Need help with pool chemistry; Intex w/ SWG

#1
I promise I have been reading through here, but I'm thoroughly confused and need someone to walk me through exactly what I need to do. I never was good at chemistry. :(

Filled our Intex 14' x 42" Ultra Frame Pool on 7/5. Added 80lbs. Morton Pool Salt and started Intex 673R Cartridge Filter 7/6. Ran it for 24 hours as indicated in the directions. Also added a sock of 0.8lb. CYA. This morning, I kicked on the SWG for 2 hours (again, per the Intex guide).

Just performed my testing with an hth 6-way test kit and my results have me wondering what exactly I should do. I should note that the water is crystal clear.

Total Chlorine: 0 (the water didn't turn the slightest bit yellow)
Ph: At least 8.2 (super, super red)
CYA: None (filled tube completely up & could still see black dot)
Total Alkalinity: Took 26 drops (x 10 = 260) to slightly tinge red; after it sat it looked brownish
Hardness: Took 16 drops (x 10 = 160)

Not sure where I need to go from here. Do I need to run the SWG in the "boost" setting? Should I add some bleach? My kids are swimming at this very moment. I hope that's okay. It's a terrible heatwave here in Ohio right now.

I would like specific instructions of what I need to do. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give me. Sorry for being a newbie!
 

JasonLion

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#2
First, lower your PH to around 7.2. You never want to allow PH to go above 8.0, and preferably not above 7.8. Because of your high TA you will need to lower the PH fairly frequently for a while, until TA comes down to something more reasonable.

You need to raise your CYA level to around 70 to 80. You should do this in two steps. Start by raising CYA to around 50. Wait a week for that to take effect, re-test the CYA level, and then continue adjusting from there. Low CYA is the reason you can't maintain an FC level. Without CYA the sunlight burns off all of your FC very quickly.
 
#3
I've read to lower ph with acid. Is that muriatic acid? How much should I add and how long before it's safe to swim? If I add it at night & run the filter all night, would that be okay? Am I good with my sock of cya hanging in the pool?
 
#4
Also, my SWG has the copper element currently plugged in. I have two blonde-haired kids. I've read on here that copper will turn their hair green. Should I unplug it? If so, should I add an algaecide?
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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#5
Yes muriatic acid to lower the pH. You can swim about 20 minutes after adding it.

Just unplug the copper element. Don't worry about adding algaecides.

Once you get the pH down add enough bleach to get about 3 ppm FC in the pool. About 2.5 cups.

Since you've already added 12 oz CYA that will get you to about 30 ppm. I'd add another 12 oz. It'll take a week for it to show up on the test but consider it there after a day.

Keep adding about 3 ppm FC in the pool each day until the swg starts keeping up.
 

Bama Rambler

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Jun 22, 2009
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#8
Use the pool calculator to figure out how much you need to add.

Looks like it'll be close to 14 oz of acid, but don't be surprised if that isn't quite enough.
 
#9
I'm continuing to have problems with my ph being too high (at least 8.2) and my chlorine being too low (barely registering, if at all). Could my SWG not be working? I keep adding acid & bleach, but I just can't seem to get the ph down.
 

Taterfink

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Apr 14, 2012
550
NE Florida
#10
To expect the SWG to create ALL the chlorine from scratch is asking a lot. You would need to add enough chlorine to achieve your desired level for the initial push. Then the swg can be used to maintain your desired level from there.

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Taterfink

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Apr 14, 2012
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NE Florida
#11
Oops. My bad. I see now where someone already suggested that you add a couple cups or so of bleach. I will now step away from the keyboard.

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Taterfink

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Apr 14, 2012
550
NE Florida
#13
Jonalee, if you will do as these guys advise, it WILL work out for you. They are genius at this pool stuff!
Once your CYA is up to the desired level, the SWG will take care of the chlorine for you and you won't have to add so much, so often.

On my pool, if we get a LOT of rain, I may have to add a bit of chlorine to boost it up but for the most part, the CYA in combination with the SWG, my levels stay pretty even. So, as I said, just follow the advise the guys are giving you. They really know their stuff!
 

frogabog

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Jul 16, 2010
1,578
Portland, Oregon
#14
You will need to add bleach every day until the SWG is producing enough chlorine. You need to treat the pool as if there is no SWG on it, and dose with enough bleach every day to the high target for your CYA level. If you do not do this, your pool will be in need of shocking very soon. Did you add the second sock of CYA? Did you squish it, and is it all dispersed into the pool? So, 70ppm CYA? Raise chlorine with bleach to 9ppm tonight. Tomorrow around mid day, run the SWG for 7 hours. Test after the sun is off the pool. If you're at 7ppm you're good. Rinse and repeat tomorrow but try 6 hours on the SWG. If you're not at 7ppm tomorrow night, go back to 7 hours. I've found that the run times in the Intex manual are nowhere close to what is actually needed.

The cartridge filter can be rinsed and reused. Don't worry about having a new one each time. It'll save you a lot of money in filters (some of mine are 4 years old).
 
#15
Thanks for the help!

frogabog, I didn't see your post until right now. Yes, I added the second sock of CYA. No, it isn't completely dissolved. Can I have too much CYA? I haven't tested my CYA because my hth 6-way test kit only came with enough for two CYA tests, and I already did it once when I should've waited.

Last night, I just took my bottle of acid out to the pool and dumped it in without measuring. The ph is finally down to 7.5 this morning, but no measurable chlorine, so I added 2.5 cups of bleach but did not retest because I had to come to work. Will test this evening after my son's baseball game.

Oh, and FYI, it's very, very HOT in Ohio right now. And bone dry. We need rain terribly.

How do I know if my pool needs shocked?
 

frogabog

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Jul 16, 2010
1,578
Portland, Oregon
#16
You'll need a FAS-DPD kit or reagents to have that kind of knowledge. Since you've got the HTH 6-Way you've got all the tools and most of the reagents you need except R-0870, R-0871, R-0003, R-0013, and a scoop. You can get all these reagents at http://TFTestkit.net individually plus with the R-0013 refill for less than $30 if you buy individuals.

A pool your size, with that CYA added (squish the sock, it'll disperse faster) and the SWG not generating chlorine yet you probably wanted to put closer to 11 cups of bleach in this am to raise the FC high enough to last through the day of sun. 9ppm is your target high for 70ppm CYA. use the pool calculator (I didn't, I'm estimating your bleach requirement).

I think that once you get some chlorine in the pool, the SWG will be better able to take over. I'm finding I need to run the SWG at least 7 hours, maybe 8 to produce enough chlorine for my 15x48. It would take more like 18 hours to raise it from 0. I honestly don't know why Intex seems to think people will be able put water and salt in, start the SWG, and be good to go. The SWG will be loads happier if started on an already dosed pool (dose to minimum, start SWG and add daily use worth).

Can no one add bleach or acid today for you? If they can, go calculate for 9ppm and have them put it in. I'd leave pH alone for the moment. It'd be good to see your TC results, but without a FAS-DPD kit, that value is unknown. Think about getting the rest of the reagents, they are essential to being on top of all this pool stuff.
 
#17
The soonest I can add bleach is about 5:00 when I get off work. On my hth kit, the chlorine side of the tester goes from 0.5 to 5. What number am I aiming for? (Sorry, this is confusing to me!)

I have no idea if I'm at 70ppm CYA or not. The first time, I measured out a little under a pound on a scale. This time, I just poured it in. I have a four-pound canister of it and I'd guess that there's maybe a pound left.

The Intex SWG manual says I should run it for 2 hours and my filter for 4 hours. What do you think I should up it to?
 

frogabog

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Jul 16, 2010
1,578
Portland, Oregon
#18
Oh no... gulp... Jonalee, measuring things is VERY important. Especially when you're using estimations for additions. Since CYA takes up to a week to register, we normally use the estimated amount that was added to assume the level till testing can be done. You might be good with the CYA but I think you may have overshot it at 3 pounds. Tell us how much is left in the sock tonight, maybe take a picture of the remaining CYA lump/sock. If 25-30% is left, I'd say take it out and save for later if needed.

So, well that kinda puts a wrinkle in knowing how to help you, sorry. I suppose the best help now would be to get you to pick up the FAS-DPD portion of the kit with new CYA reagent so you can figure out what the CYA level actually is.

To answer your questions, the HTH kit includes an OTO test. Yellow chlorine side. It only tests for Free Chlorine. We need to see Total Chlorine too. Plus, as you noticed the OTO only goes up to 5ppm. The FAS-DPD test can test up to 50ppm.

FC plus TC = CC (free chlorine, total chlorine, combined chlorine)

When CC is over .5ppm, the active chlorine in your pool is killing something. CC is a byproduct of this activity. When it's present, it tells us a battle is being waged. Shocking the pool is the solution to high CC. How do you know you've got CC? Again, the FAS-DPD test will tell you.

I think we're going to assume you've got at least 70ppm CYA and shoot for a target high FC of 9-10ppm. Since your test kit doesn't go that high, pool calculator is your very good friend. Add enough bleach tonight to reach 10ppm. Tomorrow morning, start the SWG and pump up and run it for 7 hours (run pump longer). Test the pool when you get home, and again after the sun is off the pool. Dilute the water by half and run the OTO test. If the water shows to be 5ppm after the sun is gone, you should be close to that 9ppm and at that point, I'd say rinse and repeat tomorrow morning.

Intex's recommendations are apparently written by preschoolers. There is NO WAY a SWG can chlorinate a pool the size of yours running 2 hours. That's forever wishful thinking. I got a whole foot more diameter than you, and while I'm still working the kinks out of my pool's run times on a SWG... I've had to run it at least 8 hours a day since I hooked it up to maintain a reasonable chlorine level. And that's on a well established chlorinated pool that's had salt in it since last August.

My ideal run time would be 4 hours after swimming, another 4 hours during the day (sun). I think that is reasonable. I need a timer to do it like this though. I ran the SWG enough to get to 7.5ppm day before yesterday at night. Then I ran the SWG for 7 hours yesterday. No one swam. I didn't test, gonna do that shortly. We'll see if that worked, if so I'll run another 7 or 8 today. If not, if it's back down to 4 again I'll have to run it 8 hours today, and then again at night to get back to target high. I feel like I'm chasing my tail with this SWG... grumble, grumble...

All in all, the SWG saves me no time or thinking about the pool. Bleach once a day is so incredibly easy and simple. I don't know if I like this SWG or not. Good thing it was essentially free... I'd fee disappointed in wasting money on something I don't really need if I'd actually paid for it.
 
#19
Ugh, I'm a horrible pool owner. I am soooo not cut out for this. *sob* LOL!

I just added the sock, so there's a lot left. I thought I had to wait a week to add more CYA. I'll weigh what's left in my canister tonight and remove the excess. So I can save it to be used later? Do you want me to use my last CYA test or wait?

Okay, so let me get this straight, tonight I'm going to retest with my OTO drops, right? Then I'll plug that number into the pool calculator on the left-hand side, change the number on the right-hand side to 10, and add the exact ounces of bleach it tells me to. Correct?

I usually start my SWG in the morning because I read in the Intex book that you shouldn't swim while it's running. So, I need to run it after the kids swim, which is usually in the evening since I work until 5pm, and also run it during full sun, so noon-ish...right?

I'm sorry I'm making your brain hurt trying to explain this stuff to me. I swear I'm not this dense IRL.
 

frogabog

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 16, 2010
1,578
Portland, Oregon
#20
I think you can run it whenever you desire. Intex instructions are less than useful IMO. You can absolutely run it while they swim. Silly!

Starting with a dosed pool at night will allow you to refill it throughout the next day, and hopefully end up with a fully dosed pool after dark. That's how I'm looking at it, at least.

You're spot on with the way to use the calculator. Do that. (We know you're not dense! We've all been right where you are once upon a time)

I really don't know for sure if you can save the CYA, but I assume it can be saved. If it doesn't turn into a rock, that is... Weighing the remaining amount will help. But there's no real way to determine how much has dispersed. If half is gone... and you can tell us what is left in the container we can help you estimate. The SWG will run with less than 70ppm CYA, it'll work. Mine worked at 20ppm. So, if it ends up being a littlhe low because you took the sock out, it will be easy enough to add more later. There should be plenty left in the canister to get it up to 70.