First Water Test for Salt Water Pool "opened" on 4/15/2020 - Newbie needs Help!

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Hello new friends at TFP! We are new to pool ownership after purchasing a home in Southern NH last Fall with an existing above ground, salt water, pool. I am trying to learn all about pool care and maintenance and the resources here have already been great! We had our local pool store help "open" our pool last week 4/15 and they are returning tomorrow to check and balance it. Today I dropped off a water sample for testing at the store, but am planning on ordering an at home test kit based on the group recommendations here. I want to start following the recommendations from TFP, but fear that tomorrow the pool people will come with their own sets of recommendations and chemicals to purchase. I can tell just by reading the "recommended range" on the report they emailed me, that our goals here are different than their recommendations.

Our pool is approximately 14,000 gallons, above ground, uncovered, and in full sun. Due to the temperatures in NH, we won't be able to rely on our salt cell to generate chlorine for quite some time (until water temps get above 52 degrees consistently). So, right now, I think we will need to add:
salt?
cyanuric acid?
ideally borates?
what to do about cholorine until salt cell can be turned on to generate?


Since we are new to this, I want to make sure we do things correctly and in the proper order. Can anyone take a peak at the results and walk me thru the steps of what we should address first. Thank you in advance! Willing to read and learn as we go. Just want to have some knowledge before they dump stuff in the pool tomorrow that we might not want or need.

Appreciate the time to help us!
- Newbies in NH
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Welcome! :wave: Yes, this is all just speculation until you receive your OWN proper test kit. But IF (big if there) I was to believe the store's test numbers, I would say:
- Increase FC to 4-5 (pool chlorine or regular bleach)
- Ignore phosphates. They will try to sell you removers for that; say maybe later and walk away
- Salt; you can increase later when temps get closer to actually using the SWG.

But again, your own proper testing may show large variances, so let's wait and see what your test results say. Don't let them add algaecids either. That's for closing, not an algae killer. Have a great day.
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Awesome! Thank you!

IMG_2690.jpgThese are the supplies that were "gifted" to us when we purchased the home. Just some followup questions as we wait for test kit to arrive...

IMG_2690.jpg
1) Okay to use the "Pool Burn" we already have here to increase FC in the pool until test kit arrives?
2) Does the "hardness" on their test result refers to the calcium levels in water? Is it OK to ignore this value since we have above ground with vinyl liner pool?
3) I'll need to do more research on cyanuric acid (as that seems low based on reading I did here for salt water pools) and on borates (with future goal to minimize pH drift) correct?
4) we also have about 280# of pool salt (seven 40# bags) that were purchased on the advice of the store. From what I can tell, *IF* their numbers are right and using the Pentair Salinity Calculator (is that what I should go by?), we should be adding 160# of salt to get the numbers up to 3500-4000 ppm?

Test kit we have on order is:
TF-100 Test Kit ™
Optional Items: Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer
Optional Items: Borates Test Strips
Optional Items: Taylor K-1766 Salt Test

Thanks again! Love the learning here!
- Newbie in NH
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
1) I can't read the Burn Out label. Sounds like an MPS oxidizer product. Not really good for your application. The granules on the far left, if they say chlorine w/ trichlor or dichlor, you can use some. But again, liquid chlorine/regular bleach will be best.
2) Correct - ignore.
3) Wait until you test the CYA yourself. Stores get that wrong often. Wait on brates until you have a comfortable understanding fo your regular pool chemistry. Plenty of time for that. :)
4) Since you have fresh/new water, I would start by using the PoolMath APP to confirm how much of anything to add including salt. When the time comes, add enough to get to the min level (i.e. 3,000), then you can always add more. Later you might consider purchasing the Taylor K-1766 test kit for salt.

You want the speedstir! :stirpot:
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Here's a better image with a close up of ingredients. Thoughts?
Unsure how much access we will have to regular bleach or liquid chlorine right now -- with pandemic and all, but will do some research.
I did order the speedstir and also the K-1766 salt test kit -- figured, why not, start off right here!
IMG_2693.jpg
 

tillmac62

Well-known member
Sep 30, 2019
73
Gaffney, SC, United States
Granules = Dichlor, it has free chlorine and CYA
Burn = CalHypo, it has free chlorine and calcium

You can use both to sanitize. They will add either CYA or calcium. IF (big IF, get a test kit) your test results are accurate, they are safe to use UP TO the TFP recommended limits. Use pool math to determine your add rates.
 
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The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Thanks everyone! Test kits on order and awaiting delivery. Pool people returning are returning today to finish the opening. I asked them to focus on fixing the small leaks at the connections & WE (us NEWBIES in NH) would focus on the chemicals! Don't think they were too pleased with me asking them to remove the order of chemicals set for delivery, but oh well! I'd rather UNDERSTAND what is being added to the pool than just have them test and dump stuff in. Right now the temps are cold, but the water looks crisp and clear. Plan on manually brushing and vacuuming today to remove the minor debris on bottom.
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
We just ran our first PRACTICE water test to compare with pool store results posted earlier and here were our results. I logged them into the Pool Math app and will make adjustments next week. Sadly our skimmer is leaking and needs replacing, so we will need to drain the pool a bit and refill (with well water) next week -- so starting to tweak our pool chemistry will have to wait a bit.

We ran a salt water test too and that was at 2200 ppm.
We have the borate strips too, but since no borates have ever been added to the water before, our starting point is 0.
View attachment 135031

One question on the testing though... do those of you with the SpeedStir (love it already) use it for all the water tests that require adding drops and mixing? Do I simply rinse and dry the little stirring bar between tests (while using a clean graduated cylinder for each test)? I want to make sure I don't mess things up. I see the one cylinder is labeled chlorine only, so I suspect I should keep one cylinder designated for each test -- looks like I have a total of 4 here (one labeled chlorine only, one that came with speed stirrer, and 2 others). Can any of these be used on the speed stir base? Can most of these tests be dumped down drain after running them? We run on septic here, so don't want to mess anything up.

Thanks again, all!IMG_2714.jpg
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
use it for all the water tests that require adding drops and mixing?
Yes! :stirpot: I use it for FC, CC, TA, CH, and salt. I rinse the stir "bean" each time. All the sample tubes fit on the speedstir base fine. Dispose down the drain is fine. I test outside, so mine goes to the grass. :)
 

The Houlagans

Active member
Apr 21, 2020
31
Southern NH
Tomorrow's the day... our pool will get topped off with 3000 gallons of fresh water after we had to partially drain it for skimmer and return repairs. That said, do I retest after new water has been added before starting to tackle the pool chemistry adjustments that are needed based on Pool Math app?

Based on my first test using TF-100 Test Kit ™ and Salt Test (see above) it looks like we will be needing to adjust chlorine, ph, cya, and also salt. We haven't run borate level yet, since none has ever been added to this pool and I suspect our starting point is zero.

What do I start with first? My plan was to tackle the pH, then cya, then chlorine, then borates, then salt -- one at a time -- with water testing after adjustments. I'll enter data into Pool Math to track it too. Thoughts on that plan?? I am out of order with what adjustments should be made first?

Thanks! Looking forward to learning more here each day!