White flake issue

Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
Okay.. this one is going to be full of rookie mistakes...
I have a brand new salt water pool in March. The pool builder recommended a pool servicing company so we hired them to maintain our pool as my husband and I have never had a salt water pool before..
in June we noticed foot prints on the bottom of the pool. (Yes we should have gone to the builders, but we assumed their pool guy know how to handle it)
The pool guy said we should do a acid treatment. he dropped a bunch of acid in the pool and I was told to brush it 3 times a day. A few days after he came back and dropped a bunch of sodium bicarbonate to neutralize the acid.
At this point I’m so excited. The foot prints are pretty much gone. 2 weeks go by and I notice the finish started feeling a little rough and he called me and tells me my calcium is over 1000ppm. He says we have to drain the pool to dilute the calcium levels.
issue is we’re on well water.. we meet with the pool builder and they step in and decide they want to drain it all the way and pressure wash the walls. We live in Florida so they wanted to wait until the water table wasn’t so high. Any who fast forward to 3 weeks ago. (Kind in mind the salt system has been turned off for almost 2 months and the pool servicing company was manually adding the chemicals every week).
So end of sept/ beginning of October we drain and rent well tanks and refill the water. As it’s filling I get the water tested and the well was coming in at around 350. Not as low as I want it but we get a lot of rain so I’m hopeful. 350 is better than 1000ppm.
Fast forward to now. We have a new pool servicing company. (I’m keeping one on because I’m so new and I just simply don’t know what I’m doing)
I have a new filter that’s now just over 2 weeks old. The salt system is caked full of calcium and the bottom of my pool is still covered in white flakes. My walls feel great. My water is perfectly clear.
I’m concerned about a couple things but I’m not sure they’re logical. Again.. assume I’m a toddler when it comes to pools.
My concerns: did they ruin my salt system with putting too much acid in during the “treatment”?
Is it possible my walls are still leaking calcium out of them? (Oh I have diamond Brite finish)
Is there just a lot of build up in the lines from the previous issue?
We’ve drained and refilled and I’m just at a loss of how to fix it. I have a whole house RO so I can’t just fill the pool from my hose.
any ideas? I’m sorry for the novel. I’m attaching some pictures. The one of the dirt it me vacuuming it up and emptying my basket onto the ground.
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,034
Evans, Georgia
Ohhhh Sarah, i'm sorry to hear all these issues. I'm most sorry to read you say that you don't think you can do a better job than the pool guys! YOU CAN!!

Pool care isn't hard once you understand the chemistry- and that is something we certainly can help you learn. The only requirement is that you have your own reliable, trusted test kit. That test kit will be what saves you from putting the wrong things in the pool and our PoolMath app can help you by telling you how much you need.

We have posters on this forum who do still use a pool service yet with their own test kit they follow up and check on the water themselves. Many have found out the pool guys haven't done as they should or they catch a problem in the making and can alert the service of a need for a visit.

As to your current issues- was the SWG powered "on" while this acid wash was going down?? It sounds like all that acid really took a lot of calcium off your plaster....perhaps shortening your plaster's lifespan a bit. They want to drain the pool, so ask them if their going to truck in some fill water to re-fill it because your well won't allow for filling fast enough.

How's your filter doing with all this calcium? I imagine it is requiring a lot of filter cleaning? Is the pool service doing this?

Let me call in some plaster guys who can help more than I know.... @ajw22 @jimmythegreek @JoyfulNoise

We'll help in anyway we can, Sarah. Welcome to TFP. I'll add some links here from our PoolSchool so you can start to understand our ways.

Maddie :flower:

ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

Test Kits Compared
 

Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
Ohhhh Sarah, i'm sorry to hear all these issues. I'm most sorry to read you say that you don't think you can do a better job than the pool guys! YOU CAN!!

Pool care isn't hard once you understand the chemistry- and that is something we certainly can help you learn. The only requirement is that you have your own reliable, trusted test kit. That test kit will be what saves you from putting the wrong things in the pool and our PoolMath app can help you by telling you how much you need.

We have posters on this forum who do still use a pool service yet with their own test kit they follow up and check on the water themselves. Many have found out the pool guys haven't done as they should or they catch a problem in the making and can alert the service of a need for a visit.

As to your current issues- was the SWG powered "on" while this acid wash was going down?? It sounds like all that acid really took a lot of calcium off your plaster....perhaps shortening your plaster's lifespan a bit. They want to drain the pool, so ask them if their going to truck in some fill water to re-fill it because your well won't allow for filling fast enough.

How's your filter doing with all this calcium? I imagine it is requiring a lot of filter cleaning? Is the pool service doing this?

Let me call in some plaster guys who can help more than I know.... @ajw22 @jimmythegreek @JoyfulNoise

We'll help in anyway we can, Sarah. Welcome to TFP. I'll add some links here from our PoolSchool so you can start to understand our ways.

Maddie :flower:

ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

Test Kits Compared
We drained it 2 weeks ago and brought in well tanks and refilled it. I’m nervous to test the hardness. I have test strips but honestly I hate them. I’m looking to get my own test kit so I appreciate that. So it’s refilled and supposedly properly balanced but I don’t know if they’ve checked the hardness in the water..

we also changed the filter about a week and a half ago and it’s up at an 8 on the gauge. The salt cell is caked up but not as bad as the picture I attached as that was back in July. But it’s not great.

my husband said the system was off but then the guy turned it on to circulate the acid... (I don’t remember but he said he’s sure)
 
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Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
We drained it 2 weeks ago and brought in well tanks and refilled it. I’m nervous to test the hardness. I have test strips but honestly I hate them. I’m looking to get my own test kit so I appreciate that. So it’s refilled and supposedly properly balanced but I don’t know if they’ve checked the hardness in the water..

we also changed the filter about a week and a half ago and it’s up at an 8 on the gauge. The salt cell is caked up but not as bad as the picture I attached as that was back in July. But it’s not great.

my husband said the system was off but then the guy turned it on to circulate the acid... (I don’t remember but he said he’s sure)
just got all my water tested here are the levels.
Pool depot: machine
Calcium: 435
Ph: 7.4
Alk: 166
Stab: 38
Phos: 134
Salt: 3527
Ch: .51/.75 free/total
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,733
Northern NJ
Your old pool service company did not understand pool water chemistry and/or they did not do proper testing. Most pool service companies and pool stores do not accurately test water chemistry. They have no incentive to do accurate testing for you as inaccurate testing will likely sell you more chemicals and keep you coming back to spend more.

The rough finish you got after the acid treatment was scale. The scale was caused by raising pH too rapidly when the Calcium Saturation Index-(CSI) is already slightly positive can cause immediate scale to form in a pool. A lot of times doing so doesn't cause scale, but it can often do that. Your pool guy did not know what he was doing and did not monitor your water chemistry properly.

If you want to take care of your pool then you need to learn to do it yourself. Thousands of people have learned here at Pool School - Trouble Free Pool First step is reading ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and getting your own test kit.

Either the TF-100 Test Kits (which is the best value) or the Taylor K-2006C. And to make testing easier and more accurate I suggest you get the Speedstir Magnetic Stirrer You can read more about test kits at Pool Test Kits - Further Reading

We can't give accurate advice based on your pool store tests. We have found it is too often inaccurate and sends you in the wrong direction. Once you get your test kit we can help you understand how to use it and you can share your test results and we can figure out your next steps.

My concerns: did they ruin my salt system with putting too much acid in during the “treatment”?
Thank you for creating your basic signature. But we need more detail on the model numbers you have. What SWG model? What is your % generation setting and how long do you run it for daily?

Is it possible my walls are still leaking calcium out of them? (Oh I have diamond Brite finish)
No, whatever is done is done. The calcium may have came from plaster dust left in your pool from the start-up. We don't know what type of start-up and curing of the plaster you had during the first 30 days.

Is there just a lot of build up in the lines from the previous issue?
I think you may still be filtering out the plaster dust and scale that was all released from the acid treatment.
just got all my water tested here are the levels.
Pool depot: machine
Calcium: 435
Ph: 7.4
Alk: 166
Stab: 38
Phos: 134
Salt: 3527
Ch: .51/.75 free/total
I would not take action on anything here other then to add chlorine to your pool. You should treat your pool using liquid chlorine until you sort out your SWG issues.

Your CYA/stabilizer is 40. We use the FC/CYA Chart chart which tells us you should have a FC level of 5-7 ppm.

1 gallon of 10% liquid chlorine that you can buy in Home Depot or Wal-Mart will raise FC by 8.3. So you need to add about 107 oz of 10%.. Or you can buy 6% plain, unscented, no additive, not Clorox bleach if you can find it and 175 oz would give you 7 ppm.

Let us know what you do and when you get your test kit on order.
 

Leebo

Admin
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2011
9,142
Eastern Ohio
Sarah,
First and foremost, WELCOME TO TFP!

Let’s get you up and running so you can ditch the pool companies. In all honesty, they’re well on their way to ruining your pool. Let’s start easy, are you at least able to swim in it? Sounds like a yes but let’s at least make sure.
 
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Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
Yes I can swim in it. The finish currently feels fine. The pool store used the old way with their Taylor test to test it. So i know it’s pretty accurate as it’s the test kit I’m looking at buying. I have my salt at 70%. I have a jandy truclear. is that the information you needed? Honestly my levels besides the chlorine made me feel a little better but I’m trying to figure out if our calcium is no longer over 1000 why the salt system is still producing the white flakes and caking up the salt cell..
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,733
Northern NJ
Unfortunately even when using a Taylor Test Kit pool store employees are often poorly trained and sloppy in their testing procedures that cause inaccurate results.

You have the Jandy TruClear SWG running at 70% for how many hours a day?

The white flakes in the salt cell are likely scale because your water balance is not as good as you think it is. Although it could be the remainder of your plaster dust.
 

YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
12,034
Evans, Georgia
The high calcium coated the SWG plates. So now its flaking off those plates I imagine.... first (and only) time mine did that was after our first winter and it freaked me out. It took a couple of days of vacuuming it out but it was gone to never reappear after that. I hope you'll find it slows down and stops soon too.

Maddie :flower:
 

Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
Unfortunately even when using a Taylor Test Kit pool store employees are often poorly trained and sloppy in their testing procedures that cause inaccurate results.

You have the Jandy TruClear SWG running at 70% for how many hours a day?

The white flakes in the salt cell are likely scale because your water balance is not as good as you think it is. Although it could be the remainder of your plaster dust.
It turns on just after 9am and turns off at 6pm every day.
 

Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
Let’s assume the levels I put are right? I know the calcium is slightly high and the chlorine is slightly low, but I’ve cleaned the salt cell and within 2 weeks it’s awful. I’ve vacuumed and the flakes just keep coming back..
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,733
Northern NJ
It turns on just after 9am and turns off at 6pm every day.
That should generate 2.4 ppm of chlorine a day. Barely enough for what the sun UV will consume in a day.

At 100% for 9 hours you will generate 3.4 ppm a day. You need to run your SWG longer and a higher % until you see the FC stable and rising. Then you can try and lower it a bit.

Let’s assume the levels I put are right? I know the calcium is slightly high and the chlorine is slightly low, but I’ve cleaned the salt cell and within 2 weeks it’s awful. I’ve vacuumed and the flakes just keep coming back..
435 calcium is not high. 800-1000 calcium is high.

Pour some muriatic acid on the flakes and see if they bubble.

This is all about science and chemistry. Chemistry is very predictable. Here are the levels we recommend:

 

Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
That should generate 2.4 ppm of chlorine a day. Barely enough for what the sun UV will consume in a day.

At 100% for 9 hours you will generate 3.4 ppm a day. You need to run your SWG longer and a higher % until you see the FC stable and rising. Then you can try and lower it a bit.



435 calcium is not high. 800-1000 calcium is high.

Pour some muriatic acid on the flakes and see if they bubble.

This is all about science and chemistry. Chemistry is very predictable. Here are the levels we recommend:

Okay I’ll raise up the level. It bubbles with acid.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
11,733
Northern NJ
Could low chlorine cause this flakes and caking on cell? Pool builders are trying to blame it on high calcium levels.

No chlorine levels are not causing it.

It is caused by the wrong balance of pH, TA, CH, CYA, salt, and water temperature which is calculated as the Calcium Saturation Index-(CSI). We enter the values into PoolMath to calculate it. CSI over +0.3 says the water has the possibility of scaling.

Ask your pool builder about the waters CSI or LSI levels.

BTW, how are you measuring your salt level? The most accurate measurement is from the K-1766 Taylor Salt Test
 
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Sarah2891

Member
Oct 18, 2019
10
Palm beach Florida
No chlorine levels are not causing it.

It is caused by the wrong balance of pH, TA, CH, CYA, salt, and water temperature which is calculated as the Calcium Saturation Index-(CSI). We enter the values into PoolMath to calculate it. CSI over +0.3 says the water has the possibility of scaling.

Ask your pool builder about the waters CSI or LSI levels.

BTW, how are you measuring your salt level? The most accurate measurement is from the K-1766 Taylor Salt Test
they used a Taylor salt test. It seems fine. So being slightly off can really cause this many issues?
 

Katodude

Silver Supporter
Aug 22, 2017
495
West Palm Beach/Florida
Sarah, I live in the Palm Beach area as well and lived what you are going through. I also believed that the pool story since they used Taylor reagents tested correctly. They do NOT, not even close. I put a bunch of Crud in my pool and had similar issues with flakes that you did. Let me save you a lot of aggravation. Buy the TF-100 test kit with a SpeedStir. It is about $100 so you will get free shipping. It will arrive in a couple of days. Oh and get the salt test kit at the same time. Load pool math on your phone. I resisted buying a test kit at first (there is something about human nature that just makes you believe a pool store), but have not looked back since.

Then post results and the experts here will help. They will help and life, and your pool will be better. You will have to manage your calcium over the winter, but next summer as we get our usual rains water exchange will help lower it.

I still buy liquid chlorine from Leslies since it is fresh and cheap, but completely ignore their testing.
 
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jimmythegreek

TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
In The Industry
Aug 10, 2017
1,459
Morris Cnty NJ
I'm in this thread late but agree 100% with ajw22. Once you get your balance in check things will turn around. Do you have any idea what their pool care was in the first 30days after plaster was applied?