Opening Salt Water Pool for First Time - Questions

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Hi all,

We got our pool installed last year, just in time to close it for winter. Based on the advice I got here, I didn't bother to add any salt before closing, so salt levels will be at zero.

As it's my first time both opening a pool, and first time to actually get the chemistry correct, I wanted to make sure I have this right. My plan is below, please let me know if I've got it right.

1) Open pool, get pump and filters working
2) Using the pool math calculator, figure out how much salt I need. Based on the calculator, buy enough water softener salt to bring the salt up the level specified by my SWG.
3) Start SWG
4) When I get close to the full amount, test salt levels, and adjust quantity of salt to bring it to the right level
5) Test CYA, and add CA to bring it to the suggested level
6) Test PH and TA - make sure they are at appropriate levels (they were tested before I close the pool and were fine)
7) Enjoy pool - one it warms up :)

Any corrections or advice appreciated.

Thanks
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
15,767
Bedford, TX
c,

Just one thing.. It is always important to know the actual salt level vs. what the cell "thinks" the salt level is.. To do that I recommend the Taylor K-1766 salt test kit.

Not sure what you added to your new pool so far, but a lot of things can increase the salt level.. I would want to know what the level is before adding any salt, so you can make sure not to over shoot the number.. If you rely on what the cell says, it could be way off.

Thanks,

Jim R.
 

setsailsoon

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
TFP Guide
Oct 25, 2015
2,077
Stuart/FL
cd,

We need a little more information to answer your question. Please describe what the pool looks like or add a photo and post a complete set of test results. If you have any issues with the chemistry address them before you convert to salt. The conversion is almost trivial and the results are fantastic. Once your pool is in balance, check for salt. You may not have much since its a new pool but you will have some and this needs to be considered in the salt calculation. Also, add the brand and model number for your salt generator in you signature. Add this information to your Pool Math app. Then select the "effects of adding" to determine your expected settings on the salt generator. You should start at a little higher setting then work your way down to the final combination of %power and run time.

I hope this helps.

Chris
 

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Thanks for the responses. I'm actually pulling off the cover tomorrow so I'll check the chemistry then and report. I've added nothing to the water so far, all the chemistry was fine in the fall so I'm hoping it's all good now.

But just to confirm, when you say the pool is in balance, is there anything other than PH and TA I should be checking before I add the salt?

Thanks
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
Thanks for the responses. I'm actually pulling off the cover tomorrow so I'll check the chemistry then and report. I've added nothing to the water so far, all the chemistry was fine in the fall so I'm hoping it's all good now.

But just to confirm, when you say the pool is in balance, is there anything other than PH and TA I should be checking before I add the salt?

Thanks
Test it all. If CH is astronomical, you'll want to replace water before you start pouring expensive stuff in.

Likewise if CYA is astronomical. But if CYA is zero and you know you had some when you closed, you could have had it break down into ammonia. Which can get really expensive to neutralize. So test CYA.

PH and TA go hand-in-hand.

I suppose FC & CC could be skipped, but wouldn't you like to know if there is any residual?

So test everything and if anything looks weird or if you just want us to reassure you, post about it.

Otherwise, get it all balanced as a bleach pool, then raise CYA if needed and add the salt. Then turn on the SWG and let it take over the chlorinating duties.

If the water is warm enough and there are children available, they'll have a blast swimming in the pool when you add the salt. Read this.
 

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
I did the tests and got the following:

Chlorine - 0 (none)
Ph - between 6.8 and 7.2 ,but closer to 7.2
TA - 20
CYA - 0

So given these results, what do you suggest. What order to I go about getting the chemistry right?
And am I correct that I get the Chlorine to the right level, then I add the salt?

Thanks again for the advice - this pool is all new to me.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
I did the tests and got the following:

Chlorine - 0 (none)
Ph - between 6.8 and 7.2 ,but closer to 7.2
TA - 20
CYA - 0

So given these results, what do you suggest. What order to I go about getting the chemistry right?
And am I correct that I get the Chlorine to the right level, then I add the salt?

Thanks again for the advice - this pool is all new to me.
You didn't check CH! Remember, low CH is okay for a vinyl pool, but high CH is still bad. Where's yours at?

If it's okay, then the next order of business is to check to see if the CYA broke down into ammonia over the winter. Do that by raising FC to about 10, mix it up real good with the pump and some brushing, Retest FC & CC is 15 minutes. If you have ammonia, at least half your FC will already be gone and the CC will be high. If you do have ammonia, it might be cheaper to replace the water than to neutralize it. Stop and post about it if it's there.

Next up, if CH and ammonia tests are okay, is to raise TA to about 60. That'll likely cure the pH problems in a day or two as well. Then you add CYA. Give that a day or two to dissolve and mix and in the meantime keep tabs on pH and FC. When things are looking good, you can add salt and turn on the SWG.
 

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Next up, if CH and ammonia tests are okay, is to raise TA to about 60.
I'll check CH and do the FC test for ammonia. Assuming they look good, am I correct that I use baking soda to increase TA? Going by the Pool Math calculator, it looks like I'll need around 3.5-4kg (approx 8-9lbs). Does that sounds right? I thought I could use what my wife had in the house for baking, but if that's right, I'm going to have to stop at the store.
 

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
Hi,

I'm back. (After a brief hiatus, due to a pipe joint letting go when I turned the pump on. I'd complain to the installer but I look at him in the mirror. Thankfully it was an easy joint to fix.)

For the record CH was 50. I raised FC to 10 and it didn't drop at all over an hour so I figured I was good to go and added the baking soda to correct TA and the ph.

Now for hopefully my last questions for now.

1) I assume FC will slowly drop over the next few days. Do I need to let it drop to the 3-5 range before I add CYA and salt?
2) I notice in one of the tables on TFP, target FC is 5, but in the poolmath app it shows the target FC. Does it matter where in the 3-5 range I end up?
3) Can I add CYA and salt at the same time, or do I need to wait till after adding the CYA to add the salt.

Thanks again for all the help.
 

Texas Splash

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
1 - Yes, FC will fall slowly from consuming organic material and the sun.
2 - On the tables, you'll see a "minimum" level and "Target Range". You want to be anywhere in that range and never below the minimum.
3 - You can add stabilizer and salt at the same time. For the CYA, use the sock method. For salt, let it mix well for a few hours to ensure the water is well-saturated with salt before turning on the SWG.
 

Richard320

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 6, 2010
22,069
San Dimas, CA (LA County)
1) I assume FC will slowly drop over the next few days. Do I need to let it drop to the 3-5 range before I add CYA and salt?
No. Go ahead and add. And the salt should mix for at least 24 hours before you fire up the SWG, so you'll have some protection while that's happening.

2) I notice in one of the tables on TFP, target FC is 5, but in the poolmath app it shows the target FC. Does it matter where in the 3-5 range I end up?
Depends on the CYA. Then you target the high end and if at the same time the next day you're well above minimum, you can target a lower FC the next.

3) Can I add CYA and salt at the same time, or do I need to wait till after adding the CYA to add the salt.

Thanks again for all the help.
One right after the other if you want. CYA goes in a sock in the skimmer, salt gets tossed in the pool and brushed around until it dissolves. No conflicts there.
 

cdods

Member
May 24, 2018
16
Smiths Falls, Ontario
And one more question.

The chart shows at should be targeting an FC of 3-5, with a CYA of 70. Given my FC is currently at 10, if I bring the CYA up to 70 now, will that prevent the FC from falling? Is there any harm in swimming or turning on my SWG with the FC so high?

And out of curiosity, the manual for my SWG says FC should be at 3, but CYA should only be at 30. Why the different between what they recommend at what TFP recommends.

Thanks again,
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
23,424
Laughlin, NV
Raising your CYA will not prevent the FC from falling. You still need to add enough chlorine each day to the pool to compensate for the loss to UV and organics.
You may safely swim in the pool as long as the FC is at or below SLAM level. At CYA of 70, SLAM level FC is 28 ppm.

The SWCG manufactuers do not recognize the science of the FC/CYA relationship. They follow old school chemical company guidance.