Coffee heat rising

Update: Soda ash frolic

The great swimming pool soda ash crisis has resolved itself. Along about 5:30 the evening before Bob the Wonderful Leslie’s Pool Guy was slated to show up, I realized that bumping the filter’s backwash valve every 30 minutes or hour had drained off a fair amount of diatomaceous earth, so I added another four pounds.

This stabilized the pressure at 15 psi, and by the tag end of dusk the last of the clouds in the water dissipated, having been kicked up when I broomed another couple of soda ash dunes that were resting on the bottom of the pool. Come dawn, the pressure was holding steady, so I planned to wait  until about 8:00 a.m. and then call off Bob the WLPG, who was supposed to surface between eight and noon.

But he showed up at 7:30.

His face wreathed with the “no one could invent the stuff I hear on this job” look, he heard the story through and then said, “You dumped twenty pounds of soda ash in the water?”


“He told you to dump twenty pounds of soda ash in the water?”


Eyeballs water. Inspects filter. Peers into water again.

“Well, what’s happened is the soda ash has finally dissolved. When you add much more than about two pounds, it coats the grids. But because it doesn’t last as long as DE, eventually it breaks down. That’s what’s happened.”

He said it should run just fine, and indeed it has. The water is now sterling clear once again (except for a bit of storm debris). The pH has risen back to the normal level. And the water no longer tastes strangely sour.

Couple hours later, the phone rings. It’s Biker Phil. He’s calling to apologize! (Can you believe that? I was astonished.) He said he wanted to hurry the process along and shouldn’t have advised me to apply the entire twenty pounds at once.

Personally, I’m skeptical that this is Phil’s doing. He struck me as a pretty smart guy who’s anxious to do his job right. Clearly Leslie’s needs to train its sales staff more carefully.

WhatEVer. Thank goodness the pool is now running right again, without having cost any more than the $50 for the soda ash. It sure is welcome in the muggy, hot last six weeks or so of summer!