Introducing new member/pool owner SC

Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Greeting from SC. Brand new pool owner here searching for information. I installed a 23k gallon L-shaped salt water pool late fall last year when I built a new home. We are excited to use this year. I have zero experience in pool maintenance. I came across this site as I was about to purchase a book on Amazon. In reading the book reviews, one of the reviews recommended this site. Hopefully, this site is useful and I’d be happy to support the site versus buying a book!
 
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Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
You came to the right place. Welcome! :wave: Start by checking out our ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry, and make sure you have a TF-100 test kit (or Taylor K-2006C) on-hand. That's always #1. Make sure to learn/save those Vital Links below in my signature (update your sig too) as they will be very handy as you learn the ropes to pool care. It's not that hard if you start with the right test kit and info. Let us know if you have any questions.
 

IMissNimoy

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
71
SC
Welcome! There are a few Columbia SC area owners here. Let us know how we can help. +1 on the need for one of tests kits previously mentioned. Pool store testing is inconsistent at best and generally flat out wrong.
 

Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Thanks for the responses and recommendations. I ordered my kit today. I am going to take a water sample to the store tomorrow to see what they say. I have no idea where I am currently. Initial salt was just added this past Friday. My test kit should be here Tuesday so I’ll do my own test and compare. Really glad to find this site. Attached are a couple of pictures. Water is a little greener than I would like. Big improvement from what it looked like Friday though.
 

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bmoreswim

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2012
5,747
Central MD
Haha! Welcome!! Do yourself a favor and don't compare results to a pool store's. Test yourself and trust the results. The pool store results are quite likely inaccurate. Your's will be consistent and accurate. Resist the urge! Comparing and trying to take advice from pool stores and here is a very common source of frustration.
 

Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist the urge. I got water tested at pool store Monday 3/23. I have not recieved my test kit yet, hoping it will arrive soon. Says between today and 4/1.

Though probably pointless, I will share the results from the pool store. I am waiting to get my test kit and do my own testing before I begin any adjustments.

Saturation Index = Low (not sure what this is - thier description says this indicates if water is balanced, corrosive, or scale-forming)
TDS: 5500 (not sure what this is either)
Salt: 4500 - thinking this will come down. they added 18 40lb bags of salt on 3/20.
PH: 7.6
TA: 31
CH: 39
Optimizer: 0
FC: 1
TC: 1
CYA: 20
Phosphate: 0

Here are their recommendations:
Add 2.25 qts of salt scapes scale defender (think this is in regards to low saturation index)
Add 34.5 lbs of Balance PAK 100 for Low TA
Add 3 lbs of SaltScapes pH reducer
add 7 lbs of SaltScapes SunShield Stabilizer for low CYA
Add 24.75 lbs of Balance PAK 300 for low CH
Add 18 oz of SaltScapes Algae Complete
Add 1 qt of Pool Opening Complete

Continued maintenance would be to add 2lbs of Smart Shock every 2 weeks and 3 oz of SaltScapes Algae Complete every week.

I should test water again with them on 4/6.

My water has really cleared up the last couple of days from just the salt. I am running my pump from 8am to 7pm 7 days a week right now.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,484
Franklin, NC
I have to ask, what pool store did the test?? If it's the one that starts with a "G" on North Lake drive I would no trust the numbers. I used to go there once a month or so for my enjoyment to watch what they did. Their Lamot spin test was close sometimes and other times it was so far off if I followed their recommendations I'd have been in big trouble.

The only thing I bought there was Muratic Acid as their price beat all the big box stores.

As to the numbers, "IF" they are close to correct.

pH is fine at 7.6, when it goes up too much Muratic Acid is your friend.

You don't need to raise CH

If and when you need ot bring the TA up (to no more than 60) just hit the Walmart and pick up the big bag of baking soda.

For today, pour a bottle of bleach in the pool to bring the FC up a little. You have a SWCG but the water is probalby still too cold for it to work fully. My Lexington pool didn't get to 70 until April.

The following are nothing more than "additional pool store profit"

SaltScapes Algae Complete
Pool Opening Complete
salt scapes scale defender
 
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Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Thanks for the reply Tim and bingo on the testing store.

Thanks also on the advice for purchasing the products. I am sure I am going to need those. Now to find some Bleach! Bleach and toilet paper are hot commodities right now. Shelves seem to always be empty. I looked at my water temp this morning and its at 64 degrees.

I appreciate the feedback
 

IMissNimoy

Gold Supporter
Jul 3, 2018
71
SC
Thanks for the reply Tim and bingo on the testing store.

Thanks also on the advice for purchasing the products. I am sure I am going to need those. Now to find some Bleach! Bleach and toilet paper are hot commodities right now. Shelves seem to always be empty. I looked at my water temp this morning and its at 64 degrees.

I appreciate the feedback
@tim5055 is spot on for that store. HD on Harbison had very fresh pool shock and plenaty Muratic in outside lawn and garden early last week. Be sure to check the Julian date on the bottles.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,484
Franklin, NC
Now that I know we are all talking about the same store, I'll tell you my funny story.

Right after I bought the house with the pool I discovered the pool light was out. Having never had a pool before I did a little research, learned how to pull it out of the water to the pool deck and check it out. Seems the previous owner replaced the pool bulb with a 100w floodlight bulb. A little more research and I found out the housing could take either a 400w or 500w pool bulb. Amazon had either one for $19.

Heck I'm part of that immediate gratification society as much as the next guy. I went down to this store and there was the same bulb, $39. I talked with the manager. I didn't want them to match the price, they have to keep the lights on - just be a little more reasonable. I would have been happy with $5 off.

The manager gave me two choices, take it or leave it. I left it.
 
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Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Got my test kit today and did the testing. Way easier than I thought. I missed the part about getting my samples about a foot deep unil the CYA test, hopefully that doesn't throw my test off too much. I actually found my results to be somewhat close to what the pool store found. Here are my results.

FC=3
CC=.5
pH=7.5
TA=40
CH=50
CYA=30

Pool Store put my salt in the pool on 3/20. When they tested the water on Monday, 3/23, they had my salt at 4500. They also had FC at 1 so I'm thinking the SWG has been making chlorine the past few days. The Intellichlor is set at 35% output.

Pool Math Recommendations:
6lbs 12oz baking soda to raise alkalinity
11oz of muriatic acid
21 lbs Calcium Chloride - tim5055 says not to worry with this?
8 lbs 10oz CYA

Does that look about right? I plan to go shopping tomorrow to pick up stuff. I calculated the pool store chemicals, off Amazon, would have been just over $300. Looks like all of this, including the Calcium Chloride, should be around $75.

Is it necessary to measure for salt or is taking sample to pool store sufficeint for that? I don't think the test kit I got came with a way to test for salt.

Thanks for the feedback, it has been so helpful so far. I feel so much more confident in doing this.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,701
Laughlin, NV
I would suggest adding the baking soda to raise TA to 60-70. No acid needed, the baking soda will raise your pH a bit. No need for the calcium chloride as Tim informed you.

Add the CYA over the next month or so to get it to 70 ppm or so.

No need to go to the pool store for any of that. Walmart should have what you need.

You should get a K1766 salinity kit to test your salt level in the pool.
 

Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Thank you for replying. You say add the CYA over the next month or so? I'm glad you said something, I would have probably tried to add it too quickly. I have two skimmers, should I put a sock in both? How much would you recommend put in the sock at one time? Is it safe to swim while this is going on?

I will get the salinity kit as well.

Thanks again.
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,484
Franklin, NC
You say add the CYA over the next month or so? I'm glad you said something, I would have probably tried to add it too quickly. I have two skimmers, should I put a sock in both? How much
Yes, it's safe to swim while all of this is going on.

A sock in each skimmer will be fine, just not so full that it totally blocks water flow.

Always add chemicals like CYA or baking soda in "stages".

So, with CYA of 30, add enough to get to 40 in the socks. Then to get to 50 Then to get to 60

For the TA, add baking soda to get to 50, then to get to 60.

First, you do this to keep from overshooting your target. Second, your pool may be slightly smaller than you think. While the builder may have called it 23k, it may only be 21k filled ot the middle of the skimmer. Watch what happens when you add chemicals. If you constantly overshoot where you think you should be, you probably have the wrong volume.

In Lexington, I got most of my things like CYA at Lowes or Home Depot. I hate WalMart, but did go there for the baking soda.

Remember, as you raise the CYA you need to raise your target FC

Your pH is fine right now, when it gets to 7.8 or so then add acid. Don't shoot for a perfect pH, but keep it in a range. You will never be able to keep it at exactly 7.3 lets say, but in the 7.3 - 7.8 range is easy. For all numbers, we generally don't chase a single perfect number , but keep it in range.

For acid additions, I never measured. Measuring is just a possibility to spill it. So, when adding acid -
Safety first.

Wear old clothes and eye protection. I like to get in front of a return on my hands & knees and splash a little water on the pool deck. Then open the acid bottle and partially submerge it in the water. Tilt the bottle to pour the acid in at close to water level, but don't let the bottle get submerged. I don't measure because it's an additional step for me to spill the stuff.

Remove the bottle from the water and set it down in the puddle on the pool deck while you replace the cap. Try not to breathe the fumes.. Guess a little low on amount you need, then test again after it circulates well. You can always add more.
 
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Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
Yes, it's safe to swim while all of this is going on.

A sock in each skimmer will be fine, just not so full that it totally blocks water flow.

Always add chemicals like CYA or baking soda in "stages".

So, with CYA of 30, add enough to get to 40 in the socks. Then to get to 50 Then to get to 60

For the TA, add baking soda to get to 50, then to get to 60.

First, you do this to keep from overshooting your target. Second, your pool may be slightly smaller than you think. While the builder may have called it 23k, it may only be 21k filled ot the middle of the skimmer. Watch what happens when you add chemicals. If you constantly overshoot where you think you should be, you probably have the wrong volume.

In Lexington, I got most of my things like CYA at Lowes or Home Depot. I hate WalMart, but did go there for the baking soda.

Remember, as you raise the CYA you need to raise your target FC

Your pH is fine right now, when it gets to 7.8 or so then add acid. Don't shoot for a perfect pH, but keep it in a range. You will never be able to keep it at exactly 7.3 lets say, but in the 7.3 - 7.8 range is easy. For all numbers, we generally don't chase a single perfect number , but keep it in range.

For acid additions, I never measured. Measuring is just a possibility to spill it. So, when adding acid -
Safety first.

Wear old clothes and eye protection. I like to get in front of a return on my hands & knees and splash a little water on the pool deck. Then open the acid bottle and partially submerge it in the water. Tilt the bottle to pour the acid in at close to water level, but don't let the bottle get submerged. I don't measure because it's an additional step for me to spill the stuff.

Remove the bottle from the water and set it down in the puddle on the pool deck while you replace the cap. Try not to breathe the fumes.. Guess a little low on amount you need, then test again after it circulates well. You can always add more.
Great Feedback Tim, thank you so much. That makes a lot of sense. Would the recommendation for raising the FC level be to increase the output of SWG? Go from 35% to maybe 45% and so on or is it to add bleach?
 

tim5055

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 11, 2014
10,484
Franklin, NC
Great Feedback Tim, thank you so much. That makes a lot of sense. Would the recommendation for raising the FC level be to increase the output of SWG? Go from 35% to maybe 45% and so on or is it to add bleach?
Right now I think your water is still a little too cool for the SWCG to work effectively, so I'd say stick with helping it with bleach for right now. Or, bump up teh SWCG and see what happens with the FC over the next day or two, but don't let it drop anymore.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
892
Spring Valley, NY
Barber,
You mention they added 18 bags of salt. I presume 40 pounders so that calculated out to approximately 3750 ppm salinity. Unless they added salt before that or a ton of chlorine, the 4500 may not be correct. Get that Taylor K-1766 because anything else just isn't accurate.
 
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Cbarber623

Bronze Supporter
Mar 22, 2020
14
Lexington, SC
I started adding some baking soda and CYA last Friday. So far I have put in 3 lbs of CYA and around 3 lbs of Baking Soda. I added some of each on Friday and then again on Sunday. I also got my Taylor K-1766 in the mail so I could get an accurate salt test.

Test Results today:
FC=3.5
CC=.5
pH=7.5
TA=60
CYA=40
Salt = 6000

Looks like my TA and CYA numbers are coming up so I plan to add 3 more lbs of CYA. What do you do about backwashing the sand filter? It says to wait a week to backwash so if I continue adding CYA this week I'll need to wait another week? Should I wait to add more CYA and backwash this weekend or just keep putting off the backwash? Pressure is 24 on the gauge right now.

Should I add any more baking soda or just see if TA remains at 60?

Lastly, should I be concerned about the salt number being so high? I confirmed with pool store how much salt was added, it was 17 40lb bags. I don't think I could have messed the test up as it's pretty straight foward. 10ml water, 1 drop of regent to turn yellow, and then count drops of other to turn brick red. It did not turn until my 30th drop. It was an immediate turn on that drop.

Thanks for the feedback.
 

wireform

Silver Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 15, 2017
892
Spring Valley, NY
On your salt issue you added 3450 ppm salt. Now you say it's 6000 which means you had to begin with 2450 ppm. In essence you would have only needed 5 bags to bring it to 3500ppm