Should I fire my Pool Service?


Jun 28, 2010
Weatherford, Texas
We bought a new home in June with an existing 15,000 gal. IG pool. Since this is my first pool, I decided to use a highly recommended local pool service to monitor my water chemistry. They come once a week and I never hear anything from them...I assume all is good?

We had them convert the pool to salt and they installed an Intellichor IC40. All is well and we've enjoyed clear and what seems to us as perfect water for the last 2 months.

Suddenly, we started getting a significant amount of calcium scale particles on the bottom of the pool. I called them to ask about it and was I told that they'll add chemicals to get rid of it.

I decided that it was time to get better informed on monitoring water chemistry myself. I found this site, read a lot and ended up ordering the TF-100 test kit.

I've used it twice so far and have consistently gotten the following results:

FC 5.5
CC 0
pH 7.8
TA 130
CH 610
CYA 50
Temp 90
Salt 3750ppm

Several of these are out of recommended levels and would take significant amounts of chemicals and new water to correct...if I'm reading the Pool Calculator correctly.

I'm sure I'm a pool services worst pool owner with his own Test Kit!!!!....trouble!

Should I share these results with them or should I just ask for a status report of my water condition to see if they have concerns.

My plan all along was to use the service to get my water perfect and then I would continue on my own. It's so far out of whack that I'm not sure I want to tackle the fix myself or let them try first?

I would welcome any comments

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
Tucson, AZ
Re: Should I fit my Pool Service?

Fire them. You have a test kit, and with an SWG you can manage your own pool much better than they are, for a lot less money and very little of your time. Once a week is probably not enough to keep the pH in check and prevent scaling, and pH reeeally needs to be kept in check with CH at 610 (mine's at 520, so I feel your pain...). Also, 50 ppm CYA is a little on the low side for an SWG in TX. It will work OK (as you've seen), but you can extend your cell life a little bit by bumping it up.

As for the scale particles, are these coming only from the cell (out of the returns) or is it depositing on the pool surface as well? 610 CH isn't unmanagable, but it's worth lowering if water is cheap and plentiful in your area.

another one

Well-known member
Jul 1, 2010
Seattle area, WA
Make sure you check the CH of your fill water before you start draining. You don't want to discover you fill water has a high CH content after you've drained 7000 gallons.

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
Tucson, AZ
Good point another one; that also makes it possible to get a good idea of how much to replace in order to hit a target CH value.

kdeitz, it sounds like the cell needs to be cleaned and either: a) some water replaced; or b) TA lowered and pH kept below 7.8 in order to keep scale from forming so easily. I have CH of 520, TA at 70, and keep my pH below 7.7; I have no scale forming in the pool or on my SWG cell.

Are you familiar with using the CSI calculation in the pool calculator?

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
San Rafael, CA USA
Since your TA and pH are both high, add acid to lower both. The pH will rise fairly quickly and you can continue to add acid to lower it. Over time, this will end up lowering the TA which should help reduce the rate of pH rise -- just continue this process until the TA gets to at least 70 ppm. If you want to speed up this process, you can lower the pH further than you normally would -- even to 7.0. If you have aeration sources, you can use them to make the pH rise faster so that you can add acid more frequently (see Lower Total Alkalinity) -- up to you as you could just add acid without the aeration and this still works but takes longer.

What is most likely happening is that scale is forming inside your SWG cell and the resulting calcium carbonate flakes are flowing out of the returns, especially during cell polarity reversal that may occur every few hours (I'm not sure exactly how frequently).

Your higher CH level is not a disaster and will let you have a significantly lower TA level which can help reduce the rate of pH rise. Be sure to check both the CH and the TA of your fill water. If you have a lot of evaporation and refill, then the CH and TA in the fill water will get added to the pool.

Once you get things better under control, you'll probably want to add 50 ppm Borates (see Adding Borates -- Why and How), but wait on that until everything else gets done first.

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