Going to get this right after 10 years

Brian in AZ

Gold Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
Peoria, Arizona
So too old and tired to keep messing with this giant dog bowl in the back yard, after years of screwing around, it is time to do this right. About 3 months ago, I did a full drain, acid-washed the pebble tec, had all scale removed from tiles, replaced the sand with zeosand, rebuilt the piping, and upgraded the pump.

Got it all filled, putzed around for a couple of months, got the invariable algae party shocked the heck out of it, and finally got fed up about 3 weeks ago and started reading up and committing to getting the pool under control once and for all. Getting it all cleared up, got rid of the green stuff, and now have a sparkling clear pool. My goal is to get it to the stage to add the borates but has always had really high TA so have been working on that. I also found that I did not have near enough CYA in the water to allow the generator to do its thing. I may have overdone the CYA a bit but open to your thoughts on that.

3 Weeks ago my readings were:
Salt - 1900
FC - 1.4
CC - 1.0
PH - 7.8
TA - 160
Hardness - 220
CYA - 24

I started reading and working on problems. I have had to take my salt system from 90% down to 25% to try to keep the chlorine down a bit.

Here is where I am sitting today:
Salt - 4200
FC - 6.8
CC - .2
PH - 6.9
TA - 95
Hardness - 220
CYA - 85

I have been using a ton of Acid - 20baum - about a gallon per day trying to get this Dang TA down, it is dropping but so slowly. I am running the aerator and fountain nonstop to try to keep the PH up. I would like to get it where I can get the Mule Team borax into the pool and see if I can actually have a happy pool this summer.

Am I on the right track? Is there anything I should be doing differently - on the Acid - I am broadcasting a half-gallon in the AM and a half-gallon in the PM, Can in go to 2 gallons a day or will that mess other things up (so many interrelated things).

There are still some remnants of algae on the walls, but keeping the chlorine up and brushing those walls twice a day. I do not think it is growing or anything but more the remains of the welcome to summer burst that I had when I was not looking.

I think my salt is a bit high along with my CYA but I backwash and figure that will bring those down with time - or should I drain a couple of feet to expedite that process.

One problem, something is weird with my pump/filter. When I shut off my pump, I get a rush of air shooting out through all the pools returns, Lots of it, looks like a hot tub with its bubbles running. Backwashing seems to help a bit but within a couple of days, right back to the burst of air. I did have to replace the Laterals in the filter this winter when one of them wore through and essentially pumped all my sand into my pool (thus the drain and rebuild).

I do not have a clue what could cause this. When I turn the pump back on, the returns bubble for about 15 seconds then starts shooting out water like they are supposed to.

Any suggestions would be welcome - am I on the right track or am I missing something?

Thank you in advance - Brian
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Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015

Looks like you over-shot on a few numbers. Are you using Pool Math to calculate chemical additions? This will help calculate the correct amount to add. Click the menu bar top left and select "Effects of Adding". Make sure the pool size is correctly added in the settings. Here are some things that I'd change/suggest:
  • You should never go below 7.0 pH and large changes can be difficult to predict the right amount of acid so you should not try to make changes greater than .4 pH units at a time. If you have to drop pH in two steps it's much better than over-shooting on the low side.
  • How are you testing for salt? The Taylor K1766 kit is recommended as it's the most accurate available. Running your salt level high can be bad for the transformer in your salt system. I think your salt system max salt is supposed to be 3500 ppm. Double check your manual and if that's correct I would drain and refill to get down to max of your system's recommended salt range.
  • When you adjust salt level that will bring CYA in range. Your CYA is 90 - always round up for this test.
  • What does the pool look like in terms of clarity and color? What color is the algae on the side of the pool. If it's green it's not dead. If you have any indications that a SLAM is required you should perform this procedure. You should continue the SLAM until all three conditions are met: clear pool, less than .5 ppm cc, pass OCLT. Review the following for more information SLAM Process
  • You're close enough on TA. It will come down naturally from here as you cycle pH in the recommended range. Follow this procedure to bring it down if your fill water increases the TA.
  • Can you please add model numbers on the equipment in your signature? It will help our experts get you advice with fewer questions cycles.
No idea on the air bubbles. I'm sure one of our experts will have some ideas on this. @ajw22, @mknauss any ideas?

I hope this helps.



Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
Laughlin, NV
Welcome to the forum! Chris has you on a good path as it appears to me you need to follow the SLAM process. Also not to dwell on the TA. You have high TA fill water. So you will always be adding acid to keep the pH in the 7's and the TA will land where it lands.

The air issue sounds to me like a suction side air leak that is building up air in your sand filter. What does the pump basket lid look like, any air bubbles streaming in? Be sure the pump basket lid gasket is in good shape, surfaces clean, and well lubricated with pool lube. Also check that your pool level is high enough that you are not sucking in air there.
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Brian in AZ

Gold Supporter
Jun 24, 2011
Peoria, Arizona
I did overshoot a bit - I think the reason I overshot is that my volume is off but it is very difficult to assess - I measured the last fill by watching the meter and that got me to the 29K mark, may back everything down 10%
Salt - I am using TAYLOR TECHNOLOGIES INC K-1766 DROP TEST CHLORIDE - My Pool Pilot Manual states that salt range is 2500 – 4500 ppm (ideal 3000 ppm
CYA - I did round up, may be closer to 80 but went high but might have been seeing a ghost dot on the bottom, I figured a couple of good backwashes may get me down a few number
Clarity and Color? -- Water is perfect - can see the Phillips head screw holding on the drain Seems like some darker patches on the sides, but cannot tell if its from the acid wash or Algae - I know I am not getting any clouds of dust when I brush with a steel brush so possibly just discoloration.
TA -- Main reason I am working on the TA is I wanted to add borates to the water and I believe it wants the TA down around 80 to initiate the adding of borates.
Can you please add model numbers on the equipment in your signature? It will help our experts get you advice with fewer questions cycles. Updated

So not sure if I am clear to add the borates or not? It sounds like I am pretty much stuck with TA around 100 (which is way better than the past of 140-160

Will start digging into this air issue, Just noticed that If I go from High speed 3800 on the pump down to Low 1200, the Air comes out of the returns for a while even though the pump is still running... Eventually, it purges the air and things get flowing the correct direction again. A real head scratcher.

Thank you, open to any and all thoughts or suggestions.



Well-known member
May 7, 2020
Lathrop, CA
If you have remnants of algae, dead or not, I would take care of that first. Borates should be your last priority at this point IMO.

Bubbles from the returns, it is most likely a leak on the suction side. Pump lid and union gaskets are a low hanging fruit, so I would start with those.