Calcium Scales: Causes, Clearing and Preventing White Flakes in your Naked Pool.
Developing white flakes or calcium buildup in a non-saltwater pool is not common, unless you are using a pool heater or you have not been monitoring and balancing Calcium Hardness (CH), pH, TA and other minerals levels, and these levels have gone extremely high forming calcium scales in your pool.
By nature, Calcium white flakes are common in saltwater swimming pools because of the high temperature and pH in electrolytic chlorine generators and the use of calcium in the production of chlorine that is introduced in the pool.
White flakes or calcium buildups do not just come in pools overnight but as a result gradual accumulation of calcium scales in the generator's salt cell plates.
By the time you start seeing white flakes coming into your pool through the inlet, it's too late because your salt cell plates have already been invaded by calcium buildups.
As the chlorine is produced in the electrolytic oxidiser cell, a byproduct known as sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is formed, which by nature drives pH higher in the cell and its environs.
Calcium scales or white flakes always form as a result of three things; heat, high pH and minerals, which are in abundance in the salt cell and its environment.
When more of the scales accumulate on the plates in the salt cell forming calcium buildups, calcium flakes will be swept through the piping and soon you will start seeing white flakes coming out through the return jets or water inlets and settle at the bottom of your pool near the inlet or float on top of your water.
Calcium and other minerals including Phosphates, Silicates and Sulfates are among the causes of scales and cloudy pool water, and you need to take care by monitoring and controlling mineral levels in your pool as well on a regular basis.
Due to steady production of sodium hydroxide byproduct and the resulting high pH in the chlorine generator, the level of pH in your pool water will drift up more often, which may worsen your pool situation by encouraging more calcium scales that appear as white flakes in your pool.
That's why when using an Oxidiser and a pool water heater, you have to stay on top of your water chemistry by measuring and adjusting pH and TA, Calcium Hardness and mineral levels to keep Calcium scaling at bay.
Calcium scales reduce lifespan of the entire cell, can reduce production levels and interfere with your water chemistry especially the pH and TA, chlorine and Calcium Hardness.
As such, since white flakes start form your chlorine generator, prevention of white calcium flakes in the pool starts by physically inspecting and cleaning your cell plates regularly using hydrochloric acid.
When Do I Clean My Oxidiser Cell?
The Naked Cell is self cleaning and reverses direction of charge every ten hours by default. In hard water, or high calcium you may need to reduce the reversing (cleaning) time of your cell. There are early signs that you can check on frequently and clean your cell early enough and avoid seeing white flakes in your pool again:-
1). You know it's time to clean your salt cell when pH and Calcium levels in your pool are scaling high without raising them. Since you test your pool chemicals frequently, you will know when pH, TA, or CH levels drift up and take necessary measures check the cell and balance the chemicals appropriately.
2). Another good indicator to clean your cell is when your OXI output level is low and will not raise your to required levels easily (normally 100%). Calcium buildups reduces efficiency of chlorine generators and as a result less chlorine will be produced.
3). Also, it's a good maintenance practice to inspect and clean your cell every 3-6 months because either way, your cell can accumulate calcium buildup on the plates after sometime of use.
Mild Acid Wash: How Do I Clean My Electrolytic Chlorine Generator?
To clean your cell, you will need a garden hose, Hyrdrochloric acid and water. Before handling acid, wear gloves and goggles to avoid injuries.
1). Turn off your pool circulation pump and the power to the Naked System.
2). Inspect for any visible Calcium scales on the plates and wash them off using a garden hose. Don't mind if the garden hose doesn't remove all the calcium build ups or any visible rust as the acid wash will remove them all.
3). Add 1 part acid to 10 parts water. ALWAYS ADD ACID TO WATER AND NOT WATER TO ACID.
4). Dip the oxidiser cell in the mild hydrochloric acid for 15 minutes or until the bubbles settle and remove the salt cell. Repeat the process of mild acid wash until you can see no more buildups or stains.
5). Rinse the salt cell again with a hose pipe to clean off loose buildups and rust after the mild acid wash, and then reinstall the oxidiser cell and turn system back on.
How to Clear White Calcium Flakes from the Pool
To clear white flakes from your pool, you should have already cleaned your salt cell and then follow these next steps.
1). Since white flakes are simply calcium buildups, this means that your calcium hardness (CH) level is extremely higher than the recommended level of 200 ppm to 250 ppm. To lower your CH level, you will have to drain and refill a portion of your pool water with fresh water, which is the only practical way you can lower your calcium levels.
2). Lower and balance your pH and TA levels between 7.2-7.4 and 80-120ppm respectively using hydrochloric acid. Since the oxidiser raises your pool pH, which is an ingredient in developing calcium buildups, lowering your pH in your pool will reduce the calcium buildups in your water.
3). If lowering calcium and pH level do not bring expected results, you will have to use a calcium scale remover or a water softener. Although the Naked System is self cleaning in certain circumstances you may still need to repeat the above process on a regular basis depending upon your pool water.