Proper Pool Start-Up - New Plaster Finishes

by Pool Builders on 12-21-2008 in Articles

Through years of trial and error, research, testing and input from plaster manufactures and specialty chemical companies the following recommendations have been adopted by most of the pool industry as a standard for fire-ups.

Fill pool continuously until water reaches water-line tile. (garden hose works best unless you prefer the bucket method)

Starting with a clean filter weather it is a recently cleaned cartridge that is in good condition or a DE or Sand Filter that has been back-washed and ready to go.

Start the pool pump/filter remove the timer pins (if applicable) to allow the system to operate continuously.

For every 10,000 gallons of pool water volume add a quart of a good quality sequestering agent I personally like "Jacks Magic" they have different products for different applications ie: salt pools vs non-salt pools. Ask your pool supplier for the right application for your pool.

In addition to the sequestering agent add a qallon of muriatic acid for every 10,000 gallons as well. These chemicals should be added directly to the pool while walking around the perimeter of the pool.

Now starting at the tile line with a good nylon 18" wall brush start brushing the pool surface from the tile line down towards the pool floor, overlapping each brush stroke as you work your way around the pool until all the walls have been brushed. Brush any and all steps, swim-outs and ledges as well.

Starting with the shallow end of the pool start brushing the floor towards the deep-end of the pool at this time a cloud of dust should be following each and every brush stroke. Continue brushing the floor until you feel confident you have covered every square foot of pool surface. On the first day the pool is started it is highly recommended that this be done at least twice, once in the morning and again in the evening. Please take note of the filter pressure gauge as an indicator as to when the filter needs to be cleaned. Without question you should clean the filter the following morning.

Next day: Clean filter, Brush, brush, brush. Note we still have not added any other chemicals up to this point. In case you are wondering the purpose behind the sequestering agent and all the acid is the need to help burn the plaster dust off the pool finish by keeping the pool ph and alkalinity on the low end. The dust in of itself will raise the ph and alkalinity over the next couple of days. Especially on Stone and Quartz finishes this is very important as the acid that was added in turn, lowers the ph and alkalinity creating an environment that is difficult for the plaster dust to re-adhere on the finish. We in the industry call this a hot fire-up. By constantly brushing you are getting the dust out into the water where it has less of a chance sticking to the surface and more of a chance of being filtered out.

Next day: Clean filter, brush, brush. If you have been doing a good job of brushing your little heart out your efforts should be showing yourself the pool is shedding less and less dust at this point. Now you can test the pool for ph, alkalinity, calcium and cyanauric acid. Cyanauric acid aka Stabilizer should be added to the pool, you want to bring the level of stabilizer to around 30 to 50 ppm, prefebly closer to 30. The amount of stabilizer that you add is directly proportional to you pool water volume. See you pool supply dealer for correct dosage. Calcium level should be no higher then 200 ppm for Quartz or Stone Finishes and 250 to 350 ppm for Marcite finishes. If the results of the ph and alkalinity test still show both below normal levels leave it alone do not adjust at this time. You may now add a cup of liquid chlorine for every 10,000 gallons of pool water and let it run through another night.

Next day: Hang in there were almost done payday is coming. At this point the pool should be blue, clear and looking pretty good, today you should give the filter a really good thorough cleaning. If you have a questionable cartridge element or it's at least two years old (existing pools of course) now would be a good time to replace it. DE filters should be split and cleaned (sorry pool terminology again) taken apart and each grid manually cleaned and/or soaked in a filter cleaning solution. (also available at your local pool store) Test and balance the pool alkalinity to about 80-90, ph should be balanced to 7.2.-7.4 a little on the low side is better as the plaster has shed most of its dust at this point but by no means is fully cured. 28 days for the plaster to fully cure is the norm. Over this time you will need to monitor the ph and alkalinity closely as it will tend to climb as the pool finish cures. Adding acid as needed to keep them in check. Chlorine should be 1.0 to 1.5, you may now start brushing the pool on a weekly basis.

Get your rubber ducky float out, put the pool furniture back on the deck invite some friends over for a well deserved celebration of having you pool back, looking good and brag about how you mastered the fire-up procedure all by yourself,

ENJOY!

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