A "hot start" is a method for starting up a new or resurfaced pool using a lot of acid. It is extremely aggressive–by design–so it etches calcium off the surface, hopefully evenly. The objective of a hot start is to "burn up" plaster dust and any imperfections left behind by the plaster application process, so that the customer is left with a beautiful looking pool. A hot start may also be called a "zero alkalinity startup" or an "acid startup". This article will discuss what hot starts are, why they are used, how they are done, and the chemistry behind the process.
I have never plastered a pool in my life. In fact, until this week, I had never even seen pool plaster being applied. To be honest, I did not even know the difference between plaster, cement, gunite, concrete, shotcrete, or any other type of -crete. Because of this utter lack of knowledge and experience, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at this year's National Plasterers Council (NPC) annual conference in New Orleans.