Dealing with scaling/stain during pool season

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Previously got good scoop from Jason about using the Pool Calculator to get my CSI slightly negative in order to loosen calcium scale which is blue in spots from use of copper based algaecide. Plaster is 5 years old and in good shape up until I took over pool maintenance a year ago, and before TFP! My fill water is CH 250 and my last test showed CH 525 which is now up from previous readings of around 475. ( I am still struggling to get everything balanced but making slow progress..) I understand that pH, CYA, and TA are the parameters that I need to control in order to get slight negative CSI, yes? Then I can add a scale and stain sequestrant and brush like crazy to begin to tackle my issues? Test results from yesterday were:

FC - 6.5
CC - 0
pH - 7.4
TA- 100
CYA- 55
CH-525

This is the best CYA reading I have had yet and TA was previously 90...don't understand how it crept back up. When I put in the following goals in the Pool Calc. I got a -0.25 potential CSI. Is this considered "a little negative"....how negative is sufficient for me to begin this process without draining my pool or doing an RO treatment? I get a little intimidated by the warning of plaster corrosion when I go negative....

GOALS
pH - 7.2
TA - 90
CYA - 55

Again, what I am going for here is what you previously referred to as a mild no drain acid wash. Because of our climate and my solar heat source, we can easily swim in to early October some seasons so I can't do the Jack's treatment or a full on acid wash now.

Thanks for your patience. I am still struggling putting all of these pieces together...

Paula(Maxomom)
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Thanks Jason....

I will play around with the PC a little more and try to get in those parameters. As I recall from someone else's post, you recommended a couple of products for my situation....Scaletec or O-Ace-Sis from Ace Hardware. Still stand by those? I appreciate your guidance!
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Okay Jason, I give. How do I get there? Test results this evening were:

FC 2.5 (added 1 gallon of bleach as I will have heavy swimmer load this weekend)
CC 0
pH 7.6
TA 100
CH 475
CYA 50

water temp is about 78 degrees...According to the PC, my CSI is 0.26 now and when I "mouse" over the field it says that my pool is balanced. What do I need to tweak to get me slightly negative now? I haven't added acid for some time as I have been edging in to normal parameters. After the 4th weekend I would like to add a scale and stain sequestrant.

Thanks for your patience.... :cheers:

Paula
 

geekgranny

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
1,358
North Central Texas
As I am successfully releasing some of the scale in my pool since I did an AA treatment in Fall 2009, I would suggest you keep your pH ALWAYS below 7.5. Every other day I check mine and adjust, using the Pool Calculator, to 7.2, using MA. I pour the amount needed into a small 2-3 gallon plastic bucket, already filled partially with water, then put in pool. I'll usually add say, 16 oz MA to each bucket 3/4 full of water and then pour solution, spreading it out between several returns.

Also, I would immediately start using the sequestrant agent. I like the HTH Metal Control at Walmart. It is ~$15 for 32 oz. I use a 32 oz bottle every month or so and then do a weekly maintenance does about 2X or 3X the called for amount on labeling. I asked, here on TFP, about the safety of using so much, in relation to the dogs using the pool as a big water bucket. It is virtually 100% safe.

My calcium scale has been slowly releasing since last fall. The copper staining appears to be fading a tiny bit. My 14 year old, blue plaster, still in good shape, has been acid washed 3 times. I don't want to do it again as I want the plaster to last as long as possible.

I'm exercising POP (pool owner patience) and it IS paying off.

I like to keep my CSI on the slightly negative side as the plaster is in good shape and what I have been doing is working. I have to battle to keep my TA and CH up as I do backwash a lot and my fill water is low in both.

A very good friend has a pool that was way over CH by using Cal Hypo for over a year. It was about 700 but the TA was pretty low. We have managed to keep it at near 0.0 CSI for some time now.

At any rate I'm going to let some others advise you on TA and CH. I wanted to let you know that, with patience, there is possibility of loosening the calcium scale while keeping the pool swimmer friendly.

gg=alice
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
GG=Alice,

Thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I took over care of my pool about a year ago and knew absolutely nothing. Thanks to TFP, I have a good test kit and know more about pool chemistry than I ever thought I would. You guys are awesome and I have recommended this site to many of my friends who let their pool guy go due to the economy.

My problems are sort of the opposite of yours. My fill water is high CH (250ppm) as I guess it is every where out west so I know that this will be an ongoing battle. I was out of town a lot last year due to an ill family member, got a slight case of mustard algae and allowed the pool store to sell me algaecide with copper which only added to the cosmetic issues of calcium scale. My good fortune is that I am not at critical mass and want to address it now. My plaster is 5 years old and I paid a premium for this quartz agg stuff.

My pH has been steady at 7.2-7.4 at the most for about the last two months so I'm with you, keep it in that range. I just need to get a little negative CSI according to Jason in order for my treatment to begin to work. I am actually looking forward to this project. I also hear that all of the stainless steel brushing makes for great looking arms :lol: Again, thank you for your kind reply and your time.

Happy 4th of July!!

Paula ( Maxomom )
 

geekgranny

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 20, 2009
1,358
North Central Texas
Hey Paula, Happy 4th to you too and everyone. My DH is actually going to be off and in town Saturday. :party:

Brushing the pool is great for the arms. Just protect your back. In doing so you will also help strengthen your abs.

We generally keep our pools open year round here in the Dallas area. I did the AA treatment, fall 2009, when the water was getting cool and it took over 2 weeks to release the iron staining. That was all I was targeting but for months afterwards the calcium scale kept releasing. I kept the pH under 7.5 and kept sequestrant in the pool constantly. In early Feb we had a very unusual BIG Freeze. We had a little over an inch of ice on the pool. As I was having to backwash almost daily, at that time, with calcium releasing, high winds with lots of dust, and switching to cellulose, which filters finer than DE, I decided to semi "close" the pool so I wouldn't be out in the gale force freezing winds backwashing. :evil:

As I had ordered the new Quad 80 filter and VF pump I just kept the old filter and pump out of the system and used two submersible pumps to keep the water circulating and chems in balance. Then I actually cut the pump and filter out of system so there was no choice but to continue using the submersible pumps, with added Slime Bags for filtration, and Aquabot several hours a day, with several bag changes, due to calcium scale clogging the bags.

This went on for over two months. The whole time I kept the pH down near 7.2 and kept lots of sequestrant agent in. When I had my "Favorite Most Trusted" pool guy install the new filter and pump in early April, it took over 2 weeks, filter on low speed, using cellulose, to get the pool cleared of the released calcium. There were immense amounts of it. I was backwashing my big 80 sq ft filter every few days. AND loads of calcium had obviously been release, when it finally cleared up.

During those two plus months I did virtually no brushing. I actually stopped brushing when the new filter and pump were installed so the water would clear so I could see it.

This was not algae; rather mostly released calcium scaling, in a big way. Inspecting the fine Aquabot bags and the Slime Bags, it was obvious that this stuff was white scale and little of my tan dust/silt/sand.

Do as much brushing as you can. There is a brush helper that I use with my stainless steel brush, that makes it into a "wall whale". If you have a party coming up you might want to hold off brushing for a few days to let the calcium clear out, if it is causing cloudiness.

I still have more cloud in my water than I prefer even running the VF pump on low speed (better filtering) 21/7 and using cellulose filter media. It is really only at night in front of the light. But, at times, when I add bleach, with pump running it will could up more and for longer.

I'm not being too worried about the cloud because it lets me know that my measures are working.

Every week or so there is a noticeable improvement in the amount of scaling. I have blue plaster so it is obvious when the blue starts showing through the scale.

My scale was so bad on the pool steps that I spent two hours, solid, using an angle grinder, with concrete discs, to get the scale off of one step. That was the worst place though.

You can defeat this and then be a very proud pool "expert". We all here are cheering you on.

gg=alice
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
20,939
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
geekgranny said:
Do as much brushing as you can. There is a brush helper that I use with my stainless steel brush, that makes it into a "wall whale". If you have a party coming up you might want to hold off brushing for a few days to let the calcium clear out, if it is causing cloudiness.
Hear, hear!

I bought a "whale" brush and could immediately feel the difference in resistance. Then I bought a combination steel/nylon brush. It seemed to clean better. Finally, one day, after searching the forums here, I did a little drilling to make things fit and installed the whale tail on the steel brush. Oh, yeah! It raises some clouds in an otherwise sparkling pool. Sometimes I'll just grab the nylon brush on the short pole to brush some debris off the steps or whatever, and it feels like nothing.

My scaling is dissolving. Fortunately, it's not heavy, just blotchy. And it really only shows in indirect daylight, early morning and evening. In full sun it's invisible, and with the light on it's barely noticeable. I believe my discoloration was caused by copper as well - the previous owner had the floater tethered to the wall with a piece of copper bell wire!
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Thank you Richard....I have seen those whale wall cleaner attachments in some catalogs I receive and will order one ASAP. In the meanwhile I have taken Alice's advice, starting the sequestrant today and have begun brushing with my SS brush I just got. It's hard work but we could all use a little more exercise, right?? Thank you for your reply!

Paula
 

dykes26

Well-known member
Aug 17, 2009
184
OK- im confused and need some clarification. I have been keeping my PH from 7.4-7.8 as the PC tells me this is the correct range for a SWG system with my test results

FC- 4.0
CH- 350
TA-90
CYA-75
Salt- 3500

I keep reading here that your PH should be kept in the low 7's but my PC says that corrosion likely in that range. Am I missing something?
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
dykes26, Maxomom is trying to do a no drain acid wash, which requires low PH. You don't normally have any reason to do this.

Maxomom, with CH at 475 it is going to be difficult. You can bring PH down to 7.0, and TA down to 60, but that still leaves you at a CSI of -0.5. If you don't have a heater, or can bypass it, you can bring the PH down further, but with a heater you can't go below 7.0. The only other option would be to lower the CH level.
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Thanks Jason... I knew you would come back eventually.. :-D

Yesterday I added 64 oz of HTH Metal Control as per the bottle instructions and Geek Granny's recommendation and brushed like crazy! I checked my numbers at dusk to see what if any effect it had. Here's what I got:

FC 4.5
CC 0
pH 7.0
TA 100
CYA 50

This got me to -.31. I seem to recall reading somwhere that if you aerate it can raise the pH. Is that correct? Maybe it was Pool School? Anyway, I let my spa jet run all night along with my filter. I do not have a traditional heater. I have solar panels. Next step??

Should I be backwashing or just watch my filter psi reading? Thank you for sticking with me!
 

JasonLion

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
37,880
Silver Spring, MD
For the filter, just keep an eye of the psi reading and backwash/clean when the psi goes up.

Yes, aeration will raise the PH, so you can then add more acid to continue lowering TA.

Without a conventional heater, you should be able to bring your PH down to 6.8 without too much risk.
 

Maxomom

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 7, 2010
55
Thanks again! I will add acid today to lower TA and try to keep the pH low while I work away at this...
Is my TFP logo for my membership now available to me? Have a wonderful 4th weekend....
 

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