I've had it with Ecosmarte!!!

lightly

Member
Aug 9, 2010
6
Long Island, NY
This is my 4th summer with my pool. When I had it built the dealer recommended Ecosmarte for a wonderful Non-Chemical pool. However he failed to tell me that I would have to put in 10x the amount of work as my neighbor who was going to use chlorine in his new pool.
Over the past 4 years I have made several calls to Ecosmarte each summer and their staff is always helpful. I have experienced several issues over the years and thought I finally had a handle on everything his year. WRONG!

For the second time this summer I have uncontrollable algae. This past weekend brushed the entire pool and took apart my DE filter and cleaned what looked like an alien life form growing inside off the grids. I dumped 50oz of Algaecide 60 in the pool and added 8lbs of non-chlorine oxidizing shock to the pool. I came home from work today to see the algae coming back.

I am beside myself. I don't know what to do Any advice? Should I switch to Salt? Chlorine? Change to a sand or cartridge filter??

I was thinking of putting Metal Out in the pool and just using chlorine for the rest of the season (and dumping in a whole lot of shock) and next year switching to a salt generator and a cartridge filter.

My Levels
Calcuim 400
PH very low under 6.5 (ok per ecosmarte)
Copper is 1.0 ppm

FYI
After 4 years in my opinion here's the pros & cons of Ecosmarte in case anyone is considering using it (not including any of the chemistry debate)

Pros:
No Chlorine.
Getting to be known as the "copper guy" at the local Leslie's
Not having to worry about Alkalinity

Cons:
Can't use my Polaris (Pool must be brushed & vacuumed weekly to remove microscopic dirt that Algae eat)
If I miss a week I will have algae
Lots of money in Algaecide 60
Lots of money in Non-Chlorine shock
Lots of money in Phos-free
Can not "shock" the pool if Algae is present
Killing 2 hours every Sat Morning with all of the above
Water smells if PH is too low
Water always smells like algaecide

Again any advice is welcome. Thank You.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,094
Houston, Texas
pH below 7.0 is never o.k. for a pool! If you have been swimming in 6.5 pH water I would think your eyes would be very uncomfortable. Here at TFP we advocate the use of liquid chlorine to maintain a sanitary, clean pool. Your calcium is a little high, as is your copper. I am assuming the copper is from the Ecosmart, and not from your water source. If your fill water is low in calcium and copper then I would drain about 50%-75% of the water and take out the Ecosmart system. You can use liquid chlorine, either 6% bleach from the grocery store or the 10-12% liquid chlorine sold in the pool stores to maintain your pool.

You need to raise pH to 7.2. Do know what your total alkalinity (TA) is? We can recommend what to raise it with based on the current TA.

For the algae you have now, you should add enough CYA (stabilizer) to bring your pool to 30 ppm and add enough chlorine to reach shock level.

Sorry I have to attend to a family matter, but I will be back in about an hour in case no one else has responded to your post. In the mean time, please read Pool School, with special attention to the section how to shock your pool.

I understand your frustration, but we can help you take control of your pool.

Welcome to TFP!
 

learthur

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Sep 9, 2008
243
The Woodlands, Texas, USA
Sounds like you have a nice pool, except for the Ecosmarte of course!

Your problem is you have algae. You have algae because your water is saturated with organics. Your water is full of organics because you have no mechanism in place to remove them. The Ecosmarte doesn't remove them.

I personally prefer a saltwater pool with SWG. However, you can remove organics from your pool many ways. The way most of us do it is we OXIDIZE them with oxidizing agents such as chlorine. If you want to spend $15k on an ozone system that works as well.

The water in a saltwater pool with borates and a pH of 7.4 feels soooo good! Nothing compares.

Sell your Ecosmarte on eBay for half price so someone who insists on using the device will at least experience the lesson at half price :)

Your problem is that the Ecosmarte only has about enough oxidizing ability to clean the water in a 1 gallon bucket....not your whole pool. Now you should see the scam. It is just an overpriced copper ionizer.... sorry.
If you look closely, no where on their website do they promise enough oxidation for a pool as large as yours. The sizing data they list is sized for the ionizer part, not the oxidation part....that is the scam....they don't tell you that.
 

bk406

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2009
2,690
Central Massachusetts
salp said:
I think you mean baking soda.
No, that would be borax. Baking soda will raise the TA, and the pH a little. To increase the pH w/o increaisng the TA by much, use borax. To increase pH and TA, you can use sodium carbonate. Known as pH Up at Leslies, or plain old washing soda at your local grocery store of choice.
 
G

Guest

bk406 said:
salp said:
I think you mean baking soda.
No, that would be borax. Baking soda will raise the TA, and the pH a little. To increase the pH w/o increaisng the TA by much, use borax. To increase pH and TA, you can use sodium carbonate. Known as pH Up at Leslies, or plain old washing soda at your local grocery store of choice.
Yes, baking soda works fine for me for both TA and PH. I choose not to use Borax as my dogs think the pool is their big water bowl...
 

dmanb2b

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 4, 2009
3,734
NY
Lightly, welcome to TFP.

We have plenty of advice and can help you. But 1st you will need to help us help you.

1st, read pool school...there you will come to find that a salt pool is a chlorine pool :goodjob:

2nd, while you are reading all the articles, get yourself a good test kit...either the TF100 from tftestkits.net or the taylor k2006

3rd, post the test kit results here for FC, CC, TC, PH, TA, CH and finally CYA and we can get you straightend out. The most crucial test at this point is CYA so we can determine what your shock FC level should be. Shocking is a process and not a product...once you come to understand this and arm yourself with a kit, you will have a trouble free pool...period.

I was once a frustrated LI pool owner as well...our current pool, I found TFP and have not shocked once in two years and best yet is I only spend about $20/mo to keep my water that way, but I do test daily.

Now get us those test results and well get you going...welcome.
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,094
Houston, Texas
salp said:
You can use muriatic acid to raise pH to 7.2. Do know what your total alkalinity is?
I think you mean baking soda.
:oops: Oops! That's what I get for being in a rush! :oops:

I'll fix the original post.
Thanks!

Now back to our program!
To get control of your pool you will need to run your own tests. The shock process requires frequent testing for the first couple of days. We recommend the TF 100 or the Taylor K2006. Both of these kits have an FAS/DPD chlorine test that is essential for testing high levels of chlorine accurately. Test strips are not reliable and should not be used for more than a gross ballpark estimate of chemical levels. Pool store testing is inconsistent and highly susceptible to operator error. Often they are also using strips or a lower quality test kit that does not read FC above 5ppm. When you have your own high quality test kit, you can perform your tests consistently each time and keep a log of the results.

Your DE filter will be fine once the pool is cleared of algae. During the shock process you will need to clean and recharge it several times. If you decide to drain some of the water to bring down the calcium (CH) and copper, the shock process will be completed much quicker.

Please feel free to ask as many questions as you need. There are plenty of folks here who will be happy to help.
 

lightly

Member
Aug 9, 2010
6
Long Island, NY
Yes I can add the baking soda to raise the PH. Ecosmarte says alkalinity is unimportant therefore I don't even have a test kit.
As far as shocking, from what I understand if I try to shock it with Chlorine I will "shock the copper out of solution" ?
 

zea3

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2009
11,094
Houston, Texas
lightly said:
Yes I can add the baking soda to raise the PH. Ecosmarte says alkalinity is unimportant therefore I don't even have a test kit.
As far as shocking, from what I understand if I try to shock it with Chlorine I will "shock the copper out of solution" ?
Copper does not go away with shocking but it can release from the sequestering agent and stain the surface of the pool, and/or cause the water to turn green (clear green, very different from swamp green). I have not dealt with copper or other metals in my pool so someone with more experience can help with that question.
If the fill water does not have copper, then my opinion is it would be better to do a partial drain and refill to get rid of as much of the copper as possible.

Unfortunately Ecosmarte is wrong about the alkalinity. Alkalinity plays a role in regulating pH and managing high levels of CH to prevent scale formation.
 

PoolGuyNJ

TFP Expert
May 20, 2007
3,192
South Central NJ
zea3 is spot on with dumping some of the water to lower the copper. At the present level, adding chlorine, even with a sequesterant, will stain the pool. Drain 1/3 to 1/2, depending on the the water table. Refill and repeat. That should drop the Cu level substantially. If it's still above .3 ppm, do it again. Expect another bloom. Getting the Cu down is primary.

Once it's down, disassemble the DE filter and TSP bath it. That will get the copper laden gook off the grids. Reassemble, recharge, and check for leaks

Hit it with bleach or 12% sodium hypo (basically a 2X strong Clorox) to shock level + 3 ppm and run the filter over night. Vac to waste the dead algae and brush the walls. Shock it again. It may need another vac to waste, depending on how scuzzed up the walls were.

Balance as needed. Decide on the chlorination method for the rest of the summer, tabs, salt cell or bleach.

Not allowed to use the sweep? Thats a new
one.

Alg60. aka polyquat only starves, it doesn't kill. Monopersulfate (non-chlorine shock) doesn't kill. It oxidizes organics.

Scott
 

lightingguy

LifeTime Supporter
Jun 17, 2010
513
Glendale, CA
You've definitely come to the right place if you want to take all the mystery out of owning a pool . Spend some time in pool school and let the basics of the chemistry sink in. Here's a few things :

lightly said:
I don't know what to do Any advice? Should I switch to Salt? Chlorine? Change to a sand or cartridge filter??
A salt pool and a chlorine pool are the exact same things. The Chlorine is derived electrically from the salt in the water. Same chemical doing the sanitizing.

A DE filter is the finest level of filtration you get. Unless there is something wrong with it there's no reason to replace it. It's major draw back is the maintenance and reloading of DE when you clean it.

There's certainly something to be said for draining off a good portion of your pool. All that metal and high CH will all be improved by water replacement. Not to mention all that algae - the more you get rid of now the less you have to deal with in chlorine.

The cornerstone of the BBB method here is a good FAS-DPD test kit like the TF100. Learning how to use that will save you a ton of money. You may never enter a Leslies again.

The only thing I would not do is switch to chlorine and have Leslie's give you advice. I went down that road.... Just dont do it. All they want to do is sell algecide, Clarifier, Phos Free and Pool Perfect - none of which you'll have any need for.

Good luck.
 

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
23,062
SouthWest Alabama
Well, you've been piled on pretty heavily but they're right.

Read Pool School and at first it won't make sense but keep reading and soon it'll sink in. Get a good test kit and get used to using it.

The final thing I'll say is that once you get control of your pool you can decide on which method of chlorination you want to persue (Jugs, SWCG, Liquidator, Injection pump, etc) and you will be pleasently surprised at just how easy it really is.
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
Lets review:

1. Your copper level is too high right now - if you shock the pool as is you will likely get staining.
2. Do a partial drain/refill as advised above to lower the copper level.
3. While you are doing that, order a good test kit like the two we recommend.
4. After the drain/refill(s) have been completed and the water has circulated, retest with a full set and adjust the PH and TA as necessary.
5. Then begin to treat the water with chlorine etc. which will likely involve a shock process.

Post back if you have any questions. :)
 

lightly

Member
Aug 9, 2010
6
Long Island, NY
OK
Thanks for all the words of support & encouragement. I did it. Ecosmarte no-longer. I removed the cell, Drained 2/3 of the pool and refilled it, added the Metalfree and purchased the TF-100 and went to pool school.

This is where I am now....
The pool went from green on the bottom to a murky green (the algae bloom PoolguyNJ predicted) then I added 3 bags of Leslie's Power Powder Plus (73%Calcium Hypochlorine) Pool is no longer green but still a bit cloudy. I am having someone powervac it tomorrow.
I am going to clean the grids this weekend.
I raised the ph to 7.5
my T/A is 60
CH 290
no chlorine of anykind and no CYA.
Temp 73 with heat pump running
And my copper is now down to 0.


I ran the numbers in the pool calculator but since I'm new to BBB I was looking for some reassurance that I'm doing this right.
So what do I do now to get the pool in balance for the weekend. I will probably start off with bleach.

Thanks in advance
-L
 

frustratedpoolmom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
May 20, 2007
12,179
SWSuburban Chicago, IL
Good... you are in much better shape. These tests from the TF100?

Purchase and add (using the "sock method") CYA... enough to reach 30ppm. The same day, raise your FC up to 12 and continue shocking with bleach until:

Your FC holds at 12 overnight
your CC is .5 or less
your water is clear.

You may need to test and add bleach as often as hourly, to maintain shock level.

Keep the filter running 24/7 (aside from required cleanings) until the water is sparkly and you have completed the shock process.
 
G

Guest

A pool allowed to go "out of whack" will grow algae, no matter what sanitizing system is used. Neglect breeds problems.

I get asked all the time what pool finish (plaster, quartz, pebble) does not allow for algae growth. I tell them that a glass aquarium, a surface as smooth as can be, will grow algae without proper water chemistry.

I certainly hope, bruceh, that no issues ever arise for your family. I've had virtually all the sanitizing systems on my pools, and straight chlorine (liquid, SWCG produced, etc.) is the easiest, and most proven one there is. I'm all for technology, but I'm just not willing to compromise the safety of my family and friends when I know there is an easy, and inexpensive, proven product to control and sanitize my pool.

Keep at it, lightly! You're doing great :goodjob:
 

lightly

Member
Aug 9, 2010
6
Long Island, NY
A big thanks to all who posted and gave advice. I have been running my pool for over a week now with chlorine (bleach) and it has never been cleaner.

Even though the water looked clear it took a few more days for the organics to come out of solution and die. They were easily vacuumed up and now the pool has been clearer than ever.

Sanitation controversy aside, Ecosmarte is just too much work!!! Stay away from Ecosmarte (unless you are allergec to chlorine)

I should have made the switch years ago. Thanks to all again. I am a TFP convert!!

Regards
Leigh