know what I was getting. I went to the hardware store for the muriatic acid, the grocery store for the bleach, baking soda, but I couldn't find borax.

    Of course you'll find this funny, and quite predicable.... I found the bleach, alot of the no-brand bleaches don't list the % of the ingredients. After a little looking I found one clearly showing 6% sodium hypochlorite... $2.05 for a 1.42 gallon jug (don't know why its an odd volume). Then, 3 or 4 isles down, I see boxes of "pool shock". So I just had to look. In the boxes were 1 gallon jugs "pool shock". I pulled one out.... "10% sodium hypochlorite".... at the price of $9.99. Amazing, and just the type of upcharge for the "same stuff" I've read about here.

    Ok... I have most of what I need. The pool is full. The pump (and what I now understand is a undersized filter) is running.

    test.
    pH 8.2
    TC 0
    FC 0
    CYA 0
    TA 400+ ppm

    So in what I've read so far here, I start by fixing the pH. Using the handy dandy Pool Calculator (the link I found here too) I added the Pool Calculator amount of muriatic acid.

    And just like magic, the pH went to 7.3. So now I need to dump in the bleach and/or the CYA, if I'm reading things properly. I've read that I shouldn't worry about the high TA right now.

    Oh, I'm using my aquarium pH meter. Some would say that it couldn't work, like the pool store guy, but of course it works fine.

    So to the point.....
    I really feel like trying the salt water system. However, this salt water system (Intex 6110) isn't like the salt water systems I usually see described. Instead of adding salt to the pool, instead there is a tank on the unit. The tank gets manually filled (a little built in valve) and you add salt. The tank gets enough salt to get to 35,000 ppm. Yes I have the decimal in the right place. It cycles for a certain amount of time per day (in my case its supposed to be 6 hours) and makes chlorine.

    And my questions:
    1) I haven't found out from any reading of the manual or on the internet how much of this salt makes it into the pool.
    2) Also, other salt water systems I've seen described you put the salt in once. With this, you add salt every time you fill the tank on the unit. I'm just wondering why other salt systems don't "consume" salt, but this one does.
    3) Again, if I read things and interpreted them correctly, since the salt water system is really a chlorine based system, I should be able to start with the bleach and turn on the salt water unit later.
    4) With either method I have to control pH, CYA, TA, etc in the same way, right?
    5) I'm really curious if I'll get alot of "forget the salt water" responses.

    Also, don't hesitate to point out where I'm really off base. This is a learning process for me, of course.

    And of course my wife says.... "is it ready yet, is it ready yet, is it ready yet?" for swimming. I try to adhere to the sage advice "happy wife, happy life".

    Kevin
    P.S. oh, I'm long winded too.
    Yes, I have a pool.

  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Sounds like you are getting a handle on it. Salt systems work by electrolysis. The salt is broken down and chlorine and lye are produced. When the chlorine is "used up" it forms salt again and the salt is reused to produce more chlorine. Salt in the pool is nothing to worry about. The water feels much better and is easier on the eyes and skin.

    You'd be surprised how pleasant a well maintained chlorine pool is compared to your experiences with hotel pools. I have well water, and drink reverse-osmosis filtered water. I can detect chlorinated water as soon as the glass approaches my face to take a drink, but I NEVER notice any chlorine smell in my pool water. The chlorine smell in a pool is primarily an indication of all of the biological contaminants that are in the water forming compounds with the chlorine.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
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    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    Did I read your numbers right, TA was 400ppm???? Wow, I thought mine was high! How much did it come down with your PH?

    I saw those Salt Tank units at Intex, they also have the regular Generators for the larger pools. I thought their site mentioned that that type unit you have there with the tank was for their smallest pools under 7000 gals (with the very small pumps) and the regular generator was for the larger pools and regular AG pools up to 14600 gals? Just from the manuals and info on their site, I'm not sure that one can turn out enough chlorine for your size pool and your pump may push the water through too fast. You may want to check that out if you haven't fired it up yet, maybe exchange it for the Salt System Generator instead?


    BTW, welcome to TFP forum. Nice to see someone else from MN here - the land of "100 deg yesterday, snowing today - so quick, swim while you can!"
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: New Pool and New to Pools -- Introducing myself

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin_MN
    1) I haven't found out from any reading of the manual or on the internet how much of this salt makes it into the pool.
    Not sure
    2) Also, other salt water systems I've seen described you put the salt in once. With this, you add salt every time you fill the tank on the unit. I'm just wondering why other salt systems don't "consume" salt, but this one does.
    A standard unit works with the pool water and uses a salt level of 3000 ppm. That Intex uses the water in the tank instead of pool water. SWG are more efficent at high salt levels so they can use a smaller cell. The pool water only gains salt slowly.
    3) Again, if I read things and interpreted them correctly, since the salt water system is really a chlorine based system, I should be able to start with the bleach and turn on the salt water unit later.
    Yes. You can mix the SWG and bleach together at the same time if you want.
    4) With either method I have to control pH, CYA, TA, etc in the same way, right?
    Yes
    5) I'm really curious if I'll get alot of "forget the salt water" responses.
    I doubt it.
    Also, don't hesitate to point out where I'm really off base. This is a learning process for me, of course.
    You seem to be doing just fine.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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    Kevin,

    Welcome. You are certainly off to a flying start! You've got a great grasp of everything involved.

    As a next step, I would recommend you simultaneously add CYA and chlorine to protect your currently unsanitized pool. If you'll get the CYA in there now around 30-40ppm it will give your chlorine some protection. Otherwise, the Sun will quickly consume the CL in a matter of hours. I'd bring the Cl up to around 10ppm initially, adding it at dusk to allow it to work most effectively overnight. Don't be too surprised if a lot of it is gone in the AM.......you've probably got a few organics developing in there already and the Cl gets used up killing them.

    They CYA will take a day or so to become effective so expect additional chlorine loss up to that point. If all goes well, I would suggest a constant Cl level 0f 2-5ppm (you'll have to replenish every other day or so) until you decide what Cl delivery method you finally choose.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  6. Back To Top    #6
    Thanks to all for the great replies.

    I didn't have time to dump in the bleach and the cya this morning, but I'll do that tonight. Should I dump in the CYA all at once? The handy dandy pool calculator (love that thing) sez I need 35oz to go from 0 to 40ppm. Seems like a lot all at once.

    Yes, the TA was way over 400, after the pH went down to 7.3 it was just below 400. I haven't tested it with the reagents yet, I just used the strip to see what the ballpark figure was. (for pH I have the digital meter) I have the ALK test from the aquarium, so I'll check that more closely tonight, but, as I understand it, I needn't worry about it right now. I also read somewhere to lower the TA I need to lower the pH and aerate... not sure about swiming with the pH lower for that.

    My city uses well water, and in MN the calcium carbonate is high, along with iron (which the city tries to get rid of), and other yucky stuff. When I started my salt water aquarium a couple years ago, I decided not to fight it again, so I got a RO/DI system and then this year, and I ran it -after- the water softener. I use more salt, but the RO membrane lasts longer and so does my DI... I suppose I could have used the RO/DI water to fill the pool... hmmm 6,600 gallons, 75 gallons per day... I could have filled up the pool with nearly pure water in about 88 days.... and the bypass water would have put 66,000 gallons down the drain!

    The capacity of the pool is < 7000. Its 18 round and 4 feet high (really 42 inches of water), which if there were square bottom edges is about 6,700 gallons. However the vinyl of course has rounded bottom edges, and of course it also buldges a little. I've been using 6,600 as a good number for capacity. Intex specifies 6,410 gallons. So their generator should work. They call out a setting of "4" for my size pool. "4" means run for 6 hours per day. The next setting is "5" meaning 12 hours. So we'll see what happens. They also call out refilling every other day. Seems like alot. I'll find out how it works after I hook it up. I'll dump in the bleach to get things started.


    Kevin
    Yes, I have a pool.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    When adding chemicals it is usually best to do only part of the chemicals at first and then see where you get to and add more later. With CYA it is important that you get it well above zero, so I would aim for say 30 ppm on the first try instead of going all the way to 40 in one go.

    When adding CYA, if you pour it into the skimmer you need to not backwash for a week. You can also put it in a sock in the skimmer or hanging in front of a return. CYA can take up to a week to fully disolve.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  8. Back To Top    #8
    Guest
    The 'brine tank' SWGs are an older design not much used now. The problem is that the brine tank becomes very caustic after a while and needs to be emptied. Most modern SWGs use inline cells.

  9. Back To Top    #9
    Oh I sure hope the city does a very good job of removing the iron because if not and you bring the CL up to 10ppm, and the PH goes much higher than it is, you might have orange water.... I am sure no expert, but it is my understanding that bringing up the chlorine with a higher PH and Iron in the water caused my orange water mess....
    If you haven't already added the chlorine and such, I would take a sample in for iron testing first, you might need a metal sequesterent first? I think. Someone will correct me if I am wrong.
    Fort Wayne IG Vinyl 18 x 36 (22,000 G)
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  10. Back To Top    #10
    NWMNMom's Avatar
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    OMG, you out to see the color mine turned due to iron in the water when I brought the CL up with our fill in the new pool last year. Before that, all water had rigorously filtered for iron content. YIKES, we let down our guard and ....ever see Willy Wonka? Remember the parts with the chocolate river.....??? No kidding it looked just like that.

    Test your water and get some sequesterant. Menards carries Iron Myte, which works really well.
    18x33x52 Buttressfree Seaspray (Wilbar) AGP - 1.5hp Pentair Maxim w/22" Pentair Meteor Sand Filter, Aqua Rite SWG System, Biltmore Walk In Steps - 2/4x20 Solar Panel Setup - Doheny Jet Drive (RIP -Pool Rover Jr) - finally hard plumbed the whole darned thing -
    Beats Driving to the Lake!

  11. Back To Top    #11
    I thought I'd post and update about how my new pool is doing.

    I did test for iron and I was surprised to find that the city does get rid of the iron. It was undetectable. The city water report (they had it on the city web site) says they keep iron down to 0.053ppm.

    I put the CYA in the sock and hung it in front of the return.

    I added the bleach to get it to 3ppm, the next morning added enough to 5ppm, and this morning added more to get up to 10ppm. I watched my pH over that time, and I expected it to go down (it was 7.3) however it went up to 7.6. I left it that way because i didn't believe it, but when I tested it later it was still 7.6, so I put in a little muratic acid and it went right down to 7.4. So I guess things are working. A little note: Its been a little cooler the last couple days, so the temp was down 10 degrees F (75 instead of 85) in the pool from when it was pH 7.3. I know there is a temp/pH relationship in water, but I don't know what it is.

    I had noticed that the sides of the pool were beginning to feel a little slippery/slimy when I started. After the treatment so far I found it didn't get worse, and maybe a little bit better. So today I scrubbed all the sides and bottom with the brush. I vaccuumed again as well.

    When I was brushing the bottom I noticed a small amount of brown dust. I couldn't see it unless I was sweeping it with the brush. So I assume this is the beginning of growth of "something". I'm not conserned about it because the chlorine and the filter should take care of it soon.

    One interesting thing, however, I don't see the chlorine level dropping. It of course goes up when I add bleach. I test an hour or so after adding. As I said I'm up to 10ppm FC. I'm not adding any more until I see it go down.

    ALK has come down to 250, and hasn't moved since. I'm not going to deal with that yet.

    The filter is working fine and collecting that brown dust. Its a cartridge filter, I cleaned several times, and replaced once now.

    The CYA sock that I hung in front of the return is now empty, but I'm not detecting any with the test yet. I've read in this thread and others that the CYA may not disolve for up to a week. Since the sock is empty and I'm not seeing any on the test yet, I'm assuming it must be in suspension and it will come up over time? The sock was filled with about 1/2 of the CYA I needed. I won't put more in until I see it in the test.

    So thats the current status. If I understand things well enough, there's nothing unusual happening, except for th FC not comming down. But I'm sure it will... Oh, I've left the cover on during most of this time too.

    Kevin
    Yes, I have a pool.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    When you add bleach the PH will go up, then as the bleach gets used up the PH will go back down by the same amount. If you add bleach reguarly to replace what was used up the PH won't change much because of the bleach (additions and consumption will cancel out).

    It can be difficult to measure CYA below 20. In any case, give it the week and see where you are.

    The chlorine level should go down rather quickly if you get any direct sunlight (since you CYA should be near zero). It might well stay stable without sunlight.

    The dust was probably just dust.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  13. Back To Top    #13
    An update....

    Pool is working fine. No return of slimy vinyl. It takes about 1.5 cups of bleach a day. I've had to add a little muratic acid twice so far. CYA still not measurable, but its not been a week yet since I added the rest. I'm keeping the FC at 3. pH easy to control. And we can even swim in it!

    I'm glad to have found this forum. The BBB method is just too simple. My wife is in charge of feeding the fishes in the aquarium. I'm hoping she'll take over feeding the pool too!

    I never did connect up the salt water chlorine generator. I might sometime in the future.

    I added the poor mans heater to it last weekend. 250 feet of black garden hose + a utility pump. It isn't probably as efficient as those big black mats they sell. I don't like cold water.... 78 is the absolute minimum for me. Overnight the pool normally goes down to 74 or 72, but if the sun is shining I can get it up to 83 with the hose. I'd love to get it hotter so I could use it a couple hours into the evening.

    I was wondering how well those 4 x 20 foot mats work. Any reports?

    Another thought I had was to tap into the house hot water heater and make up a heat exchanger of some kind. Not sure how efficient I could make that work either.

    Kevin
    Yes, I have a pool.

  14. Back To Top    #14
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Congratulations!

    Solar is the way to go if you have somewhere to put it. Gas or electric heat costs can be astronomical. The mats are fine. You need to put them somewhere with many hours of direct sunlight. You can put them directly on the ground or rig up a frame of some kind to hold them or go for a more expensive install on a roof. Even a single mat will help noticably, the more the better.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  15. Back To Top    #15

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    I have 4 solar mats on my garage roof which faces south, catches the sun most of the day and is out of the north wind. They work great! Living quite a bit further south than you, I use mine to cool down the pool this time of year, water over 90 is just not refreshing. But in the winter I can keep the pool up to about 84 through November here and can get it back there by February. You have to have a solar blanket though or you will loose every bit of heat you gain during the day at night. Also, you have to be careful to turn the solar heater off on cloudy days, etc or you will cool your pool. Temps seem to go down much quicker than they come up.
    16x32 fiberglass pool
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