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Pebbtec and calcium deposits - Swimming Pool Help

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Total hardness and calcium hardness in pool water. Scale, calcium buldup, hard water and scaling problems in swimming pools.

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby jg312 » Wed 26 May, 2010 21:09

Just opened pool.

Pebbtec finish is as rough as sandpaper and has white particles on the surface as well as embedded in the plaster. Also, the water seems like it is cloudier than normal at open.

Conclusion, these are calcium deposits. This is a new pebbtec finish that was installed early last season. I managed the chemistry religously and close with balance chemistry. As is normal in the NE i closed by lowering the water level below the skimmer and covered with traditional pool cover- not a safety cover.

When i opened, i added topped off the water level and added my usual amount of chlorine(liquid) shock. In hindsite, i probably added shock too fast. I added it all at once.

I have read on the various forums of this kind of problem. My question is, does having pebbtec make my situation different from other plaster pool owners? I love the pebbtec finish and am disappointed that the season is opening this way.

I should have kept a log of the closing chemistry. Hindsite.

john.
jg312
 

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby Xclusive » Wed 26 May, 2010 22:44

jg,

Don't beat yourself up over this problem. What has developed in your pool is what we call "crystals" here in the NorthEast. I've had a few customers who were spot on, just like you, with the chemistry, and still crystals formed over the winter. The theories differ as to why this occurs, especially here in the NE. I haven't seen two experts exactly agree on the actual cause of crystal formation. I've spoken personally about the growing issue in plastered pools lately with a prominent member at the NPC (National Plasterers Council). He couldn't even give me an empirical answer as to why this is a growing problem, he was able to give me just his opinions.

Now, back to your issue. Fortunately you have pebble-tec. If you had regular plaster the only choice to smooth out would have been to sand the pool down, ouch. An acid wash will soften the calcium and loosen the scales for sure on your pebble-tec. They will come off easily with a brush after such treatment. Downside: you would have to drain the pool.

If you do not want to go that route, you can try to lower your ph to 7.0-7.2 and keep at those levels for an extended period of time. You will have to brush the walls every day in the meantime until the scales soften up and get completely brushed off. I've seen some level of success with this approach on aggregate finishes.

Lastly, just a suggestion, that has worked so far for my customers after they've experienced the same problem you have. Over the winter, check your water chemistry at least once a month. Try to keep the ph levels low, again 7.0-7.2. You will lessen the chance that any of these calcium formations harden up. If they do form they will still be soft enough to be easily brushed away in one sitting.

Hope this helps.

Regards
Xclusive
Swimming Pool Wizard
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Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby jg312 » Thu 27 May, 2010 17:34

Thanks Joe, your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

one last question, can i wait a week or so before i take action to reduce this problem? I leave for vacation tomorrow. Should i run my equipment as normal while i am gone?

Also, how often should i engage a sequestering agent? Would that help overall?

john





Xclusive wrote:jg,

Don't beat yourself up over this problem. What has developed in your pool is what we call "crystals" here in the NorthEast. I've had a few customers who were spot on, just like you, with the chemistry, and still crystals formed over the winter. The theories differ as to why this occurs, especially here in the NE. I haven't seen two experts exactly agree on the actual cause of crystal formation. I've spoken personally about the growing issue in plastered pools lately with a prominent member at the NPC (National Plasterers Council). He couldn't even give me an empirical answer as to why this is a growing problem, he was able to give me just his opinions.

Now, back to your issue. Fortunately you have pebble-tec. If you had regular plaster the only choice to smooth out would have been to sand the pool down, ouch. An acid wash will soften the calcium and loosen the scales for sure on your pebble-tec. They will come off easily with a brush after such treatment. Downside: you would have to drain the pool.

If you do not want to go that route, you can try to lower your ph to 7.0-7.2 and keep at those levels for an extended period of time. You will have to brush the walls every day in the meantime until the scales soften up and get completely brushed off. I've seen some level of success with this approach on aggregate finishes.

Lastly, just a suggestion, that has worked so far for my customers after they've experienced the same problem you have. Over the winter, check your water chemistry at least once a month. Try to keep the ph levels low, again 7.0-7.2. You will lessen the chance that any of these calcium formations harden up. If they do form they will still be soft enough to be easily brushed away in one sitting.

Hope this helps.

Regards
jg312
 

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby Xclusive » Thu 27 May, 2010 18:05

Yes I would keep the pool running while you are away, especially since you just opened it. Run at least 12 hrs a day. Check and balance the chemistry before you leave for your trip and lower the ph slightly to a 7.2, to help start the process of some of those deposits softening up. Get the chlorine to around a 5.0 and make sure theres enough cya in your pool. I know the chlorine suggestion is a little on the high end, but if nobody is using the pool it should not be a concern. It will slowly break down by the time you get back anyway, but at least it will ensure you're coming back to a clear pool.

It would also be ideal if you could have someone, friend or family, just stop by at least a couple of times and check the system. Again, my only concern is that you just opened the pool and you may need to backwash that filter soon again. If the pressure runs too high on that filter while you're gone you will be coming back to deal with another set of headaches.

Once you're back, give me a shout on this forum. Maybe we could discuss the best approach for you to get rid of those crystals.

Take care
Xclusive
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Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby beyond frustrated! » Tue 01 Jun, 2010 10:16

Joe,

I was following your thread regarding pool scaling. We have a 47,000 gallon pool with hydrazzo finish, pool pilot chlorine generator and lots of stone surround (coping, waterfall, patio). This is our 4th season. The 1st 2 were perfect, water balanced, low maintenance, no issues. Last summer from the outset we had issues with hard, sharp white crystals on the walls and floor of the pool. We received many opinions and fought to keep the pH low 7.0-7.2. Our calcium hardness was never elevated. One has suggested that since we have so much stone calcium is leaching out of it. We brushed and brushed the walls. This past winter our service company left a small circulating pump in the pool after closing which ran until the end of december when things froze and then again early spring before opening. The water was checked nov and dec with muriatic acid being added. About 2 weeks prior to opening I checked pH and added muriatic acid. We have scale!!! We have been in discussions about the need to drain and sand/polish the pool-we don't want this issue all summer again. But, if we do, how do we prevent this from happening again? We really appreciate your opinion.
beyond frustrated!
 

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby Xclusive » Wed 02 Jun, 2010 08:08

Hi Beyond,

I really wish I could help you more, but this is a problem I have been struggling with every year with a few of my customers. As stated before, what has helped us tremendously during the winter was keeping the ph in check, but it seems you have done that already with no real results. You have hydrazo, a great looking and long lasting plaster, but unfortunately crystals don't easily come off unless sanded in this type of plaster. They just embed themselves. With Pebbletec or other aggregates, I've found it much easier to remove crystals by maintaining a low ph over the winter. As to why this happens, the theories abound. From high CH to high PH to something not yet determined in our tap water . Then again I've seen plenty of owners keep these components of their chemistry in check and still experience this problem.

What you can do is try to contact these guys at NPC: http://www.npconline.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=49188&orgId=npc or one of these members closest to your area http://www.npconline.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=4058&orgId=npc and see perhaps if they have any suggestions. They are real professionals and serious about what they do.

Please share what you find out if you do take the time to speak to them.

Regards
Xclusive
Swimming Pool Wizard
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Location: Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester County, NY

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby czechmate » Wed 02 Jun, 2010 15:54

Have you ever tried Caltreat from United Chemical?
I am curious about how dependable this product is and what possible side effects it may have on algae growth.
Since they require raising PH to 8.2 prior to treatment, it seems like they want to release the suspended calcium to raise CSI, than tie it to a phosphates in the Caltreat.
If anyone out there tried this, I would appreciate a response.
czechmate
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Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby Xclusive » Wed 02 Jun, 2010 16:42

Czech thanks for jumping in.

Have never tried Caltreat, but actually I had a rep from Jacks Magic a couple of years ago convince me to use Pink Stuff about a week before pool closing. He swore it would do away with scaling on plaster altoghether. I have to say, I've tried it on all plaster pools we were servicing that season, a week prior to closing, just like he suggested. At the following opening some of the plaster still developed the "crystals" problem. So I'm not sure what works at this point.

What I can surmise though is that although these products may work while a pool is circulating in preventing scaling, they really have no effect when the pool is closed during our harsh winters. I think that's where you will see the difference between simple deposits/scaling and "crystals" which when left unchecked for extended periods of times, truly form in to rough and sharp stalactites, if you know what I mean.
Xclusive
Swimming Pool Wizard
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Posts: 74
Joined: April 2010
Location: Dutchess, Putnam, Westchester County, NY

Pebbtec and calcium deposits

Postby czechmate » Wed 02 Jun, 2010 18:24

I have CH about 550, so trying to postpone partial draining I am lowering PH to 7.4, added salt to 1500ppm. Salt is good to have in moderate level anyway, I believe. Have borates around 40ppm and TA around 100. So far, there is no danger in potential scaling even if water temperature will reach 90F. I may drain 30% of volume later this summer, but still waiting for some rains to dilute also. Just trying to play CSI on the safe side meanwhile......
czechmate
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My Pool: 16 x 32 gunite21000 gal., Diamond Brite Blue, Swimquip XL pump, DE36

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