First time pool owner, first time SWG pool fill DIY help

OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
We're in the process of building an inground pool (see signature for specs) in South East Pennsylvania, and hope to have it ready for swimming soon.

In an effort to make sure I don't lose any days looking for "ingredients" needed to get the pool ready to go, I was hoping to buy some of the necessary items now to have them at hand for the opening. My plan was to fill pool from my outdoor faucet.

My question is, what are all the chemicals I will need at the start up, and it what types of quantities (E.g., salt [I've understood that I may need a bunch of it upfront])--I'm not trying to stock up for the season, just to have enough on hand so I can be covered for the first couple of weeks of swimming.

Thanks!

p.s. attached pictures shows what the pool looks like at the momentpool top view.JPG
 

pinguy

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
527
Pennsylvania
That is a nice looking pool!

Assuming a plaster finish, you will not want to add salt for the first month or so while the plaster is still curing. Until then, you will have to feed your pool liquid chlorine.

The first tool you will need is a good testkit. The TF-100 from tftestkits.net or Taylor K-2006 from amazon. Speedstir is also highly recommended. There are links below my post.

To understand what you are going to be testing with this kit and adding to your pool. this page and the others linked below my post are a great start:
I am also in Southeast PA if you need any local recommendations on where to get chemicals etc.
 

OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
Thanks.

I already have the TF-100 test kit, with the speed stir, so figure I'm set for testing--can't wait to use it!

I didn't realize that the salt doesn't go in right away. Good to know.

How much liquid chlorine should I have on hand to cover first few weeks? [I have no sense for the volumes involved]

Would also welcome any local intelligence on good places for buying this stuff locally (I'm in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia, near Ambler PA)
 

pinguy

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
527
Pennsylvania
Thanks.

I already have the TF-100 test kit, with the speed stir, so figure I'm set for testing--can't wait to use it!

I didn't realize that the salt doesn't go in right away. Good to know.

How much liquid chlorine should I have on hand to cover first few weeks? [I have no sense for the volumes involved]

Would also welcome any local intelligence on good places for buying this stuff locally (I'm in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia, near Ambler PA)
Here is the recommended start up procedure from the National Plaster Council -
https://www.nptpool.com/pdf/npc_swimmingpoolstart-upprocedures.pdf

Essentially the proccess as far as chemicals go is-

Day 1 - Adjust pH to 7.2-7.6 and Alkalinity (TA) to 80
Day 2 - Test and adjust pH /TA. Test calcium levels and bring up to around 150ppm.
Day 3 -Test and adjust pH/TA. Add CYA to around 20ppm. Add chlorine to around 3ppm.
Day 4 to 28 - Maintain pH/FC (free Chlorine) levels by testing and adjusting every day
After day 28 - Add salt to the level the SWG manual recommends. Bring CYA up to 70-80ppm and turn on SWG.

pH and TA are lowered using muriatic acid (MA). Most likely, you pH is going to be constantly rising while the plaster cures. I went through a TON of MA on my pool's first season. By the second and third season you won't need nearly as much.

Calcium is raised using powdered calcium from a pool store. Be careful to test, calculate and measure the amount carefully, because you cannot remove calcium from the water once it's been added.

CYA is added with granular CYA aka stabilizer. Also be careful with this one, as it can't be removed from the water once added.

See recommended chemicals page.

Calculate the amounts to add with the pool math calculator link under my post, or the mobile app.

It's hard to say how much of anything you will need, you figure out by testing and using pool math. For my pool which was a similar size as yours, I remember using 1/3-1gal of liquid chlorine a day, and almost 1/2 gallon of MA per day while the plaster was still fresh.
 

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
309
Houston, Texas
Test your tap water so that you can compare that to where your pool water needs to be. Mainly check your tap water’s pH, TA, and CH.

As for chemicals, you’ll definitely need a way to chlorinate your pool until you are able to start the SWCG. Liquid chlorine is ideal if you can find it. I’ve been using trichlor tablets in my new pool and am about to add salt and then turn on the SWCG.

I think you’ll also need muriatic acid to lower pH. New plaster will cause the pH to rise, and MA will bring that down.

You’ll also want stabilizer / CYA. My new pool instructions said to ONLY use liquid stabilizer, not the granules (unless you predissolve them). I used liquid stabilizer. It’s more expensive but pretty convenient. I started off with a CYA of 30, although it has crept up to 50 over the last month using trichlor tablets. Now I see first hand why so many unknowingly struggle with pool problems despite having plenty of chlorine.

And you’ll obviously need salt at some point. Check with your pool builder about that though. Mine is actually going to provide and add the salt for me.
 

OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
Ok, I performed the tests on my tap water and got the following 3 results:

TC: 1
PH: 7.2
TA: 60

Do those seem like reasonable numbers for tap water (mainly asking to see if I’m doing the tests right)?

Also, I found that on the test, I have a very hard time telling between the various shades of yellow for the CL, where as the PH shades were much easier to discern on my sample. Is that usual?

Btw, am I correct in understanding that the TF-100 test kit provides two different ways of measuring Free Chlorine: 1) the simple yellow comparison in the ”blue box”, and 2) the more accurate mixing powders and reagents in a CL Only vessel?

i.e., two different ways of measuring the same thing.

Also, is it ok to use the Speed Stirrer contraption with the powder and such to measure Free Chlorine (I wasn’t sure since the kit had the separate vial just for this purpose.)
 
Last edited:

Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
Jun 1, 2018
1,281
Hernando, Ms
The oto in the blue box only measures total chlorine which is free chlorine + combined chlorine & it only goes to 5ppm ( usually just Used to indicate the presence of chlorine in general )
The powder test goes much higher & tests free chlorine & combined chlorine separately . ( To accurately test fc & cc values for chlorine additions- also higher testing values are necessary during SLAM Process
 
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Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
309
Houston, Texas
The chlorine test in the blue box is not very accurate. I don’t even bother with it any more.

If your tap water TA is 60, then you’ll definitely want to buy baking soda to raise it as your plaster cures. New plaster will raise your pH, especially the first week. You’ll be adding muriatic acid to lower the pH, but that acid also lowers your TA. With a TA of 60, that’ll make your TA too low, so you’ll need the baking soda to raise TA.

You can buy baking soda in 13.5 lb bags at the grocery store or Coscto. Less than $10 / bag as I recall. I’d recommend buying several bags in advance.
 

OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
The chlorine test in the blue box is not very accurate. I don’t even bother with it any more.

If your tap water TA is 60, then you’ll definitely want to buy baking soda to raise it as your plaster cures. New plaster will raise your pH, especially the first week. You’ll be adding muriatic acid to lower the pH, but that acid also lowers your TA. With a TA of 60, that’ll make your TA too low, so you’ll need the baking soda to raise TA.

You can buy baking soda in 13.5 lb bags at the grocery store or Coscto. Less than $10 / bag as I recall. I’d recommend buying several bags in advance.
Got it. Thanks. I will pick up a few bags!
 

OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
Exciting times. Hoping to have pool plastered this Friday, and water in immediately thereafter.

I got an quote for $585 to do some initial pool startup work (See image attached.) I'd love to get some feedback on if this is a good idea vs. doing it all by myself (no experience, and no chemicals at hand on my side.)

Specifically, I'm curious to know if the Chemicals that are being quoted here are reasonable (I plan to maintain pool on my own in general, and wouldn't want to set things down a bad path right away.) Any thoughs?

Also wanted to know if their "target" values were on-point, for what will be a SWG pool.

Thanks!
 

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OrthoBlock

Member
Sep 25, 2019
20
PA
I've pulled the trigger on the program above, and look forward to using the pool soon.

Right now plastering pushed back a day to Saturday. Crossing fingers it will still happen on time.