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Thread: Whew, taking back the pool!

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    Whew, taking back the pool!

    We put our pool in 3 years ago and had always intended to care for it ourselves - but somehow (due to injury, then our pool being "sold" to a new service and then sheer laziness) I've had it serviced until just this last month - I REALLY didn't love our last pool guy and finally decided to give him notice and figure all of this out myself.

    Whew - I'm REALLY glad I did - I used my shiny TF100 test kit the day after his last day of service...

    My numbers?

    FC -- 50
    CC -- 0
    TC -- 50
    Ph -- 8.2
    TA -- 150
    CH -- 530
    CYA -- 0


    I think he had NEVER tested my CYA - assuming that since there was yellow in a CL drop test that things were fine...we've had a calcium "dandruff" since we've owned the pool - I was told it was nothing - just a biproduct of salt and solar...

    A month later - I'm almost back under control

    FC -- 8 (I'm trying to get this down a bit more - salt cell is off until I get it to drop all the way - the CYA has been holding it in - and it's been pretty cool/cloudy here)
    CC -- 0
    Ph -- 7.5
    TA -- 110
    CH -- 530
    CYA -- 50

    my pool is no longer eating acid on a daily basis as it was at first and calcium dandruff disappeared instantly when I got the Ph down. I'll have to be careful to set my salt cell very low when I turn it back on and see what the right level is (it's way oversized - an IC40 on an 11k pool - overkill!) and I think need to up my CYA a little more. I'm not planning to do anything about CH - a 50% drain and refill is not in the cards with the drought restrictions in Northern CA this summer - will that cause problems if all else is in balance or do I need to look into some sort of floculant?

    I'm REALLY glad I decided to figure this all out and take it back over - I assumed the "pros" would know better than I how to take care of my pool - and it's always been sparkly and we've never had bad smells or cloudiness so I thought all was fine, I wish I'd done this sooner! - appreciate the help this site has provided!
    11.5K gallon IG gunite - L shaped pool - Pebblesheen finish
    SWG, Intelliflo 4x160, cartridge filter
    Heliocol solar

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    frustratedpoolmom's Avatar
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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Great post. You should be okay for awhile if you keep your PH below 7.8. Your TA is a tad bit high for an swg, but as you use acid to deal with PH rise, you should see the TA slowly lower into range. You definetly want to get the CYA to 70 for operating your SWG. Congrats on taking back your pool!
    Helpful links: Pool School; CYA/Chlorine Chart
    24' round AG pool, 52" high, Raypak heater; Waterway 2 spd Pump;
    150 Sq ft. Clearwater Cartridge Filter; Former and DISSATISFIED "Pool Frog" owner
    http://www.PerfectlyClearPoolService.com

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    duraleigh's Avatar
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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Hi, Jennifer,

    Very nice post and very nice work on your part! You have turned your pool from out of control into a friend you can be proud of.

    As FPM indicated, some very, very minor tweaking and you will have a trouble free pool for life. You did a nice job getting the grasp of the concepts we teach. I hope you stay on the forum to help others.
    Dave S. - Forum owner
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

  4. Back To Top    #4

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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Thanks guys! I really appreciate the support and encouragement - not to mention the great info on this site! My TA seems to be creeping down over time - so that is good, I'd like it a little lower, but since everything seems to still be clean and sparkly I'm not going to worry too much - I felt a lot better once I got it into "normal" territory (Lowered the PH a bunch and ran the water features to aerate it back up a couple times). The one thing I haven't grasped yet - why do I need the CYA higher if my chlorine seems to be maintaining? I worry that the salt cell is going to be putting out way too much (I think I was under 10% on production - but with the intelliflo we operate about 19 hours a day on low speed - it used to be 24, but when I saw how HIGH the chlorine was I ratcheted back trying to get it to lower,I'm worried it's too big and I will need to either filter less which I dont' really want to do with the wind/dust in my area or I'll need to downsize - is it possible for the SWG to be TOO big?) Will more CYA make it more likely that I have higher chlorine levels?

    Obviously this is one area I can read the tables on, but haven't fully grasped the why of yet I'm feeling pretty lucky things have gone so well so far!
    11.5K gallon IG gunite - L shaped pool - Pebblesheen finish
    SWG, Intelliflo 4x160, cartridge filter
    Heliocol solar

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    The SWG will last longer and your chemical levels will be more stable if you raise the CYA level. You will need to either turn down the SWG percentage further and/or cut the pump run time more if you raise the CYA level.

    When a SWG is dramatically too large the main issue is that the percentage setting provides only a very coarse adjustment. For example, if you are running at 5%, switching to 4% or 6% is a 20% change in chlorine production. You can compensate for this somewhat by changing the pump run time. A better long term solution is to get a timer that turns off the SWG some of the time that the pump is on. That way you can adjust the pump run time independently of the SWG percentage setting (assuming the pump is still running more than you want the SWG to run), and run the SWG at a much higher percentage (but for fewer hours).
    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

  6. Back To Top    #6

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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Jason - that is a really interesting idea - do I need to unhook my IC40 from the Intelllitouch system and power control center to do that? If I do that I lose the ability to change the output beyond the 20/40/60/80/100 levels that can be done manually -- but I suppose that could work if I could pick 20% and run it for a block of time instead of all along my filtering time (I know I WAY over filter with at least 2-3 turnovers a day especially when our solar kicks on - but I like how clear the water is and with the low filter speed I've been able to stomach the electric bills).

    So strange I never worried about chlorine before - I just need to get some sort of system down so I have enough but all my other chems are in balance too!
    11.5K gallon IG gunite - L shaped pool - Pebblesheen finish
    SWG, Intelliflo 4x160, cartridge filter
    Heliocol solar

  7. Back To Top    #7
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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    some questions and some helpful info:
    do you keep your pool covered with a solar cover much of the time? If you do it will keep your FC levels high. When you test FC do it during the middle of the day and in the afternoon when the pool has been uncovered so you can get a better idea of FC after maximum loss from sunlight. It might be lower at this time and it really should be when you are testing.

    How low a percentage can you set the SWG with the Intelletouch? I assume it can bet set at low as a few percent output. Nothing wrong with this at all.

    Here are some 'advanced' water balance tips for SWGs
    water-balance-tips-for-a-swg-t3663.html
    Realize that with your high CH you do want to use every trick that you can to keep the pH from 'spiking'.

    As far as being oversized, it's usually a good thing. I have a pool/spa combo of less than 7k gal and have a SWG cell sized for a 40k pool. I just run at a very low output percentage. What output percentage are you running it on now?

    It's not just cell output that affects chlorine production but also pump run time. I unserstand about the dust and wind in your area but if your pump/filter is properly sized for your pool you should not really need to filter for more than about 12-14 hours on low speed with a pool your size to keep the water clear.

  8. Back To Top    #8

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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    waterbear - good to know you have been able to keep your small pool running with a big SWG - that makes me feel better - I'd been running at about 9% per pool guy instructions (ie they'd leave a note saying turn it down a few percentage last fall) but discovered once I took the pool over that that was giving me an afternoon FC of 50 - obviously too high! Right now it's off because we were trying to get the chlorine down and have been slowly dropping over the last 5 days, but I expect to turn it back on today - thinking about starting it at 2-3% (I can go as low as 1%) and seeing what I get. Currently I've been testing the CL morning and late afternoon to make sure we didn't lose too much - but until yesterday didn't see much difference (first sunny day in about a week). I cover the pool at night with a home made "solar sun ring" so I get fairly full coverage to keep the heat in - but mostly uncover during the day - sounds like I should keep doing that to get better FC readings!

    I may ratchet my filter time back further -- I think I'm in "fine tuning" mode now - hopefully I'll get it down in the next few weeks and be able to have things move along smoothly!
    11.5K gallon IG gunite - L shaped pool - Pebblesheen finish
    SWG, Intelliflo 4x160, cartridge filter
    Heliocol solar

  9. Back To Top    #9

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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer_in_Clyde
    I'm not planning to do anything about CH - a 50% drain and refill is not in the cards with the drought restrictions in Northern CA this summer - will that cause problems if all else is in balance or do I need to look into some sort of floculant?
    I live in San Rafael so am familiar with the water restrictions. You can do what I do which is to use winter rains to dilute the pool water. If you cover your pool, then have the pool cover pump add water back into the pool which I presume has some sort of provision for overflow into a sewage drain (you aren't allowed to drain into a storm drain that goes to the Bay). You should be able to get around 30% or so dilution over a typical winter season (the rain is enough for 50% water replacement, but if done as continuous dilution it's not as efficient).

    If you get your TA lowered, you should be able to manage your pool reasonably even with your higher CH (which really isn't that bad anyway). You can have less scaling in the SWG cell if you use 50 ppm Borates, but that's an advanced thing you can do after you're comfortable with everything else, such as SWG on-time and chlorine levels.

    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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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer_in_Clyde
    Jason - that is a really interesting idea - do I need to unhook my IC40 from the Intelllitouch system and power control center to do that?
    No, but you do need to cut into the cable between the IntelliTouch and the IntelliChlor, which would violate your warranty (if you still have one).
    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

  11. Back To Top    #11
    Guest

    Re: Whew, taking back the pool!

    You cover the pool at night but are running the pump 19 hours per day (and therefore the SWG also)? Try only running the pump when the pool is uncovered. It should solve a lot of your problem.

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