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Thread: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed



    Beginning tomorrow, Saturday June 6th, we will be readying our pool for our addition of an AutoPilot SWG on Tuesday, June 9th. My husband is flying into town on the latest flight there is tonight, and it is delayed, hence my appeal to you for opinions.

    I have done the local shopping, including 20 bags of coarse solar salt (can't remember brand, but something Waterbear spoke of), and 10 4-lb. containers of Aqua Chem "Balance + Protect" Calcium Hardness Increaser. DH had sent me off to Lowes for Cargill Solar salt fine grade, but the stores inventory had substituted the coarse Diamond Crystal for the Cargill. I bought it anyway, after consulting with the local firm doing the install of the SWG.

    recent pool numbers are:

    FC 6 (coming down from the recent shocking and lowering of extreme CYA by way of waste and fill)
    CC present but far less than .5 I think (the tiniest amount of pink scurried away with one drop on a 10mL Taylor test)
    pH is 7.5, maybe 7.6
    TA is 110
    CH is 160
    CYA is 60
    Current, (before any change/addition) salt content is 527 ppm; pool company reading
    Phosphates roughly 1000, maybe more (first time using test at home)
    Borates approx. 15 maybe less (first time using test at home, Borax recently used to up pH from a low 7.0)

    Question # 1: Should I add the calcium increaser by broadcasting one or two bottles tonight?

    I need to up that Calcium Hardness and I have the 4 pound Aqua Chem bottles to do it. I have what we're guessing to be more of a 25,000 gallon pool, smaller than the previously calculated 30K. The deep-end walls are really an upside down Mayan pyramid, so the volume is smaller than if the walls were straight.

    My husband wanted me to get started on this straightaway, but I hesitate. Maybe I will wait and add the Calcium Hardness Increaser at dawn tomorrow, depending upon whether or not any of you are at your computers on a June Friday night!!

    Thank you very much in advance,

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    Well, I'm on. Not exactly bar-hopping these days.

    I'm not familiar with that AquaChem product, but your info says "paint on plaster". So I'm wondering what condition the paint is in? Painted plaster - CH levels aren't as important with normal plaster. So I'm not sure you even need it at all.

    What's on the active ingredient label?

    You're in great shape, and increasing the calcium isn't essential to starting up the swg....if it needs adjusting, it can be done later.
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Hello FPMom!

    Unsurprisingly, there is no ingredient listed on the Calcium Hardness increaser bottle. All I can say is that DH shopped online for it after completely digesting everything he could from this website over the course of the past 3 days. He Hoovered the site, and he's a bit of a chem geek himself, so he probably chose something that is what is needed without junk that is not needed. (I trust.)

    His general plan of attack is:

    add calcium
    add the salt
    adjust the TA
    adjust the pH
    adjust the borax/borates
    adjust pH down with acid

    all in that order. He says he got this all from a diligent and focused week-long study of the benefits of this TFP site combined with lesser amounts of the stuff recommended on the stats from the AutoPilot SWG stromboli we are having installed on Tuesday.

    We are newbie homeowners of a 1952 pool. I know it is plaster, and I know from both observation and from recent accounts that this is a painted plaster cement? inground pool. Big however: this poor pool seems badly to need a refurbishment which we cannot afford to do right now. You can see the paint roller tracks; we heard from former pool guy that the last time it was painted was 10 years ago. It doesn't look pretty. Many areas seem to be pock-marked and dimpled, and in those dimpled areas, it is black-dotted. I worry that the plaster is gone altogether there and the black I am seeing IS the concrete.

    There's so much to learn, and all of this while I am learning how to identify poison ivy around the yard!!!

    Thank you to all for your kind help~~

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    Given the condition of the paint, adding CH is a good idea. There isn't any special need to do that first, nor is there any reason to wait.

    The only thing that has to be done is adding salt. Everything else can wait, or be done soon. Lowering the TA is likely to take a while, but you can get started any time.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    spishex's Avatar
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    Re:

    Quote Originally Posted by Lana537
    We are newbie homeowners of a 1952 pool. I know it is plaster, and I know from both observation and from recent accounts that this is a painted plaster cement? inground pool. Big however: this poor pool seems badly to need a refurbishment which we cannot afford to do right now. You can see the paint roller tracks; we heard from former pool guy that the last time it was painted was 10 years ago. It doesn't look pretty. Many areas seem to be pock-marked and dimpled, and in those dimpled areas, it is black-dotted. I worry that the plaster is gone altogether there and the black I am seeing IS the concrete.
    You're probably seeing either the old plaster or algae. The layer of paint itself could be up to 1/8" thick. To get through the plaster you'd have to go another 1/2" or so. Be sure to brush over those spots regularly so you don't get an accumulation of algae in them.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    Interim thanks to all of you. The rain has stopped; the sun is out, and today will be all about adding that calcium and quite a few bags of salt.

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    add calcium
    add the salt
    adjust the TA
    adjust the pH
    adjust the borax/borates
    adjust pH down with acid
    During this period, do not foget the single most importatn ingredient in the pool......chlorine.

    I would suggest testing at least daily and adding with clorox to keep it in the proper range until the SWG starts to take over.

    I would approach borates as an option to be done after your pool is balanced and the SWG is functioning normally.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
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    adding Muriatic Acid

    Can anyone advise EXACTLY how to add muriatic acid to the pool?

    Diluted, undiluted?
    Pump running or not?
    Deep end only, or everywhere? (Deep end "drain" return is now completely unclogged and works well)

    Thank you!

    Lana, who has read pool school and the lowering TA sticky, but I am confused and unclear.
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    you can pour slowly (acid stream approx the size of a pencil) in front of a return or mix it in a 5 gallon bucket and walk it around the pool. definitely want the pump running when you add chemicals. otherwise they just sit where you poured them instead of mixing in with the water.
    more information in pool school. pool-school/recommended_pool_chemicals
    16x32 21,000 gallon in-ground exposed aggregate, 1.5hp pump, 120 sqft catridge filter, birdcage, solar panels, aquavac tigershark qc robot.

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    The Tuesday morning report

    Pool company says the SWG is coming tomorrow/Wednesday, not today.

    Two days ago, we added that muratic acid as per Pool Calculator. The TA came down to 90 from 110; we churned the water as much as possible because the pH fell to 7.0

    We tried getting a pump from Home Depot to help aerate the pool, but it was a failure. We resorted to vigorous and lengthy sessions of serious water exercise/churning, a zillion bubbles being the goal. At one point we had the pH up to 7.1, but it fell back a bit.

    Due to all of our experiences with This Old House, we are afraid to hook up anything to our returns. With our luck, we'd break something--honestly. Lady luck hasn't been with us.

    Yesterdays numbers at 3PM:

    FC 9.5 high because we shocked the pool the night before, yes, having let the FC slip away from us
    CC 0 woohoo first time ever a perfect 0
    pH 7.05
    TA 100 creeping up?
    CH 350
    CYA 30 this is low, so I added some old shock chlorine with CYA in it yesterday evening.

    Thank you for reading; more later~~

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    If you have a sprayer connected to your garden hose you could use it to aerate as you refill the pool. Just put it on it's most forceful setting and then pin it in place over the surface.

    Or you can use a pressure washer if you have one handy.

    Regarding the main drain, a lot of the guys that do good restoration work in our area require that single main drains be replaced with dual, VGB compliant drains anyway, so you may find that the cover becomes a non-issue if you decide to resurface the pool.

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    The Thursday question of the day~

    Hello All~

    Briefly, the SWG and the Nature2 have been added to our pool, running as of 10AM this morning. DH says the pool man threw some shock of some kind (he took the packages) into the pool before he left because it seems the Nature2 wants to see high chlorine on startup.

    As of yesterday evening FC was 12; pool man did not test water before shocking--didn't ask us either.

    As of noon, our readings are these:

    FC - 17.5
    CC - 0
    pH - 7.4 (at last is has risen from 7.0 after having dropped the TA two days ago from 110 down to 90)
    TA - the test went totally odd for me, because of the high chlorine; will test again in a few hours
    CH - also odd, giving me the Fading Endpoint, even though I "tied up" the sample as per pg. 12 of Taylor book
    CYA - 60
    Salt - 4,040
    Borates - unsure--30 to 50

    I saw duraleigh post in another thread that he has swum in water with FC of 25. We're hoping that the SWG doesn't keep the FC up high for very long. It's time to read the directions from the Pool Pilot Digital. I think that this is the first one that our pool company has ever installed. They had no verbal directions to give us. We figured we'd study the manual very well.

    In the meantime on this hot day the Question of the day: Can we swim at an FC level of 17.5?

    Thank you very much,

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Lana537's Avatar
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    Oh, what the hay.....

    ....going on duraleigh's post---in we go!

    Here's sincerely hoping that my hair doesn't turn green*......otherwise I'll have to ask duraleigh for a good hairdresser in the Triangle!

    Lana

    *I didn't want the Nature2--I listened to the advice, but was trounced in the voting.
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    I haven't seen any Pool Pilot SWG's in Chapel Hill so you may indeed have one of the first.

    You know about the Nature 2, so I won't go on about it, but please don't spend $100 every season on a new cartridge. Not only does it need chlorine at start up, it needs it all the time. Sounds like a chlorine pool, right?

    Chlorine won't turn your hair green, and there's no copper in OWASA water, but in the event something happens I know a great stylist in Durham.

    Enjoy!

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    Moving right along....

    So we decide to test the FC for the end of our swimming day (5PM): 22!! Whoa!

    DH phones the pool company; turns out the fellow who came out this morning to turn on the Pool Pilot and who never tested our water or asked about it, simply assumed we were at zero, so he decided 24 hours of Boost was what we needed, in addition to 3 pounds of shock. DH learns from the woman on the phone, that no, there's no 24 hour break-in period required for the machine, so we changed the Pool Pilot to normal purify at 33%, at power level 1, the lowest of 3 levels.

    Will have a report in the morning~~

    Thanks everyone~~

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project

    Well, we've had the SWG off for 2 days now, and all too slowly the FC of 22, from the pool man putting us on boost and giving us 3 pounds of unidentified shock, is coming down to 18.5. The whole daytime today, it didn't budge. We started at 18.5 at 8AM, splashed in the pool all day, and now at 7:30PM, it is still 18.5.

    It's as if the pool took chlorine Viagra.

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    Sunday, June 14th

    Our pool is in need of a painting, but this will have to wait until next year. I was quoted roughly $4,000 to paint the pool two coats of epoxy paint.

    Yesterday, the wall of the shallow end (heavily shaded) seemed to look a bit yellow to me. When I rubbed my hand across the wall, I'd leave a white stripe and the whatever stuff would easily come off and cloud up the pool. DH charged into action and scrubbed all the walls.

    This morning at 6:30 AM, the pool had cleared a bit from the onslaught. Here are our most recent results.

    With Jason Lion's advice, I think our TA has been down at 50 for days; I just didn't trust what I was seeing with the odd colors on the TA test Thursday.

    FC - 14
    CC - .5 or less
    pH - 7.4
    TA - 50, was likely 50 on Thursday, down from 100 Tuesday
    CH - 415
    CYA - 60

    Pump running 24/7; SWG has been off (0%) since early morning Friday morning.

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    As per Pool Calculator

    We've added one box (~4lb) of Borax and 4 of the 8 boxes of Baking Soda called for. We need to get more baking soda, but will test again first before throwing in the other 4 boxes.

    CH is high; we hesitate to backwash/waste right now. We'll see how we do in the next week.

    Thanks~~

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    An update, one month later

    Hello All,

    Once again, many thanks to all here who patiently helped me and DH through this adventure of opening, clearing up our pool, and adding a SWG.

    For anyone who might read this thread in the future, I must say that it was a swirling storm at the beginning, but now, for the past month, this pool and its SWG have been like a rock! Solid, stable, reliable, and like a grown-up teenager, capable of being left alone for days at a time, even a week, with only the neighbor checking in briefly to see if everything is alright.

    We loudly sing the praises of Trouble Free Pool and its people, the BBB method, Auto Pilot's Pool Pilot Digital SWG, a top-notch test kit, and patience. Our pool water sparkles and is almost too crystal clear! (Every flaw, huge and tiny, is visible )

    The Pool Pilot Digital doesn't claim to have many brains or much in the way of sensors, but it does do a little bit in the way of holding back a percentage point or two when it senses the temperature fall, and then it restores itself to our preset percentage figure once the water warms up again. Over the past month, the days have been both sunny and cloudy, the leaves and junk in the pool have been either very present or non-existent. Bather load has varied from heavy to none.

    FC - consistently 5.0 (we keep it high because we are not always home)
    The CC is often split between 0 and .2
    The pH holds steady at 7.6
    The TA rides between 85 and 90
    CH is a firm 340
    CYA is 60 (goal is/was to raise to 70)
    Salt is 3720
    Borates seem to be roughly 30
    Phosphates are 1000
    Pool temperature is averaging 78.
    Pool gets vacuumed 2x per week.
    Pump runs 24/7

    We haven't had to touch the Clorox in a month or more. The pool water actually smells great. No pruney fingers! (DH's Nature2 has not turned my hair green yet )

    Happy Happy!

    Smishes,

    Lana
    25,000 gallon, refurbished 1960's inground concrete, Jandy sand filter w Jandy 1.5hp single-speed pump, Pool Pilot Digital SWCG+Chemtrol 2100+CO2 tank; PebbleTec White Pearl with 10% Cobalt Blue Dark Beadcrete by Olympic Pool Plastering, Georgia. Taylor K-2006 Test Kit; Aqua Check Salt test; LaMotte borates test, and Jack's Magic Sequest test kit; SparklyPoolitis level: extremely high.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: The Chapel Hill SWG conversion Project -- Opinions welcomed

    Congratulations!
    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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