Winter startup - tracking chemical needs

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Hello all, I just finished reading the TFPC for Beginners thread (TFPC for Beginners) which is extremely educational but also has a lot of "this helps with plaster, this doesn't apply if you have SWG" and such. I'm open to learning as much as I can, but also don't want to go down a rabbit hole of values and numbers that really only apply to a pool type which I will not have if that makes any sense.

I'm sure this topic has been broached 100 times but I didn't have luck finding a thread in a search, so feel free to point one out if you know of one!

In a nutshell our pool dig should be starting in November and I just want to have as much information as I can in advance, but I want to read specifically about what I need to be planning for specific to my pool setup. We'll have an inground vinyl liner pool, SWG, no spa, no heater, live in southern Alabama so while we may not swim year round I won't "close" the pool either. I plan to buy the TF-100 start up bundle. I've downloaded the PoolMath app but don't have any specs yet to start setting up my pool in the app.

Thanks!
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Oohhh, just found where @mknauss linked this in another thread, I have been spending weeks/months on this site almost daily and hadn't yet found this page!


So that's cool. I guess in a nutshell, I'm looking for what I need to have on hand from the day there is water in my pool. Test kit, obviously. But if I do a test and the pool needs *something* I don't want to have to go bounce around to the various Home Depot/pool store/Walmarts in town to find it. I assume there is a stable of products that an involved pool owner should always have on hand, and that inventory may change based on pool type. So I'm looking to learn if I should have a bottle of bleach and some baking soda, or some muriatic acid and borax, or some bleach and raw salt, or all of the above, etc. Thanks!
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,233
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
All pools need chlorine. Newly filled pools need CYA/Stabilizer to start. Some pools need acid. Few pools need baking soda or borax.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auburn02

Homebrewale

Well-known member
Apr 21, 2020
428
Apex, NC
Since bleach degrades over time, I only buy when needed. I have never needed borax for my pool. I buy salt as needed since the salt level only changes from dilution from heavy rains. In other words, I have very few chemicals on hand.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auburn02

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Thanks for the responses. I do understand that chlorine is a requirement in any pool regardless of chlorinator or SWG, I guess one small piece I'm trying to determine is will the SWG suffice on its own or will liquid chlorine/bleach be a necessity. Obviously for a new fill, chlorine will basically be zero. Wasn't sure how long it would take for the SWG to add the sufficient amount of chlorine or if I should expect to add a gallon or two of liquid chlorine to start. Pool volume is expected to be around 16k gallons. But good suggestion to buy closer to the time we actually expect to fill the pool instead of letting it sit.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,960
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
What model SWG are you getting?

What is the pH and TA of your fill water?

It will take a few days after the water is in and salt is dissolved before the SWG can begin generating chlorine. So you will need some liquid chlorine to initially chlorinate the water until your SWG takes over.

You will also need stabilizer to get your water around CYA 70. You will also need a few hundred pounds of pool salt.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
The SWG will be a Hayward Aquarite AQR 940 w/Ext Life Cell.

Don't have those numbers for the fill water; I planned to have the test kit before the build started but didn't even think about getting it now so I can go ahead and test the hose water. Great idea, I'll get that ordered.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,960
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
How many gallons in your pool?

Update your signature with more details about your pool and planned equipment.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,960
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
To get your 16,000 gallon pool up to the 3,000 ppm your SWG requires you will need 400 pounds of pool salt. Ten 40 lb bags.

And you will need 9 lbs of dry stabilizer to get it to CYA 70.

Salt and stabilizer you can buy now if you find some end of season sales. It will last a long time.

Then you can buy liquid chlorine when the pool is just about ready to be filled. Each gallon of 10% LC will give you 6.2 ppm of LC. So a gallon of 10% will chlorinate your pool for 2-4 days.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support

almostakeeper

Active member
May 20, 2020
25
New Braunfels, TX.
Sounds like we have the same setup on pool and size, and similar climate.

What I added during the build was a Pentair "autofill". I placed it 2' away from the deck edge and the 1 1/2" pvc inlet/outlet water line is level with the penetration into the pool. "important"

After the build, since I also have a vinyl lined pool, I purchased a Pentair SE Warrior robot. With the reviews I've read, it seems to be the safest robot to NOT damage the liner. Works pretty good too. One of these days/months/years I may get the rebate Pentair promised.

Right now I have a thick solar cover on along with a cover roller at one end. I rigged everything up for an easy, fast one man operation so I can do a Sunday pool clean.

The pool ground area is SOLID ROCK. I have all the 40' length of 2" pvc lines that run to the equipment pad in a 12" deep x 36" wide chiseled out trough, laying on a 4" bed of sand. Winter Project. I'll be adding 2" of sand on top of the lines, then adding a lot of "undetermined size as of yet" black poly pvc, valves, shut offs and drains that will flow into the two jets I have on either side of the stairs. Then capping it with black sand and a removable metal grill.
 

gingrbredman

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2020
266
Chicagoland
Pool Size
11200
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
From my very limited experience in a new pool, it was very difficult for me to gauge just how much chlorine the SWCG would produce in a given amount of time at startup. There was no CYA in the pool, but Pool Math did give me good information on how long to run my SWCG, at what speed, in order to produce the chlorine needed to meet the required numbers.

The biggest problem I had was the waiting for the salt to dissolve and make it through the system as AWJ mentioned above. I went from zero chlorine, and needed to get to, say 6. The best way to do it should have been to add some liquid chlorine while all the other stuff was settling (stabilizer, salt, etc.). Then gauge how much to run my SWCG at to maintain those levels. The Pool Math app should tell you that.

I made the mistake of overshooting the chlorine by running my IC40 at 100% for too long, especially considering my pool is about 13k gallons. I ended up with a chlorine level too high and actually had to shut off my SWCG to let the chlorine drift down. I think fine tuning how much to run the SWCG for, to keep chlorine levels at your desired results is going to be the biggest learning curve going into next season. The Pool Math app should help me with this.

For the OPs startup question, again, this is from my limited experience here, but liquid chlorine should be expected at the beginning. With no heater on the pool, and an expected November or December fill up, I'm not sure the SWCG will even be able to produce chlorine at all because of the low temperature of the water. I'm not sure of the exact temperature for each of these units, but thought at around 60 degrees or lower, the SWCGs will not be able to convert the salt to chlorine anyway, so liquid chlorine appears to be in your future at startup.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
For the OPs startup question, again, this is from my limited experience here, but liquid chlorine should be expected at the beginning. With no heater on the pool, and an expected November or December fill up, I'm not sure the SWCG will even be able to produce chlorine at all because of the low temperature of the water. I'm not sure of the exact temperature for each of these units, but thought at around 60 degrees or lower, the SWCGs will not be able to convert the salt to chlorine anyway, so liquid chlorine appears to be in your future at startup.
I did not know this at all, but very good information to research. So if that were the case, I would expect that those with SWCG who keep the pool running all winter have to add liquid chlorine constantly?

I started this thread to research what I needed for startup, not even thinking about the fact that my pool builder will perform the startup - with that said, I'll be sure to talk to him about his plan and make sure I'm good with it ahead of time.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Sounds like we have the same setup on pool and size, and similar climate.

What I added during the build was a Pentair "autofill". I placed it 2' away from the deck edge and the 1 1/2" pvc inlet/outlet water line is level with the penetration into the pool. "important"

After the build, since I also have a vinyl lined pool, I purchased a Pentair SE Warrior robot. With the reviews I've read, it seems to be the safest robot to NOT damage the liner. Works pretty good too. One of these days/months/years I may get the rebate Pentair promised.

Right now I have a thick solar cover on along with a cover roller at one end. I rigged everything up for an easy, fast one man operation so I can do a Sunday pool clean.
Thanks for your input, and yes our setup does sound similar! Do you have a build thread or pics?

I hadn't considered a solar cover, maybe I'll read up on them more - don't seem to be very common around here.

I think an autofill was in the quote, but I'll have to double check on that to be sure. We do have a Dolphin S300 coming as well.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Updated the title - we are scheduled to have the liner installed tomorrow, so I expect fill-up will begin immediately after and of course then I will have water that needs tending! But I only just learned a month ago and in some other light reading since that the SWCG will actually shut off at some minimal water temp. Will the SWCG controller box tell me this, or do you just happen to notice your chlorine is dropping and say "oh, SWCG must not be making any chlorine because it's too cold." Sorry for the dumb question, just trying to figure out what to expect here in the next week and beyond. Granted for now it looks like we'll have high temps in the high-50s to mid 60s and lows in the upper 30s-mid 40s so hopefully this won't be something I have to deal with right away, but want to have in my head what to expect and how to handle it. I already know I need to plan on adding (or have the builder add) liquid chlorine, salt and CYA, but I guess I want to be prepared for whether or not the SWCG will take over or not, and if not how much additional liquid chlorine I should expect to add and how often.

I think this will all make more sense as I start testing the water and posting results, just want to be prepared is all.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,233
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
For your Aquarite
COLD Water Temperature
  • The cell output reduces to 20% at 60°F and below if % is above 20%
  • The cell shuts off when water temperature at 50F and below
  • LCD displays COLD when water temperature is below 50F
I would suggest that you do not even add salt yet. With the low air temperatures you stated, your water temperature will be below the cutoff level from the start. Just treat the water as a non-SWCG pool and wait until spring.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Auburn02

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
Gotcha, thank you Marty - I'll plan on treating with LC through the winter. So with that being said, in a normal winter where the pool had been "salted" before temps cooled down, would the salt stay in the pool while the SWCG is not running, or does it dissipate in some way or another and need to be replenished when the water warms up and the SWCG kicks in again? And on a similar note, once the water dips below those temps should the SWCG manually be shut down, or just leave it be and if we get a warm week (not uncommon to hit 80s or even 90 for a few sporadic days in December-February here) let it kick back in and run and then shut itself back off when things cool off again? Hopefully that makes sense.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
37,233
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The salt will stay in the pool unless you get enough rain to overflow the pool. That is why I said to not add the salt. Why waste it due to overflow?
If you do add the salt, the SWCG will work when it can if you have it set to be powered on. How are you controlling the SWCG? It needs its own timer as it does not appear you have an automation system and your pump is a Superflo VS which will not connect to an automation system.

Surprisingly, daytime air temps have little to do with water temperature. The overnight low temperatures do.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
How are you controlling the SWCG? It needs its own timer as it does not appear you have an automation system and your pump is a Superflo VS which will not connect to an automation system.
Well that's a great question. I thought (read: assumed) the AquaRite controller would allow me to set a schedule similar to how the Superflo pump will allow me to set a schedule. But given the way you phrased that question, now I'm not so sure! If it has no internal scheduling like the pump does, I guess I have no choice but to make sure they add a timer (and they may be planning to, none of the electrical is hooked up yet). I guess my followup question would be if this is the case, would I just set the pump schedule to run at the same time as the timer schedule? Or set the pump to always on and just let the timer drive when it kicks on and shuts off? I'm hopeful the builder will have some plan for this, but I will say he does very few salt pools AND most of his pools use a basic single speed pump, so even my low-tech setup might not be something he's too familiar with and I need to prepare to be able to answer these questions...

I had no plans for automation to start out but always thought I might add it (way) down the line - according to the Superflo manual for my model, it does say "The user can run the SuperFlo VST Variable Speed Pump with automation external controls" so I'm not clear why you say it will not connect to an automation system. Or is that more to do with the mixed brands? (side note, I still don't understand why he prescribed a Pentair pump when all the other components are Hayward, but since I wasn't planning to add automation I wasn't overly concerned about this)
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
200
Mobile, AL
What is the pH and TA of your fill water?
@ajw22 I finally got this test done this evening, came up with 7.2pH and only 20 TA - both seem on the lower end for other fill water results I've been reading about - that TA test was a very stark/significant change from green to pink, but not sure if I should have expected a deeper red and kept going. Based on videos I watched, where I landed after 2 drops is where I should have stopped the test. I tested it twice with the same result each time.

Do I need to test fill water for CH? Seems I recall reading that's not significant for a vinyl pool, but might be confusing it with something else.
 

Enjoying this content?

Support TFP with a donation.

Give Support
Thread Status
Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.