Noob with SWG and Chlorine maintenance issues

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
Hi! My pool will be a year old in September. We have a guy who comes weekly for maintenance, but in the past few months, I've been trying to learn how to do some of this myself. I'm a swim instructor, and it's very important that I keep everything in balance for the safety of my students. Since I've started testing things, I've noticed that we are having issues maintaining the proper level of free chlorine and we've had high Ph and Alkalinity issues that have produced tons of white calcium flakes in the pool. I also think we may have some calcium crystals that have built up on the sides of the pool on the plaster. I just received my Taylor K2006c test kit and ran my first test this way (I've been using strips in the past). Filter was cleaned within the last month and the salt cell was also cleaned 3 weeks ago. I have been running the chlorinator at 70%, and the pump run time is 8 hour/day (9am-5pm). I know I need to add acid to bring down the Ph. I wanted to know if it is okay to use dry acid in a salt pool? I read somewhere that it wasn't, but can't remember where. I've used MA before, but I'm very uncomfortable using it myself. Any input on how to confirm calcium crystals and how to remove them? I can try to take a pic and put it on here. I've been monitoring the salt level for the past 2 months, but the chlorinator cannot seem to keep the level up. My pool guy has added chlorine tablets to bring up the chlorine a few times, and I shocked it last week when it was low and the pool was cloudy. I'm not sure if the chlorinator isn't working, or if it is something else that is throwing it off. Do I need to test for nitrates? We don't have any trees that directly overhang the pool, but we do get leaves and pollen in it. There hasn't been pollen dropping for at least a month.

Test results:
free chlorine = 1.2 ppm
combined chlorine = .4 ppm
ph = 8.0
Cyanuric Acid = 33 ppm
Total alkalinity = 120
Calcium hardness = 350
Salinity = 2990 ppm

11,650 gallons
In ground
Pebble
Filter is Jandy 580 Cartridge filter
Jandy Variable Speed Pump
Jandy Truclear Salt Water Chlorinator
Taylor k2006c
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,732
NY
Dry acid is bad for the SWG. They make watered down MA with green/eco/low fumes on the label. You'll have to buy twice as much, but for $10 each it will help make you feel better about it. A trip to the ER will cost alot more.

You also need to raise your CYA to the salt pool range, preferably to 75. Especially in TX this time of year, you need the FC to have some protection from the sun. Use the sock method to add it. That should fix the low FC problem but it is possible that you still may need to increase your % on the swg, or run the pump longer. Use liquid bleach and PoolMath to make up the difference in the meantime.

I'm no good for plaster/calcium ideas. Those folks should be around shortly.
 

splashpad

Bronze Supporter
Aug 2, 2017
2,708
SE Kansas!
I know I need to add acid to bring down the Ph... I've used MA before
ph = 8.0
MA really is the safest & easiest option. Definitely try to stand upwind of it and pour low & slow into the pool if possible. Our pool is tiny, so I do have to measure my MA additions, I do it outside with a large plastic measuring cup and never had an issue :)

I've been monitoring the salt level for the past 2 months
Salinity = 2990 ppm
I definitely believe the salt level needs to be increased. (most SWG prefer 3200 - 4000 I believe IIRC)

My pool guy has added chlorine tablets to bring up the chlorine a few times, and I shocked it last week when it was low and the pool was cloudy.free chlorine = 1.2 ppm
combined chlorine = .4 ppm
Cyanuric Acid = 33 ppm
CYA has already been addressed by prev poster. I will second/add to get liquid chlorine in to your pool ASAP. You can use the PoolMath or online here PoolMath
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,296
Bedford, TX
E,

I see two major issues... Your CYA is way too low and the sun will quickly burn off any FC that your SWCG generates.. And, your FC is dangerously low and it would not shock me (Pun Intended) if you don't already have an algae bloom... :mrgreen:

The key to our pool care process is the maintain our FC and CYA in the proper relationship per this chart.. (See SWCG section).. FC/CYA Chart

I doubt there is anything wrong with your SWCG, it is just how you are using it.

I suggest that you take a look through our Pool School and see what we are all about.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

DeanP66

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2014
807
San Jose, CA
Use liquid chlorine to bring your FC level up to where you want it to be and then let the SWG take over maintaining it. I also agree that your CYA is way too low for a SWG especially in Texas. Raise it up to at least 70, but not until you pass an OCLT, just in case you have to SLAM you pool.
 

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
259
Houston, Texas
Fellow Houstonian here. To reiterate what was said above:

1. You need to raise your FC level ASAP. The best way to do this is by adding liquid chlorine, which you can buy at Home Depot. Also called chlorinating liquid. The amount of FC depends on your level of CYA (see link to chart above). Use the liquid chlorine to raise your FC to the appropriate level, then use your salt water chlorine generator to maintain that FC level.

2. You need to raise your CYA to help protect your chlorine. CYA of 70 is recommended with a salt water chlorine generator. With our intense sun, you're going to lose chlorine much faster at CYA 30 than at CYA 70.

3. I was apprehensive about handling muriatic acid at first as well. As said above, stand upwind, dip the bottle partially into the pool, and pour slowly. I wear gloves and safety glasses, just to be on the safe side. After you do it a few times, it isn't a big deal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: splashpad

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
259
Houston, Texas
Good point above. Add step 1A to my post: after you add the right level of FC, do an overnight chlorine loss test. If you pass that test, then add CYA. If not, you need to SLAM.
 

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
Thank you all for the advice! I'm going to get some liquid chlorine today and add it to the pool, then follow the other steps recommended. My pool guy is also supposed to come by today to investigate, but I am thinking he doesn't have much experience with SWG pools with all the issues we have had.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,732
NY
but I am thinking he doesn't have much experience with SWG
Most of the TX builds we see the PB is afraid of SWGs. They all seem to go with ozone and UV systems which is kinda funny because TX gets more UV from the sun for free than almost anywhere else in the country. So it wouldn’t suprise me if the pool dude hadn’t worked with many SWG systems.
 

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
Most of the TX builds we see the PB is afraid of SWGs. They all seem to go with ozone and UV systems which is kinda funny because TX gets more UV from the sun for free than almost anywhere else in the country. So it wouldn’t suprise me if the pool dude hadn’t worked with many SWG systems.
That makes sense. Our builder said he hadn't put in many SWGs, but I really wanted the salt since I'm in the pool so many hours a day.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Newdude

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
I put the info into pool math, but realized I don't know what the liquid chlorine is equivalent to. Do I follow the recommendation for adding bleach, or is it one of the other drop down options (there were quite a few)?
 

Dtkokay

Well-known member
Dec 31, 2019
259
Houston, Texas
Yes, it’s bleach. Just be sure to enter the % of the chlorine you bought. If you look at the label, it’s sodium hypochlorite (i.e., the active ingredient in bleach).

Also, it’s hard to find bleach in Houston. Rather than drive around, I ordered it online from Home Depot and had it delivered to my house. $9 delivery fee but so convenient.
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
18,296
Bedford, TX
My husband actually said the same thing last night - that I need to handle the chemistry and just let him vacuum and clean the filter
E,

You have a 12K pool and a 580 Sq. Ft. filter.... you should be able to go a whole year before cleaning that filter.. How often does the pool boy clean it now???

I have three saltwater pools and never vacuum them, because I have a robot to do that for me... Like this..

Thanks,

Jim R.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mdragger88

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
I appreciate the advice on Home Depot! I’m going to do the delivery. I’ve been home with my 3 and 4 year old and have been trying not to take them in stores whenever possible, so totally worth the delivery fee!

Yes, it’s bleach. Just be sure to enter the % of the chlorine you bought. If you look at the label, it’s sodium hypochlorite (i.e., the active ingredient in bleach).

Also, it’s hard to find bleach in Houston. Rather than drive around, I ordered it online from Home Depot and had it delivered to my house. $9 delivery fee but so convenient.
 

Newdude

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2019
3,732
NY
My HD has a line to get in most days, a line to wait to pay one at a time and then add in the kids being bored/hot/cranky........ $9 ?? Can I tip him too ??? That’s not enough !!!! Bless you kind man in orange. Lol.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Emvandy

Emvandy

Active member
Jun 15, 2020
41
Houston, TX
E,

You have a 12K pool and a 580 Sq. Ft. filter.... you should be able to go a whole year before cleaning that filter.. How often does the pool boy clean it now???

I have three saltwater pools and never vacuum them, because I have a robot to do that for me... Like this..

Thanks,

Jim R.
He has only cleaned it one time and it was pretty dirty. The pool/yard flooded during the tropical storm last September. It was a week after the pool was finished and we hadn’t had the grass laid yet so it was just a giant mud pit. I’m thinking most of the dirt came from that. We have one of the in floor cleaning systems and we were having issues, but I realized the other day that the skimmers had been turned off back where the equipment is and it has been cleaning much better since we turned those back on. That was one thing that annoyed me because I had asked him if the skimmers were working because every time I checked them they were empty and I was constantly scooping leaves out with the net and he told me that were. Then I ended up having the Jandy people out because the salt water cell unit was leaking and had to be replaced and they noticed the skimmers were turned to the off position. We had the pool builder back out in January to fix a tile that had fallen off and they partially drained the pool then and I think that is when they must have turned the skimmers off and forgotten to turn them back on.