First time pool owner here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Anewkindoffeelin

New member
Apr 9, 2021
2
Baton Rouge, LA
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
My wife and I purchased a new home with a saltwater pool back in November. I've been trying to acquaint myself with pool chemistry. I have already purchased one of the Taylor test kits that was suggested by TFP.

When we bought the house, we quickly discovered that we were losing water. Luckily, a leak detection determined that the leaks were all in the pool fittings and were able to be fixed, which was a huge relief. However, with all of the water that had to be added, the salt levels had dropped.

I was able to get the salt levels back to a decent level for the generator, however I'm still getting some of the chemicals back balanced. We have a big storm coming through tonight and lots of rain expected this week, so I'll likely test everything next weekend and see where I am.

I did preliminary testing today and realized that my calcium hardness is very low, like 25 ppm. I am a little concerned about all of the level being so off, and not knowing which to address first.

I am very glad I discovered this site and will be abusing your knowledge in no time. I am a mechanical engineer, so I'm fairly comfortable with testing procedures, but I do need to add a borate test to my kit, as it doesn't seem to have that reagent. I'll stop rambling now.
 

twillux

Member
Oct 20, 2020
6
70817
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
My wife and I purchased a new home with a saltwater pool back in November. I've been trying to acquaint myself with pool chemistry. I have already purchased one of the Taylor test kits that was suggested by TFP.

When we bought the house, we quickly discovered that we were losing water. Luckily, a leak detection determined that the leaks were all in the pool fittings and were able to be fixed, which was a huge relief. However, with all of the water that had to be added, the salt levels had dropped.

I was able to get the salt levels back to a decent level for the generator, however I'm still getting some of the chemicals back balanced. We have a big storm coming through tonight and lots of rain expected this week, so I'll likely test everything next weekend and see where I am.

I did preliminary testing today and realized that my calcium hardness is very low, like 25 ppm. I am a little concerned about all of the level being so off, and not knowing which to address first.

I am very glad I discovered this site and will be abusing your knowledge in no time. I am a mechanical engineer, so I'm fairly comfortable with testing procedures, but I do need to add a borate test to my kit, as it doesn't seem to have that reagent. I'll stop rambling now.
Welcome. Baton Rouge resident as well with first-time pool, new construction, completed about the same time this past November. This site’s highly recommended; read the Pool School articles and you’ll be on your way. I had to learn a lot as well as my PB finished construction and basically left the pool in my hands with no information on maintenance. Made a list below of some of the key items that really helped me and that I’d recommend having been in the same position very recently:
  1. Add the details of your pool and equipment to your profile; you’ll find tremendous help on this site, and more information is better to help offer recommendations.
  2. Get the Pool Math and pay for a subscription, log everything you do and measure.
  3. Get a pH probe and salinity probe meter off of Amazon; best money I’ve spent yet. The pH reading on a $35 meter has been spot on, and I found that trying to use the drop color bar test kit was too subjective, because:
  4. The salt cell generator will dramatically kick your pH up over the course of a week, beyond the range of the drop kits. Plan to add acid; I add about 2 cups every 6 days in my 12k gallon pool.
  5. When you add acid, pre-mix in a paint bucket of pool water first. Stir with a paint stick, then slowly add to the pool while running the pumps on high; basically mix as much as possible, else the acid will sink to the bottom. Don’t get any on you :)
  6. Take a water sample, taken from elbow depth, within an hour to Leslie’s and get a full test. Compare to your own readings. I find that I trust Leslie’s caclium hardness and CYA readings over my own. Plus those are the least fun tests to run. The rest of LEslie’s readings, I can go without; have seen those pretty off, especially salinity and phosphates.
  7. I’m not the definitive expert, but I’d start with pH and CYA. Get your pH in the 7.8 range, then add liquid stabilizer to bring CYA to the 70 range. Balancing pH will bring down TA; if well below 80 range, aerate to increase. If above 80-90, it will come down over time as you add acid.
  8. A few hours later, measure FC; if above 5, turn off SWG and test every day until you’re at 5. If below 2-3, tweak up your SWG schedule a bit. Note that these numbers above work for me; follow the recommended ranges for your pool in Pool Math.
  9. Next day, add calcium hardness to the recommended range.
  10. From there, slowly work on FC and pH, test regularly, adjust as needed; the rest should hopefully remain pretty stable, unless you drain to bring down your water level.
  11. If your baseline readings are all above range, especially CYA, CH, TA, then you may need to start by draining a bit. It doesn’t take much to bring those down given the rains we have down here.
  12. Last thought is your SWG and pump; if you have a VSP, set a good schedule. Everyone has a preference, I run mine 12 hours a day: 30 minutes on high in the morning to skim, then half speed for 3 hours to filter and run the cleaner, then low for the rest of the day until a final quick high skim in the evening.
  13. I then run the SWG the entire 12 hours, but at a very low setpoint; am currently at 15% based on our current April weather. You’ll need to adjust given your pool volume and SWG chlorine per hour rating.
Hope this may be of value; electrical engineer here, and find that I definitely enjoy the maintenance and balancing part of the pool, far more than expected. Pool hit 80 degrees for the first time today; getting close to finally being able to enjoy it this summer!
 
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Anewkindoffeelin

New member
Apr 9, 2021
2
Baton Rouge, LA
Pool Size
15000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Thanks for the welcoming. Do you mind telling me which instant testers you bought? I trust opinions here over Amazon ratings
 

twillux

Member
Oct 20, 2020
6
70817
Pool Size
12000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Turbo Cell (T-CELL-5)
Thanks for the welcoming. Do you mind telling me which instant testers you bought? I trust opinions here over Amazon ratings
Sure thing! These two below have been fantastic. I still use my Taylor kit from time to time just to get a second data point, but so far these meters have been spot on:

Wiztech Digital PH Meter with ATC: 3 in 1 PH TDS Temp - High Accuracy Pocket Size PH Tester 0.00-14.00 PH Measurement Range Wiztech Digital PH Meter with ATC: 3 in 1 PH TDS Temp - High Accuracy Pocket Size PH Tester 0.00-14.00 PH Measurement Range: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

eSeasonGear SALT-3050 Waterproof IP65 Meter, Digital Salinity PPM Temperature Tester for Salt Water Pool and Koi Fish Pond Amazon.com: eSeasonGear SALT-3050 Waterproof IP65 Meter, Digital Salinity PPM Temperature Tester for Salt Water Pool and Koi Fish Pond: Garden & Outdoor
 
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