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Thread: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

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    Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    We have an Intex 15' x15'x 42" Metal Frame Swimming Pool with Intex Krystal Clear Saltwater System with E.C.O. (Electrocatalytic Oxidation) 4,646.25 gallon above ground pool and saltwater pump system.

    I've perused the forums and I'm scared to ask questions...we're so overwhelmed and have NO CLUE what we're doing!

    We've had the pool up maybe 3 weeks now...the first few days were fine. All the tests came back good, except for TA which was WAY high. So, I tracked down down some muriatic acid, but in the meantime, the pool got cloudy and green AND the saltwater system said our salt was too low. So, today we added half a bag (20 pounds) of salt and 2 pounds of shock and swim treatment. The water lost its green in just a couple of hours, but it's still cloudy - I was expecting that, though, so no surprises, so far.

    However, up to the shock treatments, we had added no chlorine - we are so confused as if we were supposed to or not! Reading the manual, we didn't gather that you are supposed to use both the chlorine and salt, but maybe???

    I have odd questions....

    1) Anyone know how to work the Intex saltwater pump? How do I know if it's "running" or not? After the shock treatment and adding salt, I turned the pump off (unplugged it and plugged it back in), enabled Boost (so I thought I was turning our 12-hour run time into 96 hours so I could get it to run a straight 24 hours so it will re-read the salt levels), but when I checked on it later, it had gone to Standby/Ready and the low salt indicator was back on, appearing not to be running as I had instructed it. Did I miss a step?

    2) What should my "schedule" look like? How often should I check levels (daily, weekly, before use)? Should we be using chlorine in addition to the salt (and in the form of a tablet or a shock treatment or ???).

    3) And we aren't supposed to be using the pool while the pump is running, right? Does that mean we need to unplug its power or just not be in the pool while it's running is "chlorination/cleaning cycle" (or whatever it is properly called)?

    Please don't (virtually) throw anything at me! :P We're idiots...and I can live with that!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    LOL! Welcome to TFP!

    First read this, Pool School - Guide for Seasonal/Temporary Pools for an intro to water management. Then this, Pool School - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry

    It has been a while since I tinkered with an Intex SWG. Seems like you need to spend some time with the manual. Maybe someine with more recent experience can help more.

    Here is my many years old recollection.
    Turn it on at the time you want it to come on every day
    Set the run time number of hours
    It will run that number of hours and shut off
    It will come on again 24 hours from the original start time

    But, it will sit there with an error if there is one. Usually the first thing to do is clean the cell before adding salt. But, since it is new you are probably safe to add some salt to clear the low salt error. Add salt, brush it and leave the pump running 24 hours to fully dissolve it. When your SWG is not working it is important to maintain chlorine in your pool using plain bleach or liquid chlorine.
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    I just started up my own swg pool and can impart a little experience.

    As for schedules once you get your FC levels stabilized you can start with a 12 hour schedule to see if that keeps your levels up. Then start shortening the pump on time until you start losing levels over time...then increase back up an hour.

    I would advise that you buy a taylor salt water drop test kit to accurately determine how much salt you have. It sounds like you are low but you're guessing and relying in a potentially faulty sensor on your generator.

    While you are waiting turn the swg off and treat your pool with bleach. I slammed my pool using bleach and got the chlorine levels stabilized before worrying about the swg. These systems are really made to maintain fc levels and aren't great at generating alot of chlorine out of the gate.

    Did you add CYA other than from chlorine tablets? You need a CYA level of 50 to 80 for your swg to keep up with the chlorine you will lose to the sun.

    Yes you can swim when pump is running. Criteria for swiming is water clear, FC above minimum levels and below shock levels for your CYA level.
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    The only chlorine was the 2 1-pound shock & swim treatments today. How much bleach can I add (4600 gallons)? I'm waiting on new test strips...ours have mysteriously disappeared - should be here Tuesday.

    "FC above minimum levels and below shock levels for your CYA level" - how do I know what these are, please? Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the input! We've read the manual...apparently, it's not very useful! But those links were!

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Yes, I do recall having some trouble getting the Intex SWG dialed in at first. We have quite a few Intex SWG owners participating in the forum. Hopefully, they will be along to help with some current info on Intex SWGs.
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    As reference in Houston TX in the peak of summer (97 degrees today) with salt at 3000 and CYA in the 60 range, we run our Intex SWG 8 hours for a 5061 gal pool to keep the FC in the effective range.

    I would agree with others that you need to know the REAL salt and REAL CYA in the pool, get a decent test kit... I've used the quick strips from amazon for both testing and salt the last two years, but this year I've ordered the TF test kit for routine testing. The AquaChek Salt Swimming Pool Test Strips do seem reliable once you know how to use them.

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    In order to maintain your SWG properly, you will need a good test kit.

    Have you added any cyanuric acid? It is a must

    I agree with using bleach to get your SWG stabilized before trying the SWG.

    I don't have your same. SWG, so I can't offer much advice without knowing a couple of things.

    1. Can you set your percentage output on your SWG?

    2. Do you have a timer?


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by biz_kid1 View Post
    The only chlorine was the 2 1-pound shock & swim treatments today. How much bleach can I add (4600 gallons)? I'm waiting on new test strips...ours have mysteriously disappeared - should be here Tuesday.

    "FC above minimum levels and below shock levels for your CYA level" - how do I know what these are, please? Thanks!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks for the input! We've read the manual...apparently, it's not very useful! But those links were!
    For an SWG pool follow the CYA/Chlorine chart:

    Pool School - Chlorine / CYA Chart

    So, you need to add stabilizer to get into the 70 to 80 range (although personally I keep mine in the 50 to 60 range until I get a better feel for production of FC from the SWG). Then based on your CYA level you'll see the minimum, target and shock levels of FC you need. So, for example, if you have a CYA of 70, you need to target 5 ppm of FC. If you have to SLAM your pool to get rid of algae you'll have to raise your FC to 28 (another reason I've kept my CYA a little lower as I've been dealing with mudslides and have had to slam twice). As long as your FC is above the minimum (3) and below shock (28) with a CYA of 70 AND the water is clear (for safety), you can swim.
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Time out. This is a newbie with a 4k gallon pool. All the advice given is fantastic for a larger permanently installed pool. But, I think the seasonal pool process is the best way to get this newbie started.

    biz_kid1,
    This is an either/or situation for you. You can dive in with a full test kit and full long term water management procedures or you can follow the temp/seasonal process and move on to the full meal deal later if you enjoy the pool, want to learn more or do like many of us and get a bigger pool later.
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Quote Originally Posted by pooldv View Post
    Time out. This is a newbie with a 4k gallon pool. All the advice given is fantastic for a larger permanently installed pool. But, I think the seasonal pool process is the best way to get this newbie started.

    biz_kid1,
    This is an either/or situation for you. You can dive in with a full test kit and full long term water management procedures or you can follow the temp/seasonal process and move on to the full meal deal later if you enjoy the pool, want to learn more or do like many of us and get a bigger pool later.
    I see your point, however the advice given to date is add CYA and FC which are the first two steps in ANY pool. The other advice is specifically tailored to a SWG which this OP has and is not covered in seasonal pool startups. The only advice I might see as outside the boundary of a temp pool is a better testing kit.
    18' x 38' Pool, 3' to 8' Depth
    Vinyl Liner
    SWG
    Variable Speed Pump
    Sand Filter

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Good catch pooldv; But if the pool owner is wanting to use the SWG, won't they need to be able to test for CYA. I was going on this advice from pool school, but should have been more specific. It was early Thank goodness for team work.

    Further recommendations
    The pH and chlorine test kit is the very, very basic necessity. If you want to learn more about your water chemistry, and/or you're using this small pool as a "starter pool" before jumping into a more permanent pool, consider a more advanced test kit. A good intermediate test kit is the HTH 6-way test available at your local MegaMart. In addition to chlorine and pH, it tests total alkalinity, calcium hardness, and CYA (enough for two tests). Recommendations for the best option in test kits can be found in this article at pool school.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    OK, so I have the HTH CYA and some unscented bleach...I don't have any test strips yet - they should be here tomorrow. Can I go ahead and begin the process? If yes, what first? Or together? How much bleach?

    The water is clearer (no green) and now just cloudy...you can almost see the bottom (after the two shock treatments and a little more salt). when our money gets right again, I may upgrade the testing kit (I'm finishing up some classes for additional IT certifications right now.)

    I did run across a toe-biter bug in it and it had to GO!

    I do appreciate everyone's help! (And my real name is Tina :P )

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    Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Yes. You can begin the process.

    First question. have you ever used pucks as a chlorination source?

    Ok - never mind that question, I'm thinking of a different thread. Sorry! Let me go back and re read before I give advice.


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Until you can get a CYA test, I would target a CYA of 30. That way if you have used a product that added CYA, you won't get it too high. You can use the pool math calculator That is on the link at the TFP website. I would provide the link, but I'm using my phone. What ever amount pool math says to add of HTH cya, put in a sock, tie odd the sock, and either put it in a skimmer or, tie it In front of a return jet. You can gently squeeZe it ever so often to help it get into the pool. Typically a salt water pool needs a minimum of 60 CYA, but I'm afraid to have you overshoot since we don't know your CYA. Someone else might chime in and give different advice on the CYA.

    For bleach, also use pool math and Target enough bleach for 4-5 ppm.

    Add your bleach in front of a return with the pump running.


    Lisa P.
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Well, added @7 oz. bleach and 12 oz. CYA crystals in a sock, tied as best we could in front of the return. I still cannot keep the SWG pump running, though. I don't know about it...

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    hmmm, I have an SWG, but different brand. Perhaps you should post in this section of the forum with specific questions about your SWG Salt Water Chlorine Generators (SWG))

    Maybe someone who hangs out over there can help you get it going. I do really love ours. Good luck finding your answers. Until you get testing, I would add the some chlorine each day. Is your water clear now?
    26,000 IG, pebble tec, flagstone, pentair Triton II TR100 sand filter & VS+SVRS 3hp multi-speed pump, Intellichlor IC-40 SWG, Pentair Booster Cleaner, spillover spa, waterfall, Taylor K-2006 testkit
    [It is better to know how to learn, than to know. - Dr. Seuss[/I]

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    No, it's still cloudy... :\

    I'll go check out the SWG board now.

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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    OK...I'm about done with the SWG. I can disconnect it and just use the pump it came with and maintain with CYA and chlorine (tablets?), right???

    On a side note....went and checked this morning and it's a little less cloudy...I can now see the pattern on the vinyl of the floor.

    Page01a.jpg

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    You can maintain it with CYA and bleach/liquid chlorine. Tablets continuously add CYA.
    More here, Pool School - How to Chlorinate Your Pool

    Water is looking much better!
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    Re: Newbie/First Time Above Ground Pool Owner

    Hey I probably have the same SWG you have. What's going on with it?
    16,000 gals. 27 Round AG. Intex SWG. 1.5 hp Hayward Power Flo Lx. Jacuzzi 190L sand filter. TF-100. Full sun.

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