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Thread: Calcium buildup

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    Calcium buildup

    I'm new to this forum, and hope this is the correct forum to post this thread. I am standing by to take flack for allowing this condition to happen in my pool. But I will admit that I'm not a good chemist, and am trying to get better. And, I've searched the interweb extensively trying to find a way to resolve this issue. That being said, the issue I have is widespread calcium buildup on the (marbelite) plaster. I can't find picture examples of it or I'd post one. It's not calcium deposits here and there. It's throughout the pool. It's caused the plaster surface to become quite rough, and because the calcium isn't truly white, it makes the pool have a turquoise-colored appearance rather than a blue appearance. We've lived in this house about five years, and I had the pool acid washed a couple years ago because it had happened before. But I guess my ignorance let it build up again. The water is clear, and pool in general is otherwise clean. I just need to control the calcium better. But my question is...is there a way to eliminate this calcium without draining the pool and get the plaster back to white? For example...while the pool is closed, if I brought the pH way way down, and scrubbed daily...would that get the calcium off? Perhaps something else? Or, am going to have to drain again and have it removed another way?

    Dan

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    Mod Squad mknauss's Avatar
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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Welcome to the forum!

    Depending on how severe the calcium build up is, there may be a way to reduce it slowly.
    You must have a proper test kit to manage your water. The forum recommends either the Taylor K2006C or the TF100. I use the TF100.

    Depending on your water chemistry test results from the kit you will order, you can manage CSI at negative numbers to dissolve the calcium. But I will be honest, it is not quick and may not be viable. An acid wash may be needed again and then properly managing your CSI will prevent it.
    Read Pool School - Calcium Scaling
    How do you chlorinate your pool? Do you use Cal Hypo?

    Can you add a signature? See Pool School - Getting Started

    Glad to have you. I guarantee you will get great guidance here.

    Take care.
    6000 Gallon IG Fiberglass with integrated Spa;Pentair CCP240 Cartridge Filter with Pentair Intelliflo VS Pump and HTR250 heater. IC40 SWG. EasyTouch 4. Dolphin Active20 Robot "Roadrunner", TF 100 Test Kit w/SpeedStir!
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    Marty

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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Welcome to the forum

    Anything other than an acid wash is FAR more time consuming and slower. But there are options. Google "no-drain acid wash" on this forum and you will see more than one discussion.

    Once you pick a path to get your pool clean, you Really need to get a handle on testing and understanding what is happening in your pool. It's fairly simple once you make the commitment to begin testing and begin learning.
    Dave S.
    42k vinyl and concrete pool, 1.5hp pump, 140gpm filter
    TFTestkits , PoolMath , Pool School

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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Sorry to not respond sooner. I don't want to be one of those forumites that register, post once asking for advice, and then is never heard from again. Thanks for the above responses. I did look at some of the non-draining options and they do seem much more involved than I (or anyone) would like. The problem, though, is that with one acid wash already done...I don't think I can do another...can I? I mean that I had it done once a couple years ago. I don't know if the previous owner had it done. But when I had it done the technician that did it commented that I probably couldn't do it again. So, "draining" the pool isn't so much my concern. It seems that eliminating this issue will require re-plastering. A cost that I'd like to try to avoid if at all possible. Aside from acid washing, is there any other method that can get the calcium off? Pressure spraying, sandblasting, sanding? What about draining and painting? It seems, to me, that the plaster finish...albeit otherwise more durable and classy...is somewhat of a surface for the more experienced pool owner.

    (Truth be told...I wish the pool wasn't in my yard. When house-hunting, I would have shyed away from this property. But the wife picked it becasue of the pool. I (attempt to) maintain it so that my wife and family can enjoy it. But none of them are able to assist in the maintenance of it. I'm almost never in the pool myself. Funny thing is that as a fitness swimmer, I'm in the water swimming WAY more than any of them combined...just not in my own pool.)

    Dan
    In-ground pool
    16'x30'x12'
    Cement/white marbelite
    25,133 gallon capacity
    Portsmouth, RI

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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Acid wash is like a light sand, and you might not know what you get into until you do it.

    I certainly don't know that much about plaster issues, but you can always go more aggressive later so the no drain aggressive water would be higher on my list than a never go back acid wash.

    Spend some time on this site, our form of pool care is the cheapest and the easiest, we would like to make it easier on you to care for your pool.
    Casey
    Intex 24' x 52" closed for winter 2018, 2 Main Drains, 1 Skimmer, 1 Return, PVC
    1/2 HP Intex Pump 633T w/ Taeglus TA-40 175 lb 19.5" Sand Filter, Auqabot Extreme Robot
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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Proper pool care, using the TFPC methods taught here, is really easy. I was intimidated at first to do my own pool myself, but after just a week or so of following along here, I was kicking myself that I hadn't taken it over sooner. If you go to Pool School here, you'll be able to take care of your pool perfectly, no problem.

    I won't bore you or anyone else here (again!) about my acid washing woes. Short version: each acid wash shortens the life of your plaster. It does what it does by removing a certain amount of plaster, taking the stains with it. Calcium is harder than plaster, so an acid wash alone is not the greatest way to get rid of calcium, because you'll lose a lot of plaster. There are some plaster "experts" that will use a dilute acid wash to "soften" things up, then remove the calcium primarily by hand sanding. There is also a school of thought that you NEVER acid wash and live with calcium or stains and save the acid wash money for the inevitable remodel. Others, especially those that profit by it, acid wash away without care or thought for the longevity of your plaster.

    Many believe acid washing is only used as the last resort. So one way to go, is be ready for a replaster, but try another acid wash to see if it helps and roll the dice that you might get away with it one more time.

    I'm anti-acid wash. Others here will have different opinions about it...

    I'm curious to learn if there's any kind of material you can apply over problem-plaster that would look good and last long. And at what cost. Maybe there's a stop-gap DIY solution that would be cost effective?
    12300 gallon IG pebble, freeform 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill. Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor IC40, IntellipH, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite. Solar and cleaner actuators. Heliocol HC-50 8-panel solar heating. FlowVis Flow Meter. Taylor: K-2006 and K-1766 Test Kits, SpeedStir. City/softened water.

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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk View Post
    .
    I'm curious to learn if there's any kind of material you can apply over problem-plaster that would look good and last long. And at what cost. Maybe there's a stop-gap DIY solution that would be cost effective?
    That's sort of why I mentioned the pool-specific paint. I.e. get the calcium off and then paint over the plaster. I have a friend that has an old in-ground pool. It's at least 30 years old. He tells me that he (re)paints every few years...and his pool looks wonderful.

    Dan
    In-ground pool
    16'x30'x12'
    Cement/white marbelite
    25,133 gallon capacity
    Portsmouth, RI

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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceD View Post
    That's sort of why I mentioned the pool-specific paint. I.e. get the calcium off and then paint over the plaster. I have a friend that has an old in-ground pool. It's at least 30 years old. He tells me that he (re)paints every few years...and his pool looks wonderful.

    Dan
    So there you go. It comes down to whether you want to perform the initial labor and expense to rid the pool of calcium, then the labor and expense for the initial prep and paint, then the subsequent labor and expense for prep and repaint every few years, for the next 20+ years, or avoid all that and just pay someone else, once, now, to replace your pool surface with whatever you choose and then forget about it for the next 20+ years (the expected life of a high-performance surface, such as PebbleTec)... Not suggesting one way is better than the other, that's up to you and your budget constraints, and maybe how long you plan to live in that house... Either way, if you practice TFPC, your pool will look fantastic and you'll never see calcium again!
    12300 gallon IG pebble, freeform 19x28, 1 skimmer, 3 returns, no floor drains, auto fill. Pentair: EasyTouch PSL4, ScreenLogic2, Indoor Control Panel, Intelliflo 2 VST, IntelliChlor IC40, IntellipH, CCP320 Cartridge Filter, MasterTemp 250 Heater, Rebel Suction-Side Cleaner, IntelliBrite. Solar and cleaner actuators. Heliocol HC-50 8-panel solar heating. FlowVis Flow Meter. Taylor: K-2006 and K-1766 Test Kits, SpeedStir. City/softened water.

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    JoyfulNoise's Avatar
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    Re: Calcium buildup

    Painting a pool is a horrible idea. Pool paint, even the expensive ones, will last no more than two years before it starts to spall and shed paint dust. Painting is worse than acid washing in my opinion.

    Thereís two points here to make -

    1. The calcium deposits (if that is what they truly are...no pictures??) are an aesthetic problem. They in no way affect the proper operation or chemical management of the pool.

    2. The main problem here is improper chemical management of the water and pool. If you get yourself a good test kit and commit to learning how to correctly care for your pool, then youíll actually spend less time (and money) on your pool, not more.

    Iíll be blunt - you are chasing your tail with this pool and it is because you are not properly managing it. This site can help you solve a variety of pool problems but no one here can help you commit to being a pool owner. And I get your position - thereís plenty of stuff around my house that I have to take care of because my wife wanted it. So either I commit to caring for it myself or I pay someone else to do it. In your case, you can either commit to the pool care yourself (and save time & money) or you pay someone else to care for it (saves you time but definitely not money).

    Good luck to you.
    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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