Winter startup - tracking chemical needs

mknauss

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Bronze Supporter
May 3, 2014
36,261
Laughlin, NV
Pool Size
6000
Surface
Fiberglass
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-40
The Superflo can be connected to automation with one speed using one relay. The Intelliflo VS connects to Pentair automation with a RS485 cable and lets you program any speed for the pump you want for a specific function.

Your PB will tell you that the SWCG has a flow switch that will turn it off when the pump is not running. He is right, until the flow switch fails, and the SWCG explodes. It happens. Not often, but we have threads documenting it. You need a timer for your primary safety device on the SWCG. The flow switch is the secondary safety device. You then set the timer to run the SWCG within the schedule you have set on your pump.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,810
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
@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.

You will probably have to do very little with your pH or TA.

Your TA of 20 is low but I would not immediately raise it. See how stable your pH is in your pool and how the TA changes once it is pool water.

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.

CH is not signficant for a vinyl pool if it is low. If it is high it can lead to scale. Test it to see where you are starting from.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
The Superflo can be connected to automation with one speed using one relay. The Intelliflo VS connects to Pentair automation with a RS485 cable and lets you program any speed for the pump you want for a specific function.

Your PB will tell you that the SWCG has a flow switch that will turn it off when the pump is not running. He is right, until the flow switch fails, and the SWCG explodes. It happens. Not often, but we have threads documenting it. You need a timer for your primary safety device on the SWCG. The flow switch is the secondary safety device. You then set the timer to run the SWCG within the schedule you have set on your pump.

Well that's a bummer on the Superflo, but that's on me. I had to amend his recipe just to get a VS pump at all, but I didn't go so far as to look at automation functionality. The PB does no automation installs but I could have researched a bit better. Either way, I didn't have much interest in the automation anyway.

Thanks for the info, I spent a good while searching the site last night after reading this. I will ensure the SWCG is powered through a timer that I will sync with the pump, and set to come on 30-60 minutes after the pump's scheduled start and shut off 30-60 minutes prior to the pump's scheduled stop times.

You will probably have to do very little with your pH or TA.

Your TA of 20 is low but I would not immediately raise it. See how stable your pH is in your pool and how the TA changes once it is pool water.

CH is not signficant for a vinyl pool if it is low. If it is high it can lead to scale. Test it to see where you are starting from.
Good to hear about the pH and TA. Just did a CH test, found CH to be 75ppm in the fill water.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
Sigh. Electricians came today, and despite my prior request to the PB to wire the SWCG to the Intermatic timer and leave the pump with constant power (as it has its own programmable timer), here I am looking at direct power from the sub panel to the SWCG controller, and power to the pump routed through the timer. They didn't finish today, will be back tomorrow but not sure if the PB will be. Trying to decide if I address it to the electricians directly or only contact the PB. Might just shoot him a text tonight, see if he can intervene.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
With the pool being filled over a week ago and then sitting until electrical was finished yesterday, it had gone a bit cloudy and green but not terrible. Builder added chlorine to shock it yesterday and then added salt this morning - if I counted correctly, he added 8x 40lb bags. I was not here when he added chlorine so I'm not sure how much he added and via what method. I just went out an pulled a sample and have some results, need to start wrapping my head around where to start. As a reminder, the fill water was:

pH: 7.2
TA: 20
CH: 75

Now, with chlorine added yesterday, salt added this morning and I do not know if he added any CYA, here are the current numbers:

pH: 8.2 (understand that aerating water will increase pH, pump and deck jets have been running now about 24 hours, would that explain this?)
TA: 30
CH: 150 (not sure if addition of chlorine or salt should have raised this, or if my before or after tests were not consistent)
FC: 11.5
CC: 0
TC: 11.5
CYA: 0 (looks like he didn't add any)
SALT: 3200

Wish he had held back one of those bags of salt, but will see how that might progress through the winter with rains and overflow and adjust in spring.

So the hardest thing for me now is understanding which values/chemicals will affect other numbers, and thus where to start. I have the Pool Math app so I can plug in any one of these and get an idea of how to remedy them, but I'm not clear on which numbers to focus on first.

I know the FC/TC will come down on its own with exposure to sunlight, should I keep the SWCG turned off until this falls back into the appropriate range (assuming pool becomes and stays clear)?

Should I go ahead and add CYA now or wait until the FC is more in check and then add at that time?

Should I add baking soda to increase TA, or again wait until some other values are remedied and then retest at that time?

What else am I not thinking of or missing?

Thanks!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,810
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
Add 30 ppm of stabilizer/CYA.

Lower your pH to 7.6.

What are the deck jets running?

Just keep an eye on your TA and pH right now. Don't raise your TA yet. Let's see where your pH stabilizes.

Chlorine or salt does not rise CH. Only adding calcium rises CH.

You eventually need to follow the SLAM Process to get the water algae free. One shot of shock will not do it.
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
Alright, I'll go pick up 5 lbs of CYA from Home Depot and add most of it. What's the typical wait time after adding to be able to re-test and get accurate results?

For lowering pH, I presume I'll grab this: HDX 1 Gal. Muriatic Acid (2-Pack) pH Adjuster-10031HDX - The Home Depot - not sure how often that will need to be added, but per Pool Math I would only need to add about 9.2oz of 29% acid, so I guess I'll have a little leftover with a 256oz purchase.

I suspect then that either my original CH test or my most recent CH test was not accurate, so I'll retest again later today.

As for why the deck jets are running, I suspect it's because the PB wanted us to look outside and remark how pretty it looked. I went ahead and turned them off.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
In other news, I don't think my pool is 16,000 gallons. Looking at my digital water meter dashboard during the days of the fill and subtracting our average usage, seems more likely we're about 13,000 gallons. So I've adjusted my Pool Math profile and signature to reflect that.

Decided I'm going to wait until the builder is done and gone (should be tomorrow) in the event he had planned to add anything else without me knowing about it, but I did buy 5lbs of CYA, 2 gallons of muriatic acid and 3 gallons of 10% liquid chlorine to tackle whatever is needed. FWIW, the pool is looking very clear again at the moment to my naked eye, but I'm not hesitant to do a SLAM anyway - it's not like we're itching to get in the water right now!
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,810
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
FWIW, the pool is looking very clear again at the moment to my naked eye, but I'm not hesitant to do a SLAM anyway - it's not like we're itching to get in the water right now!

Do a Overnight Chlorine Loss Test to see if the SLAM Process is needed.

Alright, I'll go pick up 5 lbs of CYA from Home Depot and add most of it. What's the typical wait time after adding to be able to re-test and get accurate results?

Add the stabilizer using the sock method. Solid/granular cyanuric acid (CYA) should be placed in a sock and the sock put in the skimmer basket or suspended in front of a pool return. After adding CYA you should leave the pump running for 24 hours and not backwash/clean the filter for a week. Squeezing the sock periodically will help it to dissolve faster.

Once you add the CYA assume it is in the water. It can take a few days to dissolve and mix with the water. Especially if the water is cold.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
Alright, the builder is gone and the last check is signed, it's my pool now. I did confirm with him that he only added liquid chlorine and salt, he added no CYA. My pool is 13,000 gallons, so it's my plan to add 3 lbs of CYA to see if that gets me to about a CYA level of 30. Now I have to figure out how to get this stuff into a sock without it ending up all over my garage floor or myself...
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,810
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
23,810
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
do not leave it lying against side of pool as it can bleach surface

The sock in the pic is positioned right in front of a return and the water pressure keeps it nicely away from the pool surface.
 

mgtfp

Bronze Supporter
Mar 5, 2020
780
Melbourne, Australia
Pool Size
66000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Astral VX 7T
Now I have to figure out how to get this stuff into a sock without it ending up all over my garage floor or myself...

I always put my sock in large plastic glass and fold the open sock end over the rim of the glass. Then I use a spoon to fill the sock with CYA. Also works for filling Christmas Stockings...
 

Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
3 lbs CYA added - split between two socks hanging in front of the returns, had it all dissolved in a couple of hours. Programmed the pump to run 24 hours a day at 1300 RPM for the time being. Test again tomorrow or give it 2 days to work through the filter and fully disperse into the water? Actually it will probably be 2 days regardless, heading out of town this afternoon and will likely be home too late tomorrow to deal with it.
 

Newdude

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jun 16, 2019
6,371
NY
I always put my sock in large plastic glass and fold the open sock end over the rim of the glass
You my friend just invented yet another use for the almighty red Solo cup. As an Aussie nonetheless!! Bravo.
 
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Auburn02

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2019
185
Mobile, AL
Alright, I’m pretty good at following instructions so I don’t want to beg for help at every turn, is there a rule-of-thumb priority list about which measurements are more critical than others? Just want to be sure I don’t go chasing one number when I should maybe be focusing on a different one.

Two days after adding 3lbs of CYA:

FC 4.0 (looked more like 5 to my naked eye on the K-1000 test pictured below, but the drop test was pretty clear at 4.0)
CC 0.0
pH 6.8
TA 20
CYA (20, maybe close to 30, I could see the dot but it was very faint)

So in my mind, I could stand to add more CYA but I need to get the pH back up a bit first. I understand Borax is often preferred because it does not impact TA as much, but with my TA at 20 it could stand to come up a bit anyway. Should I use baking soda or soda ash instead? Which also means I need to figure out what soda ash is and where to get it. Edit: pH Up, check.

F6E9B32C-44C0-433B-AA00-5BF53F542A4F.jpeg
 
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