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Thread: A Few Questions from a Novice

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    A Few Questions from a Novice

    Hello! Our PB just wrapped things up and we've had water for about two weeks. During the plaster break-in he managed everything and I brushed brushed brushed! Now he is hit or miss and I don't want to let things go, so I have a few questions as I get started. Here are my numbers as of this morning:

    FC - 1
    pH - 7.8
    TA - 80
    CH - 375
    CYA - 0?

    OK so I have tried the whole glance thing over and over and I clearly see the dot whether glancing or not. I suppose it is possible that the PB did not put any CYA in the pool at this point. Maybe because it's winter? The water temp varies between 52-56 degrees at the moment based on Screenlogic. I suspect I need to get a more accurate thermometer based on what I've read here, but I'm not sure how critical that is. Anyway, I'll ask PB about CYA and get some if he doesn't supply it.

    My other struggle is accurate pH readings. The PB always gets a lower number than I do (he uses strips I believe) with the TFP kit. Is there a more accurate test than the little plastic box with FC on one side and pH on the other? Is there a trick to getting consistent readings off the color chart?

    Other than those misgivings I think my numbers are good. We have a spa that I would like to use but the water is still a bit murky, not crystal clear. Is there any reason why we couldn't use the spa? I don't think there is any green tinge to the water, but I rarely see it in daylight during the week.

    Finally, I'm still brushing the plaster. How long should I keep this up? It's been two weeks and change. There are some spots under the jets that have been cleaned of plaster better than the rest of the pool and are little dark triangles. Will this even out as the plaster finishes curing? Is there anything I can do to help the process?

    I know many of these questions have probably been answered before, but I thought getting specific feedback might be best. If there's anything I can research I'm happy to do it. This forum has been such a comfort and source of inspiration throughout the process. You all rock!
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Boo,

    Welcome to TFP... A great resource for all new pool owners...

    Here are some things to keep in mind..

    I doubt that your pool builder added any CYA to your pool and suspect that is why you are reading zero. But, the test works best when the water is not cold, and you need to do the test outside with your back to a bright sun.

    Your FC is very low.. Not as big an issue this time of year, but if this were summer you would need to put a sign in your front yard saying "Algae Party this weekend"...

    Did your pool builder add salt to your pool? Depending on the pool builder, and type of plaster, this is often not done until the plaster is 30 days old..

    Your SWCG will shut off due to cold water about now.. The manual says 52 +/- 3 degrees. During the winter you will need to use Liquid Chlorine or plain bleach to keep your FC up.

    You will need to keep your FC per this table which compares your FC to your CYA level.. FC/CYA Chart

    What test kit are you currently using?

    Thanks for posting,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Thanks for the tip on CYA Jim! I guess that test will have to wait until Saturday when I'm home and have access to sunshine. The PB has not added salt. We discussed it and decided to wait until spring since the weather won't cooperate by the time the plaster has cured enough to add salt. I trust him enough to believe he'll add salt in the spring and, if not, it is a minor expense.

    I plan to add FC and bring it up to 2, but I wanted to get some feedback on the CYA before I did anything. I will add some bleach this evening or tomorrow just to stay safe.

    I'm using the TF-100 with the SpeedStir for testing.

    Any tips on pH testing or advice on the plaster?
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Quote Originally Posted by Booma View Post
    Thanks for the tip on CYA Jim! I guess that test will have to wait until Saturday when I'm home and have access to sunshine. The PB has not added salt. We discussed it and decided to wait until spring since the weather won't cooperate by the time the plaster has cured enough to add salt. I trust him enough to believe he'll add salt in the spring and, if not, it is a minor expense.

    I plan to add FC and bring it up to 2, but I wanted to get some feedback on the CYA before I did anything. I will add some bleach this evening or tomorrow just to stay safe.

    I'm using the TF-100 with the SpeedStir for testing.

    Any tips on pH testing or advice on the plaster?
    The Phenol Red pH test (the one you have) is the industry standard, do not trust test strips for anything. When you say 'consistent pH results', are you saying that if you do two or more pH tests in a row from the same water sample that each test result is different, or is it that the pH test result from one day is different the next day? pH rise in a new plaster pool is quite common.


    With a CYA of zero, no need to have the FC above 3ppm. Once you add CYA, be sure to follow the FC/CYA Chart for your proper FC target based on the actual CYA level.
    Dom - TFP Guide
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    PH reading tip-I hold a white plastic plate (bought from Dollar store) at shoulder height under a good light (I use my range hood as it has a 60 watt). I put hold the PH tube in front of the plate and pull the plate back and forth to help me match the colors. One person also had good luck using one less drop of the regent. For some reason that helped them match their color better.

    I would love to hear back from you about which one works the best for you.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Quote Originally Posted by Booma View Post
    Thanks for the tip on CYA Jim! I guess that test will have to wait until Saturday when I'm home and have access to sunshine. The PB has not added salt. We discussed it and decided to wait until spring since the weather won't cooperate by the time the plaster has cured enough to add salt. I trust him enough to believe he'll add salt in the spring and, if not, it is a minor expense.

    I plan to add FC and bring it up to 2, but I wanted to get some feedback on the CYA before I did anything. I will add some bleach this evening or tomorrow just to stay safe.

    I'm using the TF-100 with the SpeedStir for testing.

    Any tips on pH testing or advice on the plaster?

    Boo,

    As much as I love my TF-100, I am not a fan of the small FC and pH test kit... It works for a lot of people, but I struggle with pH readings. I have found that the cheap test kit my pool builder provided has a much larger test tube. I am not sure why, but using the larger tube (and the pH drops that go with it) makes it much easier for me to read. I also find that looking through the tube and into a white background gives me the best readings.

    If you want to use your spa, then I would recommend that you get your CYA up to 30 and your FC up to about 4 or 5 ppm.

    As far at the plaster, I would follow whatever your pool builder has recommended until the pool is 30 days old..

    Thanks,

    Jim R.

    edit.. I too move the white background back and forth to get a better reading as Kim pointed out..
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    If you're willing to keep a good digital pH probe calibrated and stored properly when not in use, you can always get an electronic pH meter to double check what you are seeing in the comparator block. But don't get a cheap pH probe that you can't calibrate as those never last very long and they lose their calibration quickly. Oakton makes a very good, 3-point calibrated meter with auto buffer recognition and temperature compensation for about $110.

    When reading the pH comparator block, try to hold it against a bright white or off-white background (my light-tan concrete color actually works really well and I also have some off-white cushions on a lounge chair) with the sun to your back. That is the best way to get correct color. Do not hold it up to the sky as the bright sky-blue can mess up the colors.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    I suspect my trouble with both the pH and CYA tests was a result of testing in my kitchen under artificial light. I'll try the pH again outside when I can. Thank you all for your quick and helpful advice. If I'm still struggling with the pH test I have a lot of solid information to help.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by domct203 View Post
    The Phenol Red pH test (the one you have) is the industry standard, do not trust test strips for anything. When you say 'consistent pH results', are you saying that if you do two or more pH tests in a row from the same water sample that each test result is different, or is it that the pH test result from one day is different the next day? pH rise in a new plaster pool is quite common.


    With a CYA of zero, no need to have the FC above 3ppm. Once you add CYA, be sure to follow the FC/CYA Chart for your proper FC target based on the actual CYA level.
    I meant my tests aren't consistent with the PB results and I wasn't sure I was getting the color match right each time. It makes sense that his strips and my technique are both less than accurate.
    Last edited by Booma; 12-06-2017 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Fuller explanation
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    I am a BIG advocate of NOT doing any of the tests indoors. The CYA test especially needs good, bright, indirect sunlight to get the test right. With the CYA test, I can actually cause a 20ppm lower reading by simply doing the test under an outdoor shaded structure as opposed to doing it under full sunlight. Because the test relies on light scattering, correct lighting is absolutely essential.

    I feel the same way about the other tests too (use of outdoor lighting) but I know many others will do it inside their homes and feel comfortable with the results.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    I'll be forced to test pH and FC inside or by artificial light for a few months since I'm not home during daylight hours on weekdays. I suppose things shouldn't swing wildly in the winter anyway, so as long as I'm consistent and my weekend measurements are good it should be fine. I have the pool math app with a subscription to keep my logs.
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Pictures for those who would like to see...

    IMG_4760.jpg

    IMG_4761.jpg

    IMG_4762.jpg
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Very nice negative spa edge. Be aware that the aeration of the water caused by that overflow will be one of your biggest sources of pH rise. My suggestion to you is that you cut back on the overflow runtime. I have a spa with a spillway and I only run it, at most, 90mins/day.
    Matt
    16k IG PebbleTec pool, 650gal spa, spillway and waterfall, 3HP IntelliFlo VS / 1.5HP WhisperFlo, Pentair QuadDE-100 filter, IC40 SWCG, MasterTemp 400k BTU/hr NG heater, KreepyKrauly suction-side cleaner Dolphin S300i robot, EasyTouch controls, city water, K-1001, K-2006 and K-1766 test kits, Mannitol test for borates

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Thanks for the tip! Back when the design was approved I didn't know the relationship between pH and aeration. Now that it's built and I do I've been trying to minimize it. The pump has been running a lot with the plaster and trying to clean out mortar from tile adjustments to perfect the negative edge. Now that things are calming down I'll set my schedules accordingly. I was trying to decide on a reasonable run time, so I'll use your 90 minutes as a baseline to start. I know the PB has gone through a lot of acid already.
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    I would also look in to getting a round brush like this:

    Amazon.com : Blue Devil B3525 Corner and Step Brush : Swimming Pool Brushes : Garden Outdoor

    for that small area around the spa. We sure want to keep that BLING clean!

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Quote Originally Posted by kimkats View Post
    We sure want to keep that BLING clean!

    Kim
    Thanks Kim! I've been using a long handled brush from the cleaning supply closet for that area. It's a nylon bristled brush, so hopefully it's not a problem on the plaster.

    I asked the PB about CYA and he said it isn't needed until spring. I don't really want to fight him on it since we're still in the warranty/honeymoon phase here. What's the consensus? As long as I maintain FC does the CYA matter through an Oklahoma winter?
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    If your pool gets any sunlight on it at all the FC will be consumed very quickly without any CYA.

    It would be best to get 30 ppm of CYA in the water. Use CYA powder in a sock and hang in front of a return with the pump running. Be sure the sock does not rest on the side of the pool. Squeeze it every once in awhile and it will dissolve.

    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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    Mod Squad Jimrahbe's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Boo,

    What Marty says... and don't get in a hurry to measure it as it usually takes several days to a week before you can see the results..

    Thanks,

    Jim R.
    Finished in 2015 - 17K Gal, IG, 20' x 25' Almost Rectangular Pool, Pebble finish, three rockport water falls. Pentair Equipment: EasyTouch 4, IC40 SWG, 3 HP VS Pump, CCP520 Cartridge Filter.
    TF100 with SpeedStir and SampleSizer, ColorQ Pro 7, Dolphin Premier Robot Cleaner, added Screen Logic 2, added small 3 person Calder Spa.

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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Quote Originally Posted by Booma View Post
    Thanks Kim! I've been using a long handled brush from the cleaning supply closet for that area. It's a nylon bristled brush, so hopefully it's not a problem on the plaster.

    I asked the PB about CYA and he said it isn't needed until spring. I don't really want to fight him on it since we're still in the warranty/honeymoon phase here. What's the consensus? As long as I maintain FC does the CYA matter through an Oklahoma winter?
    You just summed up the pb knowledge on pool chemistry
    Intex 24' x 52" Closed for 2017/18 Winter
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    I'll look into getting some stabilizer. Maybe they'll have it at Home Depot or I can order it online. I don't want to buy it from the PB since he told me not to worry about it.
    Gunite/plaster IG ~12K Gallon (402 sqft), Ichlor30, Pentair Intelliflo VSF pump & cartridge filter, Easytouch 4, negative edge overflow spa

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    Mod Squad kimkats's Avatar
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    Re: A Few Questions from a Novice

    Lowes or Home Depot should have it. Walmart might have some left over from the season. It does not "go bad" so you should be good no matter where you get it from.

    Kim
    TFP Moderator 33x52 round AG 25,600 gals Sand Filter 1.5hp Pump - 2 Speed, SLAM, Pool School, Recommended Levels, Recommended Chemicals, Pool Math, Chlorine/CYA Chart, TF-100 Test Kit

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