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Thread: Philadelphia conversion - not nearly as bad as I had feared!

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    Philadelphia conversion - not nearly as bad as I had feared!

    So, I bought a house 11/06 with a pool, and the former owner had been using Baquacil for all 8 years since the pool was built. I tried it for one summer (last summer) and couldn't keep up with the algae growth. It seemed I needed to vaccum twice a week and backflush the filter every few days.

    Anyway, I've been reading these forums, which are FANTASTIC, because the people at the pool stores seem to know almost nothing about Baquacil, even if they sell it. I was very nervous about starting this process because I'm new to pools in general and haven't exactly mastered all the eqipment yet. Last weekend (May 3rd), I took the cover off, and the water looked pretty good. My DE grids had recently been acid washed, so they were clean and ready to go. I hadn't added any Baquacil since early August of last year. For August and September, until I closed my pool, I only added non-chlorine shock on a weekly basis. As I said, I had to constantly clean the pool and backflush the filter. Last Sunday, I added some dry acid to get my pH down to 7.2, and ran the filter for about 12 hours a day, bought the TF100 test kit and loaded up on bleach. I took a water sample to the pool store, where they told me my Baq levels were 40ppm! Way higher than what I was hoping for, especially since I hadn't added Bac for 8 months. At the pool store, they told me that the vinyl liner leeches out the Baquacil during the winter.

    The first beach went in early Saturday morning. I bought the 1.42 gal 6% supermarket bleach. The pool immediately turned an opaque brown with a lot of foam and gunk floating on the surface. The FC level was back down to zero in about an hour. It may have happened sooner, but I waited an hour to check. During the day on Saturday, I added bleach every one or two hours to get back up to 15ppm. I bought some of the Clorox Outdoor bleach from Lowes that is more concentrated. That seemed to get the FC up to 15 pretty easily. I had to backflush the filter and add new DE at least four times on Saturday when the pressure in the DE tank rose to 20psi (it normally sits right on 10psi).

    By Sunday morning, the pool was clearer, but still had a ton of junk floating on the top, but I could see the bottom. As of this morning (Monday) after 48 hours of constantly adding bleach (the equivalent of 45 gallons of 6%), the water is crystal clear. I had no idea that my pool could be that clear. It's really amazing. Almost all of the foam is gone from the surface too. I did a quick reading this morning and here's what I found:

    FC = 10
    CC = 7

    I added a 1.42 gallon jug of 6% to get my FC back up to 15ppm. The DE filter was still reading 10psi, so I think I'm good with not having to backflush so often anymore. My plan is to keep adding bleach in the morning and evening until the FC holds overnight and the CCs go down to less than 1ppm. I guess this is the part that takes a while. Here are my questions:

    1. When should I take my DE grids out and hose them down / replace them? Do I need to wait until the very end, or would doing that now help out the conversion?
    2. When do I need to worry about the other tests like CYA, TA, etc. Can that wait until I have the chlorine stabilized?
    3. I have a chlorine generator ready and waiting to be installed. Do I want my TC to be 2-3ppm or 0ppm before I start running that?

    I think that's it for now. I took some pictures that I'll try to post tonight. I just wanted to let people know that even with a high Baq level, if you can focus a lot of attention on your pool (and it was definitely hard this Mother's Day weekend, especially on my wife), you can get to clear water in a short amount of time. Saying you need a lot of bleach is an understatement. I made five separate bleach runs in two days. I would definitely recommend that Clorox Outdoor stuff though. One big jug brings the FC level up quite a bit.

    Steve
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Welcome to TFP!

    Don't change the grids till FC holds steady overnight. When FC holds steady you can also start adding CYA and balancing your other numbers. It may still take a while for CC to fall to zero after that point.

    Do not install the SWG until FC holds steady and the CC level has gone down to 0.5 or lower. You want everything to be balanced before turning the SWG on, which means FC around 5 and 7, CYA at 60-80, and other levels reasonable.
    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: Philadelphia conversion - not nearly as bad as I had fea

    Quote Originally Posted by steve1969

    I bought some of the Clorox Outdoor bleach from Lowes that is more concentrated.
    Not a good choice, this is not bleach but a bleach cleaner. It says so on the bottle. I cannot stress enough that you ONLY want to use plain, unscented bleach with NO additives, thickeners, or additional additives in them. THIS is the only kind of bleach that is an approved EPA sanitizer.

    1. When should I take my DE grids out and hose them down / replace them? Do I need to wait until the very end, or would doing that now help out the conversion?
    Once the pool clears, the FC is holding, and there is no CC.

    2. When do I need to worry about the other tests like CYA, TA, etc. Can that wait until I have the chlorine stabilized?
    Once the pool clears, the FC is holding, and there is no CC.

    3. I have a chlorine generator ready and waiting to be installed. Do I want my TC to be 2-3ppm or 0ppm before I start running that?
    AFTER the pool clears, the FC is holding, and there is no CC AND you have cleaned your grids and changed out the DE AND have your water balanced for the SWG (correct TA, CH, CYA, pH, and salt); make sure your FC is between 3-5 ppm before you turn the generator on.

    I would definitely recommend that Clorox Outdoor stuff though. One big jug brings the FC level up quite a bit.
    Once again, this is not plain bleach but a bleach cleaner. The name on the label is "Clorox Outdoor Bleach Cleaner"
    It is NOT unscented chlorine bleach and is NOT what you want to be putting in your pool!

    Steve
    Here is some info from the Clorox website (emphasis mine):

    "The formula is specially designed for outdoor use with a thicker formula for better control and a special protectant for metal surfaces.

    Plus, since Clorox® Outdoor Bleach Cleaner is thickened it makes it easy to pour and easy to use."

    "Protects metal surfaces from corrosion.* So now you can treat tough outdoor stains"


    As you can see this is not the plain, unscented bleach that is recommended on this and other forums (and by some bleach manufacturers) for swimming pool use!

    Sorry if you think I am overemphasizing this but I am not. It is a mistake that many newbies make or almost make so it deserves to be really emphasized!

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    I would definitely recommend that Clorox Outdoor stuff though. One big jug brings the FC level up quite a bit.
    Once again, this is not plain bleach but a bleach cleaner. The name on the label is "Clorox Outdoor Bleach Cleaner"
    It is NOT unscented chlorine bleach and is NOT what you want to be putting in your pool!


    Whoops - did I do anything bad by using that stuff? I should've known better - I've read all these threads. I erroneously figured it was stronger bleach. I couldn't find the chlorine % on the bottle, so I asked the guy at Lowes whether it was the same as bleach and he told me it was, just stronger. It was definitely syrupy and concentrated. The last bunch of bleach applications have been the regular unscented bleach though. That being said, I added 17 gallons of that Outdoor stuff on Saturday. Sorry for putting out that "recommendation!"
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve1969

    Whoops - did I do anything bad by using that stuff? I should've known better - I've read all these threads. I erroneously figured it was stronger bleach. I couldn't find the chlorine % on the bottle, so I asked the guy at Lowes whether it was the same as bleach and he told me it was, just stronger. It was definitely syrupy and concentrated. The last bunch of bleach applications have been the regular unscented bleach though. That being said, I added 17 gallons of that Outdoor stuff on Saturday. Sorry for putting out that "recommendation!"
    The MSDS does not really list anything in it besides the bleach and sodium hydroxide that is found in all bleach so I can only assume that it has some kind of non foaming surfactant and some kind of anti corrosion agent that are fairly innocuous since they are not listed on the MSDS! Also 17 gallons in a pool means that whatever is in the bleach has been highly diluted by now so I would not lose too much sleep over it. Just use plain bleach from now on or, if it's available in your area, see if the price of liquid chlorine from the pool store is cheaper than bleach. In many localities it is. (But it is not available at all in others! )

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    Update on numbers (it rained all day yesterday here and was in the low 50's):

    Last night:
    FC = 10.0
    CC = 9.0

    Added 1.42 gallons of bleach....

    This morning:
    FC = 13.0
    CC = 5.5

    Added three quarts of bleach. Pool is crystal clear, D.E. filter still reading 10psi (and has been there since midday Sunday). No more foam on top of the pool.

    I know it's hard to say, but will my CC number keep dropping, or can it go back up before it goes down and stays down?

    Thanks for all the help!
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    At first CC will wander up and down. Towards the end CC will only drop.
    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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    Day six:

    Last night when I got home from work, FC was zero. I added bleach to bring it up to 15. This morning, FC was still 15, but CCs were 2.5ppm. So, the FC held overnight, but I still have CCs. I wouldn't want to add bleach now, would I? I guess I should just wait until later in the day, when the sunlight knocks my FCs down?

    Pool has never looked so clear. All the white foam that was collecting in the skimmer is gone too.
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    My wife just checked the numbers for me:

    FC = 5.0
    CC = 2.0

    She added 3 more gallons of bleach to boost FC to 15, but it seems that I'm in the home stretch. I'm at six days and about 55 gallons of bleach. My last backflush of the D.E. filter yielded mostly clear water and the pressure is down to 8 psi.
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You are doing great!
    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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    Morning of day seven:

    FC = 15.0 (held from last night)
    CC = 1.5
    TA = 100
    pH = 7.2

    I just bought some CYA at the pool store. Am I ready to replace the grids and add some stabilizer? Or do I need one or two more days of FC at 15? The CC number has been dropping by 0.5 every day for the last three days or so.
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    I think you are good to replace the grids and then add CYA. But I should point out that some of the others feel that it is better to wait for the CC level to go down to 0.5 or lower.
    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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    Day 8 - FC holding at 15 overnight, pool sparkling clear, but CC still at 1.5ppm. I took out the grids today and power-washed them. I'm hoping that the conversion is just about done so I can add the stabilizer and then hook up the heat pump and SWG! Pictures attached.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Congratulations!
    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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    Now that my conversion seems to be finished, I need to add CYA, but I'm not sure what to do.

    Last night's numbers were FC = 8, CC = 0, and this morning, FC = 8, CC = 1. So far, I have not put any CYA in. I'm having my SWG installed on Friday, so I have a week to get the water completely ready. Once I add the CYA, I presume that I'll only need a small amount of bleach to maintain the FC levels? What levels should I target? The rest of my numbers right now are as follows:

    FC = 8
    CC = 1
    TA = 100
    pH = 7.2
    CYA = 0

    If I'm adding CYA tonight, when do I add the salt?
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    You can add the salt any time. It doesn't interact with anything else that is going on. Remember to test your current level before adding salt.

    I would go ahead and add CYA now and then keep the FC level at 15 till CC is 0.5 or lower a couple of days in a row.
    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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    So, keep the FC at 15 for a few more days until the CCs are zero for a few days - how much CYA do I add? I mean, what CYA level should I shoot for while I'm holding FC at 15?

    Can I also drop my pump/filter on-cycle down to 12 hours now? It's been running 24/7 for two weeks.
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You are having a SWG installed, so you should aim for CYA between 60 and 80.

    Cutting the pump run time at this point sounds reasonable. Watch the CC level and if it goes up above 1 you should go back to running 24/7.
    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

  19. Back To Top    #19

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    So, according to the pool calculator, I need almost 12 pounds of stabilizer, and almost 480 pounds of salt for my SWG. I added 5 lbs. of stabilizer and then brought my FC back up to 15. CCs are 0.5. I was going to add the rest of the bucket of CYA (another 3 pounds) tonight, and then broadcast the salt that I just bought (320 pounds). Both CYA and salt levels will only be about 2/3rds of the way to target, but I figured it best to ease into the numbers.

    I'm just a little confused because I won't get accurate pH levels at such a high FC, and I know you said the salt has no effect, but I don't want to skew my numbers. Any advice on the order of steps would be much appreciated! I'm pretty sure there's no Baq left, but the CCs only hit 0 once, and have been between 0.5 and 1.5 the last four or so tests. I'm only 10 days into my conversion, so maybe I'm still in the final phases and should keep shocking for another few days?
    15,000 gallon in-ground, vinyl; PacFab Nautilus INS48 D.E. filter, Goldline Aqua Rite XL SWG, Heat Siphon SX5.0

  20. Back To Top    #20
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    You should maintain shock levels of chlorine until CC has been 0.5 or lower on at least two consecutive days. As you increase CYA you will need to bring the FC level up to maintain shock level. FC at 15 is good through CYA of 40 and then it starts to creep up after that.

    Salt is totally fine to add at any time. Just remember that you probably didn't start at zero, so test it before adding any more than perhaps 1/2, or a little more, of what you calculated.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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