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Thread: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

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    hawkeyes's Avatar
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    I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Many of you know that we had to drain and do an acid wash on our pool a few weeks ago due to high pH levels creating major scaling. So...I'm super nervous about my pH. WHY CAN'T I GET IT UNDER CONTROL!?!?! Is this just going to be a constant battle? Here are my numbers today:

    pH 8.0 (YIKES!!) Was 7.6 2 days ago and I added 20 oz of acid.
    FC 2.5 (I added 150 oz of liquid bleach 2 days ago...numbers are still the same. Just added salt to the pool 2 days ago. How long does it take for the salt to start producing chlorine??? Do I add another 150 oz of bleach again today? Salt level says 4000 on my remote. I really don't know what setting to have my salt on! I dialed it down b/c it was 4500 yesterday morning. But if I dial it down too much does that mean I'm defeating the purpose of the salt making the chlorine for me??? Omg...will I ever understand pool ownership despite reading Pool School multiple times????)
    CC .5
    TC 2
    TA 140 (is this ok?)
    CH 270
    CYA 50

    The pH is driving me batty and I'm still trying to learn how all of the other levels affect the pH.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Your TA is way too high. You need to get that down below 100. When the SWCG kicks in, it should be between 70-90. I assume the generator isnt working yet since your adding bleach.
    In any case, lowering the TA will help your pH problems. Basically, you want too lower the pH to around 7-7.2. Then aerate the water to bring the pH back up. Cntinue this cycle until the TA is 80 or so.

    The Pentair's dont generally start reading the correct salt levels and make chlorine untilo the water hits at least 60. Whats your water temp?
    What are you "dialing down"? You cant dial down the salt. The salt concentration in the pool is what it is. You dont make chlorine by adjusting the salt levels. What you are doing by dialing down, I suspect, is changing the percentage setting on the SWG. What that does it changes the amount of time the SWG is on in a given hour. With the pump running, a setting of 20% means that SWG is on 12 minutes out of every hour. A setting of 80% means its on 48 minutes out of every hour. The longer it is on, the more chlorine it puts into the pool.
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Since you have a SWCG you should bring your CYA up to bewteen 70 & 80 and your TA at 140 is a little high. It should be in the 70 - 90 range. Keeping a good check on your pH and adding acid to bring it to 7.2 anytime it gets to 7.8 will also bring your TA down with time. With a SWCG you'll most likely have to always keep an eye on pH. Upping the CYA and lowering the TA will help.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Your TA is too high, which is why your pH rise is so difficult to manage. I would lower your TA with enough acid to bring the pH down to 7.2 and then aerate to bring the pH back up, and repeat this process until your TA is around 70 or so. Also add chlorine (with bleach) to clear that CC. Be sure to take your pH measurements before adding chlorine because that can cause it to test high.

    Good luck!
    45,180 gallon 26' x 53' IG Vinyl, irregular shape. Hayward sand filter / pump. Polaris AutoClear SWG, supplemented with a Hayward Automatic Chlorinator (In-Line). Hayward 400K BTU heater. Paramount "turnover" system. Polaris 480 PRO cleaner.

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    Your TA is way too high. You need to get that down below 100. When the SWCG kicks in, it should be between 70-90. I assume the generator isnt working yet since your adding bleach.
    In any case, lowering the TA will help your pH problems. Basically, you want too lower the pH to around 7-7.2. Then aerate the water to bring the pH back up. Cntinue this cycle until the TA is 80 or so.

    The Pentair's dont generally start reading the correct salt levels and make chlorine untilo the water hits at least 60. Whats your water temp?
    What are you "dialing down"? You cant dial down the salt. The salt concentration in the pool is what it is. You dont make chlorine by adjusting the salt levels. What you are doing by dialing down, I suspect, is changing the percentage setting on the SWG. What that does it changes the amount of time the SWG is on in a given hour. With the pump running, a setting of 20% means that SWG is on 12 minutes out of every hour. A setting of 80% means its on 48 minutes out of every hour. The longer it is on, the more chlorine it puts into the pool.
    Ok. Yes, I'm dialing down the percentage on my diagnostic setting. What number do I need to have this at??? I obviously need more chlorine. How do I know when the SWG "kicks in"? My water temp says 71 according to my remote but I am wondering if that is right.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bama Rambler
    Since you have a SWCG you should bring your CYA up to bewteen 70 & 80 and your TA at 140 is a little high. It should be in the 70 - 90 range. Keeping a good check on your pH and adding acid to bring it to 7.2 anytime it gets to 7.8 will also bring your TA down with time. With a SWCG you'll most likely have to always keep an eye on pH. Upping the CYA and lowering the TA will help.
    Why does the pool calculator tell me my target for CYA is 40? If I adjust that number to 70, as you say, do I need to add the suggested amount of stabilizer.

    Honestly...I'm so confused I could sit and cry.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    You have a salt water chlorine generator, and a higher CYA level (around 80 should be perfect) will extend the life of your cell.
    45,180 gallon 26' x 53' IG Vinyl, irregular shape. Hayward sand filter / pump. Polaris AutoClear SWG, supplemented with a Hayward Automatic Chlorinator (In-Line). Hayward 400K BTU heater. Paramount "turnover" system. Polaris 480 PRO cleaner.

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    At 71 degrees, it should be working. If you set the output to 100%, the cell light on the Pentair should light green. The green light means that it should be making chlorine. I suspect you have dialed it down too far. What does the salt light look like? Is it green, red, flashing red? The anount of time it needs to stay on depends on a number of thing. How long you run your pump, how much chlorine your pool uses and the CYA level, all are factor. I set mine at 30% with a 10 hour a day pump run time with a CYA of 50 ppm, and that keeps my FC around 5 ppm. Yous might be different. You really just have to play with it.

    As far as the pool calculator. At the bottom, there is a pull down menu to set it for what type of chlorinator you have. if you select SWG, it will change the prompted values to reflect a higher CYA value.

    You should really read all the articles in pool school again anad take a deep breath. It WILL get easier
    14,000 gallon IG, Vinyl. Hayward 3/4 hp superpump, Penatair IC40 SWCG, Pentair automation, Hayward sand filter, Aqua Comfort heat pump, Hayward 400k Lo-Nox LP heater.

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by bk406
    At 71 degrees, it should be working. If you set the output to 100%, the cell light on the Pentair should light green. The green light means that it should be making chlorine. I suspect you have dialed it down too far. What does the salt light look like? Is it green, red, flashing red? The anount of time it needs to stay on depends on a number of thing. How long you run your pump, how much chlorine your pool uses and the CYA level, all are factor. I set mine at 30% with a 10 hour a day pump run time with a CYA of 50 ppm, and that keeps my FC around 5 ppm. Yous might be different. You really just have to play with it.

    As far as the pool calculator. At the bottom, there is a pull down menu to set it for what type of chlorinator you have. if you select SWG, it will change the prompted values to reflect a higher CYA value.

    You should really read all the articles in pool school again anad take a deep breath. It WILL get easier
    Salt cell light is green. I think I'm going to have to hire someone to help me for the first few months. My husband travels all the time and this is overwhelming me. We have only had the pool 4 months and already had to do a drain and acid wash. I feel like a total pool failure...I really do.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    deep breath...open up a bottle of pop...Pool owner patience. Seriously, calm down

    First....read the pool school article on lowering your TA....you want to lower TA to the 70-80 range. 2nd if you can't regulate your SWG...raise your FC via unscented bleach to 7-8ppm FC. Hopefully you are using a good test kit...after that you should be all good. Your PH is rising fast as your TA is at 140 (on the high side) and you are running a SWG (areation provided by SWG promotes PH rise).
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dmanb2b
    deep breath...open up a bottle of pop...Pool owner patience. Seriously, calm down

    First....read the pool school article on lowering your TA....you want to lower TA to the 70-80 range. 2nd if you can't regulate your SWG...raise your FC via unscented bleach to 7-8ppm FC. Hopefully you are using a good test kit...after that you should be all good. Your PH is rising fast as your TA is at 140 (on the high side) and you are running a SWG (areation provided by SWG promotes PH rise).
    From TA of Pool School:
    Add acid to lower your PH to between 7.0 and 7.2 (this also lowers TA)
    Aerate until PH rises to around 7.6 (the only way to raise PH without also raising TA)
    Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you reach the desired TA.




    Ok...question. When I put the acid in, am I supposed to turn the pump and everything off and keep testing/adding acid until the pH gets to between 7.0 and 7.2??? I have always been adding the acid with the pump and water feature running.

    Added acid an hour ago. Re-tested just now. pH is 7.6 and TA is 120.
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    You always want the pump running when you add chemicals.

    Keep at it. Lowering TA can take a while.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    You always want the pump running when you add chemicals.

    Keep at it. Lowering TA can take a while.
    So, basically, I just need to keep adding acid (with the pump and water features running) until I get the pH down to 7.2 ---and then let it rise back up until it gets to around 7.6 and a TA of around 80/90? I feel like I'll be adding acid constantly...
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    The faster you add acid, the sooner it will all be over. You can bring the PH down to 7.0 each time if you want.

    Keep in mind that the lower the TA goes, the longer it will take for the PH to go back up to 7.6.
    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

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    hawkeyes-
    When I first started using the calculator I didn't realize you could change the target in the ph column (or the other areas either)..so I was confused how to lower ph with acid/amounts etc....so put in the current reading (say, 7.6) then change your target to to 7.2 and hit calculate. Then the amount of acid to add will be there. It may help to enter all your data into the calculator, then save the file. That way you can just open it up and all YOUR info is there. I messed up one day cuz it was the defaults and not my info. Also, maybe copy and paste the posts in this thread into a regular document, print, and study it. I found when I stepped away from the screen and focused on the printed materials it all clicked. It's easier than we think!

    I'm trying to lower TA using the acid and aerating method as well. I'm entering my third week as of tomorrow. About every 2-3 days when I get the higher Ph of 7.6 or 7.8, I test the TA and it's come down 20-30 ppm. I add the acid to go back to 7.2 (still a safe level), and the process begins anew. It's the one thing that hasn't been a quick fix for me..I thought shocking took awhile...

    The experts around here will get you straightened out. Just hang in there, don't give up, read and re read pool school. Take things one step at a time. Take notes, highlight, bullet point, outline, whatever helps make sense of it all. It will pay off...then you'll be a lazy pool owner too...I spent half an hour sweeping yesterday. That's the most I've spent since my shocking saga 2 weeks ago. Take pictures too. Then you can see for yourself the progress you're making.

    Keep at it!!
    Backyard pool-less, but used to be.....
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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyes
    I feel like I'll be adding acid constantly...
    I had to lower my TA from 300+....took almost 8 gallons of MA over a 2-3 day period....using MA to lower PH to 7.0...let it rise to 7.6 via aeration...repeat.....as Jason mentioned...keep at it and your TA will get down soon enough...good luck
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    hawkeyes,

    I know you are in the middle of lowering your TA which is a good thing, but please remember that you also need to increase your CYA level to about 80.

    Did I read that your fill water pH is 8? If yes, then that plus your SWCG plus your water features will more than likely always raise your pH and give you reason to add muriatic acid

    Once you finish lowering your TA and getting your pool in balance, you may want to read about a peristaltic pump for acid injection. Here's one thread: using-a-peristaltic-pump-for-acid-t11255.html . Installing the pump is not necessary but a convience for you. You can still manually add acid. If you think you might be interested in the pump, be sure to chat with some of the members that have one installed.

    Keep up the good work and remember the POP
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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    I cannot thank you guys enough for all of your help. Yes, my fill water has a pH of 8.0. And I have a SWG. Talk about fighting an uphill battle! I have 2 questions:

    1. I need to get the CYA up. Yes. I believe the Pool Calculator told me I need to add stabilizer for that. I will test my numbers again this morning and enter it all into the calculator and make a trip to Leslie's for the supplies.

    2. I am still confused on the acid/aeration method. Pool School says this method is the only way to lower pH while not increasing your TA. Ok. I get that. But *every* time I add acid (whether my TA was an issue or not), I add it with the pump on (which means the waterfall is on). Pool School says having a water feature is one example of aeration. Sooo....am I not aerating EVERY time I add acid? What am I doing that is any different to lower the pH but not increase the TA????
    22,000 gal IG Pool & Spa, Fountain and Spa Spillway, Penatair IC-40 SWCG, Pentair Intelliflo Variable Speed Pump, Cartridge, Antigua Blue Wet-Edge

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    MA lowers PH and TA...the aeration provided by your waterfall will increase PH without raising your TA ...net effect=lower TA. Once your TA is low enough, the aeration and related PH effect from the waterfall and SWG will slow dramatically.

    example:

    1) TA of 140+ with a waterfall and swg will usually result in consistent PH rise.
    2) TA of 60-80 with a waterfall and swg will usually result in much slower PH rise. The lower TA buffers your water's PH
    24'x52" AGP (13,500 Gallons), Intex SWG, (2)Solar Bear 4x20 panels, Hayward S220T Filter, 1/2hp Pentair Superflo

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    Re: I can't get my pH stabilized!!!

    Is there a valve to turn off flow to the waterfall?
    As the TA comes down, the PH rise from the aeration won't be as noticible.
    Aeration raises PH with no affect on TA. Acid lowers both. Eventually the TA will drop down to 60-70ish and the PH should stabilize even when the waterfall is running (until you need to add some water, LOL) and then your needing to add acid often will slow down.

    Dman and I were typing at the same time
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