New Starter Maintenance Confusion

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
In summer, I get tons of leaves, dust, pollen and other debris blown into the pool, I kind of have to run the pump throughout the day so I can jump into the pool whenever I want without a major clean-up first - my pump run time is skimming driven rather than chlorine generation driven.

In the end, I settled around 10 hours that I run the pump with two short breaks from morning until evening. Like that, one bar in my SWG settings (I have 8 bars, so I can adjust my chlorine production in steps of 1/8 = 12.5%) corresponds to about 0.5ppm in FC, which I find a reasonable quantisation for FC-adjustments without fiddling with the run time.

In winter, I don't get as many leaves and I don't swim anyway, but I keep the pool open. Then, I reduce the pump run time drastically. I need max. about 0.5ppm of chlorine in winter, don't need much run time for that, but I still like to run the pump for a few hours to keep the pool clean.

Just a thought, where should the pool jets point ? Slightly down, or just under the water as long as it’s pushing towards the skimmer ?
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
You want the best possible skimming action without creating unnecessary turbulence which could create aeration / pH-rise.

Sometimes, pointing the jets up too much can give the chlorine gas from the SWG not enough time to actually dissolve in the water. This would result in an additional pH-rise even at very low TA. If that problem occurs (usually only a potential issue with very short return pipes, small pipe diameters and/or too high pump speeds), then pointing the jets down a bit more can help.
 

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Just running an OCLT test tonight as water appears to have a slight dull or cloudiness. It’s not crystal but a hint of white. Still very clear though.

in prep I took my FC 4 , PH 7.6, CYA 70 and CH 300. All looks ok but the CH should be higher in the ideal 340-550 range ? Worth bringing up if everything goes to plan tonight ?

Although a little cloudy water probably isn’t great.... just preparing myself.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,320
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
In prep I took my FC 4 , PH 7.6, CYA 70 and CH 300. All looks ok but the CH should be higher in the ideal 340-550 range ? Worth bringing up if everything goes to plan tonight ?
With an above ground pool, I'm assuming you do not have a plaster pool and do not need to worry about CH (unless it gets too high and causes scaling). Unless I'm missing something, I would not touch your CH.
 

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
With an above ground pool, I'm assuming you do not have a plaster pool and do not need to worry about CH (unless it gets too high and causes scaling). Unless I'm missing something, I would not touch your CH.

Hi above ground plaster, pebble Crete pool with SWG certainly not vinyl.
 

JJ_Tex

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
2,320
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Pool Size
13000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Hi above ground plaster, pebble Crete pool with SWG certainly not vinyl.
Ah, got it. Then you can bring it up a bit if you want, but I would still keep it on the low end of the recommended levels so you do not have to worry about scale. I run mine at around 350 for that reason.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
What are your typical water temperatures? Turn on "Track CSI" and "Track Temperature" in PoolMath, then you can calculate the CSI which is a measure for your water's tendency to be either corrosive to plaster or scaling. And confirm your pool shop salt level - salt is not too critical as long as the SWG is happy, but you probably already noticed that your test results are quite different to the shop results.

Since your TA is quite low (which is good to minimize pH-drift - only correct that when it falls below 50ppm), you could compensate your CSI a bit with slightly higher CH, but if your water is warm enough than you are actually not too bad.

Before you increase your CH, it would be wise to test the CH of your tap-water (or what ever water you use to top up the pool). If that water has high CH, then your CH will drift up over time anyway and you wouldn't want to speed that up. But from my experience, most water in Australia is quite soft, unless you are on bore water.
 

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
What are your typical water temperatures? Turn on "Track CSI" and "Track Temperature" in PoolMath, then you can calculate the CSI which is a measure for your water's tendency to be either corrosive to plaster or scaling. And confirm your pool shop salt level - salt is not too critical as long as the SWG is happy, but you probably already noticed that your test results are quite different to the shop results.

Since your TA is quite low (which is good to minimize pH-drift - only correct that when it falls below 50ppm), you could compensate your CSI a bit with slightly higher CH, but if your water is warm enough than you are actually not too bad.

Before you increase your CH, it would be wise to test the CH of your tap-water (or what ever water you use to top up the pool). If that water has high CH, then your CH will drift up over time anyway and you wouldn't want to speed that up. But from my experience, most water in Australia is quite soft, unless you are on bore water.

Hi thanks - Brisbane water hmm pretty hard and damaging to coffee machines I know that . Temps are 28-30 (air temp) give or take a few depending on the day and rain.

At 28c it’s 0.7 , 30C it’s 0.68 CSI - pretty close to the 0.6 Min. Not sure how I bring that up ? Oddly my SWG says it’s 28. Doesn’t feel it...

Also OCLT was still FC 4.0 so that’s good.
 
Last edited:

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
Temps are 28-30 (air temp) give or take a few depending on the day and rain.

At 28c it’s 0.7 , 30C it’s 0.68 CSI - pretty close to the 0.6 Min. Not sure how I bring that up ? Oddly my SWG says it’s 28. Doesn’t feel it...

You should get a pool thermometer, just keep it floating in the pool, water temperatures can be quite different to air temperature.

When I put in the current values from your PoolMath log (pH 7.6, TA 70, CH 300, CYA 70) together with 28°C water temperature and 4900ppm salt (that is still pool shop?), I get a CYA of -0.39, which is not far off. Just maintain your pH a bit higher around 7.8 and you should be fine. Don't add acid before you reach 7.9.

If your water is hard, then definitely test its CH with your test kit. How much tap water do you have to add to maintain your water level? How much top ups with rain do you get? Evaporation leaves the calcium in the water. When the evaporated water gets replaced with rain (that has zero CH), then the pool's CH remains constant once the evaporated water has been replaced with rain. Should you get that more rain than actually evaporates, and you have to drain water (and flush calcium out with it), then you effectively reduce your CH. Same for water lost to backwashing that gets replaced with rain.

But when the evaporated water gets replaced with hard tap water, then you add more calcium, and the CH will effectively rise. Water lost to backwashing that gets replaced with tap will lower the CH again (assuming that the tap water has lower CH than the pool water).

In my case, I get that much rain over winter, that my CH will in the long term average drift down, and I usually have to increase my CH in winter.

So it really depends on how much rain you get. Does Brisbane get tropical torrential rains?

For now, I would just keep watching in which direction CH drifts.

If in winter CH gets too low, and colder water decreases your CSI further, you can compensate first by letting your pH get a bit higher, even up to 8.0 (pH will increase anyway in colder water). If CH keeps dropping, then you can maybe add some calcium chloride to get CH higher.

But with high CH fill water, I'd be a bit conservative with adding calcium chloride until you understand your natural CH-drift.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scollops

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
@mgtfp Thanks - I’ll play safe and watch the CH level now I’ve come to this forum. Baby steps I think my salt is on the higher side but will test. My SWG allows 3500-7000 so always tried to be over mid range - well that was shop tested so all new now.

I’ll retest all tomorrow and begin the new journey, keen to see the variations and patterns. Love a better PH tester as colour matching isn’t great and subjective.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mgtfp

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
Love a better PH tester as colour matching isn’t great and subjective.

We were discussing that in another thread:
My Blue Devil kit came today. I think that does the trick, the translucent scale really helps.

Another thing is the number of drops. The Taylor test is designed to work with 5 drops of R-0004 in a 44ml sample. Some forum members report that 4 drops make it easier to read. I have never used the actual Taylor kit, but the Australian Clear Choice Labs kit. The CCL instructions say to add 2 drops of their reagent to a 10ml sample - that results in a really intense colour that I was always struggling with. According to CCL's compatibility chart, their phenol red reagent is fully compatible with Taylor's R-0004 (incl. drop size). That means that the CCL test according to their instructions is equivalent to running a Taylor test (44ml sample) with 9 drops - that could well explain why I was always struggling with the test. Maybe CCL deliberately wants the colours to be more intense to resemble the less translucent printed colour scale?

Using the Blue Devil comparator (with a very translucent colour scale and a sample volume of 35ml) with 4 drops of reagent (equivalent to 5 drops in Taylor's 44ml) works already much better for me, and using 3 drops (equivalent to 4 drops in 44ml) seems to be the winner - I can finally read a phenol red pH-test :D

Thanks @AUSpool, that was great advice and really helped!

I was using a pH-meter until now, because I was struggling with the Clear Choice Labs pH-test. But that Blue Devil comparator that @AUSpool recommended, really seems to work for me, together with 3 drops of the Clear Choice Labs phenol red reagent (for the reasons explained in above post).
 

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
We were discussing that in another thread:


I was using a pH-meter until now, because I was struggling with the Clear Choice Labs pH-test. But that Blue Devil comparator that @AUSpool recommended, really seems to work for me, together with 3 drops of the Clear Choice Labs phenol red reagent (for the reasons explained in above post).

Which one/where do I find one of these ?
 

Scollops

Active member
Jan 22, 2021
44
Brisbane
Pool Size
40000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Do you mean the pH-meter or the blue devil comparator (which is still a normal drop test, but I find it easier to read)?

Either or which is best ? I have the CCL kit wasn’t sure on a meter or something else . Probably need to find that discussion.
 

AUSpool

Gold Supporter
Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Sep 23, 2015
927
Brisbane, Australia.
Pool Size
5000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
Scollops,
I would advise against any digital meter. Being new to pool care they can be tricky to master and easy to get false readings. The drop tests are fool proof. The salt test in the CCL kit is very accurate but can be messy and produce a nasty stain. I would track your salt via you chlorinator salt test function. If your going to splash out on more test gear the first thing I would suggest is CCL’s magnetic stirrer, they make testing so much easier and a little more accurate.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
Either or which is best ? I have the CCL kit wasn’t sure on a meter or something else . Probably need to find that discussion.

Just click on the "mgtfp said" where I quoted that post, that will get you to that thread.

As AUSPool said, pH-meter need some pampering and maintenance to get reliable readings.

Try the Blue Devil Comparator. AUSPool has a picture in that thread. The scale is more translucent, more similar to how the sample actually looks like. That seems to work for me.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
972
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
Just saw in your other thread that you have a colour blindness. In that case, a pH-meter might actually be a good option, depending on how good you are with orange/red shades.

I am using the Apera PH60. It is a bit more expensive than the Apera PH20, but I liked that the PH60 has a replaceable probe. The enhanced resolution of 0.01 is overkill, the PH20's 0.1 are plenty. But you'll need to replace the whole meter when the sensor dies - they don't last forever.

I bought mine at

I strongly recommend to always store it in 3 molar KCl storage solution as recommended in the manual. Cheapest option I found here:

That bottle lasts for a long time. I just keep the cap filled with it and top up as required (you always loose a few drops when taking the probe out of the solution). Important to not contaminate the storage solution by always rinsing the probe with distilled water and tapping it dry before putting away. From time to time I rinse the cap with distilled water, dry with a tissue and refill with KCl from scratch.

Also important to verify the calibration regularly using a pH 7 buffer solution, and recalibrate as required (don't bother about calibration at pH 4 and pH 10, overkill for pools). I bought that stuff:

It takes a while to get a feel for it.

In summer, it shows the correct reading very quickly.

I noticed that in winter, with much colder water, it can take a bit longer. Reason seems to be that my meter is stored inside and it takes a while for the internal thermometer to cool down to the water temperature, and the automatic temperature compensation will interpret the reading wrong (thinking the water is warmer than it actually is). Initially, the reading can be wrong by about 0.2 (even though the meter display shows the smiley face). After about 30 sec, it shouldn't change more then 0.1 anymore. To really make sure to get the reading correct on a 0.1 level, you might have to wait for 2 minutes or so, but that's starting to get into micromanagement territory.

It is important to rinse the probe with pool water a couple of times before the measurement.

Main sources for wrong readings are:
- Not verifying calibration often enough
- Not rinsing the probe with pool water sufficiently before the measurement
- Not making sure that there is no air trapped next to the sensor glass bulb.
- Letting the sensor dry out. Usually a good soak in KCl storage solution followed by a calibration will fix that, but it will significantly reduce the sensor's life expectancy.
- Using the wrong storage solution. Some meters use a different type of storage solution, make sure to buy the right stuff for your's. The Apera meters (and probably most other major brands), need 3M (3 molar) KCl (Potassium Chloride). The wrong type can wreck your pH-meter.
 
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.