extended period away from home

crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
wasn't sure where to put this, so I'll put it here...we are going to be away from home for probably 3 weeks to a month, and after finally taking control of my pool and getting the water perfectly balanced I now have to leave it for an extended period.

also a little concerned about the fires in so cal, we haven't had much ash falling but have had some. no way of knowing of course how much more we'll have in the time I'm away...

what's the best way for me to proceed here? I have friends who can at least come over and check the water level for me, and the SWG should take care of the chlorine part, but I'm more worried about the pH which is going to be above 8 for an extended period without anyone to add acid...I have extremely hard water and am constantly fighting scaling issues, both on the waterline and in the salt cell. I have been adding acid roughly once a week or so once I get to 7.8, dropping it to 7.2. if I drop it to 7.0, that acid addition period extends to almost two weeks (I added enough acid to get me to 7.0 on 8/23 and then didn't need to add more until 9/4, so 12 days).
 

cowboycasey

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Jul 3, 2013
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Fletcher, OK
use tabs in a float, it will add CYA and they are acidic so it will keep your PH down/level.. Each 8 ounce trichlor tab will add 5.5 FC, add 3.3 CYA and drop PH by 0.29 :) when you get back pull the float and test to see where your at...
 
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crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
use tabs in a float, it will add CYA and they are acidic so it will keep your PH down/level.. Each 8 ounce trichlor tab will add 5.5 FC, add 3.3 CYA and drop PH by 0.29 :) when you get back pull the float and test to see where your at...
i thought about doing that, but my CYA is pretty much where i want it right now and i was heistant to raise it much more. i just added 40 oz of stabilizer about a month ago and i'm somewhere in the 70-80 neighborhood right now. plus, the SWG is pretty well dialed in and generating FC, so i wasn't sure it was wise to do tabs in a floater just to lower the pH when it's going to mess with the FC and CYA numbers that are pretty well dialed in.

for reference, here are my last set of full numbers from last saturday (will have a new set tomorrow afternoon):

Results from poollogger.com

FC: 8.5
CC: 0
PH: 7.3
TA: 70
CH: 925
CYA: 80
Temp: 82.2
Salt: 3800
CSI: -0.18

the water is a bit cooler right now, but the rest of the numbers are probably pretty close. i'll post tomorrow's full set of numbers as soon as i have them.

the only other thing that has me a little concerned is that while i've had the SWG dialed in for the past few weeks / months, with the days getting shorter i don't know how that's going to affect my run time either.
 
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cowboycasey

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Jul 3, 2013
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Fletcher, OK
really adding 10 or so CYA is not going to hurt you going in to winter and rainy season there, it will help keep the PH down and it will not turn green with your SWG going and the tabs... it wont get to the SLAM level of 31 so your good there...

I would not change a thing just add the tabs and have fun on your vacation and when you get back see where your at and go from there :)
 

crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
really adding 10 or so CYA is not going to hurt you going in to winter and rainy season there, it will help keep the PH down and it will not turn green with your SWG going and the tabs... it wont get to the SLAM level of 31 so your good there...

I would not change a thing just add the tabs and have fun on your vacation and when you get back see where your at and go from there :)
unfortunately it's not a vacation, traveling cross-country for a death in the family :(

as for adding CYA not hurting during rainy season, unfortunately that's not a given...we've been here 7 years and 5 of the 7 years have been extremely dry. i worry about adding any CYA and then we have a dry winter and my CYA is now way over target.

how many tabs would you add and how far should i open the windows on the floater?

we probably aren't leaving until at least sunday evening, probably monday morning...so if anyone else has any input too on exactly how to best handle this i have some time to figure it all out. i just want to make sure i don't end up coming back to a swamp, but also am hesitant to change too much (like i said) with everything pretty well dialed in right now.
 

cowboycasey

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Fletcher, OK
sorry about that....

I have no idea on that part..... I have never used them and I leave for 3 weeks all the time but I have a vinyl liner pool so my PH stays down when I drop my TA... I was thinking 3 tabs as that will raise FC 15, CYA 10, drop PH 0.90... The 3 is a guess, maybe someone else will get on with some more advice :)
 
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crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
sorry about that....

I have no idea on that part..... I have never used them and I leave for 3 weeks all the time but I have a vinyl liner pool so my PH stays down when I drop my TA... I was thinking 3 tabs as that will raise FC 15, CYA 10, drop PH 0.90... The 3 is a guess, maybe someone else will get on with some more advice :)
definitely thanks and i appreciate the input. this is the first time I'm having to leave it for longer than a day without keeping track and being able to make immediate adjustments, just want to make sure I don't screw up all the hard work I've put in for the past few months...
 

Newdude

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Jun 16, 2019
4,795
NY
I just went 2.5 weeks and it was fine. You can micromanage all you want when you get back but the system should do plenty fine on its own.
 

kimkats

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Jul 10, 2012
47,350
Tallahassee, FL
I would fill up the tablet holder and open it up all of the way. This will ensure there is some chlorine going into your pool just in case your SWG has a hiccup. Plus the added advantage of the pH help. It is a win win for peace of mind!
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
Another option -- though I think using tablets in a floater is best for your situation.
Look at your weekly acid additions over the last few weeks. Average it out for how much you use and then lower it a bit for safety.

Then mark a used gallon container. If gone 4 weeks, split the gallon into thirds. Fill the bottle with water part way and then add the acid you need added over three weeks. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Have the neighbors add down to the line on the bottle each week you are gone. I do this for our pool when we go away for over a few weeks (I use tablets if gone that short). Have been gone over two months and my local family adds the dilute acid and clears the skimmer.
 
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crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
just ran a full set of tests, here are my current numbers:

FC: 9.0
CC: 0
PH: 7.5 (just added acid yesterday)
TA: 70
CH: 925
CYA: 80
Temp: 74.5
Salt: 4000
CSI: -0.08

Then mark a used gallon container. If gone 4 weeks, split the gallon into thirds. Fill the bottle with water part way and then add the acid you need added over three weeks. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Have the neighbors add down to the line on the bottle each week you are gone. I do this for our pool when we go away for over a few weeks (I use tablets if gone that short). Have been gone over two months and my local family adds the dilute acid and clears the skimmer.
that's an interesting idea. i didn't want to ask the friends who are going to be coming over to make sure the water level is ok to also add acid, but if it's pre-diluted that might work. i'd have to ask them if they're comfortable doing that. (if i am reading what you're saying correctly)

if i go with the tablets, how many would i use and how far should i open the windows on the floater? and should i add more acid now before we leave to get down to 7.0?

also, if you notice the FC number is a little high at 9.0. i run my full tests every saturday afternoon, and it has actually been creeping up as the days have gotten shorter (two weeks ago was 8.0, last week 8.5, today 9.0). should i mess with the SWG now or wait until i get back to start backing it off for winter (at least for while it's still generating til the water gets too cold)?
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
You are understanding me right. Pre diluted acid. Would not have the fumes. Still need to be careful not to spill it on them selves or deck.

Your size pool for 3 weeks I would use 3 pucks. They may not fully dissolve, but that is OK. I would tie the floater up so it does not get right over a step or whatever. Open it so a couple of the little windows are open. I have not found that makes much difference.

What FC are you adding each day to the pool right now? You could back that down by 0.5 ppm or so with out worry. Just realize when you get home the FC may be high (no big deal) but just be ware when you test the pH it may show high if the FC is high.
 
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mgtfp

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Mar 5, 2020
562
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
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Surface
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Chlorine
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SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
I'm sorry to hear about your loss, crackers.

Another option -- though I think using tablets in a floater is best for your situation.
Look at your weekly acid additions over the last few weeks. Average it out for how much you use and then lower it a bit for safety.

Then mark a used gallon container. If gone 4 weeks, split the gallon into thirds. Fill the bottle with water part way and then add the acid you need added over three weeks. Fill the bottle the rest of the way with water. Have the neighbors add down to the line on the bottle each week you are gone. I do this for our pool when we go away for over a few weeks (I use tablets if gone that short). Have been gone over two months and my local family adds the dilute acid and clears the skimmer.
Great idea. I had the same thought about pre-measuring and asking a friend/neighbour to add it, but was hesitant to suggest it because full-strength MA might be a bit intimidating to a non-expectant person, and an inexperienced non-pool-owner might add it too quickly or while the pump is not running. But the dilution Marty is suggesting is the winner - that removes MA's steaming effect, making it safer and less intimidating for the person adding it, and also reduces the risk for any damages to the pool/coping. But I'd still suggest to put at least a pair of safety glasses next to the container and ask your friend to wear that, and to have a bucket filled with pool water ready to wash down any spillage from your coping.

The order of adding fluids in Marty's description is very important. Always add acid to water, never add water to undiluted acid. I single droplet of water gets very hot in the acid and can splash back, whereas a single droplet of acid gets diluted very quickly in the water.
 
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crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
What FC are you adding each day to the pool right now? You could back that down by 0.5 ppm or so with out worry. Just realize when you get home the FC may be high (no big deal) but just be ware when you test the pH it may show high if the FC is high.
according to pool math, i'm adding 1.1 FC per day (8 hours at 20%). the SWG runs for 6 hours in the AM and 2 hours in the late PM.

unfortunately i can't take it lower than 20%, so i would need to just lower the run time...if i were to drop that to just 4 hours in the morning (which would put me at 0.6 FC per day) and then go with the floater and 3 pucks, is that a reasonable plan? i'm still not sure about having the friends who are coming to check the water level add any acid, i'd rather avoid that if i can (although i'll talk to them about it and feel them out).

if we go that route, would you recommend lowering the SWG now before we leave or leave it where it is until we get back? and should i add some more acid monday morning to get me down to 7.0 before we leave?

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, crackers.
thank you. it has been a rough day or so, was very unexpected.

But I'd still suggest to put at least a pair of safety glasses next to the container and ask your friend to wear that, and to have a bucket filled with pool water ready to wash down any spillage from your coping.
this is why i was hesitant to ask them to even worry about it...it's easy to ask them to just turn the valve on and add some water, much more involved for them to have to worry about gloves and goggles and hoses and everything else.
 

crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
If you are only adding 1.1 ppm FC per day, I would not change anything. That is extremely low all ready.
fair enough, i'll leave that alone then. thinking i'll probably go with the pucks, unless the friends somehow are ok with messing around with the acid.

what about taking the pH way down to 7 or at least 7.2 before we leave? what would you (or anyone else) recommend there?
 

crackers8199

Well-known member
Jun 5, 2014
132
Lake Elsinore, CA
ok, i think that gives me a pretty good plan then. add acid monday morning right before we leave to get the pH down to 7.0-ish, floater with 3-4 pucks (maybe 4 just in case we are gone a little longer), and leave everything else alone.

one last thought that just popped into my head: solar cover on or off? we don't really use it very much - just beginning of season and end of season to extend swimming time, and occasionally in the winter if we're forecast to have a heat wave and it might be swimmable for a few days...wondering if having the pool covered during this extended period away is a good idea or if we're better off just leaving it off like we always do.

thank you all for your input so far, it is greatly appreciated.
 

mknauss

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May 3, 2014
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Laughlin, NV
I would leave the cover off. That will mess up your pH as the CO2 is trapped. My pH goes down when I use the cover alot. Also will mess up the FC usage. You will have evaporation but I assume you have an autofill or someone will fill the pool.