Running pool at high pH

Drexl

Member
Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
Pool Size
50000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
New plaster pool, and the pH keeps rising to 8.2, it just loves it there. So, I am thinking about keeping it there; between 8 and 8.2 (in the winter and when ready to swim, temp at 74, keep pH around 7.8)

FC .38 (I know it is low, and I do have UV)
CC .24
pH 8.2
TA 100 (pool maint decided to add bicarb last week, I guess his way of trying to control the pH from increasing every week; will ask to leave it alone and keep at 80max)
CH 180
CYA 40
Temp 61

So I am calculating SI at 0.25; which is good in my opinion, when TA goes to 80, I will be at 0.13.

I was a bit annoyed when the guy was adding powder to my pool, I asked what he just added and when he said bicarb, oof. So, before I have my talk tomorrow with him, what do you guys think about having a high pH pool like this? It is new (couple of months) and it is zero edge with a tank, so aeration adds to the high pH. As long as the saturation index is within -.3 and .3; I should not have any issues and then warmer pool temp, higher calcium by summer, I can drop pH for comfort and FC efficiency. Am I missing something? My main concern during winter... pool equipment, plaster look/scaling.

In case you are wondering, pH / SI history:

Day 1 7.8 SI -0.17 (treatment from 8.2)
Day 2 8.0 SI 0.06
Day 3 8.1 SI 0.15
Day 4 8.2 SI 0.26
Day 5 8.1 SI 0.17 (rain)
Day 6 8.2 SI 0.26
Day 7 8.2 SI 0.26
 

the_sphynx

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
104
North San Diego County
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
If I am a little honest, mine stayed a little high when the pool was first handed over. New plaster will want high pH for a while. Mine took about 2 years to start to settle. Now it seems to stabilize about 7.8 or so and I use about 2/3rds as much MA as I was for the 1st two years.

I did lower the pH though when I saw it up at 8.2+ but I only lowered it down to about 7.6-7.7 at most, most of the time. Only if I had some really good reason to lower it further did I.
 
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Drexl

Member
Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
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50000
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Lowering the ta will help with ph rise not increasing it - your pool guy needs to go… he has u on a merry go round 🔄
I just lost my argument with the guy, and he ended up adding more bicarbonate. Well, I am going to keep taking data, and I need to have a meeting with the owner of the maintenance company as I do not agree at all with how they are maintaining the pool. The guy that comes over, has instructions for the levels and that's it. I did not want to get in a major argument with him, so I gave in.
 

Mdragger88

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Jun 1, 2018
4,291
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
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Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
It sounds like having them involved is more hinderance than help - if its included & also required for your initial startup to maintain warranty then just ride that out but otherwise u seem to have a handle on what needs to be accomplished & could cut them loose. Even if it is “free/included” for x amount of months it may not be worth the trouble to deal with them. I definitely wouldn’t be paying for a service i was unhappy with.
I also wouldn’t have taken so kindly as u to someone adding something to my pool I explicitly said no to. He would have been gently escorted off my property….
 
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the_sphynx

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
104
North San Diego County
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
It sounds like having them involved is more hinderance than help - if its included & also required for your initial startup to maintain warranty then just ride that out but otherwise u seem to have a handle on what needs to be accomplished & could cut them loose. Even if it is “free/included” for x amount of months it may not be worth the trouble to deal with them. I definitely wouldn’t be paying for a service i was unhappy with.
I also wouldn’t have taken so kindly as u to someone adding something to my pool I explicitly said no to. He would have been gently escorted off my property….
This. Also, I couldn't tell if you have an SWG or not. You mentioned it's a new pool and you are in CA. I didn't know they still built pools with no SWGs out here :).
If you have an SWG, then there is really no reason to keep a pool guy on the payroll. My build came with the 1st month or two of maintenance services. I ran through that and told the guy he wasn't needed. Been maintaining my own chemistry since and no SLAMs.

Your numbers aren't that off so it wouldn't take much to maintain that pool. Add MA to lower pH. If you don't have a SWG then you'll be adding chlorine regularly. Most other chemicals are like a two to three times a year thing if doing it right.
 
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Mdragger88

Bronze Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
4,291
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
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Intex Krystal Clear
I also missed the part about the uv …. 🤦‍♀️
@Drexl here’s some info about that 👇
Is it too late to return the system &/or swap it for a swg?
@ a cya of 40ppm your target for fc is 5-7 ppm. Anything below 3 is asking for algea & other nasties 🦠 regardless of any supplemental uv system. Is this an indoor pool?
 

Drexl

Member
Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
Pool Size
50000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
some interesting numbers there
what interesting test kit came up with those
Not a test kit, and I know you know. :) The store guys are good, their numbers are consistent and when I do my test, they are close, within a drop kind of deal. So, I use them out of convenience. There are three employees that do the test, and I watch them closely. Also, the TA is not adjusted for CYA, when it is, it has an asterik, and tonight they came in at 106, for me 11 drops at 110. pH was the only one I actually disagree with them, they had 7.8 and I got closer to 7.6, but since not natural light, I just kept theirs for consistency/trend.
 
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Drexl

Member
Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
Pool Size
50000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
I also missed the part about the uv …. 🤦‍♀️
@Drexl here’s some info about that 👇
Is it too late to return the system &/or swap it for a swg?
@ a cya of 40ppm your target for fc is 5-7 ppm. Anything below 3 is asking for algea & other nasties 🦠 regardless of any supplemental uv system. Is this an indoor pool?
@Mdragger88 I have a natural stone fountain in the pool as well as all natural stone coping, we used the stuff that Australia folks use for their stone treatment, but in the end, we decided not to go with salt; too many pools we looked with salt had a lot of etching. Not worth the risk for us. CYA is definitely high, I made sure not to increase it further, they wanted to take it to 50, I said absolutely not, winter we hope to drop it by rain dilution/drain. As for algae, want to know a fun number, freakin 3,500ppb phosphates... what the heck. Brand new pool, what caused it? That is my mystery right now. So yeah, tonight after treatment, 2 gal of chlorine, we have FC at 5.8; just did a test after sun down, will wake up before sun up and test again.

To fix the phosphates, I have an overflow tank, ~5,000 gallons, I am thinking of turning off all pumps, drain from pool to overflow, in tank, add phosphates remover, stir manually, let it sit overnight, and then turn on my two filter pumps (pull from tank). I hope that overnight the phosphate remover will do it's work and limited amount go back to main pool (keeping cloudiness to min). Wait a week, and repeat, treating ~3,000 gallons at a time. What do you think?
 

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Mdragger88

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TFP Guide
Jun 1, 2018
4,291
Hernando, Ms
Pool Size
26000
Surface
Vinyl
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Intex Krystal Clear
Not having a swg is understandable, just throwing out possibilities.
The uv is quite pointless if you have an outdoor pool although it may be too late to get your $ back for it. The sun ☀️ gives u free uv every day.
As for the other stuff—
You are better off getting your own kit - k2006c or tf100.
If you are concerned with phosphate levels you also need the Taylor phosphate kit to actually be sure of your levels.
In general if you maintain proper fc levels in accordance with the FC/CYA Chart phosphates are mostly irrelevant.
Before i shelled out big bucks & went down the phosphate removal rabbit hole I would test with my own dependable kit. Not leave it up to someone else.
Fwiw- i have never tested for phosphates in 10 years & have no idea if i have them or not. Many people here don’t either.
It’s a moot point because there’s no algea to eat the phosphates due to my proper fc levels. If fc falls below min for your cya you will get algea regardless of your phosphate level.
That “convenient” “free” pool store testing costs. Make no mistake about it.
That free test is offered so they can sell u products. Its a store not a charity after all. Also its not actually very convenient to take your water in every couple days (which is how often you should be testing w/an fas/dpd test at least ). So most people go once a week or less then spend boatloads of time & $$ trying to resolve issues that could have been prevented by being proactive & testing yourself regularly instead of just being reactive.
Couple that with the inaccuracies & bad advice that often come with pool store testing & you have a recipe for disaster.
If you haven’t figured it out yet , most of the advice/recommendations here conflict with outdated pool store type recommendations. Trying to ride both trains is impractical.
We also can’t give proper chemistry advice based on pool store testing.
There are countless threads on the subject- here’s one from just the other day. 2 stores tested today. Same sample results.
If you wish to patronize your local pool store that’s fine- just skip the testing & subsequent recommendations. I have a mom & pop shop that i go to for bulk liquid chlorine & sometimes other items. They ask “how’s your water “& i say “great !” & proceed to pay for my items.
 
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aussieta

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TFP Guide
there was a recent post with a fresh fill and pool store advised their phosphates were too high
 
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reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
403
Fort Worth, Texas
Pool Size
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@Mdragger88 I have a natural stone fountain in the pool as well as all natural stone coping, we used the stuff that Australia folks use for their stone treatment, but in the end, we decided not to go with salt; too many pools we looked with salt had a lot of etching. Not worth the risk for us. CYA is definitely high, I made sure not to increase it further, they wanted to take it to 50, I said absolutely not, winter we hope to drop it by rain dilution/drain. As for algae, want to know a fun number, freakin 3,500ppb phosphates... what the heck. Brand new pool, what caused it? That is my mystery right now. So yeah, tonight after treatment, 2 gal of chlorine, we have FC at 5.8; just did a test after sun down, will wake up before sun up and test again.

To fix the phosphates, I have an overflow tank, ~5,000 gallons, I am thinking of turning off all pumps, drain from pool to overflow, in tank, add phosphates remover, stir manually, let it sit overnight, and then turn on my two filter pumps (pull from tank). I hope that overnight the phosphate remover will do it's work and limited amount go back to main pool (keeping cloudiness to min). Wait a week, and repeat, treating ~3,000 gallons at a time. What do you think?
I think you’re going to struggle - either embrace the proven TFP methodology, ditch the pool service and start your own testing. OR endure the ups and downs and increased $$ of the other way. You can’t do both.

Your pool will be a salt pool in short time. Nothing about a SWCG pool is any different than a normal tab pool, other than the SWCG being much easier and cheaper.
 

Drexl

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Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
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Liquid Chlorine
I think you’re going to struggle - either embrace the proven TFP methodology, ditch the pool service and start your own testing. OR endure the ups and downs and increased $$ of the other way. You can’t do both.

Your pool will be a salt pool in short time. Nothing about a SWCG pool is any different than a normal tab pool, other than the SWCG being much easier and cheaper.
I am really interested in putting in the intellichem, liquid chlorine and acid. I do like to go out of town, so not having the pool looked over worries me; and even though the auto systems do require maintenance, I think I could get away checking it, filling the acid with max strength(last longer) for that "vacation" and I would be ok. I just need to find someone that knows about this intellichem in my area and knows how to program it, my PB does not recommend it. This thread got kind of away from my original question, which is totally ok as I am learning more, but can I run a pool at pH 7.8-8.2? Or is that going to create issues for chlorine more than the higher CYA?
 

reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
403
Fort Worth, Texas
Pool Size
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I am really interested in putting in the intellichem, liquid chlorine and acid. I do like to go out of town, so not having the pool looked over worries me; and even though the auto systems do require maintenance, I think I could get away checking it, filling the acid with max strength(last longer) for that "vacation" and I would be ok. I just need to find someone that knows about this intellichem in my area and knows how to program it, my PB does not recommend it. This thread got kind of away from my original question, which is totally ok as I am learning more, but can I run a pool at pH 7.8-8.2? Or is that going to create issues for chlorine more than the higher CYA?
Ok - I wish you good luck.
A SWCG would be much easier, and less expensive, than what you plan. It provides incredible peace of mind and relatively zero maintenance.
 

Drexl

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Nov 2, 2021
10
CA
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Ok - I wish you good luck.
A SWCG would be much easier, and less expensive, than what you plan. It provides incredible peace of mind and relatively zero maintenance.
Believe me, that was our plan, but we spent too much money on natural stone to have it ruined by salt, especially with zero edge, water is always ending up on the coping. No way I can count on anyone to rinse off after every swim. Also, the fountain, no way risk that getting damaged. We saw the damage the salt did to other pools in the area, so last minute we switched to straight up chlorine, and just added UV to try it out.
 

Bperry

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Aug 20, 2020
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Knoxville, TN
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Believe me, that was our plan, but we spent too much money on natural stone to have it ruined by salt, especially with zero edge, water is always ending up on the coping. No way I can count on anyone to rinse off after every swim. Also, the fountain, no way risk that getting damaged. We saw the damage the salt did to other pools in the area, so last minute we switched to straight up chlorine, and just added UV to try it out.
I think what they were meaning is that the damage you may have seen to other pools labeled as caused by salt was likely caused by water alone.

The other detail that’s not obvious is that liquid chlorine and trichlor will increase the salt level in your pool to a similar level of what a “salt pool” is eventually. There’s actually very little salt in them compared to the ocean. Calling them saltwater pools is a bit of a misnomer in that the salt in the water is nowhere near what ocean “salt water” is.
 

reggiehammond

Gold Supporter
Oct 4, 2020
403
Fort Worth, Texas
Pool Size
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Believe me, that was our plan, but we spent too much money on natural stone to have it ruined by salt, especially with zero edge, water is always ending up on the coping. No way I can count on anyone to rinse off after every swim. Also, the fountain, no way risk that getting damaged. We saw the damage the salt did to other pools in the area, so last minute we switched to straight up chlorine, and just added UV to try it out.
You're stating as fact, what simply isn't true. As Bperry points out, your chlorine pool will end up with similar salt levels as a "salt pool." All you'll get in return is more headache and expense from the Intellichem system.

I have an obnoxious amount of flagstone around my pool and property; it falls apart the same way no matter if it's near the pool or not. Water and stone have never been good bedfellows, just look at the Grand Canyon. But anyway - report back on your progress and results.
 
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the_sphynx

Well-known member
Feb 19, 2019
104
North San Diego County
Pool Size
25000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
Not to beat a dead horse but there are tons of salt water pools around me. I have not seen any evidence that a salt pool ruins anything faster than a non-salt pool. Chance are, the root cause of the damage is more likely just bad chemical maintenance overall.
I talked to 3 builders in my area when I started my backyard and none of them really even install anything other than salt pools with SWGs nowadays.
I have travertine coping around my salt pool. Do lots of cannonballs and splash water everywhere. Never rinsed off the pavers or travertine because of pool splash. Never had a problem with damage on my travertine coping. I keep my salt level at about 2,500ppm-3,300ppm.
 

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