Quarantine Christmas Pool Build - ATX - Heater vs. heat pump - real-world advice needed

NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
I do need some help with starting up the SWG, however. Here's a bit of history:

--PB's service company has been handling the pool for the first 30 days. His last visit was yesterday, but we are not sure when 'Pool School' will be happening.

--This past Sunday, he started up the SWG, had 'Low Salt' light on Sun-Tues

--Mon readings:
TF-100 Pro Test Kit

Low Salt error light
FC 0
ph 8.2
TA 70

--Wed morning, we *think* he added more salt and liquid chlorine
--Wed afternoon readings:
Salt light green (good range)
FC 1.5
ph 7.5
TA 70

--Thurs morning (today):
Salt light green (good range)
FC 1.5
ph 7.8
TA 70
CC=0

--Thurs afternoon (today):
Low Salt light error (red)
FC 1.0
ph 7.8
TA 70
CC = .5

Since we haven't had pool school yet, we're not sure exactly what we should do at this point. Should we go ahead and add salt at this point? Water looks beautiful and has been crystal clear. We were relying on the PB for the startup and waiting for pool school to find out exactly what we need and how to add everything but my guess is that it's not a good idea to keep running at the Low Salt level. I admit that we're feeling a bit overwhelmed and don't want to make a mistake. Any advice would be appreciated! I've updated my signature but let me know what additional info you needed. Thx!
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,397
NY
For now the most important thing is to keep the FC in target range based upon your CYA in the FC/CYA Chart. Add liquid bleach per pool math pronto. You are very low and it will go south quickly.

We can walk you through the equipment but I’m not sure if you should be touching it yet. If they haven’t told you how to use it, it’s still kinda their pool at the moment. Anywho, keep the FC up and you can do that indefinitely, but you won’t need but a week or so.
 

NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
For now the most important thing is to keep the FC in target range based upon your CYA in the FC/CYA Chart. Add liquid bleach per pool math pronto. You are very low and it will go south quickly.

We can walk you through the equipment but I’m not sure if you should be touching it yet. If they haven’t told you how to use it, it’s still kinda their pool at the moment. Anywho, keep the FC up and you can do that indefinitely, but you won’t need but a week or so.
Thanks @Newdude So this was my first time running the CYA test. I could continually see the black dot as I filled up the tube ;). So I'm guessing that means our CYA is less than 30. Using Pool Math, I see the following:
Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 9.45.03 PM.png
If I've set it up correctly, does that look like I'm in the ballpark -- I need to add 44 oz of bleach?
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
10,397
NY
If I've set it up correctly
Check the setup for your pool to make sure the gallons is right. Then on the right side you can toggle ‘trichlor’ to bleach for liquid chlorine (unless you were using trichlor).

If your CYA is 20 or below it’s hard to read or unreadable. Add 10 ppm until it is clearly readable. For a CYA of 30 you want to target 4-6 and not 3. The average pool consumes 2-4 ppm FC, daily. You want to lose your 2-4 (probably 4, maybe a skootch more for peak season in TX) and STILL be in target range. That will ensure you never get even close to minimum. You could use the extra insurance for now.

Once you know your pool and how it responds backward/forwards, you are welcome to skim the line as close you wish (still never approaching minimum), But for now you have lots of leeway over target, And very little / no leeway below target.

Also, once we get you dialed in you may need to raise the CYA to 40 because your UV demand is more than most of the country.
 
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NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
Check the setup for your pool to make sure the gallons is right. Then on the right side you can toggle ‘trichlor’ to bleach for liquid chlorine (unless you were using trichlor).

If your CYA is 20 or below it’s hard to read or unreadable. Add 10 ppm until it is clearly readable. For a CYA of 30 you want to target 4-6 and not 3. The average pool consumes 2-4 ppm FC, daily. You want to lose your 2-4 (probably 4, maybe a skootch more for peak season in TX) and STILL be in target range. That will ensure you never get even close to minimum. You could use the extra insurance for now.

Once you know your pool and how it responds backward/forwards, you are welcome to skim the line as close you wish (still never approaching minimum), But for now you have lots of leeway over target, And very little / no leeway below target.

Also, once we get you dialed in you may need to raise the CYA to 40 because your UV demand is more than most of the country.
This is so helpful. Thanks, @Newdude !
 
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NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
Waiting for PB to seal the stone. They will be buffing and cleaning the coping prior to applying sealant (MiraGard Dry Look). Is this a common practice to handle this after the fill? I'm concerned about dust/chemicals going into water. What's the recommended best practice in this situation?
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
48,967
Tallahassee, FL
Pump on high, skimmer socks in the basket, FC pushed up to higher levels for your CYA. That should take care of ay problems caused by them doing it now.

PB's all seem to have their own way and timing for doing anything. I think it really due to when they can get a sub out to do the work more than anything.
 
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NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
Ok, looks like I'm going have to invest in some type of heater for the pool sooner rather than later. We went without a spa because we were so tight on impervious cover and didn't want to give up the swimming space. However, our pool is in shade most of the day and doesn't get warm enough to my liking. Today, the highest the pool got was 79 (high of 94 in Austin). It averaged 84-85 during the hottest part of the summer in ATX. Fine for my husband and son...still a little too cold for me! So I want something to heat it on a regular basis during the main swim season as well as the crazy winter weekend or holiday we might decide to warm it up. We have access to natural gas and our rates in TX are pretty reasonable.I've read a lot about the pros and cons of heater vs heat pump, but I need some real-world advice. We left room on the equipment pad to add either. Our pool is on the smaller side, roughly 30' x 20' and 10,500 gallons. We did add some extra waterway jets that give a nice massage so I'm attempting to create a poor man's spa :giggle: Can you help a girl out??

p.s. I also know that solar covers are highly recommended; however we have an irregularly shaped pool and I just don't envision being able to take a cover on/off. So much of the enjoyment we get from the pool is actually seeing it from several windows instead the home so I'd hate to cover it up.
 

HermanTX

Gold Supporter
May 20, 2020
2,390
Katy TX
Pool Size
14600
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Ok, looks like I'm going have to invest in some type of heater for the pool sooner rather than later. We went without a spa because we were so tight on impervious cover and didn't want to give up the swimming space. However, our pool is in shade most of the day and doesn't get warm enough to my liking. Today, the highest the pool got was 79 (high of 94 in Austin). It averaged 84-85 during the hottest part of the summer in ATX. Fine for my husband and son...still a little too cold for me! So I want something to heat it on a regular basis during the main swim season as well as the crazy winter weekend or holiday we might decide to warm it up. We have access to natural gas and our rates in TX are pretty reasonable.I've read a lot about the pros and cons of heater vs heat pump, but I need some real-world advice. We left room on the equipment pad to add either. Our pool is on the smaller side, roughly 30' x 20' and 10,500 gallons. We did add some extra waterway jets that give a nice massage so I'm attempting to create a poor man's spa :giggle: Can you help a girl out??

p.s. I also know that solar covers are highly recommended; however we have an irregularly shaped pool and I just don't envision being able to take a cover on/off. So much of the enjoyment we get from the pool is actually seeing it from several windows instead the home so I'd hate to cover it up.
Natural Gas is most efficient. Suggest a 400 BTU heater. Ensure your gas meter can put out that much gas volume.
My pool is about 50% bigger than your pool (right under 15,000 gals) and I did heat it early in the swim season for grandchildren. It took about 10 hrs to heat to near 90 deg. F. (if I remember correctly). I don't have a solar cover (or any cover) but I kept it like that for 2 days and my gas bill was not that terrible.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,802
Morris Cnty NJ
For that size pool a medium size is fine. A raypak 266k btu will give you 1.5 degrees an hour and wont break the bank. I know you want to look at the pool and see it pretty, but a solar cover is crucial if you want a warm pool. Shape is irrelevant you just cut to the shape or even make 2 or 3 pieces out of a larger square cover. The only other thing you can do is get both a gas heater and solar panels. This lets you heat daily for free while pump is already running and spot heat with gas when you need it. I'm in NJ and have both, my kids want it 90 all the time.
 

NWS

Bronze Supporter
May 10, 2020
76
TX
For that size pool a medium size is fine. A raypak 266k btu will give you 1.5 degrees an hour and wont break the bank. I know you want to look at the pool and see it pretty, but a solar cover is crucial if you want a warm pool. Shape is irrelevant you just cut to the shape or even make 2 or 3 pieces out of a larger square cover. The only other thing you can do is get both a gas heater and solar panels. This lets you heat daily for free while pump is already running and spot heat with gas when you need it. I'm in NJ and have both, my kids want it 90 all the time.
Thanks @jimmythegreek I've been doing some reading and some say that the raypak tends to be quieter than pentair..any truth to this? noise would definitely be a factor in our decision. (I'm assuming we can use any brand with intellicenter)
 

jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
3,802
Morris Cnty NJ
You can use any heater. The raypaks are all I install. I'm a big fan of their boilers too, good products. Get a cupro nickel model, holds up to salt better. And btw I rarely hook a heater to the automation. I run it to a relay and use it as an aux turn on amd off device. Just leave heater on amd temp at the point you like amd switch it in and off remotely. Only thing you need is decent speed if your using a VS pump, somewhere around 2000 or just under is perfect
 
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