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Dark Helmet

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  1. Thanks guys. I appreciate it. Yes, I would like to follow the plaster guy's directions but since we paid him he's gone awol (won't pick up his phone from our number and doesn't keep the appointments we make when we use a "burn phone" to get him to pick up). Guess we went too cheap. Plaster job looks good, but he left us with a non-working light on the side of the pool and no directions besides what I mentioned. So that's why I'm winging it. Got the pH under control and have some measureable chlorine in. Without any real cyanuric probably won't take much. And so far the dust gradually bringing up the calcium hardness is a good thing. It was 100 ppm ~5 days ago and is now up to ~170 -- still below the recommended 200-400 ppm (normally on a fresh fill I have to add quite a bit of calcium to get it into a safe range). I guess if it gets much above 200, I'll have to get a brush vacuum and go after the rest of it to get it out of the water. I'll stay on top of that acid.
  2. Say, also, how does the pool chemistry work with getting rid of that plaster dust (standard white plaster)? What is it primarily made of? Does the muriatic break it down? Also, is the plaster dust large enough to easily get caught in a cartridge filter if you can just keep it stirred up enough to (eventually) drain through a skimmer? Or is it a given I need to round up a brush-head vaccuum and go for it? And what about calcium when starting up on new pool? Should enough come out of breaking down the dust? (Been taking care of this pool for 4 years, and since I read a full book on it up-front, I haven't really had any problems keeping the water clear and sanitized properly. But I don't think it said anything on fresh plaster pool care, so I'm in catch-up mode.) Thanks!
  3. We just got a new plaster job (pool finished filling Saturday morning), we got really poor startup directions from the replaster folks, and I've been discovering that starting up a fresh fill on new plaster is totally different than starting up a fresh fill on existing plaster. Trying to figure out what to do now to best get back on track. Been 3.5 days since it finished filling (10,000 gallon pool). Per installer, right then I turned pump on, added 1 gallon muriatic, and brushed 3X. Told to wait 3 days to add chemicals/rebalance, brush 2X daily for 1st week, and wait 3 weeks before using Polaris. That's pretty much it. I'm discovering that's nowhere near enough. Even after running the pump 24/7, there's still "tons" of plaster dust in the pool. Even after 16 cups of muriatic Saturday, pH was above 8.3 Monday night. Added 9 cups of acid then. Tonight it's still above 8.3, so just added 12 more to that this evening. So what to do to recover from here, given 1) the pool pump is running, 2) there's no chlorine in the pool (haven't added any yet since I realize their instructions were garbage, and you're supposed to set pH before chlorine typically), 3) pH is still very high, and 4) there's still a ton of dust in the pool. Found this: * http://www.troublefreepool.com/pool-school/pool_plaster_start-up but want to double check here with what I should do with the experts. Follow the Traditional method? What do I do with the pH? Just fight to pull it down to normal (7.2-7.4)? Thanks.
  4. Thanks chem geek. As always I learned a few things from your post.
  5. A family member mailed me a link to the Natural Water Environments home page and asked me whether I'd heard of this system and whether we should check it out: * Natural Water Environments (home page) * NOGSYS Hydrolysis Technology (light on details) * NOGSYS - Nascent Oxygen Generating System (picture) * NOGSYS Residential Use * Hydroxyl Radical Generating System (HRGS) Green Hotel I'm far from a guru (just a residential pool owner) so I thought I'd ask here. I figured surely someone here has already browsed this site. So is there something worthwhile here or just snake oil? I do know enough to see that they intentionally "muddy the water" a lot, trying to entice pool owners that don't really know anything about the underlying water chemistry into buying their system, so I'm defensively inclined to suspect snake oil. For instance they're decrying the "nasty chemicals" folks put in their pool, touting this as the reason their pool "sanitizer" is the solution. However: They say you still have to keep "minimum levels of chlorine or bromine" in the pool along side this solution, so we haven't done away with chlorine as a sanitizing agent and the need for a chlorine source. So it's apparently not a "competing alternative sanitizer" as they state but (perhaps) only a complementary one, Plus if it's an outdoor pool, you still have to use some cyanuric acid or a pool cover to keep it from "burning off" too fast. So we haven't done away with cyanuric (or a pool cover), And folks that keep their pool in-balance never develop algea and so "never" even think about adding the nasty staining metals (aka algecides) they whine about into their pool, They do tout this hydrolysis system as neutralizing the bad smelling and eye-burning "combined chlorine" (which this site sometimes misattributes to "high chemical levels"), but folks with light pool loads never have this problem, and folks that do can shock the pool with a dose of chlorine or MPS, The system is touted to reduce "excessive chemical damage to equipment and pool surfaces", but correct me if I'm wrong, but this is primarily due to owners not keeping their water balanced (pH, calcium hardness, etc.), and this system doesn't do anything about that. Then there are the questions about how efficiently hydrolysis (splitting water molecules with an electric current) is as a santizer, if it even is an effective complementary sanitizer at all. Any thoughts?
  6. Thanks all for the replies. I'll start up with liquid chlorine shortly, manually at first.
  7. With trichlor pushing up my CYA levels again, I'm again thinking about switching from trichlor to liquid chlorine (short-term) and maybe liquid chlorine auto-dispenser or SWG (long-term). So, a few questions about liquid chlorine. 1) Liquid Chlorine - Legal? A few weeks ago, a pool supply store worker said that it wasn't legal to use liquid or gaseous chlorine in Texas residential pools. After googling a while, I couldn't find any such law or ordinance preventing this. Anyone else out there know of any law/ordinance (particularly in Texas) that prohibits use of liquid/gaseous chlorine for pools? 2) Where to get 12% strength bleach? Regardless of the legality, bleach is freely available and could be used but I gather (from Richard) the stock grocery store variety has relatively low FC per unit volume (~6%), vs. the ~12% of some sources. My question is, where do folks get this 12% sodium hypochlorite concentrated bleach? Pool store only? Home supply store? 3) What else is in liquid chlorine? Is there anything else in solution with liquid chlorine that the pool owner needs to be concerned about? e.g. Richard mentioned lye is sometimes in bleach. What's that do to your water chemistry or health? 4) Auto-dispensing liquid chlorine? Also, while I can baby-sit the liquid chlorine dosage every 1-2 days for a while, at some point (trips, etc.) I'll want my pool to just take care of this itself for up to a week. Anyone got some good (or bad!) experience with devices/pumps that auto-distribute liquid chlorine (and possibly acid) into the pool, possibly just by pre-programmed dosage (better than nothing!), OR by auto-sensing water FC/pH? How much do they cost to maintain and about how long do they last? What're the best types/brands? ...or when you get to this point, is it cheaper to just convert the pool to a SWG? Thanks for the advice!
  8. Just a follow-up for those searching the forums, allowing the TA to run lower than the 100-120ppm recommended for Trichlor was the ticket. My pH and TA is much more stable with a TA ~65ppm, requiring very little acid to keep the pH between 7.4-7.6, and only a little baking soda once every 3 weeks or so if my TA dips a little lower.
  9. Really interesting stuff. Thanks. Yeah, the bit about lowering TA to slow your pH rise is counterintuitive and against most "conventional wisdom" you hear and read. As I've found this last year, there's definitely a lot of "lore" out there in the pool biz making it hard to learn facts. You can talk to two different pool "experts" and get the exact opposite read on pretty much everything except chlorine. Heck, I've even had one tell me nothing matters "except" chlorine. Though I realize the fallacy of that. Some, but not all of them and sporatically. While he mentioned that trichlor tabs are half stabilizer, and occasionally comments on the affect of something to TDS, it's not a thorough and compete treatise. It's written by a career pool guy, not an engineer. Lots of good stuff to give the new pool owner or maintainer some guidelines and a working framework (great starter book), but now I'm ready for a "pool maintenance from an engineer's perspective". Got any recommendations?
  10. Hmm. That's really good food for thought. So how long I leave the pool circulating each day, how long the Polaris runs, and (maybe even moreso) how much flailing around my Polaris does when it's running could be killing my Alk/carbonation and raising my pH (?) Now that I think of it this way, we did get a new Polaris this past winter -- the old one had the energy of an old grandma compared to this new one that frequently breaks the surface shooting water and splashing about with its tail. And we didn't have the Alk/pH problem last year with the old Polaris. Will do. Think I might also try running the Polaris less time each day (and make it a little less spritely) to see if I can make a dent in the rate-of-pH fall with that. Ok. So in general I don't need to worry about baking soda clogging up the filter and driving up the pressure until it goes into solution? Thanks for the ideas!
  11. Well the writer of the book I was reading mentioned "Most counties and cities will do a hazardous material response and cleanup for as little as two gallons of chlorine. That can cost several thousand dollars. Also with the increasing cost of transporting the chemical due to insurance, I believe the sodium hypochlorite days are limited." That's interesting -- didn't know that. So a closed pool shed or garage is out I guess. I've heard stories from a pool guy that carrying CalHypo shock and trichlor tabs together in a bucket when it starts raining can be an explosive combination, so I could easily believe that. I hadn't crossed that yet. Can you clarify how that can be mitigated? Great info. Thanks! I'm surprised your pH is so stable (obviously you've found the trick) as I gather liquid chlorine has a high pH of 13. What's you're secret? While we're on that subject, I gather from that book that liquid chlorine jacks up TDS a lot, and has a relatively low percentage of free chlorine. Got any comments on that? Do you notice much of a TDS climb? How often do you have to drain? However, right after that he does say "I like liquid chlorine because it is so easy to use...goes into solution instantly and leaves no visible residue. Great product!" Thanks for the feedback!
  12. You can use bleach, lithium hypo, or cal hypo. I've been wondering about this too as I've had to empty/fill a pool over high CYA. CalHypo (cheap shock) seems to have a similar problem in that, while it doesn't jack up CYA, it jacks up CH (Calcium Hardness). And just like high CYA, the only solution for high CH is to drain the pool (AFAIK). So as to liquid chlorine. Are there any big cons? The one I've read is that hazardous waste cleanups for leaks/spills of fairly small quantities of this stuff can be expensive. Does it oxidize metals or break down plastics its stored in or dispensed through? Also, one other idea I've read about (a pool book) to possibly get out of the fill/drain/fill/drain cycle with CYA and CH (and reduce required maintenance) is chlorine generators. Namely salt water pool. Was cited as less trouble and cheaper over the long run as salt (the source of chlorine) is cheap, you can run the Chlorine levels higher than a trichlor tabs pool with no problems (e.g. no swimmer irritation), and no CYA is involved in producing the chlorine so your CYA stays stable. The main con cited was only that you have to work harder to keep your pH down. Not sure if you have to fight alkalinity too. So what are folks opinions? Liquid chlorine or salt/chlorine generators the better option?
  13. Have been taking care of this pool for a year, and while the water is always clear, I find myself in a cycle: * pH high, TA low -> Add Muriatic acid * pH good, TA low -> Add Alkalinity Up * pH climbing, TA good * pH high, TA good -> Add Muriatic acid * pH good, TA low -> Add Alkalinity Up * pH climbing, TA good ... It seems that adding Muriatic acid reduces TA (I think I've read it turns it into H2O+CO2+NaCl, jacking up my TDS). And it seems that either adding Alkalinity Up (Baking Soda) increases pH OR something else is causing my pH to climb. Anyone have an idea what's going on? Does this go on all year for some folks? Details that might be useful: outdoor in-ground plaster pool, water clear (no probs keeping it that way, save the above), CYA now ~40, CH=~200, pH range=7.4 .. 8.0, TA range=75..120, trichlor pucks, rarely need to shock, pool open for ~10 weeks now and have been in this cycle ever since, avg temps now ~90F day / 75F night, full-sun most of the day, circulates ~6 hrs/day.
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