Stain Removing: Cloudy Blue Water Stage

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Briar here. I am deep in the process of an ascorbic acid stain removing process for my 20k IG, Indoor plaster pool. Tested the steps with ascorbic acid in sock and had some fading. I bought the house 7 years ago and the pool was in atrocious shape. A local pool co. did a pretty thorough renovation as there were multiple issues. The one thing not addressed was the staining/mottling throughout the surface and the entire surface has a tea stain coloration. Stains are tan/grayish. A couple are a bit darker. Also have a couple obvious rust stains which look like a paperclip and a nail. The most disturbing issue are the white etched circles which are the size of chlor tabs which I assume some idiot before my time had chucked into the pool and left them on the bottom. Ick! I decided to give the AA treatment a whirl before moving to a replaster. I have a bromine system which I absolutely love. I added Jacks Magic Filter Fiber Stuff to my filter via skimmer. Dropped the TC/FC to 0 and 0.5, then added 3 1/2 lbs of Nat Chem Stain Free Ex Srength. Let it sit overnight and then next day, I brushed pool, added a quart of Metal Free Nat Chemistry and hooked up Kreepy vac and ran for about 8 hours and then switched over to running pump overnight. Did not see much improvement in first 24 hours, The second day, I noticed the top steps in pool and spa were lightening and it was the first time I could see a bit of sparkle and fleck in the white surface. I had no idea the finish is a little jazzy. I ran vac most of the day, and then shut it down overnight. I got up to a cloudy pool which I was expecting. I added a bit of Pool Perfect/ Phosfree. I don’t use algaecide as I have only had one algae bloom in 7 years. Maybe I should, not sure. The last test results this evening are:

FC - 0
CC or TC - 0.5
pH - 6.8
TA - 100
CH - 200
CYA - 30

I’m a little worried about the ph being that low. Should I get some Borax? Will upping the ph inhibit the stain removal?
The pool is very cloudy and tinged milky blue. Not so worried about that, but I would like to see how the stains are faring.
I did a dumb thing, (I think) when I added another quart of Metal Free. Made the cloudiness worse.
My big question is this. I noticed when brushing today that the surface was extremely smooth. So easy as the brush seemed to glide over the surface. It has always been rough and coarse and very hard to brush. I am wondering if maybe I had a calcium buildup and the stain remover is eating that away. I read something about plaster dust control in one of Jack’s Magenta Stuff products. Is it possible that some of that milkiness in the water is calcium coming off the surface? I thought that might be one reason I did not get those amazing magic results when I added the AA. I have realistic expectations on how much these old stains can be improved. Already see a bit of brightening in the spa and on the steps. Sorry this is so long-winded. Anyone have any thoughts about the calcium thing?
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
I couldn’t bypass the heater and I am very worried right now. I never thought about it and I did not see anything in the threads I read all over the internet about the need to do that. I don’t have a way to aerate or I just don’t know how I guess. Suggestions? I just got some Borax and I thought I would start raising it. My ph test this morning said I would need about 6 lbs of soda ash to get it back to 7.2. But I have Borax and afraid to use anything else to shoot up the alkalinity too much. If I can’t aerate, will Borax be ok? I think I have screwed this up and trying not to panic.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,929
Northern NJ
60 oz of Borax will raise your pH by 0.33 and TA by 5.8

30 oz of soda ash will raise pH by 0.33 and TA by 11

6lbs (96 oz) of soda ash will raise pH by 1.04 and TA by 34

pH 6.8 to 7.2 only needs a 0.4 rise.

To aerate you put something to bubble in your pool. It can be a submersible pump with some PVC attached to it with holes in it to bubble the water.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Ok. So Should i turn pump off and add borax and try to dissolve it first before running or just turn pump on and let it flow thru heater. I feel really stupid right now.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,929
Northern NJ
Broadcast the borax around the pool by returns with the pump running. Use your pool brush to stir the water after adding. By the time the water gets to your skimmer and into your heater it will be fairly normal.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Thank you so so much. I have never tried anything like this before and that might be a good thing. The ph was kind of highish when I began the acid treatment which was Sunday. It was around 7 to 7.2 until yesterday. Hopefully I have not ruined my heat exchanger. You are very kind to help me. Thank you again. I will add 2 lbs of Borax now and see where I am.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Ok! I put in 2 lbs and mixed it around and waited for a bit and tested and got to 7.0. Waited awhile and then added another 2 lbs and it took it to 7.2. I went back to the Ingles and got 2 more boxes just in case it goes down during the night. I will probably end up sleeping on the lounge tonight as I was so freaked out by what I’ve done. I wish the manufacturer had put a warning in instructions about bypassing heaters. I guess I should know that about low ph being toxic to heaters but my levels trend to run really normal to a wee bit high so I have never dealt with low ph issues. Thank you again. Maybe I didn’t do too much damage to my heater. I suppose I will find out in time. When the cloudiness clears, I will post the results of this exercise in stain-removing. I haven’t used any clarifiers as I am trying not to add anything it really doesn’t need. No algae is bloomin’ so that’s good news. Turned the brominator back on to slowly start bringing those levels up. Time will tell.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Thank you for that. I thought I knew what I was doing when I decided to do this process. I read tons of forums and blogs. I had not found this forum before I plunged in. I would have learned about bypassing heaters, low ph effects on heaters and I wouldn’t have gone ahead. But the pool seems to be looking brighter so that’s good news. Now comes the keeping metals in solution part. You are good folks for helping out.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Ph is steady at 7.2 and the TA is 130 which doesn’t overly concern me. I can sleep! Pool is still cloudy. I may have to add a bit of clarifier tomorrow to see if anything has happened to the pool bottom stains. I keep reading that I should be using a different sequestrant than the Metal Free and I am wondering if I should try Proteam Metal Magic to keep the metals in water from forming new stains. But I already used two bottles of the Metal Free during the AA treatment so I am not sure if I should introduce a different formula as a sequestrant. My bromine is still zeroed out. It will be a chore to get that back up. I will probably have to use a non-chlorine oxidising shock to get it rolling again but I keep reading to be careful about shocking pool after AA treatment. I have alot to learn.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Hi all. I am on the 5th day after adding the ascorbic acid, metal free, fiber stuff, culators, etc. I got the ph up from 6.8 to 7.2 and holding. TA is a bit high at 140. I had to add 4 lbs of Borax yesterday as I got really worried. I can’t see the progress on stains as the entire pool looks like a chalky bluish soup. I did notice that when brushing the surface feels so much less rough. I’m thinking I may have had a buildup of calcium and the acid/low ph for 2days pulled that into the water. My latest test results are:

TC: 0
FC: 0
BR: 0
PH:7.2
TA:140
CH: 200
CY: 50

It’s a Bromine pool.
I added a bottle of Pool First Aid this morning but it hasn’t been in long enough to work yet. The filter pressure has risen about 3-4 since the cloudy started on Wed. I keep reading other posts where this cloudiness has been an issue for several days and then it clears up. My question is at what point should I start to worry if it does not clear up? Have I released the Kraken of Calcium into the water and if so will I be able to filter that out? Here are a couple of pics. I’m pretty sure it is not algae. It’s an indoor pool and I don’t have algae issues. PLEASE HELP!
 

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Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Yesterday I added two bottles of Jacks Blue Stuff. Still milky cloudy. It’s been over 6 days. I’m really worried now. Any advice would be so appreciated. My filter pressure has gone up 4 psi. Should I change filter fiber and clean filter? Please help!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,929
Northern NJ
It can't hurt to take a look at your cartridge after all the stuff you have added. What is your clean filter pressure?

I suggest you stop pouring stuff into the water and let things settle down.

The normal advice would be to raise your FC to SLAM level to oxidize all the potions you have added. But if you do that it will likely oxidize your sequestrant and your pool will stain again. So you need to decide if you will just be patient and let the stuff oxidize slowly and your filter clear the water.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
I appreciate a calm voice. I just checked the filter and that Jacks Fiber Stuff looked like tan chewing gum. It was nasty and completely gummed up. I guess it was doing what it is supposed to. I don’t have anymore of it to add. So I cleaned it all out. Put the filter back in and increased the rpms to 2500. Normal pressure runs about 10 at 2500 and that is where it is right now. Not going to dump anything else in there and take your advice and be patient. It’s just cloudy water. I increased the brominator to highest level as it takes sooo long to bring bromine back up. I will wait another week and if it doesn’t clear up, I will do a non-chlorine shock and that should trigger the bromine again. Thank you. Thank you.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,929
Northern NJ
Stay on top of the filter and take a look at it in a few days. As long as it is gumming up you know it is doing its job even if it feels slow.

Hopefully as the water clears the filter will get less crud on it.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Will do! I have never used filter fiber before. But it removed some nasty stuff. I guess I can order some more if things don’t clear up but I will give the products a rest right now and let the pump run and keep a check on the filter and keep the ph at 7.2. 😊
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
Question about pump rpm. I always run my pump 2350-2500 rpm. I have never done anything like this AA thing before so I’ve never had a situation where I needed to run pump on high. I have it running at 2750 right now. My filter is a little undersized for pool but that was done because it is indoor and tech thought it would be fine. I don’t know if that was a mistake. I would like to have a bigger filter right now. It is currently running 2750 rpms at 12 psi. Should I increase speed or would that compromise filtering ability? I’m clearly not knowledgeable about these aspects as I have never faced this kind of issue where the pool won’t clear.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
8,929
Northern NJ
You can crank up the pump speed if you want to. Just keep an eye on your filter pressure is as your filter may clog up sooner?

You know what your clean filter pressure is at higher RPMs? You should clean your filter when pressure rises by 25%.
 

Briar

Silver Supporter
Aug 28, 2019
64
Asheville, NC
I really don’t know as I’ve never run pump higher than 2750. It is typically around 12 at 2750. I will crank it up tomorrow when I am down there working and I can monitor everything. I’m a little afraid of all of that equipment and have just stuck to my safe routine all these years. It really is a sweet pool and easy to care for as pools go. I’m learning a bunch from this exercise so that is good. The circulation has always been an issue as both return lines in pool were corrupted and could not be accessed without tearing half the house down. There was a separate spa so there were two pumps/filters. There was a fill line which the pool contractors turned into a return line. They cut a spillway between pool and spa (which has 5 returns). So they are on one system now. I have two main drains in pool/ one skimmer. Skimmer /drains in spa were closed off. So it works, but it is not ideal. My one return in pool is very close to skimmer so that’s not good. The pool guys saved it so I am grateful for that. An imperfect pool is better than no pool! Thank you again for your kindness helping me.
 

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