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Thread: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

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    Dirk's Avatar
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    Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Part 1

    Hi all, what an amazing site. You've inspired me to take over my pool chemistry. I always suspected the previous crew was not doing it well. Now, after visiting here, I don't see how they possibly could have been. In fact, that same crew destroyed my plaster with an acid wash, necessitating replacement. I went with a micro pebble. I'm now in the throws of startup, which was kind of dumped into my lap by both the plaster co and my new maintenance co (old crew walked off the job after they burned the plaster).

    The pool first filled on last Wednesday, so "Day 1" was Thursday. The new maintenance co did the "startup" that day, which consisted of a quick chem test and, in my opinion, a very hurried brushing. At that point, TA and pH were OK (city water). They did get the pump running, and convinced me to replace my cartridge filters. $400... poof!. As this was a three-day weekend, Days 2-4 of startup up were all on me! So I've been crash-coursing, trying to "do it right." Kind of overwhelmed at this point. My only resources (as both of my "pros" were out-of-touch this last weekend, were the handout left by the plaster guys, the internet and the local Leslies store. The little test kit the previous home owners left me was my entire suite of equipment. That and a brush, a couple bottles of MA and chlorine, left by the maintenance co. So...

    Day 2 I noticed a spike it TA. Leslie's confirmed that, along with OK pH. I hadn't added chlorine at that point. Long story short, over the weekend I've done the following. I've been adding MA, 20oz at a time, first diluted in a 5-gal bucket of pool water, every 2 to 4 hours during the day. I brush a lot, and at least a little after every chem. I did so until the pH got to the 7ish level, then I started aerating. My first attempt was too little air, then I "Lowes'ed" some PVC into three sprayers, one on each return. That worked great. Skipping ahead... So over the weekend I added chlorine (Leslie's told me that waiting too long to chlorinate while trying to resolve a TA of 160 was worse than adding chlorine before everything's balanced, so I chlorinated.) Chlorine virtually disappeared over night. So I added liquid CYA yesterday, then more chlorine last night. MA treatments had to slow, because pH got too low. Late last night I added the sprayers, this morning pH is back up. Chlorine is OK, pH was back up, so I added more MA.

    I plan on another Leslie's test later on, to confirm my readings. I've already ordered my K-2006 (and splurged for a magnetic stirrer). I also plan to just let the sprayers run, adding 20oz of MA every few hours until TA is at 80, all the while monitoring pH and chlorine to keep them within range. Once the TA is good, I'll let the sprayers run until I get to 7.5. So far so good?

    I think I may have made one mistake, though (assuming the above is OK). When adding the liquid CYA, I first poured it into a bucket of pool water (like I've been doing with both the acid and the chlorine). I mixed it into the bucket, then poured it around the pool's edge (again, just as I've been doing with the MA and Chlorine). Very milky substance. (Was that right?) Then, as per the CYA bottle's instructions, I filled the bottle with pool water, swished it around, and dumped that into the pool. Yikes! Super milky! Uh, oh. I missed the part to shake the bottle first!! So, between the milky 5-gal and the very milky bottle remains, I noticed some "milk" laying on the pool floor. I brushed and brushed until nothing clouded up in front of the brush, but it did take some time to get around the pool to the spot where I dumped the bottle's remains. This morning I'm looking at a slightly light patch, about the size of a couple of hand prints, right around where I dumped the bottle. Even though I swished those remains in the bottle, and brushed it away, maybe 10-15 minutes later, could I have stained my new pebble with CYA? Or did I just not notice that light spot previously? Oh well, I'm doing the best I can.

    Short version: I'm trying to add the bare minimum of chemicals, over time, and diluted, to bring my water to spec. Any advice?

    Part 2

    Because my CH is already at 310 (city water), I have this idea that I should connect my autofill to my whole-house filter/softener setup. I can do the plumbing, and was planning to do so today. But then I figured I should throw that idea out here first. I'm thinking that filtered soft water would help with my chemistry over time, but then I remembered... This will be a salt water pool in 30 days, with my Pentair generator already in place. If I'm topping off with soft water, will that eventually drag my saltwater ppm out of spec? And which is worse, the CH building up over time from city water, or salt building up over time from the softener? I figure, either way, partial water changes are in my future. But which water source would necessitate one sooner?

    Sidebar: my plaster guy thinks a partial water change, maybe 50%, once a year, should be regular pool maintenance. He says that's what he does. Leslie's says no, they want to pump chems into the water to trap calcium and keep it off my edge tile that way. I'm determined to try to use only salt, CYA, MA and chlorine in my saltwater pool, unless you guys here advise otherwise. Do my own tests. Tweak my own chems.

    Thoughts on the soft water auto-fill scheme? Thoughts on regular partial water changes (I was thinking every November)? Thoughts on my CYA stain? Or startup scheme? Any help would be much appreciated!!

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    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Welcome to the forum!!

    So -- lots to discuss here. I hope I catch most of them.

    You do not need to pour your acid or chlorine in a bucket to dilute prior to adding to the pool. That just increases the chance you can spill some on you or your deck. Just slowly pour the amount you need at the point the pool water returns to the pool with the pump running. If you like, push your brush around that area after you pour the chemical. Always wait at least 15 minutes between adding acid and liquid chlorine. They do not play nice together.

    Good job on getting a proper test kit. If your K2006 was not a K2006C then you will need to purchase more reagents for FAS-DPD, CYA, and probably TA testing.

    The liquid CYA is steered away from here on the forum because it is expensive and it can do what you did. And yes, the CYA is acidic and if it sat on your plaster it can lighten it. Hopefully it will moderate with time.
    We suggest using powder CYA, placing the powder in a tube sock, tie the sock to a pool noodle or broomstick, and hang in front of the pool return. Be sure it does not rest on the side of the pool. Run the pump and the powder will dissolve slowly. Squeeze the sock every once in a while and it will dissolve.

    The water softener idea is OK. You do not state how big your pool is but I lose nearly 100 gallons per day in the summer here in the desert. I know Paso Robles can get pretty warm and dry. So you might lose close to that depending on the surface area of your pool and whether or not you plan to cover it. Your water softener may do quite a bit of recharging at that rate. You would have to determine if that is better than just draining and refilling your pool every 3 years or so. Many of us here in the west manage our pools up to a CH of 1000ppm. It can be done without potions from Leslies.

    Hope I covered a few items. If I missed some, let me know!

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
    Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflow 3050VS Pump and Pentair HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
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    Marty

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Thanks for the quick response, mknaus!

    OK, roger on the acid and chlorine adding. That'll simplify the process. I was adding the two a couple hours apart, so 15 minutes is good to know. My CYA mistake is what it is. I'll know next time. That was a Leslie's thing, that's what they sold me and it was before I read about the powder. The stain was pretty faint this morning, and I can't see it now. I have shadows and reflections moving across that spot, so I can't tell if its really gone, or just not that visible in daytime. I spotted it at 7:00AM, when the light was just right. Time will tell. Something only I would notice anyway, and from the sound of it, nothing I can do about either way.

    Hmmm, 100 gallons a day!?! Yikes. Is that from your 6000G? I did my signature, but after that post, so I guess it didn't get updated. Maybe it'll be connected to this post. I have a 12000G, peanut shaped in-ground, about 19’ x 28’. And yes, it can get hot here in Paso. I have a shade sail over a small part of it, but my family likes it cranked to 90! I was thinking about taking the soft water idea one step further and plumbing it so that I could switch the auto fill between filtered-soft and city with a valve or two. That way, if it doesn't work out, I can easily switch back, or I could bounce between the two depending on how the chemistry is doing. Or how hot it is. Whatever.

    You didn't weigh in about the soft water adding to the salt level (I'll be SWG in a month). Would that be noticeable? Or a problem before the calcium becomes one? Like I said, I know I'll be changing water in the future, but I'm not sure how often, or what I should do to minimize it. The dark plaster I just replaced had a lot of white spots and big white streaks. I was assuming that was calcium. And I had a significant ring on the border tile. More calcium. So it's that that has inspired the soft water idea. I definitely don't want to address that with Leslie's chem's. Can you keep the ring from forming with good chemistry, or is that inevitable no matter what you do?

    You swap water every three years. What did you think about my plaster guy's idea of every year? Proactive/precautionary?

    I didn't get the K-2006C because, while I like the better price-per-test it offers, I thought I read you shouldn't use regents older than a year. I figured I'd be throwing out the C's regents long before I used them all up. Thoughts?

    OK to push my TA down to 80 or 100? Was it here I read not to shoot for a target, but to change it only for a good reason? Which seems to contradict having ranges for all the chem's and adjusting everything into range. Is TA an exception to that concept? Or should I continue to move towards 80-100? (I'm at about 150 right now, still aerating and adding MA.)

    More later, I'm sure...
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Our pool has a surface area of about 300sf. And yes, 100 gallons per day. We do not have a water softener so not something we would consider.

    What is your fill water test results? For reference, our fill water has a CH of 250 and TA of 130, pH of 8. Colorado River water.

    Using softened water will have no effect on your SWCG. You would manage your salt level in the 3000-4000 range for the Intellichlor. Remember, when your water evaporates, the salt, calcium, CYA, etc stay in the pool. So if you fill with high CH water, your pool water CH increases. But your salt and CYA should stay pretty level.

    I drain our pool about every 18 months. Our water is cheap. Costs me more in salt than what the water costs.

    I would not do partial drains. Just manage your chemistry until it becomes unstable (typically a CH of 1000 ppm) then drain and start over.

    You will use more FAS-DPD, CYA, and TA reagents in a year than what the regular test kit provides. I use the TF100 and get all my refills from TFTestkits.net.

    The TA range is in Pool School because it is hard to say 'whatever works'. But yes, you will want your TA down to 80 or less by next summer.

    You need to learn about CSI - Calcium Saturation Index. PoolMath or the PoolMath app calculates it. Read Pool School - Calcium Scaling

    With a SWCG you want to keep your CSI below zero and above -0.6. Otherwise your SWCG will get scale built up in it. I find even then, I must have my TA at 80 or less to prevent the SWCG from shedding scale everytime it changes polarity. Once the TA is under 80, the scale goes away.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
    Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflow 3050VS Pump and Pentair HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
    CLICK HERE to Become a TroubleFreePool.com Supporter!!
    Marty

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    My startup guy didn't do much testing, that I could see. ph 7.4, calcium 220 and alk 120. That's what I wrote down from what he told me. I don't actually know what his tests actually were. I didn't do any testing myself. Wish I had. I suppose I could test out of the hose bib, but I can't recreate the original fill.

    I'm going to complete connecting the auto-fill to my filter/softener. I'm going to plumb in a check valve and some sort of switcher valve so I can select soft water or street water at will, depending on what my softener can keep up with and how well this scheme ends up working.

    I'm going to dive into the CSI info. Thanks for that tip. I'm determined to keep my pebble and tile free of build up, if I can (which is where the softener idea came from). Before the damage, my SWCG was spitting out flakes. Previous pool guy told me "Oh, that means it's working." I suppose he was talking about the polarity switch, but I read, and now you've confirmed, that if you're seeing flakes then the pool chemistry is off. They never did get it work: red lights flashing constantly, etc. They just kept adding chlorine, saying it'll take a while to "dial it in." Another example of why I'm here and why I'm trying to learn how to do this stuff myself. This is the owner of the biggest pool maintenance company in town, and the only Pentair dealer here, who just doesn't know his stuff. How are his 20-something, two-week-experience-havin' service guys supposed to be able to know how to take care of my pool?!? Uhg.

    I'll keep on aerating and trying to bring my TA into range. I've gotten a sense from various sources that the original TA spike, and subsequent challenge to bring it down is a bi-product of the new pebble (and its plaster). Does that sound right? That I may be in for a while of adding acid just to keep my TA where it is, and that eventually it'll stabilize (when the plaster finishes curing, or whatever) and then my TA will balance?

    Thanks again for your support...
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    To test your fill water just test from your regular hose bib. If your CH is 220 and TA 120 your water is not all that hard. Should be pretty easy to manage.

    Your pH rise is from plaster curing. TA no. So I would discontinue your drive to lower your TA and just manage your pH every few days through the winter and see what happens. Your CSI will be naturally negative with colder water, and you do not want to drive it too far negative. You actually may need to add some calcium as your CH is lower than I anticipated, if the test you show is correct. When you get your test kit, run a full round of tests and post them here. See Pool School - Extended Test Kit Directions for good test directions.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
    Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflow 3050VS Pump and Pentair HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
    CLICK HERE to Become a TroubleFreePool.com Supporter!!
    Marty

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    OK, I'll post my first set of results, using the Pool School guide you suggest. Thanks for that. As I said, I've been using Leslie's for double checking my tests, and they're doing some I can't yet do. They're getting 300+ for calcium (340, 310, 350 over the course of three visits to them). Feels safer to me trusting their calcium numbers over the quickie test the pool guy did. Would a few days of plaster curing add to the calcium level to that extent, or are the four test just not agreeing with each other? Dunno. We'll see how my tests do...

    When I saw that 350, and with Leslie's idea of the ideal range as 200-400, along with the understanding from my marine fish tank days that most things in water don't evaporate, but accumulate, I was anticipating the auto fill pushing that 350 out of the range at some point... hence the soft water idea, to minimize the r

    Can you help me better understand: pool guy gave me the TA 120 on Day 1. Leslie's tests on Day 2, 3 and 5 were 260, 180, 160, respectively. I've been calling that a "spike" on Day 2, and have been assuming that the TA came from the curing. Do I have that wrong? Where did the TA come from? Or did the pool guy measure it wrong, and it was in fact 260 from Day 1? Uhg. Hard to know what's happening. That said, with MA and aerating I am getting it to come down. Of course, if Leslie's numbers are wrong... yikes.

    Yes, that's why we test ourselves! I get it. Though I don't have a lot of confidence doing it myself at this point. When I get my kit, and if my numbers match Leslie's, I'd feel good about that. I'll probably double check my numbers with theirs from time to time. I'm buying their MA, as Lowe's is half-strength and not a particularly better price when you factor that in. So Leslie's can sell me my MA and double check my numbers for a while, at least until I'm confident in my own testing skills...
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    First - do not trust a pool stores test results. As you see, their tests are all over the place.

    Discontinue dropping your TA based on Pool Store tests. You may be over doing this.

    Once you get your test kit I highly recommend never taking another sample to a pool store. It will just confuse the issue as they typically get at least some tests wrong, and some by alot.

    I get my MA at Home Depot. I know some of them are now only selling the half strength. What I get is in the pool chemical area, outside, 2 bottles in a box, 31.45% hydrochloric acid.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
    Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflow 3050VS Pump and Pentair HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
    CLICK HERE to Become a TroubleFreePool.com Supporter!!
    Marty

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    OK, that sounds prudent. Though it doesn't address my learning curve for pool testing and how to corroborate that my numbers will be sound. I'm still nervous about that. I'll go to Pool School!

    I was pretty much getting the same numbers as Leslie's for TA, though my test kit is pretty old. I got 140 this morning. I'm hoping that between my flakey number and Leslie's flakey number that I'm at least in the ball park and well above 80.

    I just added another 20oz of MA (before I read your last post), as my pH was 7.5ish after a night of aerating. I'll stop the TA trek for now until my K-2006 arrives. That sounds like a good idea, especially as nobody's screaming that 150ish TA is going to be harming my new plaster. Do I have this right? Plaster guys told me to worry about pH more than anything in regards to the new pebble/plaster. Does that sound right? TA is less of a concern?

    Regarding the original fill numbers, Leslie's numbers and the Day 2 "spike"... I'll test both the pool and the tap with my K-2006 tomorrow and then maybe we'll have something real to compare...

    m
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    I agree with Marty. No reason to doubt your test results nor waste your time at the pool store, they will seldom match up. If one of us stopped by your pool with our test kit we would get the same results you get.

    I haven't been in a pool store for over a year, mainly because they don't sell liquid chlorine at a competitive price. Everything chemical I put in my pool this past season was from a hardware store or walmart.

    High TA and plaster curing will drive your pH up. I would only work on the pH right now. Especially since the people responsible for the warranty told you to watch the pH. Make sure you maintain FC as well. Don't want that new pool turning green on you.
    20'x48' 40,000 gal. Vinyl, Pentair Intelliflo 2 VST, Sta-Rite PLM300 System 2 Cartridge Filter, and a Pentair Mastertemp 250 heater all controlled by Pentair Easy Touch with Screen Logic. Dolphin Premier pool attendant.
    I've got iron stained well water. TF-100 and Speed Stir

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Thanks AftonJeeper!

    It's not my own test results that I'm doubting. I'm sure the K-2006 will be fine. It's my ability to read the colors right that I'm worried about. I put them in front of a white card, under a good, white LED light source, and stare and stare. The best I've come up with so far is to try and see any orange. No orange, then OK. No purple then OK. Still figuring it out. Not sure how to extrapolate the actual, accurate numbers yet.

    Both my Lowes and HD only sell the 14% MA stuff. Leslie's is the 32% stuff, at a better price (when you do the math). It's clear, from right off, that they lure me in with the test and then push all their solutions, with fancy names for simple stuff, or worse, all kinds of crazy additives. I definitely want no part of that. I'm hoping I can do this all with chlorine, acid, cya, salt and the occasional water change. Period.

    I recently added my first batch of chlorine and cya. My test is pretty yellow, though somewhere lower than 5. Leslie's said 10, but also said they're doing a different test. So yes, I get it, using them for testing is going to be problematic. Hopefully after a few days with my K-2006, this will all settle down, and with help from TFP it'll all make more sense.

    I'm still not clear on where the TA came from. Whether the 120 was real from Day 1 (by the pool guy's test) and then it spiked on Day 2 (based on Leslie's test), or if one of them got it wrong. Can TA spike like that? Or did I get what I got from the original fill, and have been lowering it since with MA? Which would mean the pool guy's number was way off. Academic at this point, I suppose. I'm pretty sure it's up around 140-150, and that I've been bringing it down while maintaining pH between 7.2 and 7.5. I think I may have grazed 7.0 at one point, before I was aerating properly, but now it's OK. Test color has no orange in it!

    I'll post my first K-2006 results tomorrow if the kit arrives. God bless Amazon Prime!!
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Holy moly! Freaking out a little... but I'm backing away from the ledge!!

    I just got my K-2006 and had time for a few tests. pH testing with the K-2006 is significantly easier than with the kit I was using. It looks to be 8.0. The color bars are much easier to use.

    I then tested TA and got about 150.

    Tested CYA, which was the biggest surprise. Filled the comparator tube to the top and could still see the black dot well. I had added a gallon of Leslie's liquid CYA to my 12,300G pool, and was expecting a higher reading. Based on what I've learned, I'm going to give this a few more days before I think about adjusting CYA.

    Last I tested chlorine and got FC 2.5 with virtually no CC. The CC test might have been the slightest bit pink, but I didn't go any farther than that.

    First impressions: OK, I'm a little apprehensive. mknauss advises to never go to Leslie's for testing again. And the kit I was using was over 2 years old for sure, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was the original pool owner's first kit, so it could be 6 years old! So that fact that I've got three sets of conflicting numbers is no surprise. The problem is, if I stop using the old kit, and don't use Leslie's, then I'm on my own with the K-2006 and that makes me worry that without any backup testing, I could end up dosing my water incorrectly. So I'll confirm my tests, practice a few times, and then I'll have to take my chances, I guess.

    Based on what I just learned by testing with the K-2006, and by watching them at Leslie's, I have full confidence that the testing that was being done at my pool by either of the two service companies I've used for three years has been a complete joke. Not only their methods, but the fact that they tested a week apart. How could you possibly maintain pH and FC like that? From day to day? During our hot summers? No way. And I wouldn't be surprised if they never tested CYA or CH or TA. No wonder my plaster was covered in calcium and came apart with an acid wash. I'm never going back to that (in fact, I fired the current pool guy today). But, that just reiterates that I'm on my own now. Well, not alone if I count TFP!

    My K-2006 reports my TA was higher than my old kit was reporting. So while I haven't made as much progress in reducing TA as I thought, as least I haven't reduced it too low. Old kit reports 120, K-2006 reports 150ish. (BTW, that's a pretty significant difference, so the advice to cease TA efforts until I was testing with the K-2006 was spot on. Thanks for that.)

    Old kit reports FC somewhere higher than 2 and lower than 5. There are no color bars in between. It might be 3 or 4? Not sure. K-2006 gave me 2.5. Titration feels a lot more accurate to me. So I guess I need a bit more chlorine. I don't know yet how to translate 2.5 into how much chlorine needed. Pool Math is my next thing to conquer. But I'm still not quite clear on my chlorine target for my start up process. I'll be SWCG at some point, but right now it's a fresh water pool.

    OK, so if anybody's still with me (I do go on, don't I?), this is what I need at this point:

    ph = 8.0
    TA = 150
    TC = 2.5
    CYA = less than 30 but probably not 0
    Temp = 59

    1.
    I just added 20oz of MA. Seems like I need to bring my pH and TA down with MA, right? I've temporarily suspended the aerating. My goal is to keep my pH in sight of 7.5 while slowly bringing down TA, and only with MA and air.

    2.
    I think I need to add some chlorine, but not sure how much. I'll see what I can make of Pool Math, or you guys can weigh in (I have a 12,300G pool).

    3.
    CYA is a little tougher. I know it's in there, I poured in a gallon. But I think I also know I'm supposed to give it time to register. Let's see, I think I put it in last Saturday (today is Wednesday). I know I need to be careful not to over shoot the CYA. What I don't know is:
    a. Liquid CYA was a disaster. I think I stained my brand new pebble with it. Can I next use the powder (in a sock, in the skimmer basket)? OK to mix and match?
    b. How much more time should I give the liquid dose to show up on the K-2006 before I try to up it?
    c. What would you suggest as my next steps for CYA?

    4.
    I'm doing all this in November. Pool is around 60, dropping from 65ish a few days ago. OK to be counting on these number and making these adjustments in this temperature?

    Thanks in advance for your help. And for the advice to get the K-2006. I'm already feeling better about doing my own testing by stepping up from the cheap-o kit to the K.
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

  13. Back To Top    #13
    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Great job on the tests! Your own test results will always be trusted. It is typically pretty obvious if you have an error. The difficult tests (CYA and CH) are also those that do not change abruptly. So a test error is normally easy to spot.

    CYA - in PoolMath there is a section at the bottom Effects of Adding Chemicals. Put your pool volume in the appropriate box in upper left corner. One gallon of liquid stabilizer would raise your CYA to 30. Did you follow the Extended Test Directions for the CYA test? Here is another source for test directions TF-100 Test Kit - YouTube.
    When your pool water is cold, it is best to allow the water sample for the CYA test to come to room temperature (70F+). A CYA of 30 is on the edge of being able to read it in the vial. But if you put it in the pool, it is in there. I would not retest for a week. Your UV load on your pool surface is not that high right now so the level of CYA is not as critical to keep your FC in the pool.

    When you add more CYA, I do not recommend putting the sock with the powder in the skimmer. You can do that, but you MUST run your pump continuously until it is fully dissolved.

    Follow the FC/CYA Chart for FC. Use CYA of 30. Use PoolMath for volumes.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
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    Marty

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Ha, well I must be making some progress, because I actually understood everything that you just wrote!! Even about the FC-CYA relationship. If someone had told me a week ago "Follow the FC/CYA Chart for FC. Use CYA of 30." I'da said "What planet are you from, bub!?"

    I'll study more on the CYA tests.

    I get the concept of "The difficult tests (CYA and CH) are also those that do not change abruptly. So a test error is normally easy to spot." But remember, I have nothing to go on, or compare to, at this point. (Just Leslie's.) So if I do a test wrong, how would I know? That's the source of my apprehension. Once I establish those numbers, and have some confidence in them, then I'll have a sense of when a test error occurs, but until then I have to wonder and worry. That's not a criticism of your advice, just an expression of my "learning curve blues." For now, I'll repeat tests that give me concern, especially ones that call for a drastic chem addition...

    I've already made a pretty grievous mistake on this adventure (I definitely stained my brand new pebble with CYA.), which will serve as a glaring reminder that being careful and cautious is called for. TAKE YOUR TIME, READ THE DIRECTIONS! And in my defense of my whining, I'm not learning on a ten-year-old pool that'll be due for a remodel in a few years, but rather on $9000 worth of brand new pebble that's intended to last the rest of my days. Uh oh, I just freaked myself out again!!

    But that's why I so appreciate your guidance!! Thank you.
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

  15. Back To Top    #15
    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    For as long as you wish - each time you do a set of tests - post them here. Someone will take a look at them and give guidance or answer any concerns you have.

    I hope the stain from the CYA moderates over time.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa
    Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflow 3050VS Pump and Pentair HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
    CLICK HERE to Become a TroubleFreePool.com Supporter!!
    Marty

  16. Back To Top    #16
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Quote Originally Posted by mknauss View Post
    For as long as you wish - each time you do a set of tests - post them here. Someone will take a look at them and give guidance or answer any concerns you have.
    Amazing. Will do.


    Quote Originally Posted by mknauss View Post
    I hope the stain from the CYA moderates over time.
    ''

    Thanks, me too. A glimmer of hope, anyway.

    Cheers.
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

  17. Back To Top    #17

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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    ...But remember, I have nothing to go on, or compare to, at this point. (Just Leslie's.) So if I do a test wrong, how would I know? That's the source of my apprehension...
    Just FYI, you can buy standard solutions that are made to known values for each of the tests. Pretend they are pool water and test yourself to see if you get the known answer. It's a great way to gain confidence in your testing abilities, especially for the cya test which is the most difficult for many people.
    Summerwaves 8'x26" AG round pool (2275L/600 gal) (Practice pool to see if they can really be "trouble free"!)
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  18. Back To Top    #18
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    Hi Dirk! I'm late to the party but just wanted to add re:
    This will be a salt water pool in 30 days, with my Pentair generator already in place. If I'm topping off with soft water, will that eventually drag my saltwater ppm out of spec?
    - I top up exclusively with softened water and have zero issues with my swg and salt reading.

    -However, over the years, you might need to actually add Calcium...no biggie, just letting you know to watch for that next season or toggle back to city water Also, note that if your fill is autofill, it won't necessarily be synchronized with your softener's regeneration cycle. I have dual tanks to avoid this, but I'm actively avoiding well water metals. In your case, a bit of city water isn't likely to be problematic

    - Did the pool guys add a sequestrant? Ask them. If not, Jacks Magenta is good for capturing startup dust. It might also help on the cya staining...depending on what the cya combined with.
    In ground extended Grecian, 22,000 gal, Hayward 220t sand filter, vinyl liner, dolphin m4 supreme.
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  19. Back To Top    #19
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    We have seen many people running around in circles from pool store tests, they are just not right because they don't care, it's not their money or pool. Use only your test and you will see the results of what you add as your double check. I dislike the oto clorine test as after 2 ppm it looks the same to me, so I stick strictly to the fas-dpd, and use the oto with odd results as it has some good uses there.

    Go to the pool store for the cheaper ma, ignore everything there as they are stuck in the 60's
    Intex 24' x 52" Closed for 2017/18 Winter
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  20. Back To Top    #20
    Dirk's Avatar
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    Re: Water softener connected to auto fill, and new plaster start up.

    OK, now I'm really feeling the love!!

    you can buy standard solutions that are made to known values for each of the tests
    What a great idea! Thanks, Poolzzz. The K-2006 has already boosted by confidence with FC, pH and TA. I haven't done all the tests yet. CYA was the challenge, but I think I may have not let it sit long enough. I'll try that one again in a few days, and I've yet to complete the rest of the suite. I'm eventually going to post three sets of results, for you all and me: the pool water, the street water and the soft water.


    - I top up exclusively with softened water and have zero issues with my swg and salt reading.
    That is great news! Yay! Thanks, Swampwoman. (I hope your handle is not indicative of your pool! )


    -However, over the years, you might need to actually add Calcium...no biggie, just letting you know to watch for that next season or toggle back to city water.


    My softener scheme design includes a set of valves to allow just that: street or soft. I'll be able to toggle at will. The hold up on completion of the project has been a discussion with my buddy, who works for San Jose water, about back flow. Short version: I'm going to plumb in some back flow and check valves to make it impossible for my 5-year-old rascal to send pool water, street water or soft water into the wrong place, should he happen to drive his "Starship Pool Pad" into enemy territory while I'm not looking!
    I haven't done the CH test yet, but Leslie's was getting 350, so I may be starting out on the high end. Between that and the softener and splash out, maybe I'll end up staying in range for a good long while, if I'm lucky.


    Also, note that if your fill is autofill, it won't necessarily be synchronized with your softener's regeneration cycle. I have dual tanks to avoid this, but I'm actively avoiding well water metals. In your case, a bit of city water isn't likely to be problematic.


    Right, thanks. I do have auto fill, and that was another discussion with my buddy, who explained that the regeneration cycle sends the softener into bypass mode, so any water drawing at that time will be street water. If the auto fill is still running during those times, so be it. At least the majority of the water going into the pool will be soft. In front of the softener is a whole-house filter, so I hope to benefit from that, too. That unit regenerates, too, so there's that. But most of my fill water will be clean and soft!


    - Did the pool guys add a sequestrant?
    I've been meaning to add that to the discussion. Yes, they left me a bottle and it went in on Day 1. Plaster guys did a good job. They acid washed the new pebble and I've yet to see even a hint of plaster dust during brushing. I'm brushing anyway, but I have very little dust, if any. Plus, Plaster guys said I could turn on my sweep, so that's been working at it, too.


    We have seen many people running around in circles from pool store tests, they are just not right because they don't care, it's not their money or pool. Use only your test and you will see the results of what you add as your double check. I dislike the oto clorine test as after 2 ppm it looks the same to me, so I stick strictly to the fas-dpd, and use the oto with odd results as it has some good uses there.

    Go to the pool store for the cheaper ma, ignore everything there as they are stuck in the 60's
    BEGIN RANT
    The more I learn here, the madder I get. Though I have to admit... at some level, I've had suspicions all along, so it's on me, too. It actually makes me angry to think of the despicable business ethics in the pool industry. There is no excuse for most of it. Pool stores should know better. I believe they DO know better, but there profit-driven business model prevents them from teaching people how to care for their pools properly, with a minimum of chemicals. But the real culprits are the pool service companies. At least the two I've used. Granted, some of their methods (or rather lack their of) are driven by the pool-owning public, who don't know better than to choose the least expensive pool-guy, forcing the rest to follow suit or go out of business. You can't properly care for a pool in 10 minutes once a week (and they can't make money if they do otherwise). But they don't even try to enlighten you with the facts. Or worse, they don't even know the facts. Where's the integrity, or even the business sense, to offer their customers a choice? As in: "Hey, for X a month we can do this, or for X+ a month we can give you the deluxe service that will cover more pool-longevity-centric tasks. Here's why, and the difference you can expect between our two service offerings over the life of your pool." I think that could be a viable business model. Heck, even a sleazy car salesman tries to get you into the more expensive model, with the upgrades. His motivations aren't any purer, but at least he makes your options known. I had no idea what these schmoes were doing or not doing, or should have/could have been doing. But again, that's on me. You're supposed to be able to trust professionals, but one is naive these days to think that one can. I should have been learning all this stuff from day one. It is clear to me that my pool guys were not properly taking care of the pool, and the resulting calcium deposits gave them the excuse to recommend an acid wash that then destroyed my plaster, which likely would have faired better had they been taking proper care of CYA and pH! Well, I'm here, and that's not going to happen to me again!
    END RANT

    Not sure what OTO means. Is that the test where you just add five drops? I was surprised to see the big gap in color bars between 2 and 5, 'cause isn't that where most people's chlorine level is supposed to live? It certainly is an easier test to perform, and I suppose it could be used for a quickie test to make sure your pool isn't at zero when guests are on the way and you still have to make the guacamole... But I love how you can really dial in the chlorine level with the K-2006. It'll come in handy when I fire up the SWCG. Something which the pool guys never could figure out. What the h? You sell be hundreds of dollars of Pentair SWCG and plumbing and salt, then send me a pimply-faced pool guy who has no idea how to dial it in?!? I had that thing for two months, through two different pool service companies and it never produced the right amount of chlorine, or any!! Does the thing even work? Oops, I guess that wasn't the end of my rant. I'm looking forward to working with you all to get it running, when the time is right.

    Thank you all, for your support!
    12300 Gallon In-Ground Pebble, 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill; Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite; solar and cleaner actuators; Heliocol HC-50 8-panel Solar Heating System; FlowVis Flow Meter; Taylor: K-2006 FAS-DPD Test Kit, Magnetic Stirrer. City water.

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