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Thread: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

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    pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    I haven’t posted in a while. We’ll take that as a good sign! I do need to update my construction pictures, new deck, etc. and will do that later this week.

    Since installation of the pool two months ago and following all the TFP recommendations on all chemical levels…everything has pretty much been maintenance free. “Thanks TFP!” I started out running the pump 14 hours a day and 50% on the SWG. My FC stayed around 10. I have slowly reduced the pump time to 8 hours a day and 15% on the SWG. Even with the reduced run times and % of output, my FC has not been below 7. I’m using a solar blanket that is only removed when we swim. Water is crystal clear.

    We have been having heavy rains for the past month. Based on pump time and flow rate, I have backwashed (if you got to get rid of water…you might as well backwash!) approximately 1500 gallons to waste.

    One main issue is my pH is now starting to drop every few days 7.1, 7.2, etc. TA is 85-80. I’ve raised the pH according to The Pool Calculator to 7.6 using 20 Mule Team Borax…yet it continues to drop. With all the rain and cooler temps I did not aerate (sprinkler system) to raise the pH (didn’t want to cool the water too much). Should I raise the pH with Baking Soda per The Pool Calculator? What about the TA? It has increased from the original 70 to 80-85…yet the pH is dropping.

    I spend a lot of time underwater with my eyes open. During the past couple of weeks my eyes start burning. Several hours later they feel very scratchy, red and very irritated. Even the next morning they still bother me to some extent. Not sure what this is all about! Prior to this starting…I never had any eye irritation.

    Since my FC has never been below 7 and the CC is always 0, I have never shocked the pool (two months old). Am I missing something? Do I need to shock it??? Could I have …”something” growing and not know it? Could this part of the eye thing?

    These are my complete test results from this morning…thanks to the TF-100 test kit:
    pH 7.4
    TA 85-90 (this has drifted up from 70)
    FC 7
    CC 0
    CYA 70
    CH 140
    Salt 3580 (test strips)
    Borates 50-60 (test trips)
    Temp 84

    Any suggestions with the dropping pH, increasing TA, shocking the pool and the burning eyes would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Travis
    Travis & Kathy
    16x32 AGP (extra return outlet installed), Pentair Dynamo Pump (1.5HP, 60+ GPM), Sta-Rite Crystal Flow Sand Filter (300 lb), Clear Diamond Solar Blanket & Reel, Pool-Skim
    Aqua Trol SWG (also controlling the pump), TF Test Kit. (Everything self installed, up and running on 08/02/09)
    Enjoying the TFP site and appreciating the infinite knowledge of it's members... and I'm slowly learning how to maintain our new pool the BBB way!
    Four Winds Spa (love the tub...hate the filtration system). Best water quality in four years using the BBB method

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    Butterfly's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    South Carolina
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    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    Burning eyes is usually a sign of high CC or low pH. Since you ruled out CC, low pH is probably the culprit.

    My suggestions:

    1. Leave your TA alone for now.

    2. Use Borax (not Baking Soda) to raise pH (when needed).

    3. Do an overnight test to rule out organics: pool-school/overnight_fc_test

    4. Lower the SWG setting to a FC of 4 or 5

    Your issue with the pH dropping is beyond me. Most folks with a SWG have the opposite problem.

    Others will be along to chime in soon. Sounds like you have had a wonderful two months with the new pool
    TFP Moderator TF100 Test Kit TF100 TestKit YouTube Channel PoolMath
    You're done SLAMing when:
    1)You lose 1ppm or less FC overnight, & 2)You have .5ppm CC's or less, & 3)your water is clear.

    ~ One should not use a sledge hammer to swat a mosquito. ~

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  3. Back To Top    #3
    no-mas's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
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    FL
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    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    yeah, pH drop with a swg is strange. Have you tested the pH of your rainwater?
    18k gal inground, everbrite finish, 505 sq ft; 1.5 hp two speed whisperflow; rheem 5100ti 100k btu heat pump; 3 sheer descent falls; DE filter; swg (cell out and using trichlor for now)

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    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    Thanks Butterfly!

    I will adjust the PH with Borax. I'll test the FC/CC after sunset and first thing in the morning. I guess I need to turn the pump/SWG off tonight. My timer is set so that every 2 hours during the night the pump/SWG run for 15 minutes (just keeping the water stirred). I'm still pleased, amazed...puzzled that with only pumping 8 hours a day and the SWG at 15% I am still running high chlorine levels. ...maybe that's a good thing.

    Thanks!
    Travis & Kathy
    16x32 AGP (extra return outlet installed), Pentair Dynamo Pump (1.5HP, 60+ GPM), Sta-Rite Crystal Flow Sand Filter (300 lb), Clear Diamond Solar Blanket & Reel, Pool-Skim
    Aqua Trol SWG (also controlling the pump), TF Test Kit. (Everything self installed, up and running on 08/02/09)
    Enjoying the TFP site and appreciating the infinite knowledge of it's members... and I'm slowly learning how to maintain our new pool the BBB way!
    Four Winds Spa (love the tub...hate the filtration system). Best water quality in four years using the BBB method

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    No I haven't! I will catch some during the next rain shower and check it. That's a good thought. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by no-mas
    yeah, pH drop with a swg is strange. Have you tested the pH of your rainwater?
    Travis & Kathy
    16x32 AGP (extra return outlet installed), Pentair Dynamo Pump (1.5HP, 60+ GPM), Sta-Rite Crystal Flow Sand Filter (300 lb), Clear Diamond Solar Blanket & Reel, Pool-Skim
    Aqua Trol SWG (also controlling the pump), TF Test Kit. (Everything self installed, up and running on 08/02/09)
    Enjoying the TFP site and appreciating the infinite knowledge of it's members... and I'm slowly learning how to maintain our new pool the BBB way!
    Four Winds Spa (love the tub...hate the filtration system). Best water quality in four years using the BBB method

  6. Back To Top    #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cupertino, CA
    Posts
    1,966

    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    Rainwater is often acidic and with a cover, you won't get the aeration of drops hitting the surface that can raise the pH. That could be what's happening. Last time I measured rainwater I got 6.8, of course it might have been lower (that's the bottom of the scale on my kit).
    --paulr
    BBB "Intermediate Swimmer"
    IG plaster pool 18.5K gal, Hayward Pro-Grid DE filter, 3/4 HP Hydramax II; Polaris 380, 3/4 HP booster
    AG spa 325 gal, probably Sundance of some kind
    Water testing instructions on one page

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    Cherie's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Wylie, Texas
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    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    That makes sense Paul! I've had to raise our pH again too - and it's barely at 7.3 again tonight. And we have more rain coming in. Our pH has been steady since we started using BBB June 2008, until the last couple of weeks.
    32x16 buried Doughboy, 4' shallow - 7' deep
    Pentair Dynamo 1 hp, 2-speed - Pentair 150# SD40 w/zeolite (75#)
    One skimmer/two returns/Aquabot Turbo T2

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    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    441

    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    flyboy,

    I'm still pleased, amazed...puzzled that with only pumping 8 hours a day and the SWG at 15% I am still running high chlorine levels.
    Your cover is preventing the sun from destroying any chlorine. I'm not surprised that you are using very little chlorine - and hence have to make very little chlorine.

    Regarding pump runtimes: I only run my filter pump for 3 hours per day in the summer - 1.5 hours from 9:30 AM to 11 AM and from 3 PM to 4 PM. The first run is mainly to skim the surface after a night of tree debris and to let my pressure cleaner run for 1 hour. The second run is to do a quick surface skim just before the kids get home from school. And if I miss one of these times for liquid chlorine addition, then I'll run the filter pump for 30-45 minutes to allow the chlorine to mix in well. These times might get upped a bit if I'm using the solar system to heat the pool, but this is for heating and not for circulation.

    These runtimes will be reduced to 1 hour per day in the winter. Or I'll even go 2-3 days with only an hour of circulation. The main need for filter pump runtime in the winter for me is the need to skim the surface and to run the pressure cleaner.
    24,000 gallon inground freeform pool/spa circa 1983 (113 ft perimeter, 625 sq ft) with 350 gallon attached spill-over spa
    2007 2 HP, three-phase Hayward TriStar pump which is powered by an Ikeric VS-200 variable speed drive system
    1983 Laars XE Pool/Spa Heater Type ES 400,000 BTU, 1998 Hayward Super Star-Clear C-4000 cartridge filter (400 sq ft, 4 separate cartridges)
    1998 Polaris 380 pressure-side cleaner w/ 3/4 HP booster pump
    One skimmer :( and one PoolSkim :), One Supervision Galaxy LED pool lamp, Second story solar panels
    Hayward/GoldLine AquaLogic PS4 (replaced 1983 vintage dual circuit Intermatic timer)

  9. Back To Top    #9

    Re: pH Dropping, TA Increasing and Burning Eyes

    OK...Well I guess I may need to cut the pump time down some more. I'm sure it's very possible for the solar blanket to reduce chlorine loss...hadn't really thought about that! Thanks! Life got in the way last evening and I missed taking a FC reading after sunset. I'll plan for that tonight so I can do the FC drop test.
    Travis & Kathy
    16x32 AGP (extra return outlet installed), Pentair Dynamo Pump (1.5HP, 60+ GPM), Sta-Rite Crystal Flow Sand Filter (300 lb), Clear Diamond Solar Blanket & Reel, Pool-Skim
    Aqua Trol SWG (also controlling the pump), TF Test Kit. (Everything self installed, up and running on 08/02/09)
    Enjoying the TFP site and appreciating the infinite knowledge of it's members... and I'm slowly learning how to maintain our new pool the BBB way!
    Four Winds Spa (love the tub...hate the filtration system). Best water quality in four years using the BBB method

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