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Thread: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

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    Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Im doing a little market research.

    I wanted to see where peoples thoughts are on pH automation for residential pools. Great idea, good idea, not worth the cost, just pain stupid, wheres the ORP?, whatever.

    I'd also like some opinions on CO2 vs. Acid.

    Hayward/Goldline, Autopilot, Acu-trol, and CAT (the company I work for) make some sort of pH controller. There are some others.

    I really just want some honest opinions on the concept of automated pH control, i'm not looking to promote.

    Thanks for the help!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    I have an AutoPilot Total Control system and I love the PH automation. It just works. I have an acid tank and pump and that is great. I have never tried CO2 systems, but they sound like more trouble. My only concern is the price. It cost quite a bit and because of that I would not recommend it for most people.

    For an outdoor pool a SWG and PH automation are all you need. ORP is more trouble than it is worth outdoors. I have ORP and it doesn't work and that has never been a problem. I simply use normal percentage control mode. But without PH automation I would need to do extra work that I don't want to do.
    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: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    I think the expense is the biggest problem and the necessary upkeep the next biggest. As you know, peristaltic pumps are not the most dependable pieces of equipment if they are not maintained (we have one at the commercial site I help maintain that is constantly having problems).
    As far as acid vs. CO2, acid delivery systems are going to be high maintenance no matter how you look at them and CO2 can cause TA to rise necessitating the need to add acid manually. I think they are wonderful for commercial installations where they are constantly watched over but I feel that most homeowners would not do the necessary upkeep.
    As far as my own fiberglass pool with SWG, by tweaking my TA and adding borates to 50 ppm I have my acid consumption down to about 6-8 oz every 6 weeks or so. The manual addition of that small amount of acid is much less work than an automated system would be in my case.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    I would buy a CAT system, but it's is just to expensive even for me! I did a lot of research and found that the CAT system seems to be the best one there for my application.
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    ok... I'll bite.

    just 2 days ago as i was reading the thread about The Chlorinator, I was thinking... "the heck with The Chorinator, I've got that puzzle solved with the swg... what we really need is an automated injection system for the acid... but given the "struggles" with chlorine injection, acid injection must just be too much to tackle."

    so, I guess it's been tackled... and as I well know, the more nasty the fluid, the more dollars it takes to control it.

    I'd definately be interested to know how much such a system runs dollar-wise, although now probably isn't the perfect time to be adding such "luxury items" into the budget.

    Meanwhile, I'll be talking to Waterbear to see if he can help me get my cement pool to ingest as little HCl as his glass one. Just last night I added what I hope to be enough borates to get me to 50 ppm... I'll know in a few mins.

    Thanks for coming back and asking. No matter your motive, you can't sell to or help people if you don't know their thoughts. Now feel free to give me some feedback on a budgetary cost of an acid system.

    Good luck,
    Steve
    18,000 gallon gunite free form, with spa, 4x160, EasyTouch, SWCG, Pentair cartr filter, Colorlogic lights.

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by stevenbrla
    Meanwhile, I'll be talking to Waterbear to see if he can help me get my cement pool to ingest as little HCl as his glass one.
    Probably never happen, it's one of the big reasons I went with fiberglass over plaster! Non reactive surface so chemical balance is easier.

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    stevenbrla, here are links to a couple of our dealers. Their prices are listed.

    http://www.saltwater-poolsystems.com/se ... ler/Detail

    http://www.aqua-man.com/subdetails.asp?product_num=5547

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    I have recently installed an acid pump. I do not have a pH controller yet, however my pool automation system runs the acid pump for a period of time each day. I agree that $600 for a pH controller is a bit steep. I am looking into building a controller myself. Even a DIY unit using quality material will run $200 to $300!

    So far my acid pump has been work for about 3 to 4 weeks and knock on wood have had not problems with it. One thing though, I do not feed concentrated acid, but rather a solution. I did this to start out with for safety reasons, if the entire pail of acid should feed at one time, I would not be massively over dosing the pool.

    Another reason for the acid pump is by maintaining a nearly constant pH, I might be reducing the out gassing of CO2. Before the acid pump, I would add acid weekly changing the pH from 7.6~7.7 down to 7.2~7.3. By keeping the pH at the higher levels, I hope to lower the out gassing and possibly my acid demand.
    7,500 gal, IG pool, L shape 22' x 15', 1.5 hp pump, cartridge filter, AquaPlus SWG/Controller, Pebble-Tec liner.

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    I forgot to vote: "I love automation!" I also use Acid control for my gunite pool. I am running two passive chem feeders: The Liquidator & pH Adjuster.

    - Can a CAT controller be used to control actuators?
    - Can you explain if the ORP measurement? Will ORP measurement work in my system?
    - What kind of maintenance is required for your controllers?
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    How about something that reduces pH without chemicals?

    The water ionizers sold for health purposes (or some would say, quack medicine) separate the ions present in the water and discharge two streams, one alkaline for drinking and one acid for discard. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionized_water. Without making any judgments about the supposed health benefits of drinking the "alkaline water", it seems to me such a device could be built to produce low-pH pool makeup water from tap water. (Drinking the alkaline by-product would be optional at the discretion of the pool owner!) I have no idea what the cost to manufacture or operate such a device might be, but it would seem to have some potential.
    Currrent pool under construction: DIY Kafko steel/vinyl IG 26kgal 20x40 Kidney, sand filter, Triac spillover spa, Aqua Logic SWG
    Previous pool: IG vinyl 20x40 rectangle. Made all the mistakes - now reformed (mostly)

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by waterbear
    Quote Originally Posted by stevenbrla
    Meanwhile, I'll be talking to Waterbear to see if he can help me get my cement pool to ingest as little HCl as his glass one.
    Probably never happen, it's one of the big reasons I went with fiberglass over plaster! Non reactive surface so chemical balance is easier.
    Interestingly, they only time I've ever added acid to my cement pool was when I needed to get the TA down at the beginning of this season. PH actually seems to drift down ever so slightly for me. I have no idea how old my plaster is, but it looks to have several coats of paint on it. Planning a replaster in the next year or so...
    ~30000 GAL In-Ground 26'x50' Kidney Shaped Pool
    Hayward EC-75 DE Filter w/1.5HP Hayward SuperPump
    daily user of JasonLion's Poolcalculator
    (12) 2x10 SunGrabber Solar Panels...now if only there was some sun to shine on them!

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by chatcher
    How about something that reduces pH without chemicals?

    The water ionizers sold for health purposes (or some would say, quack medicine) separate the ions present in the water and discharge two streams, one alkaline for drinking and one acid for discard. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionized_water. Without making any judgments about the supposed health benefits of drinking the "alkaline water", it seems to me such a device could be built to produce low-pH pool makeup water from tap water. (Drinking the alkaline by-product would be optional at the discretion of the pool owner!) I have no idea what the cost to manufacture or operate such a device might be, but it would seem to have some potential.
    I suspect that they cost considerably more than other options.

    http://www.chem1.com/CQ/ionbunk.html
    21' Leslies Beachland Ag Pool, 10,000 gallons, professionally installed (best money I ever spent) Hayward 16" sand filter w/Pentair two speed pump Fafco 4x20 solar heater,Aqua Trol RJ. Borates added. Hard plumbed.

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by robrinker

    Interestingly, they only time I've ever added acid to my cement pool was when I needed to get the TA down at the beginning of this season. PH actually seems to drift down ever so slightly for me. I have no idea how old my plaster is, but it looks to have several coats of paint on it. Planning a replaster in the next year or so...
    Plaster leaches calcium into the water, which raises the PH, which is why plaster pools need periodic additions of acid. It's worse when the pool is new or replastered, and gets less after a while.

    I would guess that the paint is keeping the calcium from getting out of the plaster, in your case, which is why your ph is stable. Expect a change when you refinish.

    I am like Waterbear, I have a fiberglass pool, and since I started using bleach, almost never have to adjust my ph, so I have no interest in a acid pump/ph controller.

    I would like an orb based controller, but the commercial stuff is out of my price range.

    Randy
    20,000 gal fiberglass pool, Raypak 266k BTU Lo Nox gas heater, Purex 2048 48 sq ft DE filter, 1.5hp pump. iWave wireless remote, Pulsafeeder chlorine pump, Safety cover on most of the time

    seperate spa, with own pump, cartridge filter, Teledyne heater

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Paint is a non-reactive surface, much more like fiberglass than like plaster. It doesn't matter what is under the paint as long as the paint is intact.
    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: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    After a couple of years, a plaster pool will likely settle down to minimal pH rise. After I switched to using chlorinating liquid in my plaster pool in the second year, I noticed virtually no rise in pH -- perhaps 0.1 rise in 2 months. I have a pool cover that is on and that virtually eliminates the outgassing that causes the pH to rise so I suspect that any calcium leeching is pretty minimal.

    Richard
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabot
    I forgot to vote: "I love automation!" I also use Acid control for my gunite pool. I am running two passive chem feeders: The Liquidator & pH Adjuster.

    - Can a CAT controller be used to control actuators?
    - Can you explain if the ORP measurement? Will ORP measurement work in my system?
    - What kind of maintenance is required for your controllers?
    1. like a solenoid valve to control the flow of water in to the chemical feeder?
    2. I know very little about the The Liquidator & pH Adjuster, but in general sodium hypo and muriatic acid are ideal for pH/ORP controllers.
    3. This is true of most controllers - clean sensors every month of use, re-calibrate as needed, replace sensors biannually

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Yes, control a solenoid valve.
    I use standard chlorine right out of the bottle. (6% bleach)
    20k Gunite/Prism Blue-Pebblesheen, Pentair Tagelus TA-100D Sand Filter, Heliocol Solar Water Heater, 2 bubblers and 2 waterfalls installed 2007, 3hp IntelliFlo VS Pump 011018 installed 2013, Aquabot Turbo T4 RC and Stenner 45MHP10 w/The Liquidator container installed 2012.
    Antigua Spa by Artesian Spas: 325 gl, 52 jets, 6 hp 2 sp & 6 hp 1 sp, Circulation System 24 Hour Whisper Pure, Ozonator, LED digital lighting, The Artesian Pillowfall installed 2007.
    Retired: 2hp Pentair Whisperflow, Legend Platinum w/booster pump, PH Adjuster

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    Re: Automated pH Correction - What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sabot
    Yes, control a solenoid valve.
    I use standard chlorine right out of the bottle. (6% bleach)
    Yes we can control a solenoid valve to control the flow of water into a chlorine feeder. I do not know about the pH adjuster.

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