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Thread: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Well I have this brand spanking beautiful new pool that we just finished filling on Monday. PB tossed some CYA in and a puck in each skimmer and poured a little bit of acid in the first day. For better or worse it looks like he's leaving it to me to balance and manage which I'm perfectly ok with because I'm going to need to know how to do this. When he saw my TF100 test kit, he said I was the first customer he had ever seen go out and purchase a kit that comprehensive. Well, here I am looking for advice because I can't tell I'm making much head way with this thing and want to make sure I get it started out on the right foot. Here are my latest test results:

    FC - 0
    CC - 0
    PH - 8.4 (maybe higher?)
    TA - 70
    CH - 175
    CYA - 20
    Temp - 68

    So, obviously the chlorine and PH are issues that must be corrected. I already knew from reading on here that PH will be an issue with the new plaster. We've added a total of 2 gallons of muriatic acid since Monday, and I can't tell it has dented the PH issue. My color block goes up to 8.2 and the color is even more purple than that, so I'm guessing it is higher. How long can this go on before it starts causing issues?

    I can't tell the trichlor pucks are doing anything for my FC, so last night I added a gallon of bleach. Last night I was showing some chlorine, but it must have burned off today. I'm guessing that must mean that I need to raise the CYA. I did buy some of that and have it on hand, so I can add it, but wanted to make sure I'm doing this in the right order.

    So, pour on the recommendations! Thank you!
    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Hey Dirtworm - I'd check out this article and follow it as close as you can.

    Pool School - Start-up New Plaster
    ~17k gallon, plaster/gunite pool, Pac Fab Challenger Pump 1.65HP, Sand filter. Rheem Heater. Waterfalls with 1 hp pump. Main Drain and 1 Skimmer.
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    You're doing the right thing.
    You defintely need to lower your pH and keep in the range as the article on curing new plaster recommends.

    Very likely, you are going to need quite a bit of muriatic acid for the next few weeks, so stock up on a few gallons of it. Check your pH every day and adjust it if you need to.
    Since your pH is considerably above the max level that can be tested. CONSIDER YOUR PH to be 8.2 and dont try and guess at it., Add enough MA to get it to your target. Wait 20 minuets and test it again. Keep doing that until your pH is low enough to register on the test tube accurately. Be Careful with the MA. A little bit goes a long way. If you dont have a measuring cup, get one.

    Dont add any CYA yet, but add enough bleach to get your FC up to 11.5 percent of your CYA level. Try not to let the FC fall lower than 7.5% of your CYA level. You'll need to test FC every day and add bleach as needed to stay within range.

    You should also raise your CH to recommended level for curing new plaster.

    And always use Pool Math to tell you how much of which ever chemical to add in order to get to your target level.
    Divin Dave,
    IG Vinyl, 15' x 30', 3 1/2' - 6' deep, Oval, ~15K gal, Intelliclor IC40, Intelliflo VS pump, Clean and Clear 420 Filter, auto-fill-disabled, Retrofit LED Color Light, Dolphin Nautilus Robot, TF100 Test Kit, Taylor K1766 Salt Test Kit, Tftestkit Pressure Gauge.
    www.tftestkits.net Experience- it's what's learned just after you needed it most !!

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Congratulations Dirtworm on your new pool - Pucks take a while to dissolve, so you won't see any spikes in CYA or FC. I would continue to add bleach or Cal Hypo (you should increase your CH a little more) over the next few days. I'd maintain my FC level on the high side (around shock levels) just to clean anything foreign that may be there. You want to get your PH lower by adding acid. Go slow and test often as you may get wide swings in results in the beginning. I seem to remember my PH, TA were bouncing around weirdly for a few days when I first resurfaced my pool.

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Thanks for reassuring me not to get too concerned just yet. I added another gallon of acid about 3 hours ago and retested a few mins ago. Still registered off the charts so added another half gallon and will let all of that circulate until tomorrow. I'll check again tomorrow and see if that did any good and add more if needed. I'll actually need to pick some more up now. Doesn't muriatic acid lower TA also? Is this something I'm going to need to push back up with all the acid being added?

    I also added some bleach to get some chlorine back in. When I tested a few mins ago it was up to 6.5 FC now.

    PB actually said to add some CYA, so I have that in a sock in the skimmer. I'll do another full test tomorrow after work and post results here.

    PB is supposed to be bringing some calcium by for me to add to get that up.

    Thanks for the advice!


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    TA of 70 is good but on the low side. PH is known to swing widely with a lot TA.

    Are you brushing the pool and running the pump and filter constantly? You should. I'd keep the CL where it is now in that 7 - 10ppm range for the next few days. Once things stabilize, I'd go to 3 - 5 ppm. Make sure your pool is recirculating so you can get an accurate PH reading. Check the PH tomorrow and if it's still high, add more acid. Double check your kit to make sure you're measuring the PH right as well. PH/TA should settle in the next few days. Don't panic and don't make crazy drastic additions. I remember I went back and forth with my PH because I was impatient.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Yeah pump is running 24x7 right now. Running fast for 12 hours during the day and throttling to a lower RPM for the 12 hours at night.

    Brushing at least once per day and twice if I get a chance to do it.

    PH swings I could understand, but I haven't been able to move the needle down at all that I can tell. Pool is about 25k gallons and I'm in only 3.5 gallons of acid total so far, so maybe that is to be expected. I also have a spillover spa which I understand from reading here can increase PH. I'll keep dumping acid a little at a time until it gets down. I just didn't know if I was under some sort of time crunch to get it down within a few days before some sort of damage started to happen.

    Thanks for all the insights!


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Maybe cut off the spa and even add MA to the spa first and check if the PH is going lower in it. You're probably closer than you know it.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    The recommended TA level for saltwater pools is 60-80. So, 70 is fine.

    More here, Pool School - Recommended Levels
    And here, Pool School - Water Balance for SWGs
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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Looks like I finally got enough acid in to move the PH needle. Here are the latest numbers from this afternoon:

    FC - 0
    CC - 0
    PH -7.8
    TA - 40
    CH - 250
    CYA - 20
    Temp - 66

    I added more bleach and will be adding some baking soda to try to get my TA back up. Will probably add a little more acid this evening also. The CYA I added yesterday was still working to dissolve. PB came by and added some calcium which is why it went up from yesterday. Maybe things are going to start coming together.




    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Baking soda will raise your PH which you just lowered. You don't want to get in the game of adding acid, adding soda, adding more acid over and over again. I'd let things settle out a bit first. Low TA may give you the wide PH swings. Are you recirculating your water well enough to get a good sample to test? I'd do things very slowly at this point. I'd also make sure I know what the PB is wanting to put in the pool before he does. Certainly don't have him add anymore CH at this point.

    You need to keep your FC levels up. You need to maintain 3 - 5 ppm at a 20 ppm CYA. You should not be at zero. Add enough bleach to get it to at least 5, then see how long it takes to go to 3, then add more to get back to 5 and do over and over and over. Chlorine is your friend, you must maintain it in your pool always. You need to check your CL and PH every day until you get a handle on things.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    The chlorine is burning off during the day. I've been adding it in the evening and confirm there is still some in the morning. By the time I get off work in the evening it is back to zero, but I am testing and adding each day.

    I'm going to be taking tomorrow off, so I can check it a couple of times throughout the day to see what it is doing.

    Didn't realize the baking soda will raise PH. That's why this is all confusing. The articles and charts all recommend maintaining certain levels of these things, pool math says to add things when they are low, but apparently there are reasons not to do so. Anyway, that's why I'm here to try to figure this stuff out. Thanks.


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    A higher CYA will help FC burnoff but then you need to maintain a higher FC. It's all a balancing act.

    Please realize that you have to always keep FC in your pool. It is what sanitizes the pool keeping out the nasties. For a pool your size, using the pool calculator, you need to add over 2 gallons of bleach or 3.2 jugs of 96 oz bleach to go from 0 to 6 FC. If your losing FC fast, it could be because of something else besides burnoff from the sun. If people are swimming they have natural oils, etc., that need to be sanitized. Maybe you have some other stuff. You need to stay on top of this. If your FC is going to zero fast, you may be having an algae bloom and may need to slam (shock) your pool with a large dose of CL (bleach). Check your FC level tonight then check it first thing in the morning. If your FC level goes lower than 1 ppm you need to shock your pool. If you are losing FC at night then that tells you that something else besides the sun is using up FC.

    At 20 CYA you need to add 10 ppm of FC in order to shock. Which according to the pool calculator is 5.5 jugs of bleach. The key to maintaining a sparkling pool is to keep your CL in check. It's always better to be on the high side versus the low or no CL side. PH, TA, CH, CYA will stay pretty stable once everything is dialed in (although I seem to remember my PH/TA to be up and down the first couple of weeks when I resurfaced my pool).

    Long term the only thing you should be putting in your pool is bleach with an occasional acid or soda ash to adjust PH/TA. If you get tired of going to Walmart for bleach then a good alternative is to get a SWG. But even that is not hands off. Your PH will rise with a SWG, so you will have to occasionally add acid but not as much as you have to add bleach right now.

    The Pool Calculator

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart

    Pool School - SLAM - Shock Level And Maintain
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    I have a SWG but since the pool is new I have to wait about 3 more weeks before we add salt and turn it on. Things are looking good today. Here are the latest numbers as of 12 noon:

    FC - 4 (also 4 at 7:00 am this morn)
    CC - 0
    PH - 7.5 (was 8.2 this morn so added acid per poolmath)
    TA - 80 (added baking soda last night)
    CH - 250
    CYA - 30 (still a little dissolving in the skimmers)
    Temp - 66

    Maybe things are starting to come into alignment for me. I'll make sure to keep a close eye on the FC today and add more bleach if it gets down to 2 or lower by this evening.

    Pool is looking awfully sparkly! Getting excited for it to warm up and finally get to swim.


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    ^ I totally missed you had a SWG. Wow, you have a great system and your numbers are looking fantastic. Smooth sailing from here on out. Nothing beats a Warm sparkling pool. I love my pool water hot. A pool covers helps a lot. A couple of my solar panels have a leak so I haven't been running it but with the cover alone the water is up to 84 degrees but I still like it a little warmer (like 87). LOL. I'm jumping in and barbecuing tomorrow before the big NCAA Final Four games.

    You are doing great.
    36,000 gallon IG Gunite (40 x 20), 1.5 HP Hayward pump, Pentair Nautilus NS-48 DE filter, 2 skimmers, 12 - (2 x 20) Fafco Solar Panels (Goldline controller not hooked up yet), Hayward Swimpure Plus SWG, Blue Pearl Robot cleaner. New Dr. Wellness X-12 standalone Lifestyle Spa.

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtworm_ato View Post
    I have a SWG but since the pool is new I have to wait about 3 more weeks before we add salt and turn it on.
    CYA - 30 (still a little dissolving in the skimmers)

    I'll make sure to keep a close eye on the FC today and add more bleach if it gets down to 2 or lower by this evening.
    Welcome to TFP! Glad you found your way here.

    With a tested CYA of 30 and some still in the bag, you should assume you have CYA=40. Per the , Chlorine / CYA Chart your absolute minimum FC should be 3ppm and NEVER lower. Your target minimum should be around 5ppm. If you find that our FC is dropping below the minimum before you test, then you need to add more to start from a higher level so that it never drops that far. If you know your daily FC burn off is 2-3ppm, then start at 8ppm and add if below 5ppm. No more sub 3ppm FC or you will have to start fighting that nasty algae monster!

    It's great to hear you are seeing a sparkly pool! I think we're all getting anxious for it to warm up enough to swim.

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Thanks for the reminder on the CYA/Chlorine levels. I amped it up to FC of 8 this morn and will try to maintain it around there. You guys have been great for this newbie.


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    So we are getting our first major rain since filling last week. What can I expect to happen with my water balance when this is over? It will probably rain all night.

    I bumped PH down and FC up this morn. If the rain ever breaks for a few mins I'll run out and test everything again.


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Rain has very little effect on pool chemistry. It sometimes bumps up ph a little from aeration, that's pretty much it.
    32K gallon Plaster - CircuPool SJ-55 SWG - 1hp Hayward 2 speed Super Pump - Hayward S200 Sand Filter - TF100XL/K-1766
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    dirtworm_ato's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me Get My New Pool Balanced

    Good to hear. Thanks!


    Little Rock, AR - 25,000 Gallons Free-form Gunite (2017)
    Pentaire Intelliflo 2 3hp VSP & Intelliflo Whisperflo 3/4hp pump for water features
    Mastertemp 400K heater
    Clean and Clear Plus 420 sq ft cartridge filter
    Intellichlor IC40 & Intellitouch Controls

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